Passenger onboard Shatabdi Express gets Iftar meal; catering staff wins hearts
Shahnawaz Akhtar, like many others from his religious community, was observing a Ramzan fast. To his surprise, the railway catering staff offered him a special Iftar meal at the break of his fast.
Amid the recent religious clashes in India, attendants on a Howrah-Ranchi Shatabdi Express train offered Iftar to a passenger on Tuesday. Shahnawaz Akhtar, who was just about to break his Ramzan fast, was pleasantly surprised when catering staff brought Iftar to him for his meal.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) serves 'upwas meals' to its Hindu passengers during Navratri but no such service is available during Ramzan, according to an official. In fact, the catering arm has introduced an entire special menu during the Navratri festival season.
Delighted by the offering, Akhtar wrote on Twitter: "Thank you #IndianRailways for the #Iftar. As soon as I boarded Howrah #Shatabdi at Dhanbad, I got my snacks. I requested the pantry man to bring tea little late as I am fasting. He confirmed by asking, aap roza hai? I nodded yes. Later someone else came with iftar." He also posted a photograph of the meal served to him on the train.
IRCTC officials said the meal was personally arranged by the on-board catering manager.
"The staff was readying to break their fast and the passenger boarded the same coach. He told us he is fasting, so the staff shared their iftar with him. This is basic humanity," Prakash Kumar Behera, On-board Catering Supervisor, IRCTC, told PTI.
Social media users cheered the staff for efforts toward communal harmony and also pointed out to Akhtar that he should thank the staff on board and not the Railways.
Meanwhile, the central government took the opportunity to reach out to Akhtar. "The whole of Indian Railways family is touched by your comments and hope you had a good meal. This is a perfect example of how the government led by PM Modi works with the motto of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas. Jai Hind," tweeted Darshana Jardosh, minister of state for Railways.
Muslims around the world are observing a month-long fast as the month of Ramzan is underway. Iftar is the nightly meal that marks the breaking of the fast. Ramzan will end with Eid-Ul Fitr, which will be celebrated when the Moon is sighted on May 2 and May 3.
(With Agency inputs)