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Saturday, 13 February 2016
Summary:India’s Heroes Anonymous
Mrs. Reeta Baruah Class Teacher of 8 A had asked the students to write a three-minute speech on what they wished to be when they were grown up. They need not speak on any particular profession but could speak of someone whom they would want to be like or even a particular trait that they admire in a person.
All forty students were eager to speak and Ajit Basu was the first speaker who wanted to be a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar. Next, Gayatri Chhabra wanted to be a social worker like her mother; Sanjay Damle wanted to be a pilot thus the whole class spoke about actors, sports stars, politicians and so on.
When Kabeer’s turn came, he was slightly nervous. He knew that he was not good speaker and that his speech was different from others. His speech did not focus on any single person, profession or quality but was on a range of traits and people from varied walks of life.
Kabeer began his speech saying that when he grew up, he wanted to be brave like Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the young NSG commando, who lost his life fighting the terrorists in Mumbai in November 2008.
Kabeer continued - when he grew up, he wanted to be like Vishnu Dattaram Zende, an announcer with the Mumbai railways who fortunately escaped from terrorist’s bullets. On 26 November, when he heard a loud explosion on the CST platform, instead of panicking, he used the public announcement system to direct the public to safety. Kabeer also wanted to be like Karambir Singh Kang, the General Manager of the Taj Hotel, who helped the guests in the hotel to safety instead of running away or trying to save his family who were trapped in the hotel. He stifled a sob and continued that he wanted to be valiant like the Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant Karkare, who pursued the terrorists and was gunned down by them, along with his associates DIGs Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar.
Kabeer carried on ignoring the tear-filled silence of the class. He said that he wanted to be like Mohammed Taufeeq Sheikh, widely known as Chottu Chaiwala, a young boy who managed a tea stall outside CST station. Chottu Chaiwala was among the first who helped to move the injured to St George Hospital. Kabeer wanted to be like Sandra Samuel as well, who saved the life of two-year-old Moshe during the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Finally he said that when he grew up, he wanted to be like the caretakers of the Kabristans in Mumbai who refused to bury the dead terrorists there. The caretakers believed that terrorism has no religion. The only true religion is love and respect for the humanity.
As Kabeer concluded, the class offered him a standing ovation. Mrs. Baruah’s eyes were brimming with tears. Nevertheless, she was proud that these children are the future of India and they will promote the merits of peace, tolerance and selflessness in the world.