Sahjahan Ali Ahmed, Winner-Journal Category, September 2018

Sahjahan Ali Ahmed, Winner-Journal Category, September 2018

Sahjahan Ali Ahmed, Winner-Journal Category, September 2018


The write that made Sahjahan Ali Ahmed win the Bold Gold Pen The Value Of Education By Sahjahan Ali Ahmed On his way to school Salman saw Kamal flying a kite. "Won't you go to school today , Kamal ?" he asked . " No," replied Kamal, " Yesterday the teacher scolded me very badly  for I was late for school. You know Salman , it all happened because I don't have a watch. I told my father to buy me a watch . I won't go to school until my watch is bought '" "But I must go ." said Salman "Can't you wait for me , your best friend , just for a few days ? Just till my watch is bought ? insisted Kamal . For a moment Salman also thought of not going to school to please his friend. But a second thought compelled him to change his decision . If he didn't go to school that day , he would miss his lesson on Arithmetic which he found very tough . Besides , the annual examination was also knocking at the door and if he couldn't pass , his father wouldn't be able to bear the expenses of his education again for the same class. He might even be send to someone's house as a bonded labourer . " My father will beat me if he sees me at home after returning from field " said Salman and he hurried off to school alone. Suddenly the thread of salman's kite got torn and he started to run behind his kite towards a distant jungle to catch it. Salman and Kamal were buddies. Both of them were reading in class IV. They were neighbours living in a beautiful village on the bank of the river Brahmaputra. Kamal's father was a very rich man. He had many acres of land. He had two wives and many children  He believed in muscle power rather than education. He hardly found time to take care of his children. Salman on the other hand, belonged to a very poor family. His father had a great  thirst for education. Salman's grandfather died when his father was only a child. Moreover major portion of their landed property was eroded by the migthy river Brahmaputra. Now the only dream of his father was to make him a man, a really educated man. Kamal did not go to school for a few days . One afternoon Salman saw Kamal fishing in the river with a fishing hook. He had a very beautiful watch in his wrist. 'Wow ! how beautiful your watch is !' Salman exclaimed. 'What's the price'. "Over a thousand rupees, my father said' replied Kamal . 'What's the time? asked Salman. " That's what I have to learn. I got it only yesterday. Won't you help me to read time on a watch ? asked Kamal giving reason for his inability for reading time in a watch. " Oh, it's simple . See these three hands . The smallest one is hour hand and the one you see running is the second hand and the other is the minute hand . One hour equals sixty minutes , sixty seconds equal one minutes . That's all ." explained Salman. " But how do you know that ?" asked Kamal. "Our Maths teacher taught us the other day. You're absent that day." informed Salman . " Had I gone to school that day , I'd have learnt better than you " boasted Kamal ,  " " I'll go to school tomorrow . Nobody has seen my new watch ." he added. Their conversation continued . Kamal caught several small fish . It was getting dark . " I have to prepare my lesson. I must leave now ." said Salman and the two left for home . Kamal went to school the following day. All his classmates were spellbound to see his costly wrist watch . They touched it , felt it and yearned to have one . " Now, a pair of goggles on your eyes will make you look like a cinema hero ." complimented one one his mates . Kamal at once thought of having a pair of sunglasses. Suddenly the teacher entered the classroom and everyone went to their seats . The students' had to recite a poem by heart that day . Most of the students recited well , but when it was Kamal's turn , he failed to utter the very first line . He stood there holding the bench trying to give reason that he was absent last few days , so didn't know about it. Instead of scolding him , the teacher affectionately explained , " Education is the greatest treasery of knowledge on the earth . Proper education can help even a pauper to become a king . But lack of it ,can  turn a king to beggar . Fire can't burnt it , a river can't erode it . Neither a thief , your friends nor brothers can snatch it away from you . Remember." Then the teacher made Kamal promise to learn his lesson next time . But a look of displeasure on his face showed his disagreement to the teacher's opinion on education . The next day Kamal came to school wearing a pair of new sunglasses.He looked very handsome indeed. Unfortunately that day too , he didn't prepare his lesson and got scolded from the teacher. Kamal didn't go to school next few days .One Sunday Salman went to enquire about him . Kamal was feeding fish to a bird that he had captured . A servant was helping him . " Hello Kamal, what are you doing?" asked Salman. " Playing with this bird ", he replied,  "Caught it just yesterday. Will you go for hunting bird this afternoon ? he asked. " My father says birds are our friends. Killing them is a crime and sin too." replied Salman rejecting his offer . " But they destroy our crops and some even eat fish of our pond. So father told me to kill them " opined Kamal .  "Tomorrow  I will try to catch some more birds ."  he added. " But won't you go to school?" asked Salman. Giving some lame excuses he went on saying ," The other day I had a very bad pain on my legs while coming back from school on foot . It's too far to go to school on foot.  