Images of India : The ‘Biryani Baba’ who has fed more than 10 million…

biryani_babaFor 79-year-old Attaullah Shariff Shataj Khadiri aka Biryani Baba, religion is feeding the poor. The Andhra man has been feeding biryani to the destitute at the Cheemalapadu Dargah for the last 40 years and so far he has fed more than 10 million. The delicacy that has chunks of chicken or mutton in basmati rice and cooked in desi ghee is offered to around 1000 people on a daily basis. Biryani Baba makes sure that vegetarians do not leave the Dargah disappointed. Plentiful vegetarian options are also available at the Dargah. With a history of four decades of serving the delectable delicacy, Baba makes sure that the preparation is supervised by him. He makes a daily inspection tour in the cooking area and often lends a helping hand to the cooks. The biryani is served as anna prasada at the langar khana. On an average day, approximately 2000 kilograms of basmati rice and quintals of chicken and mutton are used in the preparation. The quantity rises higher on special days when the number of visitors soars as high as 8000-10,000 at the Dargah. Baba says that he is just keeping up with the legacy of his guru Khadar Baba, who initiated the practice of serving biryani to the poor. Since his death 40 years ago, Biryani Baba has been shuttling between Vizianagaram and Cheemalapadu Dargahs to meet followers who come to seek blessings from him. Among his followers are also some renowned politicians and bureaucrats.