Friday, June 17, 2011


Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Poornima/ Kali Yugaabda 5113 / Kara Vaikasi 32 (June 15, 2011)


Smt Tulasi Munda, 64, has set up 20 schools in inaccessible hilly areas in Orissa's tribal belt. But she has never been to school. There were none in her village near Keonjhar town. The turning point came when as a teenager she met social worker Malati Choudhury. "She told us to be self-reliant along Gandhian lines. I thought poverty and ignorance can't be removed unless people are educated." Her first school, considered the model, in Serenda in Keonjhar district, is today a high school with hostel. Except this one, all are primary schools. Some have no sheds and run under trees, some in verandas of village homes. School-hours change as per parents' convenience, since the kids help their parents who work in mines or as labourers at construction sites. Tulasi's funds come mostly from individuals. "I plead with individuals to donate, go round villages and seek both money and material. No community service can yield positive result without people's direct involvement." Tulasi's teachers get small salaries but she says, "Dedication is key". "They need salaries, are responsible for their families. But they're motivated and committed, without which no one can take up such work." She says she's refused politicians who tried to get her to canvass, has refused a nomination to Rajya Sabha too. This Padma Shri awardee (2001) has toured with Vinoba Bhave. Her decision not to marry and work to educate children faced opposition from her family. "But I stuck to my ground," says Tulasi and adds, "I am happy that my schools have saved many poor children from turning beggars." Based on a report by Shri Rajaram Satapathy in THE TIMES OF INDIA, June 16, 2011.


The rope used to hoist the flag during the Devi Bagavathi Amman temple festival in Kanyakumari (Tamilnadu, Bharat) is offered by a Christian fisherman's family. The 10-day Vaikasi festival began on June 4 and as per tradition, the rope for hoisting the temple flag was offered by 57-year-old fisherman, Subash. For seven generations, his family, otherwise called the `Kailiyaar' family, has been offering the rope for this temple ritual. According to Sahitya Akademi awardee and son of the soil Ponneelan, hundreds of years ago an old fisherwoman named `Kailiyamma' after selling fish went to collect dry cow dung from a rock, where the Vivekananda rock is now situated. At that time a little girl sitting near the rock, asked Kailiyamma to lift her and drop her at a distance. Kailiyamma, who was tired, refused but the child urged her and said she could drop her at any place if she found her weight too heavy to bear. After walking some yards with the girl, she found the child's weight too heavy and dropped her. Immediately, the child turned into a young woman and offered Kailiyama a garland and a gold ornament and asked her to choose whatever she likes. Kailliyamma chose the garland. The girl child, who was Devi Bagavathi Amman, offered Kailiyamma the first rights in her temple. The heirs of Kailiyamma were also given first rights and were allowed to give the ropes for hoisting the temple flag. "Earlier, we used to make the rope here, but now we buy the rope from shops in Nagercoil", said Subash who bought the rope this year. The rope is considered sacred and after it is bought from Nagercoil, it is not even placed on the floor during travel. "The night before the flag hoisting ceremony, after offering poojas, I take the rope on my head and go along with the officials to the temple," said Subash. Based on a report by Shri S Mahesh in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, June 14, 2011.


It is a matter of grave concern that even in this 21st century there are many misconceptions in the society about leprosy patients. Thousands of such patients daily come to Hardwar. In India it is believed that if you die on the bank of river Ganga, all your sins get washed away and `mukti' is attained. With this hope, these people wait for death on the bank of Ganges. Around 1986, Shri Ashish Gautam, an ex-pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who visited Hardwar for a holy dip, saw thousands of leprosy-hit people and their plight dejected him. He decided to dedicate his whole life for these people. Ashish Gautamji made the arrangement of bandage and started visiting the slums for their dressing. He also started giving them medicines. Because of this noble work, people slowly started getting associated with him. Some doctors also joined him. Some patients took training regarding primary treatment. Thus the foundation of Divya Prem Seva Mission was laid. Because of regular treatment, the patients visiting the hospital started increasing. Ashish Gautamji says,"Bringing about social change is not the responsibility of government alone. The mission runs totally on the basis of hard work of the karyakartas and money donated by the common man. Leprosy is not a contagious disease. It is totally curable." (Contact: Divya Prem Seva Mission, Seva Kunj, Chhandi Ghat, Hardwar 249408, Uttarakhand, (India). Phone : 01334-222211). Source:


The Panchayat Union School at Kumalankuttai, just three furlongs away from the Collectorate on Perundurai Road, Erode (Tamilnadu, Bharat) has A Gopika, daughter of the district VVIP -Collector Shri R Anandakumar,  on its rolls. Though the school is located in an urban area it is maintained by the Erode Panchayat Union. The school, whose strength is expected to increase from 320 to 330 this year, has nine teachers, including headmistress S Rani. Significantly, Dr Anandakumar and his wife, Dr M Shrividya, stood in the queue for admission at around 10.30 am and went through the normal procedure. After some teachers' insistence, he visited the HM's room for enrolment. Anandakumar enquired whether his daughter will be given the free uniform. He was informed that uniform  is issued to only the kids who take noon meal in the school. The Collector requested the HM to give noon meal to his child too. From reports in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS and DINAMALAR, June 16, 2011.


Lakhs of devotees thronged to the pilgrim city of Jagannath Puri (Orissa, Bharat) braving the incessant monsoon rain and witnessed the bathing ceremony of the Lord Jagannath popularly called Snan Purnima on June 15, 2011. This is a major ritual of the lords before the annual Rath Yatra. As per the special programme for the lunar eclipse the deities Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra along with Sudarshan and Madanmohan amidst chanting of "Jai Jagannath!" and a concert of drums, cymbals, bugles and ghantas were escorted out of the sanctum sanctorum of the Garbhagruha to the bathing altar. The altar is a huge raised platform. Priests consecrated the water brought from the sacred golden well located inside the temple complex. The deities were accorded 108 pitchers of aromatic water bath. After the bathing ceremony was over, the deities were dressed in new clothing. The Gajapati King Dibyasingh Deb, the foremost servitor of the lord, came in a procession and conducted the Chherapahanra (sweeping the floor around the deities). Late in the night on June 16, the deities would be taken to a solitary place in the temple called Anasar ghar (room for the sick) where the deities would recline to bed for fifteen days supposedly suffering from fever. During the sick period the temple Vaidya (physician of the deities) treats them with herbal medicines and the deities would live on fruit diet served by the Daita servitors. Shri  Prasanta Mahapatra in DAILY PIONEER,  June 16 2011.