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This Delhi man's autorickshaw is a free ambulance

Harjinder Singh standing next to his auto rickshaw in Delhi.

Harjinder Singh has been an auto-rickshaw driver and volunteer traffic warden in India's capital city for many decades. In all these years, he has transported hundreds of people injured in accidents to hospitals in his auto-rickshaw for free.

New Delhi-based Harjinder Singh is not just another auto-rickshaw driver. He has repurposed his three-wheeler public transport vehicle as a free ambulance in which he transports accident victims to the nearest hospital.

The 76-year-old works long hours so that he can afford his philanthropy, he says is inspired by the tenth and last Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

"When Guru Gobind Singh's army fought against the Mughals, some of his armymen complained to him that Bhai Ghanaiya  is comforting the enemy who they have been fighting, by offering them water. When the guru questioned him about it, he said he doesn't see the enemy in anyone, rather he sees Guru Gobind Singh in each injured person," says Mr Singh, as he talks to SBS Punjabi over the telephone from New Delhi.

Elaborating on his inspiration, Guru Gobind Singh, he adds: "Guru saheb praised Bhai Ghanayia for his elevated thoughts and gave him a box of medicines and advised him to not only offer the injured soldiers water but also first aid. Now Bhai Ghanayia Brigade is following this lead the world over and offering first aid and mobility to needy people injured on roads. I'm following their lead."

Behind his yellow and green autorickshaw, Mr Singh has got a message painted in Hindi which says that if anyone injured in a road accident needs free transport, they can call him. In addition, he also offers for free what he claims is a medicine for diabetes.

And the story of Mr Singh's philanthropy doesn't end here.

Mr Singh also lends a helping to the traffic police in managing the maddening traffic of India's capital city. 

"I'm a volunteer traffic warden trained by the Delhi Traffic Police. So, during busy occasions like India's Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations, the traffic police requests volunteer traffic wardens to help them in the city's busy areas. I have a whistle given by them which I blow whenever I see people facing inconvenience due to a traffic jam," he says as he demonstrates his whistle by slowing it over the phone in the dust and din of Delhi's traffic.

When asked how many people has he transported to hospitals in their hour of intense need, Mr Singh says: "hundreds". 

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this interview in Punjabi.

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