I asked my father to buy a bicycle for me . I won't go to school until my bicycle is bought." They talked for a long time and finally Salman left for home. Kamal was absent from school for a whole week. Unexpectedly one day he arrived school riding on a brand new bicycle . All his friends were wonderstruck to see his new bicycle . But that day too Kamal got scolded badly from the headmaster for being consecutively absent for many days from the class. As time passed by , Kamal became more interested in luxurious things than his studies . He always sought lame excuses to stay away from school. The annual examination came . He appeared in the examination , but cut a sorry figure . He was promoted with grace marks. Salman on the other hand passed with flying colours. After passing out of primary school , both of them got admitted in a Highschool situated a few kilometers away from their village . Kamal became more irresponsible day by day .He often missed school. Sometimes , instead of going to school , he would go to watch movies and would return home along with the other boys when they would return from school. " Why do you miss school so often?" one day Salman asked him. " My father says he earns more than our headmaster does . He isn't educated .I don't think education is necessary for becoming a successful  rich man in life ." replied Kamal flatly. "But my father says it's all proper education that you need in life to be a respectable man " argued Salman. "That sounds good , but totally impractical" reiterated Kamal. Salmam didn't argue with him any more ,but kept distance from him from that day. With the passes of time , Kamal became totally indifferent to his studies . He passed a few examinations by bribing his friends to tell him the answers  or by using unfair means. But he failed miserably in the final Board Examination. On the other hand Salman devoted more time  to his studies . He belonged to a poor family . So to meet the expenses of his education , sometimes he would even catch fish from the nearby river and  sell them in market . His devotion to studies yielded him due result. He passed the Board Examination with highest marks in English and Science. Everyone was happy with him . His father sent him to town for higher studies and sold almost all his properties to meet the expenses of his studies . In the course of time Salman became Dr. Salman. In the meantime , the mighty Brahmaputra eroded their whole native village gradually. The river swallowed all the Mosques , Temples , Churches , Educational Institutions and all other age old monuments. All the neighbors , friends and relatives of Salman were forced to leave their native village to find settlement somewhere else. Dr. Salman too bought a plot of land in a town and built a beautiful multi-storied building and settled their with his parents. He got married too. His connection with the people of his native village almost segregated as the village itself existed no more. Time passed by like a swift arrow . Now Dr. Salman , a middle aged man , earned name and fame as a doctor. One evening he went to market on foot as his car driver was ill that day . He bought some household articles . Suddenly the weather turned bad . An ominous silence marked the approach of an impending storm . He was getting late .So he hired a rickshaw and hurried for home. By the time he reached home it was completely dark .There was no electricity. He got off the rickshaw and offered the fare to the rickshaw puller .But instead of taking the fare he stood there starring  at the ground. In the flash of lightning Dr. Sakman noticed drops of tears rolling down both the cheeks  of the rickshaw puller. A strong storm had already started . Heavy rainfall was to follow. Dr. Salman moved forward and sympathetically asked him what the matter was .The rickshaw puller suddenly burst into tears and remorsefully uttered , " I am Kamal , your childhood frie...." he couldn't complete the sentence for something choked his throat. Dr. Salman couldn't believe his ears. A flood of memories suddenly shook him violently . He shuddered . Was it the same Kamal , his childhood buddy? Was it the same Kamal the most handsome coxcomb who loved luxury and on whom a few servants always attended ? Dr. Salman lost words to express his feelings . He didn't know how to react. He just hugged him as if a mother had got her lost child after many years . He began to drag Kamal inside his drawing room. In the dim light of candle , Kamal saw the spacious cosy drawing room decorated with colourful bouquets to welcome visitors . He hesitated to touch the colourful carpets with his bare dirty feet . But Dr. Salman pushed him to sit on the soft sofa . Salman marked that Kamal had become frail. His beard was not shaven for weeks . His clothes were torn and untidy. He felt extreme pity for Kamal. Offering him tea , Dr. Salman asked him what the matter was and how he came to be a rickshaw puller . The wind was still howling outside . Jamal found no words to express his grief and misfortune .After a long pause he began to narrate how all their fields including home was  swallowed by the river and how he had to sell the small share of his parental property  to make both the ends meet.He also informed that  he had been staying on a deserted embankment of a river with his children and sick wife . He became emotional and began to sob . Then rubbing tears said, " My wife is ill. There is nothing to eat at home for the children . So out of dire necessity  I came to this town yesterday . You're right Salman , you're right . Had I not neglected my studies in my childhood , I'd not have been a rickshaw puller today . It's education that makes all the difference."  He now began to sob loudly . Salman tried to console him. By that time the storm had ceased .Suddenly the electricity supply was also restored . Both the friends talked for some more times . Finally Kamal decided to leave. Dr. Salman gave him some money to buy something for his children. Kamal took the money hesitatingly and came out . He seemed to have understood the value of education at last. ©️Sahjahan Ali Ahmed 2018

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Sahjahan Ali Ahmed