M. A. Siraj
The grand gesture of a middle-class family selling off a piece of its property to feed hunger-stricken families has won wide acclaim in the local media in Karnataka.
Tajammul Pasha (40) and his brother Muzammil Pasha (32), residents of Kolar, 40 km east of Bengaluru, were restless since the lockdown triggered by the COVID pandemic grounded the civic life to a complete halt on March 22. Residents of Autonagar, the Pashas were perturbed at the sight of countless families sleeping hungry in their vicinity. Having risen from a penurious background, they were acutely aware of the pangs of hunger gnawing the vitals of the poor and the shelter-less. They decided to sell off a shed they owned within the town that stood on a 1,400 sq. ft. of land.
The deal was closed at Rs. 25 lakh and the kind buyer aware of the brothers’ intention to direct the money to a charitable purpose, made no delay in payment. Tajammul and Muzammil took up the operations earnestly and began reaching the poor households in their vicinity. Their attention was drawn to the attendants of patients stranded in the District Government Hospital premises. Severed from their relatives in the villages and with eateries closed, they had no one to take care. The duo arranged food packets for them.
As the word went around, requests began pouring in from other localities. Having themselves been orphans from a young age, the duo had slogged day and night all through as real estate brokers for the last three decades to buy a home for themselves and some additional pieces of property to bank upon in future exigencies. But painful memories of their own miserable past were constantly urging them to part with some portion of the small fortune they had made. The sight of swarms of workless and hungry labourers on the small town’s M. G. Road sent them into action.
With money in hand, they ordered bulk purchase of grocery item. A call on the WhatsApp brought friends and family members together in a group to record the calls from the needy, identify their genuineness through local contacts and prepare ration kits with 10 kgs of rice, 2 kgs of wheat flour, some sugar, tur dal, a pouch of oil, some packets of tea leaves, biscuits, essential spices, a couple of masks and a bottle of sanitizer, all worth over a thousand rupees. The philanthropy did not go unnoticed. Junaid Khan, a local hotel owner and Rajesh Singh, a businessman also joined them. Small help also came from several others.
Tajammul is the father of five kids while Muzammil has two sons. Tajammul says his first priority is to reach those households that have no male heads. Next, come daily-wagers who have lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown. Ration kits are sent to homes that have orphans, senior citizens, and patients. Food packets are being handed over to inmates and attendants at hospitals and those stranded on railway stations, bus depots and the jobless labourers from Rajasthan at the nearby Narasapur Industrial Estate. He even dispatched kits following calls from helpless women from Bangarapet, 15 km from Kolar and a prominent railway junction on Bengaluru-Chennai railway line. Care has been taken to ensure no religion and community affiliations are not taken into consideration in the distribution of help.
It is over a fortnight that they started the charitable work. It is proceeding ceaselessly with more vigour every day. The group has already dispatched 1,500 ration kits while nearly a thousand more are ready for distribution. Several residents of the town have joined him in taking the kits to the needy. Several Kannada TV channels have highlighted the philanthropy which has sustained helpless families through the hard days.
Phone numbers of the two brothers are given here:
Tajammul Pasha 96636-68444. Muzammil Pasha 78993-46674.