The Driving Force
blessed me a son
twelve years after my marriage and I believe it is because of what I am doing for the
Rozedars", says Mufeez Shaikh (35), the brain behind
the whole idea.
The time for Suhur - the pre-dawn
meal Muslims take to begin the fast is always hectic. If one is traveling it won't be easy to search for suitable food to
have as Suhur at railway stations. The situation for us was exactly similar
recently when we were returning from Mumbai and boarded off the
train at Manmad Junction barely half an hour before the time for Suhur was
supposed to expire. Literally, we were unable to decide what to do.
Suddenly, the speakers on the platforms roared. 'Proceed to
Karim Bhai's stall on platform no. 3 if you want to have Suhur...'
Initially we could not believe our ears. But then, the announcer
repeated the lines twice and even thrice. In next few minutes we
were in front of M/s EA Karim & Co.
The atmosphere at Karim Bhai's stall was
unbelievable. Dozens of people were having the meal. Dozen
others with food-packs grabbed in both hands were rushing towards the
trains waiting for departure. Everyone was in a hurry, and surprised we
were standing doing nothing. It was then that someone pointed towards us and
pleaded. "Bhaisaab jaldi baithiye. Time nahi hai.. (Hurry up
brother. There is hardly any time left), he said. We were impatient
out of curiosity. Yet we stomached the food somehow and
began searching for the man behind the entire arrangement.
Rozedars this way gives us matchless pleasure", says Zaibunnisa
Bhai's wife, who prepares food with her daughters every night.
Brains behind the Idea
"Outside Manmad Junction four years back during Ramadan I was
sitting with Kadar Bhai discussing the difficulties Rozedars face while searching
for suitable food to have as Suhur", Mufeez Shaikh recalled. "All of a sudden, Kadar
Bhai said, if he gets the materials needed to prepare the food he
can arrange for space and required manpower to cook the meal."
Mufeez Shaikh is a taxi driver while
Kadar Bhai is working at Manmad Junction as contractor. Kadar Bhai's
offer energised Mufeez. The next moment he was at work. Kadar
Bhai convinced his wife and daughters to help him prepare the food. By
03:30 before dawn that night delicious food was ready for the Rozedars.
The idea thus born five years before
surprises the new passengers who board off the train at Manmad Junction and rush for
Suhur. Slowly the arrangement became so popular that besides
the passengers it began attracting people living in nearby areas
M/s EA Karim...
M/s EA Karim provides the space and staff to assist
Mufeez and his freinds. Also, encouraged by the Suhur
program, they too organise a mega Iftaar every year on
Badi Raat, the 26th of Ramadan.
Mufeez Shaikh and Kadar
Bhai are serving around hundred passengers every dawn. And in the
menu, they have the food to the choice of everyone. If they have
delicious food for others, they also have specially prepared chapatis
and sugar-free tea too for diabetics. About the taste of this so
lovingly prepared food, passengers usually devour more than the
normal, despite the pre-dawn time when one finds it difficult to
consume any kind of food.
how they manage the funds and he replies: "Our work is
devoted totally to Allah. We don't ask for donations from anyone. Instead fellow
taxi drivers contribute Rs. 200 to 500 every month during the entire
year to raise what we called as the Ramadan Fund."
To make the going easier for them,
however, number of contributors are
increasing with every passing year. Earlier, Mufeez and Kadar
Bhai were serving the Suhur outside the Manmad Junction. Since
last three years, they found a supporter in M/s EA Karim's
owner who provides them not only the space but also his canteen staff to Mufeez and Kadar Bhai duo for
the smooth arrangement. The Railway
Ministry too is generous. It gave them
special permission to use the railway station microphones to guide the
Rozedars through timely announcements.
So, next time at Manmad Junction
during Ramadan, don't get confused if instead of the regular
railway announcements you hear about the Suhur being served at M/s EA Karim.
Just proceed to the Platform No. 3 and experience the delicious food
served with great