“Every person has a hero inside, what we need is to recognize this heroic quality and use it for betterment of our society and mankind.” With these words, well-known social worker and philanthropist Aneel Murarka felicitated several brave hearts with Shoorveer Awards, during a glittering award ceremony held recently at the Iskcon Auditorium in Mumbai. 

In its second year, the Shoorveer Awards is a unique initiative and a special recognition and award for all those who have pursued meritorious acts of bravery against all odds.

While many may recognize Dalbir Kaur – sister of Sarabjit Singh, who was convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court – who fought against all odds in her desire to see justice for her brother, most wouldn’t know who Triveni Acharya is or who Monica More or Rajaram Joshi or Harakhchand Sawla are.

These are some of the common people with uncommon courage, who were honored for their bravery at the 2016 Shoorveer Awards spearheaded by Aneel Murarka, founder of Ample Missiion Events Entertainment and More Llp, and Manish Murarka. Their stories talk about their indomitable spirit, making them an inspiration to millions everywhere.

“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, these ordinary people have pursued extraordinary acts of bravery without fearing for life,” Aneel Murarka said in a statement. “I, along with my team, have worked hard to put everything together and have received immense support from our friends in the industry to make my dream project happen.”

Acharya is an Indian journalist and activist living in Mumbai, best known for her work with the anti-sex-trafficking group, the Rescue Foundation. She has rescued 5,000 girls from brothels so far; More, who lost both her arms in a suburban train accident at Ghatkopar railway station, never lost hope, completing her studies with first class, and who is now working in Railways; Joshi, a fifth-generation fisherman, saves those who jump off the Vashi creek bridge and doesn’t seek money or recognition for his gestures. He has saved 47 lives so far; and Sawla, now 57, left his thriving business 30 years ago, and began caring for cancer patients by adopting 25 of them.

“The bravery acts these people have performed have gone unnoticed, hence awarded these people for their saga of bravery and propel the people to pursue acts of bravery,” said Manish Murarka.

Incredible stories of grit and perseverance were shared during the event, which received long ovations and thunderous applause from the attendees. Heroic acts of citizens such as Bapurao Tajne, a dalit who dug a well in 40 days after being insulted by villagers over drinking water issue; and lifeguard Rajnikant Mashelkar, who has saved 407 people from drowning, were acknowledged with much cheer. Also inspiring were stories of a doctor couple, Ashish and Kavita Satav, who are working tirelessly in tribal areas to protect the people there from disease and malnutrition; and Sandeep Bachee, an auto rickshaw driver, who does not charge cancer patients and school children for rides.

Many were honored posthumously, including Colonel Santosh Mahadik, who sacrificed his life fighting for the nation.

Kaur, who fought tooth and nail for 23 years to get her brother Sarabjit released from a Pakistani jail, thanked Aneel Murarka and Ample Missiion for honoring courageous people with the Shoorveer Awards. “This trophy will always remind me of the support I got from the people of my country,” she said.

The ceremony was attended by a bevy of celebrities from the film and the television industry, including Poonam Dillon, Udit Narayan, Raju Shrivastav, Tarun Rathi, Sangeeta Murarka, Sidhaant Murarka, Kunika Sadanand Lal, Mir Ranjan Negi, Devangi Shah and Jayant Gandhi.

The entertainment quotient for the event was provided by Akshat Singh, Shravan Patel, Pinkesh Doshi and Nitin Bhandarkar, while the emcee of the night was television actor Sachin Kumbhar.

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