Urmi Basu : The Lady with the Lamp

July 09, 2014


“Touch my life with the magic of thy fire

              And it’s burning gift of pain –

                     Make it precious…………”     

As droplets of rain are dropping down my windows, I am starting my journey to describe ‘My Mia Woman’. She is a simple lady but yet so special. To her, work is God and her organization is temple. She is that lady whom I use to call ‘The lady with lamp’. She is Urmi Basu. I met her during a press conference in 2012 and after that we are still in regular touch. She is a complete package of beauty with brains. Aged at 50, she is still so young and full of life. Her adorable lovely smile is something which always gives others an inspiration to work. She is someone who believes its only human beings who creates our own fate by our work and can successfully bring a change to our future generation and our society.
She is the founder of ‘New Light’, a private nongovernmental organization at the lanes of Kalighat, Kolkata which looks after the sex workers and their children at the red light areas of Kolkata. The mission of the organization is to promote gender equality and fight violence and abuse of women, girl children and young people. Her small initiative which she took in 2000, today provides care and support to more than a thousand people across the nation.
The organization also works to fight against child prostitution and trafficking for the purpose of sex- trade. For the last many years Urmi has been a trainer and resource person for innumerable government and nonprofit organizations. She regularly presents papers at various national and international seminars and conferences on HIV/ AIDS, trafficking, child rights and social justice. She was selected as the NGO co-coordinator by the office of the Governor of West Bengal to make a presentation on micro credit, women’s participation in gender sensitivity and health issues during the visit of the former President of the United States Bill Clinton on 7th of April, 2001.

More recently she was a part of the core team that met the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Kolkata and shared the experience of working against trafficking in persons. In November 2011 Urmi received the Make a change Award from Children`s Hope India, New York. In October 2012, a documentary named Half The Sky based on the novel by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn was shown on PBS featuring Urmi and her work with the victims of trafficking.
Following the documentary Urmi received the Global Citizen Award at the Global Music Festival in Central Park, New York which was organized to mark zero tolerance for hunger, poverty and abuse. Urmi was chosen as a recipient of a blessing from His Holiness The Dalai Lama under the title Unsung heroes of Compassion 2009 on the 26th of April 2009 in San Francisco for her work that promotes compassion and peace.

During the movement 'One Billion Rising' in Kolkata
Urmi Basu receving holy blessings from Dalai Lama
                                                          Now, the question is why she is ‘My Mardaani Woman? What makes her so special? Aren’t there hundreds of others who are working for the same cause with the same dedication. Obviously yes! But as I feel there are some qualities in every human being which makes him/her special and different from others. The same is with her. She is someone who knows how to balance his office work and personal life. Though, her husband left her because he is not liking the work that she is been doing but still she did not gave up. Her desire to fight doubled.

She is full of confidence. She loves her work from the core of her heart. On one side she is a successful mother and other side she is a great friend, philosopher and guide with whom anyone can share their life. She is someone who believes in ‘Sharing is Caring’. She is trustworthy and so down to earth. She is an excellent writer and a good orator. What makes her more complete is her true and dedicated work for love. To her, the sex workers and their children are her own children. Whatever problem they face she is always
ready to solve it with a smile. And the most important thing I like about her is that in spite of doing such a great work but she does not want to keep herself in limelight. She once asked me ‘Tell me something if there is dirt in your own house would you tell others, hey look I have cleared it.’ She is very clear about her life’s objectives and has totally focused her life on that. As Devi Durga is protecting this universe with her ten hands, she is also standing as a guard to her organization and protecting it. I saw her facing innumerable obstacles while she has been working but she overcomes all with her strong zeal. In my life, I have seen a very women to whom ‘Work is Worship’ and that too when it’s for such a noble cause. My experience of working with her is amazing, the more I think, the more it grows. She is like a tree that has spread her branches all over the world to protect women from every possible disaster.She is like that lamp which apart from igniting herself is also showing light to other to strive towards betterment.To conclude,with the lines of  Dawna Markova :

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible,

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing,

a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance,

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom,

and that which came to me as blossom,

goes on as fruit.

Urmi Basu : Ponds Femina Miss India 'Women of Substance 2013'

Whatever knowledge you have given us,the more we spend,the more it grows.
You are truly as beautiful as your work!

Letter of Appreciation by Rani Mukherjee :) 

* This is a winning post for Ponds Femina Miss India Women of Substance 2013 by Godrej Eon 
and for   I am Mardaani activity exclusively at BlogAdda.com for Indian Bloggers.

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  1. Very impressive write up. After reading it, I feel like I have just met Mrs. Basu. My salutes to Mrs. Basu...

  2. Truly wonderful! Such a pretty lady with inner beauty!
    The lady with the lamp- the lamp that dispels darkness in so many lives...
    This is what making a difference means.
    Great that you shared her story!
    Very well done! Congrats for winning :)