Amidst the humanitarian crisis due to war between Russia and Ukraines, a few stories of human bond and friendship are also emerging and generating hope. One such story is of the friendship between classmates Muhammad Faisal of Hapur and Kamal Singh Rajput of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Before the Russians attacked Ukraine, Faisal had an opportunity to return to India, but he choose to miss his flight in order to to be with his friend and classmate Kamal. Both of them were last resting in a refugee camp in Romania and waiting to board the flight home.
Kamal and Faisal are first-year MBBS students at the Frankivsk National Medical University in Ivanovo, Ukraine.
Muhammad Faisal had booked his flight to India for 23 February but Kamal Singh could not get the ticket and was disappointed. Seeing his friend’s mood, Muhammad Faisal decided not to board the flight.
The BBC spoke to them in the refugee camp in Romania.
Faisal said that he had met Kamal Singh for the first time on December 11 in Kyiv, Ukraine, as they travelled on different flights to reach Kyiv.
“We were introduced at the airport and we took the same train to Ivanovo and stayed in the same hostel. Our thoughts were very similar, so we became friends,” Faisal said.
Muhammad Faisal says his mother called him to know about his flight. “I flatly refused to heed to her pleading that I should leave as the war has broken out. Our contractor gave my ticket to some other student. One thing that came to my mind was that when I have a good friend, I should not leave him in bad times.”
Kamal Singh Rajput’s family lives in Pandepur, Varanasi. His father Ade Narain Singh owns a hospital and his mother is a homemaker. Kamal’s sister Vartika is studying at IIT Bhopal.
On the other hand, Muhammad Faisal’s family lives on Balandshahr Road in Hapu, Uttar Pradesh. His father works in a company in Saudi Arabia.
Faisal’s mother Saira said that the family was surprised by his sudden decision to miss his flight. “Honestly, I was very worried about my son’s safety and his decision did not seem right at the time but when Faisal told about Kamal we thought he was right. Now both children are in our prayers.”
According to Faisal, he and Kamal left Ivanovo at 11 am on Saturday and they were dropped off by bus about 10 km from the Romanian border. They had to walk to the border.
“At six in the morning, we entered the Romanian border. We completed all the paper work and arrived in the refugee camp in Romania by 9:30.”
Muhammad Faisal and Kamal Singh had to walk 10 kilometers in the night to reach the border at around 3.30 pm. After that Kamal Singh and I held each other’s hand and decided not to leave each other.”
Kamal Singh said that it was not easy to cross the border. “We passed through the border gate at 3.30 am on Sunday and moved ahead with a lot of difficulties negotiating our way through a big crowd.”
“As we were about to cross the gate, Ukrainian soldiers hit me in the shoulder. They were angry at us for holding each other’s hands, but we didn’t leave each other.
In India, Faisal and Kamal Singh had appeared twice for the NEET examination to enter the medical college. Mohammad Faisal cleared it once but his rank entitled him to get admission in one of the several private medical colleges. “The cost of MBBS course in a private medical college in India is around Rs 65-70 lakhs, which was beyond the budget of his family,” Faisal said.
Kamal Singh was also sailing in the same boat and finally got admission to the Medical college in Ukraine.
The two friends have urged the government to help students stranded in Ukraine. “We know how the students stuck there are coping,” said Kamal Singh. “I have seen many facing food scarcity and even water shortages. They are waiting in the open in freezing temperatures to cross the border. Many of the girls also fainted,” he said.
Dr. Masroor Ahmed, the founder of Eurasia Education Link, is trying to rescue children trapped in Ukraine. Hundreds of children travel to Ukraine each year to study medicine through their organization.
Source: Awaz The Voice