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Businessmen for the Poor About the book,

“For the poor in our village, the weekly market is more important than your weekly clinic. That is why we go to the market instead of coming to the clinic you conduct.” This was the curt reply by a man from the village to a very pointed question I asked him in my clinic. And when we responded in a considerate and thoughtful manner and changed the clinic day, they came in large numbers. This thought in the community underpinned and supported our basic concept of providing integrated health and development services to the community.


This book is written forty years after Daleep Mukarji initiated the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs, popularly known as RUHSA, and developed it along with Rajaratnam Abel, both of Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. The aim of RUHSA was improving the health of the population along with alleviation of poverty. Their work involved providing primary and secondary healthcare to a rural population of over 100,000 people along with the provision of a wide variety of development services for poverty alleviation.


They imported quality bull semen from the USA and upgraded the quality of the low milk yielding local cows, thereby creating thousands of small businesswomen. Introducing drought resistant flowering plants created hundreds of small businessmen. Training thousands of youth with vocational skills in a variety of trades resulted in a substantial number of small businessmen. Self Help Groups of women empowered many to become small businesswomen

What an economic transformation took place in K V Kuppam Block! No one realised that unwittingly a large number of small businessmen and businesswomen were created in the community and thereby reduced poverty. Equally surprising was the observation that both Daleep and Abel had become leaders of a team of Businessmen for the Poor.


Then came the big development question. Is this model replicable? We veered around to accept that RUHSA was not replicable in its entirety. That was until we did some research for this book.

Situated in one corner of Uganda is a pastor who studied for one year in RUHSA in the nineties. To our utter amazement, we learnt that he had replicated RUHSA appropriate for Uganda. The only difference was that he called them job creators.


This is their story of how both Daleep and Abel reduced poverty. Imagine what would happen to India if every District Collector (CEO) were to be empowered with the story of Businessmen for the Poor and practically implemented the concept!


Now, who wouldn’t want to get hold of this book either by pre-ordering or by purchasing a copy as soon as it hits the shelves?


Keywords: Development economics, sustainable rural development, catastrophic health expenditure, vocational training and entrepreneurship for youth, poorest of the poor, livestock and livelihoods.


If you would like to learn more about this forthcoming book as well as interact with the author, Please subscribe to my newsletter below.

Businessmen for the Poor and birds of the air…….

Businessmen for the Poor and birds of the air……..

I was introduced to this verse right from my childhood. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” I have read this verse many times in my life and took it for granted as just another verse from the Bible until I had my life call from God.

My family had great expectations from me. They wanted me to be a private practitioner making tons of money for the family. The family was interested in investing in a clinic that was up for sale. I visited the site. I returned and informed that I would not be interested in private practice and that I have chosen a service pathway.

Even in the service pathway, I was also under criticism for leaving a clinical field of medicine and doing public health, and of all things doing development, trying to reduce poverty. I needed assurance that God indeed wanted me to be involved in working for the poor.

I had a free day. The date was July 31, 1982. I was staying at 11 Hailey Road, New Delhi, after having attended a meeting the previous day. I wanted to meet a Christian leader whom I admired and who worked in Delhi.

I got his phone number and I rang him around eight in the morning. The bell rang through, but there was no response. There were about three numbers. The response was the same from all the numbers.

Disappointed, I went back to my room and knelt down in prayer sharing with God my disappointment. I opened my Bible. The portion of that day was Proverbs 31. As I started reading that chapter, and as I came down to verses eight and nine, God spoke to me directly. The words were as follows.

“Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.” (Good News Bible).

First of all, God spoke to me at that moment, asking why I was going around expecting leaders to tell me about His call. He seemed to be telling me, “I am giving you my call directly, without any human intermediary.” I was thankful to the Lord for giving me His call for service so directly.

With God’s call clearly approving the way I was progressing in my work, speaking and working for the poor became a normal part of my life. Living in the village setting, I was able to witness the hardships many farmers faced.

The life of our campus neighbour whom I will call Nataraj (Name changed), beautifully illustrates the problems many farmers faced. Nataraj had inherited quite a large area of land. He would grow sugarcane, paddy, bananas, maize, peanuts and other crops in different designated areas of his farm. It was always a pleasant sight to see him harvest paddy, sugar cane and bananas.

One year the rains failed at a critical time and his sugar cane crops wilted and he did not get the full yield that he expected. In the following year, the same thing happened to his banana crop. Just a short while before harvesting at the height of the rainy season, the rains failed again. He lost very badly.

Surprisingly, shortly after the rainy season was over it rained heavily. It was unusual. In a playful manner, Nataraj sowed some local maize seeds. They grew well.

Again, in the following month, when it normally does not rain, it rained heavily. The plants were watered and they grew well. Again, the following month also it rained. The plants started flowering and they started bearing pods of maize.

It was lovely to look at this farm. This was the only farm that had tall standing local maize with ripening grain. I was so happy for Nataraj.

