“Nobody looked after me. Everybody left me. So, I know the value of caring for others and saving lives,” says Jahanara Begum, who saved her two chickens, leaving aside all other belongings she had, when the fire broke out in a Mirpur slum yesterday.
Jahanara Begum, 60, was no weak soul to easily surrender to life’s struggle. When her husband, Altaf Hosen, died and her only son left her alone, she continued her struggle for existence all alone.
She used to do whatever odd jobs she could find at Pallabi bazaar adjacent to Ilias Mollah Slum that caught fire yesterday. But soon age took hold and she was no longer able to work. She had no other option but to beg for her livelihood.
Even as a beggar when her slum caught fire, the first thing that came to her mind was to save her two chickens leaving behind any valuables she might have had.
When the fire broke out, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take much of my stuff out. So, the first thought that came to my mind was to save my chickens, Jahanara told The Daily Star today.
She got the chickens from a person while begging at cantonment area in Dhaka two months ago, she said.
Back then, her chickens were little chicks. She could have sold those chicks but didn’t and kept them as pets.
Now, those little chicks have grown up and Jahanar feels very happy to be able to save their lives.
It is no matter of sorrow for her that she lost all her belongings in the fire. She is happy that her chickens are alive and are with her, she added.
The fire broke out at Elias Mollah Slum of the capital's Mirpur yesterday around 3:00am. Around 1,000 shanties were completely gutted in the devastating fire, leaving thousands of slum dwellers homeless.