If one were to look at any yardstick of human and social development, Kerala is ahead of most Indian states. It provides social security to all sections of employees and workers through schemes that are superior to most other states. The coastal state is known to have very progressive labour policies as well.
One of the reasons why many labourers go to God’s Own Country is also the attractive minimum wages, especially for unorganised, and even unskilled workers. The rates are perhaps the highest in comparison to any other state. The state also provides good healthcare and educational facilities.
It was perhaps a combination of all these factors that lured 20-year-old Sikhander, a migrant labourer from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to move to Chemmad in Malappuram district. He, unfortunately, died in a bike accident on September 25th.
Given that there was no proper identity proof on him, the private company where he was employed, found it rather difficult to arrange for his body to be taken back to his home in Varanasi.
The police officials from Thenjippalam police station contacted his family to inform them about the incident and requested them to make requisite arrangements for his body.
Unfortunately, Sikhander’s family could not afford to travel to Kerala nor the expenses to transport his body. This is where four ambulance drivers from Kerala stepped in and showed that kindness and altruism still exist.
Abdul Sattar, Nazar, Abdul Pathirangal and Abdul Rehman approached the police and conveyed their intention of helping in this regard. At noon on September 28th, they set out and covered a distance of 2,750 kilometres in four days, entrusting Sikhander’s body to his family.
They say that art is a reflection of what transpires in real life; the story of these four ambulance drivers from Kerala could well be the subject of a film.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)