Malappuram’s mosques help blur religious boundaries
Ragesh Babu, 38, stopped driving his rickshaw about five months ago and is currently recovering at MIMS Hospital in Kozhikode after major kidney surgery. Last Friday, 20 mosques within the boundaries of Malappuram municipality joined in a fundraiser for the treatment of Ragesh. And these mosques collected ₹1.38 lakh within minutes of Juma prayers.
It came as no surprise to anyone who attended Juma’s prayers when they saw volunteers holding buckets labeled “Ragesh Babu’s treatment fund“. To them, Ragesh’s religion didn’t matter. What mattered to them was humanity.
Many saw the example of mosques raising funds for Ragesh as a Malappuram model of communal harmony. “We didn’t even think about his religion when we decided to fundraise for his treatment. We were exploring all possible sources of funds, and mosques were just one source,” said Basim Pari, secretary of the Ragesh Babu Treatment Aid Committee.
A single man from Hajiyar Palli near here, Ragesh has suffered from kidney disease for more than 12 years. He has lived with his mother’s kidney for the past 11 years. The treatment cost him his house and he made a living running a rickshaw.
But COVID-19 rocked his life again about two years ago, and he fell victim to jaundice and chickenpox, which ultimately led to the rejection of his borrowed kidney. Ragesh underwent an emergency transplant last Tuesday, the day of Id-ul-Fitr, with the support of philanthropists. The transplant cost around ₹15 lakh. “We hope to raise ₹15 lakh soon,” Mr Pari said.
together in peace
All the mosques the committee approached cooperated with the campaign. “We never distinguish between a Muslim and a Hindu when it comes to saving or helping a human being. We have a long tradition of living together in peace and cooperation,” said Shoukath Uppoodan, a social worker here.
When donating to Ragesh’s cause, most of those who attended the last Juma at Malappuram had a prayer on their lips: “May God bless him with better health.”