I went along with Jayeshbhai to the Amul Dairy Headquarters in the city of Anand, as part of my enquiry into the way cows are treated in Ahmedabad and Gujarat. Along the way, we made two stops. Both stops showed directly how the efforts of one person can live on in spirit long after they are gone.

First, we stopped at a village called Thamna in Umreth, Anand, where a Babalbhai Mehta, a tireless Gandhian had devoted decades of his life to its upliftment. Here, Babalbhai spent three hours a day cleaning all around the village, leaving inspiring slogans on the village blackboards, and teaching youth. He was self-sufficient, spinning his own clothes and lived by himself without money, eating at different houses in the village each day.  He would travel to other villages as well and was known as the “mobile university.”

The repercussions of Babalbhai’s hard work are clearly visible today. Quite unlike all the neighboring villages, Thamna now has free, first class education for all children – including books, inspiring classrooms, uniforms, you name it. It has a modern sewer system, sustainable orchards, a high tech water filtration system, a dairy cooperative, and an ongoing tradition of leadership with vision. The decisions made here were all in the spirit of ongoing, consistent improvement.

dakorAs this day was Guru Purnima, the Hindu festival for celebration of the Guru, the other stop we made was at Dakor, a major pilgrimage site, where Lord Krishna is said to have come to visit one of his disciples 5000 years ago.

It’s astounding to see the vibrancy of devotion that can persist after so much time. Perhaps this living devotion comes from a deeper well of love and faith that is finding an outlet in His form, but still, Krishna likely walked the Earth, and obviously made an extraordinary impact to have become the personification of such devotion.

On the way to the dairy factory, I fell asleep in the car, as I had stayed up til 4 am working on the graphic design of Manav Sadhna’s 75 page annual report. Before I knew it, we had stopped and a man with a severely injured hand was in the car with us. Jayeshbhai has a way of constantly scanning for service opportunities and had seen this man by the side of the road. Yassin is a Muslim, and apparently, during the riots in Ahmedabad several years ago, he lost his house and everything. He moved to Anand, where he rented a rickshaw and saved just a little money. Recently, when starting the rickshaw, the lever kicked back and crushed his hand. It became infected and he now has to amputate half of it (all his fingers included). Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the funds for the operation and without being able to take action, the infection will have likely caused him to lose his whole arm and possibly even his life.

krishna1Unbelievably, Jayeshbhai said he could get the operation for only $12 US at the government supported Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, so knowing I had some funds from the blog donors, I gave him the money for the operation. Normally, I don’t like to just give money, but prefer to see the action through, but in this case, Jayeshbhai was certain he would get the operation, and said that Manav Sadhna could offer him employment afterwards. We will likely see him again very soon.

Once again, an anonymous donor here (I will tell you who you are) has made a huge impact in someone’s life on the other side of the world. Because of you, this man’s fate will forever be changed. Just as in the case of the Babalbhai and Krishna, your simple gift will bring ripple effects for years to come.

For anyone who would like to join in to help bring positive change, click here.