Mohammed Aabad from Rajasthan’s Churu district begins his day at 6 AM by hopping on to his unique autorickshaw and driving it through various parts of his quaint town, Sujangarh, until late evening. Unlike the regular autorickshaw drivers, the 48-year-old doesn’t use the vehicle to ferry passengers. He instead uses it as a medium to help people in need.
Well, Aabad has converted his autorickshaw into a moving water tank (or water “hut” like he calls it) named ‘Shudh Filter Paani,’ and provides free drinking chilled water to people for free.
On days when Aabad is unable to cover certain areas, he doesn’t mind staying outside for a little longer. “If my extra ten minutes can help a needy get even a glass of water, I consider myself fortunate enough to be there for someone,” says Aabad, who has made this his life’s mission, to The Better India.
Aabad has been performing this service for the last five years and he claims that close to 3,000 people drink water from his mini water-hut every day. He spends around 30 minutes in the most populated areas of the town, starting from a government hospital, government office and the court, before making his way to the vegetable market and finally railway and bus stations.
How Did He Think of Launching a Water Hut?
Aabad was born and raised in Sujangarh along with his brother, Mohammed Seth. The financial condition of the family did not permit the brothers to study, and as soon as they crossed the legal age, they started doing odd jobs until finally could purchase an auto.
Life was moving along as usual, until one fateful day when Seth passed away in an unfortunate accident. Devastated by the loss, he decided to help strangers in his brother’s memory.
After looking for several social endeavours, he zeroed in on providing drinking water to people. Narrating an incident that pushed him towards this remarkable deed, Aabad says:
“My friends and I were inebriated one night near the jungle. We had all finished our water and there was no shop or human close by. It was a wake-up call for me and I stopped drinking from that day. Such incidents make you realise the importance of something that we all take for granted. That’s how my water hut was launched.”
“I Use My Personal Savings”
Aabad has installed a water tanker, cooler and 500-watt solar panels in his rickshaw. He also has a music system, fan and loudspeaker that runs on electricity generated from the solar panels.
Every day, he spends Rs 2,000 from his personal savings to purchase 2,000 litres of cold water from an RO plant to fill his tank. The auto has steel glasses attached to it and a tap.
On average, Aabad has to meet the expense of Rs 60,000 every month. When asked if his family is supportive of this service that requires monetary investment without any returns, he replies in the affirmative.
“Absolutely. My three sons have stable jobs. They know the emotion behind this act and sometimes they also pitch in. I also get donations and sometimes people insist on paying a small amount.”
Today, due to the nationwide lockdown and movement restrictions, he roams around only till the afternoon. But his enthusiasm to extend a helping hand in the sizzling heat of Churu remains intact. “I also use my loudspeaker to educate people about why social distancing at this point is crucial,” he adds.
Aabad’s thoughtful, yet simple gesture, has helped provide clean drinking water to thousands of people, and for many in the town, he is a familiar face who makes their days just a little better. Sometimes, overwhelmed with his service, people stop to thank and bless him and he confesses that these instances leave him feeling very emotional.
“Their love is what makes me tirelessly roam around the town, and I have sworn to myself that I will continue doing this work till my last breath,” he mentions.
Kudos to unsung heroes like Aabad who manage to bring a difference with their small gestures and successfully set exemplary examples of humanity.
All images have been sourced from Aabad.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)