Padma Shri Subhasini Mistry: A Woman Who Built A Hospital For the Poor By Selling Vegetables


Born to a poor farmer in West Bengal, she was married off to a laborer at the age of 12 and had four children by the time she was 20. Unable to afford good medical treatment for her husband’s illness, she was widowed when she was just 23. Devastated by her husband’s death, Subhasini Mistry resolved to build a hospital for the needy so that others do not suffer the same fate as her husband did.

For the next 20 years, Subhasini Mistry toiled as a laborer, domestic help, and a vegetable seller. Plunged into acute poverty, she even sent her eldest son, Ajoy, to an orphanage. Despite these trying times, she opened a bank account and deposited whatever amount she could save from her paltry earnings.

Over time, she managed to save enough money to buy a land in Hanspukur village near Kolkata. Helped by a German scholarship, she also sent her son Ajoy to study medicine at the Calcutta Medical College. In 1993, with contributions from each family in the village, she constructed a temporary shed on the land she had bought and started a single-room clinic. She persuaded few doctors to volunteer and treat poor patients without any material benefits. Gradually, with many deprived patients being treated at the clinic, Subhasini was able to raise enough funds to build a two-storey Humanity Hospital.

Today, Humanity Hospital is a testimony to a single woman’s grit, determination and will to fulfill her dreams. The hospital treats thousands of poor every year free of cost and major surgeries for the poor are performed for less than ₹5000. The hospital has 45 beds and a 10-bed intensive care unit with 17 doctors treating nearly 300 every day.

Subhasini Mistry being conferred with Padma Shri

After the devastating storm that hit Sunderbans in 2009, Subhasini and her son set up a second unit of the hospital in Santi gachi in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Residents of Sundarban area who earlier had to travel over 150kms for medical treatments, now have a fully equipped hospital right in their midst. Dr. Ajoy Mistry who had witnessed his mother’s struggle plans to further expand the medical services to more underprivileged people.

Subhasini relentlessly fought all odds and despite all the hardships she dedicated her life to the society and it’s poor. Earlier this month, she was conferred with the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”. There wouldn’t be many who would have pursued their dreams as relentlessly as Subhasini Mistry did – a dream that has impacted lives of so many.



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