Social work is often associated with creating an impact on a large scale. However, 56-year-old Chandra Prakash Jain is a prime example of how it can begin from home.
A resident of Nadarganj in Lucknow, Chandra Prakash has been feeding street animals every single day for the past 26+ years.
“About 26 years ago, my father asked me to set aside 12.5 percent of my income for donation. At that time, my income was low but I still managed to donate a part of my salary. My journey to feed animals started from there,” Chandra Prakash says.
Chandra Prakash, who believed in the adage “who feeds a hungry animal, feeds his own soul”, started feeding animals nearby and remains dedicated to the service till today.
Chandra Prakash, who stays with his wife, two sons and a daughter-in-law, is a central government employee; he works in the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Lucknow, since the early 90s.
His day starts as early as 4 am. He wakes up, offers prayers, and sets out on a walk with packets of bread or buns in his hand. He feeds all animals he meets on his way – be it cows, cats or dogs – and gets back home at 5 am.
Chandra Prakash walks an area of about 3 km, near his home. He does the same before ending his day in the evening – between 8 pm and 9.30 pm. He does this every single day, and has been consistent for years regardless of the fact whether it’s a scorching or wintry day, or if he’s unwell.
“I don’t care if there is any flood, wind, or mountain on my way. All I care about is feeding them. They also love me equally in return. No animals have harmed me in any way yet,” he says.
According to him, only on rare occasions has someone else fed the animals in his absence.
Feeding their love
On asking what keeps him motivated and moving, Chandra Prakash has only one answer: their love.
He says that these animals would often wait for him every morning and evening. “They show me immense love by jumping around, being around my feet, almost hugging me etc. This gives me confidence and the motivation to move forward.”
The love for these strays is the reason he didn’t want a pet of his own. He didn’t see a point in taking care and giving close attention to one pet when he feeds many every day.
Over the years, the entire process of feeding voiceless souls has become a hobby for him that he enjoys performing daily. Chandra Prakash claims to feed over 70 cows and dogs each day.
Till date, Chandra Prakash has fed all these animals with his own income. Going forward too, he is determined to continue and feed more animals after he retires in 2024.
“I want to serve the poor and underprivileged people purely using mine or my family’s income – without any donation or external help.”
Edited by Teja Lele Desai