There are innumerable instances where individuals and organisations have gone out of their way to dedicate their lives to the noble cause of elevating the standard of living and their selfless contributions should be truly appreciated.
Some people among us from various walks of life have taken up various challenges for the upliftment of society. They have tried to resolve the crisis rather than being a usual complaint- box. This positive prism of society restores the faith that the world is still a habitable place if one has the valour to take up the cudgels.
From farmers, students, doctors, scientists, lawyers to bureaucrats et al., everyone has extended their hands to make society a better place to reside. They all are real-life heroes who have done work on the ground to make a difference.
Reeling from the climate crisis and urban infrastructure issues, five Madurai farmers dealt with tremendous crop loss and water woes by taking matters into their own hands with the help of the DHAN Foundation. DHAN Foundation is locally known for reviving hundreds of water bodies and empowering farmers.
Kaathiyanoor tank, a Wakf property of 'Madurai Kazimar Periya Pallivasal (Mosque) Trust, is spread across 38 acres. The land was leased to 25 families, each getting cultivable land up to two acres. For the last three decades, the farmers have been sharing a small part of their products with the trust.
With a hefty 18.2 million subscribers on YouTube, Indian Farmer, founded by two friends — Akash Jadhav and Santhosh Jadhav, are helping farmers across the country with everyday farm-related issues. They are young, enthusiastic, and passionately in love with the internet, smartphones, drones, agricultural farming and 'jugaad'.
They are the new sensation on YouTube, having amassed 182 lakh (18.2 million) subscribers for their channel Indian Farmer within three years since June 2018.
The duo in their mid-20s belongs to a very small town called Vita, in the Sangli districts of Maharashtra, where till a couple of years ago, the Wifi connection was a real problem.
Their earnings, they explain, keep on fluctuating between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh a month. They have invested a lot of their money and reinvested a heavy chunk from their YouTube income towards their cause.
Food scientist-turned-farmer, Chandrasekhar Bhadsavle, fondly addressed by farmers as 'Dada', introduced the Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) among a handful of farmers in Neral (Karjat) in 2013.
As there is no puddling, transplanting and hand-hoeing in SRT, it saves 50 per cent water, 40 per cent production cost, and as we do not require transplanting, we save 50 per cent on labour cost.
Four thousand plus farmers are practising SRT. Of them, several have their personal 'record harvest' stories to share, like former journalist Srinivas Pande of Ramtek (Nagpur), who harvested a yield of 18 quintals of fine rice from the earlier 12 quintals per acre, has trained over 50 farmers from Vidarbha.
Indian Army not only fights with enemies but also helps the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir to become self-reliant.
Army has inaugurated a mushroom cultivation project in Nagrina village of Shergawari in Kishtwar district to make unemployed youth self-reliant.
The local unemployed will be given complete information about 60 days of commercial mushroom cultivation in the village.
Beneficiaries include victims of terrorist attacks, family members of permanently disabled/killed terrorists, persons with disabilities and people below the poverty line.
The Department of Agriculture will give the training. The army will monitor it. This initiative of the Indian Army will develop the local people to become self-sufficient.
The unemployed are getting attracted towards the government's possible scheme for self-employment to the youth. Due to this, many unemployed are applying to the Employment and Counseling Office to buy commercial vehicles under the possible scheme to get employment.
1.60 lakh subsidy is being provided to the scheme beneficiaries to purchase small commercial vehicles, and J&K Bank provides the balance amount under Mudra loan.
A total of 62 applications have been received from the interested youth of the Kathua district, taking the number of beneficiaries who have purchased commercial vehicles to 27.
Another scheme, "Tejaswani," has been started under Mission Youth. "It is dedicated to women who have passed 10th standard and fall in the age group of 18-35 years. They will be given a loan of 5 lakhs to start a business unit.
Dr. Shashikant is the principal of Tagore Government College, Puducherry.
Shashikant, who has been serving in education for more than 20 years, has another identity, and that is as a 'Green Man'.
Till the year 2017, this Tagore College campus, spread over 15 acres of land, seemed completely deserted. But today, it is no less than a forest.
Today, 3000 trees and plants are planted on about eight acres of land of the college. There is also good management of waste." Along with manure, he has also dug a small pond on the campus to collect rainwater.
Every year around 12 lakh litres of water collects in this pond during the rainy season. Kiran Bedi ji, former governor of Puducherry, also came to the campus, praised the work, and encouraged a lot. Rakesh Krishna K, who lives in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka. He is a Class 12 student at Expert PU College, Mangaluru. Along with studies, he has made a machine for the farmers to sow the seeds of many types of crops.
He has named his machine 'Seedographer' for this innovation. He has also received many awards, including the Prime Minister's National Balshakti Award for the year 2021, also selected for the SAKURA- International Science Exchange Program in April 2020.
