Swami Vivekananda rightly said: “India is the primal guru of the whole world”. Indeed! India is the birthplace of human speech, an Indian taught the world to count, majority of advances in science were made here centuries ago and our vedas showcase the true path for a perfect life. Our country was exceptional with enormous resources like rich heritage, amazing culture, scenic nature and enterprising people. We were a great nation.
Today we are in the news for reasons such as corruption, poverty, pollution, unemployment and inequality, etc. One of the main reasons behind our fall could be that India failed to preserve its possessions be it culture, people, technology marvel or resources. Why do we prefer western clothes or rock music or overseas cuisine? Why do our brightest minds migrate to foreign countries and contribute to their economy? Why are our inventions sold to foreign corporates who are in turn selling them to the world under their name? Why do we buy MNC products and let them take our money weakening our economy? Can this all be changed? Can Bharat be great again?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Mother India has 250 crore arms, 200 crore of those arms are younger than 35. It’s the youth of India who can help us fulfil our potential.” Fortunately some of them have already initiated the process of bringing about change. We present the inspiring stories of three such unsung heroes.
Left high-paying corporate job to serve the poor and the homeless
“We all are human beings. We are alike. Then how can you let some people on the streets to die? Why should anyone be denied food, love and care? I will not let anyone leave the world anonymously. Those who have nobody to call as their own, Serve Needy will be their family,” says 30-year-old social entrepreneur Goutham Kumar from Hyderabad.
Goutham’s NGO ‘Serve Needy Voluntary Organization and Orphanage Home’ is a professional organization with 6 full time members and more than 30 volunteers. Since 2011, it has given secure homes to 22 children rescued from human trafficking and slums; 80 people received dignified last rites, 50 homeless old people were admitted to old age homes and every day more than 1000 people across Hyderabad city are given food free of cost but full of harmony. “I cannot let anyone sleep on an empty stomach. Pain and agony has spread in our country like deadly disease. It needs to be cured. Instead of playing a blame game with government and politicians I thought to check on my contribution percentage in resolving national problems. Therefore, to work professionally and not as a weekend hobby enthusiast, I resigned from Expedia and started this organization,” he shares.
IIT Kharagpur alumnus quit his job to provide education, food, clothes and good health to children in remote villages in three Indian states.
“I was astonished to see that villages located at a distance of just 5-6 km from the prestigious IIT Kharagpur have less than 10% literacy. Children are not having access to basic necessities like food, clothes and health. I went to the village to provide education for children but was startled to observe the children were hungry. How could they study on an empty stomach? The situation was so pathetic! I felt hurt and decided to bring change in the lives of these people otherwise what is the use of my education?” says Vishal.
Vishal is too modest to call himself a social entrepreneur. He does not want recognition or admiration for his work. All he aspires for is to provide a fulfilling life to the people in Soladahar and Gopali villages, Paschim Medinipur district, West Bengal. He started working for the villages’ welfare in 2012. “Majority of the villagers belong to tribal communities. They don’t have any stable source of income. They survive on farm incomes or menial jobs. It is mandatory for the children of these families to work for their living. They go out for work in the daytime and by the time they return the government primary school in the village is closed. How and where do the children study?” he shares.
Said no to Rs 100 crore patent contract for his ‘Made in India’ brand
“I am an Indian and all my inventions are to bring prosperity for my country India,” says Nivedan Nempe. He has invented a healthy beverage from arecanut called Areca Tea. It is the only one such beverage that has rich medicinal properties. The tea has been tested and certified for its benefits by world leading certifying agencies. “Areca Tea is the product of India, to be manufactured only in India and then sold across the globe. I am very clear of having all my inventions to be tagged as ‘Made in India,” he adds. He declined lucrative offers to sell his patent rights overseas. He coolly said ‘no’ to even a Rs 100 crore offer!
Nivedan completed his school education from the village government school and later went to Melbourne University, Australia for his higher education. He was working for a foreign based multinational company and was drawing a salary of Rs 6 lakh per month. He left it all, returned to India and settled in his village Mandagadde, Shivamogga district, Karnataka. He wanted to make the most of his knowledge in resolving the national problems like poverty and unemployment.