ALLAHABAD: Raja Ram Tiwari or 'Bhule Bhatke Walon ke Baba', known to the world as the one who ran 'lost and found camp' on the banks of the Sangam during Kumbh and Magh Melas for the past 71 years, died here on Saturday. He was 88. Tiwari, according to a conservative estimate, united over 14 lakh adults and around 21,000 children with their families during his self-less service spreading over seven decades. Hislatest passion was cleaning the Ganga. Babuji initiated his new venture, that of undertaking massive cleaning work of Ganga from Purnima (full moon) of April and wanted to do the same on every Purnima, but could not do much," said Umesh Tiwari, youngest among his four sons. Raja Rama has left behind a family of 28 members including 20 grandchildren and his wife Shanti Devi (85 yrs) who lives in his native village of Gura Pure Badal of Nandu Ka Pura, Raniganj Tehsil of Pratapgrah district.
Starting the noble cause at the age of 18 along with his nine associates (in 1946), Raja Ram continued his work relentlessly for the past 71 years, starting from a handmade crude loudspeaker to a full-fledged camp having a strong team of over 150 volunteers during the previous Kumbh Mela in 2013..
When asked how his work will move forward, his long-term associate Pushkar Upadhayay said, "Such selfless service cannot stop after the demise of a person, especially the one who started it. No doubt we will miss his guidance in running the camp, but at any cost his name and work would continue, with more passion and commitment." Although the iconic man earned several awards and citations, including being featured in TV programme Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi (broadcast on October 15, 2015), his family members feel that his services were not recognized by the Central government.
As his body was brought from his native village to his house at Om Gayatri Nagar colony of the city, several senior officials of the district administration and prominent citizens visited his house to pay their last respect.