My country India is a country of 1.3 billion people. Serving such a momentous population means that the countries resources are going to stretch thin.
Food, shelter, education, border security are very important issues while the idea of road safety and making better roads generally takes a back seat.
But in reality, for the task of prevention of road accidents, the condition of the roads is as important as the status of vehicles.
People die because of accidents and accidents happens because the roads are filled with potholes.
Now most of us will say the government is responsible and we are happy to curse them and show our discontent but here is a person who believes that you have to "Be the change you want to be". Such a small sentence with such a BIG impact.
That person is Mr.Gangadhara Tilak Katnam - a 70 year old retired government official who is living proof that change is us.
Mr.Gangadhara Tilak Katnam lives in Hyderabad and he retired in 2008, being an experienced person with an indomitable spirit he started working again with an MNC.
During this time he realized how bad the situation has gotten with our roads and he also witnessed some accidents which nudged him toward making a decision of how he is gonna react. He reacted not with words but with action. He decided to fill the potholes by himself. Making his city better and safer one pothole at a time.
But as we know anything which is worth doing is never easy. He also faced criticism. Initially, at home, a wife of a respected man does not want her husband to fill potholes. Later Government officials also tried to persuade him to stay away from the task.
But with his sheer will and determination, he kept going, the backside of his car is always filled with some gunny bags full of tar mixed gravel.For almost two and half years he fueled his work with his own pocket. He used to buy raw material from contractors and also used gravel from the road.
He was doing this work along with working as a Software Design Consultant at Infotech Systems but working in MNC does not give him satisfaction and sense of fulfillment. He left his job in 2012 and started putting more efforts into making the roads safer.
Then later the government also came to aid him and started supplying BT MiX material to Gangadhara.
Mr.Gangadhara work is held in high esteem and lead to the inception of Shramdaan( voluntary contribution of labor ). I believe shramadaan is a very important idea in a country like India where the population is really large and resources are scarce, it’s the idea how we, the people can bring required change. The Government and contractors are doing their job but when we see a setting where the government is losing their footing we can help as a community. It could be a lot of things besides potholes, it could be litter on the streets, neighborhood watch, spreading awareness about issues, educating elderlies. With this philosophy in mind, our society has also initiated shramdaan and cleaned our surroundings, embracing the idea of being the change you want to be.
Mr. Gangadhar Tilak Katnam is leading a life of selflessness and inspiring all of us to make our world a better place. I want to wish him the best of luck and hope that he remains healthy and keeps inspiring us.
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