Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PANCHAAMRITAM 61 - 70

PANCHAAMRITAM - 61

ONE

Four-year-old Shambhavi Karan, (an Upper KG student at Seth M R Jaipuria School, Lucknow, UP, Bharat) converses with her parents in Samskritam. Both her parents, Manjula and Vijay Karan, are graduates in Samskritam. So they have adopted it as their mother tongue. ‘‘Since we have always been conversing in Samskritam at home, Shambhavi has slipped into that habit too. But we don’t restrict her to using Sanskrit with her friends too. Outside the house, she is free to talk in Hindi or English,’’ says her mother, Manjula. The parents say: ‘‘If one learns to speak and understand Sanskrit, he / she is able to speak any other language in the world.’’ Vijay Karan, an alumnus of Benaras Hindu University, is a Sanskrit teacher at a degree college in Lucknow. ‘‘We wanted to maintain her tempo of speaking all the three languages with proper pronunciations. Since Sanskrit is a compulsory subject in the lower classes at the Jaipuria School, she will get an opportunity to speak the language both at home and at school,’’ he says. ‘‘People are used to us speaking in Sanskrit. But they are often surprised to see Shambhavi speaking Sanskrit so fluently at this tender age,’’ say the proud parents.

Based on a report in THE INDIAN EXPRESS of March 28, 2005 by Smt. Neha Agarwal.

TWO

Ancient Indian wisdom was that drinking water should be stored in brass
vessels for good health. Microbiologists today say water stored in brass containers could help combat many water-borne diseases. 'Nature' magazine said, on a recent trip to India, Rob Reed, a microbiologist at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, heard an interesting piece of local wisdom: people believe that traditional brass water containers offer some protection against sickness. "It's one of the traditional ideas of water treatment and we were able to find a microbiological basis for it," he was quoted as saying. Reed, with his colleagues Puja Tandon and Sanjay Chhibber, carried out two series of experiments, 'Nature' reported. In Britain, the researchers filled brass and earthenware vessels with a diluted culture of Escherichia coli bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as dysentery. They then counted the surviving bacteria after 6, 24 and 48 hours. A similar test was carried out in India using naturally contaminated water. The amount of live E coli in the brass vessels dropped dramatically over time, and after 48 hours they fell to undetectable levels, Reed told the Society for General Microbiology's meeting in March 2005 in Edinburgh, UK. The key to the result is copper, which can disrupt biological systems, Reed explained. The element interferes with the membranes and enzymes of cells; for bacteria, this can mean death. Pots made of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, shed copper particles into the water they contain. The amounts that circulate into the brass water vessels could not harm humans, Reed added. Plastic, Reed was quoted as saying, did not inactivate the bacteria. But many people in developing nations use plastic drinking vessels, because they view them as more modern.

Based on media reports.

THREE

Fairfax County (USA) businesswoman Sandhya Kumar teaches her three daughters about other countries, cultures and religions. She wants them to take pride in their Indian heritage and Hindu faith -- and to respect and understand other views. But when Sandhya of Lorton scanned several world history textbooks recommended for Fairfax County schools, she worried that students would come away with a distorted and negative impression of her homeland's culture. "I thought the American children will think India is some Third World country with pagan beliefs and backward thinking, not a forward-thinking country," Sandhya said. She and dozens of other Indian American parents launched a campaign to change the way their history is taught in Fairfax, the nation's 12th-largest school system. Their lobbying has prompted school officials to rethink presentations of India and Hinduism in classrooms and has sparked efforts to develop a more sophisticated and thoughtful curriculum. Balaji Hebbar, a George Washington University religion professor who was one of three scholars hired by Fairfax County to review the books cited by the group of Indian parents, said he and his colleagues found few factual errors. But he said the lessons boiled down a complex culture to "karma, cows and caste." "It's as if I were making a picture book of the United States, and I took pictures of the bad parts of D.C., the run-down parts of New York City and the smoke stacks of Cleveland and left out the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty," Hebbar said. "I would be telling the truth, but I would only be telling half the truth."

Based on an article by Smt. Maria Glod, Washington Post Staff Writer, in WASHINGTON POST of April 16,2005.

FOUR

A. Shri. Raj, an auto driver of Nammalwarpet, Chennai, Tamilnadu, Bharat, found a bag left by someone containing Rs. 1,30,000 in his auto one fine morning, He handed over the bag to the police, who later traced the owner of the money as one Rajendran of Mugappeir West, Chennai, and restored the cash to him. The Police Commissioner gave away a gift to Raj in appreciation of his honesty (Based on a report in DINAMALAR, October 8, 2004). B. Shri. Banshi and Shri. Kuppuswami traveled by a train bound for Chennai. Their bags were very similar. When the train halted at Vyasarpadi station near Chennai, Kuppuswami got down. He had taken with him a bag which he thought was his. But he found Rs. 22,000 in cash and a few automobile spare parts in the bag when he opened it at home. It became clear that the bag was not his. He promptly deposited the bag at the nearby police station. Meanwhile, the police control room came into the scene, looking for the same bag on a complaint from Banshi, a spare parts dealer. The bag with money was restored to the rightful owner, Shri. Banshi. Kuppuswami too got his bag alright. Police officials applauded Kuppuswami’s honesty (Based on a report in DINA THANTHI of April 25, 2005).

FIVE

The weapon that Smt. Indira Mani wielded to save the lives of 26 children from a raving mad dog was her sari. Indira Mani works as teacher in a Balwadi (for pre school kids) in Kumbazhai, Pathanamthittai district, Kerala, Bharat. On March 14, 2005, there were 26 kids in the Balwadi. Suddenly, a fat, mad dog charged into the class, growling menacingly. The kids were its target. But Indira Mani threw herself between the intruder and the kids. She was bitten in the leg. In spite of the pain, she managed to overpower the animal by smothering it with the sari she was wearing. As the dog struggled, villagers rushed in and dragged it away. Later the Kerala Social Welfare minister Shri. Ibrahim Kunju gave away Rs. 10,000 to Indira Mani in appreciation of her concern for the kids and her bravery.

Based on a write up by M.B. Ganesh Pandian in AVAL VIKATAN, Tamil fortnightly of April 22, 2005.

OOOOOOOOOO

PANCHAAMRITAM - 62

ONE

He chose to remain a bachelor for the sake of his students who he treated as his own children, wore simple clothes and spent most of his salary for the needy and hapless. Now that he has retired, he has decided to donate all his post-retirement benefits to the students and spend the rest of his life in a remote, village, helping the helpless. A real ‘karmayogi’ of the kind Indian Vedanta had envisioned. That is Chakravarthi Sridhar (C. Sridhar for short) and ‘Sridhar Sir’ for his students. The catalogue of his simple life goes on: he ate only idlis, never accepted invitations for food, never used soap and powder and washed his own clothes, a suitcase containing his books was all that he had in the room which he never locked, walked the distance daily to school, five km away. He also spurned promotions. The love his students had for him was evident at his farewell held at the school in Hubli, Karnataka, Bharat, a few days ago. Many of them had come even from abroad --England, America, South Africa etc --- who owe their careers to him. The rich students presented him with costly gifts like mobiles, gold rings etc. Know what he did? Even as the function was going on, he called the children, made them stand in a line and distributed the gifts among them. As his dear students showered their praises on him, fell at his feet and wept, he quietly left the place in search of a remote, backward village, near his native Mysore or anywhere in the state, to continue to live for others.

Based on a report in newindexpress.com November 5, 2004.

