Kolkata: An unsung samaritan: deaf and mute, yet always eager to help

You cannot hold a good person back

Traffic man on a silent mission

Arpit Basu | TNN

Kolkata: You will never miss him at the Puddapukur crossing of Sarat Bose Road, during the morning rush hour. He is the tall and lanky Gora Halder. Although deaf and mute, he is always eager to help people cross the road safely.


“About 25 years ago, a woman and her daughter were crushed by a government bus on route 2. Gora has been manning traffic since then. Perhaps he wants to prevent further casualties at this crossing,” said Bimal Biswas, a relative.
Traffic at this crossing has undergone a sea change. Besides buses, the number of private cars and taxis has increased. Also, an automatic traffic signal has been installed. But Gora is still there.
“He has been of great help. To be honest, there have been no major accidents at the crossing in the past 25 years. Three months ago, Gora even saved a traffic sergeant and a young girl from a speeding bus,” recalled Biswas.

Sergeants and constables readily admit that Gora — who has no formal training in traffic management — has been of great help. “We sometimes take him to Ballygunge Circular Road near David Hare Training College whenever there is a jam. We often pay him a paltry amount as a token of thanks,” said a sergeant.

Gora, however, earns his living as a masseur. Every morning, he comes to the crossing around 9 am after visiting his clients. After a cup of tea and a cigarette, he joins duty. Locals said he is always seen in cotton trousers and full sleeve shirts with white sneakers.

His father was a government officer. After his death some 30-35 years ago, his mother shifted to her ancestral house in Chetla. His elder brother, who is deaf, went with his mother. But Gora opted to stay back and was brought up at Biswas’ house.

He got married 15 years ago and his wife and daughter stay in Chetla. But Gora still lives in Puddapukur at the late Congress leader Susovan Basu’s house and sends a part of his income to his wife and mother. If he is on duty, no bus stops at the crossing to pick up passengers. Pedestrians aren’t allowed to cross when the green signal is on.

A traffic constable recollects an incident. Just a few weeks ago, an Ambassador with a red beacon blinking, was about to turn right towards Minto Park from Ballygunge Circular Road. An ambulance was then heading towards Health Point nursing home from Minto Park. He stood firm in front of the Ambassador to ensure that the ambulance crossed first.

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