By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Hundreds of people who arrive from far-flung areas to the major hospitals in the city for their kin’s treatment, are provided food free of cost from this mosque in Aurangabad.
Besides, the destitute and the needy have their meals inside the mosque too–free meals twice a day for anyone irrespective of their faith.
This is an inspiring story from Maharashtra–that how an initiative which was taken up seven years ago, has now grown up so big and got wide attention from people across the State and even outside.
While the needy arrive at the mosque both for lunch and dinner, food is sent to eight major hospitals. The auto-rickshaws carry the food every day, twice. At Cancer Hospital, its lunch time, the volunteers reach the place, roll out the mats and after the lunch is over, clean the space, taking back the garbage bins that they bring along.
When it began in 2012, anyone who came to the mosque was just ask to make an entry in the register along with patient’s name and ward in hospital, as it was necessary, particularly, when people took lunch box for the kin admitted in the hospital.
The Tamir-e-Millat members realised that many came from districts like Nanded and Parbhani. On the basis of these records, the mosque committee members say that over 14 lakh persons have availed the facility.
Aurangabad, a city that has seen a surge in population and also arrival of large number of people from neighbouring districts and towns for treatment, in this region of Maharashtra. Everyday, hundreds of people are provided food twice, absolutely free of cost.
Tamir-e-Millat, a social organisation, has been behind this ambitious plan. Late Khan Abdul Halim Hasher, who headed the Masjid Jameel Baig’s committee, was the man who came up with the idea. As he saw lot of people who came from rural areas in the hospitals and didn’t have enough money to take care of daily expenses during the period of hospitalization.
The mosque was near the biggest government hospital where patients come from at least seven districts in the region, hence, first it was started for this particular hospital and later more hospitals were covered, says Abdul Moid Hasher, who is now trying hard to take his father’s mission further.
“Food is provided to patients, their kin at eight hospitals including the cancer hospital. Besides, any other person who is hungry, poor, needy or destitute can have food at the mosque”. There are around three dozen people who are engaged in the work–from cooking to distribution, ensuring systematic work, maintaining hygiene and supervision.
Many of those who work are widows and are have been given employment for their services at the mosque. The hospitals include Sattaya Vishnu Hospital at Rauza Bagh, Government Hospital Chikal Thana, MGM Hospital, Muskan Hospital, AIMS Hospital on Jalgaon Raod, Cancer Hospital at Aam Khaas ground and Government Hospital Ghati.
“When it was started, initially it was tough because the expenses were more than our budget. But my father was determined and by the Grace of God, we have always got support. People from all castes and communities come and have meals together. Even students often come, everyone is welcome”, says Moid Hasher, who comes from a business family. Social support and cooperation is the key to running the free food programme succesfully.
People praise the zeal and dedication of those involved in the social service. “I must say that they are doing great work. It is this sort of work that needs to be replicated and emulated. It is inspiring”, says Khan Abdul Basit, an engineer who hails from Aurangabad.