November 8, 2014 2:35:16 am
Waseem Raja (30) was a hero during the Jammu and Kashmir floods. He saved hundreds of families by helping them evacuate their homes. Now, the struggling musician and ice-cream vendor has hit a jackpot, winning Rs 25 lakh on Kaun Bangea Crorepati.
Raja, a resident of Barbarshah neighbourhood, was selected by Sony Television for a KBC’s Hoslaybaaz (courageous) segment, a special show for people who have displayed exemplary courage.
It began on September 6, when Raja was playing a show with his band. One of his band members got a call telling him that water had started entering his house. The band immediately rushed to the house in Shaheedgunj, where they rescued his family.
At 3.30 am on the same night, they heard more sad news. This time that another band member had been electrocuted. The band went to the hospital where they spent the night.
A day later the city was flooded.
As Raja rushed to Shaheedgunj with his friends and local police officers to help with rescue operations, he received a call from his family informing him that water had entered his house. He rushed home, rescued his family and relocated them to a nearby mosque. He then went back to join the rescue operations.
By September 12, Raja had rescued hundreds of families. “It was a tough job. Even after we rescued trapped people, we helped people take out belongings from their houses,” he said.
After Raja’s efforts were lauded in local newspapers, he received a call from Sony Television in Mumbai. “I was not expecting the call,” he said. “They asked me about how I saved people during the flood.”
A crew from Sony arrived in Srinagar soon after to talk to people about Raja’s effort. “When our crew visited the Valley, we heard that Raja rescued more than 500 people,” an official from Sony Television said.
Raja comes from a poor family. They live in a shed on the banks of the Dal Lake. He couldn’t continue his education after Class IX as the financial situation at his home “worsened”.
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