“Only a life lived in service to others is worth living.” Albert Einstein.
For six years now, professor P Naveen Kumar is helping the homeless and the beggars live a life of dignity. Abandoned, rejected, or thrown out from their families, these people get a fair second chance at life, all thanks to him.
He teaches at the JKKN College of Engineering and it all started during his college days. Kumar received Rs 10 as pocket money for dinner and he came across several beggars as he frequented the roadside stalls for food. “I know what it is like to be hungry, to have no money,” since his mother is bedridden, and his father is handicapped.
That is when he founded the Atchayam Trust with five of his college classmates. They first log in details of the beggars from their life histories, supply them with food, shelter, four sets of clothes, a clean shave, and then set about getting them counselling and yoga lessons.
One of the many people he has helped is K Venkataraman – who spent his days begging near temples and sleeping on the platforms of railway stations, and now runs his own mobile tea shop.
He was an alcoholic who was abandoned by his family. Due to his poor condition and torn clothes, he was driven away, or sometimes even beaten up, when he would approach people for work, leaving begging as his only option, until he met Kumar.
Over the years, he has taken in more than 5,000 beggars, placed some in government-run old age homes or helped some to set up their own small business.
Some people are made from a different mettle, and Kumar is the finest example.