TWO

She's a Jew from California, he's a Christian from Arizona, but both
chose to get married according to Hindu rituals. Thousands of people attended the wedding of the American couple, Rabital Volk, 33, and Cain Carroll, that took place last week at a yoga ashram in Konark, 70 km from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, Bharat. They had been formally married in the US earlier, but decided to go in for a Hindu wedding as well. Every traditional detail was observed - there were Vedic mantras, a priest, a fire and even two locals, who stood in for the bride's parents for the ritual of kanyadan to give her away. Rabital had first come to India three years ago as a tourist and toured several religious spots like Rishikesh and Varanasi before finding her moorings in Konark. Her husband followed her and came to teach yoga. Both work at the Konark Natya Mandap (KNM), a dance institute founded by famous Odissi guru Gangadhar Pradhan -- Rabital as a student and Cain as a yoga teacher. "India is the birthplace of yoga and Vedic traditions and spirituality fascinates me," said Cain. "This was a marriage with a difference. It hardly matters that they belong to other religions. Their love for our culture and tradition motivated me," said Prafulla Mohapatra, the priest, who conducted the rituals.

Indo-Asian News Service March 14, 2005 hindustantimes.com

THREE

The following is a first person account by Shri. H.Ramamoorthy: “I was travelling by train to Bhubaneshwar to attend the national meet of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch in December 2004. A couple with a 3-year-old male child too were there. I engaged in conversation with the man, a jawan in the Border Security Force (BSF). He told me that his son Master Joseph (name changed) was suffering from a congenital heart disease. He then explained that he had just finished a consultation with the doctors at a Chennai hospital, who had fixed March 31, 2005 as the date for surgical correction. The charges he quoted (Rs.1,80,000) for the surgery took the breath out of me. The reason behind that being that the entire charges for the operation to correct a congenital heart disease in my first son at the age of 13 at Sri Chitra Thirunal Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram was a mere 7,000 rupees in the highest payment category! Here was a man right in front of them whose son had undergone a similar operation and was working in the United Kingdom as an anaesthetist after passing 10th, +2, MBBS and MD examinations after the operation! I assured them that their son would also have a successful operation and would lead a normal life like my son who is happily married with two wonderful kids! I was so disturbed about the cost of the surgical correction that I suggested to them that they should appeal to the “Christian Mercy” of the hospital authorities since he also belonged to the same faith. However I made them take out the medical report and took down the clinical findings for asking my son whether the operation had to be performed immediately and if so at MMM only. I also wrote down a draft letter addressed to the jawan’s superior at Delhi requesting financial help both on official and humanitarian grounds and parted company after promising all help and dutifully taking down his address and giving my telephone number to him. The jawan telephoned me after reaching his destination and kept the contact alive. In the meantime I sent the details to my son who wrote back, after consulting a cardiologist also there in the UK, that the operation was to be done at the earliest and the selection of Chennai hospital was all right and wanted me to convey our support for the cause. I relayed this information to Master Joseph’s father. Suddenly one fine morning in the last week of March 2005 the jawan called me and conveyed the message that he was falling short of 30,000 rupees since the Hospital declined to entertain a reduction in the amount specified. He requested me to make up the shortfall. I quickly contacted my relatives and friends including those from SJM. Within two days the amount was ready. I visited the Hospital in the early morning of the slated day for operation to wish the child good luck and God speed. I was there in the hospital again on the evening of the day of discharge. It was a matter of great relief and delight to see the child play in gay abandon in the lobby unmindful of what it had undergone”.

Idea: PANCHAAMRITAM reader Shri. Nambi Narayanan of Coimbatore.

FOUR

On an initiative from Government of India during April-May 2003, the United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared Vedic chanting as one of the most valuable intangible heritages of mankind. Shri Koychira Matsuura, Chief Director of UNESCO has sanctioned an assistance of Rs. 5 crore to preserve the Vedas. In 1962 in Delhi, a committee was formed at a Vedic conference, inspired by the Kanchi Shankaracharya. This committee made a list of Vedasamhitas (different Vedas). The committee had then found that four recensions of the Vedas—Maitrayaniya (branch of Krishna Yajurveda), Jeminiya (branch of Samaveda), Ranayaniya (branch of Samveda), and Pippalad (the branch of Atharvaveda) had almost vanished. To rejuvenate them, a Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust was constituted. In order to relearn such rare branches of the Vedas, learned scholars were sent to different parts of Bharat. Similarly, the Government of India established the Maharshi Sandeepani Rashtriya Veda Vidyalaya Pratishthan, a seat for learning the Vedas. At present this institution has its headquarters at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Among other tasks, the institution tries to save the art of traditional oral intonic recitation of the Veda mantras, preserve and research. It helps schools, teachers and students financially, awards pension to aging teachers and publishes books too. To supplement these efforts, the UNESCO was invoked by the Government of India. The jury, which consented to the project, comprised Dr Richard Kurian, Director, Centre for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of Smithsonian Institute, Juoan Goyatisolo, litterateur from Spain, Yoshikaju Hasgova from Japan, Shrimati Olive W. M. Jevin, a piano master, and Eliano a music composer from Jamaica. As part of the programme, the Department of Culture, Government of India, has prepared a five-year project. Accordingly, 15 pathashalas in gurukul tradition have to be established where the students will be taught to recite intonic Vedic hymns, their phonology, grammar and of course, the meaning and inherent knowledge base. It would organise live demonstrations of intonic recitations and arrange conferences and seminars of Vedic scholars. The project will also hold Veda Vigyan weeks. Besides printing rare manuscripts, it will also reprint old scriptures, manuals and books. Under the supervision of the government, the Department of Culture, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Maharshi Sandeepani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan, Ujjain, Maharshi Ved Vidya Pratishthan, Pune, and Veda Rakshan Nidhi Trust, Kanchipuram would organise these programmes.

By Shri. Surendra Tanna, Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Mumbai.

FIVE

Shri.Hari Sethuraman, an IIT alumni with a B.Tech in Civil Engineering, has travelled about 15,000 kms around Bharat in 1995 to find the secrets of organic farming commercially. Today the 60 acres he owns is “a forest with two huge wells, hundreds of birds, several small animals and grows mangoes fed on natural manure. With Shri. P.B. Murali, Shri. Hari runs a couple of shops selling vegetables and rice produced with the help of organic manure. “Organic farming is labour intensive. If one lorry load of chemical fertilizer will do the trick for 60 acres, it takes 12 truck loads of natural manure in an organic farm” says Hari. The shop in Kilpauk Garden Street, Chennai, is open on Saturdays between 4.30 and 6.30 pm. The other shop is open on Sunday mornings at Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai. For more information: 044 – 26611828 and 93806 91203.

Based on a report in THE HINDU of May 9, 2005.

00000000000000

PANCHAAMRITAM - 63

ONE

The following news appeared on the front page with a colour picture of Ramakrishnan in Madurai edition of DINAMALAR, Tamil daily, dated May 18, 2005: “On May 17, 2005, Ramakrishnan, 13, son of Rajendran, resident of Mariappan Street, Muthuramanpatti, Virudunagar, Tamilnadu, Bharat, was on his way to the photo studio in Virudunagar where he (Ramakrishnan) is employed. He then sighted a leather bag lying on the road near the Primary Cooperative Agriculture Bank in Kilakkadai Street. When he opened the bag he found some money in it. He informed the police immediately. The police found the amount to be Rs. 5,000. The owner is yet to be traced. Radhakrishnan, Inspector of Police, Virudunagar West, appreciated Ramakrishnan’s honesty.”

(The June 3, 2005 editorial of VIJAYABHARATAM Tamil weekly applauded the prominence that DINAMALAR gave to the news item).

