PATNA: Mohammad Sadre Alam would have turned 36 on January 20, had he not been charred to death while saving the lives of four fellow workers in the Delhi factory inferno, which consumed 43 persons last Sunday.
“That’s also when he had planned to marry off his two sisters — Rubeela, 18 and Rukhsana, 20. It was to be a month of joy for our poor family,” said his inconsolably weeping wife Rubia, 28, who is three months pregnant. “The world crashed around us upon hearing the news from the family of Naseem, 19, who too worked in the second-floor factory in Delhi and died,” she said between sobs.
The family has nowhere to look to for support. Their dilapidated mud house, some 35 km in the interiors of Samastipur in Haripur village, is a scene of utter hopelessness.
“Alam was the lone breadwinner in his family of six members, including his pregnant wife and two sisters of marriageable age,” said Mohammad Islam, his cousin.
Sadre had decided to join co-villagers at the cap manufacturing factory two years ago. “There was no job available anywhere in Saharsa,” said Rubia.
“It was mainly to make some money for the wedding of the girls. That would have happened. But our future is bleak now,” she added.
Rubia was looking forward to the birth of their child in June next year. “Who will take care of us now? Allah, take us also where you have taken him away from us!” she mourned.
Haripur has seen all its males migrate to metropolitan cities over decades. “Eighty per cent of the men are away at any given time,” said Munna, 17, a village youth who runs a phone recharge centre on the outskirts of Haripur.
“No wonder, of those dead, the maximum of eight belong to Haripur and adjacent Brahmapura village,” he added.
Guddu Kumar, Mohammad Akbar, Mohammad Sajid, Ganpat Kumar — all four from Haripur — and Mohammad Mehboob and three others of Brahampura are among the dead.
Women left behind work in households and in the fields at harvest and transplantation time, while hardly 10 per cent to 15 per cent children are enrolled in schools.
Bodies to be taken home to Bihar by road
Bowing to pressure from families of those killed in the Anaj Mandi fire, the Bihar government has decided to send the bodies of the state’s residents home by road instead of train.
Earlier, it was decided that the railways will carry the bodies in the seating-cum-luggage rake on board the Swatantrata Senani Express over Monday and Tuesday.
However, the victims’ families chose to take the over 1,000 km journey by road instead. “We have decided to send them in ambulances. One ambulance will have two bodies,” said Kumar Digvijay, joint labour commissioner, Bihar Bhawan