Goverdhan, 2018.01.08 (VT) Sant Banwari Das has been making rotis for the Sadhus and the poor for 17 years, but now his kitchen, which is under a neem tree on Goverdhan’s Parikrama Marg, is being threatened by the anti-encroachment drive.
Sant Banwari Das does not look at the people who come to him and wonder if they could have afforded to buy their own dinner. He just wants to make sure that everyone in Goverdhan is well fed, so he feeds all who come to him with love.
Affectionately known as ‘Roti Vale Baba’, Sant Banwari Das, understands that the anti-encroachment drive is being carried out under the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to enhance and protect the beauty of Goverdhan hill. Sant Banwari Das knows about enforcing orders; he is retired from the army. He does not want to cause trouble, he just wants to be able to keep feeding the hundreds of people who come to him every evening asking for dinner.
Many locals are inspired by Sant Banwari Das’ work and come to help out in the kitchen. Sant Banwari Das said that he and his helpers make 50-60 kg of flour into rotis and also serve 20-25 kg of rice every day. The kitchen daily feeds around 500 people, not only roti-sabji but also a variety of sweet dishes.
Sant Banwari Das had no plans about what he would do after retirement. Once, when visiting Vrindavan’s Gore Daoji temple, his guru gave him the inspiration to become engaged in this wonderful service. Since then, he has never looked back. Even now, he has no regrets, he just looks wistfully at the neem tree that has shaded his kitchen for so many years.
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