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MALKHAN SINGH, Delhi
Principal of a government secondary school, Singh firmly believes in the Constitution's pledge that all children have a right to education. For the past 27 years, he has contributed 10 per cent of his salary to those students who would otherwise have pulled out of school for want of money. He also holds a free coaching camp for poor students every year, usually attended by persons from villages on the outskirts of Delhi.

KUSUM JAIN, Delhi
Kusum Jain has challenged the country's flawed education system by taking the Central Board of Secondary Education to court. She questioned the Board's multiple-set question system and along with other like-minded parents set up the Parents' Forum for Meaningful Education a year ago. The Forum is taking the case up to the Supreme Court and will also take up cudgels for the cause of government school students.

M. MAHADEVA, Bangalore
Instead of using his horse-cart for more lucrative business, the illiterate, 32-year-old man ferries unclaimed corpses to burial grounds. While he could have earned four times the amount the police pay him if he had transported commercial goods, Mahadeva has vowed to give the unwanted dead whatever little dignity he can, for, it is his belief that some people are born for the dead.

GEORGE GOPALI, Bombay
Thirty five-year-old Gopali and his brigade of beach boys are determined not to let the city's celebrated Juhu beach turn into a public dustbin. Each day the beachcomber and his helpers, most of whom are rehabilitated alcoholics or drug addicts from nearby slums, clean the entire length of the beach removing all the debris and flotsam that's washed ashore. He has also mobilised funds from the BMC to pay the boys.

DEVJANI CHALIHA, Calcutta
An acclaimed Manipuri dancer, for the past 16 years Chaliha has been teaching slum children dance in defiance of the notion that India's heritage should remain a property of the affluent. She tutors over 40 children from nearby slums every week. Recently, two of her students won stipends from the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training. Now they study because they can dance, their teacher reflects.

BANYAN, Madras
Young Vandana Gopikumar and Vaishnavi Jaikumar (centre) opted out of promising conventional careers to set up Banyan, a home for mentally disabled, abandoned women. Today, at least four Madras-based industrial houses give monetary aid on a regular basis to help the girls to care a little better for the 50-odd inmates of the home, many of whom have been accepted back into their family fold.

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