TWO

Officials at the National Mission for Manuscripts found a staggering 50 lakh (five million) manuscripts after their pilot survey in three states, making India the largest storehouse of the "records of yore" in the world. And the count is not the final tally, says Smt. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, director of the Mission. Till now it was believed that the number of ancient texts and treatises lying neglected and unseen across the country was 10 to 20 lakh (one to two million). But they were taken aback when they launched a survey. The 70,000 of these are from only three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa -- where the Mission surveys were held. The interesting volumes they came across include a voluminous copy of the Mahabharata weighing a quintal (100 kilos!). The Mission, established in 2003 by Government of India under the Ministry of Culture to take care of the untended manuscripts across the country, now plans to embark on a hunt for ancient texts in other states like Rajasthan and Gujarat. According to the honorary secretary of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, Smt. Saroj V. Bhate, the Institute is planning to coach around 30 people in indigenous methods of conservation. The Mission has also identified 6,500 manuscripts from Tamil Nadu about Siddha stream of medicine, digitalization of which began from January 15, 2005.

FINANACIAL EXPRESS

(http://www.financialexpress.com/latest_full_story.php?content_id=86204).

THREE

This happened on the eve of Diwali (Deepavali) in 1988. One Abdullah Luthufi, a renegade Maldivian businessman-smuggler, had led a coup that nearly succeeded in dethroning President Gayoom but was thwarted by the arrival of Indian paratroopers. Luthufi and his band of hired guns escaped in a highjacked ship – Progress Light -- that was anchored at Male. What was worse, he had taken along 27 hostages including foreign tourists and members of the Maldivian cabinet. Captain Srinivasa Varadachari Gopalachari, master of frigate INS Godavari, at this point, was nearly 1,000 kilometres away, but sailing furiously for home. He had been at the high seas for 82 days and his wife’s birthday, November 8, was approaching. Naval headquarters found him and INS Godavari closest to the Maldives and he was to immediately change course and start looking for the rogue ship. He, with the help of naval aircrafts, traced the ship, disabled it and caught the mercenaries. The only Indian casuality was a jawan who accidentally shot himself in the foot. Gopalachari was Vice Admiral when he passed away at the age of 59 in March 2005.

From an article by Shri. Shekhar Gupta

in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS of March 19, 2005.

FOUR

Sporting the trademark red shirt and wearing a torn `lungi', Chandran, the 38-year old rough-looking Railway porter at the Salem Railway Junction was the cynosure of all eyes on Sunday, May 22, 2005. In the presence of Railway Police Inspector Rajavelu, he handed over a ladies' handbag to members of the Jayanthilal family of Coimbatore, who had misplaced it on the platform at the Salem junction in their hurry to catch a train early on Saturday. Chandran picked it up and handed it over to the Railway Police. The contents of the bag — gold jewellery worth about Rs. 1 lakh. The Jayanthilal family, overjoyed that the bag had been found with the jewellery in tact, spontaneously came forward to give him a cash reward of Rs. 1,000; to their surprise, Chandran was unwilling to accept the money. "I just did my duty," he said. It was only after much goading from the policemen and fellow porters that he accepted the envelope containing the cash reward, which had to be literally forced into his hands. For Chandran, life is anything but easy. He and his wife and two children cannot even be sure of two square meals a day. But poverty hasn't stopped him from being true to his conscience. Inspector Rajavelu, speaking to The Hindu said that on instructions from his senior officials, he called the Jayanthilal family to the Railway station and asked Chandran to hand over the bag with valuables to them personally. Porters in Salem Junction, had on many occasions, restored valuables to the owners who left them on platforms or on the trains in hurry, he said. "This gesture is a source of encouragement for others too," he added. Head Constable Shanmugam, who co-ordinated the return, was also commended by his higher-ups (THE HINDU deserves kudos for having highlighted this news by ‘box’ing it and adding a photo of Chandran handing over the bag to the owners).

Based on a report in THE HINDU of May 23, 2005.

FIVE

“Saare jahaan se achcchaa Hindustan hamaaraa”, replied the first Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma when his scientist colleagues from the earth station wanted to know from him how Bharat looks like from the spacecraft, while in orbit around the globe. This song composed by Dr. Mohamed Allama Iqbal is 100 years old. In 1904, the young Dr. Iqbal was a lecturer in the government college, Lahore — then part of undivided Hindustan. His favourite student was Lala Hardayal, who later on founded the ‘Gadar Party’ in America to struggle for Indian independence. Hardayal, even as a student, had started the Young Men’s Indian Association a la Young Men’s Christian Association in Lahore. He invited his dear sir, Iqbal, to address the youth at a session of the YMIA. Iqbal declined to become a neta by addressing the public. Instead, he recited “Saare jahaan se achcchaa Hindustan hamaaraa” in full for the first time at that session. On account of this one song, the name of Iqbal who passed away in 1938 became immortal. The one line in Iqbal’s song, “kuch baat hai ki hasti mithti nahin hamaari, sadiyon raha hai dushman daurey jahan hamaara” (meaning ‘In spite of centuries of enemy invasion on this land of ours, the soul of ours did not perish. This is something unique’) indeed pointed to the identity of the nation, which Shri. Balasaheb Deoras, the third Sarsanghchalak of RSS, later spelt out as Hindu ethos (It is intriguing that the centenary of our national song Vandemataram could not be celebrated with due éclat in 1975, since the country was waging a war with a despot just then!).

Based on a report in May 2005 VICHAR SAMACHAR, Hindi monthly bulletin of Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Mumbai.

00000000000

PANCHAAMRITAM - 64

ONE

Move over Spiderman and Batman. Children in Assam, Bharat, could soon discard toys and masks depicting characters from Western comics. They may soon opt for masks featuring figures from Hindu mythology. The Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam, has undertaken a project to popularise masks used in Assamese bhaonas, the collective name for the mythological plays introduced by saint-reformer Sankardev. The traditional masks are made of wood or terracotta, and the most common characters depicted in these are of the demon king Ravan, monkey-god Hanuman and the mythical bird Jatayu. The design department of IIT intends to make replicas of these masks and soft toys with silicon and rubber. It has sought the expertise of mask-makers from two satras (Vaishnavaite monasteries) — the Notun Samaguri Satra of Majuli and the Katpar Satra of Sivasagar — to ensure authenticity. A.K. Das, associate professor at the IIT’s design department, said his team had already done a study on the implications of transforming the traditional forms of these masks with advanced technology. The Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture is supporting the IIT project. Das said the IIT design department was planning to market the mythological characters in Assamese plays in the form of soft toys, too. A workshop involving the satras and soft-toy manufacturers is being planned to generate ideas. Dipankar Mahanta, a functionary of the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture, said traditional masks could be used in school dramas to popularise Assamese mythology among children. Mahanta said.Das said irrespective of whether a mask is made of wood, metal or fabric, it continues to be a source of mystery and fascination.

Shri. Bhaskar Hazarika in THE TELEGRAPH, March 18, 2005

TWO

Murti Ram Sahu of Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh state, Bharat, lost his eyes when he was seven years old due to small pox. Not to lose hope due to his handicap, Sahu continued his studies and got a job in Indian Railways. Sahu utilized his spare time teaching children, enabling to mould young minds into better human beings. "Overcoming my handicap rather than crying over it, I spend time teaching children. It helps me overcome my disability. I teach mathematics and other subjects to the normal sighted children from class 1 to 10," Sahu said. Dedicated free tuition for years that Sahu offered has borne fruit as Sahu's students have blossomed into successful career persons. "Those who studied along with us are into service. I have been studying here since 6th class. One of our batch mates is a computer engineer and one is a Border Security Force (BSF) officer," said Deepa, a student. Sahu's indomitable success story does not end with philanthropy. He indulges in other creative pursuits. Sahu is good at making cane chairs and stools and can play chess.

