Teenage girl is Bihar’s newest bravery ‘icon’

January 27th, 2009 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 27 (IANS) Fifteen-year-old Farzana Begum, who saved five people from drowning in a flood in Bihar in 2007, had not heard of the English term ‘icon’ till Chief Minister Nitish Kumar used it to describe her.Clad in a simple salwar kameej and a sweater, Farzana glowed as she was feted at the official function held here Monday to mark the 60th Republic Day.

Nitish Kumar said the brave girl who risked her own life to save a woman, an obese man and three children from drowning in the swollen waters of the Panar river in Purnea district was “an icon for Bihar’s youth”.

“Mujhe nahi pata ki icon ka kya matlab hota hai par logon ne bola ki main unki prerna ban gayi hoon (I didn’t know what icon means but I was told that I am an inspiration for others),” Farzana told IANS.

Bihar Governor R.L. Bhatia gave Farzana a gallantry award on the occasion of Republic Day. She was also presented with a cheque for Rs.45,000 from the state government.

“It is god’s grace that I have been given such honour and respect,” Farzana said.

The teenager belongs to an impoverished family. Her father, Jamil Ahmad, is a landless labourer.

In appreciation of Farzana’s brave act, the state government had ordered that she be allowed to study free of cost. She is currently enrolled in the residential Kasturba Gandhi School at Baisi in Purnea district.

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