Sunday, February 28, 2010


Vishwa Samvad Kendra (Media Centre), Chennai (


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Amavaasya, Kali Yugaabda 5111, VIRODHI Maasi 1 (February 13, 2010)


I was given on April 29, 2007, a humbling lesson and a supply of motivation at Aaraasur, a tiny hamlet near Vandhavasi (Thiruvannamalai district, Tamilnadu, Bharat). A small temple was to be consecrated to Sri Rama by 92 year old Ramaswamy Iyengar that day. He had been at work building the temple for over two years. Ramaswamy Iyengar had been a librarian in a Club in Chennai and raised his family of four. Must have been a hard life on meagre money, but income from fields in Aaraasur had supplemented his needs. This is what he is probably unable to forget. His children had only modest clerical careers in an India which gave few opportunities. But the grandchildren throve in an India that began to reward handwork and brains. One now made home in the USA, another in Australia and yet another in Dubai. A grandson runs a successful software company in Bangalore. As he began to approach his 90th year, the temple obsession took hold of Ramaswamy Iyengar. By then the extended family, having prospered, had almost severed its connections with the village. Was he trying to make a statement about the debt owed to the village? was it a simple religious zeal? Was it a ruse to raise his large family's awareness about their antecedents? Maybe he himself doesn't know. But he was a man possessed. His entire family was there. As the kumbhabhishekam was performed, the villagers in frenzy, hailed Rama and Govinda for several seconds. It was one unified voice of Aaraasur. Shortly thereafter, a rather embarrassed Iyengar was forced to sit in a chair as everyone fell at his feet in turn and pressed humble, soiled notes of Rs.5 and 10 for the temple maintenance fund. He gladly accepted them and urged them to take care of the temple and benefit by using the space around it to meet friends. The villagers' adoration of the old man was infectious. The visitors from the city, genteel and successful, also bent to touch his feet.

Based on a 2007 narrative by Shri.D V Sridharan, Publisher of in his online newsletter 'pointreturn'.


Rajan Babu (49) of Mondiyamman Nagar, Red Hills, near Chennai (Tamilnadu, Bharat) was a Bus Conductor attached to the Madhavaram depot of Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation. On January 1, 2010, he was on duty in the bus with the route number 592 plying between Red Hills and Oothukkottai. As the bus approached Oothukkottai, the bus came to a sudden halt as the driver applied the brakes. Rajan Babu, who was standing near the exit steps, was thrown off the bus, his head hitting the ground hard, resulting in severe head injury. He was admitted to the Government General hospital in Chennai. He did not respond to the treatment and was declared 'brain dead'. All hopes of saving his life having failed, his wife Smt. Kasthuri and his other relatives requested the doctors to save lives of others by transplanting Rajan Babu's organs like the liver, kidneys and heart. That was done and Kasthuri said, "my husband lives on in others who were saved. He is not dead."

Based on a report in DINAMALAR, January 6, 2010


Swami Akhandananda (1864-1937), a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, once met Ashutosh Mukherjee (1864-1924), Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. The Swami saw English books all over, when he entered the VC's room. He said to the VC, "you occupy a powerful position. Should you not do something to nourish Sanskrit? Is not Sanskrit the backbone of our country?" It seems the words from a pure heart appealed to Ashutosh. The impact of the monk's advise can be gauged very well if one reads 'THE HEART OF ARYAVARTA', a book by Lord Ronalshay. He wrote in it, "If Lord Macaulay were to come to Calcutta now and visit this University, he is sure to find Sanskrit, a language, whose 'entire literature' he had said 'could be stacked in a single shelf', has become the medium of instruction in as many as 12 departments of the university; he would have resented his foolishness and would have realized the greatness of Sanskrit."

A report in SRI RAMAKRISHNA VIJAYAM,  September 2008


Mountainous terrain, extreme cold, heavy rains, sparsely populated habitations, underdeveloped roads, illiteracy and ignorance about hygiene and health – these were the challenges before RSS workers of North East India. An experiment to solve the problem of primary healthcare in the remote villages began in 1998, when Dr. Arun Kumar Banerjee from Kolkata along with the field workers in Guwahatti, Tinsukia, Hoja and Dhubri districts, planned to train village youth in primary medicine. A 3-day training was imparted in all these districts. Today, such trained youth are called 'Arogya Rakshaks', the courses having developed into a system for training village health workers. 118 youth were trained as Arogya Rakshaks in 2002. The training work spread out to Mandal level, with educated local youth growing up in the system becoming trainers. Arogya Rakshaks who serve more than 1,000 patients in a year are given advanced training. 500 health workers in the North East have received this training so far. They treat patients and  spread the message of culture in the villages. Over 6,700 Arogya Rakshaks are there in North East as well as in other parts of the country.

From 'SEVA DISHA 2009' published by Rashtriya Seva Bharati, New Delhi - 55


For his classmates the four o'clock bell means lessons are over, but for 16-year-old Babur Ali it is time to take off his uniform and start a new school day as probably the youngest headmaster in the world. Since he was 11 Babur has been running his own school in Bhabta, a small village outside Murshidabad, West Bengal (Bharat), passing on to the children of poor families the knowledge he has acquired at his fee-paying school during the day. It began when children in his village of jute farmers plagued him with questions about what he learnt at the 1,000-rupee-a-year school their parents could not afford. Five years later he is acknowledged by district education officials as "headmaster" of the Anand Shikshya Niketan school, with 10 volunteer teachers and 650 pupils desperate to learn. The school began in the open air. Today it is housed in two bamboo, brick and tile huts, where children are rotated between indoor and outdoor lessons, often with 80 to a class. Babur's dream of official status for his school moved closer last week when he was honoured for slashing illiteracy rates in his district by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, West Bengal's chief minister, at a ceremony in Kolkatta.

Based on a report Shri Dean Nelson in THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK), June 29, 2008.