When hit with crisis, some people cower. But some heroes brave challenges to do their bit for their communities. This is the story of one such hero, Mohammed Mukhtar, a tractor driver who has been braving the risk of exposure, to keep the people of Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir, safe.
When India was hit with the novel coronavirus, the country went into lockdown as a safety measure to contain the virus and curtail its spread. Simultaneously, buildings, streets, and roads were regularly sanitised. In Jammu & Kashmir too, this protocol was followed. Udhampur’s District Magistrate called for sprayers to be mounted onto tractors and a fleet of brave hearts stood up to perform their new, daily duty of driving across the district and sanitising as many areas as possible.
Mukhtar happens to be one of the chosen few to be part of this fleet. He begins his day in the wee hours of morning, heading out to cover around 10 kilometers daily, and returns home by evening.
“I’m glad to have gotten this opportunity. In times like these, every little effort adds up.”
When asked if he was afraid of the risk of exposure, he said that it would be inauthentic to deny that one isn’t afraid, but it would also be selfish to sit at home out of fear, when one is in a position to contribute towards the cause of fighting the pandemic. “I have been driving the tractor for a long time now, I can use my ability to contribute through sanitisation. Then, why should I sit at home? Why shouldn’t I go out and do my bit, so everyone else can stay home and stay safe?”, adds Mukhtar.
His family is scared for him too, but equally supportive and holds the same belief. His neighbours, the shopkeepers around – everyone often praises him and his colleagues for their consistent efforts. He reckons having covered over 250 kms already.
When asked about what motivated him, he was grateful that the opportunity came and fell in his lap. But, he also went onto add that we often get many opportunities to contribute to our society, it’s important to not be selfish and sit down, but to act on it.
“I believe that when we do find a way to help out, we should get up and do our bit. And for those of us who haven’t found a way to contribute, we should stay home – that’s the best way to ensure we’re not putting ourselves or anyone else at risk.”
To his fellow citizens, he suggests that true patriotism is not in simply calling ourselves Indians, and sitting on that pride. True patriotism is to go beyond our call of duty and support our nation, our fellow citizens, especially during testing times.
We salute Mukhtar for his work and can’t help but agree with his perspective.
If you have a similar story of #PeopleWhoRise to help the community fight this crisis, tag them or share their stories with us in the comments. #TogetherWeRise #COVID19