Ajay Chaturvedi

While many 'newsmakers' are catapulted to almost celebrity status overnight for doing hardly anything of acclaim, many others languish in the shadows despite living for others and helping change the lives of the underprivileged. Many of them remain mere footnotes to history, their extraordinary work almost snuffed out before the gale force of petty sensationalism that the world seems to find more 'interesting'. So here is an attempt to honour those who have done some extraordinary and selfless work in the society, bringing joy to hundreds of lives. This is a salute to the unsung heroes of 2012.

For an average person making tons of money to give it all up is tough. But ex-Citibanker Ajay Chaturvedi took a gamble and it is paying off.  In the two years since he started HarVa, which means 'Harnessing Value', he's already a name to reckon with in the social enterprise sector.

In a mad rush to succeed in the corporate world, what people don't see is the immense business opportunity in the less developed areas of India. Ajay was astute enough to sense the potential rural India offers. That's why he gave up a comfortable life, making loads to money in the West to return to India.

HarVa helps farmers in every aspect of farming- from understanding their land to what crops is cultivable to financial and logistical assistance. Ajay also started an all-woman BPO close to Gurgaon, providing them with a livelihood they never imagined. With its success, Ajay introduced another BPO in Rajasthan where the employees are the least you'd expect see- the ghoonghat-clad women.

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