27 September, 2020

The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow

Somnath Saha, 19, student/activist: Hero for serving the people in spite of his own trauma, with his parents and sister

T. Narayan
The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow
Every morning, minutes after the sun has climbed over the horizon, Somnath Saha is out on the cracked roads of Hut Bay on the island of Little Andaman pushing the all-terrain bike loaned to him, on a mission. His aim is to find children orphaned by last year's tsunami. Back home at the Padak intermediate shelter, Somnath has now been officially labelled as "tsunami-affected". Respectful and demure, there is little that Somnath says at first meetings.

Hours later, he will probably be busy getting a dozen women together for a self-help group, all house-wives. Post-tsunami, they have now come out as bread-winners for their fractured families. And Somnath has emerged as one who will help them find a new life. "The group," says Somnath, "will train as tailors, using sewing machines provided by NGOs. After they have been trained, they will begin work and re-establish themselves." Soon housewives such as Shefali Roy and Jharna Dhali were drafted into a group of 12 women to form the first self-help group.

In his trademark jeans and shirt and...


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