inspirational, sindhutai, mother of orphans, motivational, parenting, abandoned, needy

A woman who rose from the streets to mother 1400 orphans

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40 years of continuous social work, mother of 1400 orphans, begged for survival, encountered the most adverse situations in life, an infinite source of energy, with no ill-feelings for anyone irrespective of the torturous past, she is 70 years old with many hidden stories behind her strong personality. This is Sindhutai, from Pune, our next Real-Life Manikarnika.

                             she is 70 years old with many hidden stories behind her strong personality.

Born on 14th Nov 1948, at Pimpri village Maharashtra, to a cowherd family, Sindhutai was always treated like an unwanted child. Her father sent her to school much against the wishes of her mother and Sindhutai used “leaves of Bharadi tree” as a slate to write and learn as they could not afford a real slate. She was just 12 years old and she was married to Shrihari Sakpal, another cowherd of Navargaon village, who was 30 years old. Due to her marriage, she was forced to quit formal education just after she passed 4th grade.

she is 70 years old with many hidden stories behind her strong personality.By the age of 20, she was a mother of three sons. During those years, at Navargaon village, the dried cow-dung which was used as fuel was sold in collusion with the forest department. The department used to auction the dung to the landlords. An influential local strong man who was the mediator for this, pocketed the entire amount, not paying anything to the village women. Sindhutai bravely agitated this practice and her strong fight and argument brought the district collector to her village to resolve the issue. The district collector realized that Sindhutai was right and passed a strict order against such practice. “ I won the fight but lost my family,” says Sindhutai. The strongman Damdaji got very annoyed and vexed. He could not tolerate the insult in the hands of a poor woman and spread a rumour that Sindhutai was carrying his baby. He poisoned Shirhari Sakpal’s mind to abandon Sindhutai.

Tai was in her 9th month of pregnancy and Shrihari thrashed her and kicked her full-term belly and threw her in the cowshed. “ My husband simply flogged and deserted me, “ says Sindhutai sadly. Inflicted with great pain due to the ill-treatment and torture, Sindhutai gave birth to a baby girl with no help. So much so, Tai had to cut the umbilical cord with a sharp-edged stone which was lying there and became unconscious. Her husband and other family members left her to die unattended. Later, when she regained her senses, she went back to her maternal village. Unfortunately, even they eschewed and rejected her. Tai was left alone with her little daughter helpless. She was very hungry and so was her baby. But none gave any alms to her. Hunger and wicked behaviour of people were way beyond tolerable. Tai took shelter in a crematory. She saw a dead body burning and the relatives after paying their last rites, left some flour (as a part of last rituals for dead) for the departed soul. Tai took that flour, made roti, and baked it in the fire that was consuming the dead body. To end this gruesome life, Tai decided to commit suicide. But some holy power in her did not let this happen.

she is 70 years old with many hidden stories behind her strong personality.The thought of her newly born kid gave her all the courage to fight against the odds. “ I was left with nothing but a determination to feed my baby”, says Tai. Blessed with a melodious voice, Tai had a good flare for singing. She decided to sing and beg to feed herself and her little daughter. She travelled in train all over Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Delhi singing and begging. She sat in front of many temples to beg alms. She was often joined by other beggars and she would feed them too. “ I have begged for almost three years and since I considerably had a good voice, I earned a little more money which I would share it with my fellow beggars to feed them ” Tai recollects.

For years, Tai begged and slept on roads with her little daughter. She had none to look up to. Tai named her daughter as Mamata. While she wandered from place to place, Sindhutai met many orphan children. “ When I was in the streets begging and fighting for survival, I realized that there are many children who were abandoned and had none like me. I decided to take care of them and raise them as my own” says Tai. She took them under her wings and showered motherly love and affection wholeheartedly on those less fortunate. “Those were the soul-searching days and I always felt that I must do something for those who were suffering like me,” she says. Soon she landed at Chikhaldara, a place in Amravati district. It is a portion of Melghat jungles of Maharashtra which was earmarked for tiger project. With food and shelter given by the others, Tai took care of the orphaned tribal children as a source of livelihood. It did not take much for this to become the mission of her life.

she is 70 years old with many hidden stories behind her strong personality.Soon Sindhutai became the “Mother of Orphans”. To eliminate the feeling of partiality, she entrusted her daughter to Shrimat Dagaduseth Halwai trust in Pune and continued begging for all the needy and abandoned. She fought for the rehabilitation of many rural areas. “ I had good communication skill and therefore I could talk and influence many. During my campaigning, I met many officers and ministers including Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. I kept begging for all my orphaned kids” says Tai. From a beggar in the streets, Sindhutai managed to form a small ashram to raise all those abandoned kids.

