Free Kitchens when one is Poor in a World for the One Per Cent

A Glass of Milk for the Sweet Child
While I made some critical remarks about some religious organizations in the previous post, it must also be reported that some of these organizations do a lot of good work too. BBC news showed what an excellent job of running free kitchens the Catholic Church in France is doing besides the church has also done a great job of providing excellent education through the schools it runs and I myself have studied in one for a few years as a child.

On the other hands there are also sordid scandals that plague some religious organizations. As a comment to my previous post, Vincent a friend and fellow blogger pointed out that it is not always easy for people to walk out of a religion they may have been born too as it from a business organization that provides some service. Therefore a need exists for reform. Perhaps the scandals in some of these churches would reduce if priests were allowed to marry. It is fine to say that for attaining a high order of spirituality one should be celibate but then how many humans can give up their fascination with lusting. If compelled to do so externally, they shall continue to do so in their mind and hearts and perhaps be led to a situation in which they develop a fascination with the choir boys. In reforming its policies, the Church must look at its own holy book wherein the Savior says that to lust in thought is to commit adultery and if the Church cannot prevent this sort of adultery, which it clearly cannot, then they should permit its priestly orders to marry.

Returning to the topic at hand, I was initially going to title this post as free kitchens for the poor but then changed it to “when poor’ because poverty is not a permanent state. It can change from time to time and a rich man may become poor one day just as a poor become rich and I myself have faced times in this life, albeit brief, when I was hard up to arrange the daily bread. My mind went to the present topic on reading a news report today that a person named Om Birla has been running a free kitchen for the poor feeding around a thousand persons a day by providing two meals a day in a city called Kota not too far away from here.

Although, such things need not be broadcast, they have to be described for their educational values at times. I recall one occasion when we contributed towards feeding poor for a day at the famous Sufi Shrine of Nizammudin in Delhi many years ago. The holy Imam (priest) said that the experience would be more rewarding if we came at an appointed hour and served food with our own hands. When we arrived in the afternoon for the job, the food was ready and poor fakirs were dutifully sitting in a line waiting to be served. There was a basket of hot fresh crispy Nans (flat bread) and a large pot of mutton curry. The food looked so delicious that my mouth watered as we served the fakirs but we did not eat out of shyness. Those were days when I ate and relished red meat dishes. I am reminded of another fellow blogger, Keiko Amano, who said that if she came to India she would love a meal of chicken curry and Nan. Truly, Nan and curry when fresh is one of the more delicious meals available on the planet. Nowadays when I venture out for a similar exercise in Jaipur, I first eat a meal of the same stuff myself first. There are a few Muslim restaurants in Jaipur (to the right just as you enter Ajmeri gate in the city) that serve excellent Nan and curry and are places where the poor line up outside every evening. A visitor to the restaurant may volunteer to feed a certain number and serve the poor right then with hot fresh Nans coming off the oven. It is a win-win situation for all. The poor get fed, the restaurant does more business and the donor gets the satisfaction of having helped out a few fellow humans in need.

One of the criticisms some reviewers had of my recent novel - ( is that although they enjoyed the story, it was fairy tale like with goody-goody persons engaged in service. One of the primary goody-goody services in the story was people feeding the poor and setting up a free kitchen to do so, on a regular basis. I would hate to disappoint such reviewers by telling them that all the royalty plus much more from this book along with generous matching grants has gone towards the same end. However, there were also readers who were inspired to run off on their own good deed errands. One was a Sikh friend who helped out with the community kitchen.I along with some friends try and encourage others to do the same on their own through a Facebook page at

Sikh temples traditionally run free kitchen not just for the poor but anyone who visits. However, all religious organizations that are not greedy to pocket all donations and even non-religious ones such as corporations can do that. A new law is being made in India obliging private corporations to spend at least two percent of their profits on philanthropy. Setting up a free kitchen in a country where poverty and malnutrition is still common is worth considering for this budget. If you are abroad and have heard of great economic growth in India and China and think such persons do not exist anymore here than think again. The present models of economy around the world, that Aaron Heslehurst does a great job of reporting on the BBC, controlled by the one per cent, be it England, USA, India or China are designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer designed with the help of legislators funded by the one per cent, aside from a few countries with a different system such as Sweden.

When humans created modern democracies the idea was that people would be able to run policies of their choice. A fact that was grossly overlooked was that money would be needed for elections and persons who provide that would have a say in policies out of proportion to their numbers - welcome to the world of one percent.

But then consider yourself lucky even if you are a part of the one per cent world because on our planet there are countries where not the one per cent but the one person world exists (as did in Libya until recently and as does in Syria even now). We are evolving for sure but there is a long way ahead..

Ancient Greeks who invented democracy in Athens were smarter, they spent no more than a few pennies on their election system - for an Urn in which names of persons were thrown in and some pulled out by random choice, to rule; the result - A beautiful and prosperous ancient city of Athens that modern humans still marvel at and a civilization that showed the way to the rest of the world. The city began to be ruined only when corruption began to seep in.

A random picking will not lead to selection of the most charismatic and cleverest persons but just average ones. The conclusion is that unbiased and honest leaders produce a far better civilization than smart and clever leaders Why is that? The answer is that there are enough institutions to design policy and systems in any country, all that is required is their appropriate functioning.


Vincent said…
We ought not to forget that Greek civilization which first spawned democracy was based upon the labour of slaves.
ashok said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashok said…
Yes quite right Vincent. There were the slaves and the indigenous Athenians. Only the indigenous Atheninans participated in the democratic process.

Modern civilisation has overcome slavery of the type that existed but there is slavery of a different kind, people trapped into lives from 9 to 5 for survival round the year with added commuting hours.

Modern man has become cleverer at masking practices, as for example dictators claim that whatever they do is for the people while looting the nation, some one party states claiming they are the peoples republic while suppressing the people, democratic states posing as working for the people while they make laws for the one percent, even perhaps letting danger persist with military power assault weapons so that the gun lobby can prosper in the presently one of the most democratic countries.

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