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Freemasons of Northern India provide Rs 45 lakh charity to distressed during Covid-19

By Deepak Arora

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in,” Theodore Roosevelt had said.

NEW DELHI, April 29: The sudden lockdown of India in March in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic had brought out to the forefront the issue of feeding hundreds and thousands of homeless, slum dwellers and migrant workers across the nation.

Several organizations, institutions and agencies came forward for the cause. In the forefront was New Delhi-based Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India in the Delhi NCR and various centers across the Northern Region.

Under the dynamic leadership of the Regional Grand Master (Right Worshipful Brother) RW Bro A K Sharma, the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India distributed dry rations, relief kits to distressed including jobless daily wagers and migrants and provided assistance to hospitals and Quarantine Centers.

RW Bro A K Sharma said the funds came from the Fund of Benevolence of the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India. He informed that the beneficiaries were selected with the help of the SHOs of the local police stations and the distribution was also done in the presence of the police personnel. “The total charity amount spent by the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India and Masonic centers was to the tune of Rs 45 lakhs,” added RW Bro A K Sharma.

The good work of the Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India reminded me of the words of Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Besides the Regional Grand Master (RGM), the co-ordination team in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) included RW Bro Puneet Sohal, RW Bro Ashok Sharma, RW Bro P K Sharma, RW Bro Suman Kapur, RW Bro Bhuvesh Pasricha, RW Bro Sushil Qazi, (Very Worshipful) VW Bro Sanjeev Suri, W Bro Pradeep Gaur, W Bro Kapil Sethi and W Bro Ankush Wohra.

In the Delhi NCR, each dry ration relief kit that was given contained seven kilograms of atta, five kilograms of rice, two kilograms of daal, one litre of cooking oil, masalas, salt and a soap bar. The 2300 kits were distributed in areas under various Police stations and with the coordination of the local police.

The bulk ration consisting of 1,000 kilograms of Rice, 300 kilograms of daal, 30 kilograms of Rajma, 150 kilograms of salt and masalas and 100 kilograms of sugar) given to Earth saviours, an NGO providing shelter and food to 500 destitutes in Gurgaon. The total quantity of ration was about 2.5 metric tonnes.

Besides, over 5,000 cooked meal packets were given to the distressed in Gurgaon and Noida.

The Regional Grand Lodge of Northern India also provided assistance to the hospitals and Quarantine Centres.

The assistance was handed over to the District Magistrate, New Delhi for 1,000 bed Quarantine Centre in Central Delhi. The help included 200 folding beds and mattresses, 200 sets of bed sheets, pillows and pillow covers, 700 PPE kits, 200 N95 masks, 2,000 3-ply masks, 1,500 Nitrile gloves.

The assistance was also given to LNJP Hospital in New Delhi. The charity included 300 PPE kits, 100 N95 masks, and 1,000 surgical gloves.

The charity was also provided to Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital at Rohini in Delhi. It included 250 PPE kits, 190 N95 masks, handrubs and faceshields.

The GTB Hospital in Delhi was given 100 N65 masks.

The Mewat Hospital and Medical College at Nuh in Haryana was provided 200 PPE kits

The above charity was to the amount of Rs 35 lakhs.

Similar charity work was being done in other masonic centres by Lodges and brethren in North India.

For example, the lodges in Kanpur, Allahabad, Dehradun, Shimla, Ludhiana, Jhansi and Jaipur gave a charity worth Rs 10 lakhs.

G & H Block Residents of DLF Phase 1 ensure no one sleeps hungry during Covid-19

By Deepak Arora

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy,” Rabindranath Tagore had said nearly a century ago.

GURGAON, April 30:

No one had ever imagined that a day would come when the world would be halted by a tiny virus and Tagore’s words of Service would ring in our ears.

The sudden lockdown in Gurgaon, like in many other cities, due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought out to the forefront the herculean task of motivating and feeding the local essential services warriors such as guards, safai karamcharis, garbage collectors, malis, electric and power back up staff and nearby slum dwellers and migrant labourers.

Each day they were provided lunches along with frootis or lassis.

Inspector Vishnu PrasadBut one has to give credit to the local leaders and residents of G and H Blocks in DLF Phase 1 in Gurgaon who rose to the occasion and took the task of making sure that not one person goes hungry. And that too each passing day, for the past over one month.

