Mathura: Phoolwati, a 70-year-old widow originally from Katni in Madhya Pradesh, could be the new poster woman for cow protection in Uttar Pradesh. She has set an example by donating all her life savings, a total sum amounting to Rs 40 lakh, to build a gaushala and for several other charitable works.
After five years of the death of her husband and daughter in Katni, Phoolwati came to Mathura in 1982. She started collecting donations from visitors to Banke Bihari temple by taking care of their shoes at gate no 2 and ever since she had been doing the same thing every day. With the savings, she has made over the decades, and the money she got from selling her property in Katni, she put together around Rs 40 lakh to build a gaushala and a Dharamshala in Vrindavan.
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Now she is planning to collect more and more money via donations to build another cow shelter at Barsana. “Cow shelters are the best way to honour Lord Krishna, which is why I put in everything I had to build one,” said the modest and simple-living Phoolwati.
Not willing to talk about her family, Phoolwati told the media, “I only have an attachment with Lord Krishna and no one else and that’s why I have given away whatever I had in service to the Lord.”
She added that she also has a son who stays in Katni, and she sometimes visits him but has no intention of staying with him.
“If I live long enough, I would like to make a gaushala in Barsana,” she said, adding that she never intended to disclose her acts of generosity to anyone, just that word got out. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said, apparently irritated by questions on why she chose to give away everything she had.
“I just want to spend the rest of my life in peace, serving Thakur ji (Krishna),” Phoolwati added.
Her generosity and service is well known in the region. Pushpa Devi, her roommate for the last 20 years, said, “Amma ji has given away everything she had. Whatever donations she gets, she either spends it on performing rituals in the temple or gives it away to the needy.” Pushpa also revealed that Phoolwati regularly organizes ‘bhandaras’ for the poor and serves them food herself.
Phoolwati admitted that she had sold her property in Jabalpur for around Rs 37 lakh, which, along with her other earnings, she used to build a gaushala and a Dharamshala in Vrindavan. While she refused to say anything further, Pushpa Devi said,
“Everyone here knows how humble and modest she is and how she hates to talk about her deeds.”