AOG Heroes

Saju Talukdar

Saju Talukdar

Bengal Driver Gives Free Clothes to the Needy:

Saju Talukdar, a 47-year-old car driver, drives the Bir Birsha Munda Cloth Bank (BBMC) near Dimdima Tea Garden, in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal.

Though the clothes bank was inaugurated on January 2017, Talukdar has been accumulating used clothes from people and distributing to the needy for more than a decade now. As of now, the clothing bank has 50,000 units of clothing, and every week Saju shares around 3,000-4,000 clothes to families in nearby tea gardens, railway stations, bus stops and wherever else people need clothes.

Having to leave his education due to lack of school uniform inspired Saju to take up this initiative. To collect and distribute clothes, Saju purchased a four-wheeler in 2015, on which he would transport passengers to Siliguri and different parts of Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri district.

In January 2017, Saju commenced BBMC at his home and put up a signboard. The people who noticed it started donating clothes. Whoever lacked clothes came to his house, a custom which happens daily to this day.

Talukdar has also adopted two tea garden villages—Bandapani in Alipurduar district with a community of around 650, and Caron in Nagarkata subdivision of Jalpaiguri district—which has a population of a little than 1,000. Saju typically delivers clothes to these people during festivals, and warm clothes in winter. Things took an even bigger turn for the philanthropist, when he got a call from Bengali quiz show Dadagiri in June 2018, to appear beside former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly.

Besides the clothes bank, Saju also operates a shelter home—Heaven Shelter Home—for the abandoned, where he also renders food, and clothes to the homeless.

Saju Talukdar
Rahul Sharma

Rahul Sharma

From IT job holder to Organic farmer, giving back to the ecosystem:

Rahul Sharma’s summer vacations during his early life were spent in Mustafabad, a tiny village in Kapurthala district. Though Rahul’s father, Banwari Lal Sharma, grew up helping his family on their farm, he moved to the city when he got appointed as a Professor of Physics at the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra.

Unknown to young Rahul the very fact that as he would grow older, his need to reconnect with his roots would see him quit a cushy 18-year-old IT career and go back to the same village and grow organic food in his ancestral farmland. Shedding light on how the switch of careers happened, Rahul talks of his interest in learning different skills. This was perhaps one of the reasons why he opted to pursue a diploma in computers in the early 90s despite being an Economics and Statistics graduate.

In 2016, he quit his job and moved to Chandigarh. Within five days of his move, he had travelled to Mustafabad and began his work. The land, which had been given on lease to someone, was choked with chemicals. So the first plan of action was to revive the soil in the four-acre patch. He used Crop rotation & nitrogen-fixing crops, System of Rice Intensification, Green manuring & Biodiverse wild patch.

Over time he started teaching these methods to nearby farmers. Today he grows crops such as wheat, black rice, basmati rice, moong, Masur and arhar daal, desi makka (Maize), chana (black gram), turmeric, sesame (for oil), mustard (for oil), cotton (rainfed) etc. The AoG community salutes such gesture of bravery and environmental development works.

Rahul Sharma
Gangadhar Rout

Gangadhar Rout

Odisha Man donates his life savings in an Art of Giving feat to built a bridge

Sexagenarian Gangadhar Rout, a retired livestock inspector with the Odisha government, immersed into his savings and pension to start building the 270 foot-long bridge across the river that links Kanpur village to Daneipur in October 2016.
 
Rout lives in the village of Kanpur, which gets cut off throughout the monsoon, loses access to its farmlands, which are on the other side of the river. Even when it’s not raining profoundly, the lack of a bridge forces the villagers to row across the water or take long detours on foot to reach their farmlands.
 
The circumstances leading up to this decision highlight the apathy many of our fellow countrymen endure at the hands of the state. More than a decade ago, a local truck owners’ association, a local legislator and the Hatadihi block administration, donated funds to the tune of Rs 6 lakh to construct the bridge. However, due to the insufficiency of funds, the construction of the bridge was incomplete.
 
For many years, nearly 1,200 residents of the village have demanded the construction of a bridge. “We requested officials and local people’s representatives for [the] completion of the bridge, but no one paid any heed towards our demand. Local truck owners’ association and other private organisations also did not help us financially. With no other option in sight, I decided to shoulder the responsibility,” said Rout.
 
