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Friday, April 13, 2012

Brave Bus Driver Delays Death To Save Lives!


He was on night duty on Kutarpada-Chahada road stretch of western Maharashtra that Tuesday night—the 10th of April, 2012. He spent most of the night inside a bus and was assigned to drive a bus for the Kutarpada-Palghar route on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway early next morning. There was nothing special about the trip for a senior bus driver and he was ready like on any other day.

Naushad Mohammed Hanif Shaikh had been working in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) since the last 18 years as a driver. He had no record of even a single accident in those years of service and there was not a single passenger-complaint against him. Around sixty passengers boarded his bus for Palghar on that morning and the journey began on a bright note.

It was smooth going and Naushad was handling the dangerous twists and turns in the hilly road track quite easily with the skill of an experienced bus driver. The destination was just over five kilometers away when the pain hit him.

Naushad felt an excruciating pain in his chest suddenly and it was getting severe by the seconds. He was gasping for breath at the wheel of a running bus with 60 passengers on a tricky road track. He did not panic or call anybody for help. His priority was to keep the bus in full control and ensure safety of his passengers. He defied his pain and concentrated on his immediate duty.

With that crushing pain, dizziness and breathlessness Naushad Shaikh drove on for nearly three kilometers more and finally parked the bus safely on a roadside. Only then he cried out in agony and called the bus conductor for help.

The bus conductor and all of the passengers rushed to him. Naushad just managed to mumble about his chest pain and just died on the wheel. The frantic conductor messaged the MSRTC office at Palghar and a vehicle was sent immediately. Naushad was rushed to a hospital, but was declared brought dead.

In his situation anyone could have panicked putting the lives of all the passengers in grave danger. But the brave, dutiful and dedicated driver fought heroically to delay his own death to save other lives. The contrast comes to our mind about a rogue driver who recently went berserk with his bus in busy Pune city streets hitting, killing and maiming helpless pedestrians and passengers in other vehicles. But the matter of serious concern remains—the ever growing stress levels in professions like bus drivers and police constables making heart disease, behavioral changes and suicides commonplace occurrences.

Hats off to a courageous person and let us pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul. He would be dearly missed by his family of five daughters and two sons, the transport organization and the passengers. Two of his daughters were to get married next month. MSRTC officials assured of adequate compensation for the brave driver’s family and employment opportunity for at least one member of kin.

It is mainly because of jewels like Naushad Shaikh that our planet is still a wonderful place to live and breathe in.

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