15 June, 2021

An Oliver Twist-Like Figure Grows Up To Be A 'Father' Of 33

An Oliver Twist-Like Figure Grows Up To Be A 'Father' Of 33

Being a poor orphan in India doesn't just mean losing a familial support structure. It usually means a life of deprivation, a daily struggle to scrounge together a few scraps for a meal, and ultimately, deep psychological wounds that can permanently scar a child. But some rare ones do find a fairy-tale they'd believed could never exist. People like Prem Prakash. A man whose tale seems like a straight lift from a Bollywood scriptwriter's table.

It's the story of a destitute who turned against the fate that seemed to have been decreed for him. And now tries to give others the power to do so. Prem started life as a beggar and today is the principal of the Netaji Memorial Orphan's Residential School in Gumla, Bihar. Abandoned, orphaned adivasi children from across the state come to him in search of succour and education. Reliving his own past in their emaciated bodies and vacant eyes, Prem and his wife, Soshan, lovingly take them in. They currently have 33 such tribal orphans living with them.

Prem lost his parents when he was barely three years old. Out on the...

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