Settling into his retirement benefits of Rs 12 lakh, he took his nephew and surveyed various bridges in the area to understand what it takes to build one.
 
Initially, he had thought about using the money to buy a car, but the decrepit condition of the incomplete bridge cause him to decide against it, instead, spending the money on fixing and completing it. After finishing the construction of the bridge locals at Kanpur village in Odisha have praised his remarkable work of Rout.

Gangadhar Rout
CBR Prasad

CBR Prasad

Ex-IAF Officer donates Rs 1.08 crore to the Indian Army:

CBR Prasad, a 74-year-old retired airman who has donated almost entire savings of his life to the Ministry of Defence. Prasad met defence minister Rajnath Singh and handed over the cheque of Rs 1.08 crore to him.

Prasad after serving in the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 9 years left his post to join the Indian Railways as he was offered a job there. Unfortunately, he did not get that job, so he started a small poultry farm for my livelihood which paid off.

Prasad started poultry farming and worked hard for 30 years. Intending to help society, he has also set up a sports university. Prasad served in the IAF for around nine years before he left it.
Asked if his family approved the idea, the retired air-warrior says, “Absolutely, no problem. I have given my daughter 2 per cent of my property and one per cent to my wife. Rest 97 per cent, I am giving back to the society

“You should not take back anything because you did not get anything while coming. Give that minimum needed to your family and the rest to the society and rest of the life work for the society,” he added.

In retrospect, he recalls his days of struggle and states, “I left home with Rs 5 in my pocket and earned 500-acre land with my bare hard work. I have given 5-acre to my wife and 10-acre to my daughter and rest everything, I am utilising for the society”

CBR Prasad
Muthayya Vanitha

Muthayya Vanitha

Women behind the Chandrayaan-2 Mission:

Chandrayaan-2, India’s Moon mission, has been launched from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota. Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), this mission was led by two women scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Muthayya Vanitha, Project Director, was leading the Chandryaan-2 and on the other hand, Ritu Karidhal was working as Mission Director. On the other hand, Mission Director Ritu Karidhal was earlier working as Deputy Director of the Mars Mission. This was the first time that women power is heading this much of highly important ISRO mission.

GSLV Mk-III-M-1 is carrying three robotics to the Moon on 22 July 2019 at 2.43 PM IST. It consists of a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map the location and abundance of lunar water.

Muthayya Vanitha & Ritu Karidhal have been associated with ISRO, for the last two decades. Before this, they were part of several launches as well as the advancement of sub-systems for satellites. ISRO has earlier had women project directors for the launch of communication and other satellites.

Muthayya Vanitha
Anand Kumar

Anand Kumar

Super 30, a super Art Of Giving:

Anand Kumar is an Indian educationalist and a mathematician best known for his Super 30 programme, which coaches underprivileged students for IIT-JEE, the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

He was born to a simple homemaker and a clerk in the postal department in Patna, Bihar. Unable to buy private schools, Anand Kumar studied in a Hindi-medium government school. The death of his father at a young age pushed the family into deep financial crisis, where his mother had to start the business of rolling papads to sustain the family. Despite his financial circumstances, Kumar was a gifted child, especially in mathematics. The papers he wrote on the number theory during his graduation were published in journals such as Mathematical Spectrum and The Mathematical Gazette.

In 1992, Kumar began teaching mathematics in a rented room for Rs. 500 a month, under the banner- Ramanujan School of Mathematics (RSM). In a span of three years, he was teaching almost 500 students. In 2002, an underprivileged student sought to coach for IIT-JEE from Kumar, stating he couldn’t afford the annual admission fee.

This inspired Kumar to start the Super 30 programme in 2002, which hunts for 30 meritorious students from economically backward sections of the society. In an extremely generous feat of Art Of giving, Kumar provides free coaching, shelter and food to help the students crack entrance exam of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). By 2018, 422 out of 480 students had cleared the entrance for IITs under his supervision. The man’s work inspired Hritik Roshan’s, Super 30 under the banner of Phantom Films.

Anand Kumar
Harjinder Singh

Harjinder Singh

Harjinder Singh’s ambulance auto, a selfless act of giving:

76-year-old Harjinder Singh’s auto’s back cover reads “Free ambulance for injured in a road accident.” Written in red capital letters, the sentence makes his auto stand out from the rest on busy Delhi roads. Former traffic warden, Mr Singh runs what is perhaps the only ‘auto ambulance’ in the city’.

