The self-made heroes of India

The self-made heroes of India

Published: Sat 15 Aug 2015, 10:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 15 Aug 2015, 12:27 PM

Special report for India Independence Day

 Manjula leads Bangalore'sair defence labs.-Photo by Sandesh Ravikumar
J.Manjula 53
Director, Defence Avionics Research
Establishment (DARE), Bangalore
The Pioneer
She is the first woman to head DARE.
What Makes Her a Change Agent?
At DARE, Manjula has focused on the modernisation of mission avionics in aircraft as well as testing and implementing the latest electronic warfare technologies for the IAF.
She is also working on setting up more indigenous systems for the IAF. She is the first woman to head any of the nine defence labs in Bangalore and one of the few to head a DRDO lab.
by Sonali Acharjee

Chaturvedi ensures clean sanitaryaccess for all.- Photograph by Abhijit Patil
 Swapnil Chaturvedi 39
Founder and Chief Toilet Cleaner
Samagra, Pune
 Making a Difference
He works to improve public sanitation facilities by redesigning and managing community toilets.
What Makes Him a Change Agent?
Since March 2013, Chaturvedi has implemented his toilet management model in two community toilet blocks in Pune, redesigning them to make them women, children, elderly and differently abled-friendly.
His concept also offers "loo rewards" at local shops for those who pay monthly toilet fees. In one year, he has registered 102 first-time toilet users.
He has helped 30 women turn entrepreneurs by collecting fees and selling products. The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation chose to fund his model in 2011.
by Aditi Pai
Samanta with school children from kiss in Bhubaneswar.
Achyuta Samanta 49
Founder, KIIT and KISS, Bhubaneswar
 Happy Feat
Established the largest free residential tribal institute in the world.
What Makes Him a Change Agent?
Samanta had the desire to do something for underprivileged children, having emerged from poverty himself. He left his teaching job at Utkal University in 1992 to set up Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) in Odisha.
The next year, he set up Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), a school that offers kindergarten to postgraduation education and vocational training for free. It currently has 25,000 tribal children on the rolls.
by Amitabh Srivastava
Dr Nayna Patel with surrogate mothers in Anand.-Photograph by Rohit Chawla
Dr Nayna Patel 55
IVF specialist, Anand
Runs one of the largest surrogacy units in India at Anand, Akanksha Infertility Clinic
Mothers' Pride
Dr Nayna Patel has just delivered her 805th surrogate child and is about to open a 22,000 square feet hospital with beds for 110 surrogates in the town.
It will even have a separate Japanese wing replete with translators and regional food to help women from that country who have been impacted by rising infertility due to radiation.
There are also plans for vocational training for surrogates and India's first human breast milk bank.
by Gayatri Jayaraman
Arati Devi teacheswomen of Dhunkapada Village.

Arati Devi 33
Sarpanch, Dhunkapada, Odisha
 Return to Roots
The investment banker quit IDBI to become sarpanch of her village.
Power to the People
An MBA in finance and an investment banker, Arati Devi quit her job with IDBI in January 2012 to become sarpanch of Dhunkapada village.
From getting every illiterate villager enrolled in the adult literacy programme to ensuring that the panchayat's governing council streamlines the Public Distribution System, she has changed the mindset of villagers and made local self- government participatory.
by Amitabh Srivastava

Verma breathes life into India's agricultural sector.- Photograph by Maneesh Agnihotri
Ram Saran Verma 49
Farmer, Barabanki
 DIY Man
Devised hybrid and tissue culture techniques on his own to increase productivity of crops.
 The Field Revolutionary
Verma, who lives in Daulatpur village in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, has devised hybrid and tissue culture techniques to increase the productivity of banana, tomato, potato and mint crops threefold.
For the last 25 years, he has been training farmers across India for free-benefiting at least 10,000 cultivators. He is now working on growing red bananas using hybrid techniques.
by Ashish Misra
Text and Photos Courtesy India Today

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