Based on a report by REUTERS on February 16, 2005.

THREE

Dayanidhi Maran, IT Minister, Government of India, arrived around 1 am on June 6, 2005 at the Anna International airport, Chennai, to catch his Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt enroute to the USA. He was shocked to find at least 300 passengers moving at a snail’s pace in a long queue before the lone Air-India scanner. Finding that the passengers, including many foreigners, were turning restless and angry at the huge delay for scanning their luggage, Maran asked the airport staff why there was only one scanner to handle so much traffic. An officer explained that of the two Air-India scanners, one was out of service for over three months and that left the airline only one system to handle not just its own passengers but all the other international airlines as well. When he was informed that there was one more scanner at the airport and it belonged to the Airport Authority of India, Maran summoned the airport manager, Shrivazdhuv, to release it to clear the rush, but the latter pleaded inability to do so unless he got instructions. Maran picked up his mobile and dialed Praful Patel, Civil Aviation Minister. Rising to the occasion, Patel immediately issued instructions over the telephone to his officials to release the AAI scanner to clear the rush and also get the out-of-order Air-India scanner serviced without further delay. When the queue split into two faster-moving tracks, Maran went around apologizing to the passengers, particularly the foreigners, pleading with them not to misjudge India by this “isolated inconvenience” but to appreciate the overall development in the country. He then promised them their next trip to Chennai would be much more pleasant since the airport was fast getting upgraded as an international one and would soon be as good as the best anywhere in the world. Even as the stressed-out passengers relaxed, the Minister moved on to catch his own flight, drawing curtains on the 25- minute airport drama.

Based on a report in the DECCAN CHRONICLE, June 6, 2005.

FOUR

The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), a scientific body under the control of the Union Ocean Development Department, has designed a desalination plant located in Lakhshadweep, Bharat, that can produce one crore (10 million) litres a day. "To be operated under the low temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) technology, the plant can be installed in 12 to 16 months," according to S. Kathiroli, Director of the NIOT. He added that the estimated cost of the project was Rs. 70 to 80 crores. He said that now, the cost of production of water was 7 paise per litre. "Of this, three to four paise is for meeting the power bill. So, we are working on a model that will take care of water and power production," he said. "What is more important is that there is no foreign expertise involved in this project," he said, adding that similar plants would be set up on more islands in Lakshadweep. Once the funds were released, the project, envisaging the generation of one megawatt of power, could be completed in five months, the Director added. (This technology uses the temperature difference between the water of the sea at the surface level and water at a depth of 1,100 metres to produce electricity. The temperature of the surface water is at about 29 degree Celsius and that of the deep seawater 7 degree Celsius).

Based on a report in THE HINDU, June 4, 2005.

FIVE

When Madhukar Rao Dewal, a Swayamsevak of Pune, went back to his village Mhaisal in Sangli district of Maharashtra after his education to look after his ancestral property, he was deeply distressed by the poverty and oppressive indebtedness of Harijans. Dewal motivated the Harijan brethren to launch Shri Vitthal Cooperative Society. Through that Society he secured them loans restored the landed property to them, taught them ways of economizing agricultural production and helped them build their own houses. The 125 dalit families have now cleared all their debts and the average annual income of each of these families today stands at Rs. 11,000 plus a house to live in, as per the recent findings of a prestigious research institute which surveyed the village. Selling away their lands has stopped. Some families have even added to their landed property. Attendance in the schools in the village has gone up and the proportion of drop-outs among Harijan students has come down. A remarkable change is visible in the social life also. The barrier separating the ‘untouchables’ from others has been pulled down. The dalits now move in the village and socialize with the entire society on an equal footing. This model has been emulated by other Swayamsevaks in the district and elsewhere. Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, referring to the Mhaisal phenomenon in an article in THE TIMES OF INDIA (December 2, 1977) wrote: “Wouldn’t Mhaisal be a true monument to Mahatma Gandhi?”

[Source: The book RSS: A VISION IN ACTION by Shri. H.V.Seshadri; page 233; Second Edition June 1998; published by Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, 143-A, Nripatunga Road, Bangalore – 560 001, Bharat. Price: Rs. 90]

OOOOOOOO

PANCHAAMRITAM - 65

ONE

This is a report of a great deed by youngsters who came together and managed to send the deceased body of their friend Hari in USA. Here is the letter by one of the youth telling all how Hindus are a cohesive lot everywhere: “ Hello All, Hari Prasad is still vivid and alive in our memories. It’s still so hard to believe that our beloved friend has passed away. We are slowly coming to terms with the fact that he is no longer there for us to share our joys and sorrows of life FOREVER. At last, his body reached his parents in Bharat. Getting his body from the hospital to his parents was not a simple task though. In the busy town of Jersey (USA) starting last Saturday till Thursday (June 9, 2005), when the casket boarded the flight, our friends really worked relentlessly. It started with dealing with the police and detectives, autopsy reports and the funeral home. Then it was airline tickets, appointments at the Indian Embassy in NYC, getting all the proper documentation in place and even begging with the people in the Embassy windows to open for 5 more minutes before closing. Our friends saw through all this without ever thinking about their jobs. Thanks to their self-less efforts, the body could be transported back home to his parents where he would be put to rest with due ceremonial respects. But for them, this task would not have happened at all. Nevertheless, help came from all corners directly and indirectly. At a time when we were all devastated from our friend’s death, we all needed constant monetary as well as moral support to get things done quickly. And that’s when we looked to all of you people. At first we were skeptical about the type of response we would get. It started slowly, but steadily, the news spread far and wide. People offered help in huge numbers. Small and big, all your contributions went a long way into the cause. Special thanks to Yelloji Rao, HSS (Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh, NJ, USA) and Sathish Chennuru who gave moral and financial support to those friends in New Jersey. Thanks.

Sarath, (kskreddy25@yahoo.com).” Idea: Arun.

TWO

Government of India is building database of 1,500 asanas (postures) to prevent patenting by US. India's more than 4,000-year-old yoga tradition may witness some high-octane trade disputes sometime from now. The government is building its muscles to bust the market monopolies on yoga that Western practitioners have been securing through copyrights, trademarks and patents. Yoga is a flourishing $ 27 billion-a-year business in the US. To start with, the government is making a digital database of 1,500 yoga postures and their therapeutic properties that can be used to overthrow the 134 patents on yoga accessories, 150 yoga-related copyrights and 2,315 yoga trademarks the US Patent Office has granted so far, sources said. This database, comprising kriya (body-cleansing practices), pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga mudras, asanas (postures) and special practices such as floating on water, will be digitally documented in five major international languages so that it can be shared with prominent patent offices around the world. This is to prevent the grant of trademarks, copyrights and patents on yoga in the future. The database would also help avoid costly litigation to reverse the rights already granted. The National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCIR), under the science and technology ministry, is developing this nearly one-crore page digital database for the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) under the health ministry. The database will also cover ayurveda, siddha and unani medicines.

From an article, ‘India Out To Reclaim Yoga Power’

(THE ECONOMIC TIMES, June 8, 2005) by Shri. Gireesh Chandra Prasad. Idea: Shri. Ashok Chowgule.

