"!! Om Shri Sai Ram !!"  

REFERING TO HIS SPIRITUAL PROSPECTS:


Mr. Amit Kumar Biswas,
fondly known as Amitji, is the founder of the Shirdi Sai Baba temple in the village of Shibpur, West Bengal, India. This is the only known temple that is being built by the order of Sai Baba. Amitji is the grandson of Mr. Ramdas Biswas, a dear devotee of Baba in the 1800’s. It is believed that Baba had visited Ramdas in the village of Shibpur and granted him the boon of fatherhood. Pleased with Ramda’s devotion baba promised to reside with Ramdas in Shibpur.

One night in 1999, Baba appeared in a dream to Amitji and instructed him to build a temple for him since Baba would like to reside in Shibpur and fulfill his promise to Ramdas. Amitji, a photo journalist by profession was caught by surprise. He had never been a devotee of Baba before. He discussed the dream with villagers and decided to resurrect worship to Baba in the same place as his grandfather Ramdas used to offer worship.

As time passed by, Amitji along with the villagers began to offer regular worship to Baba. When the news of their worship spread, devotees from all over the world began contributing towards building of this temple. Since 2006, Amitji has given up his profession and has dedicated himself completely to carrying out the noble order of baba – to build a temple for him in Shibpur.

Baba has blessed Amitji with the gift of communicating with him. Numerous devotees call/email Amitji with their troubles and problems and request him to offer prayers to Baba on their behalf. Amitji does not accept any gifts in cash or kind and all donations should be made towards construction of the temple. He offers prayers to Baba outlining the devotee’s distress and communicates Baba’s message. Many devotees have been granted the gift of a child when declared infertile, others have been rescued from legal messes and business failures and yet others have been healed of diseases. The decision on the future course of a devotee’s life is determined only by Baba but Amitji’s function can be equated to devotees like Shama and Mahalsapati who were Nandi to their Shiva Sai.

Amitji has been instrumental in assisting devotees secure the grace of baba not just in the village of Shibpur but as far as the United States, United Kingdom, Dubai, Europe and Australia. The temple, in 1999 started out as a room built by straw and bamboo and now is slowly transforming into a 21st century concrete structure. To keep the temple working, villagers volunteer their services to their Guru Sai by cleaning the temple, helping feed the labor that builds the temple and contributing whatever they can through their modest means. They are grateful to Amitji for introducing them to a saint so loving that has now taken on their care.

In the past few years, the miracles of Shibpur Sai and the kindness of Amitji has reached numerous devotees and many have visited the temple from other states in India and other countries such as America, UAE, Australia. The environment, the love of devotees and the grace of Amitji makes every visitor experience what Shirdi may have been like had they ever had a chance to visit.

REFERING TO HIS SOCIAL ACTIVITIES:

Mr. Biswas, through the Nadia Shibpur Sai Sadguru Samity, has organized the following projects in the Nadia District for the welfare of his fellow Indians:

Free Health Checkup Camp Initiative:-
Project: Since 2003 in Nadia district, Mr. Biswas has organized bi-monthly health camps including physical medical checkup and eye care for senior citizens, adults, pregnant women and children including those children less than 10 years of age. Well known people from Bengali society are invited to preach the benefits of healthy living. Such projects are carried out with doctors volunteering their time to help Mr. Biswas promote better health in his district.

Impact: Per the assessment of the Dhanajoypur Gram Panchayat(2008 report), 260 children participated in health camps and 50 eyeglasses were distributed for free to those with eye sight issues. Free medication was handed out to those with illnesses. People affected with Leprosy and handicapped individuals were handed out Rs.1,000 to assist with meeting their daily needs.

Children and Young Adult upliftment Initiative:-
Project: Free nutritious food and fruits are distributed to pregnant women and small children in and around the Nadia District area. Mr. Biswas has been teaching the local villagers about the need to care for pregnant women with caution and provide the best pre-natal care possible. Further, he has taken up the cause of promoting the girl child with fervor. Through the village education program, Mr. Biswas has made arrangements for distributing study material such as books, pens, bags to local children. Recreational games are also distributed to children to promote learning through fun.

Impact: A stark improvement has been noticed by local doctors in the nature of care provided to pregnant women due to the efforts of Mr. Biswas. Local children have been very enthusiastic to play creative games handed to them and are now looking forward to a good education.

AIDS Awareness Initiative:-

Project: Mr. Biswas has taken leadership in promoting AIDS awareness in remote villages in and around the Nadia district, West Bengal. He works with local villagers to dispel myths associated with AIDS patients. Due to the stigma attached to the disease, people who are diagnosed with aids are abandoned by their families and villagers. He has ensured that people diagnosed with AIDS get proper treatment by enrolling them in government hospitals for treatment and collaborating with local United Nation health initiative volunteers in securing medication for such patients.

Mr. Biswas has worked with villagers educating them about how AIDS is contracted and passed on. Further, Mr. Biswas has advised youth migrating out of the village to the metro’s for work about the importance and methods of safe sexual practices.

Impact:
Through the tireless efforts of Mr. Biswas, the villagers are now aware that AIDS does not spread through the air nor touching, nor by sharing common utensils with affected people. People affected with AIDS can live a respectable life in society and those not affected now understand how to protect themselves from contracting AIDS.

