Provided medical aid to a boy’s father during Jalgaon riots
It was the year 1970. Jalgaon was wreathing under the fury of riots. Smt. Pratibha Patil, who was the Deputy Health Minister at that time. She swiftly based herself in Jalgaon and worked overtime to alleviate the plight of the victims. ‘No one should die for want of medical aid’ seemed to be her only anxiety. Amidst all this chaos, a visibly shaken boy approached her car. Crying inconsolably he narrated the precarious position of his father and his financial inability to get himself treated. Smt. Pratibha Patil responded instantaneously; called for the Civil Surgeon and directed him to give the best possible treatment. With God’s grace and timely help the boy’s father convalesced well. This little boy, under the loving care and support of his father, grew up to be a renowned consultant.
Saved the life of a boy sustaining bullet injuries during Jalgaon riots
An innocent child was a victim of the lawlessness which prevailed during Jalgaon riots. He sustained bullet injuries which, the doctors felt, could be fatal. The vigilant Smt. Pratibha Patil, on being informed of the child’s condition, reacted with utmost urgency; she mobilized the boy from Jalgaon to Mumbai and constantly monitored his case in order to make certain that he was given uninterrupted medical aid. This made all the difference; the child survived the attack. The boy who was treated by an orthopedic surgeon at that juncture, grew up to become Dr. A.S Chandanwale, presently serving as the Head of the Department of Orthopedics in Grant Medical College & Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, he gratefully reminisces the fresh lease of life which Smt. Pratibha Patil gave him in his childhood.
Spend time with the bereaved families affected by drought in Edlabad during festival time
Edlabad was going through a drought and there were casualties all around. Smt. Pratibha Patil decided not to celebrate Diwali – no sweets, no lights, no crackers; instead she resolved to spend maximum time with the bereaved families sharing their angst and wiping their tears. The day after Diwali was ‘Bhai Dooj’, a festival which celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Being the only sister, Smt. Pratibha Patil generally spent the festival with her brothers. She decided to forgo this happiness and spend the day sharing the grief of her brothers in Edlabad.
Helped the workers of Vijay Textile Mills gain back their jobs in Badnera
Helped the workers of Achalpur Textile Mill gain back their livelihood
Smt. Pratibha Patil voiced her concern about the workers of the Achalpur Textile Mill. A decision had been taken to shut down this mill; Smt. Pratibha Patil was a Member of Parliament at that time. She made attempts to interact with the National Textile Corporation and the Union Labour Minister to resurrect the mill, but in vain. It pained her profoundly that she could not give back livelihood to those whose life hinged on this textile mill. Eventually when she got an opportunity to be the President of the country, she revitalized this issue once again. Resultant to her genuine efforts the mill is functional under the banner of the Finlay Group.
Helped under-privileged with financial benefit schemes
It was this revelation which inspired her to conceptualize and give shape to the ‘Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal’ at a later date. It was a Corporation Smt. Pratibha Patil visualized for the benefit of the under-privileged women, like those in Manmad, who could have access to finance to set up their own enterprise if they so desired.
There were several impediment to be traversed; numerous queries had to be answered in the Legislative Assembly before this Corporation was eventually considered. It was because of her perseverance that Vasantrao Naik, the then Chief Minister, constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee under the chairmanship of Vasantdada Patil, with Smt.Pratibha Patil as one of the members, for examing the issue at length. After immense persuasion, hours of discussions and debate the ‘Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal’ was instituted on an experimental basis. Its success lies in the fact that after its implementation and validation in Maharashtra it was emulated in other States as well. Smt. Pratibha Patil also stood up for the cause of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It was her foresight and constant persuasion that Mahatma Phule Corporation and Anna Bhau Sathe Corporation were formed for financing these communities and those into menial jobs.
Initiated The Industrial Training School for the Blind in Jalgaon
During Smt. Pratibha Patil’s tenure as the Social Welfare Minister, she had regular dealings with the visually dealings with the visually challenged and was often required to address the ‘National Association for the Blind’. After every interaction with these special people she remained disturbed for quite some time; their vulnerability and difficulty in handling their disability, nagged her end.
The Industrial Training School for the Blind in Jalgaon is an outcome of her commitment.
Selfless, generous and spontaneous bestowing of her own Shawl to an elderly woman on a chilly day
Smt. Pratibha Patil was travelling from Amravati to Jalgaon along with some party workers. It was chilly; an elderly woman in tattered clothes was sitting on the railway bridge and shivering. The group of people accompanying Smt. Pratibha Patil, totally oblivious of aged destitute, was walking past her when suddenly Smt. Pratibha Patil halted. She walked up to this woman, spontaneously took off her shawl, covered her and resumed her discussion.
Provided housing tin roofs to the poor and helped people get treated at De-addiction centres
Helped Shekhar release on parole for his father’s funeral and to perform the final rituals
Shekhar, son of Kusumtai Sonalkar (a Congress Party worker), had also opposed Emergency implemented by Indira Gandhi because of which he had been detained by the Government of India under the MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act). Unfortunately, Kusumtai lost her husband quite unexpectedly. Shekhar was, at that time, in the Nasik jail. Smt. Pratibha Patil, who was a Minister for Public Health and Social Welfare, used her good offices in getting Shekhar released on parole so that he could attend his father’s funeral and perform the final rites.
Provided justice to the women doctor who was harassed by a senior officer
When Smt. Pratibha Patil was a Deputy Minister of Health in Maharashtra she ensured that, as far as possible, the Primary Health Centres in the rural areas were headed by women doctors; this was to reduce the embarrassment and discomfort of women in these neglected locales. In one of the Primary Health Centres a lady Doctor had been posted after much persuasion; appreciation for her work was flowing in from all quarters. One day she came to meet Smt. Pratibha Patil and complained about the harassment she was subjected to at the hands of a senior officer who had gone for inspection. Smt. Pratibha Patil made discreet inquiries and on being convinced about the correctness of the complaint, broached the case with the then Chief Minister and mitigated her problems.
Raised voice during the Zero Hour to protect the modesty of women
Provided solutions to war widows’ problems
As Governor of Rajasthan, when Smt. Pratibha Patil was once returning from a function she noticed a group of women waving helplessly to attract her attention. The local police on duty were attempting to contain them. Smt. Pratibha Patil could see the urgency in the eyes of these women and directed her driver to stop the car. She discovered that they were war widows who were being victimized because of the prevailing regressive practices in that area. On returning back to the Governor House, she called for a list of all the war widows in Rajasthan, wrote as many as 1200 letters personally and on receiving the replies, tried to pursue each case to finality.