When asked about your favorite Indian personality, you’d refer to Sachin Tendulkar or Mahatma Gandhi or Bhagat Singh, or C.V Raman—but never to Narinder Singh Kapany or Janakidas Mehra or R. Umadevi.
Wait a second, you must be wondering, “who on earth are these people?” Well, these people are few other great Indians, or rather we should say, the unsung heroes of India who have not left any leaves unturned to make India proud. It’s time that we should be proud of them and salute their efforts.
6. Neerja Bhanot
An average Indian girl from a middle class background, Neera is an inspiration to numerous people all over India (of course, those who know her!). She was one of the pilots on board the plane which was hijacked by intruders at Karachi. It was her intelligence, along with the crew’s support, that had made the hijacking a failure. She also saved her American passengers from getting killed by the Arabic-speaking gunmen by hiding their passports. Although she was killed at the end of the hijacking, she nevertheless ensured the safety of all the passengers, before her death.
5. R. Umadevi
Whenever we think of sports and women, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal are the only two names which we remember at one go. But, the Indian sporting arena doesn’t start and end with them. R. Umadevi is another such person who can be well qualified as an unsung hero. She won the World Ladies Billiards Championship in 2012, after defeated the World no. 13. In spite of such a win, the 47-years old still lives a quiet life in Bangaluru. R. Umadevi is the third woman in India to win the title, and all this came under much financial hardship and struggle.
4. Sudarshan Pattanaik
An eminent personality from Orissa, he has won accolades all over the world for instilling life in sands! Yes, he’s one of the foremost sand artists in the world! Haven’t heard of him yet, right? Well, don’t worry—the media isn’t bonkers over him so he’s bereft of all the glamour and accolades which he deserves nonetheless. The next time you’re in Puri, try your hands at sand art with the help of Pattanaik himself. He has opened a sand art institute, called the Sudarshan Sand Art Institute, specifically for the tourists to know and learn about the art.
3. Uttam Teron
In a country where achieving 100% literacy is but a distant dream and where people can only brag about achieving a 100% literacy rate, Uttam Theron has almost made it possible, in his area. He’s a father figure in Pamohi village and 10 other neighboring tribal villages near Guwahati where, in 2003, he started his Parijat Academy with the vision of achieving a 100% literacy rate in that area. Today, with 95% literacy rate in that area, he’s almost at the finishing line of his nearly impossible dream. It is due to personalities like him that we get to know about the truth of the line “Impossible in Nothing”.
2. Janaki Das Mehra
Brilliant Indian Sportsmen to most of us would mean Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni or Sania Mirza (for the feminists), but have we ever heard of some chap called Janaki Das Mehra? Janaki Das Mehra was a brilliant cyclist of world repute who broke as many as eight world records between the years 1934-42. He was also hailed quite a National hero when, at the Zurich Sports Meet, he promptly untied the British flag and hurled the Indian flag! Wonder if any of the contemporary sportspersons have this caliber!
1. Narinder Singh Kapany
It’s been quite long that we’ve ditched those heavy glass spectacles and opted for the light-weight fiber optics. It’s like a boon to the children, isn’t it? But do you know who pioneered the fiber optics? No, he’s not an American or Japanese or English—he’s our very own Narinder Singh Kapany. In fact, he was the one to coin the term “fiber optics” way back in 1960.
Although he has been literally ripped of all the accolades by the “racist” West, he’s literally one of the emissaries of the modern high speed data transmission, internet, innovative and advanced surgeries, etc.