February 15, 2016, was probably just another day for Mumbai-based constable Tejesh Sonawane, when he heard about how a young man nearby was climbing up a residential building, threatening to jump and end his life.
Tejesh rushed along with other policemen to assess the scene and provide assistance. Thirty-year-old Bigyan Sand, was crawling up the pipeline, refusing to come down. He also threatened to jump immediately if he saw any policeman trying to climb the pipes. Given that Tejesh that day was not in uniform, he started climbing towards the troubled man to save him.
This story has a good ending because on Republic Day, Tejesh was honoured with a President’s Medal for having saved Bigyan on that fateful day.
Image for representation. Source: Facebook
Speaking to the Indian Express about that incident, Tejesh recalls being empathetic towards Bigyan upon reaching him. He spoke to him briefly asking him if he wanted to speak to someone in his family. Bigyan gave him his brother’s number, but that call also proved to be fruitless as upon completing it, Bigyan continued on his way up to the terrace.
At this point Tejesh himself spoke to the brother who entreated him to save Bigyan’s life at all costs. While all the police officers at the scene were doing all they could to reach Bigyan, they were also afraid of spooking him.
Tejesh notes, “Sand had taken off his jacket and was trying to tie it around his eyes. When that did not work. He swung it in the air and threw it. He then folded his palms together, closed his eyes and prayed.” Seizing that moment, despite risking his own life, Tejesh jumped in and pulled Bigyan to safety.
And now, close to a year later, Tejesh has been rightly awarded the Jeevan Raksha Padak by President Pranab Mukherjee, recognising his brave and selfless act of putting duty first and saving a civilian’s life.