Op-Ed

We the people
Shahid Islam
24 Feb,2017

 

Shahabuddin Ahmad

Badol Mia, a railway employee, died leaving behind a family of 12 members while saving a 5-year old girl who was crossing a railway line near Kuril Bisshaw Road in the city late last month. Imam Sheikh, a van driver took Sheikh Hasina Wazed, prime minister of Bangladesh for a drive by his van in Tungipara, where the memorial of Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is located.

On February 01, Abdul Hamid, president of Bangladesh, along with his grandson, Jeem and granddaughter Namira respectively, received the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, on his first ever visit to Bangladesh.

Societal recognition

News validates that van driver Imam Sheikh of Tungipara has got a job in the Bangladesh Air Force. He was brought to Jessore by a senior officer of Bangladesh Air Force. Newspaper readers got a rare chance to see the siblings of Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister. In return for the sojourn, Imam Sheikh did not take any fare. He, however, got a job in Bangladesh Air Force within the shortest possible time. What a stroke of luck! But Badol Mia, who sacrificed himself to save a girl’s life, has not been so lucky. Government has not declared any financial assistance for the family members of the dead for his bravery and martyrdom.

The images of Jeem and Namira handing flowers to the Palestinian President with his grandfather at Kurmitola airport appeared boldly in the newspapers on February 02. This reminds me of an incident. Rashid Karami, then president of Lebanon came to Dhaka on a state visit in the year 1962. A civic reception for him was organized at Ramna Park.  The then Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka asked the District Information Officer to find a suitable school girl to offer flower bouquet to the visiting VVIP. This was done appropriately and the girl who presented the bouquet was the daughter of an ordinary regular businessman, not a high society member.

Faraaz Ayaaz who was killed in a terrorist attack in Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka 02 July 2016 received acclaim from the people of Bangladesh and abroad for his heroic stand for not abandoning his friends in the face of death. His bravery was adequately remembered particularly by Pepsico Global which launched an annual Faraaz Hossain Courage Award from 2016.

Extraordinary bravery

The company has set up a fund of $2,00,000 which will support an annual price of $10,000 to be awarded in the coming 20 years. The aim of this award is to recognize acts of courage and bravery amongst the Bangladeshi youth, as epitomized by Faraaz who comes from a pioneering business house headed by his grandfather, Latifur Rahman. Besides, last November Faraaz’s family was honored in Mumbai with the Mother Teresa Memorial international award for his bravery.

In both the cases – Badal Mia, an ordinary railway employee and Faraaz, a student, stood out for bravery, at the cost of their lives –setting glaring examples for people to emulate. In the case of Faraaz it has been honored to some extent, but in the case of Badol Mia, except for his suffering family members who are shedding tears, nobody was there to recognize his greatness. The stories and the accompanying images published by various national newspapers may have highlighted the incident as an act of goodness, but falls far short in recognizing Badol Mia’s bravery – perhaps the high society has a different yardstick for such recognitions, where the commoners don’t measure up to it.

Recognition for great actions whether for charging a battalion with courage or fetching a bullet like Nur Hossain for a cause, may come sooner or later but Badol Mia stands out as he became a martyr while saving a girl’s life without thinking of his own safety goes unsung, unrecognized and uncared for.