It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and sacrifice that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
M. Noushad was one such embodiment of hope!
Noushad, an auto rickshaw driver, died at Karuvissery in Kozhikode while attempting to rescue two workers trapped in a manhole. Today he is remembered as a symbol of courage, determination selflessness and social commitment. Though there is an element of sadness about the loss, I am happy that he has become an inspiration and a role model for the younger generation… Noushad didn’t think twice to risk his life to save two Andhra Pradesh native workers; two strangers trapped and were gasping for breath.
It was to appreciate and acknowledge this brave man, who upheld humanity ahead of everything else, I decided to offer Rs.5 lakh to his family members, who lost their breadwinner. I had learnt that Noushad had been a regular face to save victims in tragedies in earlier occasions too. I have also promised financial assistance to the families of the two Andhra natives who lost their lives in the manhole. Close on the heels came Govt’s announcement of financial assistance.
But the developments thereafter really saddened me. What should have been accepted and appreciated by all and sundry as a supreme noble act was belittled by certain petty politicians to gain political mileage, by giving it a communal colouring. It was alleged that financial aid was given to Noushad’s family because he was a Muslim.
I’m sure Noushad did not think about the religion, caste, colour or nativity of the two strange people when he risked his life to help them. They were not Hindus, but just two ‘human beings’ in need of help. Neither did I think about such trivialities when I announced the award. Some politicians stoop so low for political gains by giving communal colouring to anything and everything; dividing people to strengthen their vote bank. Sadly it works out sometimes!
However, I have firm faith in humanity. As Gandhiji said, ‘you must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’ I believe that by and large people are not intolerant or divisive. Differences, intolerance and communal tensions happen only when people with vested interests inject the venom of religion, caste, creed, etc. into them. But the people of Kerala are sensible, and therefore, none can destroy the state’s secular fabric easily.
Meanwhile, the unfortunate tragedy also exposes the unscientific risks casual workers have to undertake at their work places. Someone has to take the responsibility for the mishap. When casual workers are engaged in government works, the responsibility to ensure their security is with the contract engineer. Hence, I have also promised legal assistance to the families who lost their dear ones in the incident.
Nothing can eclipse the grandeur of Naushad’s noble deed. He has convinced us that the stream of humanity has not dried up completely. And as long as humanity lasts, his name shall be remembered!