All of 11 years, Uttam Tanti showed exemplary courage in saving a woman and her child from drowning in a river in Assam’s Sonitpur district. Uttam risked his life and single-handedly pulled out the woman and her child who were struggling in the water.
Hailing his presence of mind and courage, the Sonitpur District Administration has decided to recommend Uttam’s name for the National Bravery Award for children.
On July 7th, 2019, Class 5 student Uttam spotted the woman Anjali Tanti crossing the Digholjuli river along with her two minor children – Dipta Tanti and Diya Tanti. While trying to cross the river in spate on foot, Anjali lost her balance and along with 18-month-old Dipta and three-year-old Diya fell into the river.
When Anjali raised an alarm and screamed for help, Uttam dived into the river without giving a second thought. He succeeded in rescuing Anjali and Diya but failed to rescue Dipta. The Digholjuli river flows between the 2 No. Dhankhana village under Missamari Police Station in Sonitpur.
Locals who subsequently assembled along the river bank also tried to rescue Dipta but in vain. On July 9th, 2019, a team of SDRF finally managed to retrieve the body of Dipta.
“I was trying to cross the river and was holding Dipta in my arms and Diya by her hand. Since it was raining heavily, I was also carrying an umbrella. There was also a lunch box in my hand. Suddenly, I lost balance and fell into the river with my children. Uttam came from nowhere and saved the two of us,” said Anjali as her eyes welled with tears.
Unaware of the National Bravery Award for children, Uttam said he is happy for being able to save two lives but he has one regret. “Though the current was very strong, I was not scared. I am happy that I could save two lives. But I would have been happier if I could have saved three of them,” he said while speaking to TIME8.
He added, “I help my family in our paddy field during holidays. I would again dive into the river to save someone’s life. I am not afraid of drowning or current.”
Uttam’s feat has earned him accolades not only from the district authorities but also from the students’ bodies, civic organizations and local people.
As torrential rains continue to lash parts of Assam, the Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level in many areas. Till now, over 62,000 people across eight districts got affected in the first wave of the flood in Assam.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took to Twitter to laud Uttam for his act of bravery. “No words would be enough for the courageous act done by 11-year-old Uttam Tati of Missamari, Sonitpur. He saved the life of a woman and her child who fell into a river. Hats off to his bravery” tweeted Sonowal.