In delivering judgment the other day in a case arising out of one of the too numerous ferry catastrophes which happen in this country, the District Magistrate of Kangra drew pointed attention to the heroic conduct of Gharib Shah, the waterman in charge of a timber raft which was passing down the river Beas when the accident happened. The ferry boat, as usual, was shamefully overloaded, and it was piloted so recklessly that Gharib Shah warned the boatmen of the risk they were running, but apparently received only abuse in return for his advice and offers of help. A few minutes later the boat capsized, and some 130 passengers were thrown into the water. Gharib Shah navigated his raft close to the spot, and saved from ten to fifteen persons by plunging into the water, in spite of the swiftness of the current, and bringing them to the raft. The District Magistrate, in commending his magnificent conduct, adds that he saved about thirty people altogether, out of a total of forty-five. The boatmen, it appears, swam straight for the bank when the accident happened, without giving a thought to the drowning passengers. Gharib Shah – “the one person connected with this sad occurrence who stands out as a shining light,” according to the judgment – is only twenty-five, but in 1914 had already distinguished himself by saving five persons from drowning in this same river. Truly, “Peace hath her victories, not less renowned than war.”
BIG STRAND ROAD THEFT
Babu Mohan Lall Baid, of Kuluram Mohan Lal and Co., Strand Road, reported to the Burra Bazar police that he had left his cashier, Dhanuraj Bothra, in charge of his shop for a time and that when he returned the man had disappeared and Rs 1,59,000 was missing from his safe. On Monday afternoon a Bengali youth residing at Serampore, and a neighbour of Head Constable Bijoy Krishna Dass, at present attached to the Burra Bazar Thana, told the latter and the officer-in-charge that a Marwari had recently hired a godown near his premises and was acting in a very suspicious manner, concealing himself all day and only moving about at night. The Inspector showed the youth a portrait of the absconder and he identified it as that of the man, who was in hiding at Serampore and the wanted man was found. The accuse was brought down to Calcutta in custody.
FIGHT WITH ALLIGATOR
A story of a fight with an alligator comes from Leikathaung, in the Mergui district. One of two brothers while fishing was caught by an alligator just above the left ankle and dragged into the water out of his depth. His young brother, aged 13, jumped into the water and held him by one hand, grabbing a pole with the other and a regular tug of war went on. The boy suggested to his captured brother to jab his fingers into the alligator’s eyes but at first he only got his hand into the alligator’s mouth and was bitten. He tried again and succeeded in striking the alligator’s eyes, and the reptile then let go his hold. The boy brought his brother to land and later he was brought to Mergui where his left foot was amputated. He is recovering.
HONOUR FOR A BELGIAN HEROINE
The body of Gabrielle Petit, who was sentenced to death for espionage on March 3, 1916, and shot at the Tir National on March 31, at the age of 22, lay in state together with those of two other patriots, Aime Simekens and Mathieu Bodson, at Schaerbeek, in mail week in the presence of a great assembly, which included the British Minister and Military Attache. An enormous and impressive cortege then formed and, with the coffins on gun carriages, Gabrielle Petit’s having a Union Jack mingled with the Belgian flag, proceeded to the church of St. Marie, where the funeral service was held. The procession, then went to Schaerbeek cemetery, where the interment took place. The ceremony was in many ways even more remarkable than the funeral of Nurse Cavell. Just before the procession left the town hall Queen drove up and laid a wreath bearing the inscription “Albert and Elizabeth” at the foot of the catafalque. Then she pinned to the flags covering each coffin the Cross of the Order of Leopold.
BOMBAY, AUG 5
At a meeting of the Bombay Municipal Corporation last evening, on the motion of the Hon. Sir Dinshaw Petit seconded by Mr. Pheroze C. Setna, a committee was appointed to consider in consultation with the Municipal Commissioner what steps should be taken by the Municipality to have a satisfactory telephone service in Bombay. Sir Dinshaw pointed out that the service worked badly and unsatisfactorily at present and advocated the introduction of the automatic system.