Covid cases were at their peak in Belagavi a few months ago and things were very scary out there. Never heard before words like lockdown, quarantine, isolation, curfew, positive, deaths, sanitization, etc were on everybody’s tongue.
Many lost their loved ones and there also came a situation where people were not even able to see their own family members before they were gone permanently. We certainly don’t want to remember the bad days but as things are getting back to normal, let us remember the real-life heroes who served mankind wholeheartedly during those bad days.
Ibrahim Aga is one such real life hero.
We all know Habbiunddin who sells bubbles and toys at weddings and events for 45 years. Ibrahim, his son and has continued his father’s legacy. After witnessing all the sufferings around, Ibrahim couldn’t stop himself from joining organizations like AL IQRA, Anjuman e Islam and Popular Front of India who was carrying out Covid relief activities. He became a part of the burial team.
Burials: The team carried out burial and cremation of people who lost their life due to Covid as the family members were not allowed to do the same. The team didn’t charge a single rupee for conducting this noble deed. Out of the 7 lakh population, this was a 20 member burial team and Ibrahim was one of them. The team was trained by Dr. Nabeel Ghadi and BIMS authorities.
Funerals were conducted of lost lives from all hospitals as per the respective religious methods of individuals. Ibrahim recalls how they had to travel to Gokak and other parts of the district at late night for the burials. One fine day, his bike ran out of fuel and he had to walk for 5kms at 2 am to reach the burial spot.
There was also a day when they had to dig a grave themselves wearing the PPE kit as any JCB was not available during the lockdown. Ibrahim recalls the most heart-wrenching incident when he was shifting his best friend to a hospital but his friend took his last breath in his own arms on the way to the hospital. Ibrahim had no time to mourn as he had to join his team waiting for him for another burial.
Ibrahim was also involved in shifting patients to hospital, one hospital to another, from hospital to ambulance, supplying oxygen at late night to patient’s house, and feeding food to patients as no family member was nearby. When the house and surrounding of positive patients were sealed down, Ibrahim visited such homes and conducted sanitization of the entire house for free.
Ibrahim called me 3 times during the lockdown saying “I have full training of wearing the PPE kit or home sanitization or body burial, if anyone needs my service anywhere do let me know. I am doing this for humanity and don’t want a single rupee” During the time when all people were running away from each other, such a call from Ibrahim shook me to the core.
About Ibrahim: At the same time things were not so pleasant at Ibrahim’s house. As mentioned, Ibrahim continued his father’s business of selling bubbles and toys at weddings and events. In fact, he is known as the Bubble man of Belagavi as he is the sole person doing this business. He mainly depends on events and weddings which were canceled because of the Covid situation.
The lockdown had a very bad effect on their business. Within days all their savings were exhausted. I remember how the roof of his house had collapsed during the floods of 2019. Day by day, it was getting very difficult for him to arrange the ration, mobile recharge, or even the fuel for his vehicle. However, he had hopes that things will get back to normal and today he can be seen at the beaches of Goa blowing the bubbles and selling toys and very soon back to events in Belagavi. Ibrahim is a very cheerful person and always meets you with a laughing face.
Though he has many problems going on with himself, he never discloses them and blows these problems in the air just like he blows the bubbles which remind us of the popular song, Har Fikr ko dhuwe me udata chala gaya.
We salute Ibrahim and all the other Covid warriors who served humanity when it was needed the most.
Written by Mandar Kolhapure as narrated and experienced with Ibrahim.