One Brave Rana

Nasih Ul Wadud Alam

12 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

One Brave Rana

Nasih Ul Wadud Alam

History remembers powerful people. Is it concerned much with commoners? Sometimes, in the annals of history, we find some special features on Anne Frank, the Jewish girl. Many Jews like Anne Frank, died in German concentration camps in the Second World War. What makes Frank especially different from others is her book The Diary of a Young Girl which is an account of her internally conflicted world against the backdrop of Hitler’s vitriol against Jews. The Nazy Party killed, maimed and brutalised many Jews in the concentration camps where the sufferers had to drink distilled water resulting in Anne Frank’s premature death of typhoid fever. She was only 15 at that time. Without that book, the name of Anne Frank would have been forgotten. Anne was not actively involved in the war. She was not a soldier in the battle fields. Still, she is important in history. Through her life, we come to know about sufferings general people faced when politicians fought for power.

The point of my argument is to pay my attention to one Sohel Rana. Probably, he was named after the famed Bangladeshi actor Sohel Rana, who in motion pictures, has beaten and defeated many villains for rescuing his heroines. This is not, however, a piece on Actor Rana. The Rana I am referring to is no more in the world. He died while trying to save other humans in the recent FR Tower blaze. True, he was doing his duty. It becomes more significant when someone dies while attempting to save others. Alongside his colleagues, Rana has saved many peoples' lives. Unfortunately, Rana is also one of the casualties.

This is not one ordinary Rana. He was an apple of his family members' eyes. Rana, the second of five other siblings, came from a humble background. Son of a farmer, Rana felt the pangs of poverty at an early age. He wanted to help his family and do something meaningful for them. He did not continue with his education after attaining his Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) in 2015. Finally, he landed himself a job in Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense (BFSCD). He did not find it to be a lucrative job. But it was good enough to bring stability to his own family.

Before doing substantial for others, usually, we try to find grounds beneath our feet. Even among brothers, there are sibling rivalries. Everyone tries to get the best share of a pie. But Rana was different. When the talk of his marriage came, he was nonchalant over it. He did not want to tie his knot before seeing the settlement of his siblings. He paid the tuition fees of his two academic brothers. Rana's sister said on record that he hardly bought new dresses for himself. He emphasised the needs and wants of his parents and siblings. Now, the whole family's world has turned outside down due to his tragic death.

Rana’s selfless act is once again a reminder that the world is still a beautiful place. It is people like Ranas making this place a congenial place to live in. Many of us just talk and write. Rana has proved that talk is cheap. There is a famous phrase “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”. Rana is that man of actions. When the chips are down, Ranas put their hands up and face challenges. They do not think about their own benefits. They are not afraid of facing death even. By the passage of time, we forget these heroes. They put their lives on the line just for saving others. The way our fire brigades work despite their limitations is excellent. Everlastingly, Dhaka has been clogged in traffic jams. There is no respite for city-dwellers. Despite all their troubles, our fire brigades efficiently tackle all the hurdles in fighting and dousing fires. They work in danger zones but come out as winners every time.

Bangladeshi doctors tried their level best to heal his injuries. But the fire charred his fleshes so deep that it was out of their hands to go for further treatment in our country. Under Sheikh Hasina's command, Rana was swiftly taken to Singapore where he passed his last gulp of air. Everyone tried to save him but luck was not on his side. Rana's family is the worst hit. Probably, they will receive some donations but that money will not be enough to help them sustain themselves in the long run. Rana's death has stopped his family from the monthly salary he had been generating.

Human beings don't give up that easily. His other brothers will step up and start contributing, hopefully. His family may find solvency again. However, they need platforms to secure their jobs. Our business tycoons can provide them with employment opportunities based on the brothers’ requirements and eligibilities. They have lost Rana for a national cause. What they need is stability that comes only when the active members of the family are allowed to work to bring money and food on the plates of the table. 

The current world is the world of “Simulation” (Jean Baudrillard). We forget our real heroes. Perhaps, Rana will be forgotten. The systematic effacement of minors from historical epistemology makes history unabashedly biased towards the haves and condemns the have-nots into the periphery. That Banani road where 27 people died can be renamed as road number 27. That number should remain fixed. I would like to request the concerned authorities to name it "Shahid Rana Road". This is one of ways of honouring those martyrs who lived by the sword and died by it.


The writer is lecturer, department of English, Chittagong Independent University.