They were ably guided and supported by the police force of DLF phase 1 led by SHO Inspector Vishnu Prasad.

The team was led by Rahul Chandola, Secretary,H Block Residential Community (HBRC) and Civil Defence Gurgaon Volunteer; Parimal Bardhan, President HBRC; Tariq Raza, President Silver Oaks Apartments; and Ravinder Yadav, President G Block Residential Community (GBRC).

Besides other residents, Rahul Chandola had been continuously supported by Raj Kumar Yadav and Jeet Singh of H Block in these noble endeavours.

The residents also contributed generously to ensure that none slept hungry. Ms Kavita Sood, of Food4U and resident of G Block, has been a lady with a generous heart and has been contributing large number of food packets each day.

During the rounds, this correspondent found that the police was also actively monitoring the activity of the residents and ensuring that none went hungry in their jurisdiction. This correspondent noticed a rider named Arun Kumar maintaining record and the data was sent to DCP (East) Chander Mohan each day.

One day, Anil Mehra from G Block, distributed food packets to celebrate his grandson’s birthday. On another day, daughter-mother duo of Noyanika and Sushma Arora, also from G Block, gave away food packets. On yet another day, Sandeep Kaul, also grom G Block, financed lunch packets for distribution.

Ravinder Yadav, also of G Block, gave away food rations consisting of Atta (3 Kg), Rice (2 Kg), Chana Dal (1 Kg) and cooking oil (1 litre) to over 300 needy persons.

Then there has been another selfless independent story of Kamal Soneja and his two daughters – Chahat and Kanak, who together distribute a cool drink around noon and hot cup of tea in the evening to guards, labourers and police cops who manage barriers from DLF 1 to DLF 5 on Golf Course Road. Another interesting service is by the younger daughter, Kanak, makes rotis (chapattis) for cows from her own pocket money and feeds them. And the Soneja family does this selfless service each day. And twice over. One can set time on one's watch when they leave in a car at dot 11.30 AM and 3.20 PM each day. They have been doing this yeoman service since the lockdown.

Charity by Kamal Soneja Family

There could be many more such selfless services by the residents of G and H Block during this pandemic.

These selfless services reminded me of a quote of Mother Teresa: “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

During the period, 75 sets of PPE kits (two sets of body coverall, mask, boots, glove, bottle of sanitizer) were also given to sweepers, garbage collectors, sewage workers, and horticulture workers of entire DLF Phase 1 area in different blocks for protection against Covid-19.

“These were provided for distribution to HBRC by Humanitarian Aid International based in Gurgaon and Charities Aid Foundation of India. The distribution was organised by HBRC on their behalf under the supervision of Ravinder ji,” informed Chandola.

MCG Councillor R S Rathee on rounds

Chandola and his team also set up barricades at Champa Marg to monitor unreasonable movement of people to and fro from Sikandarpur. The team has been also distributing masks and has been doing thermal screening of people with the support from the local Police Station and DLF Security.

It may be mentioned that several volunteers, including Shrey Jhalani, Anil Wig, Jeet Singh and Ms Ritu Jain (all from H Block), had joined in the kar seva.

It may be mentioned that Himanshu Chawla from H Block had donated two Thermal Scanners for Community purposes. Ritika Bahri had donated 300 Soaps and 300 sweet buns to inculcate the spirit of cleanliness.

There were days when it rained and days when the temperatures rose. Voila, then came forward some of the residents like Ritika bahri, Sudesh Arora, Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha and Sanjay Kumar (all from H Block) who donated umbrellas for the guards and Quick Response Teams (QRTs).

In this hour of pandemic, MCG Councillor R S Rathee has been giving his full hearted support by not only physically monitoring at check points, but also sanitizing and fogging the area to check the spread of virus or breeding of mosquitoes.

In this period of lockdown, the BSNL office in Phase 2 was also accepting cheques from its customers to help them. During the visit to BSNL office in Phase 2, one saw JTO (Junior Telecom Officer) Sumit Sony holding fort and helping the public. As a precation, he was seen working with his face covered with a plastic sheet.

