Indian Red Cross Society plays the role of last refuge for the destitute

K. Malaichamy (88) of Anaiyur Housing Board Colony had served the Indian Air Force (IAF) as Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) during the British rule. He had resigned the job in 1946 to take care of his ailing parents. But today he stands shelter-less after his wife died nine years ago and both his sons deserted him.

Mr.Malaichamy, though a school dropout, has a good command of English thanks to his three-year IAF stint. After he resigned from the IAF and the subsequent death of his parents, he had been eking out a living by serving as a car driver. “While the whereabouts of my first son are not known ever since he left home after his marriage, the second son and his wife have been ill-treating me. I cannot bear the humiliation any more. They want me to leave their house,” he said at the office of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) at the Collectorate.

Present there was a 50-year-old destitute widow C. Durga who had no issues. Her husband died last month and she had been living in her maternal aunt’s house.

“The son of my aunt does not want me to stay there. In fact, he does not want his mother too in his house. He has been forcing her to go for a job,” the woman said.

She claimed to have left the house about 12 days ago and had been sleeping on the corridors of the Government Rajaji Hospital since then. “The policemen in the hospital kept on forcing me to vacate the place. When I pleaded with them, they asked me to approach the Red Cross Society,” she said.

V.M. Jose, secretary, IRCS, said he had made arrangements for admitting them in two old-age homes. “The problem is we don’t even have a vehicle to transport these people. I have to request a friend to lend his car,” he said.

Stating that many old-age homes asked the aged to produce destitute certificates from the police, he said the IRCS had associated with Madurai Municipal Corporation to open a home for the destitute.