Wednesday, December 30, 2009



There are more than enough signs pointing to India Inc taking its place on the global map. Take for example the recent case Dr Reddy’s Lab won against Pfizer challenging its patents for Norvasc (a billion drug). The victory of Reddy’s was written about by every Wall Street pharma-ceutical analyst of significance. It also had an impact on Pfizer’s share price. AN Indian company today has the audacity and resources to challenge a global industry leader over a billion dollar product in the US courts, to win a summary judgement and to knock billions of dollars off the market capitalization of the global leader.

(Based on an email in January 2003 from Shri.Balakrishnan Hariharan).


It is said that in any aspect of life, the difference between the numbers one and zero is greater than the difference between the numbers two and one; nowhere is it as clearly illustrated as in the case of education, where a little bit can go a long way in improving the quality of life. The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India (EVFI) is one such concept that hopes to empower young tribal children in India through education. The premise of EVFI is "Ek Shikshak, Ek Vidyalaya," which means "one teacher for every school." Founded 15 years ago, by Shyamjee Gupta, EVFI focuses attention on Vanavaasis (wrongly described as “tribals”) and tries to bring non-formal education within their reach. Currently EVFI is running over 8,000 schools in remote and Vanavaasi villages all over India and hopes to reach a target of 100,000 schools by the year 2010.

( From RADHIKA SHARMA’s write up in


Thandavampatti hamlet with a population of 276 in 69 houses in Araichi village panchayat in Taathaiangarpet block of Tiruchirappalli district, Witnessed a silent revolution two months ago when the staff of a Tiruchirappalli based NGO, Gramalaya, could talk the local women's self help group into taking up the work of providing a cheap toilet for each house in the hamlet. The work commenced on January 16 when 13 households dug the necessary three-foot deep pits that were closed with a cement slab with a drop-hole that in turn was covered with a wooden plank. While thatch, old mats and used jute bags served as the superstructure, an old cloth covered the entrance. Women were the most enthusiastic workers as they had been the worst sufferers. Earlier, they had to wait for darkness to descend so that they could use the open field as toilet. Men had no such compulsion, and when some men initially refused to be drawn in to use the new toilets, they were warned by village elders that they could opt for open defecation, but only beyond the village boundary.

(Source: ‘The New Indian Express’, January 28, 2003).


He returns from his work, takes off his uniform and starts cooking. His flat is full of big vessels. He prepares food packets containing lemon rice or curd rice. Next, he sets out in search of his patrons – the beggars. He knows where they are – in front of temples, mosques or churches. He distributes the food he has brought and walks back home. This routine is several years old. He spends all his salary in this way. His own food consists of juice of Karisilangkanni ( a herb). He takes it thrice a day. His name is Subramaniyan, but people call him Swami, because of his attire resembling that of Ramalinga Vallalar a saint who lived in Chennai a hundred years back. Vallalar is the inspiration for Subramaniyan’s daily annadaanam and herbal diet. A graduate from a city college, he is employed as a security guard in Chennai IIT. In the nights he practises Dhyanam.

(Based on a news clipping from a city daily provided by a local resident).


People go to temples to worship and rightly so. Pandurangan(age: just 85), a retired school teacher of Thiruvannaamalai, has some other agenda. Once a week, he goes to the famous and ancient Arunaachaleswara temple, to the Nandavanam (flower garden) there to be precise, and involves himself in gardening work. He does this service for years. This is known as ‘uzhavaara pani’ among the devout. Another service that Panduranganaar, as he is called in reverence, has been doing is distribution of free booklets containing verses from devotional literature among the millions who converge in the sacred city on Deepam day (in November) every year. But his most favourite weekend pastime is recital of Bhakti geet, stationing himself at street corners. He writes them on old envelopes that he patiently collects.

(Based on a box item in VIJAYABHARATAM, a Tamil weekly Chennai-31, dated December 6, 2002, contributed by Shri.C. Praveenkumar, Thiruvannaamalai).