This Ganesh Chaturthi Serve Humanity

DJ Akash appeals to make Ganesh Puja a festival that celebrates humanity, asks people to donate

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Kolkata: Kolkata’s Disc Jockey (DJ), Akash Rohira conducted a fundraiser during lockdown, orgaznised langars and community kitchen with Kolkata Police, and now has some plans for Ganesh Puja too.

Ganesh Puja is usually celebrated with great fervour at the residence of DJ Akash. However, this year, due to Covid-19, certain changes are inevitable.

“Each year my relatives, friends and well-wishers visit my house when Bappa comes home. They arrive with sweets, fruits and flowers. They also make monetary donations which are utilised to help those in need. But this year, I have requested them to stay at home and use the money kept for sweets and flowers to buy ration for the needy. Even if they buy one kg of rice, it will prevent a family from going to bed hungry,” informs Akash.

The DJ believes that the best way to honour Bappa is by serving humanity and this year he has been doing just that right from the beginning of the lockdown period.

“I started by distributing masks and sanitizers to the vegetable vendors and the rickshaw pullers in my area. Then I contacted the coolies who are engaged at our shop. I called the technicians et al associated with my musical events. They were all in doldrums. I wanted to do something and pitched in. I took certain initiatives and soon my family, relatives and friends joined in. We began with a langar project and followed it up by distributing goody bags filled with ration to those in need,” recalls Akash.

Akash kept posting about his philanthropic initiatives on social media and more help started pouring in. It also encouraged people in need to reach out to him.

He says, “In a post of mine I had stated that if any technician or artist needed ration, they could contact me and promised to keep their identities a secret. Soon, I started getting calls from all over India. Today, besides Kolkata, our goody bags have reached Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, New Delhi and Raipur. I call my friends in these places. They prepare the goody bags and I transfer the money from here.”

In the month of June, Akash had organized a fundraiser on Facebook featuring VJ Philip Gordon, DJ Cas and himself to raise money for this cause. He had also joined hands with several senior officers of the Kolkata Police during the peak lockdown period.

“We had taken several measures when the lockdown period was on and we are still fighting from the frontline. It feels wonderful when NGOs and individuals come forward to help. Akash had contacted me and offered his assistance. I was aware about the community kitchen programme being run by the Kolkata Leather Complex, police station and had introduced him to the officer in-charge there,” informs S. Thakur, officer in-charge, Patuli police station.

While Swarup Kanti Pahari, officer in-charge, Kolkata Leather Complex police station says, “We had initiated the community kitchen programme and used to feed around 1, 800 people. But soon a very large number of migrant labourers arrived and we needed more food. It was then that DJ Akash came to us and told us about his langar project. The steady supply of nutritious cooked meals had fed many.”

Akash had also worked with Kalyan Ghosh, senior officer from Lalbazar and struck a wonderful rapport with Uday Banerjee, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Central Division during the lockdown. But in a sad turn of events, Assistant Commissioner Banerjee lost the battle against coronavirus on August 21. Banerjee is the ninth officer from Kolkata Police who succumbed to the virus as a Covid warrior.

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