“I was sitting to the left of our health minister, among 35 to 40 other organizations, intently listening to all of the discussions surrounding our state. The room was full of people senior to me in every aspect. It wasn’t my first time at one of these meetings, but it seemed more daunting that day. As the discussions quietened down, Eatala Rajender sir turned to me and asked “You’re young, you haven’t spoken yet?”. I then explained my motive to him. “There are a lot of COVID related deaths, of which several are being abandoned by their families. I will take responsibility for all of them. Be it Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jain or Islam, we will carry out their last rites according to their beliefs.” While his first reaction was surprise, he commended me for my efforts and gave us his approval.
As children, we were always taught that our neighbours are neighbours, regardless of their religion. When they are in need of help, you help them, otherwise, you are no Muslim. I think I’ve always been like that on some level. In school, when some of my friends couldn’t afford uniforms or books, I would give them my own- my mother always said “go ahead, we can afford to get more for ourselves”. Humility and gratitude have been in my blood all my life, it is only fair that I pass it on.
I began Youth Welfare Telangana in 2014 to help the needy, be it food distribution, first aid, blood donations or relief efforts. When COVID entered the picture, we knew that while the virus would take a lot of lives, hunger would likely kill a lot more. We began coordinating our relief efforts to distribute food and medicines. In March, a friend’s father passed away from the virus. Instead of following through with the burial, they abandoned the body. This drove me to question how frequently this happened, and what we could do about it. We went through several hurdles to get to where we are now. Just a while back, Access Foundation provided us with an ambulance to help us transport bodies. So far, the government has not offered any monetary support, but we are blessed to have volunteers who have been working together to fund our efforts. So far, we’ve performed the last rituals for over 600 bodies, and I’m hoping the frequency of these cases reduces soon.
You cannot run from the inevitability of death, but you must respect life. You must give respect to people when they’re alive, and more so when they’re dead. There’s people affected by the virus that are being abandoned by their families, and if I could, I would take them all into my home that, Alhamdulillah, God has provided to us. I have two little children and a wife who I’m incredibly grateful for; I cannot imagine abandoning them in any scenario. Indian culture has always taught us the importance of family. It is now more than ever that we must hold tightly onto it!”
#COVID19 #CoronaWarriors #Life #YouthWelfareTelangana #Support #Tribute #CoronaVirusPandemic #Death #Finalrights #Humanity #Gratitude #HumansofHyderabad Minister for Health, Telangana Youth Welfare Telangana