Langars Bail Out People At Hospital In Jammu And Kashmir1 August 2010
Srinagar: Mohammad Ahsan, 60, has been stuck in the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital for a week, ever since a relative met with a road accident. In these seven days, he has not been able to step out of the hospital. There has been a strict curfew and separatist-sponsored hartals, so it wasn’t safe for anybody to venture out. Ahsan might have had to starve too, had it not been for the friendly local people. “We came to the hospital a week ago with a patient. There was no food anywhere, not even in the canteen. But the localsgave us something to eat,” he said. Two months of unrest have started taking its toll on the people, particularly relatives of people admitted in hospitals. Many are finding it difficult to get essentials, because shops are closed and there are restrictions around hospitals. Some people are even running short of money. Fortunately for the attendants, local youth started a langar (community kitchen) to provide meals to the hungry. “Curfew creates problems for everybody, more so for patients and their attendants. So, various mohallas have chipped in and decided to distribute food among people in hospital because most of them come from far-flung areas,” Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, a local youth, said. Localities around SMHS hospital have made a roster for providing meals. “If people from one locality bring food today, another does it tomorrow. This does not burden any one family,” another youth said. Even local mosques have activated their Bait-ul-Maal (Islamic donation collection mechanism) to help the poor. “We have enough funds in our Bait-ul-Maal, which we are using to help the poor. Apart from food, we are also givingthe poor money to buy medicine and other essential items,” a youth associated with the local masjid committee said.