RAIPUR: In a rare gesture of generosity, a 72-year-old widow Sukhmati Manikpuri, who begs for a living, has donated one quintal of rice, around a dozen sarees and some cash for the needy.
A resident of Bilaspur district (around 125 km east of Chhattisgarh capital), Sukhmati’s charity for a good cause came despite she also has the additional responsibility of bringing up two granddaughters — Raj Lakshmi, 16 and Shristi, 10, both enrolled in a government school.
“I have been witnessing the agony of the needy amid lockdown. I myself eke out a living by begging and donated whatever I could arrange to a corporator of the Bilaspur municipal corporation. During this trying moment we should help each other”, she said.
Her act left the officials pleasantly surprised. “While many facing a tough time to combat deadly COVID-19 outbreak, Sukhmati’s act epitomizes an exceptional open-hearted generosity in the name of humanity”, said Dr. Sanjay Alang, the Bilaspur district collector and further added that such deed will encourage many to come forwarded to lend a helping hand.
When contacted over the phone, Sukhmati revealed the reason behind donating a quintal of rice. “I understand the hunger pangs. I began begging more to arrange whatever possible for these needy and helpless people. No one should sleep hungry”, she stated.
She contacted the corporator Vijay Kesharwani of her area and handed over the rice and clothes she got begging.
“I was deeply moved. Living a poverty-ridden life and taking care of two granddaughters, she showed a strong determination to assist others during the crisis.”, he said. Besides her, there is no one to financially support the family of three. Kesharwani promised to bear all educational expenses of the two girls.
Sukhmati said she is living on begging after losing her husband some 12 years ago. After the two hapless girls lost their father a few years ago, their mother left both to get married someone away from Bilaspur.