Nirmal Hriday Bhavan Vijayawada

Vijayawada's unwanted are wanted here

The discarded and deserted souls of Vijayawada find solace here. The large-hearted nuns not only take care of them but also help them live a normal life and, in some cases, allow them to embrace death in a decent manner.

The noisy M.G. Road is a living example of the selfish nature of the modern world, where more than empathy, money, luxury, comforts, power, and prosperity matter.

But the quiet Nirmal Hriday Bhavan situated on this road is a class apart.

Spread over 1,800-odd square yards near Raghavaiah Park, this home for the dying destitutes was established by the Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity.

“With the concept of nuclear families gaining ground rapidly and ‘I do not have time for you’ perception spreading at an alarming pace, the lives of the sick senior citizens have become miserable. That is the reason for a number of old-age homes and destitute outfits cropping up in several cities,” opines historian G. Phani.

At present, the home has around 70 destitute persons (47 men and 23 women) and most of them are in their 80s and 90s.

“Their eyes reflect the enormous amount of pain their hearts carry,” says a Sister.

Six Sisters, who take care of the home, move around the streets looking for genuine abandoned souls on the roadside.

They also visit nearby villages in search of the hapless poor yearning for care and compassion. They frequently visit the Government Hospital in city in search of dumped elders.

According to staff, since the home is well-known for taking care of the destitute persons, most of the ‘selfish’ well-to-do locals drop their ‘unwanted’ relatives at the gate in the nights.

“We discourage people against leaving their sick and elders stealthily at the gate. This is becoming a practice in this self-centred world. Only if the condition of the elders is grave, we are allowing them in,” says a Sister.

Lying in bed completely deflated, each person in the dormitory has a story to tell. Most of them lived a decent life only to be deserted by their loved ones during the last stage of his or her life. They usually suffer from memory loss due to trauma-related illness and unable to recollect their past.

“It is not by choice but by fate that several end up on the road. They are the true reality of the modern times,” says Mr. Phani.

Rendering a helping hand to the neglected brethren are the local donors, doctors, and businessmen, who are liberally offering money, fruit, medicines, and clothing to the inmates.

“It is heart-wrenching to see them die with pain for they are not wanted by society. Last month, six persons passed away. It is god’s wish we take care of these impoverished,” say the Sisters with humility.

Old students’ associations of city schools and clubs like Rotary and Lions are passionately involved in offering their support by their involvement and contributions.

“Sometimes, doctors and surgeons visit the home to offer treatment to the inmates. We provide them nutritious food as many of them suffer from poor immunity. Apart from taking care of the inmates, we offer food to beggars.”

Displacement threat

After having taken care of the disillusioned brethren for 40 years, the home administrators are a pensive-lot for they have an apprehension that the much-talked-about metro rail project might run through their beloved abode.

They felt that in case of surrendering the present place, the district administration should allow them a site within the city and not in the suburbs.

“It will become difficult to run the home from outside the city as we are connected with it (the city),” the Sisters felt.

These women-in-white are angels on the move for they see god in serving the fellow human beings in distress.

Fact File

The home was inaugurated by Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa in 1976.

Nirmal Hriday Bhavan will be remembered by many for the gory murder of Vangaveeti Mohan Ranga, which took place near its gate

Nirmal Sishu Bhavan at Krishnalanka takes care of abandoned children.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:39:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/vijayawadas-unwanted-are-wanted-here/article8488733.ece

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