Everyday Harmony: Migrant worker, ambulance driver, Agniveer – meet the heroes of Morbi Muslim men amongst many others, risk their lives to save hundreds of people in the Morbi tragedy

02, Nov 2022 | CJP Team

Heartwarming reports of good samaritans, many of them Muslims, risking their lives to save those drowning in the Machhu river, are adding a silver line of hope in the otherwise bleak aftermath of the tragedy in Gujarat’s Morbi. Over 130 people are feared dead on Sunday when allegedly 700 people thronged the British-era suspension bridge, leading to its collapse. Incidentally, the bridge had been shut for renovations and had only recently been thrown open to the public. 

After the bridge collapsed around 6:30 PM, Mahbub Hussain Pathan, a local resident, was called by a local reporter. He rushed to the site.  An expert swimmer, he claims to have saved about 50-60 lives. Among them, he says, were pregnant ladies, young people and kids.

Amidst the systematic hate leading to growing anger and despair, it is important to showcase a lived reality of camaraderie, equality and sharing which is the bedrock of the Indian Constitution and secularism. That way we not only hold on to every thread of hope, but effectively project these narratives, lest we lose our will to fight the good fight. As part of our #EverydayHarmony series, CJP brings you instances where Indians share and care, every single day… our food, our businesses, our homes and our friendships. This instances show how we Indians continue to reject hateful and divisive agendas even while street violence and social media are used as part of a sinister, hate-filled political agenda to tell us otherwise. Let’s reinforce India’s everyday lived reality, and through that collectively and aggressively, uphold and defend a unique pluralism, a diverse culture and truly secular values. Donate now to help us combat hate and prejudice!

Even though it was getting dark, Taufik bhai, another local resident, jumped in the waters,and managed to save 35 lives. In a video clip recorded by a TV channel, he says that he had tears in his eyes because of the sheer number of children fighting to get out.

The hero who never returned

Naeem Sheikh, a migrant worker from Kolkata, working in the jewelry making sector, rushed with five of his friends to the site of the tragedy. He says between them, they managed to save 50-60 people. but lost a friend Habibul Sheikh. “By then we had all had ingested a lot of water. One of us never came back”, he tells a TV channel. 

There were many others too, who risked their life and limb to save strangers. The Quint has a report about Hussain, an ambulance driver who, alongwith Milan Prakashbhai, ferried the injured and dead to the hospital all night. This when his own cousin had perished in the tragedy. Haseena, a social worker helped in identifying bodies by cleaning them in the civil hospital. Ravi and his friend chipped in to provide food and water to the injured. 

Agniveers to the rescue

Jignesh Laljibhai trains young men for the agniveer program. According to him, he saw the broken bridge on his way back from a training run and directed his trainees to jump in and rescue people. Those who knew how to swim, jumped in. The others provided ropes and helped people come out of the water from the bank. 

With political forces increasingly seeking to polarize the country on religious lines and particularly in a poll bound state where religious polarization is the norm, it is perhaps important to remember how love and courage keep us united, and save lives, in the face of a tragedy as enormous as this.


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