Pushcart tea seller serves hope and humanity to the poor

A pushcart tea seller from Dharmanagari in Bihar’s Gaya, is feeding the poor, hungry and deranged people through the money he earns from selling tea, ‘sattu’ and juice. His family has been indulging in philanthropic work since India’s Independence.

Sanjay Chandravanshi, who sells tea on a handcart near Gol Pathar Mor of Gautam Buddha Marg in Gaya, is himself struggling to put food on the table. However, inspired by his father, Banwari Ram and grandfather, Zandu Ram, who always encouraged people to give back to the community, Sanjay has been serving the impoverished for several years now.

A resident of Kendua village in Gaya’s Imamganj block, Sanjay uses the lion’s share of his earnings to assist at least 20-25 poor, disabled or physically challenged people daily.

Talking to IANS, he said: “The tradition of helping people pushed to crisis is being followed in my family for almost six decades now. Before I reach my tea stall in the morning, a crowd of poor people or beggars gather over there, waiting for me to come and serve tea and biscuits to them. During summers, I also serve them two glasses of sattu in the afternoon.

“During winters, I light a bonfire near my handcart. The homeless people then gather here to warm themselves. Apart from this, I also distribute blankets, sweaters and woollen wears among them every year.”

Sanjay also provides financial assistance to the less fortunate for their medical treatment. Pleased with his work, the doctors in his village have reduced their fees to treat the patients sent by him.

He even mortgaged his house to serve the needy in his village. He wishes to build a night shelter soon, so that the homeless can seek refuge there at night.

Talking about the apathy of the Central and state government, Sanjay said: “I had written a letter to the former Prime Minister. Then I wrote to the Chief Secretary of the Bihar government describing the situation of the less fortunate in the state. But till date nothing has been done by the Bihar government. I am still waiting for the Bihar government to respond to my request of building a night shelter in my village.”

Apart from Gaya, people from adjoining districts also reach out to him for help. Initially, his philanthropic nature was not appreciated by his wife Anita Devi, but now both his wife and son, Gautam Kumar, help him in running his business and doing charity work.

Sanjay also said that he wishes to help the economically weak throughout his life. “I will continue to help the poor until my last breath. I hope my future generations also indulge in feeding the poor selflessly.”

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