One selfless thought, one moment of courage, one moment of perseverance turns ordinary acts of common people with extraordinary takes of valour. On May 18th 2007 around 1 p.m. about 10,000 people were praying inside the famous Mecca Masjid. Suddenly there were serial bomb blasts. There was panic all around, people were running helter skelter, trampling over people and bodies for safety. The moment Yogesh learnt about the blast he left his medical shop without informing anyone where he was going and reached the site on his bike within minutes. People were angry and started shouting and hurling stones at the police to control the mob police had to resort to Lathi Charge and firing. In such a tense and dangerous situation Yogesh reached Mecca Masjid. He was shocked to see people lying around bleeding profusely. He pleaded with others to life the bodies and thereafter without waiting physically shifted thirty wounded people to the waiting ambulances. All of a sudden few miscreants noticed the tilak on Yogesh forehead which is a hall mark of Yogesh and mistook him to be one of the culprits. An enraged mob of 150 attacked him and started beating him mercilessly and daunted by the attack and injuries. Yogesh carried on with his mission of mercy. Few members at Mecca Masjid recognized him and tried to rescue him, but it was of no avail. The miscreants went on with their beatings and continuous kicking. One of them went so far as sitting on him and beating him with his fists. Yogesh had injuries all over his body. With progress on his lips for Goddesses Durga to save everyone and forgive the mob he fainted. He too had to be rushed to the hospital and was carried away in ambulance. Within 10minutes inside the ambulance he gained consciousness and signalled to the police personnel to carry the other injured person also into the ambulance. Yogesh was shifted to Osmania General Hospital and later because of his serious condition he was shifted to Nizam Institute of Medical Science. He lay unconscious for two days in Emergency Ward. The Doctors there recognized him as he had donated blood so many times and saved lives of people. They wondered how a man full of humanity could be attacked. DR I. V. Subba Rao the then Hospital Superitendent was asked to take special care of him. Yogesh was shifted to special ward meant for VVIP.
Meanwhile the people who had beaten Yogesh mercilessly were spoken to by the elders and realized their mistakes. They came to Yogesh with folded hands and asked for his forgiveness. Yogesh replied”Please do not feel sorry for what happened. It is understandable that after a blast at a sacred place tempers are bound to run high. I am not angry at you or have any ill feeling. Hence the question of forgiving you does not arise at all”. With these words Yogesh advised them to think before what they do and pray to GOD to forgive and give them wisdom. Even from his hospital bed Yogesh arranged for 24 bottles of blood for other injured patients. Later some of the relations of those people who had beaten Yogesh were receiving treatment for their injuries. When they needed blood for treatment of their injuries, Yogesh arranged 24 bottles of blood. In real world he is a true human being and a real follower of Gandhism. In contemporary situation, he utilized his energy and efforts not for general things but for national integration and command harmony.
Adjacent to Yogesh’s bed in the emergency ward then Finance Minister K. Rosiah was receiving treatment. He saw beeline visitors coming to see Yogesh. He enquired from the hospital staff about him and later coming to know about him he wanted to meet him. He was disturbed by the constant visitors. Yogesh requested that Rosiah be shifted to a secluded place where he would not be disturbed. He also went to the minister and apologised to him for the inconvenience caused by his visitors. The minister was amused and wished Yogesh speedy recovery. The next day the then Chief Minister Sri Y. S. Rajsekhar Reddy who came to see the injured was surprised to see Yogesh in the hospital and learnt about his brave act.
Yogesh Srivastava’s humanitarian and single handed effort in shifing the injured braving his own life remained unsunged and unheard of until the Godfrey Phillips award was presented to him for his act of courage. The story of Yogesh is inspiring as it goes to prove that such acts of heroism is not about being fearless. Instead it is about that one’s spark that encourages us to keep aside thoughts of self safety and self gain to work for the benefit of others. Was he not scared to rush to a communally sensitive area. “I believe in brotherhood irrespective of religion”-said Yogesh.
Yogesh received an ex-gratia amount of Rs 70,000/- in two instalments from Central Government and State Government for his bravery act. Without any second thought Yogesh used this amount for distribution of textbooks and notebooks for all the students of M.L. Lakotia Government Primary and High School and for construction of toilets for pregnant women in Government Maternity Hospital situated at Naya Pul. On several occasion there after Yogesh has been distributing clothes, sarees, blankets besides donating blood in the blood bank at the hospital.
But the moment of utmost satisfaction and pride came from what his young daughters and wife said about the Rs 70,000/- ex-gratia he received from the Government. “You did not care for your own life when you went to save but we value you not the money. Donate the amount to the needy”.