THREE

* The Rolls Royce company was made to eat humble pie in 1920. It happened like this: One Desingh Maharaj, ruler of Alwar (Rajasthan, Bharat), visited England to purchase the famous car. But he was humiliated by the company staff who said “ We don’t sell Rolls Royce to Indians”. Though he retreated quietly the Maharaja managed to procure six Rolls Royce cars through an agent, shipped them to Alwar converted them into garbage collection vans and ordered them to be used as such in Alwar in an effort to redeem the honour of his motherland. That set the Rolls Royce people scurrying to Alwar seeking pardon for their intransigency. They could take back all the 6 cars-turned-dustbins only after coughing out double their price. * Stung by similar racism of the white man, Jamshedji Tata, pioneer of modern Indian Industry, launched the now famous Taj hotel in Bombay and made it a point to display a board saying “ Dogs and Englishmen are not allowed”. Earlier he was agonized by a similar board in an England hotel that he tried to enter. The board said, “ Dogs and Indians are not allowed”. * Sending out message of patriotism in such unequivocal language is in vogue in independent India as well. Led by Shri. Kanishka Raja, this year’s topper, the top ten of the IIM, Ahmedabad, the premier business school of the country, have announced that they shall not forsake their motherland for the sake of their personal career. They have made it clear that they would not allow themselves to be bought by any foreign multinational corporation.

Based on information contained in an article by Shri.K.M Roy in the Malayalam magazine, MALAYALAM of May 27, 2005.

Idea: Shri. Padmakumar



FOUR

One fine morning last week, Shri.Jayakumar, a fisherman and his wife Smt.Rajavalli accompanied by their ten-year old son Udayakumar, walked into the Chennai office of ANANDA VIKATAN, the popular Tamil weekly magazine. They made a request that the one lakh rupees that they had be handed back to the government. Journalists in the office were taken aback when they learnt that the amount was a solatium granted to the fisherman family under the assumption that their son was killed by Tsunami waves in December 2004 and that the poor family now wanted to give it back to the government once it was found that Udayakumar was providentially alive. Earlier, the family had been turned away by officials in government offices when Jayakumar approached them with the same request. The family, residents of Toduvaai village near Sirkazhi, Nagappatinam district, Tamilnadu, Bharat, came to this admirable conclusion because the very reunion with their son was of much more value to them. Now, ANANDA VIKATAN has joined this family in its efforts to return the money that the family considers does not rightfully belong to it.

Based on an article by Shri.S.Saravanakumar

in ANANDA VIKATAN, March 20, 2005. Idea: Shri.S.R.Senthilkumar.

FIVE

An old woman was lying on the road uncared for. Everybody hoped that somebody would do something. However, the condition of the woman stirred the heart of two girls of the neighbourhood who swung into action immediately. They filed a report with the Mylapore Police Station (E1). The writer on duty contacted his superior and acknowledged the receipt. He sent a constable to provide necessary help. The girls then contacted ‘Little Drops’, a home for the aged and the destitute, for help. However their pick-up vehicle broke down en route. Undeterred, they contacted `The Banyan', another charity organisation. The vehicle with volunteers reached at 10 p.m. and picked up the woman. It was only then that M. Aarthi and M. Archana, residents of 24, Prof. Sanjeevi Street, Mylapore, heaved a sigh of relief.

A letter by Shri.T.S. Manohar of Mylapore in the Reader’s Mail column of THE HINDU, June 20, 2005.

OOOOOOOOOO



PANCHAAMRITAM - 66

ONE

Abhilash has been singing since the age of four. He may be only nine years old but he can deliver varnams and keerthanams like a seasoned singer. He is India's youngest vocalist and had his first public concert on Sunday, June 26, 2005 at the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan school in T.Nagar, Chennai, Tamilnadu, Bharat. He sang raagas like mathangi and sankara bharanam for two hours to a packed audience. The 300 odd people in the audience were absolutely thrilled to see such a young boy displaying such immense tal­ent. Educationist Mrs.YGP, while congratulating the boy said, "Our country should have a special school meant for children who possess such talent and should dedicate more time training them in music than in other subjects." Abilash, a disciple of J. Rajeshwari, was first spotted a year ago by Shri. Ramjhi who runs Isai Mazhalai, a profes­sional music group, at a summer work­shop for advanced Carnatic music. Abhilash, in class five at Vels Vidyashram, Chennai, is com­pletely supported by his parents Smt. Latha and Shri. Giri Prasad. Speaking at the concert, famous Carnatic vocalist Shri. Neyveli Santhana Gopalan, said, "If God came to me and asked me for a wish, I would ask him to make me a child again so that I can also start my singing career at a young age”.

Based on a report by Smt. Archana Thiyagarajan

in the DECCAN CHRONICLE of June 28, 2005.

TWO

Despite being visually challenged, Smt. Jigyasa Kubre, co-convener of the audio-cassette library of Drishtiheen Kalyan Sangh, Nagpur, has donated her eyes on June 6, 2005 in Nagpur. She has thus strengthened the cause of the Sangh, namely, visually challenged persons are not a burden on the society but are very useful. After donating, Jigyasa said that visually challenged persons needed opportunities and the society should provide these to them. Jigyasa Kubre was visually perfect till 18 years of her life but due to retina damage, she lost her eyesight. She felt that despite her retina being damaged, she could provide sight to two persons who would use her cornea. Shri Anand Sahastrabuddhe welcomed her by presenting her a bouquet. Shri Avinash Sangwai, national general secretary of the Kalyan Sangh, and Shri Ajay Joshi, office secretary were also present on the occasion.

Based on a report in ORGANISER, July 3, 2005.

THREE

Virginia Retirement System, one of the largest pension funds in the United States that covers all public employees of Virginia state, has been using, from March 2005, a new Web-based tool to optimally invest its $43 billion capital. It is a solution that helps to fund to proactively manage risk, increase returns to its members, monitor and adjust dozens of investment portfolios "on the fly" and round the clock, using the special suite of computer algorithms and programmes. The largest pension fund in the Netherlands, the Dutch Metalworkers Fund, has been deploying the same tool to manage its corpus. The New York-based FX-Concepts, a $15 billion-currency management fund, is also trying to generate "alpha" — jargon for returns over and above the market rate — by harnessing the tool called the AlphaEngine. The technology behind the tool is the brainchild of a team of software professionals at the Bangalore-based Quasitum (India) Pvt. Ltd, the research and development arm of a U.S.-based, Indian-owned company, Mcube Investment Technologies. Shri. Srinivas Bette, Texas-based chief technology officer with Mcube, is the president of Quasitum. A B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and a Ph.D from Houston, Texas, Dr. Bette joined hands with Arun Murlidhar, U.S.-based fund manager from World Bank and J.P Morgan, to start MCube in 2002. The niche solution has no big competitors and the company is test-running it for potential clients in new markets such as Japan.

Based on a report in THE HINDU of July 4, 2005. Idea: Shri. M. Jayaraman.

FOUR

This happened in 1948 when the tragic story of the communal Partition of Hindusthan into Bharat and Pakistan was being scripted. Hindu premises were ransacked in what became Pakistan towns -- like Karachi and Lahore; Hindu women were raped; corpses of slain Hindus lay strewn in the lanes. In such an atmosphere, a Hindu sannyasi was marooned inside Karachi. Government of India became jittery. It hurriedly tried to bring him home to safety. Prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru even offered to airlift the sannyasi. But the sannyasi rebuffed the offer saying, “ I will not come to Delhi forsaking my brothers and sisters who are in the jaws of death”. Risking his life, he managed to reach a number of women, old men and children to safety. In the end, he joined the thousands of Hindus who were trudging towards India and made it to India on foot. That Sannyasi is none other than Swami Ranganathananda. He was the international head of Shri Ramakrishna Math and Mission, when he passed away at the age of 97 on April 25, 2005.

Based on a report in VIJAYABHARATAM, May 20, 2005.

