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A retirement plan for others as well

"Now, my life should be of use to someone else,” is how the 83-year-old Bhaskar Yadavrao Pawar explains on his decision to set up an an old age home -- the Manav Seva Trust Vrudhashram, reports Alex Fernandes.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2007 02:46 IST
Alex Fernandes

Not everyone invests his retirement kitty in an old age home. But that’s what Bhaskar Yadavrao Pawar did after he retired from the army as a sipahi. “My worldly duties are over. Now, my life should be of use to someone else,” is how the 83-year-old explains his decision to set up the Manav Seva Trust Vrudhashram.

Pawar started the home in 1990, using the land given to him by the army, according to Ghanshyam Vyas, a trustee of the home. “I retired in 1974 and for a while, I drove a taxi to support my family. But something inside me prompted me to do this,” Pawar says. “My family members thought I had gone mad but I was determined.”

A 90-minute drive from Dadar, the home was a hut initially, nothing much to write home about. “Our first inmate was a man from Virar, where I lived. He was very old, about 100, and had nowhere to go, so I brought him here,” says Pawar.

Soon after, “my wife joined me here and between the two of us, we managed the place,” he says. “An army colleague, who had just lost his wife, also joined us.” By 1993, when the home was registered, there were 16 inmates. Today, it houses 83 seniors, many of whom have been abandoned by their families.

Finances come from individual donors, but “we don’t go around asking anyone”. The families of inmates who can afford to pay contribute a nominal amount. “Of the inmates, 15 are looked after at no cost whatsoever. We have never turned away an old and helpless person for lack of money,” says Pawar.

The going has not been easy. “Once, in the monsoon, we ran out of provisions,” Pawar recalls. “But late at night that day, some men came with a load of edibles saying a Mr Shah had donated it. That’s when I realised God does exist.”

The situation is much better now, though Pawar no longer has his wife to help him run the place; she passed away in 1997. Many organisations in the city also donate food and clothing regularly.

“I have found peace here,” says Mhapsekar, an inmate.