85-year-old Jagdish Lal Ahuja is popularly known as ”Langar Baba’. He recently became the awardee of Padma Shri for selflessly organizing langars for 500-plus poor patients daily for over two decades in Chandigarh. Langar Baba served food to poor patients as well as their attendants for several years outside the health institutes.
From the past 19 years, Langar Baba has been serving free food to the poor patients outside PGIMER (Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) in Chandigarh. He initially langars across the city in 1981 and then eventually moved to PGIMER, Sector 12, and GMCH (Government Medical College and Hospital), Sector 32, in 2001. His free meal consists of dal, chapatti, rice, halwa, and banana. He also used to give snacks like biscuits to the cancer patients and toffees and balloons to the children. Nearly 2,500 people used to get fed per day through this langar.
This inspiring tradition got started in January 2000 when Ahuja himself was hospitalized there for his cancer treatment. His son’s birthday celebrations changed him as a person. His family enjoyed a feast whereas many others are starving and the same thought has moved Ahuja who started organizing langar.
In an interview, he was unaware of who recommended his name and how it got accepted to Padma Sree but requested the government to provide him some relaxations in the income tax so that his family can continue the langar service even after his death.