Inspiring Icons Insights
TRansformer without a title
By: Sangeeta Maheshwari
Certified Metaphysics Practioner
Author | Inner Growth & Happiness Mentor
When I first met Sumedhaji in March 2018 at the Laureates and Leaders conference in Jordan, I found her an affectionate, open and easy person with a simple and traditional exterior. Since the first conversation, I have been spellbound in witnessing her fearless avatar.
Sumedhaji is a tigress in a human body with the warm, loving heart of a universal mother. She is addressed as ‘Mata’, meaning ‘mother’, by most. Through her leadership and unconditional love, she keeps pushing the fear out of who ever meets her and fills them with light, hope and optimism. She is a perfect union of power and love that makes her an inspiring icon for transforming people’s lives although she chooses not to take any title at work.
She was the sub-editor of the ‘Jan Gyan Magazine’ that was published by her father when she met Kailash Satyarthiji in 1976.
“There was perfect compatibility between us as neither of us was looking to get married. However, I found him so young and deep and felt an instant connection.
I felt a seed of love sprouting in me!” She blushes as she chuckles reminiscing that time.
“We spoke to each other with so much ease and comfort as if we had always known each other and got reunited after a break.
As a child, Sumedhaji had a deep inclination towards supporting children and their rights. Her father had sent her to gurukul (an Indian schooling system) and she raised money for the poor children back in those days. Her father always practiced an open house policy for all, irrespective of their caste, creed or background. They shared their meals with who ever visited them. Her grandmother was an activist and fought with Shaheed Bhagat Singh in the freedom movement for India. Her grandmother used to store a pistol in her hair bun and was a super-empowered personality. Both her grandmother and father had a strong impact on Sumedhaji as they always came forward to help the nation when in crisis. It was innate in her upbringing to live for the larger interest of one’s nation and the world.
“Everyone lives for themselves but the real meaning of life is to help beyond oneself towards the larger society. Do not get married if it comes in the way of your life purpose or choose a life partner who believes in your values and supports you in your cause. I am immensely grateful to have a life partner with the same value system.”
She set up Bal Ashram in 1998 to house the rescued children to educate, groom and empower them. Those days the Bal Ashram was in a forest with many security hazards. Yet nothing stopped Sumedhaji. She drove herself from her home in Delhi and stayed at the ashram for weeks and months at a time to create a focused and nurturing place for the children to heal and relive their childhood.
Whenever she looks back, she smiles and wonders where she got the strength when she was a young mother and wife. They had no money and little infrastructure. Despite that, there was never an iota of doubt or even a moment amongst the family to think otherwise. As they kept marching forward with the cause they started getting support from others as well.
Her children grew with the rescued kids as their own siblings and they were a large family that included every child in the world in distress.
“I never felt intimidated despite the challenges, crisis, and attack on my husband and my son. Once you have taken on the baton to bail out the children there is no looking back. When you have put your head in the grinder then why be afraid of being churned?” responds Sumedhaji from a place of unshakeable conviction.
We should keep our eyes open and actively help people become aware of what opportunities are available to improve their lives.
Please do not do to others what you would not like others to do to you. It is easy to say but not easy to apply to our lives. Let us practice it from our home. For example for people who work for you try improving their lives before you do charity outside.
Be conscious of your thoughts, as whatever you think for others will happen to you.
Reduce your necessity and need since there is no limit to greed. This will minimize your suffering and connect you to giving to others who have nothing.
You are a mirror for your children. Unless you learn to live with the satisfaction you will always compete and suffer. It is the values you give to your children that help them be good human beings.
“When your own child suffers, people suffer but what happens when a poor child suffers? How can we have such double standards and be self-absorbed with our own pain and gain? All religions are based on compassion and we are running away from compassion towards something else. People do charity out of sympathy and that is very different from compassion. When we sympathize we feel we are giving and that creates a feeling of superiority. When we work together it brings compassion and friendship. That creates a feeling of equality and equanimity.”
We can reduce the gap between the “have and have nots” by compassion and putting our selves in the other person’s place. We are born alike and our basic needs are similar then why are we not caring for the deprived and only filling ourselves? We create the society we live in.
“There is no dearth of work, money or schemes but people are not informed properly and not many bother to go deeper to understand, as there is lack of compassion. People just sympathize but miss the involvement that leads to real transformation.”
To make a difference at the grass root level, Sumedhaji set up a “Baal Panchayat,” meaning a children’s parliament, to empower the children to assess the real problems in the schools that are never visible from the outside. Children are fully involved in the decision making along with the head of the village and this has been hugely transformational.
Let us give children the fundamental right of living their childhood properly so that they do not fall prey of mental pressures, anxieties, and depressions. Give them time, friendship and respect for them to feel their own self-worth.
Children just need unconditional love. Give them that and you will see the reversal. You will receive love if you give love. You will receive stress if you give stress to them.
We hope the youth gets so empowered that they express, share and care and make this world a much better place for everyone to co-exist compassionately.
The Kailash Satyarthi Foundation – for more information, please see https://satyarthi.org.in/
The Bachchpan Bachao Andolan – for more information, please see https://www.bba.org.in/
Furthermore, Satyarthi Foundation have recently launched a 100 Million for 100 Million campaign in 2016, where they aim to reach 100 million children and youth who can speak up on behalf of those who cannot. They are spreading their awareness through the film “The Price of Free”, which won the Grand Jury, Best Film award at the Sundance Film Festival.