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Democratising Heroism

For me, any person who does something to champion change or change mindsets of people is a hero

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Heroism is not just about moving mountains and doing big things, but about doing small things with great love, humaneness and individual social responsibility, to make the big difference. My journey in life is to tell stories of heroes I meet every day, through my Karma Kurry books, columns and conferences where I speak.  

Stories of ordinary people who performed extraordinary deeds like Manjhi who moved a mountain, Madeline Cartwright an educator who improved an entire city, Subhashini Mistry a domestic house help who built a huge hospital, captain of  industry Anu Aga who started giving two per cent of profits for CSR, Oseola McCarthy a janitor who started an endowment-fund to support poor students, Chewang Norphel who built  artificial glaciers with his bare hands.

Besides telling true stories of greatness, I also like telling stories of people who are doing small but significant things in their own space and time. To  mainstream real heroes and their ground-breaking work, we began the Rex-Karmaveer-Global-Fellowships and Karmaveer-Chakra awards with the UN.

Sashi Priyadrashni, a senior-leader at HP, who encourages people daily to donate organs. Gaurav Mishra, who declined attractive corporate offers to start a state-of-the-art entrepreneur mentoring movement. Madhavan Rajaram a senior-engineer at ONGC who creates indigenous skills and tools to empower farmers. Girish Gogia an entrepreneur, completely paralyzed after a spinal-cord injury, inspires people to be positive with his speeches. Preeti Monga who became completely blind at the age of 12, now coaches other people living with disabilities to find employment.

Darab Talyarkhan a 70-year-old corporate governance advisor-director, mentors young-entrepreneurs to be sustainable. Sudeep Nagarkar a romance-author (IIT engineering drop-out) influenced his family, neighbours, friends to understand that engineering is not the only profession. Saurabh Nimbkar a pharmaceutical executive who sings songs and begs in Mumbai trains, to raise funds for cancer patients. Kaizaad Kotwal an Emmy-award winning actor who speaks out against wrongs in our world. My list of heroes can go on.

Ideas-For-Action: The hero in you inspires the hero in me. None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something. For me, any person who does something to champion change or change mindsets of people is a hero who influences a better society and world. Dr A.P. J. Abdul Kalam who was nominated for the Karmaveer awards in 2016 called the Fellows, Hero-discoverers and Inspirators. These heroes are inspiring and discovering more champions-of-change every day. Every hero’s great journey begins with one small step and those small steps have led to a big change. For example, Sashi Priyadarshini who had influenced 60 people to donate organs, when she was chosen for the fellowship in 2013, has now inspired over 12,000. An award, acknowledgement and appreciation of one’s work inspires people to be more, grow more and do more.  Together we can make the world a better place, if each of us does our small bit by becoming-the-change.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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magazine 5 August 2017 leadership opinion


Jerry is a management & OD consultant, celebrated inspirational orator, teacher, UN advisor, internationally certified leadership subject matter expert, trainer, Executive coach and an effective, innovative fundraiser and missionary entrepreneur

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