Our New Year Resolution: Our desires lose to their fears

We start this post with new year greetings and wishes to all of our known-unknown, seen-unseen, near-far friends and well wishers. Wish you all a splendid new year 2012.  Thank you for your support & trust in 2011; we hope it’ll grow many-folds this year.

New Year is a time when everyone makes resolutions. For the last three years our resolution as www.Bedupako.Com has been to save and promote Uttarakhand’s diminishing folk and it continues to remain one of our resolutions this year as well.

However, one of our major resolution/aim for the year 2012 is to give the gift of vision of Smt. Anandi Devi, a folk artist from Uttarakhand who lost her vision early last year. Many people visited the ‘blind couple’ post publication of the news; however the news remained a news to most of them. Members of Team Bedupako also visited the couple in May’11 last year and what they saw and felt there was inexpressible.

This is what Govind & Prakash (Team Bedupako @ Uttarakhand) have to say about their experience, ”  We met the blind yet talented couple Shri. Sant Ram & Smt. Anandi Devi  on May 05, 2011 in their village. They live in village Peepli, 25 Kms. away from Almora in Bhaisiya Chhana Block of Dhaulchhina district. They are Uttrakhandi Folk artists who sang to earn their bread & butter. However, for past couple of months their condition has become pitiful. Shri Sant Ram Ji was blind from birth; his wife Smt. Anandi Devi could however, see with one eye. It’s this one eye which was the sole support system of this couple who went to fairs during festival season and earned some money by singing there. Unfortunately, Smt. Anandi Devi also lost her vision completely some time back. With her vision the couple lost their only source of income as well.

When we went to meet them; they were overwhelmed and their eyes filled with water.  When we asked them about their family; they shared they don’t have any kids and Sh. Sant Ram Ji’s only brother evicted them from his home stating he couldn’t take care of them.  At present, they live in a small room provided by a well-wisher. It was painful to see their condition and tough to think that two people who were born with the blessings of Goddess  Saraswati in their throat and sweetness in voice are now struggling for just two meals a day. We can only say, society has not only left a folk couple but also our folk culture’s future in dark. If the situation persists Kumaon will lose this folk couple to its insensitivity.”  Here’s a brief recording of the meet.

Isn’t it sad that what two young guys could feel in a short trip was not felt by the couple’s kin. After, providing some financial support ( as our token of respect) the boys returned with a heavy heart only to ask us to do something further for this couple.  And, then started a mission to work on getting the eyes treated of at least one of them. With Sh. Sant Ram being blind by birth it was almost definite that  restoring his vision would be tough; but we surely did want to give a try to Smt. Anandi Devi’s vision restoration.  After a thorough discussion with Sh. Thakur Ji of Village Peepali, the couple was brought to Delhi on November 28, 2011 by Tony Ji (from Nainital) to be treated at AIIMS. They were provided lodging at Uttarakhand Niwas in Delhi.  Thakfully, we had helping hands at Delhi; Mr. Shekhar Sharma & Mr.  Dhirendra Adhikari volunteered to take responsibility of their clothing & food requirements during the couple’s stay without any financial support from us.

The couple was taken for initial examination to AIIMS and it was advised that Mr. Sant Ram could see only after eyes transplant; while the doctors needed to conduct few tests on Smt. Anandi Devi before confirming anything on her being able to see ever again. If not all, at least the residents of Delhi are aware of the number of patients that visit AIIMS for treatment and the amount of time that is needed to get treated there. The first date that we got for her operation was Dec 02 when Doctor advised to conduct few more tests on Dec 05, then we got date of Dec  09 and so on and so forth until we were advised that she couldn’t be operated before January 09,2012. Thus,  we planned to get her operated (lens replaced) at a private hospital even if it meant way bigger expense than at AIIMS.

Unfortunately, Uttarakhand Niwas refused to extend the length of the couple’s stay and they had to be moved to a hotel in Yusuf Sarai.  Surprisingly, the initially receptive & thankful couple was growing frustrated, restless & impatient day by day: one, because they felt restricted since they couldn’t move out and two, because they couldn’t stop thinking of all the bad purposes they could have been brought to Delhi for (including ‘human sacrifice’ as offering to god). All this sounded weird to us and may sound the same to you however, we don’t blame them considering the bad experiences they have had in life where people used their misery.

If everything falls in correct place, we are just a few days away from our mission (which is certainly not mission impossible as per doctors’ advise). As we strive to fulfill our resolution; we request you to pray to god that Smt. Anandi Devi is able to see this beautiful world once again and doesn’t need to depend on others for the couple’s basic needs and more than that , may she be able to see that not everyone in this world is mean and self-oriented.

Update as on January 06, 2012 : We succumbed to Sh. Sant Ram & Smt. Anandi Devi’s non-cooperation. Their fears & frustration won over our willingness & wishes. On Jan 3, 2012 we received a call late at night that the couple had turned overly aggressive, abusive & uncooperative and were speaking ruthlessly with the volunteers you had been serving them day & night for last 40 days.  It was unexpected, unbelievable & unimaginable but, it was true. A conference call was immediately arranged with Sh. Thakur Ji of Sh. Sant Ram’s village who tried his best to console and comfort the couple who just didn’t want to listen to anyone now. As much as we wanted them to leave only after Smt. Anandi Devi’s getting operated by January 26th (the operation was complex and needed several sittings to reduce the eye pressure before the surgery could take place) we also feared that forcing them to stay could cause any kind of accidents if they try to free themselves and run away. We had to literally plead to them to stay for just one more day so arrangements could be made to send them back; thankfully they agreed. On the evening of Jan 04, 2012 the couple was sitted in a Delhi-Gangolihat bus (sending them by car could turn disastrous had they been equally abusive to the driver) and they reached their home safely on the morning of Jan 05, 2012.  We certainly thank Mr. Sharma & Mr. Adhikari for their patience & zeal.

We are upset and disappointed but we can’t figure out who’s to be blamed in this. Is it actually the couple who gave up at the last moment or the society who had been so insensitive to them that even self-less social service appeared as a means to attain something to this couple!! It’s something that we all need to think about….

  • Govind Bhandari

    shri sant ram ji and anandi devi grate singar is uttrakhand (dhaulchhina) please help this man all uttrakhandi…………… Govind Bhandari delhi(Dhaulchhina,Kunkhet,Uttrakhand)

    • Bedupako

      Bhandari ji even god can’t help those who don’t want to help themselves. Team Bedupako tried its level best to help this couple but they didn’t co-operate!! Instead they cursed the boys who feeded them day and night.

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