I saw Elachi’r Ma several days ago. She was in TV news. She probably will be in late twenties or early thirties. She was wearing what all Bangladeshi poor women wear. A plain grey/green Sari with Black Par and a Nakful. She was looking exceedingly fresh, most likely she just had bath before talking to TV crew.
And the poor people of Bangladesh, My God, are very camera smart. They will talk clearly and in an articulate manner without any shyness, nervousness or hesitation.
The TV crew wanted to talk to Elachi’r Ma because only half an hour before arrival of the TV crew, Elachi’r Ma buried the decomposed body of her six year old daughter. Her daughter is one of those killed in Cyclone Sidr.
Let me roughly translate from my recollection how Elachi’r Ma explained the event.
” When the flood came, I tied her with a Gamchha to a tree and I was also holding her. Still I could not keep her. The flood took her away. I looked for her last seven days. Everywhere they find a new body floating in the canal, I must go there to see whether that is my daughter or not. So when I heard another body was floating today, I went there and found that that was indeed my daughter. I cried out and fell down(Chikkur dia poira gesi). Then I asked all people around to help me with the body. But nobody will help me. So what can I do? I caried my daughter in my lap and brought her home.”
Elachi’r Ma was in a hurry as she was rushing to a nearby relief distribution site. Just a shortwhile ago she took the decomped, swollen double in size, rotting, partly fish eaten body of her daughter, walked nearly a mile to home and arranged her burial. She didn’t have much time to mourn, feel bad or sorry about. She probably had more daunting task ahead of her to protect the rest of her family from starvation.
Dear fellow Bangladesh lovers around the globe, I wanted to do something for Elachi’r Ma. Whatever donation we have raised and sent so far have either gone to relief operations of the government or international/non-governmental bodies.There will never be any compensation for Elachi’s Ma or thousands of others who have lost their near and dear ones in cyclone Sidr. But at least a token compensation for the families of those who died is the social, religious and moral obligation of the rest of the global nation.
Non resident Bangladeshis have taken up a unique project in Bangladesh context. The plan is to set up a 9/11 style compensation fund for the families and disburse at least $100 per victims family.
The ordeal Elachi’r ma went though is incomprehendible and incompensatable. Still we have to do something for them. We owe her at least a minimum expression of sympathy.
Please be part of United Bangladesh Appeal. Join us, promise and donate.