Tuesday, December 21, 2010


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Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Poornima / Kali Yugaabda 5112 / Vikruti Maargazhi 6 (December 21, 2010)


On receiving PANCHAMIRTHAM 200, Shri Veerachamy, Education Officer, Vivekananda Educational Society, Chennai, thanked Team Panchaamritam for its "great service". May the Almighty shower all His blessings on the Team and give good health to it to continue "your service", he added. It is worth noting that Shri Veerachamy hopes to glean good news anecdotes from out of his collection to benefit schoolchildren. He has a spiral-bound volume of all issues of PANCHAAMRITAM from 1 to 200 ready.


The village has a population of just 6,530 as per Census 2001. Of these, 300 are ex-service men. Another 300 presently serve the Army. The village president Shri Karuppaiah too is an ex-srevice man. "Among the ideals dear to our hearts is service to motherland ", he says. It was on the advice of the ex-servicemen's association of the village that he contested the local body election and was elected, informs Karuppaiah. I shall protect honesty as seriously as I would protect the nation, he adds. The village is, Panchampatti off Dindukkal (Tamilnadu, Bharat). DINAMALAR, November 28, 2010.   


In their spare time, these young professionals roam around the city of Mumbai (Maharashtra, Bharat). They scan walls and plumbing, looking for plants and trees that might be growing on them and need to be relocated. Meet Green Umbrella, Mumbai's only plant rescue team, devoted to bailing out trees. Once rescued, the tree is transferred to a makeshift nursery where it is nurtured back to health and then planted again in an area where trees are needed. "The idea of rescuing trees came to my mind on Vat Purnima (Hindu festival). On this day, married women tie threads to banyan trees, but there are no trees around," says , Vikram Yende, a bank employee and founder, Green Umbrella. Today, the group has rescued more than 200 saplings. Green Umbrella focuses on saving indigenous Indian trees like banyan, pipal, vad and umber. "These trees suit the local environment and provide food and shelter to local fauna," says Yende. They absorb the maximum amount of carbon dioxide and release more oxygen. They also absorb toxic gases to some extent and have a higher resistance to pollution. They also grow various Indian species plants from their seeds and branches. The team has also been meeting officials from the government, forest department and BMC to emphasise the benefits of native species plants and to request them to take concrete steps to plant them in mass quantities. From a report by Smt Sneha Mahale in HINDUSTAN TIMES, September 27,  2010.


Sixteen-year-old Bhargava, of Shree Ramakrishna High School, Puttur (Karnataka), whose project is one of the winning entries explained his whole experiment with undying enthusiasm. "We produced eco-friendly ink from Terminalia chebula, the ink plant. Using essence of other flowers we even created brownish red and bluish black coloured ink. This ink is a non-pollutant; it is almost permanent and costs nothing more than six rupees," he said. Ask of how they chanced upon this idea and his partner Pramoda said, "Dhobis mark clothes with ink extracted from exactly this plant. We then thought why not use this chemical free ink for writing too; especially now that ink pens are out of fashion." This duo is among 87 finalists selected from 1,300 projects across the country who vied for the National honours at Initiative for Research & Innovation in Science (IRIS) 2010. Eight innovators then won their way through the four day selection process in Mumbai in late November. These students will now represent India at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2011 at Los Angeles, California between May 8 and 13, 2011.  From a report by Smt Pavithra.S. in THE HINDU, December 7, 2010.


Milk of the indigenous, small-sized Vechur cow is more beneficial to health than that from the more common cross-bred bovine varieties. This has been revealed in a study conducted at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Thrissur by E.M. Muhammed for his thesis for MVSc. programme. Dr. Muhammed, who is on leave from the Animal Husbandry Department to pursue his postgraduate studies, has concluded that beta casein A2 , a milk protein that prevents diabetes, heart diseases, atherosclerosis, autism and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), is found in Vechur cattle in higher measure than in cross-bred Jersey, Holstein-Friesian and Brown Swiss varieties which are Keralite's favourites since they yield more milk. The study was conducted by Dr. Muhammed under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Mathew, Professor in the Department of Animal Breeding, Genetics and Biostatistics. Milch breeds such as Holstein Friesian and Ayrshire have a high frequency of A1 gene but most of the Indian breeds have only the beneficial A2 gene. For this thesis, Dr. Muhammed has made a comparative study of presence of A2 in Vechur cows and cross-bred cows in the State and found that though cross-breeding of cattle may yield more milk, it may also increase presence of harmful A1 gene in the State's bovine population. Vechur cows yield less milk than exotic cross-breeds (about two to three kg daily which is nearly half of that from cross-breeds) but needs almost no veterinary care at all. Population of Vechur cow, a native to Vechur in Kottayam district and found in Kottayam- Ernakulam - Alappuzha belt (Kerala, Bharat), has dwindled to around 200. This variety almost became extinct because of aggressive cross-breeding policies followed in the State by using exotic germplasm on local female cattle. From a report by Shri R. Madhavan Nair in THE HINDU, August 1, 2010.


During the past 37 years, the 54-year-old Kishor C. Bhatt of Mumbai has carried out the last rites for as many as 1,500 unclaimed bodies -- slum dwellers, beggars, orphans and the sick -- who have no family, or whose family are too poor to pay for them. Sending off the dead in the right way is especially important in India, where ceremonies are designed to purify and console the living and the dead. It all started in 1968 when he was living in Saurashtra (Gujarat, Bharat). The then-17-year-old went to give food to the victims after floods washed into Surat, Gujarat. He was distraught when he saw hordes of human corpses entangled with those of animals, and told his father. Bhatt's father, the owner of a garment company, told his son that irrespective of what a person was doing when they were alive, they deserved to get their last rites. So Bhatt began picking up unclaimed bodies and performing their last rites. It is a mark of respect that he bears at his own cost, despite many offering donations. Mostly he carries out cremations, which costs upward of 1,000 rupees. He even scatters the ashes into the Arabian Sea at Chowpatty Beach. Hospitals and police officers in Mumbai ring him up to tell him that a body has arrived, and no one has claimed it. His son, Viren, died of fever when he was 17 years old. Bhatt performed the last rites for him only after finishing the ceremony he was already conducting for an unclaimed corpse. From a report by Smt Marianne Bray on CNN / Also THE HINDU Young World, December 7, 2010.


STATES COVERED: Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat.