Life overcomes all odds: grandfather

Born a day after his parents and family members escaped the violence at Domsaipara village in Chirang district of Assam last month and sought refuge in the nearby Bongaigaon district, the 33-day-old boy is called Shibir (camp).

His parents had plans to name him Rakibul but they deferred to the wish of the 3,000 inmates who were overjoyed with the child’s birth amid such adversity.

“We accepted the name as being born in a camp was his destiny,” said Zafar Ali, the grandfather.

It was late in the evening when the entire family including the child’s mother Rahima Khatun, who was in a state of advanced pregnancy, fled home. “We took shelter in the nearby village and the next morning trudged our way to the refugee camp,” he recalled.

Mr. Ali, a small shopkeeper, said when he left his village, he was only concerned about the health of his daughter-in-law and wanted her to reach a safe place.

“I do not know what the child will grow up to be but his birth has reinforced our belief that life triumphs over all obstacles,” he said. 

 Four other children have been born in the camp over the past one month.

 Noor Haque was born a day after Shibir. His mother Nabiran Khatun, who escaped violence in similar conditions, questions the lack of medical facilities.

She said the child has rashes all over his body because of the heat but she has no option but to keep the child under a tent.

 Three other children born at the camp are yet to be named.

 Their mothers say they are not going to give any name to their children which reminds them of the ordeal they had to undergo to escape the violence and arrive at the camp.

They hope to return home and start life afresh.

 About 10 km from the camp at Goraimari, at a school-turned refugee camp at Bijni in Chirang district a 25-day-old girl has not been as lucky.

Her mother, Mariam, died hours after she was born. A resident of Amragudi village in the same district, Mariam, with her husband Bakar Ali, took shelter in the open fields before they arrived at the camp.

 “She walked all the distance to the camp. She fell down several times on her way, but managed to reach the destination. After two days, she delivered the baby and died,” said Abida Begum, a refugee.

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