An Officer and A Samaritan – Shyamal Kumar Das

By: Rajdeep Bhattacharjee

November 15, 2015


Whenever we try to conjure the picture of a government officer, the image that floats to our sub –conscious mind is that of a self-seeker, obsessed with his career, totally insensitive to the aspirations of the common man. More so, if he happens to be an Income Tax Officer. The common perception amongst general public is that an income tax officer is invariably corrupt and minting money at the expense of government exchequer. Against this abysmal dark back drop Sri Shyamal Kumar Das stands out like a shinning exception.


If you ever get a chance to visit the infamous Income Tax building – ‘Bamboo Villa’, Kolkata you will find almost everyone knows Sri Das by his first name, Shyamal-Da. As he is more popularly known will invariably be in his seat by stroke of nine thirty (punctuality as we know is a rare virtue amongst civil servants) after making a round of one of the government hospitals in the city. If you think that he is doctor then I am afraid that you have not guessed correctly. Then why does he visit the hospitals regularly? Truly speaking, he is the link between the doctors and the patients, friends and guide to both the donor and recipient.


I ask Mr. Das how did he take a fancy to this job? After all, the job of a tax official is extremely demanding which consumes a good part of his daily hours. He explains that this started as his pastime grew to be his passion and has now become the source of sustenance of his mind. It all started when he was working at Bamboo Villa, where every year special assistance were provided to general public for filing income tax returns, in the last week of July by the service associations. During the course of this program, where he worked as a volunteer he came to be acquainted with a number of doctors. Initially, requests would come in trickles from departmental officials seeking appointment with doctors or for admission in hospitals.


Slowly he developed rapport with the different doctors and the number of people seeking his recommendations for appointments increased. Then came the next transition. With the help of some fellow colleagues in the office a medical unit was set up at Bamboo Villa, Kolkata where different specialists gave free consultation to the income tax people and their family members. When this initiative fizzled out after a couple of years Shyamal has single headedly carried the burden of facilitating his colleagues for medical assistance.


Working untiringly he has developed close bonds with almost all the city doctors. He has been voluntarily advising them on income tax related matters. So much so he has become personal friends with many of them. Name any doctor in Kolkata and you can say with confidence that Shyamal knows him well. By this time the circle of patients has also increased, from income tax people to the general public. I asked him what is in this work that gets him going. He simply states the satisfaction he derives when an ailing person gets back to his feet is immeasurable.


Further the condition of the patients coming from the lowest strata has left a deep impression in his mind. His heart bleeds when helpless patients, without any man or money power are refused by the inhuman public healthcare system. He always comes to their aid by donating money for purchasing medicine or for surgical treatments or by cajoling the doctors for subsidized treatment. But he feels that individual efforts like his are only a drop in the ocean, considering the magnitude of the plight of the masses. In order to give a more concerted and organized shape to his endeavors he along with some likeminded friends have started an non-government organization called “Prayas” in his backyard, at Barasat.


The NGO not only helps people in need for medicine and treatment, financially but also gives them proper medical advice as to the best course for treatment. Recently a day long health camp was organized under the banner of Prayas where about 1400 people were provided free medical Check-up by some of the eminent doctors from different streams of specialization dispensed their voluntary medical advice to the patients.






Another feature of the health check-up camp this year was felicitation of 15 cancer survivors. According to Mr. Das, Prayas is taking active role in supporting the cancer patients for quite some time now. Considering the fact that number of cancer cases in Bengal is assuming an alarming proportion, Prayas felt it an urgent need to stand by these suffering patients. Sri Das said normally whenever a cancer patient approaches them; the NGO tries to get them the appointment with appropriate oncologist. Thereafter in case of needy patients help in form of financial aid or free medicines are provided, to the extent possible. To highlight this cause and salute the fighting sprite of the cancer survivors, they were handed over a token memorabilia and scarf by the renowned footballer Shilton Paul and international athlete Susmita Singha Roy.






Mr. Das said that at present Prayas is managing solely from the donations of its members and few outsiders who sympathize with its cause. The NGO dreams big and hopes to spread its wings in future to provide succour to many more needy patients who are virtually left helpless by the callous societal attitude.




Mr. Shyamal Kumar Das is also actively involved with another NGO – ‘Fight Cancer’ and helps in arranging number of health awareness programs. Every evening you would find him in a small room near Hridaypur railway station where poor people line up for his assistance medical as well as financial. I wish him the best in his tryst and hope many more people, fired by his example will come forward to emulate him.






