Eight stories that touched a chord in 2017

These stories will not only inspire you but they will also melt your heart and further restore your faith in humanity along with teaching you life-long lessons.

Published: 26th December 2017 02:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2017 02:39 PM   |  A+A-

A photo from Namma Ananda Saagara home in Bengaluru | Facebook

Online Desk

With the new year fast approaching, here is a list of heartwarming stories which India witnessed in 2017. These stories will not only inspire you but they will also melt your heart and further restore your faith in humanity along with teaching you life-long lessons.

1) Depressed over losing a pet, Surya and Anju Singh give shelter to 85 stray dogs

The couple, Surya and Anju Singh, had a pet dog named Tiger who was attached to the family. Tiger used to accompany the couple's daughter, who was a teacher, to her school everyday. Tiger usually
would go till the school gate and return back, However, after few days Tiger entered the premises causing inconvenience. Surya received complaints from the school authorities and his daughter also asked him to restrain the dog. So he took Tiger and left him somewhere far away and the dog never returned home.

Surya felt guilty about his action and started feeding stray dogs just to overcome the guilt of losing his pet. His wife Anju also joined and they started feeding a lot of strays. The couple later decided to open a shelter home for dogs and started SAI (Save Animals India) in the outskirts of Bengaluru. At present there are 85 dogs in this shleter and the couple spends more than Rs 70,000 for protection and
shelter of the dogs.

The step taken up by Surya and Anju is truly inspiring. For all the selfless work, the two are contented with the loved showered to them by these strays.

2) How a domestic violence survivor transforms herself into an author

Baby Halder was born in Kashmir to a drunkard and violent father. Her mother not able to bear the father's abuse left the family. Baby then suffered at the hands of her father and stepmother. They forcefully married her off to a older guy at the age of 12 and she was a mother of two by the time she was 25. Baby was a victim of domestic violence and marital rape for almost 13 years and she finally left her husband and left to Delhi with her children.

In Delhi, she worked as a domestic help for a writer, Probodh Kumar, and was fascinated by his collection of books. Prabodh encouraged Baby to read and write and soon she started writing about her
life and all the hardships she had gone through. Pradobh helped Baby and her writing improved with time. He arranged for Baby's writings to get published and that's how 'Aalo Aandhari' (Light and Darkness)- Baby's autobiography was released in Bangla.

Baby's book was published in 2002 and it has been translated into 21 local languages and 13 foreign languages, including French, Japanese, Korean and German. She has written two more books after
Aalo Aandhari.

3) Mumbai professor begged on trains to build schools across villages in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Bihar

Sandeep Desai, with an agenda in his mind boarded a train from Goregaon to Vile Parle with his friend Professor Nurool Islam. It was now or never for Desai. It was awkward for him at first but he had
dreams. Being a professor, he begged on the train for the education of poor children. Desai wanted to set up English medium schools in rural areas, that had no access to good education. Desai and Islam
wanted to raise money from a platform where people would contribute with no expectation in return. That is how begging in the train started.

Desai raised Rs. 65 lakhs in 2004-05 for Trust to purchase property in a building under construction in Goregaon under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA). Within five years Desai raised one crore and constructed two schools in the villages of Yavatmal and Udaipur districts. After 2010, Desai and Islam were able to set up four schools.

Desai and his missionary team train the teachers to make everything possible so that these children have a bright future. He is begging now for these children so that they won't have to beg for their food and shelter in near future.

4)Meet the Langar baba of Chandigarh

Jagdish Lal Ahuja, for the past 30 years has been feeding over thousands of children in Chandigarh. Having a difficult childhood himself, 83-year-old Ahuja tells Hindustan Times, "When I was young by the time I got home, my feet and hand would be full of blisters, but still I had to earn or else I would go hungry for days." When he was 21-year-old Ahuja started selling oranges. He worked so hard that he
could afford to buy property after his hard work and dedication. He went on to earn crores.

The turning point in his life came on his son's eighth birthday when he organised a langar for children as a way of giving back to the society. That day Ahuja said he saw the joy on the faces of children, it reminded him of his childhood and he decided to make it a daily occurrence.

It has been three decades since Ahuja has been religiously feeding the children on streets. He even went on to sell his property to feed the needy. Ahuja who has been recently diagonsed with cancer tells HT, "I have never sought a favour from anyone, but can only expect some help from the government. Kindly convey my message to the governor that I might need his help in continuing the langar in the near future,” says Ahuja.

