Indian Red Cross Society fraternity has many members and staff who are living examples of compassion and volunteerism. One amongst them is Mitra Bahadur, an office peon who is serving at the National Headquarters with full dedication since 1977. He is a true Red Crosser and is always on an edge to volunteer.
Energetic, humble and committed are a few characteristics, which epitomize Mitra Bahadur. He is well-built, has a fair complexion and has an average stature. Always adorning a Red Cross cap that makes him appear different from the rest, his day begins by organizing the room of the Secretary General, patiently waiting for his arrival, assisting all through the day at his office and be at his beck and call.
"Mitra Bahadur is gentlemanship personified. He goes beyond the duties assigned to him and never ever complains. He remembers my every small requirement and shall produce any book or paper that I ask him to keep. He is simply outstanding,“ says Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS.
Mitra Bahadur came from Nepal to India in 1977 in search of a job. He stayed for nearly two months at old Delhi railway station doing small menial jobs. His misfortune ended when he happened to meet the Superintendent from Bahadurgarh warehouse of IRCS who liked his dedication and helped him in getting a job at the NHQ. Since then he has been attached to the Secretary General office. Out of his several noble deeds the very recent is one cant find its peer. He provided shelter to a hapless boy from Nepal for one and half months in his house and helped him reunite with his family.
The nightmare of the boy, Rabin Kailash Ranabhatt, began in Nepal. An unknown person introduced him as his uncle and lured him during the lunch break of the school where he was studying. He, then, brought him to Delhi and made him work as a domestic help. After two months the uncle dumped him at a bus stop. In search of food and water the boy reached the Red Cross road and started working as a helper at a kiosk serving tea and snacks. He was at the mercy of the owner and had to toil from 5:00 am till midnight. A Chaiwala named Bijli brought him to the Family News Service (FNS) Co-ordinator, Pooja Kukde hoping that she would help the boy in getting united with his family in Nepal.
‘ The little boy finds it too difficult to work for so many hours. Language being a barrier, he is not even able to pick up the work and is often scolded for this. At times he tried to run away. I just don’t wish that he should live the life of tea-boy like me,’ says Bijli. Bijli, makes several rounds of the Indian Red Cross Society everyday to serve tea and snacks and is familiar with the entire staff and their roles.
The FNS Coordinator spent a lot of time with the boy. She provided psychosocial counseling to him. This helped her extract some information pertaining to his whereabouts. Due to the language problem coupled with deep melancholy the boy was in, he couldn’t share much information. Then Mitra Bahadur was called and he played the role of an interpreter. With great persuasion his parent’s name, village and school’s name were wheedled out. The Co-ordinator then got in touch with the tracing department of the Nepal Red Cross Society and passed on all the information for tracing his family.
Meanwhile the safety of the boy became a challenge. Mitra Bahadur volunteered for giving shelter to the boy till his family could be traced. Bahudur’s wife and children treated Rabin as a family member. They used to pamper him and guarded him lest he ran away and fall into wrong hands. He along with his family provided homely atmosphere, comfort and care to the little boy
Mitra Bahadur is a Nepali and attends the community meetings of Nepali samaj in Delhi. He shared the information with the community leaders who began a hunt for the man who lured Rabin to Delhi. After a lengthy hunt the person was identified and brought in front of the Nepali community. The community made him realizes his big blunder. On the persuasion of the community in general and Mitra Bahadur in particular the uncle offered to take Rabin back to Nepal and reunite him with his family.
On 2nd October Bahadur along with his family bid adieu to Rabin. All were in tears. Rabin had become so attached to Bahadur’s children that he was unwilling to part with them. In the presence of many Red Cross people, who had assembled to see him off, Rabin began his return journey. He finally got reunited with his family on October 7th, 2008.
Mitra Bahadur called at the boy’s place on that day to inquire about Rabin. He spoke to his parents and was happy to hear their voices, filled with joy and excitement.
“ I don’t think I have done something too big that others should know or praise me for it. I have been working with Red Cross for the past 30 years and I am aware of the good work that Red Cross does I simply wanted that the boy should reach home safely, go to school and live a normal life with his parents”, says Mitra Bahadur.
FNS co-ordinator, IRCS confirmed the news of family reunification with the tracing department of Nepal Red Cross Society.