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  • Sindhutai was born on 14 November 1948 in a cattle grazing family in Maharashtra’s Wardha district. Being an unwanted child, she was referred to as Chindhi (Marathi for “torn piece of cloth”).
  • However, her father was keen on educating Sindhutai, much against the wishes of her mother.
  • Abject poverty, family responsibilities and an early marriage forced her to quit formal education after she successfully passed the 4th standard.


  • At the age of nine, she was married to a man twenty years her senior in Wardha District. Post marriage she faced a difficult life but she did not lose hope. In her new home, she fought against the exploitation of local women, who collected cow dung, by the forests department and landlords.
  • At the young age of twenty, when nine- months pregnant, she was beaten badly and left to die by her husband. She gave birth to a baby girl Mamta in that semi-conscious state in a cow shelter. outside their house that night.


  • Sindhutai took to begging on the streets and railway platforms to survive. Because she feared being picked up by men at night she often spent the night at cemeteries. Such was her condition that people called her a ghost since she was seen at night in the cemeteries.
  • With no hope left, she walked several kilometres away to her mother’s place. Her mother refused to shelter her. She had to set aside the thought of suicide and started begging on railway platforms for food.


  • In the process, she realised that there were so many children abandoned by their parents and she adopted them as her own and started begging even more vigorously to feed them.
  • She decided to become a mother to anyone and everyone who came across to her as an orphan. She later donated her biological child to the trust Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune, only to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her daughter and the adopted ones.


  • She has devoted her entire life to orphans. As a result, she is fondly called ‘Mai'(mother). She has nurtured over 1,050 orphaned children. As of today, she has a grand family of 207 sons-in-law, thirty-six daughters-in-law, and over a thousand grandchildren.
  • She still continues to fight for the next meal. Many of the children whom she adopted are well-educated lawyers and doctors, and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages. One of her children is doing a PhD on her life.


  • She has been honoured with over 273 awards for her dedication and work. She used award money to buy land to make a home for her children.
  • At the age of 80, her husband came back to her apologetically. She accepted him as her child stating she is only a mother now! If you visit her ashram, she proudly and very affectionately introduces him as her oldest child! .


  • A Marathi-language film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal released in 2010, is a biopic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for its world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.
  • Sindhutai fought for the rehabilitation of the eighty-four villages.


  • Sanmati Bal Niketan, Bhelhekar Vasti, Hadapsar, Pune
  • Mamata Bal Sadan, Kumbharvalan, Saswad
  • Mai’s Ashram Chikhaldara, Amravati
  • Abhiman Bal Bhavan, Wardha
  • Gangadharbaba Chhatralaya, Guha
  • SaptsindhuMahila Adhar, Balsangopan Aani Shikshan Sanstha, Pune