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Changing the society, quietly

There are unsung heroes in every society, every nation. They work quietly, without seeking to draw attention and change lives, sometime very dramatically. What do they get in return? Not much, most of the time. Read more...

india Updated: Jan 11, 2008 05:00 IST

There are unsung heroes in every society, every nation. They work quietly, without seeking to draw attention and change lives, sometime very dramatically. What do they get in return? Not much, most of the time.



E Sreedharan is not a stranger to Delhi, having changed the way the city travels. He has, to an extent, rescued it from certain disaster given the lack of urgency in all city authorities to organise public transport.



Sreedharan came and changed that, stretch by stretch. Delhi is now very proud of what he has given it — an expanding metro network that has magically slashed travel time many times over. And you know what? Most Delhiites like to keep Metro property clean.



The Delhi Metro czar is a contender for the Indian of the Year award — instituted by CNN-IBN in partnership with the

Hindustan Times

— from the category of public service nominees, six as in all categories.



Bangalore surgeon Dr Sharan Patil finds himself in the race for separating two-year-old Lakshmi from her parasitic twin. The operation lasted 27 hours. The whole nation, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, congratulated the doctor.



There is in the fray the Patna duo Abhayanand and Anand Kumar who coach 30 poor students every year for the IIT exams. They run this programme under the name "Ramanujan Society of Mathematics"; 122 of the 150 candidates trained by them made it.



They receive no funds. They teach evening classes for which students pay — it's not much, but yes not free. And the money they make by taking these classes is used to run their IIT-JEE programme.



Sushma Iyengar of the Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan makes it to the list for single-handedly reconstructing earthquake-ravaged Kutch and setting new trends in disaster management and rehabilitation of natural disaster victims.



There is this famous anecdote of how she impressed former US President Bill Clinton during a meeting on how to spend money received as donation for the reconstruction of Kutch. Clinton wanted to know how this money could be disbursed.



Iyengar's suggestion was to give the money to villages with strong communities and not to the NGOs. And let the people decide how they want to spend it, with the help of the NGOs, who would be involved as facilitators. Clinton was very impressed.



There is another woman in the list; Kousalya of the Network of Positive Women. She has HIV — got it from her husband, a truck driver. He died, and the doctors gave her two months. She survived. And is now a tireless campaigner helping other women in a similar situation.



Kousalya heads the organisation, Network of Positive Women.



And the last contender is Dr Oscar Rebello, who as head of Goa Bachao Abhiyan, is tirelessly fighting to save the natural habitat of one of India's most beautiful states.



You can SMS your votes to 52622. Type

IPUB A

for

Dr Patil

,

IPUB B

for

Abhay Anand/Anand Kumar

,

IPUB C

for

Iyengar

,

IPUB D

for

Sreedharan

,

IPUB E

for

Kousalya

and

IPUB F

for

Dr Rebello

. You can also vote online at

www.cnnibnindianoftheyear.com

.



Voting closes on January 15.