Hero's Journey

Hero’s Journey

“You once mentioned Naseema Hurzuk”, Lulu, my parrot, said as he shuffled a book. “She is a disabled person but her life shows what a great leader she is.”

“So true, Lulu. Sonali Navangul also has had a similar life. An accident caused paralysis of her lower body. Today she is a celebrated author and translator. She has received Sahitya Academy Puraskar.”

“That is interesting. Naseema Hurzuk and her NGO both have received several awards.”

“Yes. Naseema was an aspiring athlete who was paralyzed in an accident but conquered all difficulties. She is a great leader”

“You said it”

(Lulu, My Parrot)

Anandwan is a community rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients. Baba Amte established it. The story behind it is stunning. Baba Amte stumbled upon Tulsiram, a leprosy patient who was so badly affected that Baba Amte got scared of him. He felt ashamed of his own feelings and it led to setting up Anandwan”

“True to his feelings he was. Baba Amte was a great man who had fought British Soldiers. Setting up an institution where leprosy patients will be looked after must have been a humongous task; he would have had to overcome problems in every conceivable area – so strong are the prejudices of every section of the Society”

“Yes, so true. The story of Dr. Prakash Amte is somewhat similar. He went to Hemalkasa, in the forest, to provide healthcare to the Tribal population. He did not get his first patient till several months had elapsed. And even then, the difficulties which followed were unimaginable. Setting up a hospital, and later a school required herculean efforts which tested the will and skill of Dr. Prakash Amte and his wife Dr. Manda.”

“Kudos! Words fail to describe their struggle.”

“Have you heard of Shivaji Raut?”

“No, tell me, who is he?”

“Shivaji hails from Rahimatpur in Koregaon Taluka in Maharashtra. He was influenced by the work of Dr Narendra Dabholkar who was a doctor, social activist, and a rationalist. Dr Dabholkar founded the ‘Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti’ (Committee for Eradication of Superstition in Maharashtra)”

“So ….”

“When Shivaji realized that farmers were being cheated in many ways by those in the power, he launched a detailed investigation using ‘Right to Information Act’ provisions. He unearthed many fraudulent deals of high value. You could only imagine what difficulties, including personal risks he had to face as the vested interests hit back at him. But he did not give up.”

“Our nation makes progress because of such great though unsung persons.”

“You said it Lulu”

“Did you notice a pattern?”

“What’s that?”

(Rivers at Hemalkasa)

“All these leaders went through the Hero’s Journey which begins with an event, let us call it the inflexion point. In the case of Baba Amte it was his meeting Tulsiram, the leprosy affected man. The inflexion point transformed him, and he transformed his little world”

“I see your point”

“Dr. Prakash Amte had to live in a forest, go to a great length to win the confidence and affection of the tribal people. That phase lasted a couple of years. Only then he could do stupendous work of upliftment of the people. Articles and books have been written about how that inflexion point, it was a long period in his case, changed him leading to changing of his little world”

“Yup! I see the pattern you are pointing out. Shivaji Raut’s story is not different. Naseema Hurzuk and Sonali Navangul stories have the same pattern.”

“That’s the Hero’s Journey. You take a step in the unknown, it is an adventure. Then you face a problem which is humongous and unsurmountable. But you overcome it and, in the process, not only you change the small little world around you but you undergo change yourself.”

“All this happens as you discover a purpose for your life”

“You got it right. When you give it a purpose, you also give meaning to your life. Osho said that ‘Life is meaningless; we have to give it a meaning’”

“That’s so true, Lulu”

“Adventures of the kind Amtes, Naseema, Sonali and Shivaji Raut undertook, increase self-awareness. They experience personal growth. All this happens when we work to contribute meaningfully. That’s a conscious decision!”

“That is a food for thought. I guess I will keep thinking about it for a long time”

Anyone can be a hero because anyone can undertake the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ As I said, it is a conscious decision. If you wait for the ‘situation to be ripe’ to commence the journey, it will never happen. Do you get me?

“Oh Lulu!”