On Friday, in a small mosque-cum-madrassa in Haryana, scared children were cowering as a minaret threatened to come crashing down because of a thunderstorm.
However, Ashfaq, a young boy who was all of 17, acted quickly enough to save 20 lives—except his—thus, becoming a hero in death, as reported in the Times of India.
Ashfaq harboured religious dreams of becoming a Maulvi and giving the call for prayer from the same minaret that came crashing down.
His family has been torn apart. Jaituni Begum, his grief-stricken mother, recalls how he learned 30 chapters of the Quran by the time he was 14. Din Mohammed, his father, doesn’t know what to tell Ashfaq’s three-year-old sister, who has no idea about what has happened.
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On the fateful night, when the minarets began to collapse, there were 22 students in the madrassa. According to locals, the strong winds caused a heavy asbestos sheet to crash against the minarets, which proceeded to collapse on the roof of the madrassa.
It is then that the brave Ashfaq jumped into action, helping his friends evacuate. It was while pulling 21-year-old Mohammed out, that one of the minarets fell on Ashfaq, said Mohammed Sabir, a relative, to the Times of India.
The maulanas immediately rushed the injured teenager to Pinangwan’s Government Hospital, which referred him to the Mandikhera Government Hospital. From there, they proceeded to Shaheed Hasan Khan Medical College in Nalhar, and finally, due to the seriousness of Ashfaq’s injuries, doctors referred him to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
Din Mohammed recounts how, during the ambulance ride, Ashfaq made feeble requests for water. The boy seemed to know he was slipping and asked his family to give him water else he would die thirsty. After drinking a little water, Ashfaq died in the ambulance.
A prayer meeting held for Ashfaq on Sunday, in Bumbaheri village, attracted thousands of people.
Rais Khan, the Chairman of the Haryana Waqf Board, announced a Rs 2 lakh compensation for Ashfaq’s family, and Rs 10 lakh for the repair of the madrassa. Din Mohammed promptly donated the amount to the madrassa.
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The young boy, who dreamt of being a priest one day, gave his life up so others could live. A selfless sacrifice indeed, from a young mind.
Featured image inset photo credit: Times of India.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)