Barmer (Rajasthan): The flash floods in Barmer have left the heart of the Thar desert devastated, but even as the flood fury swirled around Malwa village on the Indo-Pak border, a Madrasa teacher did something that a few could have imagined doing.
Shaukat risked his life to save 70 children at the Madrasa but ironically he couldn't save his own family.
Shaukat has now resigned himself to fate however. " Whatever has happened is Allah's wish," says he.
Nonetheless, this doesn't seem a convincing enough reason for watching your entire family being swept away in the Rajasthan floods, especially when the 25 year old cleric saved the lives of many children in the Madrasa he teaches at.
But Shaukat has no regrets. "I believe it was my duty to save them," he says.
As the flood waters started rising in Malwa, Shaukat took the children to the roof of the village mosque. They stayed there for 26 hours, until the Army airlifted them. For the people of Malwa, Shaukat is a saviour.
Says Shaukat's student Abdul Ali, "We thank him for saving us though unfortunatey it had to come at the cost of him losing his family."
As Malwa mourns the loss of 39 lives in the flood, Shaukat's story symbolises that it hope still floats and that there is a spirit of survival and sacrifice in the people.