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“There are very few of us who put aside our own goals and think about others; and this ability to Care for people, their requirements or their needs is really special.” – Aamir Khan
It’s easy to live for one self but to live for others, to selflessly dedicate your life for the betterment of the lives of people around you is truly extraordinary and praiseworthy. These inspirational people have struggled against all odds and their vision, will, focus and commitment were their only resources. Yet they have achieved more than what the whole nation together could not!
1. Dashrath Das Manjhi: The Mountain Man – Manjhi was a quarrier from Gehlaur village in Bihar who carved out a road through a 300 foot tall mountain using only a chisel, a hammer and a crowbar! For years, Manjhi and the people of his community trekked across the mountain in order to reach their place of work or even if they had to access basic facilities like medical care. Accidents were frequent and so was death. When his own wife passed away, Manjhi decided to take matters in his own hands and vowed to break through the mountain itself! With undeterred dedication, he started chipping away at the top of the mountain and continued doing so for years until after 22 years of hard work and numerous sacrifices, Manjhi finally accomplished his mammoth task!
2. Chewang Norphel: The Ice Man – He is the man who transformed the dry and arid landscape of Ladakh through his innovative idea of the artificial glacier! A retired civil engineer, Norphel is an extraordinary man who has worked ingenuously to help Ladakh’s local populace and to promote ideas of sustainable living. With active participation of the local community, he built around a dozen of these artificial glaciers in various parts of Ladakh. This concept has radically transformed Ladakh’s longstanding water scarcity problem during the cold and dry seasons and has revived the region’s agriculture and economy.
3. Irom Chanu Sharmila: The Iron Lady of Manipur – The world’s longest hunger striker, Irom Sharmila is a civil rights activist and political activist from Manipur who has been on a hunger strike for 14 years as a protest against the controversial AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in Manipur. What began in November 2000 as a simple outcry against an unjust law, senseless violence and loss of innocent lives in her home state of Manipur soon escalated into a full-fledged struggle of resistance that’s alive till today. Only 28 years old when she started her protest, Irom spent the best days of her life championing for the rights of people around her
4. Sindhutai Saptal: Mother of Orphans – A lady whose own harrowing conditions in life motivated her to adopt and nurture many homeless children when she herself had barely enough to eat! An inspiration for everyone, Sindhutai is a strong, passionate woman who despite facing some of the toughest challenges in her own life refused to succumb to fate and instead dedicated her life to raising, nourishing and helping others grow. She did this single-handedly and with only begging as her mode of income! So far Sindhutai has nurtured more than 1400 children, helped them get an education, get married and settle down in life!
5. Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng: The Forest Man – A native of Majuli in Assam, Molai is an environmental activist who since the 1970’s has single handedly planted and tended trees in an attempt to overcome the deterioration of the natural environment and the flora and fauna. Today his efforts have taken the shape of a full-fledged 1,360 acre forest that is larger than even Central Park! An unusual place, the Molai forest has over a thousand different species of plants including 300 hectares of bamboo and is home to various animals like Bengal tigers, elephants, deers, rabbits, rhinoceros, snakes and a wide variety of birds.
Hidden from the eyes of the world, these humble souls have dedicated their lives for selfless causes that have benefitted innumerable lives, yet they never sought anything for themselves. Bona fide heroes, these are the people who actually make our country proud! Here’s to the unsung heroes of our country…Salud!
Know of more unsung amazing heroes of India?? We’d like to know too! Write to us and share your views.
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