Puducherry’s towering totem of welfare
A Joseph, a 49-year-old hailing from Ariyankuppam, has become the beacon of selflessness and change in Puducherry
PUDUCHERRY: Under the blazing sun, amid the honking of a long line of vehicles, the traffic police officer suddenly felt a gentle cool breeze as he gulped down the last of his buttermilk. Then, with great relief and gratitude, he said, “Thank you, Joseph.”
A Joseph, a 49-year-old Ariyankuppam native with dwarfism, has become the beacon of selflessness and change in Puducherry. Being a compassionate soul, he dedicates a portion of his income to various social causes like buying food and clothing for the poor, spreading awareness about various epidemics and distributing buttermilk to police personnel working in the hot weather.
“The transformative moment happened in 2008 when I helped a blind person who had fallen on the road. The incident sparked my passion for aiding differently-abled and elderly individuals living on the streets,” says Joseph.
Having initially discontinued formal education after ninth grade, Joseph later cleared his Class 10 examination as a private candidate. He started working at a rubber stamp shop before establishing his own shop in Saram in 2011, specialising in small printing tasks, bookbinding, and rubber stamp making.
Now, with a monthly income ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000, he supports his mother and offers clothing and food to those in need. Furthermore, he does not charge government school students for binding books in his shop.In addition to his tireless efforts for those in need, Joseph has been a champion of various causes.
He actively campaigns during elections, enlightening people about the importance of voting through door-to-door canvassing. Not to mention collaborating with doctors and organising free health camps.
A staunch advocate for disease prevention, Joseph also educates the public about dengue and malaria through awareness campaigns and mosquito repellent distribution. “Although I never charge money for my services, I occasionally receive sponsorships for repellents. But I often cover the costs myself, spending Rs 800-Rs 1000 per day,” he says with a smile.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, he ensured that people were informed about the virus and encouraged vaccination. “A motorised special vehicle, procured with help from friends and organizations, now assists me after the challenges posed by the pandemic,” Joseph says.
Through the years, Joseph’s efforts have expanded and now he distributes buttermilk to people on the street, and also to police persons on duty at traffic junctions, helping them stay hydrated against the summer heat.
Joseph’s mother encourages his philanthropy and hopes to find him a bride who appreciates his endeavours. As he continues to make a positive impact in the community, his hope remains simple: assist those in need until his last breath.
(Edited by Sneha Joseph)