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Meet Binni Bai, the philanthropist

The widow, who until a few years ago eked out a living by selling vegetables, donated all her life's savings worth Rs 2 million to a hospital.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2003 19:27 IST

Seventy-five-year-old Binni Bai is passing her days in penury. The widow, who until a few years ago eked out a living by selling vegetables, donated all her life's savings worth Rs 2 million to a hospital and a primary school.

She is reluctant to speak about her philanthropy. She also refuses to get herself photographed. Binni Bai, who suffers from several ailments, would rather live in seclusion.

The only time she leaves her home is when she visits the district hospital. Otherwise one can see her sitting in front of her home on a stool throughout the day.

The story goes that during a visit to the district hospital three years ago, she was moved by the plight of the impoverished relatives of patients, who were literally living on the road outside the hospital.

Binni Bai decided to do something.

Without a second thought, she donated Rs 1 million, and a few days later another Rs.500,000 to construct two rest houses in the premises of the hospital.

For the poor vegetable vendor, it had taken decades to collect the amount. But when it came to spending the money for a cause, it just took a few days.

Though illiterate, a couple of years ago she again donated Rs.500,000 for a primary school without batting an eyelid.

Says her 62-year-old nephew Vishal Sonkar: "Throughout her life she has been like this. She only believes in giving, not taking."

Binni Bai's story is well known and she is revered for the care she has showered on humanity. Yet away from the limelight she is passing her own days in poverty.

First Published: Mar 08, 2003 19:27 IST