5) This woman from Kerala breaks all social taboo to become India's first licensed fisherwoman

KC Rekha is a woman from Kerala who ventures into deep and rough waters of the Arabian Sea along with her husband to make a living.

The couple has four children. But money was never enough as Karthikeyan alone was the sole bread winner. Rekha wanted a good future for her children. She thus joined her husband and took responsibilities to be another one in the family to earn a living. Rekha learned all the basic fishing skills from her husband. With time she became better than her husband in fishing.

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute recognised the bravery of Rekha and after a research about her skills, Rekha was given the national recognition of the lone woman in the country fishing
along deep waters of the coastline. “Though women fishermen are engaged in fishing in backwaters, there is no record of women fishing along the Indian coasts,” said CMFRI Director A Gopalakrishnan. CMFRI decided to felicitate the couple to encourage their zeal and for breaking the conventional norms of society. Rekha is the first woman in India to go fishing in the sea on a boat, said the CMFRI.

Superstitions that women are not supposed to go into the sea for fishing still exist in society. Rekha has broken the unreasonable customs and conventions and made a living out of fishing. Her brave move is a sign of women empowerment mushrooming in the coastal community.

6) Sami Devi breaks the tribal societal shackles and makes other women look a step forward

“She cannot give birth to your baby, so why don’t you re-marry to get a successor” A single line summarises the plight of some unfortunate lot. The story of Mrs Sami Devi from Palesar, Kotra, however, takes a turn all because of her courage.

Married to Lakshman, a tailor, Sami Devi soon joined a local self-help group renamed as Shiv Parvati SHG in 2014. The already entrepreneurial Sami got a platform to learn financial management. Her
aspiration of bettering the economic condition of the family could become a reality. Meanwhile, she had another burden to carry, that of not being able to conceive due to a tumour in her uterus. Battling both physically and mentally Sami Devi started a kirana shop in her own house with the support of her husband in 2006 with Rs. 1,500.

Today the store has varieties ranging from grocery to cosmetics. Sami Devi earns around Rs 1000 daily. She also gave birth to two daughters in 2009 after getting treated for the uterus tumour. This story of how a woman socially discriminated and unjustly treated battled the odds with hard work is truly inspiring.

7) From homeless to a home the story of these migrants kids changed when they met Amar Daniel Gibran

Amar Daniel Gibran runs a home for migrant children in Bengaluru. The story of how he ended up building 'Ananda Sagara' is inspiring. Gibran used to run a software business. In the initial days, he earned a lot of success. He would live life like a king. But one day his success betrayed him and he there was a time when he had no money.

Gibran went into depression and even attempted suicide. Something changed his mind and he went ahead to find a true gold that would make him happy. So he worked hard to earn enough again to build
Ananda Sagara which now houses 15 children.

A photo from Namma Ananda Sagara | Facebook

These children often come from broken families or have abusive fathers, they are left to fend for themselves. In Ananda Sagara these kids live by rules and regulation. They are also home tutored.

Gibran runs the home by himself. He works hard and says that the children's smile gives him immense happiness. He says,"Even if i change just one kid's life, my goal in life will be achieved."

8) Age didn't matter for these two brave women who became Army Officers

September 9, 2017 was more than a day of commissioning for two, Swati Mahadik, wife of late Colonel Santosh Mahadik who died fighting terrorists in Kupwara district of Jammu & Kashmir in November
2015, and Nidhi Misra, the widow of a Naik who died in 2009.

One can only imagine the journey of these two 'Veer Naaris' training at par with all other cadets inspite of their difference in age. Both had to clear SSB exam only to be gruelled physically and mentally along with tough lessons in strategy and military history. Both have now joined the Ordnance Corps as Lieutenant.

Lt. Swati Santosh Mahadik with the memento of 41 Rashtriya Rifles | IANS

"It took me five attempts to clear the entrance exam," said Nidhi to Times of India who holds an MBA, worked in an HR firm before teaching in Army school. "After two months, I thought it would not work
out but I stayed on. I thought about my eight-year-old child and my parents who stood behind me when I was trying to take the entrance exam." Her husband, a Naik, died of cardiac arrest in 2009.

"If I become a colonel like my husband one day, it would be great. But my immediate focus is to learn new things under the guidance of my superiors," said Swati, 38, mother of two — daughter Kartikee,
12, and son Swaraj, 6. Lieutenant Swati Mahadik is serving with Pune’s Army Ordnance Corps.

More salutes and power to these two women who took bravery and courage to another



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