Hindustan Times (Lucknow)
Not for fame: Bhopal’s anonymous helpers
The Anonymous mask or Guy Fawkes masks gained popularity after the 2006 film V for Vendetta, finding a place in various protests across the world. Now, it’s been linked to a charitable endeavour, thanks to a group of four committed men in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The quartet – Zeeshan Mujeeb, 30, Abdul Mubeen, 26, Abdul Rahman, 23 and Raj Lodhi, 27 – pooled in their resources to provide dry ration and cooked meals to the underprivileged.
What sets them apart from thousands of others is their decision to remain masked while lending a helping hand. “We were helping out people in our own small ways when my brother-in-law Imran, 32, returned from Dubai before Ramzan. He suggested helping people anonymously would be the noblest deed,” says Mujeeb, adding, “And that’s when we decided to use face masks for all our ration distribution drives.”
While Mujeeb, Mubeen and Rahman are first cousins, Lodhi helps Mujeeb with his business. Their ration kits comprises a litre of cooking oil, chana dal and tur dal, 3kg rice, 1kg salt, two biscuit packets, a 500g tea packet and 1kg sugar, and other daily items.
“We have distributed ration kits in Ratibada area of Bhopal as well as in Sehore and Vidisha districts,” he tells us. So, how do they identify people in need? “Humare kuch dost, jinhe humare kaam ke baare mein pata hai, woh hume aise gharon ke baare mein batate hain jahan ration ki zarurat hai,” says Mujeeb. They managed to help at least 70 families. “I have kept a record of all the families. If need be, we will help them again till the situation improves,” he adds.
While they’re never clicked, they agreed to talk about their efforts as it would inspire others. “Some people spotted us distributing rations while wearing masks, took pictures and shared them on social media,” Mujeeb says, adding, “Many encouraged us to talk about it saying it may motivate others to help people discreetly, hence we decided to talk about it.”