Sindhutai Sapkal a mother to over a thousand destitute children.
A Marathi woman Sindhutai Sapkal 62, who is a mother to over a thousand destitute
children is a living legend of a courageous rural woman. She runs a chain of orphanages in Maharashtra Her rise from a
horrifyingly impoverished childhood and an unbelievably regressive marriage is an inspiring story that is now part of the
recently-released biographical film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal.
At the age og 9 she married by a man of 30 years old and abandoned by her husband at 20 along with her infant daughter, Sindhutai is an
exemplary rebel who fought against a patriarchal social order and
used resourceful ways to start life anew. No one knows her before her film release.
When the film was released, all political outfits in Mumbai and Pune booked shows for their grassroots women workers. Women who
came to me in hordes, after the film shows, gave whatever they had
in their purses. I think there is not a single exaggerated instance in the film. It is a true but unbelievable story, based on
my book Mee Vanvasi, says Sindhutai Sapkal.
Mee Sindhutai Sapkal
Mee Sindhutai Sapkal, a Marathi bio-pic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal, will have its world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival that kicks off on October 13. There will
be three shows at the South Bank (earlier called The National Theatre) on October 14, 15 and 16. The film was Produced by Sachin
and Bindiya Khanolkar and directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan.
Sindhutai was married at the age of 9 to a 30 - years
old cattle-herders, who often beat her because he caught her reading newspapers wrappaings. The marriage was an unhappy one and
eventually, Sindhutai was thrown out of her in-laws house and had to give birth in a cowshed. Desolate and destitute, she attempted suicide twice.
Once she lay down on the railway track and only missed the rushing train by inches. On another occasion, she climbed to the top
of a cliff and prepared to jump into the ravine below. She was stopped by the cries of her infant daughter whom she had placed under a tree.
When she looked at the tree, she noticed that a portion of it had been axed and the sap seeping out resembled blood. If a wounded
tree could shelter her baby, why couldn’t she provide shelter for other children, she told herself, and thereafter started picking
orphan girls from the streets and giving them a home. "Today she has three ashrams sheltering around a 1000 kids. Another 2000
have been married off and some even hold good jobs,” says Mahadevan, who has recreated this journey that started in the 1960s
and continues till 2010, in a film that he promises is in no way fictitious, fabricated or filmi.
The film will also be screened at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York in competition. The festival
is scheduled between October 27 and November 2. The lead actor of Mahadevan’s last film, Red Alert, had bagged the Best Actor award at SAIFF last year
Sindhutai Sapkal known as "Mai"
Mee Sindhutai Sapkal is popularly known as "Mai" or mother. She worked quietly in last 30 years to
more than 1,000 orphans or unwanted children whom she has raised in five centres across Maharashtra. All these years, she went about her
work quietly, begging, pleading and struggling to find money and resources
Mee Sindhutai Sapkal story - an example of the millions of
Indian women endure even today - begins in lush but poor village of Navargaon in eastern Maharashtra.
Sindhutai Sapkal speaks