Hyderabad: There is a serious dearth of old-age homes in the old city of Hyderabad to take care of abandoned or poor senior citizens. Social activists have attributed this to the alleged failure of Muslim religious leaders to create awareness in the community. Old city is dominated by the Muslims and though the religion Islam obligates children to look after their parents, but a large number of elderly Muslim men and women are living in penury and at the mercy of neighbours for food, clothes and medicare.
In this scenario activists call upon the Imams of mosques and other religious leaders to create awareness about the importance of social service, health and education, during their sermons in the fasting month of Ramadan.
The Times of India has quoted Mujtaba Hasan Askari, managing trustee of Helping Hand Foundation as saying, “There is dearth of shelters or old-age homes in old city. A recent survey revealed that there are no facilities in old city for care of the sick, indisposed and elderly.”
Mr. Askari has observed that elderly people are often abandoned by their families. He further revealed that hundreds of elderly and destitute patients from Muslim community are deprived of care and life of dignity in their last stages of life. Neighbours lend their support by providing food but even they have limitations and cannot provide long term care, which he felt that only a proper facility can provide.
He urged religious scholars to utilise the month of Ramadan to educate Muslims about taking care of the old, as a large number of Muslims gather in masajid during Ramadan for prayers.
He suggested that the Zakat and Sadaqah (charity) offered to madrasas during Ramadan should be channelized to construct old age homes in old city for the benefit of the needy.