During the National Innovation Festival in 2017, he got an opportunity to showcase his invention to the then President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Harikrishnan S is a master of Kalaripayattu, and he trains children to become proficient in this martial art at Ekaveera Kalaripayattu Academy.
Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial art that originated in Kerala, and it is believed that the world-famous Kung-Fu etc., martial arts also originated through Kalaripayattu.
In this martial art, students master the skills of fighting unarmed and fighting with sticks, swords and spears.
Students learning Kalaripayattu are also ensured that they perform well in the martial arts and perform well in their mood.
PM Narendra Modi has implemented the Scrap Policy, which is to scrap vehicles that are 15-20 years old.
A Jaipur-based company, Sustain by Cartist, has adopted a unique approach inspired by this policy of PM Modi.
To create a sustainable culture by recycling waste, Jaipur based Sustain by Cartist has taken a unique step in this direction by making designer furniture from used car parts. This furniture is being made from cars of every brand.
Purushottam of Jamuka village in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat invites his potential dealers or customers to the farm to stay for a few days. During this, he provides them in detail about his farming method.
Today, without the use of chemicals and pesticides, through organic farming, he grows everything on his farm, from grains to spices, pulses, vegetables and fruits. Not only this, apart from India, he is also selling them in ten other countries.
He feeds them food made from vegetables grown on his farm and answer all their questions. He does not charge a penny for this. He has a more than 20 million year-over-year turnover and has clients from many countries, including the US, England, Norway, Germany, Dubai, and Ethiopia.
Thirty-two women belonging to Self Help Groups are trained to make toys for women through RSETI Kendra (Rural Self Employment Training Institute).
Accommodation and food are provided free of cost to the trainee in the training programme. Also, the woman of the group does not have to pay the cost of commuting from village to city to the trainee. This expenditure is done through NRLM.
Employment started after training here, 2104 young men and women have
established their employment by taking the training.
Almost all households in India generate more or less plastic waste. Few people manage this waste properly, so most people don't care where does this waste go.
The children of Navi Mumbai have managed the plastic waste properly and built a small shelter for the destitute and homeless animals.
From 18-year-old Vasundhara Gupte and her team 'Urvari', who made 150 eco-bricks out of plastic bottles and other waste, they built a small shelter for the destitute animals. Vasundhara, along with her peer friend Khushi Shah, started the organisation 'Urvari' in 2019.
After 10-11 months of hard work, Vasundhara and her colleagues made eco-bricks from 45 kg of waste. They made an iron frame for the shelter, and 'polyurethane foam' has also been used. This keeps the temperature inside the shelter balanced.
Three to four dogs can sit comfortably in this shelter. Due to this, they will not face any kind of problem in the summer, winter or rainy season. This initiative of these children is being appreciated everywhere. People in other cities are also praising his work.
An affordable and portable ventilator was made in 90 days. IIT (IIT Kanpur) is very happy about this achievement. These portable ventilators were made by IIT students Nikhil Kurele and Harshit Rathore.
Apart from Nepal, orders from two more Asian countries have also been completed for these ventilators. So far, 800 ventilators have been provided to Nepal.
These ventilators can be easily carried anywhere. In making this, full care has been taken for the safety of doctors.
IIT Incubator Noca Robotics has so far supplied ventilators to private hospitals apart from the governments of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat and Delhi.
Run by 33-year-old Rajesh Kumar Suman, the 'Green Pathshala' coaching centre in Samastipur, Bihar, provides coaching to students for various government service exams and charges saplings as a fee.
This unique school helps the poor get a quality education and helps them qualify for prestigious exams, and promotes greenery. Over 90,000 saplings collected from students have been planted since the institute's founding. The centre also aims to improve the gender balance among the students who appear for these exams, as 40 per cent of the students are female.
Deep in the heart of the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, in the Tuljapur Taluka, are a group of women commanding the winds of change against patriarchy and domestic abuse. Among them is Laxmi Waghmare, who is leading 17,000 women to a life of dignity and independence by fighting for their rights, educating them about financial saving and speaking up against child marriage.
Being born into a Dalit family of leather workers, Laxmi was married to her maternal uncle, 13 years older than her at the age of eight. "I was born into a family that already had girl children. So, my mother thought it was wise to marry me off to my maternal uncle, who she thought would take care of me when I was just eight years old," begins Laxmi, adding that at the time, she didn't know what she was getting into.
Relu Vasave, an Anganwadi worker from Nandurbar, Maharashtra, rows 14 km on the Narmada to the remotest parts of her village to provide nutrition and supplements to expecting mothers and newborns.
These heroes from Nagaland should be famous across India.
Chingmak Kejong: Working hand-in-hand with tribal communities Chingmak Kejong and his wife, Phutoli Shikhu, have helped communities living in Tuensang, a remote district bordering Myanmar to successfully battle the HIV and heroin epidemic in the 1990s.
Niketu Iralu: A prominent intellectual and towering advocate of non-violence, Niketu Iralu worked closely with stakeholders to bring about peace and harmony among warring Naga clans.
