My new thoughts at this time are leading me in the direction of trying to understand what true heroism is. We often think of heroes as those who might have performed a one time act of bravery. I would like to distinguish this from lifelong heroism, that can become a way of life.
What wonderful examples of true heroism are our students! In the midst of the filth, the squalor, and the noise of the slum, with no one in the family to mentor them, they have confronted their challenges head on. They have fought bravely for success, unflinching in their determination, and with belief in their abilities. They have displayed the kind of courage that almost defies imagination in the face of such daunting circumstances. Many have encountered failure on the way, but have not given up. And imagine doing that with so much tenacity, so much fortitude, with such a bright spirit!
It is no wonder that they are reaching such great heights, from rummaging in garbage to white collar jobs in some of the world’s best known institutions. And what’s more, as Asha Ambassadors, these students are determined to share their wisdom with hundreds of younger students in their communities. They have opened up their tiny slum homes to coach, to mentor, to guide and to help in every possible manner.
I see them all the time, casting off the few personal comforts they have, for the welfare of others. I see them showing compassion and kindness, specially to the younger students who are in distress. Once they take up responsibilities, they dedicate themselves wholeheartedly and with utmost sincerity. In spite of living in such deep poverty, often not having enough to buy a bus fare, they are people of integrity and strong moral principles.
On my birthday, I pay tribute to these, our true heroes. I also pay tribute to my team that is filled with true heroes- visionaries, strong leaders, people of courage and bravery, sacrifice and determination.
I’d like to end by saying that the decision to act heroically is a choice. Heroism is a universal attribute of human nature. It is not a feature of a few heroic elect, but is something that is in the range of possibilities for every person.
Perhaps we can all be inspired to answer the call of heroism?