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Sangh in the Selfless Service of the Afflicted

20 Jun 2021 10:25 AM | Marketing Sewa (Administrator)

By Danny Pereira

There are many who have dedicated their service to the afflicted, in these Covid times. Many have also sought to take advantage of this difficult situation. However, the Sangh and Yuva Brigade have established themselves as organized NGOs, committed to social welfare. I was introduced to the genuine secularism of these Hindu activists, which was beyond caste, creed, or religion, when faced with a crisis in my own family.

I received a call from my niece, Sushma Pereira, a nursing graduate from Kolar one week ago. “Dad has undergone a CT scan. The report says he suffers from Covid pneumonia. Severity is 16/25, and oxygen is not available anywhere. If I got oxygen, I would take care of him at home. He is not able to breathe. Oxygen saturation is at 70-75...” She was miserable, without knowing what to do. I was in Holenarasipura, near Mysore, and tried to contact someone I knew who could help. The people who came to my mind were Gururaj, the All India Saha Pramukh of Gramvikas and the young leader of Yuva Brigade, Chakravarti Sulibele. I called them both, and what happened later was the unveiling of the benevolence of the volunteers responding to another's hardship.

Sulibele tried to get an oxygen cylinder in many places, but in vain. Finally, he got a cylinder in Malur, a town in Kolar district. It was brought to the town by a volunteer from Kolar. But the flow meter could not be found in Kolar. Sulibele made a very difficult search in Bengaluru and arranged to send the flow meter. It had to be brought from Bengaluru to Hosakote and then to Kolar. Here, in the hospital my brother's condition worsened. Eventually, the cylinder and the flow meter reached us. The moment the oxygen cylinder was fixed, Sulibele called me. The gratification in his voice was like he had done it for someone in his own family. The stirring words, he uttered so achingly, are still ringing in my ears during these crucial moments of COVID-19. The many expectations of loved ones -- some people need oxygen, some need a ventilator, and a bed for some -- it is difficult to set it all up during this pandemic, but somehow, we manage. A few days later, Sulibele called me to enquire about my brother. When I said, “though you helped a lot, he did not survive,” there was a lot of pain in his voice. I cannot forget the assurance he gave me trying to relieve me of the pain of my loss.  

The oxygen from the cylinder, which we received with so much difficulty, was used for only half an hour. Those who gave it and brought it did not know the fact. The reason was that the cylinder was for industrial use. When I informed Gururaj, he immediately contacted the district pracharak of Kolar. Though he straightaway contacted the district hospital of Kolar, all the beds were filled with patients, and they could not take my brother in. Prashant, the district pracharak of Kolar, did not stop trying. In the meantime, we got KGF Sambhram Hospital, in Kolar, to take my brother in, as the former MLA, Mr. Sampangi was able to persuade them.  My niece still remembers the way Sangh activists comforted her during those tough times. The volunteers were calling her from time to time and requesting her to let them know if she needed any help. She was in awe, amazed about these people as she knew nothing about the Sangh. She heard that Mr.  Sulibele had bought the oxygen cylinder by paying Rs.20,000. When my niece tried to pay that amount, he refused; the taxi driver was being paid by a Sangh volunteer, Vasanth from his own pocket.  

Thus, the Sangh volunteers did their best to see that her father recovered – these were people whose faces my niece had never seen before. Though my brother seemed to recover for a day or two, the initial consumption of five litres of oxygen rose up to seven litres gradually. It was planned to have my brother transferred back to Kolar hospital due to non-availability of oxygen ventilators. Not only ICU but also the beds were filled out in the Kolar hospital, yet Prashant continued with his incessant efforts. The RMO, Dr. Balasundar of SNR Hospital, who was the sanghchalak there tried to reassure my niece.

Within fifteen minutes, my brother left the world, for ever. When my niece sought to hire an ambulance to take the body to Chikkamagaluru, the price she was quoted was Rs. 60,000. It was difficult for her to bear this cost. The Sangh volunteers came to her rescue again. The district pracharak contacted the Member of Parliament and arranged for a private ambulance and the MP himself rented the ambulance to transport the body of my brother. Besides, he arranged a car for my two nieces and their mother to return home. The funeral was held with the help of Kolar District Pracharak Jagdish, Mysore Division Pracharak Akshay, Division Karyavaha Vijay Narvey, Chikmagalur Sangha Vyavasta Pramukh Mallik, and others. My niece is still grateful for the help of the Sangh's various activists who felt the hardship of hers as theirs and regularly phoned her to inquire. She remembers the humble words of the volunteers that they perform what Sangha advises and they are not doing anyone any special favors.

We are Christians. The Sangh stood with us when we were bewildered by this Covid crisis at our door. Not knowing these people, without being familiar with them, how they reached out to help fills my heart with gratitude. If we phoned to thank the activists, they would say that we have not done anything special; this is what we consider service. I had read and knew about the philosophical doctrines of the Sangh. Now we have got acquainted with their real service mentality.  My brother was a steadfast Christian who was a critic of the Sangh. I wanted to tell my brother about the selfless service of Sangh after he was healed, but alas, that chance is lost.  The help that the volunteers of Sangh offered us is not ordinary. They believe that what they do is for the good of society, for the good of the country. Their humility and their devotion to service is commendable. That they serve without discriminating based on caste or religion fills my heart with pride.  

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Original essay in Kannada, by Danny Pereira, published in Vijaya Karnataka on June 11, 2021.

Translated by Ganeshprasad

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