Samaritan’s Shramadaan: A Story of a Man on a Mission!
What do you do when you encounter a pothole on the road to the office every day? The answer is simple, you blame the municipal corporation for not doing its job & then avoid the pothole the best you can. And the same goes the second day & every day after that because the pothole isn’t going anywhere… Right?
Every day we avoid hundreds of potholes on our daily roads to school, college & offices & negotiate the way around these the best we can. Have we ever thought of taking action & repairing these? Absolutely not, because some would say that’s not our responsibility, we are busy & why can’t the municipality do something about this?
Almost all of us have witnessed these potholes around the city & are also privy to the many accidents it causes.
An alarming statistic shows that the number of people killed due to potholes in India was 3500 in 2015. It means every day nearly 9-10 people lose their loved ones because of accidents due to potholes.
The story of a retired veteran is thus inspiring not only because he took action to repair a pothole more than 1200 times, but also because he made the public understand the importance of Shramadaan volunteering or donating your sweat for repairing the potholes.
The Samaritan, Mr Gangadhara Tilak Katnam started this mission 7 years back post-retirement & has continued to do so even today. Every day Mr Katnam drives around his city – Hyderabad – to find potholes which need repairing. Then he alone or with some volunteer’s help patches up the potholes as an act of volunteering or Shramadaan for the benefit of the society.
Although initially, he had to do this good act alone, as time passed, people from various fields joined hands on his noble mission to fill up the potholes. Since then many engineers, college students & other citizens have donated their sweat to help fill up the potholes. Even the local municipal corporation has contributed to Mr Katnam’s efforts by giving him the required material for pothole filling.
Just like any other retired well to do pensioner, Mr Katnam initially faced resistance from his family in his endeavors. He even quit a consultant’s job post retirement to actually have more time on hands to fill up potholes. Eventually, his wife & US based son understood the large heartedness of this Samaritan in spending his time, efforts & hard earned pension on filling the potholes. Mr Katnam’s son joined the initiative by creating awareness about his father’s efforts on social media & internet.
Today, Hyderabad sees fewer accidents caused due to potholes & many lives are saved.
What this veteran has taught us is an important lesson of selfless acts for the betterment of the nation.
We too can contribute in our own little ways:
1. If you see potholes or ditches, it can be temporarily filled up with sand, gravel or small pieces of bricks.
2. Following road safety rules & helping clear a traffic jam is also advisable instead of sitting in the car honking horns.
3. Do not litter on the roads & either allow anyone else to litter on the streets.
4. If you see malfunctioning traffic signals which may cause accidents, immediately contact the traffic control & local police station.
5. Loose electric cables & wires fallen on streets are not just harmful but deadly if still live. Immediately contact the electricity board to carry out repairs & save lives.
All of us can do what Mr Katnam is able to achieve if we consciously dedicate some time for community service to make our country a better place to live in!
Tags: Best Volunteer Activity Ideas, Gangadhara Tilak Katnam, Give Back To Society, Importance of Shramadaan, Pothole Management Volunteering, Samaritan’s Shramadaan, Shramadaan Volunteering, The Road Doctor, Volunteering Ideas for Youth