Mirza Masud Rubol, the owner of Nirala Hotel and Restaurant in Tangail town, has been arranging the free food campaign at the Nirala intersection near the Shaheed Minar after every Jummah prayer
A restaurant owner in Tangail has been offering a satisfying meal, every Friday for the past three years, to around two hundred people who barely manage to make ends meet on a daily basis.
Marjina Begum, who is a regular consumer of the pro bono campaign, say: "My husband died a few years ago, and my daughter and I are entirely dependent on one of our relatives. I have been suffering from kidney disease and my daughter is physically challenged. We can barely manyeage a good meal. The opportunity of a decent meal at least once a week draws us here."
Mirza Masud Rubol, the owner of Nirala Hotel and Restaurant in Tangail town, has been arranging the free food campaign at the Nirala intersection near the Shaheed Minar after every Jummah prayer.
On a visit to the arrangement one Friday, this correspondent found more than two hundred poor labourers, rickshaw pullers, and beggars enjoying their meals. They were paying complete attention to their food, volunteers were serving, and consumers were waiting - all in an orderly manner. All of them knew that they don't need to hurry, as none of them would be leaving the restaurant on an empty stomach.
The initiative has been named "Goriber Hotel Robin Hood (Robin Hood, a hotel for the poor).”When asked about the name, Rubol said: "A hotel in Europe offers food for the poor, which has been named "Robin Hood." So I thought of naming the initiative after that.
"Initially, for the first five months after starting the initiative, we were able to arrange these meals every day, but the lack of funds forced me to hold the event once a week. During the winter, we generally serve Khichuri (spicy rice mixed with lentils) and meat curry; plain rice and curry is served during the rest of the seasons. The cost ranges from Tk20,000 to Tk25,000 for each arrangement," explained Rubol.
Jaher Molla, a rickshaw puller in the city, is the only earning member of a family of seven. Attending the campaign, he said: "Hotel food is expensive; we are lucky to have a place like this that offers a good meal. Allah will be benevolent to the person who is in charge of such a deed."
Members of the civil society lauded the initiative. Poet Mahmud Kamal, general secretary of the District Government Public Library in Tangail, said: "The initiative of Mirza Masud Rubol is truly praiseworthy; he is trying his best to arrange a better meal for the poor. He is not rich but has a big heart. If people like him come forward; the poor would never have to pass a day hungry."
Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO)Atikul Islam said: "We will help Mirza Masud Rubol so that he can feed more underprivileged . We also appreciate his altruistic act."