Chandigarh’s Langar Baba Jagdish Lal Ahuja passes away
Chandigarh’s Langar Baba, Jagdish Lal Ahuja, who was known for serving free food to poor patients and attendants outside Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for the last 21 years, died on Monday. He was 86.
Ahuja, who was recently awarded the Padma Shri for social work, was battling cancer for the past few years and breathed his last at 9.30am on Monday.
Even on the day of his death, the langar service continued as per his wish and poor patients and attendants were fed.
After the post-mortem at PGIMER, the body was taken to his house in Sector 23 and the cremation was carried out at Sector 25.
Born in Peshawar, Ahuja moved from Pakistan to Patiala with his family during Partition in 1947. At 12, he was a refugee overnight. He started selling boiled candy to help his family make ends meet. In 1956, the family moved to Chandigarh. Here, he sold bananas and became prosperous.
In 1981, he began giving back to society. Having organised ‘langar (community kitchens)’ across the city, Ahuja moved to serving free food outside PGIMER, Sector 12, and Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 in 2001. Since then, he has been distributing meals to people daily. It was only during the Covid-19 pandemic that the langar service was discontinued for four days but he managed to get permission from the Chandigarh Administration to continue the noble cause.
In 2015, Ahuja sold his seventh property worth ₹1.6 crore to arrange money for his noble initiative. He has sold six other such properties worth crores to ensure that poor don’t go to bed on an empty stomach.
Sandeep, who distributes food on behalf of Ahuja outside PGI, told reporters that Langar Baba had called him home on Sunday evening and had said that the sewa (service) should continue even on the day he died. A few days ago, he had bought ration for months and stocked it up in a house in Sector 26, Chandigarh.