Despite the good a lot of great leaders have done, there are lesser known men and women in the country who have put the needs of society at large, over their own. These 17 individuals expect no fame or pat on the back but just want to help to develop the country.
#1 Pravin Tulpule
Ex-officer of the Indian Navy, aka Pintoo, Pravin Tulpule spends his time giving kids in several orphanages and pediatric wards the best medicine – a dose of laughter. Of all his interactions, 70% are with kids, and he performs for them absolutely free.
#2 Roshni Mukherjee
Roshni Mukherjee gave up her job at an MNC to teach thousands of students around the country science and math. While teaching was always her first love, circumstances forced her to take up a job at an MNC. Regardless, she uploaded videos to her YouTube channel in her spare time, and went on to launch ExamFear.com, a platform where she teaches students between classes 9 and 12. Her channel has over 74,000 subscribers, who are eternally grateful to Roshni.
#3 Supraja Dharini
Dharini’s life plans took a turn when she saw kids playing cricket with turtle eggs. In the aftermath, she decided to work extensively towards changing people’s attitudes towards turtles. Since 2002, she has released more than 44,654 hatchlings in the sea.
#4 Daripalli Ramaiah
In Khammam, people talk of a man who carries seeds and plants on his cycle, and plants them wherever he sees a barren spot. It’s not a legend though; Daripalli Ramaiah can’t spot a barren piece of land, and not plant a seed in it. He walks about with seeds in his pocket, and plants one wherever he finds a spot. People say he’s possibly planted a crore trees! We salute you, sir.
#5 Vidya Rattan Sharma
Sharma began his career as a cook, only to soon discover his love for cookstoves and innovations. As a result, he created the DEEP Chulha that helps users improve fuel efficiency by as much as 50%. In addition to creating this amazing stove, Sharma also works with the elderly in his area by running some 34 elders’ SHGs.
#6 Mukund BS
While most of us are in a race to get the latest gadget, this guy has been creating affordable computers from scrap. Targeting the economically weaker sections of the community as customers, Mukund has created over 10,000 computers from almost nothing! And that’s hardly it. They also provide free after-sale service for these machines for a year. A great initiative, considering how computers have become almost a necessity in life, and many still not being able to afford them.
#7 Manvendra Singh Gohil
A royal prince from Gujarat, Gohil is the only known person of royal lineage in modern India to have publicly revealed he is a homosexual. He founded the Lakshya Trust and works extensively towards preventing HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSMs). It takes tremendous courage to come out of the closet in a country like India, but Gohil went right ahead. And we couldn’t be more proud of him.
#8 Pi Sangkhumi
While growing up in Mizoram, Pi Sangkhumi was witness to many instances of injustice being meted out to women. Realizing that this was function of regressive, ancient laws and customs, coupled with poor literacy, she decided to set things straight. How? Sangkhumi has been working tirelessly in the areas of women empowerment and education.
#9 Mahima and Vijendra Shekhawat
This duo took a step back and revolutionized the way paper is made, in a bid to protect the green cover of the earth. As a result, they invented a kind of paper made out of elephant dung! Haathi Chaap, the organization Mahima and Vijendra started, makes paper and several other products like bags, notebooks, etc, out of elephant waste.
#10 Ritu Biyani
Biyani suffered from and overcame breast cancer, making it her life’s mission to spread awareness of the disease in India. In an effort to do this, she travels across the length and breadth of the country to spread awareness. She also holds a record in the Limca Book of Records, India, as the first woman to do a solo drive to the four tips of India. Biyani currently works on an initiative called High>>>ways Beyond Cancer, and organizes workshops at offices, schools, hospitals and army camps to spread awareness about the disease.
#11 Chewang Norphel
While Ladakh is as beautiful and picturesque as ever, many locals struggled for basic water needs. That, until retired civil engineer Chewang Norphel put his engineering skills to a good use. Back in 1966, Norphel was posted at Zanskar, and he and his team had to construct buildings, schools, bridges and roads in the area, which was a difficult task due to a lack of skilled labor. But Norphel took it upon himself to train a few villagers. Years later, he returned and was thrilled to see that the same villagers had made careers out what he had taught them. Today, he is called the “Ice Man of India” and has created 10 artificial glaciers in Ladakh.
#12 Narayanan Krishnan
On his way to becoming an award-winning chef in Switzerland, Krishnan changed paths drastically to feeding the elderly on the roadside, In a bid to do this, he cooks food every morning and feeds the elderly and mentally ill, and poor on Madurai’s streets.
#13 Dashrath Manjhi
Dashrath Manjhi was a poor laborer in the Gehlaur village of Bihar. On losing his wife due to not being able to reach a hospital in time, Manjhi carved a path through a mountain using just a hammer and chisel. After 22 years of work, Dashrath shortened travel between his village and Wazirganj in Gaya from 55 km to 15 km. The world called him a lunatic, but he kept on. In 2006, a year before he died, the Bihar government proposed his name for a Padma Shri award. And might we say he deserved it.
#14 Benedict Jebakumar
Benedict Jebakumar is a man on a mission. He spends his free time making the roads of Bangalore safer. How? He collects nails and other puncture-causing sharp objects lying on the roads. And he’s incredibly efficient about it. Instead of bending down time and again, he’s modified a fishing rod, and put magnets on its end to attract the nails. Since July 2014, he’s collected over five kilograms! What a legend.
#15 Shafiq Ur Rehman Khan
Since he was a teenager, Khan believed furiously in the education rights of Dalit children and other excluded communities. He initially focused on the cause of rescuing young girls who fell victim to bride trafficking, and marched 300 kilometers to against female foeticide and gender inequality. He also started an organization called “Empower People”. Individuals like Khan can certainly help develop the country.
Siddappa was an illiterate farmer from rural Karnataka, but nothing stopped him from doing what he did. He designed a water mill to generate electricity, operating it in the canal near his home. Spending just Rs. 5,000 on its construction, the mill generates 150 watts of power to Siddappa’s house when water flows in the canal. But he claims he can generate electricity for his whole village, if he got access to a regular supply of water through the canal. Is the government listening?
Udaybhai is an angel in disguise. The autowallah from Ahmedabad makes sure his passengers are comfortable. How does he do this? Well, his passengers are provided with snacks, water, newspapers, you name it. But that’s hardly the most amazing thing about his joyride. His auto meter is always at zero, because Udaybhai works on the gift-economy principle. Which basically means someone before you has paid for your travel, and now you can pay it forward for the next passenger. What a kind man.
While these acts may seem petty every small act can help to develop the nation.
Do you know a superhero that you think should be on this list? Leave a comment.