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About Rajdeep Bhattacharjee

A ravenous eater, a thirsty drinker, an enthusiastic traveller and a very sound sleeper – once a wannabe hacker and now a Government employee, is an aspiring food critic and travel blogger. He hates the loose use of the word ‘foodie’ and prefers, instead, the expression ‘food devotee’. For him, good food and honest people are the biggest motivators.


    Sunita D Bhattacharya

    November 15, 2015 at 9:50 pm


    Its very nice to know we have such a nice officer in our department who istrying to help common mass with his efforts and kind grsture. An Income-tax Officer has
    a very busy schedule. To take out time and do such great works is a bit difficult but not impossible this we can learn from him. We can also try to do our bit to help common mass. As Swami Vivekananda has said Service to Humanity is Service to God. This is one such example. Income-tax department and I can say Nation is proud of you Shyamalda. U inspiref us. We will follow you.

    Abhisek Das

    November 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm


    Great job… My respect

    Paramita ghosh

    November 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm


    Salute to Shyamal das….and thanks to rajdeep for the article…..very well written indeed…..

    U K

    November 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm


    The story of a Legend in himself – that’s how I will describe it in a short sentence. Very well written with words and pictures which enhance the simplicity yet greatness of this great Man. Salutations and very happy for you to have got inspired and bringing out your best in life.

    My answer: Tata is a name which any and every person can rely on for its honesty, commitment and perseverance. Lionel Messi is a legend who has carved his name in history books with total dedication to the game, simple living and improvisation which is seen with each game he plays. The association of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi as their Brand Ambassador will definitely give an edge to the Tata group over its competitors solely because the brand Ambassador also holds the same reputation of not letting his fans down ever, like Tata Motors who have given the best to the world over the decades. Its an exemplary association par excellence.

    You can choose my answer as the Voucher winning comment if you feel I described it all well.. 🙂 Please remember to post it on the Indiblogger contest page today.

    Saurabh Rana

    November 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm


    Mr. Shyamal Kumar Das – A ‘True’ Hero. In this context, a hero is not just someone who does action roles in the movies. A hero is someone who plays a vital role in day to day life of human beings. We always say this world is running because of good people. Here is a life example perfectly stated in details by Rajdeep Da. Hat’s off brother and a food devotee as he hates the use of the word foodie. To be real successful, it involves acting and catering towards the well being of the society. #True Inspiration #Weneedmoremenlikethis

    Association between TATA and Lionel Messi –
    1) Started from scratch.
    2) Perseverance – Continuous effort by both lead them to success.
    3) Highly committed to their work. For messi, it’s his game and we all know how well he plays. 🙂
    4) Both of them earned their name.
    5) Integrity – Well integrity has many synonyms such as truthfullness, sincerity, nobility, highmindedness, ethics, morals and the list continues.

    Well, i don’t watch football much but what i observed is that Lionel Messi is a player who plays fair and Tata is also a company who caters to the society by satisfying the needs of the society and keeping in mind the Corporate Social Responsibility as well. Hence, to conclude, we all can observe that Messi and Tata will go hand in hand and will help them have an advantage over their competitors. #bestsuitedasbrandambassador

    Subhasis Chatterjee

    November 24, 2015 at 8:14 pm


    Mr. Shyamal Kumar Das, a real hero and a “friend in need” to the society. I salute him.

    Taking four-time winner of the best football player of the world award Messi as Brand Ambassador is definitely a professional call on the part of Tata Motors. It indicates how serious they are in communicating the values of the luxury vehicle business. This association with the No. 1 player in the soccer world will surely elevate them and drive the brand to great height. Forget not, when Messi calls, the world erupts…now, when Tata Motors will call, the world will certainly roll on.

    Ankur Banik

    November 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm


    Being a doctor myself,I am touched that bit more. Great work. We need for people like this. An example and a hero for us all.

    Alok S

    November 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm


    Indeed a nicely written post. I wish you good luck for the contest
    Here is my answer
    The association of Tata Motors with Lionel Messi is that of two greats. Lionel Messi has been exceptionally talented who with his hard work, determination and sacrifices has got better and tougher in his chosen sport so is the Image, reputation and quality of TATA Motors that have transformed brilliant ideas into masterpieces of engineering and created a brand and products that we are so proud of as Indians. Lionel Messi has transformed his body and the mind body co-ordination into a masterpiece of precision and excellence it would not be wrong to say that Lionel Messi is the TATA Motors of sports where as TATA Motors is the Lionel Messi of vehicles both giants in their own spheres driven by the drive to excel and lead by example. So Lionel Messi is the best choice for becoming the brand Ambassador for TATA Motors


