Civil Society honours 6 for changing lives

The Civil Society Hall of Fame, an initiative by Civil Society magazine, in association with Azim Premji Foundation, has recognised six initiatives led by fellow citizens who have chosen to live their lives in action and make a

difference by engaging with their immediate realities. The winners will be honoured at India Islamic Cultural Centre on Wednesday. National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy will be the chief guest and deliver the keynote address on “The Role of Civil Society”.
“We are looking for multiple ways of recognising fellow Indians who do not figure on the bigger map, but they are doing things in real life. They actually do things for the sake of doing it. Their life is not to be on TV or in newspapers. They are invisible people. Each of the winners has cracked local-level challenges with large implications,” says Umesh Anand, founder and publisher of Civil Society.
Chintakindi Mallesham, 39, one of the awardees, has revolutionised the way the famous Pochampalli silk sari is made in Andhra Pradesh. He has invented and patented a machine which has cut to one-third the time needed for processing the thread needed for weaving a sari on a loom. Three Khasi women from Meghalya’s Jongksha village have been chosen for their fight against corruption. Fatima Mynsong, Acquiline Songthiang and Matilda Suting used the RTI when they found that they were not receiving the money under the rural employment guarantee scheme. Gyarsi Bai form Rajasthan’s Baran district also joins the “fame club” for working with people of the Sahariya tribe. She has been instrumental in getting many of her fellow tribes people freed from the practice of bonded labour.
Plav Jayan form Kerala’s Thriller district is receiving the award for redefining the new status of jackfruit. He has planted 10,000 jackfruit trees and hopes to reach the figure of 100,000. Urja Ghar from Gujarat is in the list for bringing dominant and marginalised sections of society together. Urja Ghar was envisioned as a space where different communities could mingle and talk.
Another winner, Bashir Ahmad Mir from Kashmir, runs the Human Aid Society to achieve reconciliation through faith. Bashir has lost his father, brother and uncle to militants.
He was himself attacked and shot in the face. But for him the way forward is through forgiveness. He helps educate the children of dead militants.

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