Champion of the masses

Until few years ago, he was unruly, rowdy and alcoholic, indulging in all kinds of nefarious activities. Today the reformed soul is a charismatic youth volunteer of the Art of Living, doing yeoman service in rehabilitating thousands of human lives that have been completely devastated by the recent disaster in Uttarakhand. Unravelling Aman Rajput.

It is difficult to match his energy level and momentum. There is a fire raging in his belly all the time. Aman is a man of pure action and does not believe in relaxing, unless his mission in accomplished. He is constantly on his toes, helping people and his only objective is to wipe away tears from every eye. “Every moment of mine is precious,” says Aman, passionately, as he awaits the arrival of a truck, loaded with relief material. “I cannot just sit and twiddle my thumbs. People are hungry and thirsty and we cannot afford to get delayed even by few minutes.”

My brush with reality

Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Aman along with his team of volunteers had arrived on the scene, almost a few days later after tragedy struck in Uttarakhand. “Our first task was to clear the debris and silt and rescue people who were trapped in mud. People were crying for help and were losing hope of survival. We immediately swung into action and salvaged as many people as we could. Next, we started distributing food packets and relief material to people who hadn’t had proper food for the past 10 days. It was a terrible sight. People were mad and scowled at me. They were starving for days together and were eating leaves from the jungles to stay alive. Naturally, when we reached them, they unleashed their fury and let out their pent up emotions.”

Gaining momentum

Within a span of 12 days, this young dynamo had gained access across 14 villages such as MastaNala, Rudraprayag, Narayan Kotti, Rudrapur, Kalimutt, Jonki, Kunjetti, Kotma, Kavittha, Jaltalla, Jalmallah, Chilond, Chaumasi and Siasugarh. “After conducting a detailed door-to-door survey in all these areas, we chalked out our plan of action. With help and advice from Nishagraji, faculty, The Art of Living, we formulated a strategy for working that would prove sustainable in the long run.” Like Aman, several volunteers were carrying out relief operations, yet what distinguishes this young man from others, is his passion and unflinching zest for service to humanity. Within no time, he had set up more than 15 medical camps across different villages. Over 500 people were benefited in these camps. Aman had even managed to break ice with people who had sunk into depression and hadn’t uttered a single word, after the tragedy.

Experience of a lifetime

“It was the toughest task of my life,” he reveals. “Wherever I went, initially I was unwelcome. People were furious and almost wanted to hit me. They felt, I was intruding into their personal space and was disrupting their private moments of grief. But I kept my cool and put my arms around their shoulders, hugged them, touched their feet and encouraged them to talk and flush the negativity out of their system. I would visit these people everyday and do the same process again and again. Gradually people would feel relieved and peaceful from within. Many have been blessed me for being able to make them cry,” he adds.

Bridging the gap

While taking cognizance of the situation, Aman has succeeded in organising several stress elimination programs and dhyan shibirs, that have brought great succour to more than 1000 trauma-stricken people. He has also rebuilt the connecting bridge between Kalimutt and Kotma. “People can now walk through this bridge and pull their animals through. The disconnect was causing a lot of inconvenience to these villagers. Though I am happy, at the way, things are progressing; I am still looking out for innovative ways to reach maximum people in minimum time. Alongside, providing relief material, my primary responsibility is also to restore people to their normal selves, failing which, all our efforts will be in vain.”

The going gets tough

Ask Aman about the difficulties he encountered, while working, and he is quick to answer, “Oh, that comes with my job. There is nothing to create a hype about it. But you nag him a little and he reveals, “Yes, there were challenges at every step, but I have managed to stay put every time. I have brushed past major landslides, and survived. I recall an incident, when big boulders along with earth and debris would flow into the paths, just after I had passed by. I landed in this kind of situation four times, but death eluded me. Besides, walking through slurry and trekking the most difficult mountains terrains, whilst it rained, was exceptionally challenging. The path becomes slimy during monsoons and you can easily slip and injure yourself. At times, I would pause for long and wonder, how I would make it to the plains. My foot would get entangled in the mud and shrubs. Besides I had a backpack with 25kg of relief material in it, so there was risk involved at every step.”

Living on the edge

But didn’t he fear that he would lose his life? “On most occasions, I didn’t, as I knew deep in my heart that I had to live, if I have to serve people. God cannot be so unjust. But yes, I did get uncomfortable, when I walked on cracked roads. The moment I crossed over, the roads would give away in a fraction of seconds. My heart would beat fast, my family, far away in Himachal Pradesh and my close friends would flash in front of my eyes. And I would wonder whether I would meet them again. Today I realise that I have lived on to tell my story,” he smiles

Moving beyond time

The spine-chilling encounters may have moved others, but Aman remains unnerved by the whole experience. He has gone without food, water or a bath for days together, but it does not matter to him anymore. At other times, he has stayed in houses, that would be washed away any moment, but he is relaxed. “I am just not bothered about life or death. I have dedicated three years of my life to Uttarakhand and I will give my hundred percent to resurrect its lost glory. Till then, I shall not rest in peace,” he says and signs off.

Story credit : Art of Living Bureau of Communication

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