IN 1992 RIOTS IN INDIA, during the holy month of Ramadan, a Muslim woman saved his life and sheltered him in her home.

Ramadan has a special place in his heart. Ever since, he has fasted for one day during Ramazan.

MR. VIKAS KHANNA is a star chef who rose to great honors in a relief effort that supplies millions of meals for the poor Indians in lockdown.

MR. Vikas Khanna, 48, is a Hindu, having grown up in Amritsar, a northern Indian city with many Sikhs. He was inspired by the large community kitchens of the Sikh Gurdwaras. They serve meals to anyone who needs them.

Mr. Khanna was born in India and went to New York as an aspiring chef 20 years ago, first paying his dues as a dishwasher and deliveryman. As parts of India slid into a humanitarian crisis in recent months, with millions of out-of-work people desperate for food, Mr. Khanna watched the news from his apartment in Manhattan and grew despondent.

''We've totally failed our people,'' he said in an interview last week. ''I wanted to show that solidarity still exists.'' ''My mom lives alone in Amritisar,'' he added ''and I thought : What if she needed help and there was no one to help her.''

Mr. Khanna has cooked for the Obamas, hosted TV shows with Gorson Ramsay. written 25 culinary books and created sumptuous meals that cost nearly $40,000 each.

But in the last two months, Vikas Khanna, a Michelin-starred chef has turned his focus on India's hungry, providing millions of meals to poor Indians who have suffered greatly in the coronavirus lockdown.

As a disabled child with a club foot, he said, ''I had no friends, only sympathizers.'' So he whiled away his hours in the family kitchen with his grandmother, learning to cook.

In early April, he posted an emotional appeal on Twitter, asking people to send him details of those who were desperate for food.

Mr. Khanna has a huge following in India, and within hours he was flooded with replies. But he would soon learn that it wasn't so simple to reach the hungry.

His first attempt to deliver food to an elder-care home near Bengaluru, the southern Indian city formerly known as Bangalore, fell apart. The delivery disappeared with more than 2,000 pounds of rice and nearly 900 pounds of lentil.

On the day before Eid, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mr Khanna's team distributed  feast kits for more than 200,000 people in Mumbai. with rice, lentils, flour, fruits, vegetables. tea, coffee, spices, sugar pasta oil and dried fruit.

The festival has a special place in his heart. As a young chef in Mumbai, he was stuck in the city during the riots of 1992.

A Muslim woman sheltered him in her house. ''She saved my life,'' he said. Ever since, he has fasted for one day during Ramazan, as the festival is known in India.

Mr. Khanna estimates that his relief effort now feeds around 275,000 people each day. He wants to keep going.

''I feel like the past 30 years of my training and my 20-hour workdays have prepared me for this moment,'' he said. ''This has been the most gratifying two months in my culinary career.''

The honor and serving and highlighting of great humans, continues. The World Students Society thanks author : Shalini Venugopal Bhagat.


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