“There is more fruit in a rich man’s shampoo than a poor man’s plate,” this poignant quote by an anonymous individual, sums up the state of hunger India and the rest of the world.
While 815 million people in the world don’t get the food they need to live a healthy life, the World Food Programme says that “Over 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world.”
As nonprofits and initiatives like Roti Bank India continue to wage war against hunger and food wastage in the urban slums, one unique effort by a Noida-based social activist is catering to over 500 people every day, all at the meagre price of only Rs 5.
Source: Facebook/ Dadi Ki Rasoi by Anoop Khanna‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’ which translates to grandma’s kitchen, this initiative was started by social activist Anoop Khanna alongside like-minded individuals almost two years ago. The main idea behind the initiative was to help give home cooked food to all who came their way at an economical rate.
Dadi Ki Rasoi has two stalls set up in Noida. Every day between 10–11:30 am in Sector 17, and 12–2:00 pm on Sector 29, people from all walks of life, come to Dadi Ki Rasoi to satiate their hunger. Students, working individuals, rickshaw pullers, shop owners, and passersby alike, form a serpentine queue at the stalls for lunch.
The credit for the name goes to Anoop’s daughter Swati, and he credits the rest of his family for being a pillar of support and helping him to turn his vision into reality.
Anoop spent over Rs 30,000 to set up the kitchen, but today, the fame of Dadi Ki Rasoi is getting him donations and support from many others individuals.
Anoop spends an average of Rs 2500 a day for the ingredients and raw material for the stall. “Shopkeepers give me raw materials at a discounted price. Many residents donate special meals on occasions like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and so on. Their support is immense,” said Anoop in an interview with The Logical Indian.
He spoke to DNA about the primary reason why he decided to not give food for free but at a nominal charge of Rs 5.
“We wanted to provide quality food, which gives you a homely feel. We could have attempted to provide the food for free as well, but the reason for the price is that it gives dignity to a person who is buying the lunch. As far as the quality of food is concerned, I personally supervise the preparation. Moreover, since the cost is minimal, anyone can enjoy a meal without worrying about money,” he said.
Anoop wants to continue to fight hunger across Noida. His vision and work is encouraging many more individuals to set up such stalls in their own localities.
“It is not so difficult. It only takes a will of a person to start something like this. I have started getting requests from the residents to help them start a similar initiative in their locality as well, so I have asked them to spend some time at my outlet just to have an idea about the functioning and challenges we face,” he says.
Anoop believes that roti (food), kapda (clothes) and dawa (medicine) are basic needs of any individual. He is striving to make these necessities a reality to the people who need it the most, all at affordable prices.
Anoop’s other initiative called the ‘Sadhbhavana store’ gives underprivileged people clothes, shoes and books. He also opened the first ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra’ in Noida, under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pari Yojana Kendra,’ (PMBJPK) which is a campaign launched by the government of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendras (centres).
Anoop runs two pharmaceutical shops in the city. He is only a call away and is seen rushing to the site with relief materials during any tragedy.
The deep love for social service which burgeoned in a young Anoop as a child, when his father participated in the freedom struggle, continues to date.
We salute the spirit of individuals like Anoop, who are paving the way for more Indians and inspiring them to tackle the grave hunger problem in every way they can!