Karnataka rains 2019
While Haji gave the land for the new houses, Lokesh pledged his for an accessible road that can be built towards the plot.

In the face of terrible tragedy, the only glimmer of hope is often people coming together in solidarity and healing each other with love. Placing humanity ahead of religious differences, a Muslim man and his Hindu counterpart from Kodagu district have united to donate over 1.5 acres of agricultural land for the rehabilitation of flood victims. 

According to Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy, the recent rains accompanied by flood in the Kodagu region have washed away over 5000 homes in several villages close to the Kaveri river, including Kondangeri.

It was then that 55-year-old Abdulla Haji came forward with an offer to part with 1.5 acres of his 6-acre agricultural land and donate it to the Kondangeri Masjid Committee, so that the government can put it to use. 

"When a person sees the people around him suffering so much, it is only natural that he would go and help others. Although I'm a not a rich farmer, I'm in a position to help them. I hope that the bereaved people get some strength from God to overcome their losses and grief,” Haji said.

As per Haji’s proposal, the land is suitable for building permanent houses for the flood victims. But while the Masjid committee was considering the housing proposal, they soon realised that the construction site will face the problem of an inaccessible road.

“But without any hesitation, another Kondangeri resident, Lokesh, approached the Masjid committee and pledged that the Masjid may attach his part of land to the charitable cause and lay down a road towards the residential project,” said Yusuf Haji, President of Kondangeri Muslim Jamath. 

According to the Masjid authorities, most of the flood victims are labourers who've lost whatever little they had.

“Almost all the flood victims whose houses have been destroyed are labourers from coffee plantations. They had to forcibly leave their homes as the water level rose and in the process, they also lost their possession and valuables along with their home,” said Yusuf.

While government authorities are engaged in the rehabilitation process, there is a lack of temporary relief centres built by the government at Kondangeri village. Hundreds of victims, including women and children, irrespective of their religious beliefs, have taken shelter in relief centres at the Kondangeri Masjid while mourning their losses.

“Haji was thoroughly involved in serving the needy at the Masjid when they had started coming to this shelter. We think he was overwhelmed by their losses and felt that it was necessary to look into providing the people with long-term solutions,” Yusuf said.

This duo’s decision was hailed by the local authorities who confided that the district was facing a shortage of land to rehabilitate the victims of floods and landslides. 

“There is already an ongoing process undertaken by the district administration to identify government land that has been encroached by a few agriculturists. The process of its recovery will commence. In the meanwhile, the generosity of people like Lokesh and Haji is really commendable,” Assistant Commissioner T Javare Gowda said.

This is not the first time that ordinary people in the flood and landslide prone coffee belt have rushed to help others. Last year, Abdul Latif of Suntikoppa had come forward and donated 2 acres of his estate land for the rehabilitation of victims.

Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)