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Self-respect and a sense of discipline gets inculcated in the less privileged with two meals a day,

By auther pic. Abhisikta Dey

January 13, 2021

Self-respect and a sense of discipline gets inculcated in the less privileged with two meals a day,

Dadi Ki Rasoi

A majority of the people in India are below the poverty line even today but some human touch by social activists and NGOs have been in action to bring about a radical change in their lives.  

 

Mr Anoop Khanna, a Noida based social activist has been successful in bringing some ray of hope to the underprivileged people of India, by feeding almost 500 people everyday under his initiative, ‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’. His meticulous contribution in the upliftment of these people has been instrumental in bringing a huge change in their general well-being. During his schooling in Dehradun, Mr Khanna has been an avid sportsperson and has participated in several sport championships. His passion, persistent attitude of being a true sportsperson and the ‘Never Say Die’ instinct has been the main driving force behind his success today.  Mr Khanna, the President of the Chemist Association of Gautam Budh Nagar since the last twenty five years, is the proud owner of two pharmacy retail outlets in Noida, which were initially managed by his father while he could devote majority of his time to nurture the needy. He was always motivated to serve the welfare of his nation and believed in the concept of "Small steps bringingbig changes in our society."

 

He has helped a lot of people during the floods in Srinagar and the cloud burst in Kedarnath by providing them with essentials and cash, as financial aid was not reaching them on time from the Government. A transparent mechanism highlighting the end-to-end process from the point of pick-up of the essentials to the point of delivering them to the unprivileged class was clearly shared with the contributors, which motivated more and more people to join this noble cause, thereby encouraging him to move further ahead.

 

 

 

Mr Khanna believes in the concept of setting an example for the others to follow and understand the main motive behind any initiative. Since no one wants to take any risk and if no example is set, our future generations will not have a secure future. Inspired by Dr Anna Hazare, Mr Khanna resorted to a hunger strike to spread the message across to the common people for a social cause and the associated emotions. The right opportunity coupled with the right attitude to bring about a transition in the societal norms have been instrumental in giving him various opportunities to get involved in different social activities that are devoid of any political implications. Apart from helping the needy, several campaigns were started to promote the ‘No Fuel Day- odd and even car number days’ in 2009, improve the basic conditions of the schools in different towns along with opposition to unjustified fee hikes in schools and several evacuation drills. Several grounds were lying vacant in Noida and he started with several sports like table tennis and badminton for a positive and healthy life. He also runs medical shops in Noida which were started in 2017 under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana, catering to the needs of the poor in a medical emergency. He was felicitated by the Honourable President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind on 3rd January 2020 in lieu of his immense contribution to the society, especially in regards to the conceptualization of ‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’.



 

‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’ initiative was conceptualized on 21st August 2015 to give the needy an equal treatment wherein they get the same respect and treatment that they would have got otherwise, which gives them a feel good factor. The food is cooked in Desi ghee and caters to over 500 people every day. The menu keeps changing from Dal-Chawal to various vegetables priced at INR 5.0, which is distributed to the masses every day, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am in Sector 17 and 12 pm – 2 pm in Sector 29. This is the first private initiative with two stalls operating in Noida, commonly known as the ‘Rasoi’, to provide food to labourers, students and private employees. The main mastermind behind his kitchen was his daughter, Sakshi Khanna, with whose moral support, Mr Khanna initially invested INR 30,000 for the setup, while he also received a lot of donations from other like-minded people. Mr Khanna buys all the groceries in bulk from a wholesale market at half the market price to manage all the operational expenses of the food stall. Some shopkeepers and sabjiwalas give him the raw materials and vegetables at a discounted rate in return for food for themselves and their families. Some people donate special meals on specific occasions like birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc. Even though the motive is to feed the poor, food isn’t provided for free at ‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’ as Mr Khanna ensures that no person should lose their self-respect and the dignity to earn a square meal a day.  Hence, he charges INR 5 for meals, which is quite affordable and is given multiple servings if required. He also provides clothes to the poor at only INR 10 once in fifteen days, in addition to the books and shoes that are available at his Sadhbhavana store. Though this initiative has been a huge success, it had to be shut down for about two months during the initial stage of India getting affected by the pandemic, though food was still being distributed in raw form. 

 



The sudden pandemic and a nation-wide lockdown created a lot of hustle bustle as curfew passes were required immediately to enable smooth running of all the medical shops for the essentials to be delivered at the doorstep, especially in Noida and Uttar Pradesh. Being the President of the Chemist Association, he discussed different nuances with the Government authorities to provide the best possible services to the society even during these tough times.

 

There were a lot of grain stock and perishable items that were used for ‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’, which had to be distributed immediately since an all of a sudden country wide lockdown was in effect. Food grain packets were being distributed among the needy quite smoothly and there was a lot of support from other donors too. 15-20 kiosks were set up at specific locations to distribute the staples like wheat, rice, pulses, sugar and oil etc. to the impoverished classes at an interval of ten days. They were asked to maintain social distancing norms and self-discipline to collect these packets.

 

A transparent and dedicated mechanism was in place which made food distribution quite effective and efficient while his kitchen was not operational due to some Government regulations during the initial months of COVID affecting the country. With the unlock happening in several phases, ‘Dadi Ki Rasoi’ is working at full capacity and has been creating headlines these days.

 

 

The work done by Mr Khanna and his team since the last 5 years has been phenomenal and had a huge media and social media presence. He aims to serve the nation with ‘Roti, Kapda aur Dawai’ amidst dignity.  He also aims at creating an ‘Ideal Traffic Zone’ with four police personnel to control the traffic and penalise the wrong doers by creating more awareness. Hisfuture aspiration is to improve the road and traffic conditions to instil discipline and the concept of lane driving to our future generations.  

 

The road ahead for Mr Khanna lies in creating more awareness for upliftment of the masses and general well being, so that there is widespread involvement, transparency and accountability to undertake any social responsibility. We salute such heroes and wish them luck in all their future endeavours for the nation.

 

 

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Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at shilpi@csrbox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage.

Author

Abhisikta Dey Ghosh is a business research and content professional for the last 14 years with leading brands from the industry. Her interest lies in authoring and weaving stories to foray into people's mind and hearts, thereby creating an ever lasting impact. Brand creation and management have been her forte using few magical words supported by language. A Master's Degree in Finance and Marketing with a passion for literature and language has certainly given her a huge platform to merge her educational expertise with passion, par excellence. Currently Abhisikta works as a Senior Consultant for Strategic Content and Research with Corporates, Edu-tech firms, CSR Foundations, Travel companies and Fintech majors. Abhisikta has a keen interest in music, dance and going on family adventure trips.

 

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