Rishi Kapoor Dies At 67

MUMBAI, April 30: Rishi Kapoor has died in a hospital in Mumbai at the age of 67. He fought a long battle with cancer. Yesterday, his brother Randhir Kapoor confirmed that the actor had been taken to hospital in the morning.

Rishi Kapoor belonged to a film dynasty that spans several generations - his father, Raj Kapoor, was among India's most revered actors and filmmakers.

This is the film fraternity's second loss in as many days - Irrfan Khan was claimed by cancer yesterday.

Rishi Kapoor's longtime friend and co-star of films such as Amar Akbar Anthony Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "He's gone. Rishi Kapoor, gone, just passed away. I am destroyed."

Rishi Kapoor, known for his work in films like Bobby and Chandni, was treated in New York for cancer and returned to Mumbai last year. "Back home! 11 months, 11 days! Thank you all," Kapoor tweeted after his homecoming.

Rishi Kapoor was taken to hospital twice in February this year - first in New Delhi, where he was attending a family event, and then in Mumbai.
After being hospitalised in Delhi, Kapoor tweeted, "Dear family, friends, foes and followers. I have been overwhelmed by all your concern about my health. Thank you. I have been filming in Delhi past 18 days and because of the pollution and my, I caught an infection whereby I had to be hospitalized." He also revealed that doctors had found a patch on his lungs that could have led to pneumonia.

Rishi Kapoor is survived by his wife Neetu Kapoor, son Ranbir and daughter Riddhima. Last seen in the 2019 films The Body and Jhootha Kahin Ka, Kapoor was meant to star in a Bollywood adaptation of The Intern with Deepika Padukone.

Actor Extraordinaire Irrfan Khan Is No More

MUMBAI, April 29: Actor Irrfan Khan has died at the age of 53, after being admitted to Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Wednesday, where he was under observation for colon infection.

India’s most recognisable face in the west and an actor par excellence, Irrfan had left India shocked in 2018 when he had announced that he’d been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour.

“‘I trust, I have surrendered,” were the words with which his family confirmed his death, while adding, “These were the some of the many words that Irrfan expressed in a heart felt note he wrote in 2018 opening up about his fight with cancer. And a man of few words and an actor of silent expressions with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on screen. It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him. After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life soon after as it came and he fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven abode, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own. We all pray and hope that he is at peace. And to resonate and part with his words he had said, ‘As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it’.”

The news of his death was shared on Twitter by filmmaker Shoojit Sircar. “My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you.. we shall meet again.. condolences to Sutapa and Babil.. you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute,” he wrote.

Born to Muslim parents in the village of Tonk near Jaipur, Irrfan’s mother had a royal lineage but his father was a self-made man. Eldest of three siblings, Irrfan joined National School of Drama after his father’s death. Ironically, his mother, Saeeda Begum, died a few days before his death.

Mira Nair was the first to spot his talent and cast him in Salaam Bombay in 1988. The two went on to collaborate again in the critically acclaimed The Namesake in 2006 and for the director’s segment in New York, I Love You.

After doing television for years in the 80s, a period of his career that he described as ‘being stuck’, Irrfan found his big break in Aasif Kapadia’s The Warrior. His career steadily progressed – in India where he went on from playing character roles to headlining films, and then went on to become India’s most celebrated face in the West. He earned steady kudos at home and abroad as a steady actor whose performances were lifelike, dependable.

Danny Boyle called his Slumdog Millionaire performance “beautiful to watch”, while the celebrated critic Roger Ebert noted his ‘subtle, engrossing work’ in The Namesake. He went on to deliver memorable performances in films such as The Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, The Mighty Heart and Jurassic World.

His last film was Angrezi Medium, ahead of which the actor had shared an empowering video message for his fans, stating that the only choice he had was to remain positive. “One doesn’t have any other choice but to remain positive. Whether you are able to make lemonade in such situations is entirely up to you. We’ve made this film with the same sort of positivity. I hope this film is able to make you laugh and cry in equal measure.”

In India, his most famous films include his debut, the Academy Award nominated Salaam Bombay!, Maqbool (2004), Paan Singh Tomar (2011), The Lunchbox (2013), Haider (2014), Gunday (2014), Piku (2015) and Talvar (2015) and Hindi Medium (2017).



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