It was on the fateful day of December 6 when Afrazul, the labourer from Rajsamand, Rajasthan, was axed and burnt alive by Shambhulal Regar. The entire incident was filmed in a video which went viral. The video was shot by his nephew, a 14-year-old and in the video, Regar ranted against “love jihad” and Islam. The family members of Afrazul, who was in disbelief of the incident share how he started working at a young age to support his family and was an inspiration to the family.
Rejina, Afrazul’s second daughter who is 21 now shared her plight that her father never use to live with the family yet he made sure he was always available on the phone. She said, “Our father was always away, but used to call us every day. We were sad that he was never home but we knew he was doing that to feed us. We do not know what love-jihad is, but all I was known is that my father was a family man who worked hard for us.”
Muhammed Tafazzul Hussain Khan, Afzarul’s elder brother said that Afrazul “has always sacrificed” to keep the family going. 55-year-old Tafazzul said, “He is the hero of the family. He dropped out of school at an early age and left home so that we could study. He made be a BCom. Unfortunately, even with my degree, I could not get a job here so I too went to work with him.” Zenat Khan, Tafazzul’s daughter, is studying for her MA (Bengali). She said that her uncle always motivated her to that the family can see better days. She said, “There are no jobs here and my uncles and father had to go out. My uncle (Afrazul) used to always tell us to study so that our family can see better days. It was and still is uncommon for girls to go in for higher studies but my uncle encouraged my sister and me to study.”
Md Room Khan, Afrazul’s younger brother said, “He was a hard-working man who ate less and saved for the family. In Rajsamand, he used to live in a small room that he shared with eight other labourers. They all slept on the floor.”
Afrazul Khan, who lived near the border village, had a choice when he was growing up, either take the route of smuggling, trade in Fake Indian Currency Notes and narcotics or leave home and make a living. He chose the latter. He left Rajasthan at the age of 14 with his father from Saiyadpur at Kalichowk in Bengal’s border district of Malda. He worked hard for the next 30 years of his life, dropped out of school and worked as a daily wager in Rajasthan. He lived in shanties and small dingy rooms. He contributed his savings to ensure that his siblings and rest of the family get a proper education.