Here are some of the most compelling stories and videos of 2014 that we featured on The Better India. Relive the year’s most amazing moments in case you missed out on them earlier.
2014 has been an eventful year around the world. Even as we saw incidents of natural and man-made tragedies around us, the response of people everywhere to such events was unprecedented. And through it all, we found some of the most amazing and inspirational stories ever told! To give you a sense of what the year looked like for us, here is a brief visual summary of 2014:
As the incredible year comes to a close, here is a roundup of some of the most fascinating stories that kept us hooked throughout the year and made us look forward to each day! If you read us every day, even you would feel that there was a lot more good in the world around you than bad. Here are some of the changemakers, unsung heroes, innovators and achievers we featured this year that made us all believe in The Better India.
The Change-makers Who Left Us Spellbound!
1. A Man Who Had The Opportunity To Pocket Lottery Winnings Worth Rs. 1 Crore. Legally. Yet He Did Not!
K. Sudhakaran, who barely earns Rs.10,000 every month working hard in his small shop, once gave away the opportunity to keep Rs. 1 crore. Not only this, he also once found a gold chain in a train which he returned to the police. Know more about the amazing man who has restored our faith in humanity. Read more.
Shubhendu Sharma left his high paying job as an engineer to plant trees for the rest of his life. Using the unique Miyawaki methodology to grow saplings, Afforestt converts any land into a self-sustainable forest in a couple of years. He has successfully created 48 forests across India in four years. He is developing an open source internet based platform using which anyone and everyone will be able to create their own forest. Read more.
We often hear about eve teasing, but what makes this story different is the immense courage shown by this girl who refuses to be called a “victim”. Thanks to Megha’s brave act, her molester is behind bars! This is a shout out for all those who have faced similar incidents – being silent is not the answer. Speak up and save others from going through the same. We are sure that this molester from the Delhi metro will think a hundred times before doing something similar again. Read more.
4. She Begged On The Streets So She Could Feed Every Orphan She Saw! Can You Imagine Anyone More Heroic?
Sindhutai Sapkal’s life started as being an unwanted child, followed by an abusive husband who abandoned her when she was nine months pregnant. The circumstances she has faced could force anyone to lose courage and succumb to the adverse situations. But Sindhutai emerged stronger with every difficulty she faced and became a ‘mother’ to over 1400 homeless children when she herself was in a hand-to-mouth situation! Read more.
Jadav Payeng saw an increasing number of reptile deaths in Assam and started planting Bamboo in an area that had been washed away by floods. Today, that same land hosts 1,360 acres of Jungle called Molai Forest, named after Jadav “Molai” Payeng, the man who made this possible single-handedly! That forest also has several thousand trees and is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits, besides apes and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. Read more.
Chewang Norphel, a 79-year-old civil engineer put his engineering skills to a better use and created artificial glaciers to provide water in this cold and dry mountainous region. His efforts have increased the agricultural production, thereby increasing the income of the locals. This has also reduced the migration to cities. His simple technique has brought water closer to the villages, and most importantly, made it available when the villagers need it the most. Read more.
Itchy skin lesions, changes in skin colour, hardening and thickening of skin into nodules – these were some of the afflictions suffered by the villagers due to arsenic contamination of their drinking water sources. The solutions were costly and villagers were not ready to wait for so long. Hence, they simply discarded the use of his hand pump and restored an existing well. These wells have become not only the focal point of a safe water source but also the start of a sparkling, arsenic free life. Read more.
8. The Inspiring Story Of A Man Who Was Left Bereft Of All His Limbs And Still Is Able To Do Everything!
A childish mistake, a “dare” at the age of 5, took away all his limbs. For 10 years after that, Pratap was not allowed to step out of his house. But today, he not only goes to work everyday, but earns well, lives on his own and is completely self-reliant. Once a grateful recipient of a scholarship that helped him complete his studies in Finance and MBA, he is now a giver of scholarships and also participates in policy making. Can anything better illustrate the impact made by persons with disability if given half a chance in our society? Read more.
The Lists That Taught Us So Much!
“Disability is a state of mind” and these amazing Indians with disabilities prove that. Learn about 16 amazing people who have not let their disability hold them back them in any way. From performing in international arenas to bagging gold medals in sports events, there is nothing these champions cannot do! They have made us so proud. Read more.
10. 8 Reasons Why India’s Mars Orbiter Mission Mangalyaan Is The Most Amazing Space Mission In The World
India’s Mars Orbit Mission, Mangalyaan, created history this year. Here are 8 facts about the mission that make it the most amazing inter-planetary space mission in the world. Mangalyaan entered Mar’s orbit on September 24, 2014 making India the first Asian country to place a spacecraft in the Mars orbit in its first attempt. Read more.
The list showcases Indians who have gone places and brought great glory to the country of their origin. From the fields of science and arts, business and literature, here is a list of 25 exceptionally talented Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who have given us several more reasons to be proud of. Be it the renowned writer Salman Rushdie, memorable space explorer Kalpana Chawla or one of the world’s biggest business tycoons, Lakshmi Mittal, explore the complete list here.
