Thursday, April 1, 2010


Vishwa Samvad Kendra (Media Centre), Chennai (


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Amavaasya, Kali Yugaabda 5111, VIRODHI Panguni 1 (March 15, 2010)


 As patriotic fervour reached fever pitch on the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising against the British, the potent symbol of that tyrannical rule — the East India Company — made a quiet return to India. Two years ago, London-based businessman of Indian origin Sanjiv Mehta bought the once-imperial company for its "instantly recognisable international brand name." The Mumbai-born entrepreneur plans to re-launch the East India Company after strenuously acquiring shares in the firm that once ruled India. With a Rs. 67.5 crore ($15 million) investment and inputs from a range of experts, from designers and brand researchers to historians, Sanjiv Mehta plans to open the company store in Conduit Street of the main Regent Street in the heart of London in 2010. Describing it as an achievement, Mehta said "I have this huge feeling of redemption, this indescribable feeling of owning a company that once owned us." Mehta said he travelled around the world, visiting former East India Company trading posts and museums, reading up records and meeting people who understood business of that time.

A report by Smt Kala Rao in HINDUSTAN TIMES, May 12, 2007; updated 


On March 23, 2009, residents of Semmencherry near Old Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai, were a proud lot. The kumbhabishekam' being performed at the 1,800-year-old Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, for the first time since 1957, meant that their restoration efforts had borne fruit. Almost 1,000 devotees, mainly locals, witnessed the grand function. Over time, the temple, which is considered a heritage structure by the Archaeological Survey of India, began to lose its sheen. Thick undergrowth enveloped most of the space around the one-acre main temple; the entire area is about 16.5 acres. Exposure to the elements and poor maintenance damaged some of the idols. A serious attempt began in March 2007. With active support from the Semmencherry panchayat, the villagers led by T Gnanasundraram, 65, started a door-to-door campaign to raise funds. Letters were sent to those in faraway places. The Srinivasa Perumal Trust was formed and within a few months, more than Rs 10 lakh was raised. Craftsmen from Kancheepuram and Kumbakonam began work on 16-foot high wooden doors for the main entrance. "We are planning to introduce additional facilities for devotees. We will ensure that the temple is well maintained," said Semmencherry panchayat president K Dhanasekar.

From a report in THE TIMES OF INDIA, March 24, 2009


Madurai-based Aravind Eye Care System (AECS) has been chosen for the Rs. 67.5 crore (USD 1.5 million) Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Prize, given annually to an organisation that makes extraordinary contributions towards alleviating human suffering.The AECS has been chosen from among 400 nominees for the prize for its "extraordinary work" in the field of eye care, according to a release by the eye care facility.The international prize is awarded each year since 1996 by the Hilton Foundation established by the late hotel entrepreneur Conrad N Hilton, for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid to the poor. The AECS, founded in 1976 by late Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy, performed both free and subsidised operations to three lakh people every year through their five hospitals in India, the release said. Highlighting the achievements of the AECS, its chairman Dr P Namperumalswamy said a doctor of the eye care system could perform 2,000 eye operations a year, compared to average 250-400 done by any eye surgeon.This was made possible by the model established by its founder, he added.

Based on a PTI / report March 8, 2010. Idea: Shri. Venkatesh  


Kalyan Singh Rawat of Uttarakhand state, Bharat who was instrumental in rendering 6,500 villages along the Himalayas into lush green gardens, is bent upon making the entire state go green through his `Maithi hariyali Abhiyan'. He has infused Shraddha (belief) into it so that more people would take to it easily. The Abhiyan consists of an offering of ONE Rupee (Uchchana) into a box with the name of the Grama Devata written on it and kept at one's pooja room. The collection should be made available to the Abhiyan every year for a tree to be planted in one's name in his/her ancestral village. Anyone who lives far away from his/her village can thus soulfully associate with the roots via this pro-eco scheme. The surplus from this offering will be used to protect the village's jal jungle and jameen (water, forest and land). The Abhiyan also helps newly wed couple to plant a sapling; thousands of weddings take place in Uttarakhand every year. The Abhiyan will also help anyone capable of adopting a village for tree-planting.

Based on a report by Shri Virendra in RASHTRIYA SAHARA, March 10, 2010.


Film 'Avatar' has made Hollywood history with Rs 14,000 crore ($2.6 billion) in worldwide ticket sales and showcased James Cameron's bold moviemaking skills. It also revealed the director's fascination with the imagery of India. "I just have loved every thing, the mythology, the entire Hindu pantheon, seems so rich and vivid," Cameron told an audience of filmmakers and actors at a conference in New Delhi on March 13, 2010. In 'Avatar', Cameron creates a lush world of dense forest and floating mountains in a computer-generated spectacular that transforms much of the cast into giant, blue-skinned humanoids. One of Hinduism's most revered gods, Krishna, is often depicted with blue skin. "I didn't want to reference the Hindu religion so closely but the subconscious association was interesting and I hope I haven't offended any one in doing so," the filmmaker said. Cameron said the title of the film was a subconscious reference to India. 'Avatar' in Sanskrit means reincarnation. At the Oscar Awards last week, Kathryn Bigelow's gritty Iraq War movie 'The Hurt Locker' outshone 'Avatar' after a nail-biting campaign season.

Based on a Reuters report by Smt. Shilpa Jamkhandikar, March 15, 2010.