Here is the story of Medicine Baba, India’s modern day Robin Hood. As you may remember, Robin Hood used to take from the rich to give to the poor. Rather intrusively one might argue, as oftentimes violence was involved. But there is nothing violent in what Baba does. Quite the contrary.
Omkarnath is a simple man from India’s overcrowded New Delhi. He has taken the pseudonym of Medicine Baba. Baba is an honorific title usually which designates the presence of a wise man. And indeed, the 79 year old man is rightfully so.
Dressed in his orange, ordinary, perfectly Indian attire, he may not look like much, but behind the tired expression of a man who has seen a great deal too much suffering, lies a soul bigger than the whole of the Indian metropolis.
What he does is he goes from door to door in the rich neighborhoods and asks for donations of medicine – left-over drugs from people who have no further need for them. As you may know, India has a major problem with medicine and healthcare in general, choosing to spend just over 1 percent of its whole GDP on health.
The result of this underfunding of the healthcare system is that just 40 percent of the 1.2 billion people that live in the country have access to the miracles of modern medicine. It is an “ocean” of problems, as Omkarnath has adequately dubbed it. He says that through his small effort, a small drop of a solution to these problems is added to the ocean.
Part of this problem is that although India produces pharmaceutical products worth $25 billion each year. Of these, only 60 percent go to their own market, the rest is exported.
Yet, however small is Baba’s contribution, it is beginning to have a huge social impact as it carries a message of the desperate situation in which India finds itself. And, as history has so many times proven, no more than a single voice is needed to bring about change.
The wise old man travels approximately seven kilometers almost daily. He goes from door to door hoping people will be willing to listen to him and have what to give. He has partnered with an actual doctor, Lalima Rangwani, who helps with the distributing of the medicine to people who actually need it. Although he worked in a blood bank for most of his life, he is not an expert and cannot adequately distribute the medicine himself.
Medicine Baba hopes to eventually make up a team with which to further collect and distribute medicine for the needy.
Image source: ctvnews.ca