Saeeda Khatoon: Mother Who Lost Her Only Son In Baldia Factory Fire
It was 1:30 pm, my elder son was about to come home from school. He hardly finishes his lunch, so he is always very hungry on coming home. It is hard for him to wait for food then. I was making “bal wala paratha” for him, like a typical mother. When I heard a “knock’ on the kitchen door, I rushed to the door to welcome him BUT It wasn’t my son. It was Saeeda Khatoon’s 18-year-old son.
Now you must be thinking, who is Saeeda Khatoon? And what am I supposed to do with her son?
Saeeda Khatoon lost her 18-year-old son in the unfortunate fire incident of Baldia Factory, that resulted in 260 laborers getting burnt alive. Since 2012 Saeeda is struggling to get justice for the fateful laborers. Saeeda has the picture of her only son Ayan in her purse. During her conversation with The News, she pulled out the picture of her son and said, “He used to come banging on the door, asking, ‘What have you cooked, mother? I am very hungry, please make Roti fast’. He hated waiting,” she further said, “For a long time, I did not cook food. I couldn’t. The plate he ate from, the glass he drank from, everything reminds me of him.”
Every one of us who has “heart” can never forget that incident. The news said that the temperature in the basement of the factory was above hundred degrees Celsius. I do not have any source to quote, but I heard in news right after the incident that the temperature was around 1800 degree Celsius because of heavy chemicals. Was it hell? And what must have happened to the people who were present in the basement. Maybe my imagination is not allowing me to think ahead.
“Pain” is a small word, especially for a mother who knows that Lakht-e-jigar had such a painful death. I am a very practical and non sentimental kind of mother, but if my son touches a hot wok, I feel a pinch in my heart, a serious pinch with no exaggeration. I have seen mothers who lose their children go into deep depression. But what kind of mother is Saeeda Khatoon? She lost her only child to such a torturous death, and still she is struggling to save the life of others. She is struggling to ensure labour rights.
She has become the voice of the families of 260 victims. With her untiring efforts, KIK, the German company who used to buy major share of Baldia Factory production, came to negotiation for compensation for ignoring the workers’ safety in the factory.
The brave lady is still fighting for justice. I pray from the core of my heart that she gets justice before her heart stops beating. I am sure she will, because, “Aasmaan itna dour b nahi, aur Khuda itna beniyaaz b nahi”.