Harakhchand Sawla Good Samaritan devotes life to cancer patients

Such Noble Soul – A Must read

A young man in his thirties used to stand on the footpath opposite the famous Tata Cancer Hospital at Mumbai and stare at the crowd in front- fear plainly written upon the faces of the patients standing at death’s door; their relatives with equally grim faces running around.. These sights disturbed him greatly.

Most of the patients were poor people from distant towns. They had no idea whom to meet, or what to do. They had no money for medicines, not even food.

The young man, heavily depressed, would return home. ‘Something should be done for these people’, he would. think. He was haunted by the thought day and night.

At last he found a way-
He rented out his own hotel that was doing good business and raised some money. From these funds he started a charitable activity right opposite Tata Cancer Hospital, on the pavement next to Kondaji Building.

He himself had no idea that the activity would continue to flourish even after the passage of 27 years.

The activity consisted of providing free meals for cancer patients and their relatives. Many people in the vicinity approved of this activity.

Beginning with fifty, the number of beneficiaries soon rose to hundred, two hundred, three hundred. As the numbers of patients increased, so did the number of helping hands.

As years rolled by, the activity continued; undeterred by the change of seasons, come winter, summer or even the dreaded monsoon of Mumbai.

The number of beneficiaries soon reached 700. Mr Harakhchand Sawla, for that was the name of the pioneer, did not stop here. He started supplying free medicines for the needy. In fact, he started a medicine bank, enlisting voluntary services of three doctors and three pharmacists. A toy banks was opened for kids suffering from cancer. The ‘Jeevan Jyot’ trust founded by Mr Sawla now runs more than 60 humanitarian projects.

Sawla, now 57 years old, works with the same vigour. A thousand salutes to his boundless energy and his monumental contribution!

There are people in this country who look upon Sachin Tendulkar as ‘God’- for playing 200 test matches in 20 years, few hundred one day matches, and scoring 100 centuries and 30,000 runs.

But hardly anyone knows Harakhchand Sawla, leave alone call him ‘God’ for feeding free lunches to 10 to 12 lac cancer patients and their relatives. We owe this discrepancy to our mass media!

For last 27 years, millions of cancer patients and their relatives have found ‘God’, in the form of Harakhchand Sawla.

As you forward interesting jokes and poems instantly, do forward this message.

Mr Sawla deserves his fair share of recognition, more importantly, let his story inspire as many as possible.

Harakhchand Sawla Good Samaritan devotes life to cancer patients :-
Dressed in a white kurta and pyjama, Harakhchand Sawla can be seen taking a walk around the premises of Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Parel everyday from afternoon till late evening, talking intently to those who are generally overlooked by passers-by, the cancer patients that camp outside TMH.

Harakhchand Sawla (left) with patient

Sawla has been tending to the patients and their relatives, teeming on roads leading to the hospital. Around 12.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm for dinner, patients queue up outside his tiny office in a nearby chawl with plates and glasses, and are served hot meals — rice, chappatis and vegetables.

"For those who have undergone rigorous chemotherapy sessions or have throat cancer and can’t digest salty food, we serve turmeric-infused milk," says Sawla. Thirty years ago, he left his thriving business and began caring for cancer patients by adopting 25 of them, looking after their nutritional needs. Sawla now has a dedicated army of up to 150 volunteers who assist him. Sawla’s trust, Jeevan Jyot, also caters to the need for meals of 700-odd patients or their relatives at state-run hospitals — JJ, St George, Cama and TMH. The trust incurs a daily cost of Rs12,000 in feeding these patients.

"In the vicinity of TMH alone, the number of patients that come to us for meals has risen to 400," he says. But that hasn’t deterred this Mulund resident. From reuniting family members to helping out by providing free medicines or giving an appropriate funeral to the deceased, who have no one to fall back on, Sawla’s trust spends up to Rs8 lakh every month towards social work.

"A few of them are so dedicated that once a patient completes his/her treatment, s/he escorts the unattended patients back to their remote villages across India and reunite them with their families," he says. Fond of children, he says it pains him to see little ones affected by the dreaded disease. He recently took around 400 children for a day’s outing. "We have regular activities for children to keep them occupied and distance them from the pain that cancer can inflict. We convince people to collect and submit old medicines, toys, clothes and books for the kids. I appeal to more people to come forward and help us in our endeavour of making the lives of cancer patients a tad better," he adds

Do your bit
To help cancer patients, send unused medicines of any kind, books, clothes or toys to Jeevan Jyot Cancer Relief and Care Trust, 3/9 Kondaji Chawl, Jerbai Wadia Road, Parel, Mumbai – 400 012. Call on 022-2415 3453

website of Sawla : www.jeevanjyot.in
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