On Wednesday evening, Sachin Tendulkar and Aamir Khan, national heroes from the world of cricket and cinema, came together to salute the heroic work of 24 Indians.
The 24 men and women, many coming from remote villages, were in Mumbai to receive the Real Heroes Award presented by news network CNN-IBN and Reliance Industries Limited.
“These are the real heroes of the country who have climbed the Everest, not me,” said Tendulkar, adding that Mother Teresa was his biggest hero.
“These are people who have seen tough times in their lives, and derived strength from them. All we need to do is follow in their footsteps,” he added.
The master batsman credited his recent historic double century at the one-day match in Gwalior to the support of his fans and teammates.
Aamir Khan, who has attended the award ceremony every year since its inception in 2008, said he drew inspiration from such courageous people.
“All of us use our strengths and abilities to better our own lives but when you use them to help others, you become a hero,” he said.
The actor was amused to know that some of the awardees from rural areas of Assam and Jharkhand had never seen his films.
The awardees, identified by IBN through their editorial network spread across the country, received a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each to help them take forward their work.
“Society has never allowed me to declare that though I’m a daughter of the red light area, I don’t care, and I’ve moved ahead,” said Naseema Khatoon (28), who received the award for efforts to improve the lives of sex workers and their children in Bihar.