By Pihu Saraff, Grade 8
Neev means foundation, as a nation, we need to work towards strengthening this. By giving back, not just to a certain section of people, but to the entirety of India. Giving back does not only exist in the form of philanthropy and there are numerous individuals who have demonstrated that.
The founder of Infosys, Nadan Nilekani, drove the Aadhaar initiative, revolutionizing the Indian government’s welfare programs. He started this journey in 2009 when he left Infosys to supervise the government scheme aiming to provide identification for all Indians. A year later, ten people from Tembhli, Maharashtra received the first Aadhaar numbers in the country. A decade later, this program has 1.2 billion enrollments. This important technological tool allowed the poor to receive benefits without any interruption or middlemen via direct benefit transfer (DBT). This concept has saved the government about Rs 49,000 crores so far. This project identified almost every citizen in a country of 1.39 billion people, where it is easy for one to blend in as though they are a speck of dust.
Another significant individual is 2014 Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi. Since 1980, he has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitation. By establishing Bachpan Bachao Andolan, he liberated, educated, and rehabilitated around 85,000 Indian children. He also started the Bharat Yatra march in 2017 in which 1.4 million people walked to end child sexual abuse and trafficking. He said that “on the first day of (his) schooling, (he) saw a boy, the same age as (him), sitting outside the school and looking at (his) shoes. (He) was very disturbed." In this simple moment, something sparked inside of him, and the desire to help these children never left him. Satyarthi says that the dreams he sees in the eyes of the children, motivate him to keep fighting for their rights.
As citizens, it is important to give back to the same country from which we take so much. Giving back isn't just about the distribution of wealth, it is about working hard for our community, whether this be our school or our country. The examples of Nandan Nilekani and Kailash Satyarthi display that however high we soar, giving back to and appreciating the community to which you belong and care about is what keeps one grounded. A tree absorbs water and minerals from its roots, but its leaves also prepare food and transport it back.