FIVE

Women in Vanavasi (‘tribals’ in media parlance) families living in remote corners in at least in eight states in eastern Bharat, like Nagaland, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, etc., have to cope with the single saree in the house. So, only one female member goes out to temple or bazaar at a time, swathed in the saree available. Others remain indoors. Swayamsevaks who learnt of this predicament decided to put an end to it. Through the Delhi branch of Seva Bharati, one lakh sarees are being collected. Meetings are arranged in each district in the national capital. Addressing the assembled citizens, Shri. Premchand Goel, Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS, relates the sufferings of Vanavasi families. As a result, people of Delhi donated 24,500 sarees for this purpose on one single day in May 2005.

VISHWA SAMVAD KENDRA PATRIKA, Lucknow, June 1, 2005.

OOOOOOOO

PANCHAAMRITAM - 67

ONE

In a corner of Maharashtra, Bharat, lies village Kambalwadi (off Radhanagari), on the foothills of Sahyadri near Kolhapur, where all conceivable development aspects are implemented. Water conservation, energy conservation, housing with total cleanliness, village out of clutches of alcohol and tobacco and superstitions. Well done up roads, using only organic manure for crops. Village women generating income through micro-finance activities. Every house has its own toilet, sewage water reused for irrigation, all house properties are transferred in village women's name. It is unbelievable. Garbage management, proper drainage arrangements and many more. After human bodies are burnt, the ash and bones are used as organic manures in fields. Plantation techniques for vegetable farming and allied products. NGOs and individuals working here have developed alternative rural technology models. Individual sacrifice for village community stands out as the main factor. Today, Kambalwadi has become an independent village. The villagers now refuse to take any grant from the government.

From a film review of a documentary on Kambalwadi (film funded by Jidnyasa Trust, Thane). For DST – Department of Science & Technology. Idea: Shri. S. Suresh

TWO

Shri. Guruji (late revered Shri. M.S..Golwalkar of RSS) was in conversation with a group of Swayamsevaks from Tamilnadu. The topic turned to Samskritam as the undercurrent of the languages of the land. Someone cited an example that the terms annam and jalam are known in Tamilnadu. Refuting this someone else said, these two terms are used only in limited circles and added that choru and neer are in use in most families, trying to argue that Tamil had unique properties. Listening to all this, Shri. Guruji pointed out that neer is in fact another Samskrit word for jalam. Now, choru remained. Shri. Guruji reminded all that there is a Vedic term charoo meaning the annam offered in sacrifices. In conclusion he pointed out the need to always appreciate the underlying oneness of the nation that is beyond any doubt. (2006 will be the birth centenary year of Shri. Guruji).

From PAANCHAJANYA, Hindi weekly.

THREE

A: It is interesting to note that the Academy of Sanskrit Research in Melkote, Karnataka, Bharat, has been commissioned by the Aeronautical Research Development Board, New Delhi, to take up an one-year study, ‘Non-conventional approach to Aeronautics’, on the basis of Vaimanika Shastra. As a result of the research, a glass-like material that a radar cannot detect, has been developed by Prof Dongre, a research scholar of Benaras Hindu University. A plane coated with this unique material cannot be detected using radar. (Did You Know this? http://www.indpride.com/didyouknow.html). B: The Konkan Railways, linking cities along the west coast of Bharat is to introduce “aerial bus” service soon to facilitate swift and comfortable travel. The vehicle will glide 15-20 feet above the railway track. The task of developing the TELEMATICS system that enables this new transport mode was entrusted with the Amrita Research Centre of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetam University. The task was completed in six months. (From MATRUVANI, Tamil, May 2005).

FOUR

What could be termed a mighty social change was silently achieved in K.Veloor, Arcot Taluk. Vellore District, Tamilnadu, Bharat. For the first time ever, Harijan families in the village entered the local Perumal (Vishnu) temple. It caused no flutter. It happened like this: The Kumbhabhishekham celebration of the temple was approaching. Village elders sat together to finalise the list of invitees. Even as the discussion progressed, the temple pujari came up with the suggestion, why should the Harijan brethren in our own village be left out, while we send invitations to far off places? The suggestion was accepted and Harijans were duly invited. There is an RSS Shakha in the Harijan locality. Naturally, the temple invitation was readily honoured. On Kumbhabhishekham day, Harijan Bhaktas, after bath, wore Naamam, the religious symbol, on their forehead and went to the temple, with every family carrying fruits and vegetables on brass plates as offering. That day, all avoided non- vegetarian food. It is noteworthy that the pujari is the father in law of Vellore Jilla Saha Karyawah of RSS.

Based on a chat with an RSS functionary.

FIVE

Ten year old Vanavasi (tribal) girl Kalibai was on her way back home in Rastapaal, Dungarpur Jilla, Rajasthan, Bharat, from the wood with a bundle of grass on her head. A strange scene caught her eye. A man, with his hand and foot tied, was being dragged along by a speeding truck. The girl was alarmed and she started running behind the truck shouting, “Arrey! Where are you taking my Masterji? Leave him, leave him!” Holding aloft her sickle, she ran faster and faster. Her aim was to cut the rope that bound her teacher. (The village master Shri. Sengabhai was trying to educate the Vanavasis. The officials were afraid that Vanavsais would start asserting once they became literate and so tried to remove him from the scene). Gun wielding policemen shouted at Kalibai to go away. They threatened her that they would shoot her. The threat did not work. Meanwhile, alerted by the shouts, many Vanavasis joined the girl and gave a chase to the truck. Red with rage, the police opened fire on seeing Kalibai cutting the rope with her sickle and freeing the teacher. Kalibai accomplished her task before she fell down dead. (The master Shri. Sengabhai survived. He devoted the rest of his life in the service of Vanavasis). This incident happened on June 6, 1947 and so proves to the latest sacrifice at the feet of Bharatmata in the freedom struggle.

From VIDYA BHARATI SANKUL SAMVAD (Hindi Monthly), May 2005.

PANCHAAMRITAM - 68

* ONE

Motivated by his mother's wish, Shri. Pathak, an engineer from Pune, Maharashtra, Bharat, undertook research work for 8 to 10 years. Now he has developed the technique of pulling water from 20-25 feet down stream just by using a bicycle. He has fitted car battery to a bullock cart. The half an hour round of the bullock cart will produce enough energy to light their house through night. The energy can be used for spraying water in the field; one can use a mixer or switch on one’s TV. According to Shri. Pathak, even firewood zulla (oven) can be used to generate energy. Using bulls one can create 3-5 horsepower energy and use it for village street lights. There is no need to sell old cattle to the butcher, he says.

From THE WONDERS OF KAMBALWADI (Prakruti, 620, Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar (East), Mumbai - 400 014 Tel: 091-22-2414 9688).

