“Hunger knows no friend but its feeder.” There are a few people who understand these words and the feeling of starvation. Azhar Maqsusi from Hyderabad is one such person who knows what it feels like to sleep hungry. Since years, he has been feeding freshly-cooked meal to hundreds of hungry people daily without any bias, dedicating his life for the cause.
His initiative Hunger Has No Religion started with a few packets of cooked meals five years ago. But today, they distribute meals at eight different places to more than 1,000 people every day. When Azhar started this, many people had doubts that his initiative won’t sustain for long. But with his strong willpower, determination, and continuous support from his well-wishers, he has managed to continue it and widen his movement to this scale.
“Everybody lives for themselves, try living for others and you will find your life to be successful,” says Azhar.
The driving force
Somewhere in the year 2012, he was forced to take an unusual route when his scooter got punctured. He then decided to take a train. As he was passing under the Chanchalguda flyover in Hyderabad, he came across a handicapped woman who was begging and crying for food. That moved Azhar so much that he handed over his tiffin box to her. But that was not it.
He could not accept the reality. That was when he decided to feed hungry people on his own with whatever capability he had. He shared this idea with his wife and mother and they also happily agreed to this. Next day, his wife prepared meal packets for 15 people and they distributed this under the same flyover to poor and hungry people.
As the word spread, more people started gathering and very soon, the number increased to 50 and then 100. But this was nothing to stop him. Azhar kept on feeding people with his own money. He hired a cook to prepare the meal there itself and started distributing. Every day, more than 1,000 people gather there in the need of food, many of them who have not even eaten for many days.
Empathising with the hungry
Azhar wants to ensure that every person should get at least one meal. He does not want anyone to sleep hungry, as he knows the pain of hunger. He was only a child when his father passed away. His mother was responsible to raise him and his siblings and because of this, she had to struggle a lot.
Many a time, he had to go to sleep hungry. He decided to feed as many people as he could who had to sleep hungry. Azhar doesn’t want to give money to poor people. He wants to help them with food and clothes. He feels that many use the money to buy food but some misuse it. When he sees anyone intoxicated coming to take food, he first feeds them and then tries to persuade them to leave the bad habit by.
Azhar has a small business of Plaster of Paris and he works in his own shop. Initially, for one and a half year, he used to bear all expenses by himself. But gradually, as people got to know, more support came forward for this good deed. But Azhar refuses to take any support in cash and accepts only in kind.
One such support came when one day a person noticed this under the flyover and with the help of his brother started to support him with 16 sacks of rice each of 25 kgs. Not only this, many of his friends also help him in this and volunteers for this cause.
Driving this movement relentlessly from last five years, Azhar shows the kind of passion and determination he has for the betterment of society and humanity. With increasing number of people dying of starvation every day we certainly need more such initiatives.
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