January 2014 by Life Positive Gunjan Sarmah: An exemplary soul Even though reading the daily newspaper usually engenders cynicism and disquiet, there occasionally comes a snippet which throws shining light on the heights of human nobility. One such is the case of Gunjan Sarmah, a 14-year-old Assamese school girl who displayed an extraordinary capacity for sacrifice and bravery when her school van containing 10 other children was hijacked by a petty criminal called Biman Bora on December 4, 2013. The students from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Nazira, were travelling to Simaluguri, when Biman hijacked the school van. Looking for a hostage, he caught a small girl who began to cry. Unhesitatingly, Gunjan offered to take the place of the little girl. The ruffian took her by the hand, and ran towards the forest. “We crossed a river, and walked through the forest for some time and stopped at one place. It was pitch dark and I couldn’t see a thing. I didn’t eat anything all night. In the morning, I couldn’t see him, so I ran until I reached a village.” She reached the house of a tea garden worker on the border of Assam and Nagaland after spending 14 hours inside the forest. “The villagers called up the police, and I was brought home,” she later reported. That, however, was not the end of her heroism. When the police caught Biman Bora, a car lifter and a petty criminal from Bokakhat in Golaghat district, she appealed to the police to release him so that he could reform. Gunjan said, “What he did was wrong, but I have realised he is not a bad soul because he did not do anything to me while I was in his captivity. I think he should be set free so that he can reform.” The kidnapper later admitted that he had picked up a fight in a local bar, and had tried to hijack the van in order to hitch a ride to safety. What rigorous punitive measures may fail to achieve, it is entirely possible that this child’s goodness may bring about – the transformation of someone who had lost his path. We have heard of great souls like the Buddha and Jesus doing it, but when a little girl of 14 is seen to do it, perhaps we can conclude that the New Age is upon us!
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