Beggar with a Heart of Gold

Today I came across the following heart moving story in the Times of India newspaper. It is  about an event that occurred in a small town in the state where I was born and raised before moving to the US.  With all the news about wars, destruction, and death these days, it is a welcome relief to find something that reassures in me the faith in fellow beings.

I have posted the story with a hope that it will engender a similar ray of hope in you.:)

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MEHSANA: An air of expectancy was palpable in Magpara School’s anganwadi on Tuesday when Khimjibhai Prajapati walked in on his crutches. Parents of 10 little girls from poor families thought as per his practice, Prajapati would donate books or uniforms.

But their jaws dropped in disbelief when this 68-year-old beggar, famed for donating alms to encourage girls’ education, brought out 10 small jewellery boxes containing gold earrings. He presented each of the 10 girls with a pair of gold earrings, all purchased from the money he received by begging outside temples in Mehsana. “We never even dreamt of getting gold,” said Kumud Luhariya, seeing the twinkle in the eyes of her three-yearold daughter Bhumi after getting the earrings.

“Girls need to be encouraged to study. They must be come self-reliant and stand on their feet. The situation in Mehsana is not good. There are very less girls compared to boys and this is the reason why I try to encourage them with such incentives,”Prajapati told TOI.

Sheetal Sathwara, who runs the anganwadi centre, said, “Leave alone a beggar, I have never come across any poor person donating gold for girls in my entire life.”

Deepak Shah, a gold jewel ler, who gave the gold earrings at a discounted rate to Khimjibhai, said, “These were small earrings, slightly bigger than a nose stud. The total cost came up to Rs 13,000. But after I found that Khimjibhai wanted to present the earrings to poor girls, I decided to give him a discount of Rs 3,000.”

After spending all the money for the earrings, Prajapati was all set for another round of begging. But a lady teacher, who was transferred from a government school on Tuesday, saved his day by giving him Rs 500 as Tuesday was her last day in Mehsana town.

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