Over the years, we have read about and learnt about many people who have made a considerable and positive change in our country. Whether they were film stars, members of parliament, sportsmen, or anyone, their life stories have inspired us and made us feel proud to call ourselves Indians. Here are some such people, and a brief introduction of how awesome they are:
1. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
The 11th president of India and receiver of the Bharat Ratna Award, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was a simple man. Born on 15th October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family in Tamil Nadu, his father was a boat owner and his mother, a housewife. He is known as the Missile Man of India, and he spent four decades working mainly with Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He also played an important role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998. After completing his presidency term from 2002-07, he went back to a civilian life with writing and public service. He has written two books: India 2020, and Wings of fire.
2. Amitabh Bachchan
Best known for his role in Zanjeer (1972) that made him a star and for hosing the show Kaun Banega Crorepati (2000), Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan was born on 11th October 1942, in Allahabad. A brief timeline of his life: he got his first break in Saat Hindustani (1969), and through the 70’s he had gained popularity in the Indian cinema. Due to a serious accident while filming in ’82, he survived and changed career paths. He traded in his stardom for a seat in the Indian parliament in ’84; which also turned out to be short-lived due to a controversy (1987). H started his own entertainment company in 1990, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation limited. In 2003, he was appointed a goodwill ambassador of UNICEF.
3. M.K. Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is a man well known to all of us. Born on 2nd October 1869, he studied law from England and tried to practice in India, but upon failing to do so, went to South Africa. There he helped to end discrimination against the Indian minority, invented the natal Indian congress. His practice of Satyagraha made him more popular as a leader, and by the time he returned to India in 1914, he was known as a “mahatma”. His large movements of non-cooperation in India got him imprisoned from 1922-24. In 1930, He wrote the declaration of independence and led the salt march, which set off such a revolution in the country, that he was invited to a round table conference in London. When the Second World War broke out, Gandhi with several other freedom fighters went to prison, after which, against the will of Gandhi and the British, India was partitioned. He was assassinated on 30th January 1948 in Delhi by a Hindu nationalist.
4. Dhirubhai Ambani
The founder of reliance industries and the son of a schoolteacher is a name we are all familiar with. This man has a literal rags to riches story, his riches being acquired only and only because of his hard work. He wasn’t a very academically inclined student, but still managed to take his company to great heights. By 2007, 30 years after introducing the company, the combined fortune of the Ambani family was $60 billion, making them the second richest family in the world at that time. He lived from 28 December 1932 to 6 July 2002.
5. Narendra Modi
Who doesn’t know the current prime minister of our country? This man went from being a chai vendor to the Gujarat chief minister from 2001-14. He developed Gujarat immensely, lived through the Gujarat riots, and is today, the 15th prime minister of the country. He is known to be one of the most powerful men in the country. He was born on 17th September, 1950.
6. Nawazuddin Sidiqqui
This man’s story is just astoundingly amazing. He grew up with 8 more siblings (7 brothers and 2 sisters). He came to New Delhi after studying science at a local college, and worked as a watchman at an office. During this time, he watched plays and fell in love with the cinema, and got associated with the Sakshi theatre group. He finally graduated from the national school of drama (NSD), New Delhi in ’96. He shifted to Mumbai and got his first break in ’99 in Sarfarosh. He struggled a lot, lived with three more people in a flat, surviving by conducting acting classes. His role in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday (2007) helped him gain recognition. His first lead role in a feature film was in Prashant Bhargava’s PATANG, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. After that, this man has been popular and widely acclaimed in the Indian cinema.
7. Neerja Bhanot
Receiving the Ashok Chakra award at the age of 22 made her the youngest recipient of the prestigious title. She helped save 360 lives by hiding their passports from the hijackers who took over the pan am flight 73 on 5th September 1986. She could’ve saved herself, but stayed and helped the passengers; even helped the pilots escape when the plane was still on the runway. She was shot dead by the terrorists later.
8. Arunima Sinha
This astounding woman was the first female amputee to climb Mt. Everest at 10:55 a.m. on 21st may 2013. She was a former volleyball and football player. She was thrown out of a moving train by a couple of lecherous men who tried to rob her but failed. She fell on a parallel track and lost her leg to the oncoming train. Her disability didn’t stop her from achieving what most of us can never do. This woman is one of many people who make us feel proud to be Indians.
9. Rukhsana Kausar
This has to be the most inspiring story I have read. Known as the Indian female Rambo and a recipient of the national bravery award, this lady continues to inspire women throughout India. She watched her parents get brutally murdered by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, decided she had had enough, and took matters into her own hands. She took down Abu Osama with his own axe and shot him with his AK-47 rifle.