There are many selfless activists all over India. Mostly below the horizon. Here are a few.
Lawyer with a heart :Prabir Kumar Das
Bhubaneswar | At the Orissa high court bar in Cuttack, advocate Prabir Kumar Das watches out for the lost and underprivileged. He gives them a hearing and then offers to take up their case free of cost.
“In my five years in the legal profession, I have taken up over 100 human rights cases. I am happy that in a majority of cases, the helpless victims have got relief,” Das says proudly.
His biggest victory perhaps came on August 20, 2007, when the HC ordered the government to pay Rs 8 lakh compensation to Pratap Nayak, a Dalit, who was imprisoned for 13 years, including eight years even after being acquitted by the HC.
“There is a drought of good souls in the legal profession. As a result, the most deserving don’t get justice because they are not able to hire a lawyer,” he says
Highway lifeline : Subroto Das
Ahmedabad | After being involved in as many as eight accidents, Subroto Das, 42, understands the trauma of accident victims. He has used that understanding to set up one of the most extensive accident helplines on India’s highways.
‘‘In 1999, we survived the accident, but were stranded for nearly four hours without help. After going through such trauma, I decided to do something to help victims,’’ says this hospital management consultant from Vadodara.
This led to the birth of Lifeline Foundation, a non-profit organisation. If you see the number 9825026000 flash by while you’re cruising on Gujarat’s highways, it is Das’s helpline making the difference.
Stopping scams Balwant Singh Ramoowalia
Chandigarh | Balwant Singh Ramoowalia has become a beacon of hope for every Punjabi who has been duped by unscrupulous travel agents of lakhs of rupees painstakingly saved in the hope of starting a new life abroad. He floated the Lok Bhalai Party in 1999 to take up all such causes, including of ‘holiday brides’ — girls who are wedded to visiting Punjabi NRIs and then dumped after the husbands go back.
In the last one-and-a-half years, he has managed to get Rs 1.5 crore returned to people who were duped by travel agents. His focus now is on an estimated 30,000 Indians, who are languishing in jails in other countries on charges of illegal immigration.