Sunshine story: Residents skip Holi to help neighbours

With the fire in Hirjee Bhojraj chawl having gutted the homes of 24 families, residents of nearby buildings did not celebrate the festival and, instead, collected donations to help them rebuild their lives

While the rest of the citizens spent their time painting each other in a hue of colours, some chose not to celebrate the festival of Holi in order to help out their neighbours in their time of need.

Also read: HSC student aces exam, day after losing house in fire

Laxman Gangan (third from right) and others collect money for the affected families
Laxman Gangan (third from right) and others collect money for the affected families

Residents of buildings adjacent to Hirjee Bhojraj chawl, in Cotton Green, forwent the revelry to collect donations for the families that were affected by the fire that gutted a majority of the chawl. The fire had occurred on Tuesday, consuming 20 rooms on the first floor and four rooms on the ground floor.

mid-day’s March 5 report on the HSC student managing to write her exam wellmid-day’s March 5 report on the HSC student managing to write her exam well

24 families were rendered homeless as their belongings went up in flames. mid-day had reported on cases of two young students who had to experience this misfortune while preparing for their board exams. One of the girls had managed to write her paper well despite the tragedy befalling her and her family (‘HSC student aces exam, day after losing house in fire’, March 5).

Residents of the ten buildings surrounding this 100-year-old chawl in Fer Bunder came together yesterday, on the festive occasion of Holi, to pool in money to help their neighbours. Not a speck of colour was applied on anyone in the vicinity. People pitched in from their own pockets, collected money from local mandals and then decided to knock on each and every door.

Laxman Gangan, a resident of nearby Abhinandan chawl, said, “After the incident, local building mandals contributed to this cause. But this was not enough; so we decided to ask every resident for money, with the understanding that we would not force anyone to pay up.” Contributions ranged from Rs 50 to Rs 1,000.

Madhu Chavan, former MLA from the Congress, donated Rs 1.05 lakh to the grieving residents. The Fer Bunder Vyapari Sangh donated kitchen sets to each family a donation worth Rs 1.6 lakh. The local branch of the Abhyudaya Bank donated Rs 50,000.

Locals are now getting inquiries from other parts of the city, and have decided to keep donations open for another day (today), in case anybody wants to contribute. After this, they will add up the collections and hand them over to the affected families, who are currently under the care of relatives and friends.

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