A disclaimer: at The Metrognome, we don’t subscribe to the idea that year-ending lists must comprise only the famous and the newsy. The man we chose as Personality of the Year was a walk-in for the title, anyway. Incidentally, Sailesh Mishra, elder care activist based in Mira Road, Mumbai, is both famous in his circle, and this year has certainly been a newsy one for him.
We featured Sailesh in October this year, days after he was back from a fruitful stint at the United Nations’ Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Ageing Convention. The interview with him took place at a suburban cafe, and Sailesh bubbled over with enthusiasm about the Convention, and the chance he’d been given to speak on the floor of the House – a lucky chance indeed, because Sailesh got the opportunity to refute the Indian ambassador’s remarks. “The Ambassador had said, ‘Why do the elderly need rights? Their development is the responsibility of the society and their families. What can the government do?’ When I got the chance to speak, I gently refuted what the gentleman had said, and I stressed the need for the government to be more proactive in implementing several schemes for the elderly in India,” Sailesh grinned.
We’ve met several activists over the years, and have been repeatedly disappointed when so many of them have lost their way after being involved with some truly marvellous initiatives. However, Sailesh continues to hold steady in his work, mostly because he does not ever speak of himself or his NGO. “It is the cause of elder care in the country, and how the present policies are unfriendly for our elders, that is important. I don’t ever talk about my NGO, even when invited to address conferences, because I don’t want to focus the spotlight on myself or on Silver Innings,” he says.
Read more : Sailesh Mishra, Personality of the Year
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