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Chai, A Pinch Of Love And The Dream Of A Hunger Free Nation: Operation Sulaimani

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By Neelima Ravindran

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Mead

Sulaimani, a popular tea drink in the Malabar region of Kerala, is said to attain its palatable perfection when a pinch of love is added to it. The people of the city of Kozhikode, known for its illustrious heritage, affable crowd and delectable cuisine, decided to combine their passion for food with their congeniality to launch Operation Sulaimani. A combined effort of the Kerala Hotels and Restaurants Association (KHRA) with the district administration, this
endeavour aims to make sure no person in the city ever goes hungry. The project is modelled along the lines of “pending coffee” or “coffee-on-a-wall” prevalent in many Western countries, where customers can pay for extra coffee or meal which in turn will be used to feed the needy.

operation sulaimani
Photo Credit: Operation Sulaimani

Statistics point out that over 20 crore people in India would sleep hungry tonight. But hereafter, none of them would belong to the city of Kozhikode. The empathy of people of this city with the help of the earnest district administration seeking to eradicate hunger can be designed into a plan that can be widened to other parts of the country. This accomplishment proves that sincere association of authorities and public can go a long way in the betterment of the society as a whole.

As in many cities across India, in Kozhikode too, railway stations, bus stands and religious places are palpable with faces empty with hunger, starvation and malnutrition betraying the conditions which many live in. Pursuant to the thought that eating without begging is the essential right of all, the administration under this proposal have started distributing food coupons through the village, taluk offices. These coupons can be exchanged at select hotels across the city for food. At the helm of this initiative is the District collector and the administration has assured that the project, currently limited to the city will in time be expanded to other parts of the district, thus making Kozhikode a hunger-free locality. The scheme has received huge support from all quarters, with the celebrities of Malayalam film industry like Anjali Menon and Dulqar Salman, the script writer and hero of the movie Ustad Hotel, which dealt with a similar theme throwing their weight behind the project.

The looming challenge in front of the authorities though is to spread the word among the poorer classes of the society who might not have regular access to the news and media. Reports suggest that as of now, around 65-75 coupons have been distributed by the village and taluk offices per day which the authorities believe is a good number considering that it has been only a week since this program has started. Once the word spreads and the coupon distribution at more accessible locations for the impoverished like railway/bus stations commences they are hopeful that the project will get momentum. Details and promos of the project are being played across the screens in confidence that the message would reach the both the donators as well as the needy.

Eating food with dignity is the basic right of every human being. Let us all gift a pinch of love and make the dream of a hunger free nation come true.


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  1. Dr PN Ravindran

    Thank you for bringing this commendable initiative of the Kozhikode corporation through the Youth Ki Awaaz. It should be an eye opener to all who have some social commitment and it is certainly an example worth emulating. Youth Ki Awaaz can be a medium to take this news to the young generation of India and to function as a catalyst for a social change. Ms Neelima should be congratulated for publicizing this effort.

  2. Dr M. Shylaja

    Operation Sulaimani is a noble venture. At a time when the rich people go after the display of their wealth, without giving any thought for the thousands of hapless and helpless souls who go without even a cup of tea, efforts like the OPERATION SULAIMANI is needed to function as eye-openers. If this noble effort spreads to the rest of the state and then to the rest of the country, India will be a nation without any hungry stomachs. ….. My congratulations to the people behind this effort and also to Ms Neelima Ravindran for bringing this to the notice of the youth of the country and to Youth Ki Awaaz for publishing it. The youngsters have to carry this effort forward, and I hope that this small news item in YKA initaite a social change. .

  3. ItsJustMe

    Kozhikode is the best. Great food, amazing heritage and truly good hearted people. I am literally from the other end of Kerala, but I cannot love any other city so much. The auto rockshaw drivers here are so polite and helpful. This is no surprise to me that this initiative started in Kozhikode

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