Subhashini Mistry from Bengal has been conferred with Padma Shri award (India’s fourth highest civilian honour) for her extraordinary contribution towards social welfare.
Earlier during the 1970’s Subhashini lost her husband for not being able to bear the expenses of his treatment. She was only in her early twenties when tragedy struck which left her to fend not only for herself but also her four children.
But such dire circumstances did not make her concede defeat. Quite extraordinarily; with a lot of grit and steely determination to make one of children a doctor, she started working for herself and her children; be it as domestic help or laying bricks or selling vegetables. Deep down inside though, there was a fire burning inside her for losing her husband for not being able to afford medical treatment.
After years of struggling with circumstances, she saved up just about enough money to buy a plot of land and requested doctors to treat patients voluntarily, and after a few more years of crowd funding her dream of building a hospital; in the year 1996 Subhashini was instrumental in building Humanity Hospital in a small village named Hanspukur in Bengal which affords free treatment to thousands of poor patients on a ‘no refusal policy’ basis.
Subhashini’s extraordinary achievement surely goes the distance in showing how Indian women can embrace tough situations in their lives and turn such situations on its head to come above any odds life throws at them.
Her inspirational story draws parallels with the story of Dasrath Manjhi who single handedly carved a road through a mountain after his wife died while trying to cross the mountain during childbirth. While ‘Manjhi-The Mountain Man’ (a biographical film) was made based on his life; only time will tell if Subhashini’s story inspires a filmmaker to honour her achievement on celluloid as well.