Citizens' Issues
A Life of Immense Courage and Determination
Sindhutai Sapkal, who rose from destitution to running several orphanages, was our speaker at the International Women’s Day
 
For the International Women’s Day celebrations, Moneylife Foundation invited Sindhutai Sapkal, the social reformer and Mai (mother) to over 1,050 orphans. The programme was supported by Magarpatta City and Symbiosis International University in Pune. Sindhutai’s story is one of incredible grit and determination to fight adversity. At the age of 20, when she was nine months pregnant, she was kicked, beaten and left to die in a cowshed. Her daughter was born in that semi-conscious stage and she cut the umbilical cord herself and went away with her daughter to try and stay alive. Sindhutai’s talk was punctuated by frequent applause from a rapt audience that included citizens of all age groups— from students to very senior citizens.
 
Noted anchor and television interviewer Sudhir Gadgil’s interaction with Sindhutai Sapkal helped touch upon all the important milestones and turning points in her life. This was followed by an inspirational address by her. A gifted orator, Sindhutai, shares her story in a unique style with song and laughter and lessons of life, without trivialising the tragic and humiliating experiences she faced. She quotes from Marathi poet-saints Tukaram, Namdeo, Bahinabai, Gadgebaba and Tukdoji Maharaj, Suresh Bhat and Urdu poets, switching easily between Hindi and Marathi. The audience was spell-bound—laughing and clapping one moment and wiping tears of anguish at another. 
 
“Several times, I tried to commit suicide. But every time something, maybe the unknown power, saved me. And each time I decided to live for others who are dying.” She recounted: “I have experienced what it feels like to have no one with you, no place to go, no shelter and no food to eat for days. My small work makes me feel like someone is helping me heal my own wounds. So all wounds heal with time; but you must live, stay alive for others.”
 
The children, who Mai (Sindhutai) has nurtured, are proud to carry her name as their middle and last name. So, all boys use Sapkal while girls use Sathe (Sindhutai’s maiden surname) as their surnames. Asked about how new children enter her orphanages, Sindhutai said, “After my speeches at various places, local people bring to me children who have no parents or immediate family. After taking a signed letter from the local district administration or sarpanch, I accept the child into my care.”
 
Today, her grand family comprises 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over 1,000 grandchildren. Many of them are well-educated lawyers and doctors and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages.
 
Earlier, Sindhutai felicitated the winners of Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust’s awards for 2016. The Savitribai Phule Award 2016 went to Tejaswi Sevekari, director of Saheli Sangh which works for the welfare of sex workers  and the Pandita Ramabai Award to Sangli-based Women's Education Society.
 
This programme was organised with support from Bank of Maharashtra (as Silver Sponsor), Softcell Technologies (Technology Partner), Symbiosis International University, Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust, Corporate Citizen (Media Partner) and Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies for Girls. 

 

 

 

Vignettes of an Amazing Life
 
During the course of her talk, Sindhutai spoke about various experiences, which evoked, tears, claps and laughter from the audience

 

 

Talking about her encounter with a powerful minister, Sindhutai said, “I was engaged in a fight for the rights of Adivasis in the Melghat jungles. They wanted to evacuate over 80 villages for a tiger project and one of the officers impounded more than 130 cows. Chhedilal Gupta, the then minister for forests, was in a meeting with senior officials and I walked in. He got angry and threatened to kill me with a gun held by a policeman nearby. I told him, ‘go ahead, but remember, next day, all newspapers would carry news that a woman was murdered in the minister’s cabin’. He then directed officials not to displace the Adivasis until they are rehabilitated at alternate sites.” “I am still a beggar,” Sindhutai says, adding, “Hunger is bigger than humans or humanity. Humans are not bad; it is hunger that turns people into baddies. Even today, I have so many children, who need to be fed every day. Therefore, I continue to beg, seek help from people like you. I became their mother; now you come and be their relatives.”

“I have no regrets. When I started these orphanages, I often requested my mother to come and stay with me, since there was no one to look after her. She, however, continuously refused saying, ‘when I needed her shelter, she threw me out, and now how can she seek shelter from me’? Today, I think, this journey would not have been possible, if my mother had not thrown me out. But this has left an emptiness in my heart. I am just trying to fill in the space by nurturing so many children.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAT asks Centre, UP to explain IPS Amitabh Thakur's suspension
Thakur said his suspension was extended for 180 days through an order dated 10 December 2015 -- passed 150 days after his suspension, and this delay has been condoned by the state government
 
The Lucknow bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Tuesday sought response from the central and the Uttar Pradesh (UP) governments on a police officer's 91-day suspension from service.
 
On the petition by Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Amitabh Thakur, who challenged his suspension order dated 13 July 2015, the Bench of Navneet Kumar and Jayati Chandra sought a response from both governments within three weeks, and fixed 18th April as the next date of hearing.
 
The senior IPS officer in his petition had cited Rule 3(8) of the All India Services Discipline and Appeal Rules which clearly states that every suspension order must be reviewed and suspension extended within 90 days, and if such review is not done, the suspension order stands automatically revoked.
 
Thakur said his suspension was extended for 180 days through an order dated 10 December 2015 -- passed 150 days after his suspension, and this delay has been condoned by the state government.
 
Calling all these orders illegal, Thakur prayed for getting reinstated on the 91st day since his suspension.

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Bangladesh central bank governor resigns over cyber heist
Governor Atiur Rahman resigned over a cyber heist involving over $80 million 
 
Atiur Rahman, the chief of Bangladesh's central bank resigned on Tuesday over a cyber heist involving over $80 million from its account with New York's Federal Reserve Bank.
 
Governor Atiur Rahman tendered his resignation during a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a senior official told BDNews24. 

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