This Independence Day, let’s remember how the largest conglomerate of India has stood by the country and the countrymen through thick and thin
It’s one thing to feel sympathy for someone going through a hard time; it’s another thing to step forward and pull people out of their woes. Sahara India Pariwar believes in the latter. Throughout its operations, the group has been the Sahara to the countrymen in times of adversity.
The Kargil War
The fact that Subrata Roy Sahara aided the families of Kargil martyrs is known to all. However, how Saharasri arrived at this decision is a different and lesser known story.
Just like millions in the country, Subrata Roy and his wife Swapna Roy were glued to their TV set at their home in Lucknow. Saharasri was heartbroken at the loss of every braveheart. Seeing him in sorrow, Swapna Roy said, “These are the times when people need you. The emptiness of a loss is inevitable, but an effort to share the emptiness goes a long way in curing it.”
Mrs Roy’s words kept ringing in Saharasri’s ears. As a result, he called his trusted deputy and asked him to form a relief plan for the families of the martyrs. The Sahara Pariwar contacted close to 320 families that had suffered the brunt of the war. Still dissatisfied, Subrata Roy accompanied his team to meet the families.
After much deliberation, Sahara India Pariwar decided to help the families financially and emotionally. Saharasri Subrata Roy announced continued financial help to over 301 under-age children of 152 Kargil martyrs.
The then-prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee expressed his appreciation for Sahara India Pariwar’s efforts, and said, “I thank Sahara India Pariwar for taking up the responsibility of the Kargil martyrs’ families. I believe more such institutions and families will come forward to fulfil their duty towards the nation.”
Sahara India Pariwar immediately sprang into action following the January 26, 2001, earthquake in Bhuj, Gujarat. The group founder Subrata Roy initiated relief operations in the area in close coordination with the state administration. He also visited the site and adopted the village Bhimasar Chakasar in Kutch district.
Sahara India Pariwar also helped rehabilitate the villagers and started work on its reconstruction. Temporary shelters were created to accommodate 200 to 300 persons, water and power supply was restored, and food items were made available. The group also assisted people with overcoming the trauma, and initiated the functioning of schools and hospitals in tents.
The long-term plan consisted of relocation and permanent rehabilitation of the villagers into the reconstructed village, ‘Sahara Gram’, which had 839 earthquake-resistant houses for landless farm labourers, small and marginal farmers, small businessmen and others who owned one to four hectares of land.
Back in 1994, Subrata Roy along with Bharat Ratna and Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, allotted earthquake-resistant houses to the residents of Latur, where some villages were affected by an earthquake.
Mumbai terror attacks and Dantewada massacre
Sahara India Pariwar also adopted the families of the bravehearts who lost their lives during the Dantewada massacre and Mumbai terror attacks. The group vowed to pay an amount equivalent to five times the gross salaries to the families of the personnel who lost their lives, for the next 10 years. The families with underage children after that period continued to get support until their kids were 21.