Art of Giving is all about creating an unconditional and sustainable abundance of love, peace and happiness and contentment for others through gestures of kindness and generosity. Harinder Singh’sselfless art of giving has proved that the “purpose” to help people is greater than age and circumstances.

Running a regular auto as an ambulance for those victimized in accidents or needing emergency services, Singh has helped hundreds of people in Delhi and saved multiple lives.

“I cannot be omnipresent, but till my last breath, I will continue helping accident victims and provide medication to them free of cost,” Singh told the media.

 

76-year-old Harjinder Singh’s auto’s back cover reads “Free ambulance for injured in a road accident.” Written in red capital letters, the sentence makes his auto stand out from the rest on busy Delhi roads. Former traffic warden, Mr Singh runs what is perhaps the only ‘auto ambulance’ in the city'. “I cannot be omnipresent, but till my last breath, I will continue helping accident victims and provide medication to them free of cost,” Singh told the media. Team #AOG salutes the effort of Harinder Singh. His selfless #actofgiving has proved that the "will" to help people is greater than age and circumstances.

Art of Giving यांनी वर पोस्ट केले शुक्रवार, १२ जुलै, २०१९
Harjinder Singh
Akshara Santa

Akshara Santa

(The saint of letters)

Like the name suggests, “Santa” was actually a boon that children wished for, just this time, SANTA is for real. And this time his gifts are more than candies and cakes, this time a common man rises from illiteracy to the stardom of knowledge.

Meet Harekala Hajabba a man from Mangalore, Karnataka and an orange vendor, who had the courage to spend to spend years of savings to start a school in the region he came from so that the children there could get educated.

The unselfish man kept saving money for 15 long years from his every day earning to support the cause. Walking down a trip of 25 km daily from his native village to Mangaluru city to sell oranges and eventually starting the school with mere 28 students and a strong desire to educate every child in the village, Hajaba began the school at a Madrasa- an educational premise most often in premises of a Mosque.

Today, the school, which has grown with government hold up and donations from private folks are known as Hajabba School. He is affectionately known as ‘ Akshara Santa’.

Akshara Santa
Shamsher Khan

Shamsher Khan

In 1956, Khan had become a national hero for finishing in the 5th place in the Melbourne Summer Olympics. The thing is no-one remembers who stands second so why heed someone who stood 5th. But the fact remains in the number of hour of pain, sacrifices and fighting up the screwed political hierarchy.

Before that, he had also set national records in all four swimming strokes as well as in water polo and diving, making him the only Indian to do so. In a country like India and at this 21st century,  where sports isn’t ever on the list of favorable career as of now, Shamsher khan dared to go on to the Olympics fighting the system and people.

Though no one remembers the person who came second, we should acknowledge this extraordinary man who could dive in( literally) to work against a sports disregarding country.

Shamsher Khan passed away from heart failure on 15 October 2017. Take a moment to be proud of an Indian who was a proud yet unsung Indian hero.

Shamsher Khan
Mrs. Rajani Tai

Mrs. Rajani Tai

EDUCATION ON MOVE

Mrs. Rajani Tai, post 15 years of graduation, which was also 15 years of her married life, went back to college to get a Master’s degree in Social Work. She then joined as a professor in College of Social Work, Mumbai and then taught at Shikoku Christian University, Japan. She mainly taught subjects revolving around Indian social problems and international social welfare.

After two decades of working as a professor, she officially started a- Door Step School (DSS) in Pune (1993).

Door step school aims to make 100 percent literacy a reality. This is a group of people, Targeting children from age 3 to 18 (mainly children of migrant workers), teach the children even if there is no place to conduct the classes (sometimes conducting classes on pavements or road construction sites or railway stations and the like).

In an interview, Rajani Tai said, “We go where ever the children are and start the class right there”.  The Doorstep School has today become a 750+ member organization that serves more than 30,000 underprivileged kids. Though Rajani Tai had a stable job she quit on an easy life just to aid kids in need. She started small and now DSS is no less than a miracle.

This is the thing about heroes, they create miracles out of scrap.

 

Mrs. Rajani Tai