“I only know that I cannot see someone dying in front of me. That is why I do what I do.”
Manoj Kumar Saini runs a juice stall near the Ganga canal on the outskirts of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Nothing unusual about that, you say? Well, Manoj is not any other roadside vendor. He has been hailed as a local hero and is admired by the young and old alike for his bravery and helpful nature.
The Ganga canal is infamously known as a “suicide point”, and many people have taken their lives there. Coincidentally, Manoj’s stall is located in the same spot and one terrible incident that he witnessed, encouraged him to become a saviour for those who attempt suicide there.
Speaking to the Times of India, Manoj said, “The first time I saw a man jumping into the canal, I was shocked.
For a minute I froze as I couldn’t believe my eyes, but the next second I decided to save his life and jumped into the water without thinking about the consequences.
This happened one year ago, and since then every time I see someone taking the plunge, I jump into the canal to save them.”
So far, Manoj has successfully saved seven lives. What is truly remarkable is that Manoj is not a trained swimmer!
Recently, Manoj saved the life of a 70-year-old man, who turned out to be a relative of Amjad Khan, a local activist.
“My uncle has been keeping ill and was depressed. I don’t know how to thank this young man who risked his life to save an ailing old man. He is our desi Superman who saves people from dying. From youngsters to elderly villagers, everyone knows and talks about him,” he Amjad told TOI.
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The man of the hour received a token prize of Rs 1000 for this act of bravery. Rajeev Kumar Gautam, the DSP of Bhopa area, applauded Manoj’s courage and told TOI that the local police department is planning to recommend his name for the bravery award this year.
In a humble response to all the praise he has received, Manoj says, “I only know that I cannot see someone dying in front of me. That is why I do what I do.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)