Travelling across a country can be a transformative experience. In a rally across India, entrepreneur and traveller Shailendra Singh journeyed from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, across 7,000 kilometres in a span of 18 days. He came across people with heart-warming tales about love, loss, and life. Here are 4 real stories from India that show what the country is really about - unity in diversity. The mission of these people revolves around one central theme, seva or service.
Pay With Love
In this auto rickshaw, the only currency is love. Run by Udaysingh Jadhav from Ahmedabad, this auto rickshaw has gained fame overnight. It follows the concept of a gift economy where someone before you has already paid for your travel. At the end of each ride, you can give any amount of money you wish to, the only rule: pay with your heart. With the simple wish of visiting Mumbai, Uday Bhai was called a madman for giving out rides for as low as 20 rupees. But that didn’t deter him from the path of selflessness. Jadhav, gives rides to handicapped people, senior citizens and children free of cost. His small auto even houses a mini library with books on Gujarati and Indian heritage. It is equipped with snacks and water, an MP3 player and a small fan for the summers.
18-year-old Sai Vignesh from Coimbatore has dedicated his life towards caring for and protecting animals. For someone with a shy demeanour, Vignesh has accomplished great things. He rescued close to 500 animals in the Chennai floods and is successfully running an animal shelter. A law student, Sai Vignesh hopes to learn more about the rights of animals and how to protect them. He believes that while humans can take care of and freely express themselves, animals cannot.
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One man army
From a small town in Hyderabad, Shiva has performed the last rites of close to 10,000 unclaimed bodies and saved over a 100 people from committing suicide. Having lost two brothers, Shiva has dedicated his life to saving people from drowning in the Hussainsagar lake in Hyderabad. He believes that the dead deserve a proper send-off regardless of whether they got the same respect when they were alive. This one man anti-suicide squad has talked various people from committing suicide - some were women with children. In the one odd case that he fails, he discovers the bodies and performs their last rites. Shiva is well aware of the dangers that come with this job and has had some of his deepest fears realised.
Superman of Kolhapur
A superhuman in his own right, Dr. Shivaji from Kolhapur saved close to 2,000 lives in his village. While the people of this small village in Kolhapur barely managed to keep their heads above water during the floods a month ago, Dr. Shivaji emerged as their messiah. Despite losing everything in the floods, including his OPD and his apparatus, Shivaji provided food, shelter and clothing to those in need. Deriving his happiness from helping villagers who he regards as family, Shivaji absolutely shuns materialism and believes that righteousness can truly be achieved through service of others.