Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Imagine this: Dawn to dusk, a 64-year old person undergoes a self-imposed grinding schedule for seven months. Does not take rest even for a single day. All this, for the benefit of his village. End your imagination here. In Ayyampaalayam, Tiruchirapalli district, Tamilnadu, Bharat, river Kaveri flows girding the village. Wild shrubs grew all along the bank narrowing the riverbed. Thus, water flow was constricted. Also, the bushes consumed scarce water considerably. Shri.C.Valliyappan single-handedly weeded out the shrubs. He burnt them down so that they will not reappear. He thus cleared an 8 kilometre-stretch of the riverbed in all these months of ceaseless labour. Labour of love, of course. For all this, Valliyappan does not have any income worth mentioning and lives in a rented house in the village. The Tamilnadu state government, in appreciation, granted Valliyapan a sum of Rs.3 lakhs.

(Based on a news item in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, Chennai Edition, November 19, 2002).


The branch manager of Indian Bank, Kancheepuram, Tamilnadu, Bharat, was talking to press persons. At one stage, his voice choked. He was telling them the story of Mangalam. The story: One Shri.Elumaalai, a landless farm hand, had borrowed Rs.1,000 from the bank. Before he could repay in full, Elumalai died. His wife Mangalam managed to make both ends meet by working as a housemaid. She gathered cow dung, made cow dung cakes and sold them. She could thus save enough to remit the loan instalment month after month. The manager came to know the pitiable condition of her family. He offered to write off the outstanding part of the debt. To this the response of Mangalam was: “ Sir, if I do not repay in full, my husband’s atma will not attain shanti”. (Sorry, the last sentence cannot be rendered into English adequately).

(Based on a report in THE HINDU two decades back).


Vypeen. One of the islands off Ernakulam in Kerala. In early ‘80s, nearly ninety persons lost their lives in a hooch tragedy. Hundreds were hospitalised in the small town of Ernakulam. The hospitals soon ran out of their stock of saline solution. To keep up the level of first aid to the victims, doctors advised intake of large quantities of filtered tender coconut. The word spread. Within hours, bullock-cart loads of tender coconuts from the nearby villages were heaped in front of every hospital in the town. Courtesy: The owners of coconut palm groves. They had learnt of the tragedy. The SOS by the doctors was enough. Spontaneously they despatched the life-saving cartloads. They expected nothing in return but the lives of their neighbours.

(Based on a front page box item carried by the New Delhi edition of THE STATESMAN daily).


Five-year-old Lokesh is a pupil of Nidhi Vinay Mandir, a school in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Bharat. He is a heart patient since birth. He needed a surgery costing Rs.80.000. His father, Radheshyam Kuril is a helper in a footwear shop and earns Rs.60 per day. Palak Munchal, the eight year old wonder singer of the same town, came forward to help Lokesh. She raised Rs.51,000 through her charity shows. The event was publicised by the media. Doctors of the Manipal Heart Foundation (MHF) in distant Bangalore heard about the case. They offered to operate Lokesh for free. MHF’s large-heartedness enabled Palak to offer the money to Lokesh’s family. Radheshyam Kuril, Lokesh’s father, requested that the money be used to help other children requiring heart surgery.

( Based on a report by N.K.Singh in INDIA TODAY dated July 31, 2000).


Ramaiah’s daughter came back from school with headache one day. The school had no trees and so no shade for children to play. The hot sun had caused her headache. Then and there, Ramaiah resolved to plant one crore (yes,1 followed by 7 zeros) trees in his lifetime. In right earnest, he set out on his bicycle loaded with bags full of saplings. He went to each and every school in his Kammam district, Andhra Pradesh, Bharat. He related the value of each sapling to the school kids and exhorted them to take personal interest in planting, watering and guarding it. They responded in a big way. Soon the number of trees planted by Ramaiah’s unsparing efforts swelled into lakhs. The district authorities took note, and he was co-opted into the government body monitoring afforestation in the area.

(Based on an article in OUTLOOK newsmagazine).