Shree Ganesh's 2020 Hero is Mahalinga Naik

Shree Ganesh says: "A muddy trail leads one down to the Varanashi cacao plantation in Adyanadka, a sleepy town 54 kilometres south-east of Mangalore. One is greeted by a symphony of katydids, crickets and grasshoppers, inviting each newcomer to move ahead, further and further into the dense undergrowth. From hips down to the feet, they sing their chorus, some louder than the others, occasional crescendos escaping from the perpetual hum. As we tread our way along, the voice of Dr. Ashwini Krishnamoorthy sounds out amidst the cacophony, regaling the story of a local farmer whose tale of strife and perseverance came to have a profound effect on me, restoring my sense of hope in this world. An unexpected, pivotal moment from my time as a volunteer on this plantation. With our interest piqued, myself and a few of my fellow volunteers from the farm decided to embark on an adventure to meet the protaganist of Dr. Ashwini's story. We set out towards the village one morning, collecting two more friends along the way. A couple of farmers caught the attention of our group, and waving us over, they informed us of a shorter route to take to the home of the man I was waiting to meet. Anticipation started to build as we walked in the midday sun towards the village of Amaya. In this village, the majority of people are daily wage workers, farmers or locally operating businessmen. And it was in this village of Amaya that I finally met Mahalinga Naik, a god-fearing man standing barefoot wearing a Mundoo and a crisply ironed shirt. For many years, Mahalinga Naik was a daily wage labourer, climbing arecanut and coconut trees. He smiled and shared how kind God had been to him, and how fortunate he was to be gifted a one-and-a-half acre plot of land by his landlord, Mr. Bhat, in 1978 as a token of his appreciation of Mahalinga's earnest and sincere nature. Upon receiving the land, Mahalinga's first impression was that his dream of becoming a full-time farmer and working on his own plantation had come true."