“It is a feeling of great pride to study by standing on your own legs. The happiness one gets by fulfilling the costs of education by working is immense. People who have lived through such circumstances would understand that. But the position of Hanan, who lives in Kochi, is above all that. Hanan is not just working to support herself but also her family. I feel proud when I understand her circumstances. Hanan, you must walk ahead with courage. Do not lose the self-confidence you used to face difficult situations. I am with you. Kerala must support her.”
These were Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s words of praise and encouragement for 21-year-old Hanan Hamid, a third-year chemistry student of a private college in Idukki whose life-story was captured in a local edition of a prominent Malayalam newspaper.
Mathrubhumi, one of the two largest-selling newspapers in the state, had reported on Wednesday how Hanan, who belongs to a fractured family, wades through challenging circumstances in life to fund her education and basic expenses. Hanan, according to the newspaper, wakes up early in the morning to go to a wholesale market to buy fish post which she proceeds to a city market to stock the produce. She then reaches home, gets ready for college, 60 kms away in neighbouring Idukki. After a full day of classes, Hanan returns to the market in Kochi to sell the fish she bought in the morning before returning home. She also told the media that she has in the past done a variety of jobs including acting for small roles in films and working in event management. Her father reportedly suffers from alcohol abuse and her mother from depression.
As much as Hanan’s story was received with great support on social media platforms, there was an equal wave of rage and anguish among people due to purported reports that her story was fabricated as part of a movie promotion. This outrage found expression in the form of abuse and threats on the 21-year-old’s Facebook account. However, Hanan has clarified multiple times that such allegations are baseless. Late Thursday evening, she even broke down before the media pleading that she does not require anyone’s help and that she be allowed to lead her life without any hassles.
Several politicians, film actors and directors have announced their support for Hanan.
The Chief Minister reminded people that they must take everything they read on social media with a pinch of salt as such reports are like a ‘double-edged sword”. “There is a habit to believe such reports without understanding the truth. This will only lead the society to disasters in the future,” he said in a Facebook post.
The Chief Minister Office has also directed Kerala police to take action against those who posted insulting comments against the girl on social media and asked the district collector to provide protection to Hanan.
Meanwhile, Nooruddin Sheikh, a resident of Wayanad, has been taken into custody by the Kochi city police for making obscene comments at Hanan Hamid through a Facebook Live video.