07 May, 2021

He's The German 'Godfather' For The Destitute And Outcasts Of Delhi

He's The German 'Godfather' For The Destitute And Outcasts Of Delhi
All those who visit the Coffee Home in Delhi's crowded Connaught Place neighbourhood agree that the burly figure of a khadi-clad foreigner is a familiar sight with the area's 300-odd street children, numerous drug pedlars and shunned leprosy patients. Dr Johannes Asmus has been at it for more than 14 years, treating these destitutes with medicines donated by European tourists who frequent the area's emporiums for ethnic ware. "They call me Bhagwanbaba (by which they actually mean 'Godfather'). But they have not read Mario Puzo," jokes the 70-year-old Asmus, even as he hands over a tube of Betadine to an emaciated figure sitting nearby.

Dr Asmus, who worked at a social-care centre in Berlin, first came to India with his wife way back in '81 as a tourist. One day, while strolling in Connaught Place he saw a few scabies-ridden destitutes writhing in pain. He immediately picked up some ointment from a medical shop and treated them. "It was a strange incident. There were scores of curious onlookers but no one lent a helping hand. It made me believe that the poor in this nation are...

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