From aimlessly walking around the unforgiving streets of Dongri as a homeless and hungry three-year-old to a police commissioner in the Netherlands, the story of Jamil Meusen is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s a story of fate, luck, and determination laden with compassion and an unshakeable belief that nothing is impossible.
Rewind the clock to 1974, when Jamil was an orphan roaming the streets of Dongri. Two police constables picked him up and lodged him in a local observation home.
Life was miserable there, Jamil recalls, speaking to a local publication. From Dongri, a priest transferred young Jamil to St Catherine’s Home and Orphanage in Mumbai. At the orphanage in 1976, a Dutch couple, the Meusens, decided to adopt him. Jamil was only 6-years-old at the time.
Following his basic education in the Netherlands, he underwent training in the military academy, police academy and also obtained his master’s degree in public administration.
“I was an officer in the Army for 18 years, and then in 2007, I joined the Netherlands police. Now, I am a commissioner of police and the chief of a district,” said Jamil, in a conversation with Mumbai Mirror.
Today, 48-year-old Jamil is back at the observation home in Dongri, where he recently addressed the children and started some community development initiatives. And the Meusens are in their 80s and living in the Netherlands, retired.
“I have come to India with eight of my friends, and they want to start some programmes to help the poor,” he told the publication.
However, this isn’t the first time Jamil returned to Mumbai. In 1986, 2013, and 2016, he had visited the city, trying to reconnect with his past.
“In 2013, I was DCP of Zone 1, when our then police commissioner Satyapal Singh told me that Meusen was on an official duty here,” says Additional Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisve, speaking to Mumbai Mirror. “He was attached to my office to study policing for 10 days and compare the system in his country and ours.”
During that visit, Jamil had told him about the observation home in Dongri, where he had grown up. His first visit to the observation home failed when officials couldn’t locate records of his presence.
Thanks to Shisve’s consistent efforts, however, Jamil, his wife Kelly and their four sons were finally able to visit the observation home in 2016.
What his Jamil’s advice to young children lodged in these institutions?
“My advice to them is – try to exploit every opportunity, pursue education and do your best. Don’t lose hope and fight all hardships,” Jamil told the publication.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)