India as i know today as is home to 1.21 billion hearts pumping through the streets.It is the 2nd largest in population and 7th largest in economy in terms of nominal GDP and stands at no.87 on the corruption perception index. Corruption wise we are doing way better than Somalia and Chad but not nearly as well as Samoa or even closer home, Bhutan. Statistics don’t mean much to the layman, what matters is the quality of life that you and I lead on a day to day basis and above all the quality of life that the country is able to provide to the few hundreds of millions who live below the poverty line. Despite the per capita income now standing at a paltry Rs 46,492 there is still some cause for cheer. India is extremely affluent in terms of ordinary people she has birthed, who have set out to achieve stupendous results. For every thousand Indians, there may be one corrupt neta or one corrupt government babu but there are likely to be nine hundred and ninety nine Indians with well meaning intentions and who do not wish to see this country be popular for corruption and scams alone. These men and women are ordinary Indians with extraordinary thinking and striving to empower India.
A group of ex-IITians have come together to impart education to 450 school children in the remote village of Chamanapura in Bihar by starting a world-class facility. The methods involved in teaching are mainly via video conferencing, with the teachers spread out in different parts of India and some even as far as the United States. There is no electricity available as yet in this school and computers are run on generators. These IITians have metamorphosed the lives of 450 young Indians who are now computer savvy and are additionally the recipients of the best of knowledge in subjects ranging from Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from the most erudite lot in the country.
Then there is one amongst the CNN heroes of 2010, Narayan Krishnan. Krishnan was a chef with a five star hotel and he was set to take up a lucrative job in Switzerland. He had made a trip to the temple town of Madurai in 2002 and was appalled to see a very old man eating his own human waste. A CNN report quoted Krishnan “I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food. It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime. That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame, to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves,” Completely agonized by the image, Krishnan quit his job and decided to stay back in India and pave his own path of destiny. Krishnan went on to start his non-profit Akshaya Trust in 2003. In the last few years, Krishnan has served 1.2 million meals to India’s homeless, some mentally challenged, some abandoned by families, some even mentally and physically abused.
On a lot smaller scale, Ahambhumika, a non-profit organization started in Bhopal by ordinary Indians. The organization’s core objective is to educate rural women and young girls who work as stone crushers and in brick kilns. The “grain school” is a unique program that educates rural women in basic literacy. As an additional incentive, the organization provides grains and pulses to their families on a monthly basis. The children of these stone crushers are malnourished and invariably the families are shrouded in debts. The grain school is a wonderful initiative that empowers some twenty odd rural women to live respectfully by providing them with the required social conditioning as a first step to lead a civil life. www.ahambhumika.org
There are countless more in this society who do their bit quietly and stay demure about their achievements. These ordinary men and women are the real heroes of India, not the shirt-shedding, chest busting silver screen ones we whistle at. They give, they empower, and they enrich the lives of others with no ulterior motives. They are not after your vote, they do not make false promises and neither do they seek any financial leverage. They do what they believe they do best; to change the lives of others profoundly. In a society that births corruption and scams on a daily basis, there is also a new hero amongst us birthed daily. We constantly speak and preach about what the other should do, we rarely seek to bring about the change ourselves. Let the change begin in us now.
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