We have not inherited this earth from our ancestors but have borrowed it from our future generations. This statement reflects two facts. Firstly to save our environment and secondly not to give up. Life is like a journey. It has its own ups and downs. Sometimes the downs are too low that one needs just a little ray of hope and courage to get up again.
Reflecting on the above fact The Second Angle brings you a heart touching and inspiring story of a Kashmiri Boy to make you understand that, if it all goes wrong all we have to do is hold on.
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“As a child, I used to go up & down the Wular lake with Abbu–his job was to take out the trash from the lake & sell it to the Kabadi wala. He’d always tell me how important it is to keep the lake clean; it was sacred. Once, Abbu slipped from the boat & injured his leg. When we took him to the doctor, we found out that Abbu had leg cancer & that the toxic lake water might have caused it–within months, he passed away. I was 8 when the responsibility of Ammi & my 2 sisters fell on me. Ammi wasn’t well, so I left school & took Abbu’s job. I couldn’t forget what the doctors had said–the lake water killed Abbu & I was determined to clean it. So everyday, at 6 AM, I’d set out to collect trash & by evening, I’d have 10-15 kgs of plastic bottles, polythene & other waste. I’d sell it to the kabadiwala who then sent it to a recycling unit–I’d earn Rs.150-200 a day. Most of it, I’d give to Ammi & save the rest for my sister’s school fees. That was my routine for 7 years. Once, a kabadiwala told me, ‘Do you know you’ve bought me 12,000 kgs of plastic?’ Upon seeing the impact I’d made, I thought–what if my friends helped me? The cleaning process would be much faster. So, I motivated my friends & other students to do the same. Finally we could see patches of clear water after years–the neighbours who’d mock me for being a scavenger, praised me for my achievements. The word spread & in 2017, a documentary maker made a film on me. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation made me the ambassador of cleanliness; even the PM praised me. The corporation then gave me Rs.10,000 per 1.5 months to spread awareness! Over the last 3 years, I’ve travelled around Kashmir telling people to respect our waters–we’ve wronged our lakes & we need to make amends. It enrages me to see anyone throwing trash in the water; I give them a mouthful. Over time, I saved up & this year, I had enough to get my older sister married. Now, I want to buy a big house for Ammi & put my younger sister in a reputed school. I want Abbu to be happy wherever he is. I’ve abided by his teaching all my life–he was a good man & he died doing something we all should’ve been doing; keeping our country, it’s waters clean.”
This story is about a young man, Bilal Ahmad Dar, whose father used to take him to the Wular lake to clean it.
His father was determined to clean the lake and taught him the importance of clean water and the good it would bring to society. As a child, he used to do what his father says and at the end of the day, they used to sell all the trash that they got from Wular lake to a kabadi wala. But unfortunately, one day while cleaning the lake one terrible incident happened.
His father slipped from the boat and injured his leg while cleaning the toxic water. When they got his father’s leg checked they found out that his father has diagnosed with leg cancer due to which his father passed away.
“So every day, at 6 AM, I’d set out to collect trash & by evening, I’d have 10-15 kgs of plastic bottles, polythene & other waste. I’d sell it to the kabadi wala who then sent it to a recycling unit–I’d earn Rs.150-200 a day.”
All the responsibilities fell upon his shoulders. He was only 8 and had to take care of his mother and two sisters. To earn a living for the family he left his school and started continuing his father’s job as he could never get over the fact of his father dying due to toxic water.
“That was my routine for 7 years. Once, a kabadi wala told me, ‘Do you know you’ve brought me 12,000 kgs of plastic?’ Upon seeing the impact I’d made, I thought–what if my friends helped me? The cleaning process would be much faster.”
To fulfill his father’s dream and to make sure no such thing happens to someone else, he decided to get help from his friends and other students for the cleaning process. After months and months of hard work, his efforts bore fruits and he started getting praised for his work. The words spread like fire and next w5ucredit:e know that he got a documentary made upon his life in 2017.
Over the next 3 years, he travelled all over Kashmir to spread the word and awareness about the importance of cleanliness of the water. He even got his sister married this year and his following list includes buying a big house for his mother and getting a good education for his younger sister.
“I’ve abided by his teaching all my life–he was a good man & he died doing something we all should’ve been doing; keeping our country, it’s waters clean.”
Now, what do we as a person learn from this? I know the answer and you know it too, let’s pledge to follow this example and keep our land clean.
For more such stories explore our Inspiring Section