From Pakistan to Ukraine, Jaipur Foot creator brings hope to troubled world

Humanity knows no borders… It has been aptly proven by Jaipur Foot creator who is bringing hope to the troubled people irrespective of caste, creed and borders.

Former bureaucrat and founder of NGO and charity organisation ‘Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti’ (BMVSS), (parent organisation of Jaipur Foot) D. R. Mehta has helped 2 million disabled people across the world.

Padma Bhushan awardee Mehta ensures that the people at BMVSS centre get whatever they need — jobs, sewing machines, blankets and tricycles.

As you talk to Mehta, his phone rings after every 10 minutes and the calls are from disabled people which he attends on his own.

Talking to IANS, Mehta shared his life experience post which he set up BMVSS.

Recalling a tragic incident, Mehta said: “I had met with a life-threatening accident and was on bed for months.

I thought that rich people who lose limbs in accidents can go to big hospitals for artificial limbs but poor cannot afford it. So, I thought of setting up this samiti.”

When asked what is his next plan of action, he said, “We have helped people in war-torn countries, served the needy in Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar and organised camps in Kashmir and Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh too. Now, we want to help the masses suffering in Ukraine-Russia war.”

Sharing an incident from Pakistan, he said: “In Islamabad camp, a man first furnished his wrong details and the next day revealed that he was an ex-soldier of Pakistan Army who lost his limbs during the Kargil war.

He said that he hid his details assuming that as we are from India we might not provide artificial limbs to him.”

Sharing another instance, he said: “A 90-year-old muslim lady, the mother of the vice Chancellor of DOW Medical University in Karachi visited our camp in 2007. She belonged to my home town Jodhpur.

“She saw the local amputees getting artificial limbs and then walking, running, dancing. She blessed me in the Marwari language and whispered into my ear that she would give all her ornaments to me which I could sell in India and use the proceeds to provide artificial limbs to amputees.”

The organisation is working on humanitarian grounds and knows no frontiers as the disabled all over the world are its concern, he said.

Mehta shared another instance when his team was in Afghanistan to hold a camp in Kabul.

After about a fortnight, the Indian embassy informed the team members that the Taliban had reached the outskirts of Kabul and the situation was becoming worse.

“One day, we heard a noise, we peeped and saw a huge crowd with body of Mohammad Najibullah, former President of Afghanistan. His mutilated body was lifted by a crane and hanged before a full public view.”

The team members expressed their concern to wind up the camp, but some of the amputees dissuaded by saying that they will never be harmed for this kind of noble work.

Mehta further said, “Even presently, we would like to go to Kabul, in case, the Central government, as part of its humanitarian assistance, includes the Jaipur Foot project as one of its initiatives.

IANS got in touch with few of the beneficiaries in Jaipur who shared the instances and help extended by Mehta.

One Ashima says, “My husband lost his limbs in an accident, just few months after marriage. Mehta ji helped him get limbs and got me a job, and now I am here at the centre for 17 years.”

Another boy, Aakash, who lost his limbs in an accident, was provided succour by Mehta.

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