For over six months, Aarif Khan slept in an ambulance parking lot 28 km from his home in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur, staying in touch with his wife and four children on the phone. Khan was on call 24X7, ferrying patients of Covid-19 as well as carrying its victims to their last rites. On Saturday morning, the 48-year-old ambulance driver succumbed to the disease at Hindu Rao Hospital.


Employed with the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, that provides free emergency services in NCR, Khan would often pitch in with money for the last rites if a family was in need, or help with the rituals if a deceased’s near ones were not around, his colleagues say.

他的同事说,他在NCR省提供免费紧急服务的Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal公司工作,如果有家庭需要临终仪式,他经常会捐钱帮忙,或者在死者的亲属不在身边时帮助举行葬礼。

“He ensured everyone got a farewell but his own family couldn’t give him that. They saw his body from afar for a few minutes,” said Jitender Kumar, adding that Khan would have ferried close to 200 bodies since March..


Khan’s son Aadil, 22, said they had seen him only during his brief visits home since March 21. “We met when he came over to pick up something, like clothes… I used to go to check on him sometimes. We were always worried about him. But he never bothered about Covid, he just wanted to do his job well,” said Aadil, the younger of Khan’s sons, adding that the last time Khan came home, he was already sick.


Khan’s other son, Asif, said, “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him… How will we survive without him?”


Khan, who earned Rs 16,000 a month, was the sole earning member of the family. Their monthly house rent is Rs 9,000. Aadil said his brother and he did odd jobs once in a while, but work had petered out lately.


“Pariwaar ke liye dukh ka pahaad toot gaya hai (It is a huge blow for the family),” said Kumar, who was present at Khan’s funeral.


“These have been extraordinary times, and even though he was a driver, Khan often helped with the last rites too. Woh Muslim tha par Hinduon ke bhi daah-sanskaar karaata tha (He was a Muslim but he helped out even with cremations of Hindus)… He was very dedicated to his work,” said Jitender Singh Shunty, the founder of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, adding that Khan worked 12-14 hours a day, responding to calls even as late as 3 am.

“现在是非常时期,尽管汗是一名司机,他也经常帮助进行最后的仪式。他是个穆斯林,但他甚至也帮印度教徒进行火葬……他非常专注于他的工作,”辛格Jitender Shunty说,他是Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal公司的创始人,他还补充说汗每天工作12-14小时,甚至凌晨3点还在回应召唤。

Khan was also around when Shunty and his family tested positive for the virus. So, when Khan got infected and took a turn for the worse, he tried to return the kindness. However, the deterioration was sudden. “Aarif did not have any other health conditions but he was having trouble breathing for the last few days,” he said.


Anand Kumar, 32, a fellow driver with the Sewa Dal who also stays in the parking lot for fear of carrying the virus home, said when he joined a year ago, “Aarif was very helpful. He treated me like a brother and guided me.” Conversations between them often revolved around how much they missed their families, Kumar said.

32岁的阿南德库马尔也是Sewa Dal的司机同事,他也因为担心把病毒带回家而呆在停车场里,说在他一年前加入公司的时候:“阿里夫帮了我很多,他像兄弟一样对待我,引导我。”他们之间的对话经常围绕着他们是多想念家人。

Founded in 1995, the Sewa Dal provides free and accessible emergency services to the needy in the Capital and around, including ambulances and blood donation, and Khan had been working with them from almost the start.

Sewa Dal成立于1995年,向首都及周边地区的穷人提供免费和可获得的紧急服务,包括救护车和献血,而汗几乎从一开始就与他们合作。

Shunty said not just hospitals but also RWAs and police stations turn to them. Khan was one of their 12 employees. Last month, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital had written an appreciation letter thanking the organisation for transporting over 300 bodies from the hospital of Covid patients, and helping in their last rites, including in cases where family members had not turned up. East Delhi District Magistrate Arun Kumar Mishra had also written a letter noting their contribution during the pandemic.

Shunty说,不光是医院,医院和警察局也会向他们求助。汗是他们的12名雇员之一。上个月,Guru Teg Bahadur医院写了一封感谢信,感谢该组织从这家新冠病人医院运送了300多具尸体,并帮助他们举行了告别仪式,包括在家属没有出现的情况下。东德里地方法官Arun Kumar Mishra也写了一封信,指出他们在大流行期间的贡献。

Giving an example of Khan’s dedication, Shunty said, “On September 30, a hospital refused to release a person’s body because his family couldn’t foot the bill… Khan chipped in. He was a man who genuinely cared for others.”