By Violet Pereira, Pics by JP, Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: In India, homelessness is a massive problem. Thousands of persons suffer from physical and mental disabilities. Non-affordability of housing and non-availability of employment opportunities could certainly add to the woes of the poor.
We observe that, as the days pass by, the rich become richer while the poor and the middle class face hardships on account of prices of essentials shooting up. Besides, in Mangaluru, buying a house a distant dream for the common man.
The government is introducing many schemes for the benefit of poor families but some officials in government offices make it difficult for the poor to avail themselves of these facilities. The poor have no respect in the society, whereas the rich and the powerful enjoy all the benefits and are also protected.
Here is an instance. On March 27, our correspondent received a call from Sathvinder Monis saying that a handicapped person in Maroli in the city needed help as his house had collapsed.
Immediately, Team Mangalorean went to the spot and found a person on a wheel-chair, with a friend standing by, in a house with only 4 walls, but with no roof over it. We found that the owner of the roofless four walls to be 46-year-old Dayakar Bangera, a painter by profession.
Dayakar had a heart-wrenching story to narrate. Eight years ago, he had suffered a stroke which affected the right side of his body. After spending a lot of money for treatment, there was slight improvement in his health. For the sake of earning his and his family's daily bread, he continued with his painting profession. While at work, he depended on the support of a stick as the right side of his body did not have much strength.
As days passed, during work, he would feel a sense of numbness in his right leg. He visited a doctor and took treatment from him. After a month, the condition of the leg started getting worse. Feeling pity over my condition, one of the employees of the doctor told me of the need to go to an advanced hospital and a specialist.
He immediately went to one of the reputable hospitals in Mangaluru. As soon as the doctor saw his leg, he carried out some tests and said that there was no blood circulation in it. Gangrene had already set in and the leg had to be amputated, he said.
According to the doctor's advice, his right leg was amputated. The doctor also said that he may not face any problem in the left leg for another two years. But within 6 months his left leg too had to be amputated. Since then, he has been moving around on a wheelchair, for which some of his friends pooled up funds.
He recalls that when he was active in his profession, he had painted the house of U T Khader, then an MLA and now health and family welfare minister, and that of his brother Zulfikar.
His wife works in a photocopying shop in Jeppu. Recently, when their land was divided among his family members, he got 3.1 cents of land along with half of parents' house as his share. On March 24, around 11 am, he was sitting in the hall and his wife had just stepped out of the house before going to work. Suddenly, the roof of the house collapsed.
His childhood friend Babu, who comes everyday to bathe him, was outside at that time. Luckily for Dayakar, the mishap took place during daytime. He was lucky to have survived as the roof came crashing down and landed just above his head, leading to only a minor injury in the head.
His wife informed her boss, who came immediately and helped them in clearing the debris. Now they do not have a shelter. The rainy season is fast approaching. Dayakar is unable to work and his wife is the only breadwinner. He broke into tears as he said, " I have now lost everything in my life."
Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Dayakar's wife Tanujakshi said that their marriage had taken place ten years ago. Within two years, Dayakar suffered a stroke and ever since she has been busy taking care of him. Most of her leisure time goes into taking him to various hospitals. She further said that she had done her best to have him treated so that he could recover and revert to the earlier condition.
"After a year of treatment, he was able to move his hand and leg and was trying to take up painting work with the help of his friends and doing whatever work he could do. But God's will was different. One day when he complained of numbness in his right leg, I took him to the doctor and he said that there was no blood circulation in his right leg which needed amputation. According to the doctor's advice the right leg was amputated and within 6 months' time the left leg also was amputated. Since then he can move around only on the wheel-chair," continued Tanujakshi explaining her sad experience.
She further said, "Ours is a joint family and recently my mother-in-law made a settlement deed and the land was divided into 5 parts. We thought of building a toilet. Some friends said that the government is financially supporting to build a toilet for handicapped persons, why don't you try? They asked me to apply and I had applied for the same. But so far we have not received any help from the government. My husband's friend Vinith, by spending his own funds, bought sand, stones and cement to build a toilet outside. On March 24, I was getting ready to go to work and went outside to bring the clothes which had been spread for drying. Suddenly the roof of the house collapsed. Now we cannot build the toilet, unless we build the walls and the roof of our house. My boss Sathvinder Monis and other colleagues helped us to cover the roof with plastic. Now rainy season is approaching. We do not have any place to stay," she said.
If there is any person who needs immediate help, he is none other than Dayakar Bangera. Philanthropists and the good-hearted are requested to rush to his support.
Any one who would like to help Dayakar in anyway can call him on +91 9482634549.
Following are his bank details
SB account No.007800101033819
Pearl Plaza, Kankanady Bypass
Mangalore 575 002
IFS Code: CORP0000078
Let us join hands to help our brother in his time of need.