This old woman has been selling vegetables to do something that will restore your faith in humanity.
A great man once said ‘I have a dream” !! That was a line from the famous speech made by US Human Rights Activist Martin Luther King. Down the ages, successful men and leaders have achieved their goals all because they dared to dream. But do you think dreams are just attributed to influential and famous people on the planet?? Success stories are also evident among small village people, just like the story of a 73-year-old woman, named Subhashini Mitra, who lives in the state of West Bengal in India. She dared to dream from selling vegetables to setting a hospital in her village.
This vegetable seller built a hospital in her village even as she faced profound hardship. Her poignant story is a vision, no less inspiring than all the success stories we hear of today.
1 Hanspukur Village in West Bengal Lacked Even a Hospital
There are quite a number of villages in West Bengal that are still underdeveloped and lack basic amenities such as emergency medical treatment. It was this factor that lead poor Subhashini to envision a goal in her life which she achieved by selling vegetables alone.
73-year-old Subashini hails from Hanspukur village in West Bengal, India. As a poor farm laborer, she was married off at the young age of 12. Tragedy struck soon after her husband succumbed to sickness when she was just 23, all due to the lack of emergency hospital infrastructure in the village where she stayed.
2 She sold vegetables for twenty years
When her husband died leaving her with two young mouths to fed, Subhashini made up her mind never to suffer the same fate. She became determined that her village will have a hospital and she would be the one to do it. Indeed, it was a huge goal to envision for the likes of a vegetable seller and laborer such as Subhashini Mistry.
This vegetable seller built a hospital because she was possessed by her own zeal to succeed. She worked in a number of jobs, whatever she could get her hands on. She toiled for 20 years working as a dish washer, shoe polisher and even sold vegetables in a popular area of Kolkata called Park Circus. Throughout those 20 years Subhashini saved every penny she laid her hands on surviving only on the bare necessities without even a hint of the smallest luxuries in her life.
3 Finally her dreams came true
She sent two of her children to an orphanage while educating her younger son Ajoy who became a doctor and made her proud. In 1993, the first milestone of Subhashini’s dream saw the basic foundation of a makeshift medical center set up under a shed which she purchased with her savings. It was manned by Ajoy and another volunteer who would work there after completing their shifts in a hospital. According to Subhashini “I did everything. My children used to earn Re.1 while I used to get Rs.1.25. I never spent on myself. Whatever I earned, I saved most of it for the hospital.
Subhashini had tears in her eyes when the very first day, 252 patients were treated at their makeshift day care. But it wasn’t enough for Subashini. She after all wanted a hospital so it was back to Park Circus, selling vegetables daily.
4 Her Children Are Her Pillars of Strength
It was Ajoy’s staunch support that bore fruit in the shape of funds from various charities, local people and organizations. February 5th 1995 saw Subhashini’s dream come true with the laying of the foundation stone for a fully fledged hospital. The inauguration of the final building was done by none other than the Governor of West Bengal, K.V Raghunath Reddy. On March 9th 1996, Subhashini’s Humanity Hospital threw open its doors to the public.
The hospital has grown in size over three acres and has a sizeable number of doctors and medical staff. As a charity hospital it provides free consultation and treatment for a meager Rs.10 per patient. Major surgeries are also carried out at the hospital for just Rs. 5000 in comparison to a minor surgery in the city costing no less than Rs 15000 on a one night stay.
5 She Dared To Dream and Succeeded
Today Subashini Mistry is 73 years old and has every right to be proud of herself. As a pioneer of medical facilties in Hanspukur village, she was honored with the Godfrey Philips Bravery Award in 2009. The category was significant and absolutely becoming of her character, it was “the mind of steel.”
Subhashini Mistry will always be known as the inspiring Vegetable seller who built a hospital. She admits that it is her son Ajoy and his brothers and sister which are her main pillars of strength whom she leans upon for support and encouragement. However, she also mentions that the hospital needs to grow and lacks sufficient Doctors who are unavailable at all times since most of them work voluntarily. She believes that there is still work to be done as her mission is far from over and with her son Ajoy managing the hospital, she is sure she will succeed.