Religion is central to the fabric of India, and there is no gainsaying in that. Yet, there is a section of society that questions only one particular community. The iconic and much-awaited Ram Mandir was heavily criticized by the ‘secular’ lobby, with some brainless propagandists even suggesting that a hospital be built instead of a temple. As it turns out, the decision of the temple being made was better than a hospital. Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Trust has announced that they will set up two oxygen plants in Dashrath Medical College, Ayodhya. With the plants costing 55 lakh, this will help further ramp up oxygen production in the country.
In a time like this, many temples, volunteer organizations, and few other religious institutions across the country have stepped up and helped the citizens in need. Along with a donation of 1.51 Crore towards the Chief Minister Relief Fund (CMRF), Puri’s Shri Jagannath Temple has also converted its Nilachal Bhakta Nivas into a COVID care centre which currently has 120 beds. 62 other small temples across Orissa have also pledged donations.
Pawan Dham (Jain Temple) in Mumbai has again converted its five-storey building with 100 beds and oxygen appliances along with 50 medics and X-ray machines. Several Jain temples in Rajkot and Ghatkopar. Jain volunteers are distributing free food to the people who are home quarantined. The BAPS Swaminarayan Temple of Vadodara has converted its Yagnapurush Sabhagruh into a COVID facility with 500 beds and piped oxygen lines along with ventilators and liquid oxygen tanks. Operational for about 2 weeks now, the facility has also been providing nonmedical facilities.
One of the holiest Hindu shrines, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, is not far behind in community service. Just like they did in the first wave, the temple has started a door-to-door food delivery service. This is not the first time that these Hindu institutions have donated and served the community for a noble cause. Sarangpur Hanuman Mandir has converted its Dharamsala into a COVID care centre. The Mata Mansa Devi Temple in Panchkula donated Rs. 10 Crore while the Somnath Temple Trust in Gujarat and Mahavir Mandir trust donated Rs. 1 Crore each along with innumerable other temples doing the same across India.
Many Gurdwaras have been committed to public service even before the pandemic. The one in Indirapuram has opened an ‘oxygen langar’ with a helpline number (9097041313). As soon as a patient calls, a van is sent with oxygen support until they are allotted a bed. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has started langar for people who have contracted the virus. Within this committee are many Gurdwaras working together in this time of despair. This initiative had been undertaken even in the first wave of the pandemic. Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Uttar Pradesh is also following the same.
Some mosques in Mumbai are constantly providing free oxygen cylinders to people in need under the Red Crescent Society. Till now, more than a thousand cylinders have been distributed free of cost. The Jahangirpura Masjid has been converted into a 50 bed COVID care facility in the month of Ramadan.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), like all the other times, has been constantly working towards helping the people in need. Not only did they send people to take care of COVID-positive patients, they also distributed free food and ration among the people of the country. They started nationwide awareness campaigns to inform people about social distancing and the importance of a mask. The Sangh Parivar also launched an app to assist people who are facing a problem during lockdowns. The Hindu outfit also released a helpline number (9650530531) for the north-eastern community living in the national capital. Operated by the north-eastern volunteers of the organization, this helpline aimed to help the relatives of people stranded in Delhi. It also launched a medico helpline in Jammu & Kashmir for public welfare. They assisted the needy without discriminating based on caste, creed, or religion.
This pandemic has surely taken a toll on us, but this is the time we all have to assist each other. These institutions that constantly help people to cope with the situation prove that no matter what picture you pray to, it is the power that matters. Every way gets us on track with humanity, if correctly followed.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author.