“It’s a true fact that it’s not where you are born or whom you are born to, determines how your life will be, Perhaps, It’s what you do with your life that determines it.”
Here is a real-life Mohan Bhargava (SRK in Swades) who returned to his nation – India and decided to metamorphose the appalling condition of his hamlet into a shining one. The life story of Dr Kumar Bahuleyan will gives us an insight to prove this fact. A man born in extreme poverty made a fortune and now in his later years is donating it to the poor.
As a child, Kumar lived in an extreme poor village Chemmanakary, 20 km from Kochi with no basic amenities like school, sanitation, hospital, toilets, electricity, running water etc. His family starved for a living. The family of six consisting Kumar, his two brothers and a sister; all his siblings below the age of 8. Kumar watched helplessly over to his crying brothers being affected by roundworm infections borne by contaminated water. He himself got infected by smallpox and typhoid which he barely survived. He did. Sadly, his siblings could not. They kissed death owing to the inaccessibility to proper treatment. It was then that Dr. Kumar decided to become a doctor and cure the world from all the deadly diseases.
To achieve what he dreamed, education was the foremost requirement. Fate did not give him an easy way here as well. The main problem behind him getting any primary education was being an untouchable (lowest caste). Icing on the cake, their financial condition wasn’t good either to subdue the effect of the previous fact. Succumbing to the situation, Kumar started small. His father got him admitted in the school for lowest caste, where free education was dispersed to the likes of his. Kumar was a brilliant student. During his high school(a Christian Missionary School) days, Kumar left no stone unturned in turning the tables upside down. His efforts paid off. He excelled in exams and got a seat in the Madras Medical College along with a scholarship to study abroad. The government sent him to Scotland for an extensive neurosurgical education for 6-years.
He graduated and returned to India, but there was no vacancy in neurosurgery then in 1973, for it was hardly known in a land dwindling in such a perpetual state of poverty. Later he got a temporary job in the military, not to his satisfaction as there were less work and most of the time he was idle .
So. Kumar moved to Canada and then to New York to attend Albany Medical College, afterwards settling in Buffalo, New York in 1973 to work with a local neurosurgeon. This was the first time he got a job with both economic and professional security. He also became a clinical associate professor in neurosurgery at Buffalo University. During the course of time, Kumar got highly experienced and became one of the American success story icon, blessed with all the luxuries. Searching for real happiness he bought all the fancy things. Got a large house, one Rolls Royce, 5 Mercedes and an airplane. Talk about anything and this man had it!
BACK TO VILLAGE
As we all know that real happiness is not purchased but attained. Same turned out be the case for Kumar. In quest for real happiness, he had to return back home. Searching that in America was a total blunder. Luxuries made him satisfied but not happy. He used to visit his village whenever he had a break. Seeing the same undeveloped village with no toilets, electricity, roads and health centres etc. deeply depressed him. The condition of sanitation in the village was very poor and he noticed that even well settled community in his village never bothered about the contamination water. And sometimes the screams of his brothers would haunt him. Once, during his visit he saw something which totally shook him. “There was this lonely young mother standing in the wilderness carrying a 3-year-old child with a pot belly, runny nose, and scabs of scabies all over his body”, he recounts. After this event while doing work, this would return as flashback repeatedly .
Then there came an life changing moment for him, when he planned to give something in return to his motherland. What he did for the village is totally unbelievable. He never tried to blame the authorities or the people living around him. Instead, Kumar – the energetic doctor took an oath to set up a beautiful and clean village. His astonishing gifts for his village include:
- Establishing a not-for-profit private organization, “THE BAHULEYAN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION” to bring basic health care to the villages of Kerala.
- The Bahuleyan Charitable Foundation started with a health survey of an area comprising 17 sq. miles with a population of 66,356 for a latrine construction .
- The foundation spent Rs.50 lakh to construct a 6 km road to the main highway and subsidiary roads to link the clinic.
- A hospital that has grown to over 200 beds. It started for taking care of neurological diseases.
- Setting up a school for nursing and a school for medical technicians.
- In his village of subsistence farmers, Kumar’s projects have made him a major employer there, now providing jobs for about 400-people.
- Seven Seas Sailing School with four 22 to 26 foot sailboats in India along the Arabian Sea. And they are planning East India Sailing Co. to encourage Americans to spend time as volunteers in his hospital and to teach sailing as part of a “Sailors Who Heal” program
- Invested his entire $20 million fortune in the foundation to ensure his health service organizations will be well funded after he is gone, his foundation set-up businesses in which the profits go to his charities.
Isn’t he the real Mohan Bhargava?
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