Indian-origin Sumitra Devi, who moved to Rajasthan after getting married in Pakistan, is an exceptional example of social service. Since operating the Kasturba Seva Sansthan in Kasturba Gandhi’s honour for 32 years, Sumitra has been inspired by her commitment to service.
She has been the mother to more than 2,000 abandoned children up to this point. 52 children are still being raised in the institute by Sumitra Devi, who is 94 years old. Children keep approaching her and calling “Maa… Maa”. Many of the orphans who graduated from Kasturba Seva Sansthan went on to become physicians, engineers, and teachers. Sumitra Devi also married 6 daughters at the same time, who regards Kasturba Sansthan as one of her equals.
Sumitra Devi was raised in Pakistan. In fact, her maternal grandpa Shivdayal Sharma transported her to Karachi, Pakistan, after her father passed away in 1928 in Rohtak, Haryana, just 10 days after she was born. After completing her education there, she married Devidayal Sharma, an Alwar native, when she was 15 years old.
She was Mahatma Gandhi’s ally in the Nana independence campaign. Through him, Sumitra also made touch with the Gandhi family. She was greatly moved by him when she witnessed his wife Kasturba Gandhi serving everyone with a pure heart. She established Kasturba Seva Sansthan in a leased home with the same attitude in mind.
In 1960, Sumitra Devi vowed to support orphans who were in need. She started tutoring three orphans after renting a home on Bajaj Road. When the kids were older, they moved into a rented home on Nawalgarh Road and raised and educated the kids on their own dime. She invested all of the money. The government began granting land concessions in Bhadwasi in 2007, following the organization’s registration in 1998. She continues to spend her pension money inside the institute.