Friday January 19, 2018

Robin Hood Army: Two friends from India and Pakistan fight to defeat Hunger

The project now comprises 400 volunteers who wear green and go out into the streets of around 11 cities distributing food to 2,500 to 3,000 poor and homeless people every night

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Flags of India and Pakistan Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • One-third of the world’s annual food production for human consumption is 1.3bn tonnes, that goes to waste.
  • The objective of RHA is to redistribute surplus food from restaurants and eateries and create self-sustaining societies
  • RHA started in India with endeavors of Neel Ghose who had launched an initiative to feed 150 homeless people of New Delhi in 2014

KARACHI: Two brothers from either side of the border of nations- India and Pakistan, which are in highly unveiled conflict since 1947, consolidated to raise the morale of the countries and fight the common enemy- hunger.

It started in India with endeavors of Neel Ghose who had launched an initiative to feed 150 homeless people of New Delhi in 2014. A few months later, started a new chapter of Robin Hood Army (RHA) in Pakistan when Ghose shared this idea with Sarah Afridi.

RHA ISLAMBAD Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Robin Hood Army in Islamabad. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of the world’s annual food production for human consumption is 1.3bn tonnes, that goes to waste. If efficiently managed, this could feed one in nine of the 7.3 billion people around the world, who go to bed hungry every night, said the Al Jazeera report.

In India, this project now comprises 400 volunteers who wear green and go out into the streets of around 11 cities distributing food to 2,500 to 3,000 poor and homeless people every night.

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The objective is to redistribute surplus food from restaurants and eateries and create self-sustaining societies by distributing surplus food to the lesser-privileged members of society. Some do it for religious cause and some for humanity but this initiative would probably also work in facets other than malnutrition.

RHA-Lahore Launch Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
RHA-Lahore Launch. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Youth groups in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad come out each Sunday and take responsibility on their shoulders to collect surplus produce from food outlets so that they can feed a few hundreds of households in Pakistan.

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The Express Tribune report said, the Robin Hood Army had its first distribution on February 15 – the day Pakistan and India had their opening World Cup match, reminding people of the need to bridge the differences of the two countries.

But who are the people donating for the cause? Sadly, no one but the members of the team are themselves funding the distributions out of their own pocket. However, their aim is to get restaurants on board to donate their surplus food.

The slogan Robin Hood Army said, “We might be on different teams but we are batting for the same side.”

According to aljazeera.com, the Robin Hood Army is present in 23 cities across five countries – Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia – with more than 3,000 Robins having served nearly 500,000 people.

-prepared by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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  • devika todi

    recently, i had the opportunity of attending a lecture given by Neel Ghose. it had been very interesting. he had also talked about the initiative, Robin Hood Army. his passion was clear to the audience. i hope this army spreads to different corners of the world, and help in eradicating hunger, one empty stomach at a time.

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15 Amazing facts about Indian National Song: Vande Mataram

The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom.

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Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881
  • Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom
  • Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905

‘Vande Mataram’, is no less than an epic for our country and holds a special place in the heart of every Indian. The first two words of the title itself are sufficient to induce a great feeling of patriotism.

It would be a surprise for many to know that September 7, 2006, was not the centenary of Vande Mataram. On the contrary, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram well before he penned Anandamath, his novel, which described unified Bengal’s sanyasi uprising against tyrannical Muslim rule in the 1770s.

For better clarification, Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881.

The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons
Vande Mataram was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons

Thus, 2006 was not the 100th year of Vande Mataram, but the 129th anniversary of the `National Song”, which was first recited at the Indian National Congress session of 1896.

Also Read: 10 Must Knowing Facts about Indian Flag

Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom.

On January 24, 1950, it was brought at par with the National Anthem officially by the Constituent Assembly.

The protest against Vande Mataram because of its ‘idolatrous’ content began in the 1890s. The Congress party surrendered before Islamic opposition at its Kakinada session in 1923 not only on the Vande Mataram issue but also to all symbols and values held national.

The recent HRD ministerial diktat to compulsorily sing the song throughout the country occupied much media space and ignited a debate on India’s national song’s journey over the last 130 years.

Also Read: 15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

The song served as a source of immense strength and inspiration for freedom fighters before India gained freedom.

The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at some of the glorious facts related to our National song, ‘Vande Mataram’.

  1. The National song, ‘Vande Mataram’ was written by the great Bengali poet and writer, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
  2. On January 24, 1950, it was adopted as the National Song of India.
  3. The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom. The National song of India is versed in the Sanskrit and Bengali languages, in the novel ‘Anandmath’ by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.
  4. The former President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration in the Constituent Assembly that the song Vande Mataram, which had played a significant part in the historic freedom struggle held in India, should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it.
  5. The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math (1882) which is set in the events of Sannyasi rebellion.
  6. The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Anand Math, into English was done by Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta, in 1906.
  7. In the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress, it was the first political event when the National song was sung. On the same occasion, the national song of India was first sung by the Rabindranath Tagore.
  8. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905.
  9. The Iron Man of India, Lala Lajpat Rai, published a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
  10. Vande Mataram was recited in the first political film made by Hiralal Sen in 1905.
  11. The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002.
  12. Two stanzas of the original song have been officially declared as the National Song of India in 1950 after the independence of India.
  13. The song was originally written in two languages, Sanskrit and Bengali, in the novel ‘Anandmath’.
  14. It was also sung by the Dakhina Charan Sen in 1901 after five years during another Congress meeting at Calcutta.
  15. India’s first political film Hiralal Senmade, made in 1905 ends with the chant Vande Mataram.