Real heroes rise during tough situations when nobody is there to lend a helping hand. Not by looks, by gender or by status in life a real hero be measured, but through the selfless mindset, willingness, hard work and dedication to do things for the sake of others. During Gujarat Riots in 2002 that resulted in the deaths of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus, a woman named Latifa Geteli was recognized for her bravery, empathy and heroism.
Video: Latifa Giteli – Goddess of Peace
Gujarat communal riots were one of the worst incidents in recent India history, which affected 151 towns 993 villages and 25 districts. Due to a untoward incident of a few miscreants, that led to protests later turned into riots that resulted in bloodshed. The town of Godhra was the most affected as it became the flashpoint for the riots. After the constant violence in the town, it was forever divided into invisible communal lines.
Godhra’s violence left torn communities, widowed housewives, scarred lives and orphans.
Image: Latifa Giteli – Goddess of Peace
After the riots, Latifa Geteli went to Madarasa to looking for her relatives instead she found orphaned children who begged her for water and food. Seeing the condition of those children, Latifa’s empathy asked to do something for them. From being a humble housewife, Latifa transformed the lives of many hundreds and is today a driving force behind communal harmony in Godhra.
Latifa’s life was no fairy tale her husband who worked in BSNL was accused in a bombing case and was jailed for almost 11 months. None of these incidents dented her will to continue her good work. She believed education can help change the young childrens life. She helped provide education and giving food and shelter to these orphaned children and young women who were now her own. On the same year, her husband was found not guilty for the case and was acquitted by the Supreme Court.
Today, Latifa continues to provide education and guidance through her charitable organization Al Fazal to people especially to illiterate women. Latifa’s communal harmony programs truly served as bridges between Hindu and Muslim. Latifa also helps both Hindu and Muslim women in getting the job through her vocational training center. She has also started an English medium school that provides quality education almost free of cost.
Although there were only a few witness of Latifa’s heroism, her hard work and dedication is truly recognized not just in India, but all over the world.
Latifa’s undying spirit has changed the mindsets of people by means of education and employment. It only proves that one positive mind can unite bitter enemies for one common goal. Latifa’s works in the aspect of education truly inspired folks from several countries most especially educators. Being a real hero, Latifa taught us a lesson that we’ll not forget and that is the willingness to forgive and give more to people around you.