Eight year old Anju stood next to the wheat field, somewhere on the National Highway 1, in the State of Haryana, India. Alone. She was afraid. Very afraid; and hungry. Miles from home. As the evening dust rising from trucks on the highway engulfed her little frame, she looked around. Her parents were not there. Neither was her brother. Hopeless, she crouched near the fields, sobbing.
It was almost sunset, when a gentle hand caressed her hair.
“Daughter, are you alone? What is the matter?”
Of all the people in the world, this was the hand of a young IRS officer. He was a part of the ‘Covid help force’ headed by Binay Jha, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax. The officer found that she had been with her parents when the trucks and police arrived; to take the migrant workers home to Bihar, almost 1500 km away. In the melee she got left behind. The officer took care of her and got her united with her parents, who had already traversed 200 km in the laden truck.
Presently working as the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Punjab, at Ludhiana, Binay Jha wondered how he would use his lockdown. Until he saw the plight of the migrants. Homeless, hungry, walking hundreds of km with luggage to reach their home states.
He formed this special force of volunteers. Many from his organisation and many more from NGOs and Gurudwaras(Sikh temples). His day would start at 0500 hrs and go on until dark. Organising food, medicines, shoes, help vans for travelling migrants, for those within the cities and villages who had lost their jobs. Phone calls and video calls to volunteers in Assam, Kashmir, Punjab and other states.
He has been instrumental in uniting hundreds of families, rescuing thousands of lost and abandoned children. Providing succor to so many when they needed it the most. From the hills of Gorakhpur to the gangetic plains of UP villages.
More than 1,00,00,000 hungry people have been provided with food in these two months by him through his volunteers. His own salaries have exclusively been spent on helping those in need.
Even before the COVID, he had planted many forests, was a pioneer of vertical gardens and had sent hundreds of thousands of loving greeting cards made by children, to our soldiers guarding our frontiers.
A humble man with a mission. Quietly, but surely he helps; like a silent messiah.
Amongst the heroes of COVID 19, this five ft eight inch man stands tall.