Monday, September 27, 2004 — Amritapuri
Amma’s 51st birthday was a very special day for Kalidasi Paul from West Bengal. Hailing from India’s poorest of the poor, a meal was a daily struggle. Most days, she had to make do with just a handful of puffed rice and lots of water to appease her hunger. Impoverished and shelter-less, Kalidasi had given up all hope. The idea of actually owning a house was unfathomable. And that is when her family was identified by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math for a free home under the Amritakuteeram free-housing project. On the 51st birthday of Amma, she could not hold back her tears when she was handed the keys to her new dwelling by Shri. Therambil Ramakrishnan, the Honorable Speaker of the Kerala Legislature in the divine presence of Amma.
In fact, Kalidasi is not alone. On that solemn day, some 5,000 destitute families were assigned homes in five states: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
The free houses are part of 100,000 free houses Amma has vowed the Math to build and give away to India’s destitute homeless. So far, more than 30,000 such houses have been distributed across the country.
On hand for the distribution were some previous recipients of Amritakuteeram homes—villagers from Bhuj, whose homes had been leveled in the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. They had come all the way to express their gratitude to Amma, who had lifted them from the jaws of death and given them a reason to live when She had their villages rebuilt by the Math.