Ordinary people who do extraordinary things inspire the rest of us. They are the real heroes, making the world a better place, one step at a time. Azhar Maqsusi is one such hero. He modest businessman in Hyderabad, Azhar has been feeding homeless people in his region for over 3 years.
Every afternoon a large number of homeless, destitute people line up under the Dabeerpura Bridge in Hyderabad. They collect plates, wash them and wait patiently for the food provided for them by Azhar every day.
Azhar recounts how he began his free-food camp venture, “It all started around three years ago. I hardly ever took that route but my tyre got punctured that day and I decided to catch the local train from the station under the bridge when I saw a physically handicapped woman with her feet amputated,” The woman was crying loudly, begging for food and not money; she hadn’t eaten in days. Azhar immediately gave her the food he’d packed for the day. “My father died when I was 4 years old and my mother struggled a lot to raise me and my siblings. I know what it is like to sleep hungry.”
The next day Azhar’s wife cooked extra food so that he could go back to the same place and distribute food. Initially food packets were distributed but as time progressed the food was cooked on spot, under the bridge.
In 2 months there were more than 50 people waiting for Azhar every day. It was then that he decided to hire a cook for this venture, paying him a fixed salary so that he could regularly cook large quantities. Azhar paid for everything from his own pocket, not asking for anything in return.
A year and a half later Azhar’s venture got a boost when an Indian national living in the US decided to help him. Today, Azhar receives 16 25-kg sacks of rice every month from his well-wishers. He rejects any cash donations and accepts only those in kind.
Today over 100 homeless people are fed by Azhar. Nearly 25 kg rice, 1 litre oil and 2 kg pulses are required every day. It costs Rs. 1500 – Rs. 1700 daily, but Azhar paid for everything from his own pocket, not asking for anything in return.