According to a famous quote, the secret to change is to concentrate on building the new and let go of the past. Some people focus their energies on bringing about drastic changes in society and completely change the outlook of people towards certain social issues. Although unfortunate incidents happen in India every day, there are some individuals who are trying to make a difference through their constant efforts.
Let us take a look at some of these eminent personalities.
An internationally-renowned social activist, Kailash Satyarthi has worked actively for enforcing children’s education and rights. In a country like ours where child labour is still a persisting problem, he has rescued more than 80,000 children from slavery since 1980s.
In 1980, Kailash Satyarthi started “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”. Due to his persistent efforts, the International Labour Organization adopted a new convention to put an end to child labour once and for all.
Kundan Srivastava is an human rights activist who has been fighting against crime against women, including rape, domestic violence and elder abuses. He has been instrumental in highlighting the plight of and fighting for Indians in the country and around the world.
His efforts to rescue migrant labourers trapped in Saudi Arabia are commendable. Indians doing low level jobs are mistreated in Saudi by their employers as the laws there are also in favour of employers.
This was evident from a case in 2016 related to Saudi migrant worker. Abdul Sattar Makandar, an Indian driver working for a private company in Saudi Arabia was harassed by his employer who had withheld his passport and did not allow him leave the country. Also, the company did not pay him on time leaving him with no money for food and other essential expenses.
Kirti Bharti is an Rehabilitation Psychologist and children’s rights activist who has fought against child marriage that is still prevalent in some of the rural areas in our country. Through her efforts, she has managed to stop 900 child marriages from happening and even ended about 150 marriages where underage girls and boys were involved.
In 2012, Kirti founded a non-profit organization by the name of Saarthi Trust to protect children who were victims of such marriages. In spite of receiving death threats from local politicians, caste councils and villagers, Kirti continued her battle against this heinous practice.
Kirti has not only rescued children but worked for their rehabilitation also by providing them with psychological and emotional support to ease their trauma.
The story of Lakshmi Agarwal is truly awe-inspiring. A survivor of an acid attack, Lakshmi took up activism after a group of men splashed acid on her face in 2005 because she rejected the romantic advances from one of them.
After that, she started the Chhanv Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization fighting for victims of acid attack in India. Her campaigns against acid attacks brought her widespread recognition. She collected 27,000 signatures for public interest litigation that sought the introduction of a new law or amending the existing laws.
Lakshmi also campaigned for a total ban on sale of acid and finally in 2013 The Supreme Court of India ruled in her favour. They imposed a set of restrictions on acid sales. As per the newly introduced regulations, minors could not buy acid and anyone buying acid must produce a photo identity before making their purchase.
In 2014, Michelle Obama, then First Lady of the USA, gave her the International Women of Courage Award.
Sunitha Krishnan is an social activist who works for rescuing sex trafficking victims and their rehabilitation into society. She is the co-founder and chief functionary of Prajwala, an NGO based in Hyderabad that aims to rescue women from prostitution and save their children from that same fate.
Herself being a survivor of gang rape, Sunitha has rescued thousands of women and children during her life and raised public awareness regarding how they should be reintegrated into society. Even though some anti-social elements have attacked her several times because of her work, but that didn’t stop her.