Sufidar Trust, Walajah Big Mosque: The 4 decades long tradition of Hindus serving Iftar meals to Muslims during Ramzan

As a testament of the philosophy of religious unity, a temple honouring the teachings of Sufi saint Shahenshah Baba Nebhraj Sahib by preparing Iftar meals for 1200 Muslims
Image courtesy: Times of India

The holy month of Ramzan had started from February 12, 2024. During this time, many traditions and stories of Iftar being organised for Muslims by Hindus come to the forefront, showcasing the beauty of harmonious diversity in India. One such story has now emerged from the state of Tamil Nadu, where for 4 decades, Hindus has been serving Iftar meals to Muslims during Ramzan.

This tradition was born in Chennai at the hands of Dada Ratanchand, a Hindu who had sought refuge in Chennai, and remains to be continuing till day. It was through the establishment of the Sufidar Trust and a temple honouring the teachings of Sufi saint Shahenshah Baba Nebhraj Sahib, Ratanchand promoted a philosophy of religious unity.

In the words of the Hindu guruji, “all Gods are one”. The trust’s philosophy was captured in this declaration. The effort of continuing this tradition is now undertaken by Ram Dev and his team of almost 30 volunteers that prepare the food and then transfer the Iftar meals from a van into the Walajah Big Mosque. Ram Dev, who had previously worked in his family’s car company, discovered a greater calling in helping others. He gave up his business endeavours and focused more of his time on sewa, or selfless service. Volunteers from Rajasthan and Maharashtra who had relocated to Chennai joined him in the admirable project.

It is essential to note that the Iftar food that is prepared for almost 1,200 people is cooked at Hindu temple on Dr Radhakrishnan Road in Mylapore. The food is then served to Muslims as they break their fast during Ramzan. As per a report of Times of India, the Hindu servers and volunteers don skull caps while serving Iftar meals as a sign of respect for the sentiments of their Muslim brethren, also ensuring hygiene standards are maintained.

Containers full of fried rice, pickled vegetables, bananas, kesar milk, water, dates, almonds, and biscuits were quickly emptied and placed onto paper plates. As guests gathered in the mosque courtyard, volunteers served them, bringing bowls of “Nombu” gruel.

This strong relationship between the mosque and the Sufidar temple has been strengthened and maintained by this long-standing tradition of community service, which has fostered over many years.



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