People feared looking at him, speaking to him. His hair, beard sans oil was dread-locked. Was he ill mentally? People around judged as ‘yes’ and simply avoided him and did not risk for the fear he would scold them.

The RSS Swayamsevaks lead by Sunil at Shiggaon, Haveri District, Karnataka Uttara Prantha decided one day to speak to him, convince him and clean him up fully  to give him a face-lift so that he henceforth is respected as anybody in the society.

It is to be noted that the society has become mean in showing respect to ones who ‘look’ respectable only.

The Swayamsevaks took the pledge to clean him up fully and shave the beard and hair and dress him up well. Well, he disagreed initially but finally agreed.

He was taken to a place in the town where he was treated. Some even looked at the volunteers horrified on the ‘crazy’ act of taking him on a two wheeler. Soaps to clean him, Bottles of Dettol for the wounds he had on the body, new dresses, were bought and finally he looked like anyone else – totally normal.

That’s not all. The Swayamsevaks  are currently speaking to a doctor, another Swayamsevak who will treat him and get the medical check up done at his cost and based on the same the next action will be chalked. If found mentally ill trying for an admission at a hospital would be an option or if all good with him, find a way for him so that he could lead a comfortable independent life is what the RSS volunteers plan for

A commendable act where everyone showed mere sympathy while the Swayamsevaks displayed empathy.

Praveen Patavardhan in conversation with Sunil Sugandi, Shiggaon

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