'Bhook ka koi mazhab nahi': This 29-year-old Hyderabadi is serving Iftar to orphanage kids

The 29-year-old Dr. Muhammed Shujathullah has been the messiah for the hungry people in the city for almost seven years now. Shujathullah says that before he started distributing food to the needy, he was a “laadla” in his family who did not even offer a glass of water to his family members. But soon he realised how privileged he was.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  3 May 2022 4:25 AM GMT
Bhook ka koi mazhab nahi: This 29-year-old Hyderabadi is serving Iftar to orphanage kids

Hyderabad: Children of AKM orphanage in Kacheguda sit in two lines facing each other with several plates filled with various fruits and nuts placed in the middle. Thanks to Shujathullah bhaiya who has been providing iftar and dinner throughout the Ramzan month for the last 30 days. "It's all smiles, can't explain their happiness," says Shujathullah who smiles seeing the children's happiness.

The 29-year-old Dr. Muhammed Shujathullah has been the messiah for the hungry people in the city for almost seven years now. Shujathullah says that before he started distributing food to the needy, he was a "laadla" in his family who did not even offer a glass of water to his family members. But soon he realised how privileged he was. "Mere soch hi badal gaye. I realised 'zindagi mein log ek time ke food ke liye kya kya karrahe hain'," says Shujathullah. He observed that some people did not even wait for the plates; they just spread a newspaper, put the food on it, and directly ate from it.

When prayers are answered

In 2015, Shujathullah was doing his third-year B.Pharm. He could not pass a particular subject despite attempting it twice. Before his third attempt, he promised God that if he passed this time, he would offer free food to 10 needy people. It was like Shujathullah had been sent by God to fill the stomachs of the people in the city.

He cleared the exam on the third attempt. "On that day, I bought 10 food packets and distributed it to the people living on the premises of a railway station near my house. After having the food, I saw them smile. I had never been so happy in the last 22 years. I felt I should do it regularly. And that's how it all began," Shujathullah recalls.

After convincing his family members, he started collecting one month's salary from each of them to buy food for the needy. Every evening, after college, he would go around distributing food to the homeless people and sometimes even to orphanages. "Hum jo khate hein, use behathar khaana khilana" has been his motto.

In 2016, he formally started distributing food under Humanity First Foundation, the NGO he started. Since then, he has been providing breakfast of upma and chutney to 1,000 people every day at Koti Maternity Hospital, Niloufer Hospital, and NIMS Hospital.

A day in the life of

Shujathullah's day begins with the morning prayers at 5:30 a.m. Between 7 a.m and 7: 30 a.m, one can spot him at Koti Maternity Hospital; between 7:30 a.m and 7:45 a.m, he is seen at Niloufer Hospital; and from 8 a.m to 8:15 a.m, he can be spotted at NIMS Hospital. After this, he directly heads to his college.

It has been 2,020 days since he began this initiative and he proudly says that he hasn't missed even a single day. Despite several challenges, the image of the long line of people waiting for food keeps him going. "Khane ke baat uske chehre mein ek smile hotha hein. That keeps me going," says Shujathullah.

He says that people can use the money for their treatment instead of buying food. "These patients come from different districts of Telangana. Each patient comes with three-four people and they live on the roadside. If they can get free food, they can use this money for the treatment," he explains.

Bhook ka koi mazhab nahi

Shujathullah recalls that one of the major criticisms he got while starting this initiative was "Why are you feeding the Hindus?" To this, he replied, "Bhook ka koi mazhab nahi hein (Hunger has no religion)." He also says that this is the reason why he named his organisation Humanity First (and not religion).

Working among the poor and hungry day in and day out, Shujathullah has come across a lot of incidents that have moved him. "During the second wave of Covid-19, while I was distributing food to the homeless, I met a man who was eating from a dustbin. I had two rice packets and two water bottles left. I immediately gave it to him. After I had walked a small distance, I turned back and saw the man sharing one of the packets with another old man who had asked him for food," says Shujathullah.

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