No army can fight on an empty stomach. So elaborate arrangements for food were made at both the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi and the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai where activist Anna Hazare held his fasts (in August and December respectively) to push through a Jan Lokpal Bill. The kitchens — innovatively called 'Anna ki Rasoi' — were set up by Rohtak-based Chaitanya Maharaj and his team. Despite the rush (at least in Delhi), the fare in both cities was healthy and filling: steaming poha and tea for breakfast and puri, sabzi, dal and rice for lunch. Now for his seminal service to the nation and the cause of the aam aadmi, the Congress-led government in Haryana has nominated Anna's 'chef' for a Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. While in Mumbai, Chaitanya Maharaj did not get the numbers he was hoping to feed, in Delhi, along with couple of other organisations, he doled out hot food to thousands. Even when Hazare was camping in Mumbai, a branch of the rasoi fed almost 20,000 people at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. After all, the way to almost everyone's heart is through their stomach.
While it is true that not all who came to either of the grounds were staunch Anna or government supporters and were probably just looking for a free lunch or dinner as the case may be, no one can deny that Chaitanya Maharaj's soup kitchens gave people something to chew on. While many may feel that his nomination is politically-motivated and unnecessary, we support the Haryana's government's move. We hope that one day, not too far away, we too will be considered for this honour. After all, we have provided food for thought come sunshine or rain, even though not always as palatable as that of Chaitanya Maharaj.