This is a guest post by Dr. Dhiru Mistry, an Indian born British GP who took early retirement from the National Health Service in order to return to India and devote his life and his medical skills to helping the poor and dispossessed.
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Namaste, as we say in India – it is a lovely greeting from the heart. The greeting has inner significance, let me just explain briefly. By holding both hands in a prayer position and looking at the eyes of the person you are greeting, this means that with my five senses of perception, five organs of action and with my soul I greet you. It also means that I see God in you and I welcome you with that intention and purpose. This is much better than our western greeting of just saying hello or shaking hands.
Having read Cleo’s article on the work of Educators’ Trust India, I was very impressed. It carried the point home to the reader: that in India, we have a tremendous gap between the poor and the rich, and yet out there we still have noble people who want to make a difference.
Let’s get serious. My mind boggles to see this extreme poverty, this obvious carelessness and selfishness which is quite apparent when we visit the slums. I have the deep feeling that in the 21st century, this should not be allowed to exist – the obvious pain, the suffering born of hunger and illness, no proper human being should allow this to happen. Well, it is happening, what are we doing? This world belongs to us all, not just the Goan, the Indians, the British but to us all, and our teaching from the great books says it all, that there should be no class based, creed based, religious based, colour based discrimination. As humans, we should be utterly ashamed of our apparent lack of love and concern for the needs of these poor, displaced people in our society.
At Educators’ Trust India, we are empowering these children through education and trying to give a few of them food and clothing, but this is a drop in the ocean.
Our Morning Light project, where we provide a mobile health, education, sanitation and nutritional service to slum dwellers is the best that I have ever undertaken. I say this with experience – my voluntary missionary work and philanthropy in medical fields have taken me to various parts of the world – but this is the ONLY project in Goa where we are going to the poor, the destitute and displaced people. These people are so poor, so illiterate, so hungry that they do not have the energy to know how to fight their corner. India is boasting that they are a world power; I disagree, as one cannot be rich by means of acquiring gold or dollars, one gets richness when the hearts and mind and the physical health of all its citizens are fulfilled, without hunger, homelessness, illiteracy or holding out of the hands for a few rupees. It makes me not angry, but sad at the thought of such treatment in an open society as ours. Remember, slavery is now forbidden, but in reality it still exists.
At Morning Light each week, our volunteers, all of whom come from wealthy Western backgrounds, see no difference in colour, creed or race, they see all as one and the love flows. Everyone is engaged in various tasks – you will see them washing, bathing, shampooing the children hoping to get rid of their suffering due to head lice. These children just do not have the simple itching manifestation of head lice: they have bleeding, scarring and intense itching – why? It is obvious they have been neglected. You can also see our volunteers playing, cuddling with joy and affection at the same time as teaching some basics to the children. I am engaged in treating the illness that comes alone, with the help of our nurse. We may be doing basic treatments and they do not need somebody like me with extensive experience to deal with minor illnesses, but the point is that we care for them and it is done with unconditional Love.
Remember, Love heals.
This requires patience, tolerance, fortitude, equanimity and fraternity – these will prove invaluable attributes in our pilgrimage to the souls of the poor and the needy. Remember, we need to be a flower which radiates charm and fragrance, whether it is for a poor child or a rich child. As with all things good and noble, the project, as a mobile clinic bringing medical relief, feeding and education, empowering and educating the neglected Indians in the squalor of the slums, brings home the lesson that Love and Service are like the two wings of a bird.
Flight is not possible with just one wing alone.
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Educators’ Trust India now have a Justgiving page. Please click here to make a donation if you can – even a few pounds or dollars makes a huge difference to both these children’s lives and to the work carried out by Dhiru and his team. Thank you.