: A Case from Hyderabad Offering food to the people is always considered a noble activity. In all religions, donation and Annadhanam (offering of food to others), etc., have been advocated. Annadhanam refers to the practice of donating food to those in need, as food gives life. So Annadhanam is also considered Pranadhanam (donation of life); thus, it is known as a divine activity. Annadhanam is found in many religious places, somewhere in a small way, somewhere on a large scale; in some places, this is followed regularly, and in some places, weekly or alternative days. Here are a few cases of Annadhanam practiced on a large scale:· Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab· Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Andhra Pradesh · Dharmasthala, Karnataka· Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu Apart from the above, there are many other places where Annadhanam is practiced regularly. In most of these places, it is noted that the kitchens are modern, automated, and run on alternate energy sources to cause less pollution.On February 3, 2024, with the initiative of Sri Gnana Venkateshwar temple located at Gandhamguda, Gandipet Mandal of Bandlaguda Jagir, RR district,
Telangana Annadhanam (free food ) and a dental checkup for all was organised. It is noteworthy to mention that Sri Gnana Venkateshwar temple was established in 2022, for which the Government of Telangana donated 15 acres of land. The author visited the area and interacted with Chairman S. Ramachandraih of the temple committee on February 3, 2024. According to him, around Rupees five crore was spent on constructing the temple, which was purely on donations collected from the people. During construction time, committee members monitored so that quality was not compromised. The temple also runs a charitable trust known as Sri Gnana Venkateshwar Charitable Trust and Gosala (nurturing of cows).
Altogether, 18 members are involved in managing the Trust. Many of them are retired senior Government officers. Every Saturday, the Annadhanam programme is organized. For this, many people donate Rs 5,000 individually, and some people even donate Rs 15,000 individually. The Chairman further informed that every Saturday, around 600 people take food. Along with rice normally dal, shambar, curry, raita etc., are served. Around Rs 25,000 is spent on food (every Annadhanam, Saturday), which is collected through the people and temple fund.
During the time of visit, it was reported that for handwashing, eight taps at the cost of around Rs 30,000, sponsored by Mrs S. Suguna, are being constructed, which will be ready in another week. Presently, people wash their hands by mug, taking water from the bucket.
The dental camp was organised under the supervision of Dr. Sai Abhishek Yadav, Dr (Mrs) Sadhana Yadav and Dr (Mrs). Ramya K. Murthy, along with other paramedical staff members. Around 80 people visited the dental camp for a check-up, which was totally free of cost. It is pertinent to mention that the dental check-up camp is a one-time activity like other medical services organized by the temple committee (one-time activity); Annadhanam is an activity that takes place every Saturday.
Dr. Sai Abhishek Yadav and his team members run a multispeciality dental center under the banner of Empire Dental Care in Hyderabad. In this programme S. Bhaskaran, Senior Advocate, Hyderabad and T. Sanjeeva Reddy, Legal Advisor, ICFAI, Hyderabad participated. I suggest such noble activity can be emulated by other religious organizations and medical doctors at least once a week.
(Dr. Shankar Chatterjee is a Former Professor & Head (CPME) NIRD &PR, Hyderabad-500 030)