Meeting and attempting at rescuing wandering lunatics is his hobby !P.U Thomas finds pleasure in extending a helping hand to the mentally retarded.
Abu, popularly known as ‘reverse Abu’ was wandering here and there backwards spent 16 years in the streets. He was found by Thomas and was admitted to the psychiatry department of Medical College Hospital Kottayam.
Tender care and treatment brought Abu back to his normal senses. Now he is able to identify the ‘hand’ which lifted his life from the filthy streets of Kottayam.
As Manu Bhai wandered with her in sane mind and bulged out abdomen, she had no one to take care of her .but now; she is an ordinary woman, spending her days with her relatives in Rajasthan. She is not worried about her child who is adopted by a childless couple. The merciful hand which changed Manu Bhais life also is P.U.Thomas.
He is just an ordinary man of 43,(now 67) educated only up to the 7th standard. Working as an attendant in the Medical College Hospital, he gets a salary of Rs.1,000/- per month. But the satisfaction he gets by taking care of the neglected is much more than this. Abu and Manu Bhai are just two examples. The magic touch of his soothing love has changed 49 live so far.(now more than 3000)
“ when I was admitted to the district hospital in 1966 for an operation, I really felt the mental pain of the patients when there is no one to look after. That experience created an instinct in me to share my life with the patients and to help them”- Thomas remembers.
He started his mission in 1970, when he got a temporary job in the Medical College Hospital. He found pleasure in spending his leisure time with patients, talking with them, sharing their sorrows and praying for them. In 1980, when he turned to be a permanent member of the staff, he could spend more time for the patients as a part of his job itself.
As he began to supply food packet to the poor patients, medical student got attracted by his service and they co-operated with him. They began to cut short their meal and distribute them to the patients. And, in short, they did everything as Thomas did for his patients.
Slowly, but steadily, the mission expanded. Marry came forward, sponsoring the came forward, sponsoring the food supply. Thus a system of free food supply came in to existence. At present, nearly a 100 get breakfast, luch and more than 250 get supper from ‘Nava Jeevan Trust’ formed by Thomas two years ago.
Thomas attention turned towards psychic patients in 82. Seeing the joy of a man who was cured of his mental illness and who was being reserved by his relatives, he was deeply moved. This led him to the stress of Kottayam and many other to words in Kerala. He brought many wandering abnormal men and women to the hospital. James from KottayamSarasu and Nawshad from Changanassery. George from Thodupuzha the list lengthens.
All the cured patients were not received by their relatives. Thus there arose the problem of their rehabilitation. The ‘NavaJeevan Trust’ was forward for this purpose and was registered two years back Mr. Thomas as the Managing Trustee and Mon. Peter Uralil as the Chife patron.
Recently, the trust has rented a building near the Medical College Hospital for Rs.2,000/- month. Twenty three persons, a few of them patients in it.
“We need at least a shed with minimum facilities by August,” (The Hindu)
A strong vision for a mission in the form of an illness
At the age of sixteen, God gave me a vision thorough an illness which affected my health badly. I suffered from the severe pain of ulcer. I was a poor boy then and when I approached my neighbors for money, they turned their head towards me. In those days bus services were very rare. I along with my father walked all the way to the town. The doctor in the hospital advised me for surgery. I was admitted to the hospital but I had to spend sixteen days in the hospital for my turn of surgery. The pathetic world of sufferings, poverty, and the ill-treatment of patients by the staff awakened the spring of sympathy and compassion in my sensitive heart. After the surgery too I spent nearly a fortnight in the hospital for further examinations. The realities of patients in the general wards instilled an earnest desire in me to serve the poor patients in hospitals.
Express news service
Kottayam- Social work has been given a new dimension by P.U. Thomas, an attender of Kottayam Medical College Hospital.
For several years he has been feeding poor patients and bystanders at Kottayam Medical College Hospital every evening.
By 4 pm every day there would be a long line of 2000 to 3000 persons queuing up at the medical college hospital outside the old cancer ward.
Thomas is undaunted and entertains no fear that there would be a break in the task he has taken up.
He says that a large number of poor people, especially from the hilly areas of Idukki, parts of Alapuzha and Kottayam districts who come to the medical college hospital are very poor.
Those who come for treatment of cancer, heart ailments and such other problems requiring prolonged admission in the hospital and their bystanders are the hardest hit.
Thomas and his band of dedicated youth make a round of the town’s institutions and meet other people who are willing to contribute to help others. They get rice and other materials also from hostels, convents, monasteries etc.
Donations are received on the occasions of birthday, marriage, anniversaries etc of peop0le. They cook the material and feed the poor.
Other than feeding the needy, he also undertakes the treatment and rehabilitation of mentally retarded patients roaming around the streets. The group have so far rescued 3500 such patients including several women from the streets, given them psychiatric treatment and rehabilitated them, whenever relatives did not take them back.
The inmates of this house help Thomas in cooking and serving meals at the medical college hospital.
Thomas is assisted in his social work by doctors, a large number of medical students, nurses, nursing students and philanthropists. (INDIAN EXPRESS)