People idolize the wrong people. They find inspiration in cricketers, film stars and even politicians. People fail to recognize those who truly deserve the respect and recognition in the society. There are so many stories of courageous Indians who worked towards the betterment of the society but have remained untold and unheard by society. Here are the 20 unsung heroes who selflessly devoted their lives to a cause. Their life is an inspiration for all of us and it’s time that we give them the recognition they deserve.
1. Sindhutai Sapkal – Mother Of Orphans
She is the woman full of energy and passion. Sindhutai emerged stronger with every difficulty she faced and is a “mother” to over 1400 orphans and children who were abandoned by their parents. The situations she faced could force anyone to lose courage and succumb to the adverse situations. She was born on 14 November 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha district of Maharashtra. Even though she has an interest towards studies, she could not continue her studies after fourth grade due to family responsibilities and early marriage.
She got married at a tender age of 10 to a 30-year old man. Her husband used to beat her up every day and finally threw her out of the house when she was nine-months pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter in a cow shelter and cut the umbilical cord with a stone. The saddest part is she walked a few kilometers in that condition to her mother’s place, who refused to give shelter to her. Yes. Her own mother refused to give shelter.
She started begging at railway platforms for food to look after her daughter. When she realized that there are many orphans and children abandoned by their parents, she adopted those around her who couldn’t earn and didn’t have parents to take care of them. Sindhutai Sapkal has a huge family of 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over 1000 grandchildren. Some of them are engineers, doctors, and lawyers. She has won over 500 awards, but wait, have you ever heard of her.
2. Gangadhara Tilak Katnam – Filled 1,125 Potholes On Hyderabad’s Roads
Usually, people relax after retirement. But Gandhara Tilak Katnam is not like others. The 67-years old retired Railway employee starts his car every morning and drives around on Hyderabad roads to repair the potholes. So far, he filled 1,125 potholes to make Hyderabad’s roads safer for commuters and has exhausted his pension in this process. The backseat of his car always has a few gunny bags full of tar mixed gravel and are emptied whenever a pothole is spotted.
3. Omkarnath Sharma – Medicine Baba
Popularly known as “Medicine Baba”, he walks around the streets of Delhi, knocking on the doors of relatively well-to-do households to collect free medicines for the needy. He started a free medicine bank for the poor and the needy. Sharma got inspiration when he saw people suffering due to inadequate medicines.
Sharma began this mission in 2008 when a bridge collapsed in Delhi and he saw many injured people being turned away from hospitals because they didn’t have the required medicines. He wakes up every morning and walks 5-7 kms procuring non-prescription medicines. He has now gained some regular contributors.
4. Nandlal Master – Educates Village Children
Nandlal Master, the local weaver from a village near Varanasi observed that people end up getting their children married since they can’t afford their education. So, he has been on a mission to empower women and abolish child labor. Nandlal started a learning center to educate children from villages around him. Now, he has over 500 students from less privileged homes. He conducted more than 700 weddings to help out families. He is now on a mission to promote inter-caste marriages and breaking traditions like dowry.
5. Daripalli Ramaiah – The Man Who Planted More Than 10 Million Trees
Daripalli Ramaiah carries seeds in his pockets and travels indefinite distances to reach a spot of barren land so that he could plant the seeds and saplings he was carrying. He sold his three-acre plot of land to gather the necessary funds to purchase seeds and plant saplings. When someone gifted him Rs. 5,000 during his son’s marriage, he used that money also to this cause! He carries a scarf which says “Vriksho Rakshati Rakshitaha” whenever he sets out to plant saplings.
Ramaiah was awarded plenty of state and national awards on account of his work towards tree plantation. Last year in June, the Telangana government awarded him a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.
He said, “My responsibility has gone up with the Padma Shri. I will continue this campaign until my last breath. I will be happy if I am able to inspire at least one crore people so that each of them plants one tree each.”