Home Guard Abdul Rauf- a ‘Traffic Care Taker’ and ‘Peace Maker’ on City Roads
“Even though till now that I have received 61 Awards/Felicitations from various organizations/Institutions, my only wish is to be a recipient of the Karnataka RajotsavaAward- last year when DC AB Ibrahim had nominated my name for the Rajotsava Award, everything went on well, until finally few played games, and someone else got the Award. Hope my dreams will come true this time, at least. I need the support and encouragement from the citizens of Mangaluru and other District authorities in this regard”
“I believe that Life is like a bubble on water; it is not permanent, I don’t believe in religious differences. The blood of all human beings is red. I don’t see whether it is a temple, mosque or church – wherever there is a traffic jam I wear my jacket/Uniform and clear the traffic. Where there is traffic, you will find me. I love my Job, and I love what I am doing serving the community, irrespective of caste, or religion. Allah, the Almighty is my only strength, my support and my protector in this risky job that I am at the helm, standing on the busy streets amidst traffic “-Abdul Rauf
Mangaluru: Everyone, but everyone, has heard about Mangaluru’s congested traffic. People complain about it in drawing rooms, write about it on Facebook and joke about it on WhatsApp. There are very few though who will step out to get down and dirty and do something about it. And for that matter a father of four kids and just bare 5 ft tall Ajit is one such man, who has volunteered during hectic traffic situation for nearly 28 years, and later became a member of Traffic Warden Team, and until last year when he got employed as a Home Guard (to control traffic situation in City)- and this Good Samaritan at the age of 45, is determined and committed to end the continuous cribbing about traffic in the City. He wanted to start taking action in order to solve the ever-increasing problem serving as a volunteer during those days- and now as a Home Guard (Traffic), he is seen at some of the most crowded and chaotic traffic signals of “Smart Kudla”, trying his best to help vehicles move as smoothly as possible. Introducing to Mangalorean.com readers, the one and only Active, Energetic, Daring, Fearless and Committed Person who can handle the rough and tough Mangaluru Traffic is Abdul Rauf, hailing from Mahakali Padpu, Mangaluru.
This inspiring man, Abdul Rauf is very humble about the work he is doing. “We see a lot of people complaining — ‘this is not right,’ ‘that is wrong.’ There are also many armchair activists, people on Facebook and WhatsApp who keep whining about various issues in the city. But I believe that if you have a complaint, you have to work on it. The priority for me is the smooth movement of traffic. I also stop violators at times but that is not the first thing I do; the number of violators anyway comes down when there is a person in a uniform standing at the signal. I can’t fine them, but I advice them not to violate traffic rules again. On certain incidents, I take down the numbers of the vehicles that break rules, such as motorists who jump the signal, buses that don’t stop at the bus stops/blaring loud shrill horns, motorists entering one way street etc.” says Abdul, who handles traffic situations in a very difficult region where it’s hard to reach or cross because of the traffic.
Abdul has some really amusing stories about the excuses framed by traffic violators: “People give some ridiculous excuses for driving on the footpath. A few will tell you that they are related to some prominent personality in a position of power. There are others who request that I should let them go because they have to use the toilet urgently. I accept only genuine excuses in some cases, if not I am strict and follow the traffic rules. You can start a conversation about the troublesome traffic of Mangaluru with anyone here or anywhere outside the City. Residents here are always complaining about the horrible traffic situation and how nothing is being done about it.”
“It is not a very strenuous job like people think it is. You just have to stand in the open for some time. But the respect you get is mostly because you are wearing a uniform, in my case, now. My idea of relaxing is to do something which makes me personally happy and if that means working for community welfare, it’s right up my alley! Being part of the wonderful Traffic force gives me immense pleasure. Seeing people much older than me like Traffic Warden Chief Joe Gonsalves, aged 96 relentlessly pursuing difficult goals continues to inspire me. Joe Gonsalves is my role model and my mentor, who has helped me a lot in my life, and also in this field-he is like my God-Father” adds Abdul.
Traffic sense is something that should be taken seriously by the public, according to Abdul. “They just come in two-wheelers, park the vehicle in some no-parking zone in any direction and leave. One such bad motorist is enough to disrupt the entire traffic movement in the entire area. Police should also intensify their patrolling and penalty should be imposed strictly to overcome this problem. It is also important for the public to adhere to the rules. If everyone follows the traffic rules systematically we will have less traffic problems- but unfortunately, we are not seeing that in Mangaluru. Motorists are reckless, arrogant and don’t give a damn to rules and regulations. In such cases, my job makes it hard to handle.” he adds.
Abdul not only bring chaotic traffic situations under control, he also intervenes if he comes across any arguments/commotion going on between motorists and motorists; or motorists and cops. He tries to calm down the ugly situation in bringing peace to the problem. Explaining one such incident, he recalls and explains- “One Friday in 2012, when I went to a mosque for prayers, I happened to witness a fight between the traffic police and the public. I intervened and tried to stop the fight. Determined to prevent such fights from repeating, I took the initiative to park the vehicles from the very next Friday onwards. The first three Fridays I had to listen to comments from the public, but I knew exactly what I was doing and so continued my work in spite of lack of cooperation from the people”. How about calling Abdul Rauf a “Peace Maker”? Why not?
