India has not faced much terrorism since 2014, and that is the greatest achievement till date. It is the tremendous success to keep terrorism and its effect at bay and incorporate smooth functioning of the country when other parts are still fighting this debilitating threat. But that is not the only threat any country out there will have to overcome.
I never knew a movie release could lead to stone pelting on the school bus with “kids on it”. I find this act more condemning and having greater social stigma than the movie might have held. I have kids who are out at their school or dance class and the fear of their safety is my constant anxiety. What if, the sir said or did something disorderly? What if, the school van left my child at school out of chaos? These “what ifs” are gigantic and disparaging. When some kids always muster the courage for rides and get spunky at volunteering at a stage or confronting the strangers, their courage may shift when they have to deal with a sudden show of perils.
Instead of constant worrying and becoming a “satellite” (that’s what my elder child tells me for my constant probing) on my kids, I chose to ready my kids with courage, bravery and a strategy to initiate thinking when in jeopardy.
Well, I can’t give them a list of steps to follow as that sound boring and they will never even listen to my oration. But they always love stories. I found these 2 stories for kids, kids showing bravery and courage at the detrimental events.
The Braveheart from Azamgarh
It was a regular morning for Om Prakash Yadav, the 10-year old son of a farmer residing in Azamgarh village in Uttar Pradesh. He boarded his school van and was on his way to school along with eight other children. Suddenly, the van they were travelling in, caught fire.
The fire started due to a short circuit in the gas kit. Within seconds, the van resounded with frightful screams of little children. To the utter amazement of the children in the van, the driver opened the door and fled to save his life. But Om Prakash broke open the door and started pulling the others out, putting his own life in danger. In the meantime, the flames had spread to his arms, ears and face. He managed to save all eight children.
For his brave act, he received the Sanjay Chopra Bravery award from the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on January 26, 2012, in Delhi.
A role model for all his friends and other villagers, Om Prakash has made his family proud of his heroic act. Om Prakash’s father, Lal Bahadur has mixed feelings about the event. On one hand, he is overjoyed at his brave son’s fame but on the other hand, he is saddened by his son’s injuries and pain.
“I am very proud of my son. It is because of his selfless act of bravery that I got the opportunity to visit Delhi. I had not known the world outside my village,” is what he has to say.
Om Prakash’s right arm is stuck to his chest. He has severe burn injuries on his face and ear. He has also lost a year of school. Despite all this, the little boy amazes us with his courage. When asked whether he would put his life in danger it if caught in a similar situation again, he says, “Yes! Every time!”
The Braveheart from Shahpur
Hali Raghunath Baraf, a tribal girl lived in Shahpur, a taluka in Thane. Thane is about 90 km from the city of Mumbai. Life was hard for the fifteen-year-old girl. She had to drop out of school as educating girls was not a priority for most parents in Shahpur. Every morning, she woke up early and walked miles to reach the dairy where she worked all day. In the evenings, she helped her mother with household chores.
One day, Hali and her sister Shakuntala went to the forest to collect firewood. As they stepped into the cool darkness of the forest, Hali shivered.
“What is it?” asked Shakuntala. Hali had not wanted her to come along, but Shakuntala had insisted on coming.
“I’m getting an eerie feeling,” said Hali looking around her, “Let’s leave immediately.”
Shankuntala smiled, “Why Hali, you sound afraid. We have come here so many times. We will leave soon after we collect the wood.”
She bent down to pick up a few twigs from the ground humming softly to herself. Hali continued to look around stopping suddenly at the sight of the two emerald eyes glistening wildly through the clump of bamboo. “Shakutai…” she called out in a choking voice.
The panther leapt into view. Shakuntala dropped the twigs and stared at the panther… “Run Hali, run,” she screamed just as the panther flew through the air. It swooped down on her and began dragging her by the neck.
“Save me,” screamed Shakuntala. Hali stood rooted to the spot. Then she swung into action. She looked around wildly for something to use as a weapon. There were a few big stones next to her. Unmindful of the danger, she grabbed a few stones and began hurling them at the panther and screaming loudly for help.
Courage gave her the strength to keep hurling the stones and screaming loudly. Each stone found its mark and the panther reeled under this onslaught. Suddenly, he let go of Shaku’s neck and ran for his life into the jungle.
Great was her relief when the panther briefly stunned by the repeated attacks, dropped her sister and retreated into the jungle. Hali dropped to he knew! Her beloved sister was safe and the panther had run away! Her cries for help had penetrated through the jungle and had brought alarmed villagers to the spot who promptly took Shakuntala to hospital.
Honouring the brave teenager for her valour, her swift thinking and determination, the district administration proposed her name to the Centre for the National Bravery Awards.
On January 26th, Hali was awarded the ‘Veer Bapuji Gandhani Rashtriya Balveer Puraskar.’
These are self-explanatory real stories. Valour and determination flow through such pocket size kids and us adults spent time thinking should we or should we not. Thinking is that waste of time. The action is the need of the time. Act and act fast and act solicitously.