I am T. Raja, aka Auto Raja, a name more familiar to public, the reason being my profession was driving auto. Also I served as a body guard to the auto driver’s union leader.
Fifty years ago my parents migrated from Tamil Nadu and settled down in the Magadi Road, Bangalore. My father was working in the BSNL Department and after his retirement my parents went back to Tamil Nadu.
I am the eldest son to my parents and was born and brought up in Bangalore. My family was a genteel family and took good care of me, being the eldest and, therefore, more endearing. They put me in an English medium school.
When I was studying in third standard, unfortunately I fell into unfavorable company and picked up vile habits. I used to steal money from home for smoke and alcohol. I would lay my hands on whatever I find at home and even in my neighbor’s house. I used steal small vessels from my home and from neighbor’s house, due to which this my family would not allow me into my house. I started pilfering things from the school as well. On the whole, my character was such that I brought bad name to my family.
The same unwholesome friends led me to lose my educational career at third standard itself. My parents were so unutterably upset that they cursed me and prayed that I went away and died somewhere. They chased me out of the house. Then I was almost on the streets of Bangalore city, begging for food and sleeping anywhere I found a little space – pavements of road, railway station, bus station, under the drainage bridges. In short, leading literally a life like a street dog..
When the police saw me sleeping around these places, they would put me in jail. This went on for a few years.
A man should have blessings from three sides i.e. mother’s care and father’s love and God’s blessings. But I was denied parents love and care. In that despicable condition I sought God’s help and pledged myself to him to change my character. Then God took charge of my life and bestowed me with a compassionate heart. From then onwards I started regularly to seek God’s guidance by attending the church. I am sure that it is God’s compassion that transformed me and endowed me with a loving heart and the responsibility of giving care and support to the utterly destitute street people – homeless people and often on the verge of death. In this situation, I went to my parents seeking the financial help of Rs.1000/- to get an auto driving license. I, in turn, promised them that I would not trouble them anymore.
And then I got the license and started driving an auto in the city.
While driving I used to recollect my past life and felt ashamed of myself. Then I got married and my responsibility increased. Life was going on somehow.
While driving, without any conscious effort, I started seeing people on the road side pathetic conditions – hungry, almost naked, with sores that mosquitoes were finding a great attraction. Most of them were almost in dying stage and living no better than a street-animal with none to care for them.
Seeing the people in this condition, I prayed to God to give me a compassionate heart to take care of them like Mother Teresa did.
One day, I picked up one such person and brought him to my own home. There was not a single paisa in my hand when I started this mission. My own people and neighbors used to mock at me saying I was mad to bring such people home and taking care of them. But I did not give heed to their criticism. I was sure that I was following God’s Word and I continued to serve these poor and dying destitute.
New Ark Mission of India (The beginning):
I started this Mission in 1997 in a rented house and later on in 1998 the Mission was registered under the trust name called NEW ARK MISSION OF INDIA with Home of Hope as its rehabilitation Centre. Until now, the Mission could rescue over 7,000 people of whom about 3,000 died here in dignity with their last wishes fulfilled. Today our strength is 750 – (330 men, 340 women and 80 children.) God’s compassion has been making me love and care these poor and dying destitute till today. I am now hoping to extend the Home’s services to other places especially, immediately eying Hyderabad and Kakinada in Andhra. It is all in God’s hand!
The Home of Hope is where the future of the homeless lies. I started this home with compassion and faith as my only investment.