This truck driver from Haryana has been rescuing and serving the homeless for 35 years
From feeding the poor to giving shelter to the homeless, 60-year-old Devdas Goswami is running two homes for the needy, and has given new life to hundreds of people.
It is said: “The greatest joy in all of living is the joy that comes from giving.” And Devdas Goswami exemplifies this.
Goswami comes from Ganaur, a small city in Sonipat district of Haryana, which is located 62 kilometers north of New Delhi. While most residents in this quaint urban space are busy earning a living and reveling in life’s pleasures, the 60-year-old is dedicating his life for the upliftment of the poor and homeless.
It all started in 1978 when Goswami started working as a truck driver. While driving through the highways and across multiple states, the sight of hungry and helpless people crouching alongside roads moved him. However, instead of turning a cold shoulder, Goswami made it a point to stop by and feed them. With Rs 500 earnings every month, he managed to set up a kerosene stove on his truck, buy all the provisions required to cook a meal and provide food for the famished during the course of his journey.
It has more than 35 years, and even today he is engaged in serving the destitute.
Apart from feeding the poor, Goswami, along with his wife Tara, is now running two homes for the poor and abandoned - one in Dwarka, Delhi, and another in Ganaur. They are providing food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare facilities to all the 130 people residing there.
Goswami’s humanitarian work has given a new life to hundreds of people. The 60-year-old believes that distributing food to those in need gives him an opportunity to serve people who are lesser privileged than him, and also a sense of self-satisfaction.
“I myself was homeless and poverty-stricken at one point of time. The sensation of not having food in my tummy caused me both pain and irritation. It was definitely the most-toughest phase I ever went through. I did not want anyone to go through the same. Thereafter, I made it my life’s mission to serve the needy,” Goswami tells SocialStory.
A heartening journey
Devdas Goswami was born to a lower middle-class family in Haryana. Since his father was a part of the Indian army, he had to keep moving from one place to another in his childhood. When he was 15, Goswami dropped out of school, and started doing certain odd jobs, and was earning Rs 50 to 60 a month.
A few years later, he stepped out of home to make his own path.
“I wanted to be a truck driver, but my family was not very happy about it. Hence, I decided to move away and took shelter at the railway station. When I could not tolerate my hunger beyond a certain point, I approached a food stall. The person behind the counter refused to give me more than one puri, and even abused me. That was when I decided to provide food to as many hungry people as possible one day,” recollects Goswami.
After a few days of struggle, Goswami managed to join the Northern Carriers Private Limited in Ludhiana, Punjab, as a truck driver. However, he did not restrict his life in driving through roads, offloading goods, and meeting deadlines.
“Whenever I saw people lying along roads without proper clothes, shelter, or food, I used to park the truck in a corner, cook some dal, rotis, and vegetables, and distribute it to them. Later, I even began giving them a bath and a haircut. Seeing them smile after all of it, was the best feeling ever,” says Goswami.
During his stint as truck driver, Goswami was fired multiple times by different travel companies for not meeting his deadlines. Stopping by to cook and provide food took Goswami at least an hour or two every day, which delayed most of his delivery schedules. Therefore, he had to keep hopping from one job to another for years.
This is not all. Despite earning a paltry sum of money every month, Goswami used his own savings to feed the poor.
“Many a times, I did not have enough money to provide for my own family. I barely managed to take care of their basic needs. I got my daughter married only when she was 30 because I did not have enough resources to do so until then. However, throughout this phase, I never felt like giving up the cause towards which I was working for,” notes Goswami.
Driving away poverty and hunger
After Goswami married Tara, she too started supporting him in his endeavor. In 2008, Goswami quit his job as a truck driver and the duo together established two homes for the needy. While they rented out the space for one of them in Dwarka by paying Rs 17,000 a month from their savings, they used their own plot in Sonipat to build the other.
“Once word started spreading about our efforts, several individuals started coming forward to donate funds to run the homes. That is how we have been managing to pay for their food, take care of their medical needs and meet other expenses. Even now, we rescue differently-abled, mentally challenged, and abandoned people from the streets, and bring them into our homes. Once in a while, a few volunteers too drop by to pitch in,” says Goswami.
Since Goswami has been struggling to cater to the healthcare of the inmates in both the homes, he has pitched for funds on the crowdsourcing platform, Milaap.
When asked about his future plans, the 60-year-old said,
“I want to live for at least another 20 years so that I can build another 20 such homes for the deprived.”
In today’s fast paced world where most people tend to focus on themselves, it is rare to come across individuals like Goswami who are willing to strive to make this world a better place.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)
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