Indian of the Year: The crusaders
New Delhi: They have contributed to India in ways beyond measure and they have proven that the system, if pushed hard, can sometimes still be made to work.
CNN-IBN’s special category for a very special group of people includes unknown Indians who have had an impact in our lives and crusaders who took up unpopular causes.
Here is the channel’s list of nominees for Indian of the Year for public service:
Arvind Kejriwal: He made the Government answerable and brought power back into the hands of the people . Winner of the Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, Arvind Kejriwal is the man who made Right To Information a true campaign.
Kishore Tiwari: More than a thousand farmers took their lives in Vidarbha in 2006. And this man put the issue on the national map. Kishore Tiwari and his Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti ensured that the Prime Minister stepped in to help Vidarbha's farmers. However, his crusade is far from over.
Jean Dreze: He was born in Belgium but his heart beats for India. Jean Dreze was the man behind the Rural Employment Guarantee Act. And his work on the right to food campaign led to the mid-day meal scheme.
Dr Abhay and Rani Bang: They developed rural health care programs that influenced global health policy. Dr Abhay and Rani Bang’s simple and innovative approach to health care has cut infant mortality rates in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra by over 75 per cent.
Shanmughan Maujunath: His death awoke the country to the seriousness of petrol adulteration. Shanmughan Manjunath chose to stand up against corruption at the cost of his life. He has left IIM to work for Indian Oil.
Chaman Lal Matoo, Sabrina Lall and Neelam Katara: They made us believe in the power of civil society. Chaman Lal Mattoo, Sabrina Lall and Neelam Katara overcame their personal tragedies to unite urban India like never before.
They have all fought the system, the law and the pressure from powerful opponents and they have all given us hope. They are people who made a difference to India this year and made it a different India all together. Who do you think fits the bill for this very special award? SMS IOTY to 2622.