Stories of change & courage mark Satyamev Jayate's final episode

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 29, 2012 09:16 hrs

Most of us have studied the Preamble to the Constitution - often by rote - while at school. But how many of us remember it now, let alone practice it?

The answer would be very, very few of us.

For Satyamev Jayate's concluding show, Aamir Khan didn't put forward any social issue; instead, he highlighted stories of change, courage and perseverance that he and his team encountered on their months and years of research.

Stories of individuals who believed that change was not something they could sit back and ask the society to do by itself, but something they had to do themselves in the hopes that the society would embrace it later.

When Kutch was rocked by an earthquake in 2001, Parimal Desai and his wife Trupti of Surat's Sarvoday Trust were devastated by the loss they saw all around them. But they were equally concerned about what would become of the children orphaned by the disaster. So they took in 56 children.

A year later, the Gujarat riots claimed thousands of lives and left thousands of orphans - but this time, predominantly of a different religion. However, the husband and wife didn't hesitate. They adopted many of the Muslim orphans, too.

Though the trust had to face the trials and tribulations of the Hindu-Muslim divide, they persevered and overcame it - upholding brotherhood.

In Kashmir, the Hindu-Muslim and terrorism forced Kashmir Pandits to abandon their homes and steal away in the dead of the night. But when Asha Bhat thought she would wait till dawn, bid her neighbours goodbye and then leave, she discovered solidarity and love.

The village head told her she was part of the village family, and they would look after her. And she stayed. Today, after winning the local election, a Hindu woman is leading a Muslim a village.

An MBA graduate and a model, Sanjeev Kumar's life changed when he went to attend a feast in his village. The sight of people from the Dom caste - the ones who burn the dead - scavenging for food in the waste pit touched him so much that he decided to relocate to the village and fight against untouchability and the caste system.

Educating the children, rallying the women and ensuring their rights, reclaiming their lands from the zamindars, fighting the system that kept Doms from even accessing the water of the Ganga have all helped the community progress and brought Sanjeev that much closer to his dream of equality.

In Hyderabad, Sunitha Krishnan - a victim of a gang rape at the age of 16 - is one of the main forces behind Prajwala, an organisation determined to help stop the trafficking of women.

Threats, murder and violence have not stopped this brave woman from rescuing girls and women from the flesh trade and rehabilitating them, nor have they stopped her from trying to reintegrate them into society.

Her biggest threat, however, is not the mafia behind prostitution. It's the society that shelters the perpetrators of the crime, but punishes the victims.

Naseema Hurzuk is a paraplegic working to help people with disabilities live a life of dignity. She helped begin the Helpers of the Handicapped organisation, which helps guide handicapped people to live a full life in spite of their disabilities.

Even impossible dreams come true - like a vegetable seller inspiring the construction of a hospital that helps the poor, free of cost. 

When Subasini Mistry lost her husband, a labourer, because she couldn't afford treatment, she dreamed of a hospital where anyone could come for treatment.

However, she couldn't make her dream come true - she was so poor she had to send her youngest son Ajoy to an orphanage. But Ajoy took inspiration from his mother, studied to become a doctor and has now opened a hospital in Hanspukur in West Bengal where money does not dictate who gets cured and who doesn't.

The next inspiring tale was of a 19-year-old school principal. No, you didn't read it wrong - 19!

Babar Ali was one of the few children from his village who could afford to go to school. But he didn't take this privilege for granted. He felt he needed to help his friends who weren't as blessed. So at the age of 9, he began teaching them.

What began as a single boy's determination has now become a community project, with other volunteers pitching in. And Babar's school Ananda Siksha Niketan - started in his own yard - now attracts children from the neighbouring villages, too.

Another inspirational educator hails from the lap of plenty. Wipro's Azim Premji believes you make money because of the people of this country and so you are beholden to give something back. And the best thing to give back is education.

The Azim Premji Foundation sponsors thousands of government-run schools, especially in villages, and ensures that the quality of education and the facilities provided are bettered.

The loss of a son changed Mohammed Sharif's life - his young son was murdered and the grieving father never got to see his body. The thought of his son's corpse lying unclaimed haunted Mohammed, and made him promise himself that he would try his best so that no other parent would have to go through what he did.

Ever since, Mohammed has made sure that he claims every unidentified body that he hears of, and gives them a dignified cremation or burial.

The show ended with the story of Satyendra Dubey, the whistle blower who was murdered because he tried to stop the corruption that he encountered while working on the government's Golden Quadrilateral project.

Ennui, corruption and close-mindedness have become such an intrinsic part of our lives that we need to ask ourselves, do we even deserve martyrs like Satyendra?

The show was a kind of catharsis - it showed us problems and people brave enough to fight those problems. But most of us will now be tempted to sit back with the feeling that, yes, because we shed a few tears and because we empathised, we've done our bit.

However, we cannot think that a change will happen in India because of a few individuals. We need to rise, too. As citizens of a nation rotting in the web of its corruption, we need to act.

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