Jahangir Sheikh distributes clothes bought with the money he won in the lottery among poor children at Burdwan railway station on Tuesday. (Krishna Das)
Burdwan, Dec. 4: A hawker in Burdwan town who finds it difficult to put food on the table for his family of five has bought warm clothes for poor people with the Rs 10,000 he won in a lottery.
Jahangir Sheikh, 36, who sells garments at the Tinkonia bus stand, paid Rs 2,000 more from his pocket to buy the garments.
“After I won Rs 10,000 as consolation prize in the West Bengal State Lottery after Kali Puja, I thought of the people who can’t afford warm clothes. I know many such people but could not do anything for them. After I won the cash prize, I told my wife that I wanted to buy warm clothes this winter for the poor. She encouraged me and I went to Mongla Haat in Howrah to buy the clothes,” he said.
Jahangir earns about Rs 5,000 a month. He displays garments on a cycle van parked on the footpath.
“I find it difficult to run my family with the meagre income. So I know what warm clothes in winter means to a poor man,” he said. Apart from wife Firoza Bibi, Jahangir has two school-going daughters and a son to feed at home. Nilofar Yasmin, the elder daughter, is a Class IX student. Second daughter Shalunear Yasmin studies in Class IX. Jahangir’s son Rajuddin Sheikh is student of Class V. All the children go to the local Sadhanpur High School.
Jahangir said he bought the clothes at a discount from shopkeepers he knew. He returned from Mongla Haat last week with sweaters, flannel shirts, leggings, cotswool garments and woollen caps of various shapes and sizes.
“I bought warm clothes worth Rs 12,000 for around 150 people. As I had won Rs 10,000 in the lottery, I had to pay Rs 2,000 more,” Jahangir said.
Today, Jahangir distributed the clothes among some poor people in the town. Manik Mondal, who washes utensils at a local eatery, was delighted to get a high-necked sweater. “I have never seen a man with so big a heart. I did not have any warm clothes and it was becoming increasingly difficult for me this winter, more so because I have to wash utensils in the cold water,” said Mondal, 60.
Ten-year-old Jharna (name changed), an orphan who begs on the streets, got a flannel shirt. “I am so happy. Jahangir chacha loves us a lot,” she said.
Local tea stall owner Babu Sil said Jahangir was a kind man. “He buys lottery tickets regularly. Not many people do what he has done with the prize money. Earlier too, we had seen him selling clothes at decreased prices to poor people,” Sil, 27, said.