Abba Matloob

Abba Matloob

In this great and big world, we see so little .How many of us actually know about a small town somewhere harboring people like you and me (without using Google). We live in uncertainty until things unfold, and sometimes we happen to discover new places, new faces and an environment which might be completely different than how we a used to think about them or not think about them at all.

Abba Matloob, another man among million other men, who has lived his life, working, making a family in Saharanpur. It may be a new place to many of us, at least to me it was. And Abba Matloob was stranger was to me until I had to document his work for one of our case studies.To begin with , He had volunteered in various WASH activities conducted by FORCE at Saharanpur, and I was told how efficient he has proved to be mobilizing his resources and timely wisdom.

I was more than eager to meet him, and discover how passionate and energetic someone can be to devote his life at this age to social work. Then i learned , he is no more.Old Age spares no one. I wanted to know so many things from him.But he wasn't present anymore to answer my queries.But the trace of his work, was visible, good work indeed  is immortal and ageless.

Abba MatloobFamously known as Abba Matloob in his locality, this man earned this name with his dedicated social work and his effective leadership. Born in 1948, Abba Matloob migrated to Saharanpur from Ambestapeer, UP.So he lived his last days in Sahranpur,and that is where we went to interview his son and know more about this old man.

We reached his small house; we were welcomed by his youngest son Marghoob Ahmad, with an open heart. He began talking about him with a shaky voice.It was obvious he is holding up his emotions,and might break into tears any time.

Marghoob Ahmad told us that With little or no education, Abba Matloob had worked in brick kiln for many years till his health deteriorated. But this never controlled his passion to work for the community. He was actively participating in plethora of social work activities. Be it creating awareness of pulse polio, or helping poor with ration card or helping widows to get their pensions. He talked about his father with pride and told us that Abba Matlooob was even recognized for his social work In 7 countries such as Malaysia, Sudan, and Nigeria ! i wasn't surprised now why FORCE identified a leader in him.

What I could collect from the people who lived and worked with Abba Matloob is he was a dedicated Indian and exemplary leader. He knew how to use power appropriately, and work within established opportunities. Driven by the passion of helping his community to improve their Hygiene habits and quality of life, Abba matloob had eagerly cooperated with FORCE and ITC Limited in making people aware of Solid Waste Management. He knew how to mobilize the community, how to make them listen.He had helped FORCE  to arrange street plays and meetings to create awareness about cleanliness and one would often hear him say “Cleanliness is half the faith of Muslim “.

With a thought of carrying Honorable Prime minister’s vision of Swach Bharat Abhiyaan forward, he had joined the FORCE’S vision and mission and got involved in problem solving, decision making and planning. In our dictionary we call such a person “Powerful stakeholder”. Being a president of Mohalla committee, he had many resources and contacts which FORCE utilized for the solid waste management cause in Saharanpur. Be it a contact of someone from Municipal Corporation, or some local politician or a common waste picker. He had a power to make people listen and make them follow a path towards development.

Abba Matloob SaharanpurSurvived by his wife and 8 children, Abba matloob died on February 8 -2017 but had left an impression in everyone’s life. He continues to be source of inspiration not only to his community people but also the local leaders. Abba Matloob didn’t need any “How to be a Good Leader” Self –help book to be quality leader. As Rashid Ansari, a community leader in his own right praised Abba Matloob quoted him saying “he had built such a rapport that I would have to report to him if community needed something. He would help me with elections and he would make me help him with community social work “.

Abba Matloob's story unfolded words of wisdom ,and i learnt life long lesson from an old man with white beard and black cap on his head, about whom Google will show “no result found”.

Koode Wali

Koode Wali

By Zeenat Farooq – Documentation & Training Coordinator – FORCE


This is what THEY called me while I was inspecting the work of waste pickers, for one of our projects on SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT at Saharanpur.

This was my first official site visit and I was excited. While I was traveling from Delhi to Saharanpur, in that four-hour train journey, I was reading about the history of Saharanpur, its archaeological, geographical, physical features.

I was amazed.

Saharanpur has witnessed many civilizations, the oldest dates back to 2000 BC. The mighty war of Mahabharata, arrival of Aryans, Mughals has made Saharanpur culturally rich.

Saharanpur Nagar Nigam as a city is vying to be selected for the urbanization and development under both the ‘smart city' scheme and the AMRUT scheme which is to be funded by the central government of India.

“Wait!! A smart city with solid waste management problem, Irony! “

Yes the same waste that is generated by us and which adds up to a big number of 55 million tons.

You read it right.

55 million tons in India alone.

It seemed hard to digest but once I was there, I didn’t need to look for any hidden proof.

The proof I was looking for is littered everywhere around me.

Then one of colleagues goes saying “Ma’am this is the better version of Saharanpur that you are seeing”.

FORCE, as a CSR partner of ITC Limited  is working in Saharanpur for Solid waste management to make the city garbage free since last 4 months. As Jyoti Sharma, President FORCE says, “in these four months we have been able to make a significant improvement in the solid waste management  initiative in the areas we are working in Saharanpur.”

I was telling my brain “stop it right there, you don’t need to picture something’s past”

So my colleague took me for site visit, his olfactory lobes seemed used to the usual pungent hydrogen sulphide smell, but my victoria secret perfume had given up, I had this deo in my bag. I took it out and started spraying on him (not caring it is for ladies), on myself too. I felt like every oxygen molecules has bonded with hydrogen sulphide for non-ending relationship.

And on my way he goes on saying “people blame government, government blame people, you know same story “

I was like “wait, in this story we don’t need to establish hell of a judicial system to figure out who is to be blamed, it is us – the WASTE GENERATORS, We generate waste, we litter it and then we just can't go on looking for a head to blame, every man for himself “

It is clear here without any doubt as to who is primarily responsible.

It is the same housewife who is still infected by “not in my backyard “syndrome”, It is the same head of the family who fights with local municipality guy to place dustbin somewhere else but not near his house, it is the same mother who throw diapers of babies around, and waits for some not so important / worthless person to come and pick it up,
It is the same woman who throws sanitary napkin away without even hint of warning to same “not so important/worthless person“, It is the same man who spits a mouthful of pan on the road.

Walking with stole masking my nose and mouth, I reached the SORTING SHEDS, I inspected COMPOST, met the supervisors who look after this sorting shed. They supervise the work of two more segregators there who sort the waste into recyclable waste/non-recyclable waste.

Our respected waste generators handover waste to worthless waste collectors without any segregation. Following one of our waste pickers to check his work efficiency, I saw people handing him the waste all mixed up, vegetable peels, diapers, plastic bottles, paper – all in one polythene bag. He takes it, puts it in his rickshaw and moves on to next HOUSE, too intimidated to speak about sorting the waste at the Source.

So I took a little courage and talked to one of ladies only to get her meek response. With a defeat I followed the waste picker for the next house.

That is when someone behind my back asked who is she?

To which another person replied “aray koode wali hai“

So Let me Re – define the koode wali/wala in your language:

Koode wali is the dumb/not so important/worthless person who cleans the mess of more genius persons who think that except their house the whole earth is a dumpster!

If this makes me koode wali

I am totally cool with it.

I stand with 1.2 million other koode Walis and I respect them with all my heart.


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