Saturday, June 27, 2009
Subhashini Mistry – The unsung star
I read an article by Vishveshvara Bhat in Vijaya Karnataka newspaper few days back. He spoke about Subhashini Mistry – a woman who dreamt of something in an unfortunate situation and realized it after a struggle of more than 30 plus years.
I always believe that rather than reading plenty of self help books which talk about general things with isolated examples it’s better to read about people who have realized their dreams against all odds and then discover what qualities these people possessed for being what they are today.
One such unsung star is Subhashini Mistry. The story of hers was uncovered by Mahesh Bhat – an international photographer from Karnataka (Not film director) in his book UNSUNG. The book also contains stories of many other such unsung heroes who truly inspire you to pursue dreams.
Subhashini was born in a very poor family of a farmer in Bengal. She was one among 14 kids. In a short span of time she lost 7 of her siblings because of severe drought. She was married at the age of 12 to a coolie named Saadan. By the time she reached 20 she had 4 kids. Horror struck her at this age. Her husband fell ill and was admitted to a government hospital in Kolkata. The conditions in the government hospital ensured that Saadan was not treated properly and she had hardly any money to bribe doctors to treat him. Saadan died and Subhashini was left with 4 kids and for the first time exposed to the outer world.
Her husband’s death made her take a vow – of building a hospital for the poor: a hospital where poor are treated as humans and to see one of her son as a doctor.
She started working as a housemaid and did all kinds of work to nurture this dream.
She sent her first son Ajay to an orphanage to ensure he studied. Other kids were not interested in studies and she made her to work along with her. Evenings she started selling vegetables in a cart. Realizing that this fetched her more money she decided to set up a vegetable shop in Kolkata. She made a profit of 500 Rs per month and this money went into savings account and some part to Ajay for his studies.
In 1992, at her husband’s native village Hanspukur she purchased a land of one acre for 10000Rs. She wanted to build a hospital there and that drove her from Kolkata. People from the village contributed 926Rs for the cause. She built up a shed for hospital. She went out searching for doctors who could come at least for a few hours on any day or at least once in a month. Dr Raghupathi Chaterjee came forward and others followed him. It was named Humanity hospital.
But her plans were big - to build a sophisticated hospital for the poor. Her son Ajay finished his MBBS from Kolkata medical college and joined hands with her mother. She approached local MP Malini Bhattacharya. After initial reluctance the MP supported her cause. Foundation stone was laid. In two years the hospital was ready and was inaugurated by the Governor.
The hospital is now spread over 3 acres with latest equipments and qualified doctors. Major surgeries are done for less than 5000Rs and minor ailments for not more than 10Rs. Her son Ajay (098830-62354) is taking care of the administration.
Even now Subhashini sells vegetables. Her elder daughter and second son assist her in this. Her second daughter is working as a nurse in the same hospital.
The life story of Subhashini is an inspiring one for anyone. A woman has worked her way from severe poverty, overcoming adversity after her husband’s death and realizing the dream which she had set long back with perseverance and determination. Hats off to the unsung star – Subhashini Mistry