Phoolwati, a 70-year-old widow from Katni in Madhya Pradesh, could well be the poster woman for cow protection in Uttar Pradesh, after donating all her life savings, amounting to Rs 40 lakh, for building a gaushala and for other charitable works.
Five years after the death of her husband and daughter in the town in MP, Phoolwati came to Mathura in 1982. She has been collecting donations from visitors to Banke Bihari temple by taking care of their shoes at gate no 2 ever since. With the savings, she has made over the decades, and the money she got from selling her property in Katni, she put together Rs 40 lakh to build a gaushala and a Dharamshala in Vrindavan and for holding rituals in honour of Lord Krishna at Banke Bihari in Mathura.
Now she plans to collect more money via donations to build another cow shelter at Barsana. “Cow shelters are the best way to honour Lord Krishna, which is why I put in everything I had to build one,” said the modest and self-effacing woman. Unwilling to talk about her family, Phoolwati told TOI, “I only have an attachment with Lord Krishna and no one else and that’s why I have given away whatever I had in service to the Lord”. She added that she has a son who stays in Katni, and she sometimes visits him but has no intention of staying with him.
“If I live long enough, I would like to make a gaushala in Barsana,” she said, adding that she never had any intentions about disclosing her acts of generosity to anyone. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said, apparently irritated by the questions on why she chose to give away everything she had.
“I just want to spend the rest of my life in peace, serving Thakur ji (Krishna),” Phoolwati added.
Her generosity and service is well known here. Pushpa Devi, her roommate for the last 20 years said, “Amma ji has given away everything she had. Whatever donations she gets, she either spends it on performing rituals in the temple or gives it away to the needy.” Pushpa also revealed that Phoolwati regularly organises ‘bandanas’ for the poor and serves them food.
Originally Published In India Times