Joginder Kaur Kohli, Woman of substance

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Joginder Kaur Kohli is the mother of Bhupinder Singh Kohli, who has been described as a Guru-panth-da-Sewadar extraordinaire. He is based in Mumbai, India

In this article the Times of Navi Mumbai throws some light on the achievements of Joginder Kaur Kohli and her numerous achievements towards mankind.

The day-to-day life of 83-year-old Gandhian and social worker Joginder Kaur Kohli from Nerul could easily be compared to a honey bee. Kohli was born on April 5, 1929, at Chakwal, in Pakistan, and then migrated to Patiala in Punjab after partition in 1947 and later to Mumbai in 1954, along with her husband Jagjit Singh Kohli.

Recalling their early struggle in life, says Joginder, “As we belonged to a lower middle class family and had lost every penny during those troubled years, we had to work very hard to meet our ends. It was really tough, because we had five sons and two daughters, who have to be fed and educated.”

The determined lady worked shoulder to shoulder with her husband to run a small tea stall, worked as a labourer in a factory in Bhandup and at the same time, helped the underprivileged whenever she got the time.

“More than providing education and food, what I really wanted my children to have are good values so that they could help the needy and underprivileged in society. I am glad that till date they follow what we have taught,” she says, proudly. Incidentally, her son Bhupinder Singh Kohli is also a well-known social worker from Nerul.

Having worked for a long time, it was time for her to settle down peacefully. However, fate had other plans.

Says Bhupinder, “It was a very sad phase in my mother’s life. My father, after suffering for 10 years due to Parkinson’s disease, passed away in 2005. At the same time, it was amazing to see my mother’s will power, where she was not only looking after my father’s all needs, but also pursuing what she likes the most - the social work. As a true Gandhian at heart and action, during that time also, she was spinning the charkha and was donating the bundles of thread to the leprosy home at Rohinjan at Taloja as raw material for their khadi attire.”

Joginder’s service to humanity doesn’t end here. She has formed a kirtan sangh, where ladies, most of them, senior citizens are members. They go to various charitable institutions, like the old age home at MIDC, Taloja, leprosy home at Rohinjan, again at Taloja, orphanage for the mentally-challenged girls home at Khanda Colony, New Panvel, and sing kirtans to cheer them up and have peace of mind. Besides that, they also visit gurudwaras and the residences of people who invite them to sing kirtans.

Says Joginder, “When our group gets any amount as a token of respect from the latter, we use this money to get orphan girls married, to meet the medical expenses of the needy, organise socio- religious functions at the Spastic Society of India and many other charitable institutions.”

In addition to this, Joginder does the tedious work of collecting old and unused clothes, repairs with her own hand, washes, irons and sorts them according to gender and size wise, and distributes them to the needy in the above homes and remote areas. She further collects unused and unexpired medicines, sorts them alphabetically and supplies them to charitable dispensaries.

Informs Kohli, “My mother is averse to giving publicity to her work. However, a few organisations, like the Gandhi Ashram at Ahmedabad and Duttatrey trust, Nerul, wanted to honour her and her various endeavours.” (AT A GLANCE)

An article about Bhupinder Singh's mother December 20, 2008