Heroes have been part of our psyche ever since humans started passing down learnings from one generation to another by telling stories. These guiding figures have helped us remember all that is commendable about us as a species. They are also someone whose example we try to follow in times of adversity or temptation. For each one of us, what is heroic is different i.e. we identify with heroes in relation to the values we look up to. When HT Education asked its loyal followers on Facebook who their hero was, we expected answers like Sachin Tendulkar and Sushmita Sen. There was a pleasant surprise waiting for us.
An overwhelming majority of respondents – believe it or not – said their dad or their parents were their heroes.
Young Divya Aneja explains why her parents are her heroes. “My mother and father have inculcated all the values in me and have made me stand (sic) where I do today. Also, it’s these values that make me different… the respect I have for others, the respect for self, the humility, the truthfulness,” this Class 10 student of Darbari Lal DAV Model School says.
For others, it’s their father’s unshakable support that is heroic. “My dad has been there for me through thick and thin and his unconditional love has brought me to such a level in life where I can judge what is right and what is wrong... and raise a voice against the wrong. He is the one who saw the winner in me since the start and polished it to lustre,” says Richi Malhotra, Class 11 student of Manav Sthali School, Rajender Nagar.
After parents and dads, a close second was Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Azad. “Contrary to common perception, a hero is not someone who performs risky stunts in movies or is good looking. A hero is someone who strives to do something beyond ordinary, and whose actions inspire people. Dr Kalam epitomises this,” says Geetika Ahuja, who declined to mention where she studies. “I recently had the privilege to attend a meet presided by him. He is indeed one of the best speakers I have come across and a fantastic youth leader,” she adds.
Manvendra Krishna Rao, engineering student, Annamalai University also looks up to Dr Kalam for his work in the nuclear field, which has in turn put the country on the path to becoming a superpower.
For others, the matter is a spiritual one. “I consider the Bhagwat Gita as my real hero. This book has taught me the truth about life and goodness… has always pushed toward the right path,” says Neha Gupta, second year student of Laxmi Bai College.
Overall, our finding is that this section of young India sees people from their own lives as their heroes, their role models - as opposed to celebrities whose image is carefully manufactured. This is truly heartening, especially in an age where one often complains about how the media distorts reality and exalts celebrities.
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When India's brave kids grew up