The power of the internet never fails to amaze us.
If true, then thanks to a Facebook post by Delhi resident Avinash Singh, netizens have helped successfully rehabilitate a 76-year-old named Raja Singh Phull.
What seems to have particularly drawn most people’s attention is Phull’s claim to be an Oxford graduate, who is now fending for himself on the streets of the national capital.
Narrating the story of the senior citizen, Avinash writes, “He is an Oxford graduate who shifted to India on the insistence of his brother in the 60s.”
After returning to India, the brother duo ran a motor parts business in Mumbai, until Singh’s brother got drank excessively and died. Soon after, the business shut shop.
“Today 76-year-old Raja Singh Phull is living a nomad’s life – sleeping at New Delhi Railway, getting ready at a Delhi Government’s Sauchalaya at Connaught Place – the first one on the left as you hit CP from Panchkuian Road,” writes Avinash.
Singh, who starts his day at 6:15 am after a night’s sleep at the railway station, travels to the public toilet at CP. Reaching there by 6:40, he finishes his daily chores like washing his clothes, freshening up and tying his turban with the help of a pocket mirror. While all he can afford is a cup of chai for breakfast, if money suffices from the previous day’s work. Sometimes, he happily eats a rusk or two.
To make his ends meet, Singh sits outside the Visa Centre next to Shivaji Stadium Airport Metro Station at Baba Khadak Singh Marg. Throughout the day, he helps applicants fill forms for a fee.
While a few days fetch the man an earning of Rs 100 or more, on other days, he is left empty-handed, or so he claims.
Despite failing eyesight and legs, the man refuses to give up. Though food is scarce, he prefers to go empty stomach than beg for it, he claimed.
In case you are wondering what happened to his kids and family, Singh claims, “I worked hard to send two of my sons to study abroad (taking loans). Today they are in the UK and the US, well-settled with firangi wives not having time for their father who is living by the roadside in the National Capital!”
Avinash wrote how the man is a staunch Sikh and has been attached to ‘Guru Ghar’ all his life!
Despite which he tries to not partake in the Langar at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib on most days.
“I earn and buy my food. For Langar, I need to contribute. If I am unable to do that, I do not have a right to eat there,” says Singh.
But on the days when he has no work, he is at the mercy of the bhandaras (community dining) at the nearby Hanuman temple or the community kitchen at the Gurdwara.
“Raja Singh has no remorse that his relations after he lost his wife are mostly wary of him. No help has come from Government or any other quarters! He has a cell phone but no SIM card, due to lack of Aadhar card and a permanent address! He has only one prayer, ‘God should never force me to beg!’” writes Avinash.
He also added how Singh was reluctant to accept help but had to give in due to his failing health eventually.
Avinash added a contact detail that people could get in touch with to help Singh financially or with employment opportunities.
While one well-wisher said, “If he wants to shift to Punjab I can give him food and shelter. No problem. He can enjoy his rest of life freely and without any fear,” and left his contact number in the comments, another netizen found him a prospective employment opportunity in Varanasi.
Within five days of his story being highlighted on the social platform, Singh has found a roof over his head. He has been moved to the Guru Nanak Sukhshala nursing home in New Rajinder Nagar said Chairman, Jatinder Singh Sahni.
“Those who want to meet him can come and pay a visit or can contact me at 8586010001,” added Sahni.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)