Thirty-eight year-old Ragesh Babu stopped running his autorickshaw about five months ago, and is currently recuperating at MIMS Hospital, Kozhikode, after a major kidney surgery. On Friday last, 20 mosques within the limits of Malappuram municipality joined a fund-raising drive for Ragesh’s treatment. And those mosques raised ₹1.38 lakh within minutes after the Juma prayers.
It did not surprise anyone who attended the Juma prayers when they saw volunteers holding out buckets labelled ‘Ragesh Babu treatment fund’. For them, Ragesh’s religion did not matter. What mattered for them was humanity.
Many viewed the instance of mosques raising funds for Ragesh as a Malappuram model of communal harmony. “We did not even think about his religion when we decided to raise funds for his treatment. We were exploring all possible sources for the funds, and mosques were just one source,” said Basim Pari, secretary of the Ragesh Babu Treatment Aid Committee.
A bachelor hailing from Hajiyar Palli near here, Ragesh has been suffering from kidney ailment for over 12 years. He lived with his mother’s kidney for the past 11 years. The treatment cost him his house, and he made a living by running an autorickshaw.
But COVID-19 jolted his life again about two years ago, and he became a victim of jaundice and chicken pox, which ultimately led to the rejection of his borrowed kidney. Ragesh underwent an emergency transplant on Tuesday last, the day of Id-ul-Fitr, with the support of philanthropists. The transplant cost around ₹15 lakh. “We are hopeful of raising ₹15 lakh soon,” said Mr. Pari.
Together in peace
All mosques the committee approached cooperated with the drive. “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 they donated for Ragesh’s cause, most of those who attended the last Juma in Malappuram had a prayer on their lips: “God bless him with better health.”