Madurai: As always, it was a regular Sunday morning for C Mohan at his salon in Melamadai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. But in a short span of time, things changed for Mohan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to his contribution in his monthly radio broadcast, Mann Ki Baat.

The Prime Minister praised Mohan for feeding the needy during the lockdown, spending Rs 5 lakh that he had saved up for his daughter’s education.

“As news spread, people started thronging our house. When people expressed their gratitude, it was worth more than any amount of money,” Mohan said.

The sight of people starving and pleading for help during the lockdown deeply affected 13-year-old M Nethra, Mohan’s daughter. “She insisted that we give away the money we saved for her education. She told us that she would study hard and become an IAS officer to serve the society,” he said.

Despite the lack of income during lockdown, the family donated rice, vegetables and groceries to nearly 1,500 families. Apart from the savings for his daughter’s education, Mohan pledged his wife’s jewellery to continue feeding the poor. “So far, we have donated around ₹8.5 lakh to the needy,” he said.

Mohan said that he had a habit of saving a portion of his daily earnings. “A few years ago, I was cheated by some acquaintances who took away ₹30 lakh, which was my hard-earned money. At the time, I was left with no money and struggled to feed my family. When people asked for help during the lockdown, I could completely understand them because I too have experienced hunger,” he said.

Mohan started saving up for his daughter’s education in 2013. “Our experiences have taught us that money is just a part of life and is temporary in nature. Since we had some money saved, we gave it away to the poor,” he said.

With his salon operational for over two weeks now, the footfall is gradually improving, he said. “Our aim is to help more people in other areas,” he added.