"I swam towards the accident site and saw my mother. The currents were so strong that I could only grab her by the hair. Then I reached for her hand and pulled her to the pillar."
On Wednesday, 5 September, 11-year-old Kamal Kishore Das became a hero after saving his mother and aunt from drowning in the Brahmaputra river.
The trio had just dropped off Kamal’s grandmother to her home and were returning on a boat which was on a routine round from North Guwahati to the opposite bank. Suddenly, the boat hit a pillar and capsized, throwing all the passengers into the swirling waters of the Brahmaputra.
Speaking to the Times of India, Kamal said, “When the boat hit the pillar, my mother asked me to take off my shoes and swim to the bank. I managed to swim ashore.”
But what Kamal didn’t realise was that his mother was protecting him at the cost of her own life.
Kamal can swim, but his mother cannot, and the young boy only realised this when he reached the shore.
“When I got to the bank, I realised my mother and aunt had not been able to follow. My mother can’t swim,” he told TOI.
As soon as he realised this, Kamal dived into the raging waters, even as it was swallowing the struggling women. “I swam towards the accident site and saw my mother. The currents were so strong that I could only grab her by the hair. Then I reached for her hand and pulled her to the pillar,” Kamal told the publication.
When she was safe, the young boy saw his aunt struggling in the water, jumped in again and saved her as well.
But that wasn’t all. A mother was in the boat with her child when it had overturned. The child was too young to swim, and the mother was drowning.
Speaking to TOI, Kamal said, “I pulled my mother and aunt out of the water when I saw a woman in a burqa with a child in her arms, struggling to stay afloat. I jumped back into the water and managed [to] pull both to a concrete slab of the reservoir… Unfortunately, the child slipped into the water and was swept away. The woman jumped in to save her baby and was swept away as well. It all happened too soon before I could do anything.”
It is indeed unfortunate that the mother and her young child got swept away even after Kamal’s best efforts, but for his mother and aunt, he is a hero like no other.
“I owe him my life,” says his mother, adding that “I knew he would be able to save himself since he swims in the Brahmaputra to practice twice a week.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)