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Sandeep Gupta: A Beacon of Hope in Times of Crisis

In the grand tapestry of human existence, Sandeep Gupta, a tax consultant from Jaipur, emerges as a beacon of altruism and his endeavors transcend mere philanthropy, embodying a profound dedication to the service of humanity

Sandeep Gupta, a Jaipur-based tax consultant, carries profound commitment to serving humanity. His journey began in Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, where he was born. At the tender age of one, his family relocated to Rajasthan when his father secured employment at a spinning mill in Bijainagar, Ajmer district (now part of Beawar district). Growing up, Sandeep completed his schooling and graduation in Bijainagar before the family’s eventual move to Jaipur in 1990, prompted by his elder brother’s job opportunity.

Since then, Sandeep has dedicated himself to aiding others to the best of his ability. His altruistic endeavors span a wide spectrum of relief efforts. In 1999, he ventured to Odisha to assist cyclone-affected communities, providing essential supplies such as food and clothing. Following this, he extended his support to Gujarat after the devastating earthquake in 2001, and to Barmer district in Rajasthan during a severe famine in 2002. Sandeep’s compassionate outreach also took him to Port Blair and Tamil Nadu in 2004, responding to the aftermath of the Tsunami, and to earthquake-stricken Kashmir in 2005. Additionally, during the Kargil War in 1999, he journeyed to Jammu to uplift the morale of Indian army personnel stationed there.

Beyond these notable efforts, Sandeep demonstrates his commitment to saving lives on a more immediate level. He often transforms his luxury car, a Fortuner, into an ambulance to aid accident victims he encounters on the road, ultimately saving a remarkable 108 lives to date. Furthermore, he extends his compassion to stray animals, ensuring their welfare by installing water tanks and providing daily sustenance.

Sandeep’s exemplary service has garnered recognition and accolades over the years. He was honored with the Red & White Bravery Award in 1991 and 1995, as well as the Vikas Ratna in 1991 by the Institute of Economic Studies and National Development Institute, New Delhi. In 2006, he received the prestigious Samaj Ratna Award from The Vidyarthi Kalyan Trust, among other commendations.

In a candid conversation with senior journalist P. Srinivasan, representing The Interview World, Sandeep Gupta reflects on the inspiration behind his philanthropic endeavors and shares cherished memories tied to his altruistic pursuits.

Q: How did you discover your inspiration for helping others?

A: My upbringing ingrained in me the ethos of aiding others, a trait I believe to be inherent. The genesis of this belief can be traced back to the year 1991, marked by the passing of my grandmother, which led me to visit the crematorium for the first time.

Upon arrival, I was struck by the sight of numerous unclaimed urns, housing the remains of underprivileged individuals and abandoned corpses. This revelation stirred something within me. Each year, during my travels to my paternal home in Jansath, Uttar Pradesh, passing through Haridwar, I made it a personal mission to take action.

With the support of my father, who covered the travel expenses, I would collect 4-5 urns from the crematorium and solemnly release their contents into the sacred waters of the Ganges in Haridwar. This endeavor incurred no additional financial burden, thanks to my father’s generosity.

The profound sense of fulfillment derived from these compassionate acts only served to fuel my determination to make a difference on a larger scale.

Q: How do you best equip yourself to provide effective assistance to victims of natural calamities?

A: During the Kashmir earthquake, I distributed 20,000 blankets, a departure from my usual provision of edible items to victims. Similarly, in the aftermath of the tsunami, I organized the creation of 1000 packets, each containing 25 items. With the invaluable assistance of the Navy, we dispersed these aid packages in Port Blair, as well as in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu.

During the height of the Kargil war, I took proactive measures to uplift the spirits of our soldiers. Engaging several school principals, I rallied schoolchildren to craft motivational cards adorned with inspiring messages. Equipped with sheets provided to the children, I coordinated the production of 8000 such cards.

Journeying to Jammu, I encountered soldiers at the railway station, commuting to Kargil from various trains. Then I seized the opportunity to distribute these heartfelt messages. The soldiers’ gratitude was palpable as they expressed their appreciation.

Following the triumphant conclusion of the Kargil conflict, numerous soldiers reciprocated the sentiments conveyed in the cards. Witnessing the joyous impact of these messages, the schoolchildren found fulfillment, with many proudly displaying the correspondence on their walls.

Q: How about sharing any intriguing anecdotes or memorable experiences from your visits to these locations?

A: Numerous anecdotes punctuate my experiences, but one stands out vividly. During a relief mission to cyclone-stricken Cuttack in Odisha, I encountered a moment that echoed the teachings of my grandmother. She often spoke of Shiva testing one’s resolve.

As I settled the truck bill after distributing aid, a desperate man, devoid of clothing, approached me. With only Rs 700 for my journey back to Jaipur, I felt a divine test unfold before me. Recalling my grandmother’s wisdom, I swiftly removed my own attire and handed it to him. Knowing the truck cleaner possessed spare shorts, albeit soiled with grease and oil, I exchanged for a pair.

Arriving at the railway station in makeshift attire, I faced disdainful stares from onlookers. Unperturbed, I purchased tickets and attempted to upgrade to a reserved coach, but the ticket collector denied me entry. Forced into the general compartment, I endured uncomfortable glances and opted to sit near the exit.

Soon, an opportunity presented itself when a fellow passenger offered compensation for cleaning discarded peanut shells and orange peels. I accepted graciously, recognizing the power of societal judgments based on attire.

Similarly, in Ludhara village, Deesa district of Gujarat, while providing earthquake relief at a government school, I observed discrimination against Dalits in the queue. Firmly, I demanded their rightful inclusion at the forefront. Despite initial resistance from the village elders, their desire for aid prevailed.

I insisted the Dalit family prepare a meal, inviting the sarpanch and others to dine with them, albeit reluctantly. This episode underscored the persistent grip of caste and religion, even in moments of collective hardship.

Q: How do you effectively manage funds for your philanthropic initiatives?

A: I primarily cover most expenses, though in cases of higher budgets, I seek contributions from like-minded individuals. I am deeply thankful to God for entrusting me with the opportunity to assist others.

While conventionally it’s advised to keep acts of charity private, why do you choose to publicize yours? Indeed, discretion is often recommended for charitable deeds, yet I opt to share mine to inspire others to extend their support to people and animals alike.

Philanthropy - An Echo Of Human Empathy, Bridging The Chasm Between Abundance And Need
Philanthropy – An Echo Of Human Empathy, Bridging The Chasm Between Abundance And Need
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