(Last Updated on : 16/01/2009)
Mary Clubvala can be called as the mother of destitutes. She considered that her mission in life was to serve the poor and needy. She received the international award for the best social worker from the International Council for Social Welfare at Hague. She was responsible for the internationalization of the Guild of Service. Her life became synonymous with the history and growth of Guild of Service. She created history of sorts by being reappointed fifteen times as the Juvenile Court Magistrate. The Government of India honored her with many awards: 'Padma Shri', 'Padma Bhushan' and 'Padma Vibhushan'. She was the First Lady Under-Sheriff of Madras. The Madras Government nominated her to the Madras Legislative Council of Madras State.
Mary was born on 16th June 1908 as the daughter of Rustom Patel at Ooty. She was born into the lap of luxury. She was married at the age of eighteen but tragedy engulfed her when her husband died on their way to Europe and she had to become a widow at the age of 27. She with her little son was left alone in a foreign country. This was the first ordeal she had to face in her life. She came to Madras and engaged herself in social work. During this time Mrs. Waller (a European lady) started the Guild of Service with the goal of servicing the needy. Mary Clubwala joined them. With the knowledge of four languages Gujarati
l it was not a difficult job for her to work with them. She became the corner stone of the organization.
The Guild of Service had branches in many States as Bombay, Delhi
, Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu
. The growth of the organization was mainly due to her dynamic drive. She was appointed as the Honorary Presidency Magistrate for Madras and continued it till the end of her life She started so many projects like adoption of children, starting health centers, bakery units, bal bhawan, boys' and girls' homes, balvihars, children's home, family assistance schemes, family planning clinics, girls training institutes, home for the handicapped, Leukaemia Project, school for the deaf, Creches at various places, meals on wheels, nutrition on wheels, printing press, rural development projects, children (monetary) sponsorship unit, working womens' hostels.
Mary was connected with about 150 organizations throughout India and a few outside India. Her biggest contribution was at the time of World War II. She looked after the wounded soldiers and organized a hospitality committee to look after them. After the war was over, the Indian Hospitality Committee was transformed into Prisoners Welfare and Ex-servicemen's Welfare Committee. The army staffs were thankful to her and General Cariappa
called her "the Darling of the Army". The Army presented her with a Japanese sword in recognition of her valuable services. With the help of the foreign welfare agencies she looked after destitute children.
She founded the Madras State Branch of the Indian Conference of Social Work and later, hosted many all-India conferences in Madras. The Madras School of Social Work was started practically with her endeavors and inspiring guidance. The Madras Government recognized the School. She actively worked with the Tuberculosis and City Leprosy Relief Committees and made generous contributions to these organizations. She donated six beds to Kasturba Gandhi Leprosy Home in memory of her late husband Mr.N.P.Clubwala. She also worked for Harijan welfare and established nursery schools for Harijan children.
She remarried Major Chandrakanth. K Jadav, twenty years after her first husband's death. It was a joyous union and she found in him an ardent supporter of all her work. Mrs. Clubwala dedicated her life for the poor and oppressed people. She was indeed an angel sent by God to look after his children. She breathed her last on1975 when she was only 67 years old.