Jenpu Rongmei: A Class 11 dropout from Dimapur, Nagaland, Jenpu Rongmei rose out of abject poverty and the devastating loss of his younger brother, David, to drug abuse to help over 1,000 fellow school and college dropouts rediscover their self-esteem.
Subonenba Longkumer: By the age of 12, Subonenba Longkumer, a resident of Dimapur in Nagaland, had lost his parents and been separated from his siblings. A former child labourer, he turned around his life and changed the lives of several others.
Hekani Jakhalu: A lawyer by trade, Hekani Jakhalu established YouthNet in February 2006, alongside fellow professionals, to assist youngsters in a state suffering from rampant unemployment to find suitable work there.
Sentipokla Jamir: She garnered the larger public's attention after her small initiative called 'Footprints'. Following her Master's degree, Jamir began saving Rs 1000 every month from 1 January 2015 to buy blankets and electric rice cookers for underprivileged widows and widowers above 70.
Neidonuo Angami: One of the founding members of the Naga Mother's Association (NMA), a major civil society organisation, she played a pivotal role in tackling the evils of drug addiction, alcoholism and violence borne out of insurgency for decades without fear for her own life.
Alana Golmei: Dr. Alana Golmei established the North East Support Centre & Helpline in 2007 to battle discrimination against people from the Northeast in different Indian cities. Receiving about 40 calls a month, this helpline has helped notify the authorities about hundreds of harassment, assault, and rape cases.
When Lockdown 1.0 was imposed nationwide on 25 March 2020, the people of Kashmir were caught terribly off guard. That's when 33-year-old Sheikh Aadil Mushtaq, a 2015 batch Jammu and Kashmir Police Service officer currently posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) in Srinagar, and about eight of his friends from different walks of life, came up with the idea of helping deliver daily essentials and medicines to the doorstep of needy residents.
He appealed to people that whosoever needs essentials or medicines can convey their requirements directly to him or the WhatsApp numbers he shared. One WhatsApp group was dedicated to free medicine requests, the second for free home delivery of medicines and the third for free groceries.
Since Lockdown 1.0, Deputy SP Sheikh Aadil and his friends have delivered daily essentials and medicines to over 1,000 households, predominantly in Srinagar. They have even reached out to residents in Anantnag, Baramulla, 36-year-old Gurmet Angmo is a solar engineer working with the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), "a for-profit enterprise dedicated to the development of remote Himalayan communities through sustainable tourism and technology." Despite not
finishing high school, she has been involved in electrifying over 50 villages in Ladakh and Meghalaya with solar power.
She was trained to build, install, maintain, and repair solar electrification systems in off-grid villages, besides setting up a 'Rural Electronic Workshop' (REW) to store components and equipment needed for the repair and maintenance of the solar units.
For the last 60 years, 87-year-old homoeopath Ramchandra Dandekar has been travelling to the most remote villages to provide medical assistance and healthcare.
"Chandrapur is a remote and highly dense forest area, with many localities where a bus cannot go. Therefore, bicycle or walking are the only options to reach the faraway hamlets and treat the people. In the pandemic times, too, many people could not afford to go to hospitals. So, I decided to treat them at home," Ramchandra said.
The octogenarian has a diploma in homoeopathy and worked as a lecturer for a year before one of his acquaintances asked him to work in the rural areas of India. He's been selflessly serving them ever since.
Constable Than Singh has been conducting classes for children for a long time now. He continues teaching them during the pandemic, too, after ensuring all health protocols are in place.
Then Singh, a constable from the Delhi police force, continues to do what he's good at – helping children continue their education. And the pandemic has not put a stop to it than Singh takes classes for children from underprivileged backgrounds, especially children of labourers across the city.
Belgaum's Manjunath has made a name for himself as being a nocturnal ambulance driver and has also found a place in the India Book of Records, having saved more than 300 lives so far. The money that Manjunath makes working at IL&FS, which is about Rs 18,000, goes towards his maintaining his house and family.
The rest of the money he earns from driving the auto and doing the part-time job is spent on the upkeep of the auto, and a part of it is donated to an NGO called Ashraya Foundation.
While various parts of India are suffering from depleting potable groundwater, an 84-year-old man from Karnataka has dug 16 ponds single-handedly to solve the drinking water issue in the region.
Renowned as Karnataka's 'Lake man,' Kammegowda was recently recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who mentioned him in one of his 'Mann ki Baat' radio programmes.
Kaamegowda emptied his savings to procure new equipment, sold his sheep, and postponed building his own house to sustain the expenses of digging the pond.
There are innumerable instances where individuals and organisations have gone out of their way to dedicate their lives to the noble cause of elevating the standard of living.
Selfless people's contributions should be truly appreciated. If there's a grim side of the society, then there is a hopeful prospect of the society, too which needs to be encouraged. Their actions are loud enough to make us galvanised into doing our bit as well.