|Kashi Ma with her son|
When I heard name of Kashi, I remembered the famous story of Gujarati literature named ‘Lohini Sagai’. I could connect this Kashi with the character of Kashi in the story. The real life Kashi is taking care of her 35 year mentally retarded son with a great zeal. Kashi Ma’s age is above 65 years. She spends every month nearly Rs. 2,000-2,500 for her son’s medicines.
I went to visit the Vansfoda hamlet of Hadmatiya at Gir-Somnath, at Rajkot District of Gujarat. During my visit there, he kept moving around me with his medical file given by the doctor he was consulting for his illness. He is not able to speak but he must be understanding his mother’s feelings about him and there was a sign in his eyes that if someone may help his mother.
Kashi Ma took an interest free loan of Rs. 20,000 from VSSM to buy Plastic Tubs to do its business. She was going by truck, tractor whatever public transport she got for selling the Tubs around nearby villages. She earns her livelihood by selling those Plastic Tubs only. She also spends for her son’s medicine from the same income and she pays her loan installments too out of it.
I spent two hours there but she neither uttered a word for help nor she complained about her difficult situation. Yes, she expressed that government has given APL ration card and she wanted instead of BPL Ration Card/or Antyodaya Card so that she may get a little relief in her financially tough situation.
Generally there is an amendment according to Supreme Court’s order, if there is any handicapped member in the family, that family should get an Antyoday Ration card. But sadly Kashi Ma does not have that Antyodaya card. She should get that ideally.
VSSM Karyakars Kanubhai and Chhayaben have taken up the responsibility to help her get Antyodaya Card. Moreover, ex Sarpanch of Hadmatiya village and others too have promised to cooperate for the same.
Kashi Ma has a desire to get a plot to make her own house to stay. As villagers are supportive, we too are hopeful that VSSM’s effort will bring results for her. We are also determined to help her get the medicines for her son on a cheaper rate.
We feel like to bow down to Kashi Ma looking at her tireless efforts to take care to keep existence of her mentally retarded son.
Really, as it is said in Gujarati, “Ma e Ma, Bija Badha Vagdana Va” feels to be truth when we see mothers like Kashi Ma.
We can see her son with a file behind her in the house where Kashi Ma stays.