* TWO

One day in 1852, in British-ruled India, a young man burst into an office in the northern Dehra Dun hill town and announced to his boss: "Sir, I have discovered the highest mountain in the world!" After four long and arduous years of unscrambling mathematical data, Radhanath Sikdhar had managed to find out the height of Peak XV, an icy peak in the Himalayas. The mountain - later christened Mount Everest after Sir George Everest, the surveyor general of India - stood at 29,002 feet (8,840 metres). Sikdhar's feat, unknown to many Indians, is now part of the Great Arc Exhibition in London's vibrant Brick Lane. The Indian Government-sponsored exhibition celebrates 200 years of the mapping of the Indian subcontinent. The exercise, which was called "one of the most stupendous works in the whole history of science", was begun by William Lambton, a British army officer in Madras in 1802. The survey involved several thousand Indians and was named the Great Trigonometric Survey (GTS) in 1819. It covered more than 1,600 miles and countless people died during the work. Tigers and malaria were the main causes. Sikdhar, who was 39 when he made his discovery, was one of the survey's largely unsung heroes. The man from Calcutta was called a "computer" since he worked on computation of data collected by survey parties. He was promoted to the position of "chief computer" because of his good work. "Mathematical skills were essential for Sikdhar's work and he was acknowledged by George Everest as a mathematician of rare genius," British historian John Keay, author of two books on the subject, told BBC News Online. "His greatest contribution to the computation was in working out and applying the allowance to be made for a phenomenon called refraction -- the bending of straight lines by the density of the earth's atmosphere," said Keay. (Source: The man who 'discovered' Everest - By Shri. Soutik Biswas - BBC). There is a growing campaign in India for the peak to be renamed after Radhanath Sikdhar, young Bengali mathematical genius who provided the computation which allowed the Britishers to name the mountain after the intolerable boss - George Everest.

* THREE

The heavy rain in Mumbai's history revealed the most humane face of the metropolis on Wednesday (July 27, 2005). A. Raise a toast to the Udanis and the Ruparels, and their common friends, the Sheths, of Jai Durga apartments, just off Sion Circle. Pharmacist Rajesh Udani (36) watched the cars on the Sion Flyover, opposite their balcony, immobile all of Tuesday night. ''On Wednesday when we saw no help coming from any authorities we decided to intervene,'' said Rajesh Udani (36), who reached his first-floor apartment at Jai Durga at midnight, Tuesday, after being stuck at work in South Mumbai. Along with the Ruparels of the ground floor, he launched the relief operation. The strategy: the men directed the commuters to the flats. The ladies helped with the food and the kids served. They made 4 kg of potato bhaji, batches of small rotis in 100s and gave up to 1,000 water bottles. From a report by Smt. Smita Nair in THE INDIAN EXPRESS, August 1, 2005. B. Thousands of office workers who had spent the night at their places of work and on railway platforms without food and even water as the train services stopped, had a pleasant surprise when they decided in the morning to walk back home as it rained cats and dogs. They found that hundreds of others had abandoned the comforts of their homes and were on the road, with biscuit packets, teapots and plastic cups to feed them, many of whom had walked almost the whole night to cover about ten miles and had double the distance to go. From a report by Shri. Arunkumar Bhatt in THE HINDU of July 28, 2005.

* FOUR

This happened in Salavanpet, Vellore, Tamilnadu, Bharat. Arun is a youth who attends the Salavanpet RSS Shakha. Vellore Nagar Pracharak of RSS, Shri. P.R.Srinivasan, in the course of his visits to the houses of Hindus including those of Swayamsevaks, went one day to Arun’s house. There, at the house, Raja, younger brother of Arun, invited Srinivasan to his birthday the following week. The pracharak wanted to know how the birthday would be celebrated in the family. He was told, there would be cake cutting, blowing the candles out and the like. Srinivasan left a casual remark, “on auspicious occasions we Hindus light lamps. We do not put them out …” as his response. He later learnt that Raja, Arun and the entire family went to the temple on Raja’s birthday and offered pooja; and also that Raja prostrated before elders and sought their blessings. The most important part of it all was that all in the family were delighted.

Based on a chat with an RSS functionary of Tamilnadu.

* FIVE

At a wedding at a Kalyana Mandapam near the Thyagaraja Swamy temple at Thirivarur, Tamilnadu, Bharat, the dining tables had recycled paper sheets instead of the usual polythene sheets. Water and coffee were served in paper cups and the food was served on plantain leaves. To top the ‘green wedding’, Shri. Nammalvar, leader of the organic farming movement in the Kaveri river delta region, gave away leaflets to the guests on the importance of trees and the ecological cost of cutting trees. Even as one wondered about a lorry load of saplings that landed just around the Muhurtam time, the guests were surprised recipients of a coconut or other tree sapling each, instead of the usual coconut in the ‘Tamboolam’ bag.

From a report by Shri. T.S.Sankar, in THE HINDU of June 21, 2005.

*

PANCHAAMRITAM - 69

ONE

Here is an anecdote to point to the fact that even shades of different trees affect the naadi of a human being in different ways. This was proved by Shriranga Mahaswami of Karnataka, Bharat. It was during a discussion on the effects of Raahu and Ketu, the Chaya Grihas, on humans that this anecdote came to light: The Swami sat one day at 11 in the morning in the blazing sun near the Hetarelaya Lakshmikantha temple with his eyes blindfolded. A leafy branch of jack (pala) tree was brought and silently held above him for a minute so that its shade fell on his back and head. He described the change in his naadi. People around him took down notes as instructed by him. Next. The branch of a tamarind (Puli) tree was held likewise. In this way, branches of Amla (Nelli) and Gubbali trees were held above him. Then the sequence of holding the branches was changed many times over. Every time, the effect for every specific tree that the Swami described remained the same. People took notes of all his observations. At the end of the experiment, it was established that Pala and Nelli shades calms the mind and are congenial for dhyanam whereas Puli and Gubbali shades are unhelpful in this regard – these were precisely the facts uttered by the Swami at the very start of the whole experiment.

Based on an article in June 2003 ARYA SAMSKRITI, Kannada monthly, (Ashtanga Yoga Vijnana Mandiram, Lakshmi Nagar, Mysore-4). Idea: Shri. Sankarasubramanian.

TWO

Shri. François Gautier, a French journalist based in Bharat, writes: “Dear Friends, As you know one of the biggest problems today is that Indian journalists are not always proud of their own culture and roots and as result tend to have a very negative outlook on India, which in turn influences Western correspondents posted in India. It is therefore very important that we train a new generation of Indian journalists. It is for this purpose that we have started a new school of journalism in Bangalore, called the Sri Sri Center for Media Studies. There, we teach the best of journalistic knowledge, both print and electronic, along with classes (which I take myself) on Indian history, the ideal of true journalism and a little bit coaching in pranayama and meditation the two ancient Indian sciences that impart a good and intuitive mind. Now what we need is students – both from India as well as from the US.” (For further information, go to the following website: http://www.sscms.org/).

THREE

Meet Dr. Manoranjan Singha, 63. He runs a Homoeopathy clinic in Kumardhubee, district Dhanbad, Jharkhand, Bharat. Kumardhubee was once famous for its industrial units. Today it is bereft of any industry but the place is famous because of the doctor. People call him the poor man’s doctor. He gives two days’ medicine for just two rupees and 15 days’ medicine for ten rupees. Free, for those who cannot afford even this. The doctor receives from 800 to 1,000 patients a day. He works non stop from 10 AM to 10 PM. Persons with chronic complaints come to him and leave completely cured. A colliery home guard met with an accident. His badly injured right hand was about to be amputated. He came to Dr. Manoranjan. His hand is completely cured and is safe now. Serve the poor, said his father. He does. He looks upon his profession as pooja to Almighty. In the beginning, Dr. Manoranjan worked in a factory nearby. In 1993, hundreds of families of labourers were rendered jobless. The doctor had no such problem. But he decided to stay and serve the suffering lot.

Based on a report by Shri. Vinay Kumar

in July 2005 SEVA SAMARPAN, Hindi monthly, Delhi – 32. Idea: Shri. Sundar.

