A journalist with Business India, Debonair, The Independent and Indian Express Online in his previous avatar, he now works for Save the Children.
He has extensive experience in conflict and disaster situations having worked with several global organizations, including the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement, in national and international roles.
An avid writer from childhood, Devendra never found anything worthwhile to write a book about…till he encountered the inspiring children featured here.
Interview With Authors of We Are The Champions, Devendra Tak and Rashmi Bansal
Recently, I had the honor of reading and reviewing We Are The Champions co-authored by Devendra Tak and Rashmi Bansal. We Are The Champions sheds light on 15 amazing individuals living in different parts of India detailing their goals and positive impacts they have made locally and internationally.
After reading their stories, I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind Tak’s and Bansal’s reasons for writing this nonfiction novel. What you have before you is the truth behind how We Are Champions came about.
Morgan Lee Reviews: Tell us about yourself for those who might be unfamiliar with who you are?
Rashmi Bansal: I am a professional author whose interest is the inspiring stories of real people. This is my 11th book, and the first on children.
My previous works feature stories of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and women, and have touched a wide section of society (over 1.2 million copies sold). I am a qualified MBA, and was also the editor and publisher of a popular youth magazine (JAM) for several years.
MLR: Briefly tell us about We Are The Champions and why it was essential for you to co-author with Tak?
RB: This is a book which showed me that there is no age or qualification to be a changemaker. Children are smarter and more capable of propagating new ideas than adults. I was in two minds about this book as it didn’t fall in my usual genre, but when I met some of these brave and spunky kids I realized their stories had to be told.
I could not turn away. Adding my name and expertise to the book means it gets a wider audience, and I think that is essential. Because too often such stories get ignored or not adequately heard.
MLR: How did you determine which stories would be apart of this book, and how did these individuals react to hearing the news that their stories were featured in this book?
RB: Diversity in terms of geography and the causes represented by the kids were the two main criteria for selection. The impact created is also important but while some have been working for a longer time, others have just begun the journey and both are featured in the book.
We also wanted both genders but, in fact, there are more girls than boys (which is a welcome change!). Possibly because in Indian society girls face more issues and hence are more likely to feel strongly about the need to be a changemaker.
MLR: Aside from being and author what else are you involved in, and is what is one piece of advice that’s been instrumental along your journey?
RB: I travel across India giving motivational talks to students in school and college, about having the courage to follow their dreams. One piece of advice would be, start small, think big’ – was the advice from my teacher in college, who took a course on entrepreneurship. It applies in every area of life where one wants to make a change. Just take the first step! And believe in yourself, always!
Morgan Lee Reviews: Tell us about yourself for those who are unfamiliar with who you are?
Devendra Tak: I started my career as a print journalist, however, For the last seven years, I’ve been working with Save the Children and am a member of the Steering Committee of its Global Media Unit — which ensures that children’s voices are amplified around the world.
MLR: Why was it essential for you to co-author We Are The Champions and what did it mean to you to have this book published?
DT: Over the last 15 years, I have worked with the most vulnerable communities and became familiar with interesting stories that needed to be shared. At Save the Children, I took a deep dive into the child rights situation and came face-to-face with the widening gap between the haves and have nots. It was disturbing to note the challenges but then it was also inspiring to witness the child champions who were helping to create positive change.
We Are The Champions will give a wide variety of readers an opportunity to appreciate the work being done by these amazing children….and be a part of the change. Giving these children a voice through We Are The Champions has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
MLR: How did you all determine which stories would be featured in the book?
DT: My co-author and I met many children for this book. Ultimately, we chose these 15 stories to represent children from diverse backgrounds and regions, whose stories would be the most inspiring ones for the readers of the book.
It is not easy to share your personal life story with others but these children understood that by doing so they could make a larger impact and so they opened up, and also got their families and friends to speak to us.
MLR: Do you plan to write or co-author any more books?
DT: There are indeed many more stories to be told, there are so many children and adults who can teach us through their lives about finding purpose in our own lives. Support of a best-selling author like Rashmi Bansal is critical – it was not easy to convince her for We Are The Champions but these child champions have taught us – nothing is impossible and that miracles do happen!
MLR: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
DT: I have been helping organizations and individuals to communicate more efficiently and regularly on matters related to human rights. I enjoy networking with people around the world, to see what we all can do to make life more purposeful, more loving and something to learn from on a daily basis.
When asked if there is anything else they would like to add to conclude this interview Basal said, “I dream of a world where people do not derive happiness from carrying ugly, overpriced Louis Vuitton bags, but through acts of compassion for their fellow humans.” We Are The Champions is available globally on Amazon and also at Flipkart, and in bookstores in India.
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