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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

While a major chunk of the population is sweating hard to level up their family's wellbeing by overcoming the financial hurdles, few among them stand out in the crowd whose hearts cry for others. One of such good Samaritans from Cuttack has set a bright example for others for his selfless service to helpless cancer patients even after death.

Abhimanyu Das, a 50-year-old book-binder from Cuttack, finds his happiness in serving poor and needy cancer patients at Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre as well as other patients at the SCB Medical College & Hospital Cuttack. Rendering serving to unknown, homeless and destitute people suffering from the deadly disease is another duty added to his daily chores. Moreover, Das cremates the bodies that are unclaimed and unattended. 

Cricket legend VVS Laxman lauded the selfless efforts of Das and his dedicated social work through his Tweet on Monday. 

"In his quest to give dignity to the dead, cremates unclaimed and unattended dead bodies. He has also been taking care of thousands of cancer patients most of whom are homeless or abandoned. Hats off to his selfless service," he Tweeted.

"I am grateful to Laxman Sir (VVS Laxman) for acknowledging my work and feel really contended. I had never thought a person like him would ever praise me," said an elated Das.

Describing his journey so far, Das said, "When I initiated steps to help cancer patients, we were only a few in numbers. Now, several other people from different organisations have joined hands in helping us. Even they chip in to cremate the bodies lying unattended. Support from all quarters keep on encouraging me."

Recounting his inspiration to serve mankind, he said, "My father always remained an inspiration to me for carrying out such works. Even I got the much-needed mental support from my wife. However, such a thought to serve unknown persons came to my mind after an accident and I got bedridden for around 400 days. And this thought of serving needy cancer patients got stronger as I lost many close relatives due to the deadly disease, including my mother, uncle and father-in-law. I initiated my efforts of serving  cancer patients while attending my brother-in-law at the hospital, who was undergoing cancer treatment in 2009."

"I find happiness when I see smiles on others' faces after they get some help from me. My service to mankind and humanity has made my name popular and unknown people seek my help at times of need. I get repaid with their smile and that is what I look for," Das said. 

The selfless service of Das has been acknowledged by the people of Odisha as well as the State government, and he was honoured with the Odisha Citizenship Award in 2016. Be it COVID19 pandemic, lockdown or financial constraint, nothing was able to deter Das from carrying out his duty to mankind.

As Das believes, the Almighty has selected him to serve mankind and people get help through him. He aims to continue his duty till his last breath. "Till date, I have come across several hurdles but with the Almighty's blessings, I overcame those and am continuing to help people with complete dedication," he added. 

Laxman is not only the International cricketer who found the selfless service of Das laudable. Another cricket legend Mohammad Kaif had earlier praised Das for his constant efforts in lending a helping hand to the needy.

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