INDIA. Mumbai: Although the fear of COVID-19 has divided society, it has also brought to the fore the humane work of many individuals and groups to provide much-needed relief to those affected by the pandemic. “Happy Club” of Nanded in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, run by Mohammed Shoeb (30) and his colleagues, is one such group that has presented the best example of communal amity and humanitarianism work.
Shoeb and his 21 colleagues, volunteer to perform the last rites (Akhri Rasumat) of the victims of coronavirus regardless of caste, community, creed, and religion. The group has performed the last rites of over 500 people who died of COVID-19 in the last year. The group has become almost an extended arm of the Nanded Waghala Municipal Corporation (NWMC), which regularly provides them PPE kits, hand gloves, and other material.
“Happy Club” volunteers are available round-the-clock to provide this community service. All the jobs right from shifting the dead body to the crematorium, arranging the pyre, and finally lighting it….are performed by Shoeb and his group of youth who are in the age group 27-30 years. They also offer Namaz for the departed soul.
Shoeb, a mechanical engineer, running a perfume business and also having an agency of VI, has a small family-wife and one and half year old daughter. But does he not feel the risk of exposing to a deadly virus that has created havoc the world over?
“Initially we were scared. But our parents encouraged us since this was a service to mankind. Gradually we overcame the fear and now it is part of our routine. We adhere to all COVID-19 protocols and take bath after every cremation/burial. Because of the presence of our strong team on the spot, the bereaved families also get the courage to overcome the grief, say Shoeb.
But how do members of “Happy Club” support themselves? ‘We all are self-dependent. As such we do not find it difficult to meet expenses for this work. A private foundation has donated us an ambulance, to enable us to carry out this mission. We also provide medicare to the destitute on the street, provide them clothing, provide them blankets during harsh winter. We also regularly organize blood donation camps. Besides, we run an online blood bank under which the blood is made available to the hospitals within two hours depending upon the need ”, Shoeb added.
The “Happy Club” members offer their services to various parts of Nanded. However, in the last few days, their work is concentrated at cremation sites such as Ramghat, Narghat, CIDCO, and Markendey since there has been heavy in COVID-19 deaths in these areas for the last couple of days.
The members of “Happy Club include Mohammed Shoeb, Mohammed Khaled, Shaikh Altaf, Shaikh Yunus, Qureshi, Mohammed Daim, Gaus Qureshi, Mohammed Kasim Khan, Munwar Khan, Mohammed Bagwan, Junaid Khan Saudagar, Rashid Khan, Mirza Sohel, Abdu Salam, Mohammed Afsar, Ali Sayyed Yunus and Yasin.
They have been felicitated by several social organizations. But award or no award, “Happy Club” continues its work. “Ek Bharosa Jo…. Nanded ki Awwam me hum per Kiya Hai, Hamare Liye Kafi Hai”(the people of Nanded trust us, that is enough for us), says Shoeb.