Corona Warriors from the city who are engaged in performing last rites on deceased bodies were honoured recently in a unique way by Dr. Dhananjay Datar, CMD, Al Adil Group, UAE, popularly known as Masala King. Dr. Datar, with a view to add sweetness to the life of these volunteers, sent 150 boxes of delicious Alfonso mangoes procured directly from Konkan. The boxes were gifted to the volunteers on the occasion of Maharashtra Day and Global Workers Day at the hands of Mrs. Dhanashree Patil, President, Swadesh Sewa Foundation and also the co-ordinator for this initiative.

The volunteers- who are helping to perform the last rites of the deceased bodies in Pune and surrounding areas- are mainly from 4 groups: namely Mulniwasi Muslim Manch, Kailas Smashan Bhumi Kamgar Gat, Ummat organisation and Swarupvardini Gat at Vaikunth cemetery. Despite providing noble service to the society these warriors are still deprived of even simple words of encouragement. Dhanashree Patil, who felt the need to bring their great work before society and also to honour their services, approached Dr. Datar from Dubai. Datar, a well-known philanthropist heartily responded to her appeal. As it was not possible for him to travel to Pune during the current pandemic, he procured Alfonso mango boxes from Konkan and sent them to Pune, which were later handed over to the volunteers by Mrs. Patil herself with the help of Sabir Sheikh from Mulniwasi Muslim Manch, Lalit Jadhav from Kailas Smshanbhumi Kamgar Gat, Javed Khan from Ummat and Avinash Dhayarkar from Swarupvardhini Sangh.

Commenting on the initiative Mrs. Dhanashree Patil said, “I had previously successfully executed various social initiatives with the help of Dr. Datar. Last year when thousands of penniless and jobless Indian workers were stranded in UAE due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Dr. Datar whole-heartedly helped to evacuate them safely to India. This time also he reciprocated promptly to honour the Corona Warriors from Pune and made the initiative a success.”

She further said, “I felt the need to bring the contribution of these volunteers before society as they are relentlessly engaged in performing last rites on the COVID deceased bodies without expecting any remuneration. They are a group of Hindu and Muslim volunteers who treat this work as a mission and perform last rites on every dead body adhering to that person’s religious rituals, may it be a burial or a cremation. They perform last rites even on the unclaimed and orphaned dead bodies from hospitals. They were happy and excited when we honoured them. Although busy, they arranged an Iftar party to welcome us which was a touching moment for me.”

Lalit Jadhav from Kailas Smashanbhumi Kamgar Gat while expressing his feelings said, “We have been engaged in this work day and night, but the current wave of the pandemic is so harsh that the number of dead bodies coming everyday in various cemeteries is on a rise. As a result, we are also under tremendous pressure like never before. We follow all health and safety norms like wearing a PPE kit all the time and washing hands frequently with sanitizer. Besides we have to bury or cremate the bodies without delay. I sincerely appeal to society to look at our challenging job and co-operate.”

The volunteers from Ummat organisation perform last rites not only in Pune city, but in surrounding villages also. Muslim volunteers fast during the holy month of Ramadan which teaches humanity and charity. Without caring for hunger, thirst or hard work these warriors travel to places wherever their service is needed. ‘We are really thankful to Dr. Dhananjay Datar for taking cognizance of our work.’ Javed Sheikh said.

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, CMD, Al Adil Group, UAE, while expressing his feelings, said, “Kudos to the courage and commitment of these volunteers. Even the family members get scared to touch the dead body of a COVID patient, but the volunteers daringly do the noble work of performing last rites on the dead person. I haven’t done anything special but just added some sweetness to the life of these volunteers. I, along with my family members and our Al Adil group will always remain committed to help society in every challenging time.”


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