• Tanya Dutt

A Vegetable Vendor Who Built A Hospital For The Poor


Subhashini Mistry is a passionate and dedicated Indian social worker, originating from a poor farmer family of West Bengal. The traumatic life that the family faced had obliged Subhashini to get married at the tender age of 12. Since the age of 23, Mistry has been a widow, took care of her 4 children, and simultaneously devoted her time to her job as a vegetable vendor.

Due to the unfortunate incident of her husband, Subhashini was inspired to build a charitable hospital known as “Humanity Hospital” for the poor.


In the year 1966, Subhashini had built her own hospital, the“Humanity Hospital”, which has been standing with great pride for the past 24 years in Hanspukur, a village near Kolkata. For this achievement, Mistry was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 2018. She also received the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the mind-of-steel category, in 2009. Her primary reason for committing to the economically challenged society was because Mistry wished that no human being should suffer from an illness due to their given financial status.

Her eagerness was developed as Mistry personally observed her husband, Sadhan Chandra Mistry, suffer from a case of diarrhea yet received a lack of attention from the hospital, due to their financial status. Mistry’s life began to gradually deteriorate as she was forced to give up her two children in orphanage because she was financially incapable to look after them and have a job as well. By doing so, Mistry was able to gather savings over several years of hard work such as working as a maidservant, earning just about Rs.100 a month, in order to own one-third of an acre plot. Without spending her achievements for her own personal desires, Subhashini’s dream to build her own hospital for the poor was successful. Subhashini’s priority, besides attempting to financially and morally support her children, was to never see anyone die without medical treatment.

Mistry’s genuine and sympathetic attitude has been the sole reason for her dreams to be successfully displayed to her community. After years of hard work and commitment to society, Mistry has proven her heroic personality. She has proudly portrayed herself as the vegetable vendor who now owns over 1.6 acres of 55 beds and 17 doctors to treat about 300 patients free of cost every day. Although her dreams were formulating successfully, there were various obstacles, however, her motivation and determination were constant. Her youngest son, Ajoy Mistry, was able to complete his education in order to take up the profession of a doctor. Subhashini chose Ajoy to contribute his services to the Humanity Hospital. At times of absence or minimal amount of doctors, services, or supplies, Ajoy and his mother would physically go door to door, pleading for support. Subhashini’s eagerness had not only motivated Ajoy, her son, to stay motivated, but she also created a positive atmosphere, and eventually persuaded the local Member of Parliament, Malini Bhattacharya, to help Subhashini to raise sufficient funds.


Over the years, Subhashini has successfully contributed to the disadvantaged Indian community and provided them with a sense of hope for their future. She is truly an unsung hero, a woman with a minimal level of education, luxurious and a disastrous living condition, has devoted her life to saving lives. Subhashini proudly said, “What’s the use of material things like bangles and saris. We can’t take them with us when we die. But the happy faces of the cured poor people have given me such joy and meaning in this life.” She has consistently showcased her initiative and whole-heartedness, reassuring the poor that they have an equal right to have dreams and ambitions that can come to life, just as hers did. Subhashini’s Humanity Hospital and her heroic personality have been reassuring the patients and families that no matter the condition, their lives had the possibility to be prosperous and successful. Subhashini Mistry’s dedication has not ended yet. “Only when this hospital becomes a full-fledged 24-hour hospital can I die happy.”

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