The Power of Good People
Editor's note from January 2019
Are there times when you have looked at the world and thought it’s almost unrecognizable? Do you wonder where all the good people have gone? What happened to human decency? “Keep your expectations low,” my mother used to say. Perhaps she was worried, just as I am about my son now, as I was about to step into the world. “Why?” I would argue. “There are good people in the world; that’s why it still goes on!” “I hope you are never proved wrong,” was her response.
Despite everything, I still believe it, even though, admittedly, I’ve learnt to set the bar lower. I believe that there are good people amongst us; you just have to look around for them, because they tend to let their work speak louder than their words.
Take Prakash Amte, the doctor from Hemalkasa in the heart of India, for instance, who has transformed lives of the vulnerable—people and baby animals alike—for 45 years. Or Sonam Wangchuk, the idealistic engineer, who has brought the gift of education and livelihood to the youth of Ladakh. All the way across to the hills of Meghalaya, Hasina Kharbhih has been battling human trafficking, putting her own life on the line. Abhay Shukla and Arun Gadre, medical doctors, activists and whistle-blowers from Pune, are fighting for a more ethical and conscionable system of health care, against the tide of corruption and commercialism. Down in Coimbatore, bus conductor M. Yoganathan single-handedly took charge of a forestland and fought back the timber mafia. In a suburb of Kolkata, a collective of women is transforming the way ordinary people look at mental illness—they are also saving lives and livelihoods in their mohalla.
Many of them have been up against severe odds, mostly people you would not notice in a crowd, but they make you believe that there are heroes amidst us. After the overwhelming response to it last January, ‘Extraordinary Indians’ returns once again this new year as a cover story. Reporting on it was at once moving and faith-affirming. Something tells me, reading it, you will be filled with hope and admiration. Honestly, we could not think of a better way to start the year.
May 2019 bring out the best in all of us!