The comprehensive list brings 68 heroes who have achieved extraordinary feats and moved our country forward. Each one of them is a changemaker and truly deserves to be lauded. From conserving and creating forests, spreading awareness about issues and empowering women to helping victims of sexual abuse, providing better sanitation and working in some of the remotest locations of India, these unsung heroes truly deserve a standing ovation. Read more.
There are some pieces of literature that gives a whole new meaning to the language. India has seen some of the most inspiring and amazing literary works. R.K. Narayan’s The Guide, Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, Arundhati Roy’s God Of Small Things, Mulk Raj Anand’s The Private Life of an Indian Prince, Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali and many such incredible gems of Indian English Literature you must read. Here are our picks for 20 must-reads.
A wheelchair that can be converted into crutches, low cost braille printer, indicator for “dead” landline phones, mobile phone with inbuilt charger and many such mind blowing innovations by school children. We think India is surely in brighter hands if this generation is full of amazing minds like these. Read more.
From our fancy gadgets to the the technologies we can’t live without, from our humble light bulb to the space explorations, it is all a gift of science and technology. I wonder what would we be doing if none of these things were invented? How often do we take out the time to think about those extra ordinary minds who made life easier for us? Here is a list of 14 Indian scientists who did great things. Read more.
The Amazing Grassroot Innovations We Loved To Discover!
This low cost model purifies water, is locally manufactured and can also help the local communities with various livelihood options. And, all of that in just Rs.3,000! It is easy to maintain and filters 84 litres of water daily, enough for 10-12 people, or 70 schoolchildren. There are no ongoing costs, no maintenance costs, and no electricity costs. How amazing is that? Read more.
17. Two Brothers Wanting Power For Their Farms Invented A Bamboo Windmill That Is 10 Times Cheaper Than Others!
Brothers Mohammad Methar Hussain and Mushtaq Ahmad wanted power for irrigation and they developed a low cost windmill made out of bamboo, which is more than 10 times cheaper than the regular ones available in the market. Now, there are more than 25 such windmills running in Gujarat. Read to know more about their journey and how they did it. Read more.
18. How Rickshaw-Puller Dharamveer Singh Became A Successful Entrepreneur Through His Wonderful Innovation
You might have heard stories of real hard work and determination being the cornerstones of success. Here you get to meet Dharamveer Singh Kamboj, who will confirm that belief for you. His inspiring story of how he went from being a rickshaw-puller in Delhi to a successful entrepreneur with turnover of Rs. 40 lakhs made us believe that true talent does not require any concessions. Read more.
Girish Badragond, a 28-year old man from Bijapur District came to Bangalore in 2006 with a laptop, a wireless router and one way bus fare. Now, after six years he is a partner at Santepp Systems, a fast growing technology firm in the field of agricultural innovations. Bore Well Scanners, Advanced Mode Micro irrigation system, Bird Repeller, Urban terrace garden watering systems are some of his amazing innovations. Read more.
Some of the most inspiring videos and graphics of the year
Most schools in Rural India lack basic necessities. As basic as a desk. Children sit hunched for hours, leading to bad posture, poor eyesight and bad handwriting. An NGO, Aarambh came up with an interesting and unique solution to this problem. Watch how they converted waste cartons into school bags and portable desks at the same time. You have to watch the video to learn more about this amazing solution. Click here for the video.
Edmund Thomas Clint was born in 1976 and was a true child prodigy. Named after Clint Eastwood, Clint loved painting festivals and traditional events. A kidney failure led to his death at the age of 7, yet he left behind some 25,000 artworks. In fact, at the age of 5 he secured first place in a competition held for painters below 18! The Clint Road in Kochi is named after him. Watch the video here.
Meet Remya Jose. She is the inventor of the washing-cum-exercise machine that won her a National Award. During her 10th standard, her mother fell ill and father was undergoing medical treatment. As there was no washing machine at home, the chore of doing the laundry fell on her and her twin sister. So instead of just wishing futilely for a washing machine, she decided to try her hand at making one during the vacations! Watch the video here.
The Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world! It is also one of the largest employers in the world. Here is a timeline that gives you a brief history of the evolution of the Indian Railways. From the first day of its operation to all the major landmarks it has achieved, here is an interesting presentation of the journey of the Indian Railways.
24. This Bank Manager Made Beggars In Delhi Open Bank Accounts. And Changed Lives Of Villagers In Tamil Nadu.
Banking, for Joseph Santhumary Parthiban, isn’t really about money. It is about every man’s hope for a dignified life. As an employee of a national bank in Delhi, he persuaded hundreds of street hawkers and beggars to open bank accounts. When he moved to Salem in his home state Tamil Nadu, he realised that people in remote areas couldn’t even visit his branch due of lack of transport facilities. Watch what he did.
We hope you loved reading these inspiring and amazing stories of hope and change as much as we loved finding and presenting them to you. It is your love, appreciation and support that keeps us going. We wish to THANK YOU for all of this and hope to hear from you regularly in the coming year!