25 February, 2021

It Takes A City To Clothe A Village

Kapda or makan? A group called Goonj addresses the basic issue of clothing in remote India.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
It Takes A City To Clothe A Village
It's 10.40 pm on New Year's eve: Anshu K. Gupta stops his car outside aiims, alongside a row of sleeping bodies curled up against the cold. His friends and he step out. The car boot opens and out come blankets, folded within each are a set of trousers and woollens. Silently, they place the packages beside the sleeping and return to their cars. Mission accomplished, they drive on to repeat this anonymous drop-off. At 3.30 am they make their last stop by the Modi Mills flyover, on the south-eastern fringes of Delhi.By 5 am, January 1, Anshu and his friends get home, their final midnight run of 2003 complete.

"The biggest problem in our country is still roti, kapda aur makan," says Anshu, founder of Goonj, "yet something as simple as donation of clothes can solve at least one of the basic issues." Goonj's Vastra-Daan programme harks back to one of the oldest forms of charity in India, counted among the nine punyas or good deeds. But what really prompted Anshu and his wife to initiate the project in 1998 was the fact that, for those who don't even make it to the...

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