Bindeshwar Pathak (1943‑2023):
Before Swachh Bharat, there was Sulabh
INDIA Aug 26-Sept 1, 2023
By Pam Kwatra
Deeply shocked to know about this heartbreaking news about Dr. Pathak Ji.
With utmost respect and gratitude, my heartfelt tribute to this most noble soul I had the pleasure
of meeting him around 25 years ago. When he brought untouchable women to the United Nations to walk the ramp with a few Bollywood models.
His media company hired me for media and PR.
Thatʼs how my journey started with Sulabh and Dr. Pathak. Such an amazing pure soul, he truly was
Only a month and half ago Dr. Pathak was with us in Wyckoff, I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel real or believable.
I remember on one of my visits to India, he invited me to join them for Kumbh Mela, we went to Varanasi, where we had such a great time visiting the temple, burning ghat and swimming in the Ganges.
We were all busy doing our things and having fun while Dr. Pathak kept on going over to the widows and untouchable women to check if they were having fun on this trip. What a humble and Noble
I want to thank God for giving me the golden chance to know this generous, kind, humble, warm, witty being. A man with presence of mind, a sense of humor, the art of composing, writing and singing, and above all he was always calm & peaceful; no matter what the situation, he always saw a positive angle in every situation. Nothing was impossible is what he believed in and encouraged us all to never give up, itʼs always possible was his motto. He was truly a ʻMessenger of Godʼ.
Thatʼs why he was able to achieve this change for the untouchables of India and transformed the lives of millions, gave dignity, financial support, love and granted respectable careers to thousands of untouchables. What an inspiration he was! Truly a ʻSaintʼ.
We had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Pathak multiple times, but June 2023 became his last stay at my humble home in N.J., we had the opportunity to sit every single day during meals or during tea and listened to him attentively all the stories of his life journey, beliefs and how he reached his goals for fifty years working for the less fortunate.
Many times, he would pull me and Eric Kumar and sit down to discuss humanitarian and social work and start a branch in New York. We felt so honored that he considered us to be part of the
Sulabh family and wanted our contribution towards it.
He received the ʻMan of the Year Awardʼ in 2018, where he was honored by the UN ambassador of
Australia at the Harvard Club, the same year Mayor DeBlasio declared April 14th as the ʻBindeshwar Pathak Dayʼ on behalf of all New Yorkers. He always thought of others first instead of himself.
He was working at Sulabh grounds with his employees till the last moment and left his body with ease, in the arms of Mrs Pathak, a woman he loved and respected. I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to spend time with this great soul before he left for his journey to heavenly abode.