Unemployment staring the faces of men who work in haleem joints

Nihad Amani

Hyderabad: The lockdown has not just bought bad news for haleem lovers but also those whose livelihoods depend on serving the hot and tasty dish during Ramadan.

There are more than 6000 haleem serving restaurants (where—Hyderabad, Telangana) where many college-going students and unemployed men earn money by working in restaurants and hotels serving the dish to the clients.

The food joint, which secured Geographical Indication (GI) status for Hyderabadi Haleem in 2010, has been selling the dish at over 200 outlets.

According to him, there are 6,000 Haleem makers in Hyderabad and other cities. Most of them depend on the business during Ramadan.

It was reported that Pista House, one of the biggest haleem selling enterprises provides employment to more than 30,000 boys globally and Shah Ghouse, the second biggest gives part-time employment to nearly 10,000 boys.  There are several other restaurants like Shahzade, Café 555 and Shadaab reportedly gives employment to thousands of youth in the city.

This time, none will be able to supplement the income.

M A Majeed, the owner of Pista House, said, “We had many workers who would work with us during Ramadan for activities like cooking, packing and serving in all our branches. We would pay each of these men Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000.”

Upon asking if they would be provided with any help as there is no work this season, he replied, “We have men from across the country like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh so we would be able to provide some assistance to the ones in the city and not the ones from other states.”

Majid, an auto driver, said, “During Ramadan, I work with Pista House after finishing plying auto-rickshaw. This time I am not able to drive around my auto-rickshaw because it is banned. I cannot work with Pista House too because it would remain closed. How do you expect me to run my home with a wife and four children?”

“I am an expert cook of haleem. Every year I get to earn a decent amount. I also serve as a master chief a haleem house in the Old City. But this time as there is no haleem making anywhere. The lockdown is hurting me badly.  Borrowing money too has become a problem,” said Shaikh Saleem.