Dr Pravin Togadia
He walked up and down from Gupt Kashi to Gouri Kund saving hundreds of stuck-up pilgrims and locals. He carried as much food and water for them up and ferried as many people to safer areas. On June 17, 2013 and next seven days he did all this continually and tirelessly. He did not weep; he did not rest his head anywhere for consolation. On June 16, 2013 when the horrific cloud bursted, landslides and floods struck Kedarnath area, He had lost his two of his sons who were in their prime youth. His two sons were washed away from Kedarnath Temple area where they were working as priests. He knew it… . He did not utter a word about it to anyone of us or to his friends.
He worked and worked to help the needy. His name is Dwarakaprasad Bhagwari from Gupt Kashi. No national media gave out his name as a hero. He did not do anything for all that blip-blip flash lights. As a VHPian, he stood up for the larger cause of helping the needy. Losing two young sons did not stop him. Even after seven days, he did not rest to remember his lost sons. He ran relief camps in Gupt Kashi for those who were later rescued by the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Army.
Nag Jamaha Village near Gupt Kashi. Devesh Shukla lost seven family members in the calamity. Without a drop of tears in his eyes, he filled up his heart with compassion and kept on helping hundreds of pilgrims with food, water, medicines and moral support to survive. Media never even ran a simple scroll for him.
Buddhi Singh from Khadia Village near Fata (near Gouri Kund – the area that was totally washed away!) kept on tirelessly saving people. He saved 150 people from the slush and water. He also saved people who were stuck-up in a bus from Gujarat. This bus was deep drowning in the slush and rubble. Buddhi Singh saved people. A big rock suddenly fell on his head there and he died on the spot.
At Kedarnath, Dinesh Bhagwadi lost his mother and father both. Their dead bodies nearby, he kept on helping others live.
From SonPrayag, Prakash Chamlohi lost two family members. With a heart like a rock, he saved 500 people who were stuck-up.
These are not the only ones who gave up their lives or lost their near and dear ones but did not get deterred from the cause to help the needy. RSS, VHP and other such organisations worked there round the clock. Some were seen, many worked behind the scenes helping pilgrims and locals with food, clothes, medicines and shelter. So-called secular and advertising revenue greedy media never bothered to mention their names. They had not done all this for the name and fame. It was the strength and courage given to them from the bottom of their hearts as a Hindu. Uttarakhand is a Dev Bhoomi. God is present there all over. Perhaps HE gave them this perseverance and selfless service attitude.
Prabhat of the Hindu Help Line/ VHP along with colleagues kept on arranging food and getting lists of rescued people from the administration so that we can flash the names of the rescued on various social media. Relatives from all over Bharat were relieved when they saw their family member’s name in those lists. Thousands of Bajrang Dal, VHP, Hindu Help Line workers were at the railway stations buying train tickets for the pilgrims to go back home. They had lost everything. These free tickets meant a reunion with their relatives back home. Many had lost the young members of the family, many were old and ill. Volunteers accompanied them to wherever they went in Bharat. Vehicles, ambulances were arranged free for them.
Thousands of Army men, ITBP people and pilots were on the rescue mission in Uttarakhand. Nobody knows their names. This was a huge natural calamity and they helped and helped so warmly. Strong young ITBP man otherwise holding gun in the hand was so carefully carrying an old grandmother of someone in his hands… .
SDM of Kedar area Ajay Arora was on his toes from the day one of the calamity. When nobody was there, he was there to help leaving aside his babu comforts, he walked through the mud and rubble but saved many. When all chaos was over just recently he fell from a make shift bridge and the river took him away to the heavenly abode… .
A solitary police van before plunging into the rubble made announcements on speakers in Gouri Kund area. The van washed away but the policemen continued helping people there. No names anywhere…. Those scared and injured pilgrims who could save themselves somehow went up on the right side – the opposite direction of Gouri Kund. There it was – the grand Trijugi Narayan Temple. All priests and locals in that little village and the temple sheltered all these pilgrims and locals from nearby villages. The temple and the Dharmshala there gave them food, water and medicines free. Media did not even reach there… .
When many were busy debating as to whose fault is it, many faceless faces and many united hands were already helping the pilgrims and the locals. With no flash lights, no means of travel they walked up holding tree branches and risking their lives to save people. This is real Divine. No human being on this earth has divine powers. It is the prerogative of God. In Uttarakhand calamity, people helped people. Nobody knew other person’s name, caste, language, state… . It was a united Hindu brotherhood. Service at its height. Nobody debated or discussed patriotism, philanthropy, data of served people etc. RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Help Line and many other people who were not from any organisation too were helping hand-in-hand together with ITBP, Army, Air Force, Police, etc. Pilots flew in the terrains where they otherwise would never. Helicopters crashed, their colleagues died but they continued. It was a war against time. Hungry, thirsty, dehydrated, weak, ill, injured, scared and many even angry needy people were up there and all these saviours knew was that they must move to save as many.
We noticed the same phenomenon of the utmost compassion and zeal to really go out of way to help during the Gujarat earthquake, during Assam and Bihar floods, etc. In Uttarakhand, it was a test of the saviours’ tenacity, patience and agility. This was also the test of kindness of Hindus all over Bharat and the world. Help poured in. Humanity won.
Many sadhu-saints opened up their ashrams for the calamity affected. No media sung their praises. Maneri to Pipal Koti, Gangotri to Hardwar… . They helped.
Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand will stand up again. Kedarnath is Trikaal Gyaani. HE knows who did what. It was an acid test of faith and humanity together! Hindus passed it so well with no expectation of any awards, publicity or accolades!
These are the unsung heroes of Uttarakhand. Salute to all of them. Not possible to name all. And they did not do it for the name. When a slippery stone slipped from under my feet while walking up there, I could clearly feel what the thousands of stuck-up people up there must be going through. We can tell it; those unsung heroes do not even utter a word. Nobody knows many of them. I salute them.