PATNA: A vegetable hawker now turned humanity-server now distributes facemasks and hand sanitizers for free among the poor people and labourers at Bagaha, in Bihar’s West Champaran district.
He was moved from within at the sight of a poor man picking up a used face mask that was dumped at a roadside.
The 41-year-old, Akhbar Ali, distributes them from the very cart on which he sells vegetables from early morning to 10 am daily.
“I called that man and asked why he had been picking up the mask. He told me for wearing on his face as he wanted to live in this world safely from Corona. And his this line moved me so much that I decided to distribute free masks and sanitizer from my cart among the poor people and labourers”, Ali said. The next day he went to the market, bought facemasks and hand sanitizers and started roaming with the items on his hand-pulled cart across the market.
“I used to go where the migrant labourers came to work and the poor people lived in the town daily after 11 am to evening. Wherever I see the poor people without facemasks, I offer them free of cost and advise them to wear it for safety:” he said.
He sells masks and other Corona safety-related items to people who can afford to pay for them but gives them away for free to poor people and labourers.
He said that 50% of the total income he earns from vending vegetables is utilised for purchasing masks and sanitizers for poor people. Ali is simply only able to write and read his name but he said: “In the earning a human-being, both the country and the poor people have equal natural share and one must dedicate the share of ‘watan’ and ‘garib’ as an act of prayer to Allah”, he said.
He has Hindi signs on display at his cart. One saying "Yahan free masks garibo aur majduro ko milta hai’ ("Here mask free of cost is given to poor and the labourers”) and some others with messages in Hindi asking people to maintain social distancing.
“From vegetable hawker to humanity server, Ali has become here a name among the destitute and poor people, who seek face masks from him free”, Munna Kumar, a labourer, who was given a pair mask recently said.
Ali estimates that till date more than 10,000 masks and sanitizers from his earning have been distributed among the poor people and the labourers at Bagaha.
“Now, I sell vegetables till 10 am and thereafter go out with cart carrying masks and sanitizers to the poor people in the town”, he said.
“Wherever I saw a poor man even on a bus without mask, I run towards him with a mask to give. I will keep serving the poor people-‘garib’ (poor) and “majduro” (labourers) till the corona continues”, he said.
He has been doing it silently with a line of Mahatma Gandhi “the greatness of humanity is not being human but is being humane’