Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The greatest achievement, I would say, has been a relief work in which the children of BYMM were involved. In the month of June in the year 2004, a fire raged in one of the suburbs of Munger. 450 houses were gutted. The people had no shelter, no food, no clothes, nothing. The relief itself became a disaster. There was a lot of looting, there was a lot of hanky-panky, and shady deals.

I told the children you have two days to help the people. From morning until evening 4,000 children spread throughout the town, knocked on every door, and said, “Give us whatever you can – even if it is one handful of rice, and this we are going to give to the people whose houses have been gutted and who have nothing.”

Such an impact was created, that even the rickshaw-wallahs from town took off their shirts and t-shirts. In 24 hours, these children collected two trucks of materials and food – grains. It was about 30 tons. We started making 450 bundles. In the meantime, children had gone to the place where the fire had taken place, and had found out the details of each family – how many children, how many males, how many females, and they came back with the list.

Each bundle weighed about 40 kilos, 40 to 50 kilos, and everything was done in 24 hours, by 4,000 children. We sent 450 children, one to each family, with a message: nobody will be receiving the goods, except the lady of the house. We will bring the gift straight to your door. You don’t have to go anywhere to collect it.

For the first time in history, it happened. The news of this went to Delhi, to the department of disaster management. The department was so impressed that they wanted the detailed plan of how the whole thing was conducted – to use it as a model for the national disaster management programs.