TDN World Desk: In a tough time like this, when communal hatred creating clamour in the society, migrants are struggling to survive, others fighting to escape Covid-19, some people are doing their bests to put things in right order. Setting beautiful example for others a group of Dalits’ professional have decided to earmark ‘zakat’ (charity) from their earnings and using it for the welfare of the lesser fortunate members of their society.

The Dalit groups included professionals, bureaucrats and businessmen, mostly from Uttar Pradesh. The Dalits group has decided to perform zakat under the ‘Dalit Zakat’ initiative.

Zakat is one of the five obligatory duty in Islam that is performed by the privileged and economically balanced people. According to Islamic law a financially abled Muslim must have to spend 2.5 percent from his excess for the upliftment of the weker section of the society.

Following the Islamic way, this Dalit group in Uttar Pradesh has decided to help the poor, needy people from zakat money. With this noble aim they have set up Dalit Zakat Foundation which has members all across the state.

J Ram, a retired bureaucrat and the brain behind the Bharatiya Dalit Zakat Foundation said, “Our group was launched way back in 2003 and we have been assisting talented youths from our community in pursuing higher education. With Ramzan underway, and lockdown in place, we have decided to mobilize the resources to assist the poor members of the community, particularly the migrants.”

“Before the start of the holy month of Ramzan, the Muslim religious organisations and clerics have called upon the members of their community to assist the poor during the nationwide lockdown with giving a small percentage of their surplus wealth as ‘zakat’ to the needy. Taking a cue, we have also decided to assist people in raising money, running kitchen and providing medical assistance to the deprived members of our community,” he told The Hindusta Times.

The Dalit Zakat Foundation are helping the poor dalits students to pursue their educational expenses.

“With limited resources, we know that it is not possible to assist all but we are zeroing in on the extremely poor, deprived and marginalized people in the rural and urban areas of the state. Large numbers of the Dalit students are facing hardship after their parents’ lost job. The Dalit Zakat Foundation has supported the talented students in pursuing the higher education. Several of them are employed they have also joined hand in donating a portion of their earning,” he said further.

A gropu of Dalit students of Ambedkar Hostel in Gorakhpur have also adopted the Islamic principle of Zakat. Arranging fund based on zakat system they are running a community kitchen in the city to supply food packets to the poor members of the community stuck in city in lockdown.

The Dalit group is also working to empower women.

A office-bearer of the Dalit Zakat Foundation, SP Kureel said that the he idea of giving alms was also propagated in Buddhism. Buddha called upon his followers to donate a part of their earnings to the deprived.

On 14 October 1956 Dr BR Ambedkar along with his 500,000 followers converted to Buddhism in protest of caste discrimination. A day after he took diksha in Buddhism. On this occasion he delivered speech over the upliftment of the Dalit community members.

“Ambedkar called upon his followers to donate five percent of their earning as done by the Muslims for the social, religious and economic emancipation of the members of the community,” he added.