Sufidars, serving mankind in their own way

Volunteers of a temple in Chennai who serve food to their Muslim brothers during Ramzan at Big mosque in Triplicane on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

The Triplicane Big Mosque, the Wallajah Mosque, is where this group of large-hearted people gather every evening during this holy month of Ramzan. Carrying colourful buckets filled with eatables, these men from the Sufidar Temple at Mylapore help thousands break their fast at sundown.  

For nearly 40 years now the Sindhis have been serving iftar food at the Big Mosque built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Wallajah, an ancestor of Prince of Arcot Nawad Mohammad Abdul Ali. They bring around 7-8 items including fruit, milk, rice, a sweet, dates, water and a pickle. “Each day we change the rice and give vegetable biriyani, channa rice, pulao, cauliflower rice. Some 1000- 1200 people come here daily. If there is anything remaining, we take the food to other places and distribute it to the needy. We do this as a service,” explained Ram Devnani, one of the team members from the Sufidar Temple.  

Ashok Khubchandani, who heads the sevadars from Sufidar Temple, said that the distribution of food was started by Dada Ratanchand ji who built the temple. “Our guru told us service to mankind is service to God. Our work starts by 9 a.m. with the cooks starting to cut, clean vegetables at the Temple. We have 110 buckets and after distribution of the food, we finish cleaning by 8.30 p.m., We call this the Ramzan seva,” he said.  

Iliyaz, who drank the rose milk and chose to take the rest of the stuff home, said the food tasted really great. “I have been eating here for several years now. The food wont spoil even if we keep it over night,” he said.

The Sufidar also distributes food in the evenings every new moon at the Kovalam Dargah. Kamal Shahri said that the Trust also distributes food to places where there are hungry people.

The Prince of Arcot Nawab Abdul Ali said: “This is true communal harmony. It is really heart-warming to note that for over three decades now, the Sufidar Temple devotees have been distributing snacks and beverages every day during Ramzan. They do it with reverence and sincere regards to the religion, Islam,” he said adding that in a secular country like India, everyone should respect each other’s religion, and live like brothers and sisters since we are all the children of One God and show the world that we are all one family.”  

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