Abdul Rauf was born in Mahakali Padpu, Mangaluru, on February 7, 1972, as the third child of the late J Abbas and Zubaida. He completed education only up to 8th standard from Cascia High School- Mangaluru. Rauf said that his favourite teacher was the late Nirmala, who taught Kannada, and added that he was the only student who was never punished by the teachers. His father passed away when he was in the 3rd standard. Though he managed to study till 8th standard, the situation at home did not allow him to continue his education any further, as his mother alone could not fulfil the needs of the entire family. He had to shoulder the responsibility of all his sisters, their education, and marriage.
Rauf was just thirteen when he dropped out of school, and he worked in the provision store for 18 years. In 1998, he joined MCC as a drainage pump operator on a contract basis and used to earn a salary of Rs 4,200 per month. He served the MCC till 2012. In between, from 1998, he worked as an agent undertaking jobs related to passports and ration cards, driving license, etc. From then on, he dedicated himself to clearing traffic jams and wherever there was a gridlock, he would volunteer and resolve the traffic. He later volunteered in the Traffic Warden Squad, and due to his hard work and determination handling tough traffic situation, under the recommendations of ACP Uday Kumar, he was able to be promoted as Home Guard (Traffic) at Traffic Police West-Mangaluru, where he now earns Rs 9750 a month. Rauf says that he is immensely grateful to assistant commissioner of police (ACP) traffic Uday Nayak for appreciating his efforts.
Abdul Rauf is married to Zeenath, a homemaker and the couple has four children – Abbas Hussain Raafi (11), Fathima Rahila (10), Mohammed Raif (6) and Mohammed Rafan (2). Until recently, Abdul was residing in a rented house belonging to a Mosque, but recently he moved out and presently is staying with his sister in Mangaluru. His humble request to the public is that he would appreciate if someone comes to his aid and provides him with a house so that he doesn’t have to rely on his sister’s help. He says many asked him why, despite having so much knowledge about the functioning of the MCC, he did not try to join local politics. He says, “I listen to my mother and she does not wish me to join politics, and I respect her words. My wife is my inspiration.”
Interestingly, there is something quite funny to be mentioned- it’s all about “No 7” as they say, which is very lucky for many. Here in Abdul Rauf’s case-three persons in the family – Rauf, his mother, and his son – all share the same birth date – February 7. His mother was born on February 7, 1955, Rauf on February 7, 1972, and his son on February 7, 2006. Not only that, Rauf says he purchased his bicycle on February 7, 1988. Needless to say, this date is very special to him. Jokingly he says, “I want to die on February 7….???” His belief: “Life is like a bubble on water; it is not permanent, I don’t believe in religious differences. The blood of all human beings is red. I don’t see whether it is a temple, mosque or church – wherever there is a traffic jam I wear my jacket and clear the traffic. Where there is traffic, you will find me.”.
And for that matter pedestrians and motorists can’t miss seeing Abdul handling traffic at the busy intersections on MG Road, Near Clock Tower, Hampankatta, Kodialbail- and pools in whenever there are huge religious events held in Mangaluru. And at present, he is assigned to do his job near Gokarnanatheshwara Temple in Alake, where huge traffic and commuters are seen during the Mangaluru Dasara. He also helps out during Ramadan time, where huge traffic is seen during Iftar party and so on. Recently he says, “I fixed a broken barricade damaged by a motorist near Hampankatta, and after I fixed it and replaced it back in its original place, my efforts were uploaded in social media, through a picture taken by a passerby, which made me a ‘Hero’?”
And he also said, “With Diwali just around the corner, the city’s busy shopping areas are filled with festival shoppers from all parts thronging them and police are finding it difficult to manage the large crowd and traffic. And to add to the woes, hawkers too will start occupying the major roads with their goods. While the shopping public is ready to put up with the unruly traffic, tourists visiting the temple are the ones who are put to much inconvenience. I always take care of such situations, which I have done in the past, and come Diwali you’ll see me at the busy temple areas in the city”.
Abdul also mentioned that under his able supervision, he controls the crowd that visits the Fauzi Jumma Masjid (Mansoor Azad), in the Pandeshwar Police Lane-Mangaluru which is adjacent to a Hindu temple-where on Fridays, devotees from both the communities throng the mosque and Temple- and he sees that no untoward incident takes place, nor any traffic snarls or commotion. Why?- because Abdul Rauf is a “Peace Maker”! While signing off, after a long chat with Team Mangalorean (Yours Truly), he was proud to say that he will be felicitated very soon in a Gulf country by some of his admirers, and if that happens, it will be his 62nd Award/Felicitation. But Abdul is still aiming for the prestigious “Karnataka Rajyotsava Award 2017”..for which he needs your support.
May God bless Abdul Rauf for the good work that he is doing, and Team Mangalorean would like to extend our full support and best wishes by saying, “Abdul Sir, Keep up the good work that you are entrusted with, and may Almighty Allah bless you abundantly, and give you and your family good health and prosperity. Mangaluru needs Hero’s like you, and we are proud of you and your contribution to the Smart City-Mangaluru”.