Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) Hailing from the hills of Kalimpong, Manoj Rai, a videographer of a local cable TV network, braved nature’s ravages during an earthquake in West Bengal to broadcast the plight of the stranded people.
His video on YouTube opened up channels of aid internationally. On Wednesday he was among the 11 proud recipients of the 21st Godfrey Phillips Special Social Bravery Awards. Kalimpong is a sub-division of Darjeeling in West Bengal.
Rai contacted various NGOs and officials to ask them for relief work during Sep 18, 2011, earthquake.
Similar were the inspiring accounts of 10 other recipients of the awards from West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Priyanka Mondal, a nurse, was honoured for delivering a baby to a couple stranded on a desolate stretch of a highway in West Bengal. She said: “My sense of duty helped me to overcome my initial hesitation to do such a thing. I wish that people should be ready to come forward to help others in need…”
Another award winner, Madhuri Ghosh fronted a hugely successful micro-credit revolution in one of the blocks encompassing 80 villages in Howrah district of West Bengal, and formed the Bagnan-1 Mahila Bikas Cooperative Society Ltd., which is run by women for the empowerment and upliftment of 23,042 distressed female residents of the area.
Remembered and honoured in death, school teacher Barun Biswas was posthumously accorded the Mind of Steel Award for leading a campaign against gang-rapes in his village Sutia in West Bengal. He was killed by the same criminals he protested against in July 2012.
In neighbouring Odisha’s Angul district, 11-year-old Prasannta Shandilya (also a recipient of the 2011 National Bravery Award) was honoured for fighting off bandits in the middle of the night with chilli and turmeric powder in 2011.
Udasi Sahu of Keonjhar in Odisha, an employee of the National Rural Health Mission, was named for the honour for her unfaltering dedication to reproductive and child health in the forested areas.
From Andhra Pradesh, 16-year-old Suthrapu Shiva Prasad was awarded for courageously saving a 45-year-old woman from drowning in Warangal district.
Another awardee from Andhra Pradesh, sociology student Mora Bhadresham was recognised for his effort in transforming the grass-root level governance.
Anjali Chandrasekhar, 19-year old from Tamil Nadu brought home the Social Bravery Special Award for activism through art.
Also from Tamil Nadu, P. Kalaimani, V. Madan, Uday Moorthy and K. Gopi were honoured for swimming to a ship trapped at sea during the cyclone Neelam in October 2012, and rescuing 22 sailors.
Pathway India, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation and education of intellectually challenged children, was also honoured.