Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Comrade Radhika Ranjan Pramanik may not be as famous as Jyoti Basu, Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Somnath Chatterjee, E K Nayanar or E M S Namboodaripad, the stalwarts of the Communist parties in Bharat. But Pramanik recently refused to be infamous. This is how it all happened: He represents Mathurapur -- a constituency in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal -- in the Lok Sabha. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1989. On February 3, Pramanik announced he was snapping ties with the CPI-M. He gave a very specific reason for doing so, accusing his former comrades of 'exerting pressure to misuse funds from the MP quota for the coming Panchayat polls’ in his state. He added, 'When I made it clear I would spend the money for schools, colleges, hospitals and other developmental works, Party’s district committee leaders insisted I spend this amount for panchayat elections. I cannot abide by the party's dictate on the MP fund. It is meant for public welfare, and should be used for it.' He has subsequently repeated the same charges in a television interview. There has not been a single peep from the headquarters of the CPI-M -- though it has been a month and a half since Pramanik publicly accused the party. Considering the fact that the total amount doled out to legislators -- those from Parliament as well as those in the Assemblies in the States -- comes to near about Rs 4,000 crore (40 billion), Pramanik’s praamaanikata (honesty) merits a special mention indeed.

(Based on an article by Shri. T.V.R.Shenoy in the Rediff on the Net on March 12, 2003).


Seshdhar Pandey, of village Takana off Pithoregarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bharat, lost the elder of his two sons, Shobit Pandey a couple of years back. It was just seven months after Shobit’s marriage. After such a very short married life Shobit’s young wife became a widow. Seshdhar was concerned about her future. He decided to arrange a secure life for her by finding a suitable youngster who would accept her as his wife. He, at first, prepared the minds of his family members for this proposal. Next, came the task of finding a bridegroom. He turned to his own younger son Rohit and Rohit gave his consent. Last month, at a simple celebration, Rohit’s marriage with the widow was solemnized at the local Devi Mandir. This hillside village follows strict orthodoxy and Seshdhar Pandey’s bold initiative in rehabilitating a young widow in this manner has set a healthy precedence. It is significant that Seshdhar is a Swayamsevak of the RSS.

(Based on a report in the HINDU GARJANA, Hindi monthly (February, 2003) of Gwalior,MP).


The small shrine dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi in the Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai, Tamilnadu, presented an unusual scene on February 14, 2003. A wedding - yes, a wedding - took place there. Jeevakan, the bridegroom, tied the mangalasutra and Sheela, the bride, was brimming with pride. Now, the flashback: The betrothal ceremony of Sheela, an MBA of Chennai and Jeevakan, a computer engineer of Paramakkudi woking in Chennai was over. Later, while he was doing the rounds extending wedding invitations to his near and dear, Jeevakan met with a road accident. He suffered a thigh bone fracture and was admitted to the Meenakshi Mission Hospital. A situation arose when it seemed the marriage proposal was cancelled since the bride’s family members considered that the accident was a bad omen. They actually decided to that effect. Bride Sheela was shocked at this. She argued: ‘It is thoroughly unjust. If the accident were to take place after the wedding, what would you people do?’ She declared her firm resolve to marry Jeevaan alone. She did not stop at that. Went straight to the hospital and stayed there looking after Jeevakan undergoing treatment. She let him know of her determination to see that the marriage took place on the appointed date. Jeevakan was highly appreciative of her steadfastness and love. The hospital authorities too were happy at the young couple’s good nature and volunteered with all the arrangements for their wedding in hospital premises itself. In the presence of a large number of the hospital staff and close relatives, of course, Jeevkan - sitting on his stretcher - tied the knot.

(Based on a DINAMANI (Tamil Daily) report dated February 16, 2003).


On Sunday, February 23, Kannambal, 59, a retired nursing superintendent, fell off a two wheeler her daughter Dr.Chitra Bharati was driving, while negotiating a badly built speed – breaker near Ambattur (Chennai). She was rushing to assist a Caesarean delivery in a private nursing home. Within 24 hours, Kannambal was declared ‘brain dead’ at the hospital. Her daughter, despite the suddenness and shock of the event, decided that her mother’s organs be harvested, so that they could be used to give life to others. Her father, Shri. M.Chandrasekaran, a retired PWD chief engineer, and her two sisters Dr. Umamaheswari and Krithika were all for the proposal. Says Chitra Bharati, “My mother, even after her retirement, wanted to help people and continued helping out on a free-lance basis. She definitely would have approved.” After a paper signing ritual, doctors at the Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Chennai, operated on the otherwise healthy Kannambal and removed her eyes, kidneys and liver on Monday. Five persons waiting for transplantation in various hospitals were benefited by these organs.

(Based on a report by RAMYA KANNAN in THE HINDU of February 28, 2003).


It is a Hindu cremation ground(smashan) in Coimbatore. Time: midnight. A van arrives. A shav is taken out from the rear door. Opening the front left door, a lady gets down. She at once gets busy, spreading the cremation material donated by the Sampoorna Trust. The funeral procedes smoothly. She assists smashan workers as well as the purohit. Once the entire ritual is over and the cremation is complete, she gets into the van. The van speeds out of the smashan. For people of Coimbaore, this scene is not at all odd. A woman going to the smashan that too to manage the last rites? Gomati Mami (that is the name of the fearless lady) who is now 57 years old, has been doing this final service to unclaimed bodies for over 32 years now. “ Why fear? The police is there in case any trouble crops up,” says Gomati Mami. The police and government authorities, in fact, promptly summon her whenever an unclaimed body is to be cremated. Three decades back, when her huband forsook her, she did not cry over her fate. She took up this work which now supports half a dozen families. On occasions when Gomati Mami is ill or goes out on a tour, Karpagam, her daughter (like her mother, forsaken by husband) does all the work. That is certainly a great solace to the brave mother.

(Based on an article in the Coimbatore City Special Number of KALKI, Tamil weekly, dated September 27, 1992).