    November 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm


    Your post describes #madeofgreat so well that it has winner written all over it. Good luck for your entry.
    Here is my answer.
    Like minds think and act alike looking at the track record of TATA Motors it has stood the test of time and built a business that was built using bricks of hard work on a foundation of trust. Authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation are the trademarks of brand TATA Motors. These same qualities are present in Lionel Messi who with his immense talent has made a mark for himself on the international football field .Facing all hardships he has worked hard toiling on the fields and in training sessions facing injuries and pressure to come out trumps and be a winner. Thus these two greats Lionel Messi and TATA Motors are made for each other .There association is a bond of two legends
    In case you pick me a winner my email id is :
    Fingers crossed 🙂


    November 25, 2015 at 4:55 pm


    Your post defines #madeofgreat to the hilt. Goodluck for the contest
    My answer is:
    Authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation are the pillars of strength on which TATA have built a brand that has put India on the global map. It is a brand that has stood the test of time just like Lionel Messi who tackles opposition on the field with his skill,agility,strategy,brilliance and raw power to reach and score a goal so has been the track record of TATA motors who has become a brand leader and a global giant. These qualities make TATA Motors and Lionel Messi perfect partners who stand for the same set of values thus Lionel Messi is the perfect brand ambassador to represent TATA Motors.
    Hope my best to be a winner here; do contact me for the prize at
    fingers crossed


    November 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm


    Your post defines #madeofgreat in an awesome manner.Very well written and interesting post indeed.
    My Answer
    Tata Motors is a brand that makes durable vehicles, with its MADE IN INDIA mark makes every Indian proud. It is a brand seen globally as Trusted, Reliable, Innovative and at the forefront of technology. In its journey since inception it has overcome all odds, competition, and adversities with grit and determination. These same qualities are associated with Lionel Messi who was very talented and hardworking from a very early age. With each game that he played he kept improving his skills and built a career to become one of the best player of professional football. There qualities make both TATA Motors and Lionel Messi giants who perfectly compliment each other and Lionel Messi the right and perfect Ambassador who stands for the same values that TATA Motors does.


    November 25, 2015 at 11:44 pm


    Yours is a very well written post your .Its is a very nice description of #madeofgreat
    TATA Motors is a brand associated with performance, endurance and excellence. These words are also synonymous with Lionel Messi who plays as a forward and weaves his magic on the football field.Just as Lionel Messi is considered the best footballer in the world ,TATA motors which is Indias premier automotive manufacturer gives wheels to the people of India with its wide range of vehicles. Both believe in excelling in whatever they do and set examples for others to follow. They compliment each other as both are reliable trustworthy and leaders thus Lionel Messi is the natural choice as the brand ambassador of TATA Motors

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1915940_101100699948573_1759232_nRajdeep Bhattacharjee wears many feathers in his cap. A ravenous eater, a thirsty drinker, an enthusiastic traveller and a very sound sleeper – Rajdeep, once a wannabe hacker and now a Government employee, is an aspiring food critic and travel blogger. He hates the loose use of the word 'foodie' and prefers, instead, the expression 'food devotee'. For him, good food and honest people are the biggest motivators.

He is the founder of Gourmets Travel Guide, a website devoted completely to food and travel. Rajdeep is an avid blogger and one can find many of his sojourns aptly expressed on the website

Rajdeep had been recently chosen by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to board the inaugural flight from Kolkata to Bangkok (TG – 336) and received accolades for wonderfully recounting the experience, from start to finish, in his blog. In fact, his travelogue was featured in Hangla Hneshel, one of India's foremost Bengali magazine dedicated completely to food and travel. Rajdeep doesn't stop there! One of his undersea walks also got featured in The Telegraph, one of India's leading dailies. He is also one of the chief curators and a selector for chefs and restaurants for Channel One's Resto Ranna episodes.

Zomato ranks Rajdeep among the top ten food connoisseurs in the city. He has also been ranked number 5 and 6, in this year's Network 18 and Burrp surveys respectively, as one of the discerning food critics in the country.

Rajdeep loves eating out at different restaurants. A true blue Bengali at heart and gut, experimenting with food and palates come naturally to him. And he doesn't mind leaving an endearing word or two for chefs who have displayed their talents on the plate and the restaurant management for the inviting ambiance of an eatery.

Rajdeep counts is as his forte the wonderful rapport he shares with different media houses. Thus his writings have already been picked up by top food journals and news dailies apart from the exposure he has to talk about them on social media. Reputation management of his clients come naturally to him be it on the virtual platform or in print.

He has been blogging for the last three years. When he is not writing on food and travel or working as a Government employee, you can most certainly catch him with a camera slung around his neck and travel gear ready to satisfy his inner wanderlust.