One morning I went to the town for my work. I returned in the afternoon. The sight before me was one of deep sadness. Every plant had a bird holding on precariously on to the top of the plant and eating away the grains that were ready to be harvested. I felt so sorry for Nataraj. He lost everything, every grain that promised to be a good harvest until that morning.

Then God reminded me of the verse, I had been taught since childhood and quoted above. What a powerful manner in which God taught me the meaning of this verse. Indeed, God takes care of the birds of the air. He had also said that we humans are of far greater worth than these birds.

And then He continued to speak to me. He seemed to be telling me, “I have separated you to be that individual through whom I will provide for the poor.” Then when I related to my work, it was so very clear.

God’s plan in identifying people like me throughout the world to care for the poor is part of His larger plan. His plan covers the poor of all religions, castes, tribes, nationalities, not just any specific group of people.

I have been sharing with many of you, how God has helped me along with Daleep to write the book, ‘Businessmen for the Poor.’ Now you can understand, that this book is not a random book, just describing what we did for the poor. It has a wider purpose. This experience can be replicated all over the world adapted for the needs and situation of each country.

The last stages of publishing the book is taking a little longer time than I envisaged. So, I thought, you will find it interesting to know the larger plan of God and His concern for the poor all over the world. I’ll be back soon with details of the next steps of the book.

What can you do? This book is for people who are working to reduce poverty anywhere in the world. Please share it widely to your email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn friends.

Not all may be involved in poverty reduction. Still, pass it on as it would get passed on. You can request them to join my mailing list, as there is plenty to share beyond just sharing about the book


Rajaratnam Abel



Background to my forthcoming book: ‘Businessmen for the poor’

I thought you will be interested to know some aspects of the background of the above-mentioned forthcoming book.


Shortly after I had joined RUHSA (Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs), a middle-aged man named Govindan, walked into my clinic, and started the following conversation.


“Yesterday I waited for a long time in your clinic in our village. Since you did not come, I have come to your health centre. Tell me, why did you skip coming to my village?”


I responded almost impulsively, “Please sit down and explain. For the past one year we have been coming to your village regularly. Hardly anyone attends our clinic. We were planning to stop our clinic. We closed the clinic because it was our New Year holiday. Can you explain why people in your village do not attend our clinic?”


He said that the clinic we conducted on a Monday morning clashed with the major weekly market. The market was more important for the village than the clinic. He suggested that if we changed the clinic day, then more patients would come.


When we changed the clinic day, they came in large numbers. We faced the stark reality that people were more interested in their market related business than coming to a weekly clinic.


His explanation completely changed our understanding of people’s perception on the primacy of business over health. This was the seed that laid the foundation for ‘businessmen for the poor.’


I would be delighted if you can share information about this forthcoming book with those who you feel would benefit from this book. They could be NGOs working for the poor, banking professionals, economists, development professionals and others.


Please click on the link below to include your email id in my newsletter.



Rajaratnam Abel









Businessmen for the Poor: Reducing poverty by creating small businessmen and businesswomen

Businessmen for the Poor

Reducing poverty by creating small businessmen and businesswomen


By God’s grace, He has enabled to complete my next book. This is the title of the book now submitted for the publishing process. The whole process might take some time.

I am sharing this information, as I may need the intellectual support of those who are interested in knowing more about this work.

In due course of time, I will share more about the book and the ways in which, you can help in improving the book.

This book I about the work of RUHSA, of Christian Medical College, Vellore, that was started by Daleep Mukarji, my classmate. Our goal was to reduce poverty and improve the health of the people.

When we reviewed our work after my years, we realized that in the pathway of reducing poverty, we had actually created a large number of small businessmen and businesswomen.

This book presents a number of success stories of such entrepreneurs. In subsequent blogs, I will share some of the stories.

Please feel free to ask questions as well share this information, with those who are involved in reducing poverty.


Rajaratnam Abel




Stories for children

God has given me the privilege of serving children through an organization. One of the functions I am responsible for is to edit a monthly newsletter.

There is a good team to prepare the materials. My role is to ensure the accuracy of the materials printed as well as in guiding the direction of the newsletter.

Each month I would like to share at least one full-length story that could be used by the wardens in the hostels.

I would be delighted to receive stories from those of you have access to them.

The stories may be sent as they are or copy and paste on to a word document or the links could be sent to me.

They may be posted on Facebook or on my website or to the email id given below:


Businessmen for the Poor

My third book, ‘Businessmen for the Poor’ has now entered the publishing process. This book is based on my lifetime of service for the poor.

God called me to speak for the poor. This has been my lifetime work. More books will follow this in addition to the previous two books published. For the moment I am introducing and working only on this book.

You may think that your life and work is far from the title of this book. I will need the support of everyone in my social media network to share the word around so that those who are involved in empowering the poor will benefit from this book. You can start sharing this with those you may know who could benefit from this. You can invite them clicking on the link below.

I will provide more information in my coming mails and indicate very specifically how you can help.


Bye for now.