Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Ancient Hindu books speak of offsprings imbibing skills as well as qualities even while staying inside their mother’s womb. Abhimanyu and Bhakta Prahlada are examples for this. Nowadays, scientists have established that the personality of a child could be moulded even while in the womb. That means, during pregnancy the would-be mother needs, in addition to adequate nutrition, a proper ambience. In the Bharat of yore, this was no problem, thanks to the joint family system now being edged out by the nuclear family arrangement. Today, the young wife in the nuclear family has to fend for herself, bereft of the loving care of an odd aunt or grandma who used to be around. She misses even her own mother now. So, the lonely pregnant lady in the house sits glued to the idiot box that keeps spewing violent scenes all the 24 hours, risking the babe in her womb imbibing all that. A group of RSS shakha-trained social workers in Vidarbha, in central Bharat, the MATRU SHAKTI KALYAN KENDRA, have found a way out. They have launched the project GARBHA SAMSKAR KENDRA in two places in Nagpur, where expectant women can avail, in addition to doctor’s advice and diet prescribed by nutrition experts, regular practice of Praanaayaama and necessary yogasanas. There they can listen to Bhakti Geet. Can join the Bhajan. Or listen to ennobling stories. As expected, these Kendras are getting good response from among young mothers-to-be.

Based on a report in the Hindi fortnightly RASHTRA DEV (June 30, 2003)

published from Bareily, Meerut and Dehra Dun.


In a significant development, India today (June 2) decided to stop taking bilateral aid from most countries, except a few major ones, and prepay Rs. 7,490 crore worth of external debt this year in the face of ballooning foreign exchange reserves, now at over $80 billion. ``The Finance Ministry has decided to discontinue receiving aid from partners other than Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, the European Commission and the Russian Federation,'' an official announcement said. This is a follow-up of the budget announcement, it said adding that smaller bilateral aid from 14 countries totalling Rs. 7490.77 crores would be prepaid. The 14 countries comprise the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Kuwait, Spain, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Australia, the Russian Federation, Czech and Slovak. India's total outstanding bilateral debt from 20 countries as on March 31, 2003, stood at Rs. 66,316.07 crore. Barring outstanding from Japan, Germany, the United States and France totalling Rs. 58,825.30 crore, the remaining Rs. 7490.77 crore worth of aid is being prepaid. There were no outstanding bilateral debt liabilities to the United Kingdom and Norway, the statement said.

PTI / THE HINDU (June 3, 2003)


Chennai-ites would watch, amused, two gentlemen in shorts and T-shirts, riding tricycle carts early in the morning. The carts would be carrying saplings. Since most Chennai streets were barren, the two men were kept extremely busy. The tricycle journey that started 15 years ago continues, albeit a bit sluggishly, since Chennai faces a water crisis these days. For years, the two men were considered eccentric, but they are perhaps the unsung green heroes of Chennai. By profession, V Subramanian was a banker at the Reserve Bank of India, while Dr R Madhavan is a practising paediatrician. They started their endeavour by planting saplings on the street on which they lived. Then they moved to the next street, and the next, and so forth. By the end of the first year, they had planted more than 400 saplings. The twosome started the Environmental Society of Mandaveli. They renamed it Global Greenways [Phone: (+91-44) 2493 8368/2493 7060] as their area of operation began spreading. "Earlier, we used to cycle down noting the width of the streets and chose the trees accordingly. But, after a few years, many people recognised our work and started calling us to specific places," says Subramanian. Initially, they collected the saplings from the Corporation of Madras (as Chennai was then known) but soon began their own nursery. Dr.Madhavan has added his own touch -- he gifts saplings to all his patients. Fifteen years later, they might have personally planted more than 15,000 trees in various areas all over Chennai. Over and above that, they have distributed thousands of saplings. “When my patients to whom I have gifted saplings come and tell me, 'Doctor, they are big trees now. Thank you', I feel satisfied," says Madhavan. The two have now turned their attention to flowering plants. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could see flowers on the streets in the mornings? The streets that have big trees can also have flowering plants," says Subramanian.

Based on a The Rediff Special feature by Shobha Warrier (June 27, 2003). Idea: Sudha


Bharat is mahaan not simply on account of lofty philosophies, but because of men and women who live them – like Shri. Pawan Kumar of Chandigarh. His six-year old son Vicky Kumar is suffering (in the year 2000) from a rare disease, Bruton’s Syndrome, A common form of PID (Primary Immune Deficiency). His is an affliction of the immune systemand stops producing disease-fighting anti-bodies. Normally, this disease surfaces only after the child is six months old when immunity gained from the mother is exhausted. Thereafter the child needs to be given an injection once in a month, a single dose of which costs Rs. 5,700. But Pawan Kumar’s monthy salary is just Rs. 4,500. He was finding it impossible to give his son the life-saving medicine. At this stage, in answer tohis appeal for help, the Red Cross Society of Finland sent him 1,000 vials of the injection valued at Rs. 12 lakh as a personal gift. Pawan Kumar kept just 120 vials for his son and donated the rest to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research of Chandigarh, one of the four centres in the whole country which can detect the dreaded PID.

Based on a report in INDIA TODAY, January 7, 2000.


On his way to work every morning, V.Mani would see women milling around Bangalore Central Jail waiting to meet their husbands imprisoned inside. "Many of the women would have young children with them," Mani says, "and they'd be there with them even in biting cold or rain." Since most of the jail inmates were hardened criminals serving long sentences, Mani wondered what kind of future their kids would have. After he retired in 1998 as an assistant general manager with RBI, Mani decided to use his savings to convert his home into a free hostel for the children of prisoners. Though mothers were initially hesitant to send their kids, today Mani, his wife and five social workers look after 31 boys between the ages of two and 11. Apart from providing them with food and shelter, Mani also ensures that they are admitted to good schools. Every three months Mani, 66, takes his wards to meet their families and show them how they're progressing. "Most of the kids are doing well," Mani says, "and some have even topped their class."

Courtesy: Reader's Digest, June 2003. Idea: Raghuramji.