Manu Barot is well-known in Gujarat’s auto hub Sanand, about 25 kilometres from Ahmedabad, for everything from selling water pouches to becoming a philanthropist. During the Covid period, Despite the lockdowns, Barot became well-known outside of Sanand when he distributed food grains to a community kitchen and fed over 1,000 people every day.
Not only has he worked to end human poaching, but he has also worked to end bird poaching in the Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary. He convinced locals who were involved in the sanctuary’s killing of exotic birds to give up their “profession” and rehabilitated them into other respectable occupations.
When Barot was a kid, he helped his father by selling water pouches at the Sanand ST bus terminus. He excelled in school and was one of the few in his community to graduate. He opened a paan shop in Sanand because he couldn’t find a proper job. It became a sort of meeting place for the locals, and he was regularly updated on everything that was going on.
When he noticed that his customers distributed sweets when a boy child was born in the family, but never when a girl child was born, he decided to do something about it. As a result, he started a campaign in his village called “Save the Girl Child.”
He also gave food to the poorest of the poor who couldn’t afford two meals a day.
Over time, he earned a reputation as a man who supports noble causes and rushes to assist those in need.
Sanand’s efforts were greatly helped when Tata Motors arrived in town. When his social work was discovered, company officials provided him with CSR funds. With the funds, Barot established Manav Sewa Trust, broadening the scope of his social work.
The trust now supports 20 widows without children by providing them with a yearly ration and clothing. Manu didn’t stop there, though. All of these women were travelled to Haridwar and Rishikesh by him. He says, “The joy on their faces gave me great satisfaction.”
He regularly organises cleanliness campaigns in Nal Sarovar and Gir Sanctuary by involving children to clear garbage left behind by tourists. He even provides education to local snake charmers’ kids who roamed around when their parents were away to earn money.
Last week, Morari Bapu launched a book “Prernapanth no Pravasi” on Manu Barot’s life and work.
Bapu, who has been to Nal Sarovar and knows about Barot’s work, described him as “a short man, without any post who has traversed a long distance for humans and humanity” while speaking on the occasion.