Raipur: Struggle is not a new thing for 11-year-old Rahul Sahu, who kept up his survival instinct for five days while remaining stuck in a borewell at a village in Chhattisgarh before he was rescued.
Despite being mentally challenged, the child always displayed a strong fighting spirit and learned bicycle riding, swimming and even to play dhol-tabla (musical instruments), his father Ram Kumar Sahu told PTI.
”It was his will power that helped him survive inside the borewell for five days,” he said, after the boy was rescued following marathon efforts late Tuesday night. There was a snake and scorpions inside the borewell, which the rescuers were worried about, but it did not scare the child, an NDRF official said.
The rescuers dug a parallel pit and created a tunnel to reach the child and pulled him out at 11.55 pm on Tuesday.
The boy was rushed to a hospital and his condition is stable, a district administration official said.
On Wednesday morning, the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted a picture of Rahul lying on the hospital bed and having food, along with the comment: “Brave Rahul of Janjgir has woken up. He also had breakfast. He has a little fever and the rest is fine.” There were numerous challenges in the rescue operation, but what remained unchallenged was the dedication of rescuers and the child’s surviving spirit.
The otherwise sleepy Pihrid village in Chhattisgarh’s Janjgir-Champa district, located around 200 km from the state capital Raipur, suddenly came into limelight and hogged headlines in the country and abroad last Friday when Rahul slipped into an unused 80-feet deep borewell in the backyard of his house, and got stuck 69-feet beneath the surface.
Despite facing several challenges, neither the rescuers nor Rahul gave up the fighting spirit for almost five days. He was rescued by a joint team of over 500 personnel from multiple agencies, after an over 100-hour-long operation on Tuesday night.
The boy has been admitted to a hospital in neighbouring Bilaspur district, where he is accompanied by his mother and a couple of other family members.
Heaving a sigh of relief after Rahul was rescued, his father Ram Kumar Sahu said, “My son is a little weak mentally and could not communicate properly. He speaks ‘maa’ ‘papa’, but conveys through gestures when he requires food and money.” ”But, he performs all other activities like normal children. He pedals a bicycle, swims in the river and plays all games. He even helps me in the farm work,” he said.
Earlier, Rahul was admitted to a school in the village, but he had to leave it after the teachers asked his father to send him to a school for special children.
His father, who runs a small sound system and tent business in the village, has two sons, Rahul being the elder one.
“Rahul has keen interest in devotional music since he was four-five years old. Whenever he would hear a ‘bhajan’ or ‘kirtan’ held in the village, he would run to that place and sit till the end of the programme,” his father said. He also claimed that Rahul plays tabla as good as professional musicians, and hence, villagers fondly call him the ”tabla master”.
Ram Kumar also bought a dhol and tabla for him and he spends a lot of time at home with the instruments, he added.
“He is a very strong child and one can never realise by seeing him that he cannot speak properly.” Ram Kumar said.
The man further said he had dug the borewell in the backyard of his house last month to irrigate his vegetable garden and farm, when Rahul was at his paternal aunt’s home in another village. He returned home last Wednesday.
When the borewell did not yield much water, it was left abandoned with an iron sheet placed on its mouth to cover it.
On Friday, Ram Kumar was out of the house and Rahul’s mother, Geeta Sahu, was busy with her stitching work, when the child went there while playing.
But, no one saw how Rahul fell into the borewell where an iron sheet was placed.
After not seeing him for a long, his mother launched a search. She later heard his cries and realised that he had fallen into the borewell.