In the orphanage in Bombay
Lady North cot Hindu Orphanage was situated on a small road lying between Babulnath and Chowpatty in Bombay. It had a very good-looking and spacious building. The surrounding atmosphere was very peaceful. I was admitted to that orphanage. There were about 150 students in the orphanage at that time. They were given food, clothing and education free-of-charge. Students had to go out for study. For those students who were not interested in attending regular school, there was provision for various other type of training. Training in music, drawing, tailoring, carpentry, band, physical exercise, hosiery, printing press was given in our institution. Students were free to choose any course. As per the rule, no student was allowed to stay in the orphanage beyond the age of twenty years. There was separate arrangement for very young children. A systematic planning was in place to handle all the students. They were divided into nine batches called A, B, C, etc. Each batch consisted of fifteen students for which a captain or monitor was appointed. A head monitor was in charge of presenting the problems of all students to the Superintendent. We had to wash our own clothes and clean our utensils. For the bedding, we were given a cotton rug, a pillow and two blankets. There was a well structured schedule that everyone had to follow that would start from five in the morning to nine at night. In this way, the overall arrangement of our ashram was very good. Still, one should not judge and jump to a conclusion that our institution was ideal.
An institution may have a palatial building, the finest of infrastructure and meticulous rules and regulations in place but that does not necessarily make it ideal. These factors of course, play a very important role in making it great but one has to consider another important ingredient, which is of the administrator. Lot depends on the temperament and ways of functioning of an administrator. It greatly influences and considerably affects in shaping the life of the students. A good administrator can become a role-model and superbly mould the characters of his students. Our orphanage was very good in all other respect, but it was not managed by an able and appropriate administrator. From that point of view, how can I say that ours was an ideal institution?
Therefore, I would sincerely urge those who run the management of public institutions that children should be entrusted in the hands of such persons who have development of children close to their heart, who are capable of understanding children's plight and are ready to do their best for them. Even to those who are occupying the position of the Superintendent or administrator, I would say that they should feel grateful to God for giving them an opportunity to serve children. They should take genuine interest in children’s overall growth and serve them enthusiastically at all time. They should treat children as representatives of God. They should try to associate and involve themselves with their life. If they will do so, they would feel a sense of fulfillment in life and a great service to society. Their institution would undoubtedly benefit from their noble acts.