BENGALURU: A few months back, seven-year-old Zunera Haram had showed her presence of mind and saved her one-and-a-half-year-old cousin Afiya Banu in July this year. She had pulled her out from a drum full of water after Afiya accidentally fell into it . Though she herself is not more than four-foot-tall and didn’t have the strength to pull her out fully, she was prompt and pulled her up just enough to keep Afiya’s head above water. As she continued to hold on to Afiya with all her might, she frantically called out for her mother and aunt to help her.
On Tuesday, she was awarded the Keladi Chennamma Bravery Award for her courage at a Children’s Day event here by Governor Vajubhai Vala. Six other young bravehearts too were honoured, one posthumously. These recipients are Nithin K R, Krishna Naika, Vaishakh, Deekshitha H K, H K Ambika and Nethravathi Chouhan (posthumous) were awarded a cash prize of `10,000 for their exceptional acts of bravery.
Zunera’s father, Mohammed Sabir, an administrator at NYF High School, was elated to see her receive the award. “That fateful day, she missed her class and was watching a cartoon channel. A vegetable vendor came to the house and her aunt and grandmother left the courtyard to make the purchase. Just then, Afiya, who was playing there, fell into the drum. My daughter showed great presence of mind instead of just standing and watching,” he said.
However, Madhesh Chouhan (30), Nethravathi’s father, wasn’t as lucky as Sabir. He couldn’t watch his 14-year-old daughter receive the award but did it on her behalf. He is a daily wage labourer in Hosur. In May, this year, Nethravathi was with her cousins Muttu Rathod and Ganesh Rathod who went to a neighbouring village to wash clothes in the pond. After the boys went to swim, she saw them drowning. Nethravathi rescued one of them successfully. Soon, when she went back to rescue another, Nethravathi died along with her cousin.
“She went to save her cousins and never came back. Her mother Valavva is just 27 years old. She didn’t come today for the award ceremony with me,” he said.
Ambika H K and Deekshitha H K are from Government Higher Primary School in Vardhanayakanahalli. They both rescued 11-year-old Manoj from a biogas pit. Deekshitha’s parents Kempareddy, an electrician, and Kamalamma, a housewife, were proud as both girls, clad in their school uniform, received the awards from the Governor.
Governor Vajubhai Vala urged children to be fearless. “In my home state Gujarat, there is a saying ‘Jo dar gaya woh mar gaya’. I want all you children to be fearless and also help others be fearless,” he said.