FOUR

Forty-five hours. That’s the time autorikshaw driver Shri. Dinakar Shankar Veer (55) – beset with night vision problems -- spent with special student Ajay Karambelkar (21) during the July 2005 Mumbai downpour. Dinakar picked up Ajay from his school in Chembur at 4 in the evening of July 26. He also picked up Namita another physically challenged student in his auto. It was raining heavily. Two hours later they reached a spot just 10 kms away. It was floods all around. Dinakar drove the auto on to a mound inside a slum and parked it there so that the floods could not submerge it. It was 11 p.m. The students were hungry. But hotels were shut and they had nothing but water. The next morning Dinakar brought them guvavas. It was not enough. So Dinakar waded through the water and returned with a pack of biscuits. It was at 6 pm that Dinakar could drop Namita at her house in Bandra. Ajay’s house in Vile Parle was out of reach that day. Dinakar, who avoids driving at night, convinced Ajay to come to his house. At 11 pm they reached Dinakar’s house in Mankhurd. Ajay slept there after taking food prepared by Dinakar’s wife. On Thursday morning the streets cleared. Dinakar dropped Ajay at his house by 1 pm. Ajay’s mother Smt. Sandhya was anxious but she had an abiding faith in Dinakar. “A year ago, I had promised you that I would take care of your son. I have only kept my word”, said Dinakar.

Based on a report by Smt. Mrinmayee Ranade

in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS of July 30, 2005. Idea: Shri. Subba Rao.

FIVE

All through last year, a typical scene was witnessed at the Sri Devi Kalyana Mandapam, in Kollangode, Kanyakumari district, Tamilnadu, Bharat. About 30 RSS Swayamsevaks of the town actively engaged themselves in serving food at each one of the 92 weddings held at this Mandapam. They also cleaned the tables after dinner. The idea was to donate the Rs. 1,000 per wedding that they got as remuneration for this work, for the service activities of Seva Bharati. Thus they could collect Rs. 92,000 last year. That was used by Seva Bharati to buy school note books for children belonging to needy families. At the free note books distribution function of Seva Bharati recently, a functionary of a Communist party was seen shedding tears of joy even as he congratulated the RSS workers for this bright idea. Many in the town remember how the same person had earlier tried to discourage some Swayamsevaks belonging to his “high caste” from doing the “lowly job” of cleaning dinner tables. Of course, Swayamsevaks had turned him away by politely pointing to him that they were ready to do any job for the sake of needy children in the town.

Based on a chat with Shri. Parameswaran, Prant Seva Pramukh, Dakshin Tamilnadu and on a write up in August 19, 2005 VIJAYABHARATAM, Tamil Weekly.

OOOOOOOO

PANCHAAMRITAM - 70

ONE

A. “India has a rich cultural and family tradition that can help Indian youngsters perform much better than their Western counterparts. This is because they possess better emotional quotient (EQ)” said US-based cardiovascular surgeon Shri. George Chandran while speaking at a college function in Chennai, Tamilnadu, Bharat. He said attitude held the key to Indian dominance; a combination of India’s family values with Western professional thinking will put Indian youngsters far ahead, he said. Based on a report in THE HINDU of August 17, 2005.

B. “I believe India will become a superpower in your lifetime. The President of the United States believes that. The sheer size of India, the availability of a large youth group would aid India become a superpower”, said U.S Ambassador to India David C. Mulford in his answer to a question of a small schoolboy at his school, the Anjuman-e-Himayath-e-Islam in Chennai. THE HINDU of September 2, 2005.

TWO

By a unanimous resolution of the Mysore (Karnataka, Bharat) municipal corporation, a prominent circle in the Kuvempunagar area of the city was named after Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, freedom fighter and founder of RSS. A largely attended public function on August 7, 2005 in the presence of Mayor Smt. Bharati, the commissioner Shri. Ibrahim and the MP Shri. Vijayasankeshwar was held for this purpose. But a few Harijan youths, instigated by a self styled intellectual, staged a demonstration demanding that the circle be named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The youths indulged in vandalism and broke the granite commemorative inscription bearing the name of Dr. Hedgewar at the circle. The police promptly rounded them up. But the man who instigated them, instead of coming to their help, met the Mayor and shouted at her for naming the circle after a “communal” person. The mayor took him to task for speaking ill of the unanimous decision of the corporation. One Shri. Purushottam, a youth leader and a cool person, persuaded the police to let the youths on bail. After that, he sat with them and talked to them. He explained to them who Dr. Hedgewar was. When they thus learnt of the real personality of Dr. Hedgewar as a freedom fighter and a patriot of the highest order, the Harijan youths decided to “atone for their sin”. They managed to gather sufficient money from their own pockets and installed a new granite tablet bearing Dr. Hedgewar’s name, identical to the one they had broken. The state president of RSS, Shri. Venkataramu, was also present on that occasion.

Based on a write up by the Prant Prachar Pramukh of Dakshin Karnataka.

THREE

Shri. Arumugam, 52, lives in Mettur, Salem district, Tamilnadu, Bharat, while as many as 142 persons owe their lives to Arumugam. Yes, this fisherman has saved them all from drowning in river Kaveri whenever she was in spate during the past 38 years. He has risked his own life and recovered the bodies of 233 persons entangled under dam shutters during these years. “When I was just 14, I saved a man about to be drowned in the 16 shuttered Mettur dam (capacity 120 feet of water). That was the beginning of it. I could also help extricate dead or alive those who fall into wells in the surrounding areas or those who try to commit suicide in water,” says Arumugam, He gets regular SOS calls from the public and Mettur police as well. For all his perennial heroism, Arumugam is yet to receive any official appreciation.

DINAMALAR, September 2, 2005.

FOUR

Mataji or Shanta Amma to her innumerable cancer patients, mainly from Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and the North East states, Dr.V.Shanta, Executive Chairperson (Honorary) and Chairperson, Governing Council, Cancer Institute (CI), Adyar, Chennai, received the Ramon Magsaysay award for 2005, for outstanding contribution in the treatment of cancer for over 55 years now. In 1955 Dr. Shanta left her roaring practice as Assistant Professor at the Maternity Hospital to join the Cancer Institute though it had very little to offer. At a function she was once asked, “What is your compensation?” Dr. Shanta replied, “A middle aged man visited me with his son and grandson. He wanted to show me his family and tell me that he was doing well. You see, he was a patient at the CI as a child. That is my compensation.” What an answer to cancer!

Based on a report by Smt. Geeta Padmanabhan

in the Metroplus section of THE HINDU dated August 6, 2205.

FIVE

A. Shri. Nityananda Das, an Odissi dancer from Orissa has overcome his handicap in a remarkable way. His performance at Rabindra Mandapauditorium in Bhubaneshwar in May 2005 left dance lovers spellbound. Shri. Das, trained Odissi dancer,had lost one of his legs in a road accident in June 2000. But his love for Odissi made him overcome the setback. He started dancing with one legend returned to the stage after a gap of five years. Apart from the assistance from his Guru Shri. Bimbhadar Das, what inspired Nityananda Das was the example set by actress – dancer Sudha Chandran in the Hindi block-buster, NATCHE MAYURI. THE HINDU, May 31, 2005. B. Radhika, a Mohiniyattam dancer of Bangalore once saw an old man asking for a loan at the doorstep of a friend. She was in tears when she realized that the old man was none else but a once famous dance Guru at Kerala’s Kala Mandalam. She decided on the spot to employ her dance skills to be at the service of poverty-stricken artists. She deposited one lakh of Rupees from out of her hard earned money at a bank and pays pension to needy artists out of the accrued interest. She reduced her personal expenditure even on food and travel, after cutting short luxury items, so that her “pension scheme” could be expanded. Today it covers as many as 15 poor artists. Based on a report by ‘Jolnapayyan’ in DINAMALAR VAARAMALAR of July 31, 2005.

OOOOOOOOO

2 comments:

araon said...

what a great post. I really enjoy reading this post. psd development

snigdha G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.