NEPALGUNJ, April 24: Srijung Shah, 93, reads the Geeta and the Bible passionately. He often recalls his late father’s inspiring words about human life, mortality and the way to attain heavenly bliss within this lifetime. “Whatever wealth you earn, you have to give it away for humanity’s best use. Such a generous act will bring you utter satisfaction and bliss. But if your wealth falls into the wrong hands it’s a big waste,” his father Fatehjung Shah would tell him.
As a young boy, his father’s words and way of life always impressed him a lot. Fatehjung was a philanthropist and Srijung studied all his actions closely. Srijung’s mother Bala Deveshwari would encourage him equally to be of help to others. The son followed the path of his loving parents and today he has indeed acquired heavenly bliss while still alive, he says!
Srijung Shah and his wife Rudrakumari have donated land in Kathmandu worth over Rs 1 billion to Fateh-Bal Eye Hospital in Nepalgunj. The hospital founded by Srijung’s parents has been reeling under a financial crisis of late. And Srijung and his wife became anxious about the hospital’s future. Blessed as they are with immense wealth it would have been easy for them to do something about it. However, Srijung had to fight a tough legal battle. His own relatives were aligned against him and at times he had to give up the idea of donating the priceless land. That he passed this test amply shows his deep commitment to philanthropy and humanity and his faith in God.
“They tried to show that I was a mental patient. A hospital document was made out to that effect. I was harassed and discouraged. They wanted to stop me,” recalls Srijung. “But after a very lengthy court battle things turned in my favor . Donating the land has made me feel a new lease of life, I am feeling pure, heavenly bliss while still in this world,” he added.
In the important midwestern town of Nepalgunj, there was no eye hospital until three decades ago. An utter need for such a facility was felt but nobody knew what to do about it. That was when Srigunj’s parents stepped forward to offer a building on two bigas of land at Fultekra for setting up such a hospital. Once the hospital got going it attracted more donors, and there was no turning back.
Patients from both sides of the Nepal-India border and elsewhere started thronging the hospital for its cheap but good quality service. For the needy, the service is free. But since the last few years, the hospital has been struggling with a lack of resources.
“My heart’s desire was to give our land in Kathmandu to the hospital. But it turned out to be harder than I thought and I go teary when I remember all that hassle. I feel that I could win out only because of Lord Pashupathinath and Bageshwari Maata,” Srijung shares.
When he brought up the idea of donating the land with his family, nobody was happy except his wife. His only child Ishwari Rana and her family were not amused, and the hassles followed. However, ‘everything turned out well’.
“It’s all because of God’s grace that you earn and you can donate. That is what I read in the Geeta and the Bible. I also keep repeating my father’s words in my mind. One day, we die and leave our mortal remains here. So, it is important to manage your property while you are still alive and donate to the needy, for responding to their cause is the best use you can make of your property,” he maintains.
Srijung has a master’s degree in political science and also has much experience working for the government. He does not like to call himself a ‘daanbir’ or philanthropist. He feels that he has only followed the feelings of his heart.