It is difficult to believe but was a grave fact that a hundred years ago, Haridwar, certainly one of the holiest places in India, was completely lacking medical facilities. Many pilgrims, monks and local people used to simply and silently succumb to death once they fell ill. Because, there was no doctor or hospital in this entire region!

"Swami Vivekananda, having observed this pitiable situation during his visit, resolved to pull every sick person from the jaws of death. After his return from Parliament of Religions, Chicago, he soon sent of one of his disciples, Swami Kalyanananda [1874-1938], to Haridwar to serve the sick. The year was 1901 when this disciple set out and began an unprecedented and a wonderful approach to reatment. Another disciple, Swami Nischayananda [1865-1934], joined the above swami a couple of years later. Every day, Swami Nischayananda goes out in search of a sick person with a bagful of medicines. If patient’s condition is too serious, he carries him on his back to this centre [ then a simple hut] and both nurture him. They sponge-bath patients, feed them, fan them, carry their excreta out, clean them, bring them alcy and bid them good-bye."
 

The bivouac-like hutments for in-patient treatment sprang up like a deus ex machina, where previously there was no doctor, no hospital and disease meant a certain death. The founders’ altruistic approach of treatment steadily went on to earn the confidence of locals and veneration from luminaries like Mahatma Gandhiji, Sir J C Bose, Sister Nivedata etc. who visited this centre. Slowly, the dried up hopes of these simple people living at fringes of society, turned fertile. Smiles returned and a renaissance has begun.

 

A perennial river passes through all the impenetrable clefts and covers all the impassable terrains. Having no life of its own, it is emblematic of flowing civilizations. A charitable institute is no different. Starting from a single hut, this centre grew to 122 beds in eighties and to 150 beds in this new century. It has now a well equipped Laboratory, Sonography, I.C.U., Emergency Ward, Blood Bank, Mobile Medical Unit besides ophthalmology, orthopedics, general surgery, medicine, maternity etc.

The Sevashrama has completed 111 years of its services treating all without making any distinction of caste, creed and nationality. Its coverage of treatment has not only included countless interior villages in the adjoining States like U.P., Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab but, of late, poor brethren from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal etc. are also coming.