You want to become a doctor. You apply to and get admission in one of the best medical colleges in the country. There, you are an outstanding student, one your physiology professor himself describes as "exceptionally bright". You are awarded a gold medal in your post-graduate paediatrics programme.
Done with your medical education, at least in a formal sense, you begin a career in health care in rural India. You had seen and studied malnutrition and poor health care, but now you're face to face with those things every day. In a remote mining area of Madhya Pradesh, you start a hospital, actually involving the miners in every aspect of its work. Over seven years, it grows from ten beds to 90, and is the only reasonable health care facility available to the rural poor there for miles.
By now, you've realized that such things as malnutrition don't just happen in a vacuum. They are intimately tied to such other things as corruption, access to ration cards, justice and governance. Inevitably, your work in health care with the rural poor of what is now Chhattisgarh touches on these themes. You begin seeing the links between them and that word that so many quake at hearing: Naxalites. You don't excuse the violence of Naxalism, but you can see that the roots of this growing movement lie in the misery and injustice you can see everywhere.
Somewhere along the way, a man approaches you for medical help for his brother, who is in prison. The prisoner is a well-known Naxalite leader, Narayan Sanyal. Taking the government's permission every time you visit the prison, you treat Sanyal's condition.
In 2007, you are yourself arrested by the Chhattisgarh government, charged with sedition and links to Naxalites, and jailed.
Your work has been recognized and applauded, even internationally. In April 2008, you receive the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Several Nobel Prize winners have just issued a joint appeal for your release.
None of this matters. May 2008 marks one year in jail.
Your name -- this means you, reading this -- is Binayak Sen.