Every night, Gurmeet Singh arrives at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) to serve food and provide medicines to patients at the so-called abandoned or lawaaris ward. On his way to the hospital, he stops at a small eatery where he picks up food for the patients who have been discarded at the lawaaris ward. Once he reaches the hospital ward -- a cesspool of infection rife with a putrid smell, where rodents run amok -- Singh washes his hands and begins serving food to the patients. When done serving food, he goes to every patient again, writes down the names of medicines that they have been prescribed and buys them with his own money, as this report in The Hindu says.
He has been doing this every day for more than 20 years now.
According to the BBC, it all started two decades ago when a woman selling plastic bags approached him with her badly scalded boy. He took them to the hospital only to realise that there was no one to treat the child as the doctors were on strike. The condition of the ward was pathetic and the poor were the worst affected. So, he decided to do something about it and started buying them food and medicines. Gurmeet Singh has donated his blood on multiple occasions as well. Now that his doctors have dissuaded him from donating any more blood, his relatives and family join forces to do the needful.
According to The Hindu, hospital authorities restricted his entry on two occasions in the past for fear of bad publicity. But incumbent District Magistrates intervened both the times and he resumed his service.
Unsurprisingly, patients say that Singh is "like God". All too often, he is the only ray of light in their lives. Conditions in the PMCH ward are appalling, care is negligible and the patients are very poor. "There were no signs of a doctor or nurse in the ward which was stinking with streams of urine and pale blood on the floor," reported The Hindu.
According to the BBC, when patients recover, they are either sent to rehab homes or they go back to the street -- from where they usually come.
Gurmeet Singh hasn't left Patna in the past 13 years because, he told the BBC, he cannot "abandon the abandoned".
However, on 19 November, Singh, who is 60 years-old, will be felicitated with a World Sikh Award in London for his service to destitute patients. He has been picked out of a 100 contenders from all over the world for the 'Sikhs in Seva' category, by a London based organisation called, The Sikh Directory.
Now, the messiah of the abandoned is plagued by two worries -- who will take care of the patients when he is in London and how will he cope there as he does not speak English.