Here’s a list of 7 people.

How many of these names sound familiar?
(hats off to those amongst you that recognize >= 4)
TN Seshan was included to make most answers non-zero 🙂

[box style=”0″] Rajendra Singh.[/box]

[box style=”0″] Jockin Arputham.[/box]

[box style=”0″] Mahesh Chander Mehta [/box]

[box style=”0″] Tirunellai (TN) Seshan.[/box]

[box style=”0″] Aruna Roy [/box]

[box style=”0″] Arvind Kejriwal [/box]

[box style=”0″] Palagummi Sainath [/box]

But, let’s say some people are better at faces than take a look at the Microsoft-Paint put-together image below – to see if perhaps the faces strike the right svara ?

Yes, well I didn’t fare very well…

I happened to be looking at something related to RTI act and that led me somehow to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, (RMAF) which had sunk deep into the recesses of my brain.

“The RMAF recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex, or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition. The awards are given in five categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; peace and international understanding”

During the Foundation’s four decades of existence, Asia has made great progress, some nations more than others. Yet the region continues to grapple with problems of poverty, malnutrition, disease, and violence, as well as with newer problems that have come with progress itself. In recognizing individuals and organizations who have addressed these issues with extraordinary vigor, integrity, and selflessness, the Foundation seeks to honor the memory of President Ramon Magsaysay and to place living examples of exceptional service before the public” (taken from here)


I started looking around – filtered by India first and looked at awardee profiles from some of the recent years.

I had met Rajendra Singh once in Auroville some years ago – was on a vacation and there was some townhall type meeting of 25-30 peope discussing problems related to AV’s water supply. The introductions were cursory, and very matter-of-fact, and Rajendra was one of four or five people with experience in this area, and I had no idea what he was upto before.

The intensity of that meeting got me totally off-guard, and served as a first-time introduction to projects quite unlike the ones I studied in engineering.

I’ve compiled a two col .pdf (5 pages) taken from RMAF and other sources on these amazing 7 people.
Mehta’s case in particular struck me hard – it pains me to note that the name Erin Brokovich was firmly in my memory (via pop culture) and Mehta’s was unknown.

For your kind attention, if & when you may..

p.s: There are clearly many such people (noticed & un-noticed), and related groups of people that have set an example, and have raised the bar on what can be achieved given the will to do it. This is admittedly a small subset of such people; all the same the hope is that it does give a sense of the immense possibilities that are before us, and that there are reasons to smile, despite everything.

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