Wednesday, December 30, 2009



''Namaste,'' Om Dutta Sharma, 65, said standing at the gate of his school, sweetly bidding farewell to 180 little girls returning home after school. For 20 years, Mr. Sharma has been a taxi driver in New York. He has been saving his tips; has never taken his wife out to eat; the couple sparingly spent on new clothes for their sons Mrs.Sharma packs lunch for her kids when they go to school so that they need not spend anything at the canteen – all this to make this act of goodness possible: Mr. Sharma has given his village Dhoober Kishenpur in Saharanpur district near Delhi in Bharat, a school for girls. He has named it after his illiterate mother, Ram Kali. Mr. Sharma and his wife, Krishna, a nurse at Bellevue Hospital Center, contribute the $2,500 a year it costs to run the school. The two-story brick house, Mr. Sharma’s ancestral property, is now filled with first to fifth graders laboriously scratching out their lessons in chalk. The Sharmas can afford to educate and care for these farmers' daughters because money buys more here than in New York. To hire a local doctor to give the girls regular check-ups, Mr. Sharma spent $500 more from the earnings of a mango orchard he planted years ago when he and his brother inherited the family plot. The Sharmas live in Woodside, Queens, USA. In New York, Mr. Sharma is just a cabby. In India, a school's hero.

(From a NEW YORK TIMES article (January 23, 2000) by CELIA W.DUGGER, made available by Kannan-Vasuvaj-Arun-Narayanan on email) .


Meet the ‘hero’: It is a note book kept in the Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Office in SIDCO Nagar, Villivakkam (Chennai). A number of pages in it are full of praise, praise and more praise for the way the office functions(penned by the members of the public): Each visitor – whether an IAS officer or a daily wages earner – gets the same polite treatment and prompt attention; the staff never leave their seats but for lunch; etc. Part of the inspiration for such a desireable ambience is provided by the Bhagavadgita slokas and Thirukkural couplets adorning the walls of the office. The man behind all this is Assistant Commissioner S.Kothandaraman,57. He says one Pulavar Ma.Ki.Ramanan came forward with the suggestion to display inspiring quotes on the office walls and adds that the message of the display not only evoked positive thinking and right behaviour among the staff, it caught the imagination of the visiting public as well.

(Based on a report by Shri. Zia-ul-Haq in DINAMANI, Tamil daily on February 4, 2003) .


Krishnan’s neighbours address him as RD Krishnan and hasten to explain that RD stands for Recurring Deposits! Krishnan lives in Rajapandy, a hamlet in the Kizhappavur Panchayat Union of Thirunelveli district in Tamilnadu, Bharat. Rajapandy has just 440 families. The Post Office Savings Bank there, anyhow, boasts of 503 accounts; every family in this agricultural hamlet saves money in RD; some families have more than one account. Each family deposits anything from Rs. 50 to Rs. 600 per month; in this way, this hamlet with no source of income other than agriculture saves a sum of Rs. 55,745 every month; the Small Savings Agent Smt.Peychi Ammal, 50, assisted by her husband Shri. Krishnan, has achieved this feat by undaunted work ever since 1982. Even as the news of USA as a nation sliding into the labyrinth of debts spreads, the Krishnan – Peychi Ammal couple has succeeded in painting a bright picture in contrast.

(Based on a DINAMANI report circulated through SETU, a fortnightly News Summary in English dated February 13, 2003 from Chennai Media Centre, Chennai – 600 031).


Shri. Shivaramji, hailing from Maharashtra, served Tamilnadu for over six decades as a Sangh Pracharak. He inspired hundreds of householders to take to seva karyas like Rakta Daanam, Netra Daanam, Deha Daanam and serving the visually challenged. On one occasion, he himself was inspired by a letter written by a father to his own son. It happened like this: As part of his search for good persons living scattered in the society (He could spot nearly a 1,000 in five years in Chennai alone), Shivaramji met an elderly doctor. Let us call him Dr.K.G. Vidyasagar. Shivaramji records his meeting with him thus: “ In reply to our query as to what had inspired the doctor to lead an unblemished life, he handed me the copy of a letter he had received from his father Shri. T. Govindaraj the day when the son set up practice as a young physician. Here is the text: ‘I would not merely be happy but proud to hear that Dr.KGV is an upright man, a kind doctor whose hands are clean except when bloodsmears tarnish his hands in surgical operations! I pray you would rise to these heights. By and large, I have so far kept my personality in tact without disintegrating under the pressure of evil forces. I pray you would also be in a position to say at my age that your hands are clean and were clean. -- T.Govindaraj’ ”. Need we state the obvious that the son measured up to his father’s standards since he succeeded in attracting Shivaramji’s attention, after all ! But we must place on record that Shri Shivaramji’s body was handed over to Shri. Ramachandra Medical Research Centre, Porur, Chennai, in deference to his Deha Daana pledge, when Shri.Shiivaramji expired in June,1999.

(Based on a narration by an associate of Late Shri. Shivaramji and, of course, the letter).


Potters of Thiruvarur, in Thanjavur district, Tamilnadu, lead a hand to mouth life. The small shrine of Thiruneelakanta, a potter – saint and one of the sixty-three Shaivite Nayanmars was in a shambles. Their entreaties to officials to renovate it failed to have any immediate effect. So they tightened their belts and raised Rs.6,000. They renovated the shrine and performed the Kumbhabhishekham with deep fervour in mid ‘80s. Tamil weekly VIJAYABHARATAM paid its tribute to this remarkable devotion by highlighting the event with an illustration on its cover.