There is so much wrong with the world today and so little being done about it. People are quick to complain, grumble and give their solutions to the world’s problems but how many of us do something about it? The real heroes around us are not film stars or sportspersons but the ones who go and make a difference in the world. These are the unsung heroes of India.
1. Priti Patkar
Priti Patkar, 49 is an Indian social worker and human rights activist who is also the co-founder and director of an organization called ‘Prerana’ which works for the upbringing of children of sex-workers. The gold medalist from Tata Institute of Social Science is known for her work with women and children in red light districts of Mumbai started her organisation in 1986. She was told she would be foolish to invest in the welfare of the children of sex workers but 26 years later, Prerana provides a night shelter for the children, takes care of their meals, conducts weekly health check ups, and medical care whenever needed.
2. Armstrong Pame
Very few know this exceptionally young, 31-year-old IAS officer also known as “ The Miracle Man” of Manipur. His zeal towards the betterment of the society made him built a 100 km long road in an isolated hill of Manipur without the government’s help. By the support of a large mass he gave shape to the “People’s Road” which connects the hill to the rest of the state. He used his own savings and turned to social networking sites to raise the required funds.
8. Dr. Laxmi Gautam
Dr. Laxmi Gautam from Vrindavan is the women who is transforming the lives of widows in India. Widows, young and old are abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves. But people like Dr. Laxmi support them, provide them with basic amenities like food, blanket and medical help. Her routine from the last five years have been waking up, walking through the city and searching for widows who need help. She has performed the last rites of almost 500 widows.
4. Dhruv Lakra
This MBA graduate from Oxford University runs a courier company, ‘Mirakle Couriers’ employing hearing impaired people. He started off in 2009 and by 2011 his team grew from 0 to 64 members. Over the last two years Mirakle Couriers has expanded to operate in 2 branches in the city, employing 80-100 deaf employees and delivering over 65,000 shipments per month. He has won the 2010 National Award for the Empowerment of People With Disabilities.
5. Daripalli Ramaiah
A lot is being said and done to save the environment by planting trees. People usually manage to plant 2, 5, or maybe 8 trees, but this 68-year-old grew 10 million. And the number is still growing. People see him out and about carrying saplings and seeds on his cycle. The moment he sees barren land he takes out seeds from his pocket and plants them. His favourite line is “Vrikshio Rakshati Rakshitah”, which means if you save the trees, they will save you.
6. RK Viswajit Singh
Here comes another hero from Manipur, Viswasjit Singh. A physical trainer who decided to wage a war against drug addiction through the only method he knows that is body building. Through a combination of working out, meditation and campaigning he has reformed around 50 addicts in his village of Manipur. He calls his gym, the “Animal Gym” because he believes that man is a social animal and a person can lead a good life if he stays away from wildness. He wants to target other villages in Manipur, setting up gyms and creating awareness.
7. Dr. Kishore Rao
Dr. Rao, 76, is from Bengaluru, Karnataka and is the managing trusee of Karunashraya, a non-profit public charitable trust which was founded in 1994. Karunashraya came from “Karuna” that means mercy and “Ashraya” that means shelter, known for giving free care and treatment to advanced stage cancer patients. Along with doctors, nurses, psychotherapist and volunteers it also has counsellors who take care of psychological and emotional support required by the patients and their family.
8. Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan
The “Plastic Man of India” has developed an amusing and very effective use of plastic. There was a lot of serious talk about banning plastics going all over the country when one day he saw a doctor on a TV program saying that plastic ‘dissolved’ in water bodies caused pollution which he knew was wrong because plastic is a product of petroleum and decided to experiment with waste plastics.
Later he found out that mixing waste plastic with heated bitumen and coating the mixture over stone had an interesting use. He implemented the use of plastic waste on a road constructed inside the premises of his college in 2002 and succeeded.
Then, came a government order in November 2015 making it mandatory for all road developers in the country to use waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, for road construction. The professor had created a brilliant solution to the country’s problem with improper disposal of plastic.