A Bangladeshi Railway Employee Saves a Man, Finally Gets Recognition

Screenshot from the video

Screenshot from YouTube video

In Bangladesh, CCTV footage of a railway employee rescuing a young man who laid himself down on a railway track just as a train was approaching has gone viral. The rescuer demonstrated quick thinking and presence of mind, saving the young man from a certain death.

The 58-year-old employee, Billal Hossain Mazumder, works as a railway gateman near the Chashara station at the Dhaka-Narayanganj railway line. On the morning of November 21, 2016, Billal was waving a flag, trying to keep pedestrians away from the track as a train bound to Dhaka was passing by. Suddenly, a 26-year-old pedestrian, Mamun Hossain, lay down on the track in front of the moving train. Mazumder kept waiving his flag and in a snap decision, jumped in front of the train to pull Hossain away from the track. A split second delay could have been fatal for them both. It was later learnt that Hossain, who hailed from from Masdail village in Chashara, had decided to commit suicide after having a quarrel with his mother.

Railway accidents are common in Bangladesh, since about 40% of some 2,500 rail crossings are unmanned, and people do not follow the rules and signs. In the past six years, 152 people were killed in fatal railway accidents.

The heroic rescue was captured on a CCTV camera and shared on Bangladesh Railway's Facebook page. The video soon went viral across different social media platforms.

Journalist Ashif Entaz Rabi suggested that — especially in light of his selfless act — Mazumder was perhaps not as valued as he should be at his job:

বিল্লাল রেলের একজন সাধারণ গেটম্যান। তার কাজ ট্রেন এলে লাল কাপড় উড়ানো।

সেই ১৯৮৪ সাল থেকে তিনি রেলের গেটম্যান। তখন বেতন পেতেন ২৪ শত টাকা। বত্রিশ বছরে বেতন অনেক বেড়েছে। এখন তিনি বেতন পান ৭ হাজার টাকা। এই টাকায় কী করে একটি লোকের পরিবার চলে, আমি ঠিক জানি না।

ও আরেকটি কথা, গত ৩২ বছরেও বিল্লালের চাকরি স্থায়ী হয়নি।

Billal is a casual gateman of Bangladesh Railway. His job is to wave a red flag when the train comes.

He is on the job since 1984 and started with a salary of BDT 2,400 (USD 94, according to 1984's exchange rate) per month. After 32 years, he got a salary of BDT 7,000 (USD 90, according to 2016's exchange rate) per month. How he can sustain his family with this meagre amount, I don't know.

Oh, and his post has not been made permanent in the past 32 years.

On Facebook, Tareq Alam wished that more people would be like Mazumder:

পথেঘাটে বিপদগ্রস্ত মানুষের সাহায্যে এগিয়ে না এসে তাকে সম্পূর্ণরূপে উপেক্ষা করে যাওয়া অথবা দাঁড়িয়ে দাঁড়িয়ে ছবি বা সেলফি তোলার এক নির্মম রেওয়াজ শুরু হয়েছে আজকাল। এমন একটি হতাশাজনক বাস্তবতার ভেতর ব্যতিক্রম অথচ সেটাই সঙ্গত ও স্বাভাবিকÑ এমন কিছু উদাহরণ সৃষ্টি হলে তা সমাজে গভীর প্রভাব রাখতে সক্ষম হয়।

Nowadays it has become a norm that passersby do not come forward and help people in danger on the streets, they take pictures or selfies instead. In this sad reality, if we see good examples of helping others like this, which should be the norm, it makes a great impact on the society.

Salahuddin Ahammad‎ also paid his tributes:

কিছু কিছু সাহসী ও আন্তরিক মানুষের জন্য পৃথিবীকে অনেক সুন্দর মনে হয়। মানবিক এই কাজের জন্য গেট্ম্যান বিল্লালের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা ও সম্মান।

The world seems better and nicer because of the acts of a few brave and earnest people. My respect to Gateman Billal for his act of humanity.

Abu Benin called for more sensitivity to be shown towards the suicidal man:

এইরূপ অবস্থা থেকে বাঁচাতে পারলে নিকট আত্নীয় যদি পাশে থাকে তাহলে তারা অথবা আইনশৃঙ্খলা বাহিনী, দমকল বাহিনী, যারাই হোক লোকটিকে সাথে সাথে সমবেদনা জানায়, বুকের সাথে জড়িয়ে নেয়, মাথায় হাত বুলিয়ে তাকে আশ্বাস দেয়, ভালবাসা দিয়ে স্বাভাবিক করার চেষ্টা করে, কারণ একজন মানুষ সুস্থ মস্তিস্কে কখনো আত্নহত্যার সিদ্ধান্ত নেয় না।

কিন্তু নারায়নগঞ্জের এই ঘটনায় দেখলাম, লোকটিকে রেল লাইনের বাইরে আনার সাথে সাথে পাশ থেকে জনৈক পুলিশ দৌঁড়িয়ে গিয়ে তাকে লাঠিপেটা শুরু করলো। যেই লোক নিজের জীবন শেষ করে ফেলতে চায়, তাকে লাঠিপেটা করে শায়েস্তা করতে চায় এই পুলিশ!

If a person is saved by miracle, the persons nearby — such as acquaintances, people from the law enforcement or rescue services — should embrace him, console him, try to keep everything coming with love. Because a person does not take the decision to kill himself if he was not in trouble.

But we have seen in this video footage that as soon he was saved, a policeman rushed to him and started to beat him. The man tried to kill himself and he wants to teach him a lesson by beating him?

The country's railway ministry publicly recognised Mazumder's act and rewarded him with some clothes and BDT 100,000 in cash (USD 1,275). The railway minister assured Billal that they will try to make his job permanent, or at least ensure that one of his children will be given with a job at the railway, according to their qualifications.

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