India’s bravehearts shine during calamities

Venkatesh guiding the ambulance


By Lissy M

Panaji, August 16, 2019: When floods ravaged several parts of India, two persons emerged as ‘heroes’ overnight. Both of them did not expect anything in return. They did what they had been doing in life, very casually, spontaneously.

A group of students was moving around Broadway in Kerala’s Ernakulam with sacks for gathering goods for the flood victims. They went from shop to shop collecting footwear and clothes.

The monsoon fury has so far claimed 107 lives and displaced more than 270,000 people in the southern state of Kerala.

While most shop owner gave them mediocre response, street vendors dropped into their bags generously. However, the bags were far from full. Suddenly a thin gentleman held the hand of a group member and said, “Come with me. I will give you.”

“Do not give us spoiled clothes,” the student joked.

“No, I will give you only good clothes,” he assured the group as he climbed steps to the first floor and guided them to his shop.

And he began to pull out new clothes from shelves and fill their sacks.

“This is sufficient,” the student shouted.

The group told him his generosity has made them cry. “These are to be sold on your feast (Bakrid). You will lose much,” the group said, but the man continued filling their sacks with dresses for little children, pants, shirts and other items.

“Someone will be in need. I feel very happy to give them. This is how I celebrate the feast — Bakrid. This is my profit,” he told them.

When the group told him to stop, he said: “We came from God with nothing. And when we return to him, we can take nothing of this. If we help today God will help us. I only seek God’s blessings,” he said while his eyes still searched for clothes to add to their sacks.

He is Noushad, who donated nearly 10 sacks of new clothes for flood victims.

When media persons met his family, his wife, daughter and son affirmed helping others is Noushad’s way of life.

“We grew up seeing him helping those in need generously. And he is an inspiration and role model for us in life,” his daughter, who is now a mother of two, said.

Noushad worked in Saudi Arabia and had to return to India when that country gave the works overseas workers did to its citizens.

Another braveheart is Venkatesh, a 12-year-old boy in Karnataka.

On August 10, the world stood in wonder as social media platforms showed a video of the boy guiding an ambulance through flood waters that submerged a bridge.

The ambulance was carrying six children as well as a dead body of a woman to Machanoor village in Yadgir district. The driver, Manju of Prasanna Ambulance services, stopped seeing the flooded road in front of him. He needed guidance to move ahead and asked a group of local boys playing nearby for direction.

Venkatesh asked the driver to follow him. He waded through the water guiding the ambulance through the bridge.

Venkatesh’s act was broadcast by several news channels and was a topic of discussion on social media in Karnataka.

Twitter users called for the boy to be recommended for the Shaurya award for bravery for risking his life to guide the ambulance.

His family had lost their house in the floods and now lives in a rehabilitation center at Shavantgera in Raichur.

“I really don’t know if what is meant by help or bravery. I just did what I always do,” the sixth grader said later under media glare.

Two years ago, Venkatesh had saved a woman who had fallen into a stream, according to his brother Bhimaraya.

The boy’s spirit remains warm to respond to the needs of fellow beings.

The two persons showed us that what we do consistently becomes a part of us. It gets ingrained in our system. When we constantly seek to do good to others, we become the goodness that we do.

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