“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure inspite of overwhelming obstacles.”
We often call the people we see on the silver screen as heroes. We idolize them. We aspire to become like them. But there are certain people who have been working day and night for greater good of the nation, but still are not considered as modern day heroes of India. We have heard lot of stories about heroes that entertain us but haven’t heard stories of people who have been working selflessly for the nation. Let’s have a look at stories of some of those modern heroes of India.
Modern-day heroes of Indian Literature
One of the most pre-dominant factor that determines the culture of place is it’s literature. One of the things that has had huge impact on the glorious past of India is Indian literature. Indian literature dates back to the time when Ramayana and Mahabharata are written. India has been the birth place of some of the greatest writers in the world like Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, ZaverChand Meghani, Narsinh Mehta to name a few. People know about writers in the likes of Chetan Bhagat and Durjoy Datta. But don’t know much about the writers in the likes of Nayantara Sehgal. Let’s have a sneek-peek into lives of such unsung modern day heroes of literature.
1. Meena Kandasamy
Meena Kandasamy is writer, activist and poet. The books that she writes predominantly focus on topics like feminism and casteism. She was dedicated her work, art and voice towards abolition and annihilation of the caste system in India. Meena grew up in an environment where Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized communities were oppressed. From writing poems like Ms. Militancy, Touch, This Poem will provoke you to prose- The Gypsy, the exquisite cadavers, her work adds to the dialogues surrounding casteism, toxic masculinity and violence against women.
2. Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal hails from Chandigarh and has been working as a sports journalist since last 15 years. He writes articles on Olympic sports. He works as special correspondent in Hindustan Times in Chandigarh. He has reported 2010 Common wealth games and 2012 London Olympics. His book Akhada is biography of the man who proved that Indian women are not inferior to Indian men- not even in wrestling. The book that he wrote got adapted into massive blockbuster film Dangal.
3. Subhash Chandran
Subhash Chandran is a Malayalam novelist, writer who predominantly writes short stories and journalist. He is the only Malayalam writer to feature in Times of India’s list of outstanding young writers. His book, Manushyanu Oru Aamukhan received critical acclaim and is touted to be one of the best-selling books in Malayalam Literature. Many of his stories have also been adapted into full-length feature films. Subhash Chandran is truly a pride for Kerala and undoubtedly an unsung modern-day hero of Indian literature.
4. Nayantara Sahgal.
Nayantara Sahgal is an Indian writer who predominantly writes in English. She is the member of Nehru-Gandhi Family. She is among the three daughters of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit- the sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Sehgal had received her education at Wellesley College in the United States. Her first book was an autobiographical memoir- “Prison and Chocolate Cake”which threw light on her days spent amid the Nehru Family. She then switched to writing fictional novels. The novels that she wrote were based on personal conflict amid Indian political crises. She was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel “Rich Like Us”.
Modern day heroes of India in 2020
In these tried and tested times, there were people who stood like a rock and worked day and night so that people like us can sit safely at home. The nationwide lockdown in 2020 due to prevalent coronavirus pandemic had increased difficulty of these people by ten folds. Besides that, they also had to bear the wrath of the people. They protected the borders of the nation and fought valiantly against the infiltrators from neighboring countries. Those truly were the war heroes of India. Inspite of getting contracted with the virus they kept on protecting the honor of the nation. They kept looking after their patients. Before the pandemic, I always used to ponder about How Doctors can be considered as modern heroes?But the services provided by the Doctors as well as the other health workers were worth appreciating. Because inspite of knowing the fact that they might get contracted with virus, they refrained from sitting at home and gave their services to the patients.
1. Dr. Randeep Guleria
Dr. Randeep Guleria is an Indian pulmonologist. He is the incumbent director of AIIMS(All India Institute of Medical Sciences). He was conferred with the fourth highest civilian honor- Padma Shri by Government of India in 2015. He has been at the forefront in the fight against the deadly corona virus. People like us were only able to sit peacefully at home because of men like him, who selflessly worked for the betterment of people.
