Bipin Ganatra- veteran volunteer firefighter
He isn’t a professional fireman but has successfully chased fires for over 40 years all over- presenting you, Bipin Ganatra. Bipin Ganatra was born in 1957, is an electrician in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He is also an unofficial volunteer firefighter. When Bipin was only 12 years old, he lost his brother Narendra to a fire accident which occurred when a spark fell on fuel that his brother was handling while working on a motorcycle. After battling for almost a month, he succumbed to his injuries. Since then Bipin has helped several lives in an inferno. He help through fire, rescuing lives and clearing up the debris.
Bipin belongs to Gujrat, but is offering his fire services in Kolkata- a city with firefighting force of 1,258 firemen battled some 2,000 fires in 2014 and 1,600 fires in 2015. Ganatra an electrician by profession with meagre salary has been risking his life from decades to help in fire accidents. He is not trained but due his experience and constant services he has raised a level of a professional firefighter. So the force has even given him a steel volunteer card and a khaki uniform. One of his most remembered incident was when he helped a pregnant women trapped on the fifth floor of a burning building. He convinced her down and miraculously saved her life.
Even today at the age of more than 60, he sleeps with his boots and cap beside his bed so whenever in need he can get on to the work. Mr. Ganatra has attended more than 100 fires over four decades. He was featured in Unsung Indians, a BBC series on people working to improve the lives of others.
“He’s a very spirited and brave man. For someone who has no formal knowledge of fire-fighting, he does a very good job. He is like a guide to our firemen, and he uses our equipment. He works almost like a professional now,” a senior fire service official told the BBC News.
Ganatra was awarded with the Padma Shri in 2017 for his selfless services during several infernos and other disasters.
This old man is an inspiration for all of us that even without the money to meet his basic needs, he helps several people in need by risking his own life. A 63 years old man is still more brave and courageous than many youngsters today. We should be inspired by him and should learn the value of helping others.