Heroes-Real And Reel
People and their stories lie at the heart of everything we do in our magazine. People who have transformed lives with their courage, compassion and capability. Their stories reflect values we grew up with—rare in this crass, brutal world.
There are many reasons why I am proud to serve at Reader’s Digest. People and their stories lie at the heart of everything we do in our magazine—we especially celebrate ordinary folks who have an extraordinary story. People who have transformed lives with their courage, compassion and capability; inspired us to battle on, bringing hope in the face of utter despair and showing us how to never say die. The good people who have brought a smile to our faces when we needed cheering up. Their stories reflect values we grew up with—rare in this crass, brutal world.
Degree Prasad Chouhan, a young human-rights lawyer from Chhattisgarh is one such hero. He has shown exceptional fortitude and strength of character defending Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi people in the face of dire threats from the powers that be, fighting back attempts to be branded a ‘Naxal’. His journey—from a Dalit schoolboy exposed to the scourge of untouchability, to putting his neck on the line for the defenceless—is nothing short of heroic ('The Lone Warrior').
There is another story in this issue—that of a screen hero. Also a singer and poet, this performer has connected with audiences of Hindi cinema with his warm comedic touch. He has endeared himself to millions as a kind of Everyman of Bollywood. Many of us remained unaware of his recent personal trials, even as he won over hearts and entertained fans. His partner was suddenly faced with a grim diagnosis, shattering their peaceful family life. He learnt the tough way that life can be fragile, and that you need to dip within yourself to find the strength and calm to fight back. This is the story of Ayushmann Khurrana—his journey from an ordinary home in Chandigarh to instant Bollywood success; from meeting his childhood sweetheart, and wife, Tahira Kashyap to their joint battle against cancer ('Be Your Best Possible Self').
There are other stories you must read: ‘The Unforgettable Field Marshal Cariappa’, ‘The Day I Stopped being an Indian’, The Future of Elections, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbour and BFF?’, ‘Sum of Her Parts’, ‘Leap of Faith’ and the Bonus Read. And do not miss our All Fools’ Day offering—‘Giant Hoaxes’!
Enjoy April and this issue!