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28 Apr 2018

Power of social media: Homeless 'Oxford' grad gets home

How internet helped this old man

Social media isn't that bad. Yes, it's responsible for many fake news and unnecessary rumors, but it also has the power of outreach through which a homeless old man got a roof, courtesy a Facebook post.

Raja Singh Phull, a 76-year-old Oxford alumnus, had made a footpath near New Delhi station his home for decades, till Avinash Singh, a professor spotted him.

In context

How internet helped this old man
Phull is now staying at a Rajender Nagar old home


Phull is now staying at a Rajender Nagar old home

As soon as Singh posted Phull's ordeal a week back, help started pouring in.

Right from calls from reps of Reuben Foundation and singer Daler Mehndi to a UAE resident, all wanted to take care of Phull, said Singh's follow-up post dated April 23.

However, Phull finally agreed to go to an old age home in Delhi's Rajender Nagar run by the Sikh Community.


Returned from Oxford in 1960s to start business with brother

In the original post, Singh said Phull had returned to India from Oxford in late-1960s on his brother's insistence.

They started a motor parts business in Mumbai, which failed to take off.

While his brother resorted to heavy drinking, Phull couldn't turn the business around alone and suffered massive losses.

He lost his home, wife, brother, his income and starting living on the streets.

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Phull has well-settled sons, but have been abandoned

Sad story

Phull has well-settled sons, but have been abandoned

Phull was never interested in doing a 9-5 job, so he didn't seek employment after his loss.

For a living, he helped people to fill forms at the VISA centre situated on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, and received money for that.

What's astonishing is that he has two sons, who are well-settled in UK and US, but don't have time for their frail father.

Self-respecting man

Phull prefers to go without food than beg

Phull is a self-respecting man, who even refuses to have langar at a nearby gurudwara, because for that one needs to contribute, and he opined if he's unable to do that, he has no right to eat.

He prefers to go without food than beg.

Singh said that Phull was even reluctant to go to the old-age home but gave in after much cajoling.

Listen up, deserting parents at old age is a sin!

While we cannot vouch for his Oxford degree, we can certainly appreciate how humanity got together to help an old man, who was abandoned by his sons. We'd also like to add: deserting parents when they're old is a sin, yes a sin, period!

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