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Auto-rickshaw driver takes humanity to new heights, disposes claimed/unclaimed bodies

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Bhubaneshwar: An auto-rickshaw driver, also a school dropout, took humanity and service to society on a whole new level by disposing of claimed and unclaimed bodies; living his life on the motto “Service to mankind is service to God”.

Meet Pradeep Kumar Prusty, the unknown friend of the dead, who has made it his life’s mission to ensure they get a dignified burial. He is always the first to come forward to recover or collect corpses found along the railway tracks, roads and bodies hanging from trees in this Odisha capital and on its outskirts.

Prusty, 40, is always there for the police to collect the bodies and take them to the mortuary for identification and autopsy.

“When I was in school, I used to visit the municipality hospital nearby my school to get digestive tablets as they tasted sweet. I would see the agony of the family members who could not dispose of the bodies of their near and dear due to lack of money. That inspired me to help these poor people,” Prusty, who has studied till the ninth grade, told reporters.

Hailing from Bhubaneswar’s Bhimtangi neighborhood, Prusty has disposed off 600-700 claimed and unclaimed bodies since 2009, when he started the noble service.

He is called every time a claimed or unclaimed body is found in the city. Believing in humanity, he never hesitates to collect corpses found on tracks or an unclaimed decomposed body. He is there at a call to extend his helping hand to the police.

His job, however, does not end there. He is with a mission “to ensure the dignity of the dead.” He provides all possible help to people who need help to perform the last rites and the cremation of their loved ones.

“I earn about Rs 7000 to Rs 8000 monthly by driving an auto-rickshaw in the city. I spend half of the money for collection and cremation of the bodies and another half for the family,” said Prusty, who has a son and a daughter. While his son is studying in Class 8, his daughter is in Class 12. His wife is a homemaker.

He said when he falls short of money, he collects funds from the people to dispose of the corpses, adding that about Rs 2000 is required for the cremation of dead bodies.

Irrespective of the jurisdiction of the administration and class, creed, caste, class or colour, he is always there in the true letter and spirit of a good Samaritan.

And, he never demands anything in return.

Much prior to the state government’s free ambulance service, Prusty started one in 2007.

“I sold off my ambulance after it broke down. I had no money to repair it. So, I had no option but to sell it off,” said the good Samaritan.

Not surprisingly, his social work has earned him much felicitation and awards of appreciation from many organizations. (Chinmaya Dehury, IANS)

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Akshay Talks About Building a ‘Society’

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But as a celebrity, I should be changing one thought. I should be influencing youngsters to contribute to a good cause. That is how we can build a society. I am doing it in my way,
Akshay Kumar at an event, wikimedia commons

Whether it is standing up for the rights of stuntmen in the Indian film industry or training girls for self-defence, supporting the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or narrating the story of a man who took up the cause of menstrual hygiene — National Award-winning actor Akshay Kumar has dabbled in it all. He says his social work is a result of compassion towards humanity.

“I am really fortunate that God has given me fame, money and a celebrity status, and many youngsters get influenced by what I do. So, I think my whole idea of standing for any cause is to utilise the power in a responsible manner. My social work comes from pure compassion. I talk about issues that I feel for,” Akshay told IANS here.

Once known as the poster boy of action dramas in Bollywood, over the past few years Akshay has associated himself with films with patriotic themes — like “Airlift” and “Rustom” — and those with a social message, like “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” and “Pad Man”. While “Toilet…” was about the need of toilets, “Pad Man” was aimed at spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene — both hardly spoken about subjects.

He says though he can make a lot of money from films, he also feels responsible to help in building the society.

He says though he can make a lot of money from films, he also feels responsible to help in building the society.
Akshay Kumar IANS

“If I want, I can make a ‘Singh Is King’ part 2… I know I have an audience for that. I know I can make millions of money from such a film. Not that I am not interested… But as a celebrity, I should be changing one thought. I should be influencing youngsters to contribute to a good cause. That is how we can build a society. I am doing it in my way,” he said with a smile.

The actor, 50, has become the brand ambassador of the New India Conclave 2018, which will recognise rural achievers of the country.

He says change will be visible in the society when people start focusing more on solutions than problems.

“What is the point of endlessly talking about our problems? We know what is the issue that our society is going through. The ideal thing would be find out the root cause and try to resolve them.

“The best part about the New India Conclave is that we are creating a platform where people, who resolve some problems in their living area, will share their story… So that others can follow that same idea to resolve the same issue — water, greenery and pollution.

“This conclave intends to celebrate the ideas, success stories and implement ideas. That is how we can redevelop the bonding and support among each state,” he added.

Also Read: Rajkummar Rao Performs Exceptional in Omerta 

So, what is the issue that he feels should be addressed as a priority?

“I think farmer’s issues — their problems, lifestyle, income. There should be a solution to that.”

The New India Conclave is scheduled to take place in July in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of various states. (IANS)

 

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