From The Editor: Heroes Of Our Times
Heroes often rise from among us. We draw inspiration, as we step into a New Year—and decade—from another edition of ‘Extraordinary Indians’—stories of ordinary people who have shown uncommon courage, resilience and fortitude in the face of challenges
Someone once said a library is a passport to wonders. It opens our eyes and hearts, and brings hope against tyranny, hopelessness and ignorance. When Minhajuddin, a law student at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, went to the library to study, he assumed he would be safe. The young man is shattered now—he has lost one eye, and is in danger of losing another.
As I write to you, India is erupting in protests against the new citizenship law and police action against students. You and I may disagree on the law, but surely we all agree that our children should be safe in their educational institutions? Surely we can hope, collectively, that our daughters and sons will be protected in their hostels and libraries?
Student protests have been a part and parcel of a thriving democracy, but it seems we can no longer take for granted our students’ rights to dissent peacefully. Many public intellectuals I admire have been expressing grave concern about our democracy being in danger—one of them was dragged away by the police and detained on the first day of the countrywide strikes. Yet our students carried on relentlessly, holding out immense hope.
Heroes often rise from among us. We draw inspiration, as we step into a New Year—and decade—from another edition of ‘Extraordinary Indians’—stories of ordinary people who have shown uncommon courage, resilience and fortitude in the face of challenges. Nigel Akkara—on our cover—lost his path as a teenager and was thrown in jail with a life sentence. Yet, he found his salvation and was reborn as a social worker and lead actor in Bengali cinema. Read about Akkara and some amazing stories of reaffirmation—and embrace hope.
We wish you all a very happy 2020!