It’s always a great moment when an Indian achieves something and make the country proud in a faraway land. This time is not a scientist or some sportsman but an Indian-origin cab driver who has made us proud by his act of kindness and a warm heart.
Meet Tejinder Pal Singh, founder of a free-meal initiative called the ‘food van’, who will be awarded the 2017 Northern Territory Local Hero honour as part of the prestigious ‘Australian Of The Year Award’.
For the past four years, Singh has been feeding the poor and needy locals of northern Darwin with dedication on the last Sunday of each month. After a strenuous 12-hour shift as a cabbie, he would spend hours cooking in his kitchen, preparing 80kg of rice and vegetarian curry, which he’d serve as free lunch.
Singh migrated to Australia with his family in 2006 and has “endured a racist tirade of abuse while transporting a passenger which inspired the humble man to break down the negative prejudice associated with turbans” the official website of the award says. “Funding the feast each month from his own pocket, Tejinder attributes his generosity to his deep Sikh faith,” the website added.
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His work has inspired three other groups to take up a similar initiative and distribute free food to the homeless on Sundays.
This is not the first time Singh has won an esteemed award that celebrates his selfless offerings. In 2015, Singh also won the Australian of the Day award.
Along with his son Navdeep, Singh has been distributing vegetarian meals to any and all who are hungry, irrespective of class or race. The award website says he had rejected any monetary support, instead, urging fellow supporters to take up the cause and “begin their own food drives within their local community”.
In a year after his work was recognised, three other groups have followed his path and offer free food to poor.
2017 NT Local Hero is food van founder & taxi driver Tejinder pal Singh who provides free food for hungry and needy people around Darwin. pic.twitter.com/IOjUpq7Z9b
— AusoftheYearAwards (@ausoftheyear) November 2, 2016
The award’s website adds, “The hungry and thirsty come flocking when they see Tejinder’s van, emblazoned with the sign ‘free Indian food for hungry and needy people’.”
The coveted award will be given on January 25, 2017 in Canberra.