Rajyotsava Awardee Charmadi Hasanabba to Operate Free Ambulance Service in Charmadi
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 a “One Man Ambulance”.
A few years ago I met this great man when we stopped at his restaurant for a coffee, on our way to the Mysuru Dasara celebrations and when I learned a lot about this person from the taxi driver, I decided to have an exclusive interview with U Hasanabba. and it was published in Mangalorean.com. When asked how is he always inclined to help 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 return to my house a few days later with fruits and other goodies, as a gesture of goodwill. This touched me a lot, and 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 the 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. Hasanabba who runs “Hotel Charmadi” has become an oasis for hungry travellers and anybody who meets with an accident on this treacherous highway. During the last three decades, social worker Hasanabba has helped nearly 2000 plus 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-life 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 gotten 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”.
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. During an accident, if the victim is too badly hurt to walk, Hasanabba uses his dhoti to lift the patient to his car. ever 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 labourers were used in clearing the wreckage- other than that he never demands any money for his service. Not only Hasanabba is proud of himself for the social work he does, but even his three sons feel prouder.
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; Mohammed Azveer, who did his civil engineering studies in Bengaluru, and Ayaz Afreed, who completed college 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 appreciation from many organizations, including the District level Rajyotsava Award; Belthangady Taluk level Rajyotsava Award; Felicitated with the title of Beary of the Year by the Bearys Welfare Association, Bangalore; among many. And recently, Charmadi Hasanabba, who was honoured with the Kannada Rajyotsava award early this month by the state government, for his efforts in saving numerous accident victims on the Charmadi Ghat, intends to use the award money to procure an ambulance.
The objective is to offer free service to residents living within a 50km radius of Charmadi. The award prize amounts to Rs 5 lakh, and given that the cost of an ambulance is approximately Rs 8 lakh, Hasanabba’s family plans to secure a loan to cover the remaining amount. To oversee the management of the ambulance, a trust will be established, said Hasanabba during a felicitation event by the Mangalore Press Club on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, He said that his three sons would take responsibility for repaying the loan. He expressed that the ambulance would be easily accessible through a phone call, and would be operational soon. Hasanabba said it is important to prioritise efforts to rescue individuals involved in accidents rather than making videos or capturing photos of the victims. “My primary focus is on saving the lives of those who have been in accidents, and that brings me the utmost satisfaction. I don’t keep track of the number of people I have rescued. My role is simply to assist. When people return to express their gratitude to me, it is the greatest form of recognition,” he said, adding that the number of accidents has significantly decreased with the widening of the Charmadi Ghat road.
Speaking further, Hasanabba said besides craving money and social status, one should possess humanity to serve society. One should inculcate the habit of helping accident victims. He said everyone should develop the religion of humanity and advised people to settle non-fatal accident disputes among themselves instead of approaching the police. “It consumes time and money,” he said. Stating that the first priority in any accident is to arrange treatment of the victims, Hasanabba advised people not to waste time by recording videos or engaging in arguments or fighting with people involved in accidents. Hasanabba’s priority is to save the life of accident victims and he does not expect any recognition for such acts. He does not remember how many people he helped all these days, he said, adding he feels contended when those saved by him return and thank him. That itself is the biggest recognition, he said.
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 for 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 quickly 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.