Andhra Pradesh

“Chittoor Gandhi” distributes blankets to the needy


Distributing blankets to the needy at hospitals, hostels, railway stations and bus stands during harsh winter nights might give one a sense of satisfaction. But, according to Parvathareddi Parthasarathy Naidu, 77, of Chittoor city, a social worker, popularly known as Chittoor Gandhi, “you will only understand the glory and importance of a blanket when you place it on those who are really without one, shivering under tree-shades and away from concrete shelters.”

Since two decades, the septuagenarian has adopted a novel way of reaching out to the underprivileged, mostly elderly and the destitute, carrying for them specially selected and cosy blankets, and he himself covers them with the prized winter gift.

Mr. Naidu took to distributing blankets when it came to his notice that an elderly couple, migrant labourers from Tamil Nadu, had died of cold near Kuppam a couple of decades ago.

The “Chittoor Gandhi” goes on a blanket distribution spree from December 16, with the onset of Dhanurmasam, till the second week of January, when it ends, every year when the winter would be at its peak. Several parts of the western mandals of Chittoor district witness dipping temperatures as low as 170 C.

Mr. Naidu takes the assistance of the youth, who take him around Chittoor city and its outskirts, on a motorbike. The septuagenarian would identify his targets, those without blankets or with ones in tatters. Mostly, his beneficiaries would be the blind, disabled and the elderly who are deserted by their families and roaming aimlessly. Though his annual action plan of blankets’ distribution would cover have-nots at the hospitals and public places, this particular practice of identifying those in dire need of them gives him immense satisfaction, Mr. Naidu says.

“When the winter peaks, our Naidu garu would embark on a long journey in his car, travelling as far as Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, Mulbagal in Karnataka, Madanapalle, Tirupati, Srikalahasti and Nellore. Strangely, the timings of his ‘humanitarian prowl’ commence at 10 p.m. and go on till 6 a.m, screening the fog-engulfed sides of highways — for those shivering in cold, including children,” says Mani, 60, his personal driver since a decade.

“I have won good friends (blanket merchants) in Erode and Coimbatore since two decades. They always provide me with good stuff that generally last for a year, and at a special rate for me. It just gives me peace when I see those shivering in chill feel the warmth. I shall continue this winter journey till my last breath,” Mr. Naidu says.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 4:04:06 PM |

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