We serve people irrespective of religion, and consider it a responsibility rather than social service, says Younus Rashid
QAZIGUND: Help to those in need is our obligation, irrespective of caste, colour, sex, and religion. Islam, our religion, emphasises on it and Kashmiris are known for their hospitality and helpful nature. Upholding this tradition and setting a stellar example is a young man who started rushing to people’s aid when he was still a teenager, during the devastating 2014 floods in Kashmir, and since then has been helping passengers stranded on the national highway and those left destitute by the Covid lockdown.
Younus Rashid, now 25 years old, belongs to Badragund village in Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir. When the first coronavirus lockdown was imposed, he went out to lend a helping hand to those who needed one, and was soon joined by his comrades who collected and distributed essential items in those difficult days.
For the past many years during winters when the highway shuts down due to landslides and snowfall, Younus and his comrades reach stranded passengers and tourists who get stuck on the national highway in Qazigund.
“You know that the national highway is prone to avalanches and landslides, which often shut it down. We remain ready to help people stranded on this side of the tunnel. We have served food to hundreds of stranded tourists and have also given shelter for the night. We serve tourists and passengers irrespective of religion and consider it as our responsibility rather than social service,” Younus told Kashmir Reader.
In the Covid lockdown, when people avoided meeting one another due to the fear of the virus, Younus risked his life to go out to help people who required it. He along with his friends distributed masks to people and advised them to adhere to the precautions with utmost care.
“I contracted the virus after some days of fieldwork last year, but it did not deter me from helping people,” Younus said.
While volunteering with many NGOs, he has distributed food and other essentials to hundreds of underprivileged families in Qazigund villages. “We have to do our part, and we must consider it as a blessing that Allah has chosen us for this noble work. Pandemic or other issues don’t last long. The only thing that counts is how well you do your part. In all these testing times, we must collectively join hands to help whoever needs help,” he said.