Leprosy Awareness Initiative:-

Project: The leprosy initiatives run by Mr. Biswas has assisted patients suffering with leprosy to gain access to medical treatment. Those affected by Leprosy, like AIDS, are considered untouchable in the village and have been relinquished by society. Mr. Biswas has sheltered such abandoned leprosy patients and taken them to local hospitals for treatment. To dispel the myth of how contagious leprosy is Mr. Biswas personally accompanies with such patients at lunch and dinner. Through such actions, Mr. Biswas has successfully dispelled the myths associated with this disease. He has truly been the change he wants to see in the world. Today, numerous villagers have joined Mr. Biswas in his fight to distinguish the patient from the disease.

Impact: Several newspapers have hailed Mr. Biswas’s efforts in rescuing leprosy patients and bringing them from the shadows to hospitals for treatment. Such deeds have been published in “The Asian Age” Jan 30th, 2009, “The Times of India” Jan 31st, 2009, to name a few records.

Narcotic Drug Addiction Elimination Initiative:-

Project: During the years 2000- 2007, the area in and around the Nadia district of West Bengal had become a hub for poppy plantations. Students and workers were slowly getting addicted to the narcotic effect of poppy and the addiction began spreading among the local youth. Seeing this dangerous trend, Mr. Biswas approached the Government of West Bengal and worked with them to destroy the poppy fields worth Rs. 2400 cr. from which drugs were smuggled to international destinations.

Impact: Poppy plantation which was used for drugs is no longer grown in the Nadia District. As a result the rate of addiction has not increased among the youth.

Promoting Health through conscious agriculture:-

Project: Mr. Biswas has been actively working with farmers to encourage the use of bio-fertilizers to grow their crops. Through seminars and bringing in expert speakers to address the side-effects of chemical fertilizers, Mr. Biswas is encouraging farmers to grow more organically. Further, he has been an advocate to plant trees around the district to maintain and improve the quality of air inhaled by the local people.

Impact: Food grown through non-chemical means provide a greater health benefit to the consumers because they are free of toxins that cause cancer or other harmful diseases. Publications have highlighted Mr. Biswas’s efforts like “The City News” 6th August 2009.

Natural Disaster Rescue Programs:-

Project: West Bengal was hit with Floods in the year 2000. During this time, Mr. Biswas had risked his own life and used a boat to rescue people trapped in floods. He provided the rescued people shelter and aid till the army arrived to perform further rescue operations. He assisted the army personnel in rescue by guiding them through the area which was unfamiliar to the army personnel.

Impact: The Additional District Magistrate Mr. Nirmal Mandal has provided Mr. Biswas with a certificate for his heroic efforts in rescuing fellow Indians from danger despite an imminent risk to his own life.

Motivation & objective behind the project:-

Mr. Biswas is a devotee and follower of the famous saint Shirdi Sai Baba. Mr. Biswas, on account of his faith has decided to follow his guru’s teachings of doing good onto his fellow men and hence dedicated his life to “SEVA” – selfless upliftment of fellow humans. Through the encouragement of fellow volunteers he had started the Nadia Shibpur Sai Sadguru Samity to give more structure to and spread the reach of his service efforts.

Mr. Biswas is further very keen to see his fellow Indians in villages prosper as much as those in cities and metros of the country are. One key need area, he identified and championed is the need for better health awareness among villages and promotion of a better lifestyle.

Means and methodology adopted in achieving the objective:-

The Nadia Shibpur Sai Sadguru Samity is a completely volunteer operated organization. Mr. Biswas started this organization and soon numerous villagers joined in to help him in his undertakings. Seeing Mr. Biswas’s clean and noble intent of uplifting fellow Indians, some doctors agreed to volunteer their services to health camps and speaking to local villagers on how to adopt healthy practices and incorporating nutrition in their diets. Mr. Biswas has lead by example – he has inspired educated and uneducated people around him to live better, healthier lives and at the same time give back to society by participating in his initiatives.

Extent of Geographical area covered and target population benefited:-

Mr. Biswas’s activities are focused in and around the Nadia District of the state of West Bengal which has an approximate population of 50 lakh people. His programs assist people from all walks of life, of all ages from senior citizens to toddlers and are independent of caste and creed discrimination.

Summary of the report of impact assessment study, if any, undertaken by an accredited agency:
Numerous impact reports have been issued by entities and people mentioned below. Please refer to attachments to read reports:
Subinay Ghosh (Member, West Bengal Legislative Assembly)
The Dhananjoypur Gram Panchayat,
Mr. Suresh Chandra Panda, IAS (Development Commissioner, special economic zone)
Dr. Arijit Chakkrabarti (Chief Medical Officer of Health, Nadia)
Shri. Rampada Biswas, IAS (Additional District Magistrate, Nadia)
Bhidan Chandra Krishi Vishwavidlaya (Faculty of Agriculture)


Source of funding and application of funds in the last three years:-

All funds are collected in the form of donations from Sai Devotees across the world. These funds are then channelized towards building a Shirdi Saibaba Temple in the village of Shibpur and allocated to the different initiatives listed above according to need.

Future Action Plan:-

Mr. Biswas has a dream – A dream that each and every young student in the village will grow up educated, fluent in English and computer literate. He will strive to achieve complete literacy in the district of Nadia. The next steps involve improving facilities for patients to get to hospital by maintain a 24/7 ambulance and creating options for promoting health of local animal and livestock by operating a Veterinarian district hospital.