In The Season of 'Hate' and 'Lockdown', Kamaldeep Suri and Akram Chaudhary Provide 'iftar' and Cooked Food to Poor People in Delhi's Narela Area
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MAY 17—At a time when Muslims are coming under mob attacks and boycott of their businesses following hate campaign launched by a majority of the mainstream media groups and a sea of hate videos being circulated on social media against them, Kamaldeep Suri and Mohammed Akram Chaudhary of Narela, on the outskirts of Delhi, bordering Sonepat district of Haryana, have presented a unique example of working together and serving the poor, irrespective of their faith.
Ever since the lockdown was announced to check the spread of coronavirus in the country, Suri and Chaudhary took upon themselves the responsibility to feed the poor people in and around Kuraini village, adjoining the Narela Industrial Estate, with a majority of the residents being poor Muslims.
The two friends initially provided cooked food one time daily after the announcement of lockdown. After the commencement of Ramzan on April 25, the duo also began providing ‘iftar’ to the Muslim population. Neither Suri nor Chaudhary disclosed who is paying for the expenses, but Chaudhary’s friends say that almost entire expenses on the food and ‘iftar’ is being borne by Suri himself.
While Suri runs his transport business from Narela Industrial Estate, Chaudhary runs a small travel agency from his residence in Kuraini village. Chaudhary said that Suri was initially planning to run the free food service somewhere else. But he changed his mind after Chaudhary told him that majority of the people in and around Kuraini village were daily wage workers and very poor and it was very difficult for them to arrange food after the lockdown. Suri immediately changed his plan and joined Chaudhary in his plan to help the poor hit by lockdown.
Ever since the free food service was launched, Suri has made it a point to come daily to Kuraini village and participate personally in distribution of food and ‘iftar’ which, he says, is “his service to humanity”. The entire team for procurement of raw materials, cooking of food, transport and its distribution is handled by the volunteers arranged by Chaudhary.
Speaking to India Tomorrow, Suri said, “We don’t ask the religion of the hungry. It is our duty to feed the hungry without asking for his/ her religion”.
He said that about 2,000 people were being given ‘iftar’ and cooked food of the same quality once in a day in the evening that people generally cooked and ate in their own houses.
“After carrying out a survey of the needy people, we have issued slips to each family, mentioning the number of members in their families. We distribute ‘iftar’ and food on the basis of the number of members in the families”, said Suri.
Asked that he was doing a great job when there was an atmosphere of hatred all around, he said, “I am doing it as a service for the humanity. Hatred is being spread by politicians for political gains. They know they can’t get votes if they don’t divide people. Sometimes, they make Hindus their vote bank and sometimes, they make Muslims their vote banks which is deepening the gap between communities. Hatred is the gift of politicians to the country. I see videos on youtube and social media which are highly communally provocative and this is being done under an agenda to promote hate which is not good for anybody”.
“But my agenda is different and it is to promote harmony and peace. We are supplying food to the poor, people rendered unemployed due to lockdown. We don’t know here who is a Hindu and who is a Muslim. While those receiving ‘iftar’ are Muslims but those being given food are both Hindus and Muslims. But we can’t identify their religion. And no one should ask for the religion of the people. For me, everybody is a human being”, said Suri.
Chaudhary, who has inherited social service from his parents and grand-parents, said, “Suri and I are good friends and take part in social activities together. When I suggested Suri to run free food service for the poor people in Kuraini village-Chaudhary’s native village, adjoining Narela Industrial Estate-Suri lapped it up immediately and started the project”.
Chaudhary said that as most of the people in and around the village are daily wage workers, it was difficult for them to arrange even basic necessity of food for themselves and their families.
Suri and Chaudhary say that the free food service will continue until lockdown is lifted.