Moved by the plight of the people, a group of youngsters started a unique Bank known as “Roti Bank” where people were asked to deposit Rotis instead of money.
President of the Bundeli Samaj Haji Mustan and convener Tara Patkar took up the cudgels to set up the Roti Bank.
Located at Mahoba one of Bundelkhand’s most backward districts in UP, this “Roti Bank” delivers freshly cooked “roti” (chapati) and vegetables to the starving people that include the homeless, elderly, handicapped and orphans who cannot afford a meal.
A group of 50 enthusiastic youngsters symbolised communal amity as it included both Hindus and Muslims.
“At present, we are serving around 400 people every day but we plan to increase it by at least 100 in the next few days,” says Mohammed Asgar, a young member of the bank.
“Currently we are serving 400 needy people and most of them are beggars or physically challenged people. We serve only vegetarian food. The idea is that no one should have any problem in having them,” he said.
To these needy, the boys are simply god sent. “I bless these boys from the core of my heart. They are God personified,” said elderly Ram Prakash, who cannot work because of TB.
The volunteers don’t hesitate to even mouth-feed who are unable to eat themselves due to physical inabilities.
“Yes I am a religious person. I keep Roja (fasting during the month of Ramzan) and offer namaz (prayer) but I know that we will be blessed by the Almighty more if we serve these poor and helpless people,” he added.
“Our only wish is that no one should die of hunger,” added Asgar. He wants the youth in other parts of the country to take-up a similar initiative as it will be a true service to society.
Tara Patkar says: “See, we all see homeless, disabled, hungry people sitting on the road intersections, outside stations and feel bad about it. But we forcefully stem the sudden surge of compassion, empathy and pity and look the other way. So one fine day, we thought of doing something for them instead of talking big and criticizing the government for the failure to feed its own starving people. That’s how the idea of Roti Bank came into our mind.”