Who Was Sindhutai Sapkal ? Padma Shri Awardee Known To Have Raised Over A 1,000 Orphan Children

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Who Was Sindhutai Sapkal : Padmashri awardee Sindhutai, fondly known as “mother of orphans”, passed away on January 4, due to a heart attack. Her body will be kept for final respects at Manjiri ashram. The funeral is scheduled to take place around 12 noon on 5 January.

She raised over a 1,000 orphan children despite struggling with poverty herself. Her own personal journey is a challenging one. Her husband abandoned her while she was pregnant. In order to make ends meet and raise her daughters, she took numerous orphan and poor children in her care.

Here’s everything you should know about Sindhutai Sapkal

  • Sindhutai was born on November 14, 1948 in Wardha, Maharashtra. She couldn’t study much. She attended school till the fourth standard only.
  • She was only 12-years-old when she married a 32-year-old man.
  • After being abandoned by her husband and giving birth to her daughter Mamta, she started singing in trains and took to begging in order to raise her child. She started an orphanage – Sanmati Bal Niketan Sanstha in Hadapsar area of Pune, on realising that there were many young children who needed care. She has nurtured over 1,500 orphaned children in her lifetime who then became a part of their family. She would often say that she had 382 sons-in-law and 49 daughters-in-law.
  • She was also against the exploitation of village women who collected cow dung by the Forest department and the landlords.
  • She also worked for the cause of rehabilitation of women.
  • A Marathi film titled Mee Sindhutai Sapkal depicts her life story. It starred actor Tejaswini Pandit in the lead.
  •  Besides Padma Shri in 2021, she also received more than 750 awards and honours. She, however, never spent the money on herself. She used the money to build shelters for the orphans.
  • She had not been keeping well for the last few months.
  • Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condole her death. He wrote, “Dr. Sindhutai Sapkal will be remembered for her noble service to society. Due to her efforts, many children could lead a better quality of life. She also did a lot of work among marginalised communities. Pained by her demise. Condolences to her family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Her selfless love for children is her legacy. It is surprising how she raised so many orphans despite leading a difficult life herself. Her demise is a great loss to the humanity.

Suggested Reading : Dreams don’t have an age, I won the Padma Shri at 107: R Pappammal