Turkish Drama Brings ‘Basket of Goodness’ to PM Khan’s Residential Vicinity

Inspired by an ancient Ottoman tradition depicted in hit Turkish historical drama series “Dirilis Ertugrul,” one Pakistani doctor brought the good habit home. 

Dr. Rana Muhammad Ikhlaq, started by placing “baskets of goodness” at different ovens in Bani Gala area of the capital Islamabad near the prime minister’s residence, to provide free bread to the poor. 

“The basket of goodness is a scheme that requires neither too much money nor too much arrangement to run,” Dr. Ikhlaq said. “First, I watched this basket of goodness in Ertugrul, then I searched more about it and watched a documentary about this ancient Turkish tradition Of Ottoman empire. It inspired me a lot,” he told Arab News on Monday. 

“It is very simple concept as I just placed baskets with a written message on six ovens in Bani Gala where people, who can afford, will put bread in it and the needy will take without asking anyone,” he said.

Ikhlaq said that in the beginning he told the oven owners not to leave the basket empty and if no one would put bread in it, then they should fill the basket on his behalf and charge him. 

“I used to check with them to give money but not once has the basket been left empty by the customers,” he added.

Sardar Azeem, the owner of one such oven in Bani Gala, told Arab News that people happily put two to four loaves in the basket and around 250 loaves were given to the needy on a day at his oven alone.

“Many a times, the bread was in excess of those in need. In that case we can always save the money by selling bread to regular customers and provide different curry dishes to the needy with that money,” he continued.

“The concept is so successful that now people have started bringing curries and placing the parcels at our oven to be distributed among the needy along with the bread,” he added.

“I used to go from house to house to get food for myself and my family. I am not a beggar but I have no children to look after me and my old wife,” said Aslam Khan, a 70-year-old man taking bread from the basket, told Arab News, adding that for the last three weeks he could find food from the oven without paying money.

A woman receives bread from a “basket of goodness” at an oven in Bani Gala, Islamabad on May 18, 2020. (AN Photo)

“Initially, they only used to give bread but now they are also provide curry which completes our meal,” he said.

Turkish drama series “Dirilis (Resurrection): Ertugrul” has been a mega hit in Pakistan ever since Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the directive to state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) to launch the first episode dubbed in Urdu on April 25, which also marked the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

According to PTV, 133.38 million people have so far watched the drama series from April 25 to May 14 with its episodes trending on YouTube in Pakistan every day.

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