A Bird's Eye View:
Inspiring the Young Nation Builders
Saad Adnan Khan
The Sherpa had shouted “Safety!” a number of times, but Nishat was busy taking pictures. The rest of the team members- M A Mohit, Mingmaa Gyzlen Sherpa and Man Bahadur, a Nepali mountaineer, had attached and pressed themselves tightly to the rope at the signal. Taking such a precautionary step does not necessarily rule out the possibility of getting blown away by the avalanche, but it certainly reduces the degree of the risk. Nishat Majumder was pinned down under the weight of the snow that rolled forth Mount Everest on April 27, 2012. She desperately threw her arms here and there, looking for something, anything, to grab on to, as she was propelled by the snow. It was not at this moment that she felt brave. She was scared to death, she had screamed. It was certainly not a poetic moment when the best moments of her life flashed right in front of her eyes. It was after the snow's momentum had gone down that she got up and felt grateful that she did not fall in a crevasse. She wanted to keep moving forward and finish her expedition. She did not show any sign of weakness, as she took the very conscious decision of finishing her journey. Her decision led her to becoming the first ever Bangladeshi woman to conquer Mount Everest.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
|M A Mohit
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Photo: Zahidul I Khan
Mohit recalls that he wanted to take the path of Khumbhu Glacier, and the section called Khumbhu Icefall in the Glacier was the most dangerous area. There are giant pieces of ice that move. Even Sherpas are scared of this place. Mohit, Nishat and the team passed through Khumbhu Icefall, and reached the peak of Everest on May 19, 2012. This was not the first time that Nishat and Mohit went for a mountain expedition. It was last year that they climbed Manaslu, the eight highest mountain in the world. Nishat has been training since 2003, and it was in 2006 that she started going for mountain expeditions.
M A Mohit is the first Bangladeshi to mount Cho Oyo, the sixth highest mountain in the world. There are 14 mountains in the Himalayan range that surpass a staggering height of 8,000 m (26, 250 ft). These 14 mountains are called the “elite mountains”, and it is through Mohit that Bangladesh entered the prestigious elite club of mountaineers. Mohit is also the only Bangladeshi who has climbed Mount Everest from both sides.
“Mountain climbing is an extreme sport and it is very physically demanding. One's psychological and emotional strength is more important after one point. As you keep going up, the oxygen level keeps going down. Your body needs to keep adapting; you need to rely on liquid food after a point. Nishat could have easily given up when she was hurt during the avalanche, but she did not,” states Mohit proudly.
Nishat did not have to face any constraints from her family members, who were very supportive. “Girls in our country are brought up like Bonsai plants that are tied up to hinder growth. Girls are made to believe that they are not suitable for certain jobs, especially physically demanding work. Society will keep saying 'you cannot,' but it is up to us to believe in ourselves. I was never an athlete as I was growing up. I feel more confident now, after coming back. I also feel grateful for the way people have embraced me,” says Nishat.
Another inspiration for the people of the country is the very well-know and dynamic Wasfia Nazreen, the second woman to conquer Mount Everest on May 26, 2012. She has also etched her mark on Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, the summit of South America and on Kilimanjaro, summit of Africa. Wasfia's ambition is a grand and noble one. She launched the campaign 'Bangladesh on Seven Summits' to mark the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh. Through this campaign, she wants to reach the highest points of world (highest peaks of seven mountains from seven continents) to mark the struggle, resilience, spirit and achievements of women.
Young people in our country today, seek adventure in drugs, smoking and other unhealthy habits, adds Mohit. "I just want to say that mountain climbing is just another acitvity that can keep the young people away from such harmful habits. Not only will this make the young people stronger both physically and mentally, but will also put Bangladesh on the map."
Pushing oneself to aim for the extreme, seeing if one is strong enough and going places where only few dare to go, to direct young people towards meaningful pursuits in life is inspiring and brave to say the least. Only few have the guts to stay in constant flux, movement for achieving the greater good. The constant displacements and new births make one grateful and wiser to connect with the people around. Salute to these young souls.
(Background Photos: Abul Kalam Azad)
Photo: Star File