Mangaluru: ‘The Save Our Souls (SOS) Man”, “The Good Samaritan”, “The God Sent Saviour”..whatever you want to call him, U Hasanabba popularly known as “Charmadi Hasanabba” is the first person who will come to the rescue of accident victims on Charmadi Ghat. “Charmadi Hasanabba” got his name since he lives near the majestic mountain in Dakshina Kannada district- the Charmadi Ghat.
Hasanabba, who runs a small restaurant at the foot of the Charmadi Ghat, is better known for the free ambulance service he provides for accident victims on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway, which runs over the accident-prone ghat. He has been called as an “One Man Ambulance”. I had the opportunity to meet this great man when we stopped at his restaurant for a coffee, on our way to the coffee estate of Joyce Saldanha- and when I learned lots about this person from the taxi driver, I decided to have an exclusive interview with U Hasanabba.
When asked how come he is always inclined in helping accident victims and volunteer during other disasters on Charmadi Ghat, he said, ” My life reached a turning point about three decades ago- a man and his son travelling through Charmadi Ghat in their new truck had met with an accident in the middle of the night, near my restaurant. I rushed there with an ambulance from the nearest healthcare centre and took the injured to a hospital in Belthangady and later shifted them to Manipal. I was able to trace their identities through the auto-dealer from which the truck was purchased”.
“When the family arrived, I handed them a suitcase that I found at the scene, which, it turned out, contained Rs. 53,000. I was surprised to see the family members of the accident victims returned to my house a few days later with fruits and other goodies, as a gesture of goodwill. This really touched me a lot, that someone did appreciate my help. I thought to myself why not continue such kind of service forever” added Hasanabba. Since then, Hasanabba has been helping anyone who meets with an accident at the Ghat. He rushes to the spot in his own car or sometimes in his motorbike to give the injured a ride to the hospital.Irrespective of the jurisdiction of the district administration and indiscriminate of creed, caste, class or colour, Hasanabba would always run to any person’s assistance in true spirit of a good Samaritan. His magnanimity and sympathy, however, stamp him out as a Saint.
Talk about Charmadi Ghat- where highway 234 passes through this ghat which is kind of narrow and curvy at many points, accidents are very common, some minor while others major ones. And Hasanabba who runs “Hotel Charmadi” has become an oasis for hungry travelers and anybody who meets with an accident on this treacherous highway. During the last three decades, social worker Hasanabba aged 65, has helped over 1000 accident victims along the perilous ghats. NH 234 stretch of road which is also used mainly by tourists heading to Dharmasthala, is narrow and full of sharp curves. Accidents are common and bringing help to the wounded is a herculean task. This is where Hasanabba steps in, the real-lief Good Samaritan who rushes to the spot in his car and takes the injured to the nearest hospital.
Hasanabba says, “I have spent a lot of money and time in taking people to hospital. But the kind of satisfaction that this service has given me I could not have got from anywhere else. I get many people who enter my hotel just to meet me and let me know that they have travelled along this road. They tell me they are confident that there is somebody to help if something happens to them in the ghat. Many of the people I have helped in the past also come back to visit. This love, affection and confidence the people have in me is a great strength. Almost everybody has my number. They call me if there is any accident or problem in the Ghat”.
During an accident, if the victim is too badly hurt to walk, Hasanabba uses his own dhoti to lift the patients to his car. He never expects anything in return from the people he helps. But he kindly requests the family members of the accident victims to contribute some money if there were any expenses, where earth movers, cranes and outside laborers were used in clearing the wreckage- other than that he never demands any money for his service. Not only Hasanabba is proud of himself about the social work he does, even his three sons feel prouder. “We get great respect when people find out we are Hasanabba’s children. People compliment us for being Hasanabba’s kids. We’re very proud of him and he is always telling us to serve society as well,” said Badruddin Azman, the eldest son of Hasanabba.
U Hasanabba born on 23/03/1951 is the second son of Late Ijjabba Beary and Bee Fathima. Married to Hazra, he is a proud father of three sons, namely Badruddin Azman, who has done his MBA, and presently working for Westline Builders in Mangaluru; Mohammed Azveer, who is doing his civil engineering studies in Bengaluru, has plans to go to US for further studies; and Ayaz Afreed, who is doing his PUC studies at SDM College-Ujire. Hasanabba has not studied past the second standard, but a lack of education hasn’t stood in his way. His selflessness and compassion, though, mark him out as a hero.
His social work has earned him many felicitations and awards of appreciations from many organizations like, 1985: Felicitated in the Taluk level Kannada Sahithya Sammelana in Belthangady; 1986: Felicitated by Belthangady Rotary Club; 1989: Felicitated by then Puttur ASP Gagandeep, IPS in the Puttur Crime Meeting; 2001: District level Rajyotsava Award; 2001: Felicitated with the title of “Nammorina Apathbandhava” at the Seva Dal program in Kakkinje by Shri. Ramanatha Rai; 2002: Felicitated by the Sneha Shikshana Trust, Sullia; 2002: Felicitated in Mudigere on the occasion of Independence day by the then Minister for Women and Child Welfare Shrimati Motamma; 2002: Felicitated by Prabhakar Bangera in the Road Safety Week held in Puttur; 2003: Felicitated by Kadur Motor Union on the occasion of Independence Day;
2003: Belthangady Taluq level Rajyotsava Award; 2005: Felicitated by UAE Billawas Cricketers Thumbay; 2007: Felicitated with the title of Beary of the Year by the Bearys Welfare Association, Bangalore; 2008: Felicitated with the Lawrence Memorial Award in Belthangady; 2011: Sarathi No 1 award by All India Motor Drivers Association; 2012: Felicitated by Tulu Koota in Chickmagalur.; 2012: Felicitated by Kaveri Yuvaka Mandal of Surathkal on the occasion of the celebration of their 10th year Completion. A lot more awards namely Samaja Bhargava by Sangeetha bharathi group in Hospet, Felicitation by the Kanadikatte Masjid Management, Felicitation by Tattaje Maneyangaladi Saahithya koota have come to him for his service.
Police also seek Hasanabba’s help in tracing missing human bodies in the Ghat section. It is learnt that many murdered bodies are being dumped in this dense forest area of Charmadi Ghat- and Hasanabba with his team have been successful in finding many bodies. Hasanabba has also been an important witness for the police: for instance, in the sensational murder of a wealthy Visakhapatnam jeweller whose decomposed body was found in Charmadi on February 9, 2012; or, when his group rescued a woman who had been stripped, gang-raped and dumped in the forests nearly a decade ago. Hasanabba says that the raped woman was desperately seeking for help on the Ghat roadside, but no one would stop to help her, since they were were scared that they would get in trouble with the law. It was Hasanabba who rescued this woman, took her home and his wife gave clothing to the woman and fed her, till police arrived.
U Hasanabba who has always been the first responder says, “The ambulance and the police are in Belthangady, around 40 km away. It takes them an additional hour to come to the accident spot. There is a dire need of a government hospital in Charmadi to provide emergency treatment to victims. For the last so many years, a committee of villagers has been pursuing the authorities, even collecting Rs.one lakh as deposit for the hospital. But due to political differences over the location of the hospital, the proposal has been stalled”. So until then, the only person to come to the rescue of accident victims quick is “SOS Man”; “The Good Samaritan”; ” The God Sent Saviour” aka U Hasanabba!. May God bless U Hasanabba for all the good work that he is doing for the community.