2. Nurse Roopa Praveen Rao
In may 2020, when corona virus cases had substantially increased in India, a 9- month pregnant lady, Roopa decided not to rest. She, instead decided to work for the patients during the tough times. Roopa travelled for an hour, on a daily basis, so that she could look after her patients. The nine-month pregnant lady working is for almost six hours a day, is an exemplar of sheer dedication and devotion. She is undoubtedly the modern- day hero of India.
3.Jitender Singh Shunty
Owing to fear and stigma around the Corona Virus, families many families were refraining from performing the last rites for their near and dear ones. Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, an NGO in Delhi took it upon themselves to perform the last rites of the people who get succumbed to Covid-19.
In an Interview with a leading news portal, he said, “ Sewa in any form must be done from heart. During the time of corona virus crisis were unable to perform last rites of their loved ones. Some had to quarantine themselves, while some decided to avoid performing because of the fear of getting infected. We even saw cases where people had abandoned the body of the deceased. That’s when we decided to help by giving them a dignified farewell.”
The NGO had performed last rites of around 200 people. While doing so, the family also got contracted with the virus, but that didn’t stop them from helping people.
4. Akhila Yadav
Akhila Yadav is a BSc. Graduate and sarpanch of Mandapuram village located in Hyderabad. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the first nation-wide lockdown, she bolstered the initiative. She, from the very next day, stood outside the village to stop people from entering into her village without a valid reason. She used to stand from morning to afternoon and then took a break and continued till the evening. She also went to villager’s homes to make them aware about the symptoms of the virus and also tell them the reasons to follow the guidelines laid by Indian Government. Her work was appreciated by Prime Minister in radio show- Mann Ki Baat, where he addresses the nation.
While studying medicine, she was willing to do more. When she was in the medical school, she began working for a foundation that rehabilitated prostitutes. She was given a case of an eleven-year old girl who neither used to eat nor used to talk to anyone. She used to sit in a corner near a heap of waste. In order to talk to her, she used to sit next to her for hours and share her lunch with the victim.
That’s how Sana bonded with the girl. After a couple of days, she also convinced her to go for a medical analysis. When she was taken for analysis, they found that she had HIV. Sana was just 19, but still she decided to adopt her. She took care of all of her needs single-handedly at the tender age of 19. She juggled between looking after her and studying for becoming a doctor. After becoming a doctor, she had initially joined a corporate hospital. She also joined an AIDS foundation.
Eventually she started travelling across India and conducted programs to help people by spreading awareness about the disease. She even got an opportunity to collaborate with UNICEF.
6. Indira Garg
Indira Garg is an anganwadi worker, living Tarpal Village which is located near Udaipur, Rajasthan. During the nationwide lockdown her husband wanted her to sit at home as he feared the consequences of stepping outside the house. But Indira remained adamant and kept on working. She went to people’s houses to distribute home rations. She also provided other services like monitoring new born baby’s weight, providing medical supplies and checkups to pregnant mothers.
However, the villagers weren’t willing to allow her to enter their homes. They all feared the virus and thought allowing her to come to their house will be dangerous as they might get contracted with the disease.
People were apprehensive and were not willing to co-operate with her. But villagers’ attitude didn’t bother her. Along with other anganwadi workers she went door-to-door to spread awareness about the pandemic. She tried to talk to people about health, hygiene and nutrition. Covid had put forth many obstacles in her life, but she ensured that she keeps on helping people. She also helped the government in creating awareness about the virus, safety measures to be taken to avoid getting contracted with the deadly virus, tracking and monitoring of patients in remote locations across the nation. Due to the efforts that she had put in, no one from her village goes out without putting on a mask.
She, fought against all odds, to ensure that people seeking for help get helped at the right time. She is truly an unsung modern hero of 2020.
So, these were the among the unsung modern day heroes of India in 2020. These people kept their lives in danger so they could keep people around them happy. Media often showcases the contribution of celebrities and other eminent personalities. But does not showcase the contribution of these people who have also toiled hard to ensure that people in their village, community or city remain safe. We often revere the affluent people who help people and neglect the layman who inspite of facing shortage of resources helps people. We often start considering them as messiahs, but besides them, these people who have stayed away from limelight and have helped people.