Though nationalities may keep us divided, when it comes to a noble cause there is no divide–only purity of heart.
Two individuals, hailing from the neighbouring countries of India and Pakistan respectively, have been collectively offering Iftar meals to workers for the past eight years and nothing could be a better example of harmony between the two countries.
Tajamul Pasha from Bengaluru and Nihal Zafar from Karachi have been feeding more than 400 workers during Ramadan in Abu Dhabi.
Having met in UAE in 2004, where both worked in the IT sector, Tajamul and Nihal harboured a common objective of helping the needy and decided to join hands to give back to the society.
“After reaching here in 1999, one day I noticed an old Palestinian man offering free iftar meals to many people. While queuing up to accept food from him, I pledged that one day, I, too would do the same,” Tajamul told Gulf News.
Tajamul was referring to Nazmi Mohammad Mahmoud, the 69-year-old father who has been offering free iftar meals to people in memory of his son who died in a car crash for the past 22 years.
Early in 2004, Tajamul found that iftar meals were organised by Nihal and his Pakistani friends at a mosque and contributed 15 cartons of juice.
One step lead to the next and before long they had partnered up, after having been motivated from the conversations regarding community service.“I wanted to give back to this nation and society. This is my humble contribution,” Nihal said.
They started the initiative at the rooftop of a public car parking structure in Liwa area where Nazmi Mohammad had also been offering his meals.
As told to Gulf News, the duo spends between Dirhum 1500 to 2000 (Rs 26,000 to 35,000) every day to arrange chicken biryani, juice, water, dates, and watermelons.“Some days, we offer samosa and pagoda also. On week days, around 400 people turn up, which goes up to 700 on Thursdays and Fridays,” Nihal said.
Interestingly, 18 volunteers hailing from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have offered to help and turn up by 6pm evryday. “Ours is a friendship beyond borders. We don’t bother about one’s identity. Many non-Muslim workers also come and have food and we are happy about it,” Tajamul said.
In fact, last year a group of Sikhs from a nearby Gurudwara joined them and distributed juice. “We were happy that people of various nationalities and religions came together to serve the needy during the holy month,” he added.
Tajamul Pasha and Nihal Zafar set an example of selflessness that is not just heartwarming but raises hope in our hearts that harmony amidst the citizens belonging to the two nations is plausible.