On the roads of Delhi, a 76-year-old auto driver runs an “auto ambulance”, providing road accident victims with a free ride to hospitals. In fact, Harjinder Singh’s “auto-ambulance” has been in service since 1978. Singh who has been an auto driver since 1964 always stocks a first-aid kit in his vehicle containing basic items like bandages, antiseptic lotion and cream and paracetamol.He says, “Whenever I come across a road accident, I immediately stop and see if anybody needs urgent medical attention. Then, I take the injured to the nearest hospital.” “I started this service in 1978. I will continue to do it as long as I have strength in my body”, he adds.
Harjinder is often asked by his family to stop driving his auto and rest at home but he says working every day is a liberating experience for him. He is of the opinion that the more he works, the more he will feel healthy otherwise he would feel useless. “I don’t want to beg for 50-100 bucks from my children. I do not wish to be a burden on them” he says.
As a matter of fact, he says one-tenth of his income is spent offering free of cost medicines to sugar patients. Often he says, people note down his contact number displayed on his autorickshaw and call him to inquire about the free medicines for sugar.
Harjinder then, notes down their address and contact numbers in his diary and whenever he gets a ride near their area, he calls the people and delivers the medicine at his doorstep.
He says that he has the spirit of service to people from his father as well as an organisation called “Bhai Kanhaiya Brigade” which sets up health camps across the country also inspired him to take this step.
Harjinder has also been recognised by Delhi Traffic police for his social service. He was made traffic police warden and has been issued multiple certificates of commendations by Delhi Traffic Police.“I feel it is a matter of privilege to serve people. If I can take someone to the hospital on time and his life is saved, my purpose is served,” he says.
Moreover, according to him, “ If I help someone to be healthy, my own health will be taken care of.” Having also served as the general secretary of auto drivers union, the septuagenarian says he also encourages other auto drivers to also serve people by offering them free rides to people who are injured in road accidents. Many have followed suit. Harjinder Singh’s message to the world is, “ nar seva hi narayan seva hai (Service to man is service to god)”.