Tai has six organizations under her name now, with a vision to bring up the orphans, destitute and distressed children, and women. Uplifting this deprived section of the society and make them lead a respectable life is her strive. Sanmati Baal Niketan, Pune talks volume about Sindhutai’s contribution to society. Today she is the mother of 1400 and never looks them different from her biological children. These kids are a part of her big family. Many of her adopted children are now highly qualified and working in reputed fields of law and medicine. Tai has been awarded hundreds of awards for her selfless efforts and contribution to society. Mother Teresa award for social justice, The National award for Iconic Mother, Ahilyabai Holkar award, Women of the decade are few to name. All the award money received was spent to build homes for the less fortunate kids and to provide them with good food and education. Her dedication and sacrifices ensured these children, a building of their own at Manjari district, Pune with all facilities like the computer room, library, water filters, cultural activity hall and many. “ Mee Sindhutai Sapakal” a Marathi movie released in 2010 embarks her great journey and achievements. The film was premiered at the London Film Festival. All these fame and glory is of no use to her. Her happiness lies in the eyes of her adopted 1400 and her contentment in seeing them live their dreams. This generous woman, a genuine mother for all the less fortunate, even pardoned her husband who came back to her apologetically. If you visit her ashram and meet her, she would introduce him as her eldest child!


I was abandoned, and I had no one for me. I know the pain of being alone and I did not want anyone to suffer like me” says Tai, a woman with a golden heart. An epitome of Divine and Grace, a recipient of 750 awards, yet continues to beg to feed her adopted orphans.

Tai shares her birthday with Jawaharlal Nehru and I sincerely feel that on 14th Nov, we should also celebrate Sindhutai for her selfless sincere social contribution, along with Children’s Day.


To read about our other Real-Life Manikarnika(s), click the link below-

Sangita Marda, Mumbai

Tiffany Brar, Trivandrum

Vibha Sharma, Delhi

Urvi Sabnis, Ahmedabad

Urvashi Yadav, Gurgaon

Madhavi Patil,, Thane

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand

Comments (15)

Dipika Singh Posted on Jul 25, 2019

Such a strong woman she is, brave and very inspiring for all of us.


Dr. Amrita Basu Misra Healthwealthbridge Posted on Jul 25, 2019

Sindhutai is amazingly inspiring for generations to come.Thanks for sharing this


Richa Mina Posted on Jul 25, 2019

it\'s a heart-wrenching story. Sindhutai is a strong woman who is kind and helpful to so many orphans. she\'s truly an inspiration to all. Thanks for sharing her story with all of us.


Gunjan Posted on Jul 24, 2019

This is amazing. She is indeed a woman with a heart of gold. Such an inspiration to lot many


Mrinal Kiran Posted on Apr 02, 2019

This literally made me cry... I have no words, just emotions... It\'s a blessing that we get to share this earth with such great souls... She is really inspiring!


Nisha Posted on Apr 02, 2019

Just looking at her face one can tell how loving she is. She radiates kindness and love. Thanks for sharing her inspiring story.


Reetuparna Saha Posted on Apr 02, 2019

Her story almost brought tears to my eyes. Tai is indeed a brave and strong woman who fought all odds and injustice meted out to her. Certainly a symbol of woman power.


Voyager-sandy N Vyjay Posted on Apr 02, 2019

What an inspiring article. Sindhutai is a living legend and a beacon for all men and women with her grit, determination and selfless service.


Gunjan Posted on Apr 02, 2019

This is such a nice way to help the orphans, it shows the kind of love this woman has in her heart.. Respect!!


Jhilmil Posted on Apr 02, 2019

SHe is a form of Goddess for these children who wanted all that love and development. I have closely followed her journey in past 2 years and its truly inspiring.

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Prerna Sinha Posted on Apr 02, 2019

These stories on your blog are so full of inspiration. And she is truly inspires me. Thanks for sharing such post which changes the perspective of life.

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Noor Anand Chawla Posted on Apr 01, 2019

This one is a really wonderful and very inspirational story. I will share it ahead for everyone to read.

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Varsh Posted on Apr 01, 2019

Sindhutai has had an unbelievably difficult journey and is an inspiration to women worldwide, Haven\'t seen the movie yet but want to.

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Snehal Posted on Apr 01, 2019

Very lovely woman. Living with true love in her heart. If not for this post then I would have never known Sindhutai. :)\r\n

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Pranita Deshpande Posted on Apr 01, 2019

so nice article.

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