EDITORS: Following is a series of special features that seek to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation based in Washington.
Feeding the hungry: Cancer doesn't detract him from his life's mission (IANS Special Series) (12:18)
By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, Jan 14 (IANS) He is 83 years old and has been serving free food to the poor and needy for over three-and-a-half decades. He is fighting cancer and has sold off assets to keep his community service going. And, despite the odds, there is no let-up in the enthusiasm of businessman Jagdish Lal Ahuja in what he thinks is his life's mission.
Bend it like the Alakhpura girls: Football empowers in a Haryana village (IANS Special Series) (12:32)
By Mudita Girotra
Alakhpura (Haryana), Jan 7 (IANS) On a cold and wet winter afternoon, some 30 km from the district headquarters of Bhiwani, tired boys buckled up to return home after seven hours of school. But for the girls, the ringing of the closing bell was a signal to don their kits and get ready to reach the sports ground for their daily football practice.
Inspiring change: When a once-arid village becomes a national model (IANS Special Series) (12:32)
By Bhavana Akella
ProtoVillage (Andhra Pradesh), Dec 31 (IANS) John F. Kennedy said "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try". These words of one of America's best-known presidents probably inspired a former engineer in India to try to transform what was once a bone-dry region into a green oasis simply by motivating its inhabitants to do what they earlier thought was impossible.
'Rasta' shows poor Muslim girls the path to education (IANS Special Series) (14:08)
By Nikhil M. Babu
Khoda (Uttar Pradesh), Dec 24 (IANS) Ten years ago, when three women walked into Shabnam's one-roomed home here one afternoon, her six- and seven-year-old daughters, Sana and Shaima, were school dropouts. They were attending a nearby madrassa as the family could not afford their school uniforms.
On a wing and verse: Bengal girl gives poetic meaning to broken life (IANS Special Series) (12:20)
By Sirshendu Panth
Kolkata, Dec 17 (IANS) Eight years back, Sathi Mondal was a normal, jovial teenager, enjoying life and dreaming of making it big in sports. That's till a botched-up medical treatment derailed her life's planned journey. Now she can't take a morsel of food or even water through her mouth, shuttles between home and hospital, and suffers excruciating pain.
Making a difference: Teenager's passion sets an example in Kashmir (IANS Special Series) (12:32)
By Sheikh Qayoom
Laharwalpora (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 10 (IANS) Bilal Ahmad Dar, 18, is ready to start his daily journey into the Wular Lake, said to be Asia's largest fresh-water lake, early in the morning on a bitterly cold December day.
"There was never an iota of communal hatred in Ayodhya' (IANS Special Series) (11:38)
By Saurabh Katkurwar
Ayodhya, Dec 3 (IANS) This is a town held sacred for its association with Hindu religious lore, which in latter days acquired the unflattering reputation of being a hotbed of Hindu-Muslim antagonism and religio-political conflict whose reverberations are felt both nationally and internationally. But what is little known, and may be even difficult to believe, is that Ayodhya has traditionally been known for its inter-faith harmony where it is not out of the ordinary for a Muslim tailor to stitch clothes for the idol of Ram or for a Hindu priest to help renovate an old mosque.
Philanthropy by example: Building homes for poor her passion (IANS Special Series) (12:12)
By Sanu George
Pathanamthitta (Kerala) Nov 26 (IANS) Everything about this 57-year-old retired zoology professor is unique -- and what stands out is her abiding compassion for the deprived. In 11 years, she has built new homes for 78 people in a sterling example of philanthropy in a region where Gulf emigres build extravagant homes, radically altering the rural landscape.
Hijab is no hurdle: Dream of bakery worker's daughter takes wings (IANS Special Series) (12:14)
By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, Nov 19 (IANS) "I want to become a pilot." When she instinctively answered a question at an event over a decade ago, the dream of a humble bakery worker's daughter had started growing wings. Hijab-wearing Syeda Salva Fatima is now all set to join an airline and is one of the four Muslim women in India who hold a Commercial Pilot's Licence (CPL).