A brief overview of “Hidden Heroes” from Pecha Kucha #21 (Part 1)

The Pecha Kucha Night last Friday was one of the most interesting editions of the event as it brought a diverse group of speakers together who had some interesting things to say on Hidden heroes. Presentations were a mix of fantasies, real life encounters with heroes, stories from around the world that brought together the “heroes” to the forefront. The evening witnessed a great line of speakers, from different backgrounds that used their creative imagination to present the topic in an interesting format. Most of them shed light on who they think are their hidden heroes and haven’t been given enough credit or prime importance. While taking care of ourselves and getting blurred into the limelight of people who are public figures, we often tend to lose focus on things and people which are inconspicuous yet important.

Antony Rajkumar started on the note saying that hidden heroes are such that the world needs them and they need you and most people would talk about a few people that would make a difference to the community. Some of these heroes are from different points in time but the problem is that they are too large, too big larger than life. “Is the concept of being a hero too distant for us; the idea going near heroism is very alien and too overwhelming. Heroes could be of many kinds. On one hand they would be people who have sacrificed their jobs to make a difference to their community in their own way, on the other hand they would be people like mothers who nurtures her own children, a teacher who imparts education to its pupils etc. “Is a hero something who looks at the big and the small, something who looks at the possible as a bigger word as compared to the impossible: someone who is very much here with us”. We all try to achieve for this state at some point or the other because the whole concept is possibly romantic but it sometimes closer than we imagine that to be. It’s a journey a big enough journey to be made. He showcased an example of a son of a very poor farmer who worked from age 7 till 19, who would have been an unknown person if he wasn’t Norman Borlaug, the father of the green revolution. ”You don’t have control where you started but the ending is in your control” He spoke about Thomas Edison who was deaf and was called confused and muddled, but he turned to be one of the most prolific inventors of our times. Sometimes “you don’t have to listen to what the others are saying”: an important trait in a hero. Heroes stand up with courage in the face of adversity .It is not about how big a task is but whether you are making a difference or not. Most heroes hold our trust in one form or the other. He concluded by saying that there is a hero inside everyone and each one of us can make a difference as there are problems to be eradicated and lives to be touched in this world. Hence these heroes are needed in every aspect of one’s life.

Pallavi Kaushal“Who is a hidden hero: one person or a massive army of people working behind the scenes “You either want to work behind the scenes or feel comfortable in working behind the scene? People who are the most hard -working people usually do not have an ego to be a leader. They rise above the ego and place other people as leaders. It is about striving for something much bigger, much larger “An active compassion that transforms your live” Her human revolution happens every day with the Delhi auto-wallah as she has a very special relationship with them, she does not haggle with them as they help her navigate the city on a daily basis. She says “what is the act of compassion that you do that transforms the way you see the world? What is it that transforms the way people see you and enable other people? It is not just about finding about your hidden hero but how do you help enable others. What is your contribution? You are the protagonist tackling your own inner valance that is the process of human revolution. How are you helping the person next to you becoming a leader and through them you are turning out to be a person you want to be. The process of human revolution is one of steady, marked improvement enabling us to keep growing and developing throughout. It is not abstract and can only be achieved through steady action and perseverance. What is your heroic legacy that you are going to leave behind? How will you impact the people that you meet on a daily basis .What are the memories that you want to make and how do you want people to remember you? Human beings have a unique capacity to aspire for self improvement and personal growth. Finding your inner hero is facilitating others and yourself and being true to who you are.

Usha Alexander spoke about basic healthcare service which help in delivering high quality and low cost healthcare services  to the isolated population of mina tribal’s who live in southeastern Rajasthan. They opened their first clinic this year in a village called Manpur which is two hours away from Udaipur. This region is extremely isolated and the smallest town with any kind of healthcare services is at least an hour away from here. The men folk of these tribes have no economic opportunities in the villages that they live in and hence travel to big cities for employment. They end up doing low wage manual labor in cities. They have very poor living conditions and hence live in” bastis” or buildings with unsanitary conditions. They have no adequate access to nutrition either. The women in villages spend most of their time fetching fire wood or water and also farming. They don’t have much to eat so they are frequently undernourished. They typically work in villages with no sanitation. In a nutshell it is a very vulnerable community and they face a range of healthcare challenges. The healthcare services provide this vulnerable community great services for example there is a guy with a hole in his heart who would be taken care of by this service as they would provide transport and after care services for him. The folks from the basic healthcare services unit visit different village homes to find people who cannot come to the clinic. They regularly visit every new born in the village to make sure that the child is healthy and is growing appropriately. They teach the mothers about nutrition, hygiene and birth-control. They follow up with patients to make sure that they are recovering fast. This way they have changed people’s lives and this is possible as they live on sight. They are on call 24 hours and hence a great help to this community as their skills, knowledge and expertise are of immense value to this segment of the population here.

Medhavi Gandhi’s hidden heroes are the various artisans and craftsmen of India who have not been given the due importance that they deserve. A toymaker from Andhra Pradesh is a hero of his village as he makes toys out of passion and not for sale like the other toymakers in the vicinity. When a lady got relocated because of her husband she starting teaching local village women how to make things out of a natural grass from Bihar. She has impacted lives of more than 200 women just by training them. Another artist made a 12 feet long hookah which helped spread effects of misuse of tobacco. In Orissa an artisan got a bunch of women together for the art of choir making. He is a commerce graduate but he is more passionate about making a change in his community. One of the only chitara artists left in the country; through her work she makes stories through her paintings. Heroes of a village called Cheriyal made a change in their community through the act of story- telling to other people through their art and paintings. A 19 year old spreads awareness and issues by using scrolls and narrating stories through them.  A madhubani painter besides teaching the women of her community, teaches little children from the under-privileged community. She has been taking workshops across Delhi and NCR for under-privileged kids. An artisan from a remote village talks about politics through his puppet shows.  Two women from Orissa took over their father’s kalamkari art school since a time when the women were not considered great teachers. Today there are more than 50 teachers in the community. A gentleman who makes bamboo baskets in Nagaland is a hero as he brought bamboo to his villages years and years ago. A guy from khurja who is the only person making handmade blue pottery is one of his kinds in India. She concluded by saying that a person from MP only earns 150 INR for his bed sheet but it doesn’t stop him from producing more. He is forming a social enterprise who is challenging the work of the government. Hence these are the heroes of their respective communities and help spread awareness through their work.

Stay tuned in for more on Pecha kucha Night on “hidden heroes”!

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