On October 13, we will welcome new inductees to the Desi Hall of Fame. Activists, authors, dancers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, musicians, politicians, policy makers, philanthropists and a publisher, research scientists...the list is long and impressive.
We think of them as pathfinders. They weren’t deterred by naysayers who said it couldn’t be done, this is how it is, settle for the lower rung, deal with it. They forged their own paths, often against formidable odds, and in doing so, showed others the way.
It’s been an honour and a privilege sharing with our readers these huge success stories of inspirational desis making a name for themselves in a new firmament.
In all these years of interviewing them, I have learned so much. Not just about fields I knew nothing about, but life lessons.
Dr Sharada Srinivasan: “Just as we come with a suitcase full of personal belongings, we also bring our thinking.”
Dr Vinay Bhide: “Tradition is not frozen in time. It is a work in progress. It evolves.”
Sonia Faruqi: “Any change is a learning process.”
Raj Anand: “Fairness is pretty elementary.”
Carolyn Abraham: “When it comes to questions of culture and identity, DNA only has as much power as you give it.”
Baldev Mutta: “Parents want to give their children everything they didn’t have – even if it is age-inappropriate – but what a child really needs is a parent.”
Dr Siyaram Pandey: “As long you have a richness of human beings around you and the satisfaction of having been of some use, that is your best reward.”
Mina Mawani: “Women and girls make up ‘half the sky’ and need to be respected, given equal access to opportunities and developed into leaders.”
Diverse as their fields are, the achievers share a common trait. They all tend to be surprised at being viewed as achievers. They were just following their passion, they say. A passion that results in stellar work in every imaginable field including empowering women, raising awareness about the rights of the disabled, formulating policies that have a far-reaching impact in the legal field and in how health care is delivered. Some are household names, some work away from the public eye. All command the highest respect in their fields.
And all of them raise our IQ, or Inspirational Quotient. They are role models the next generation and newcomers to Canada today can look up to and say, “They did it, perhaps so can I”. They make the seemingly impossible within reach.
Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Dussehra! Happy Halloween!