Saturday, July 30, 2011


Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Amavaasya/ Kali Yugaabda 5113 / Kara Aadi 14 (July 30, 2011)



Threat to natural resources and livelihood of Mendha villagers led to the emergence of "Mawa Mate, Mawa Raj" concept. These four words mean "in our village we are the government" in Gondi dialect. Keeping with the objective of the independence struggle people of this village decided to have Gram Swaraj (village democracy) based on Gram Sabha (village assembly). One can gauge the power of Mendha's Gram Sabha from the fact that when P C Alexander, the then Governor of Maharashtra was to visit this village in December 2000, the collector took permission from the Gram Sabha for his visit. Mendha is situated in the Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli district (Maharashtra, Bharat), a Naxal-infested area. Over 80 per cent of the village is forest. 450 persons live in this village. Mendha became the first village in the country where standing natural forests are the village's asset (as a result of their sustained peaceful struggle for over 24 years). So, every villager earns an income of Rs 5,000 to 10,000 per bamboo cutting season – as against mere Rs 400 as wages when the Forest Department was the owner. Gandhian Mohan Hirabai Hiralal of Vrikshamitra, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), played a crucial role in bringing the villagers together. Based on his experience in Mendha, Mohan Hirabai quotes Mahatma Gandhi's book Hind Swaraj saying, "Parliamentary democracy is a prostitute which is infertile," as it goes to the powerful and seeks status quo. It is only participatory democracy which can redeem the status of the citizens of our country, he added. If every Indian village follows Mendha form of governance then Gandhi's and Vinoba's dream of an ecologically rich and democratic society can easily be realised. Based on a report in HINDI VIVEK, Mumbai, July 2011 and website


Two decades ago, an old couple, the owners of over 100 acres of land costing some crores, used to live happily on that land with some 200 dogs. They served the dogs as a service to Almighty. After the demise of the husband, the old lady handed over the papers to a karyakarta and she left for heavenly abode in a week with the satisfaction in her heart that she has handed over the property to a correct person. A team of karyakartas started working day and night to turn the dream of the noble lady into reality. Now the dream has come true as Maitreyi Gurukulam. The Gurukulam is situated in a serene atmosphere in Moorkaje village, 4 km off Vittla, Bantwal taluka, Dakshin Kannada district (Karnataka, Bharat). Gurus sit on the platforms and the shishyas sit on the floor, right beneath the huge `cool' green trees. The oral tradition is practiced flawlessly in a modern world where no one understands a concept unless it is presented through visuals. Most of the girls come from rural areas. The admission is open to all Hindu girls above 10 years of age without any consideration for caste and class with only 20 students per batch. The first phase consists of six-year course and the admission to the higher course is given on the successful completion of the first phase. Hindu tradition does not approve commercialization of education, medicine and food; the three essentials in life. Maitreyi Gurukulam being true to tradition, does not charge fees from the students. The project is run under the aegis of a local Trust that is a part of Hindu Seva Pratisthana,


Indian Navy ship, INS Godavari, deployed in anti-piracy escort operations, has successfully foiled a bid by Somali sea pirates to seize a Greek merchant vessel MV Elinakos in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia. INS Godavari readily responded to a distress call from MV Elikanos while escorting four ships in the piracy-hit Gulf of Aden on July 16, 2011 morning, and promptly launched the anti-piracy escort operation. Indian Navy ship deployed a helicopter a mission to locate the skiff used by the eight Somali pirates and also sent a team of Marine commandos to board the pirate boat. However, the Somali pirates abandoned MV Elikanos, the Greek vessel, on seeing the fast approaching naval craft. The German warship Niedersachsen was assisted INS Godavari in this anti-piracy operation. INS Godavari has provided safe escort to 219 ships from various countries in the piracy-hit Gulf of Aden since it started anti-piracy operations since May 25. Last month, INS Godavari escorted MV Islamabad, a Pakistani vessel with 38-member crew.  From a report in, July 20, 2011.


The number of volunteers registered with Sathya Sai Baba's organisation to render from menial to clerical service exceeded six lakh. Baba's entire work rests on this devoted cadre. A serving IAS officer would give up his job and join him as his clerk; a young IT professional would forgo his fortune, start cleaning the bhajan hall; a businessman heading a billion dollar firm would leave his business and look after one of Baba's projects. A count of less than 1/6th of the total volunteers (91,753 to be precise) shows this telling break-up — doctors 3,173; engineers 9,760; lawyers/chartered accountants 3,521; professors and teachers 18,226; farmers and workers 41,295; industrialists 11,350; bankers 3,606; judges 71; legislators 167; journalists 261. His trusts have a corpus of several hundreds of crores of rupees. But never did he ask for donations; and he never hesitated to reject the wrong donors. Donors recount how Baba accepted their offerings after making them wait for months to test their sincerity to give. He kept all the money he received in trust for the poor and the needy in his times and in future. Even the undeposited cash and gold in his personal chamber — the Yajur Mandir — made their way to the trusts after him. Shri S Gurumurthy in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, July 11, 2011.


It happened a fortnight ago. Smt Shanti of Sembedu village near Vellore (Tamilnadu, Bharat) was returning from Bangalore on a bus. She saw the conductor asking two girls to get down, as they were travelling without tickets. Moved by the girls' plight, Shanti, stopped the bus, got down and boarded it again, this time, along with the two girls. She took them to her village and offered them shelter for several days. However, being the wife of a daily wage labourer addicted to alcohol, Shanti couldn't offer shelter to the the girls, aged nine and two, for long and handed them over to the Collector, requesting him to take care of them by arranging for their education and stay. Abhinaya, the elder of the two girls, refused to go back to her home in Bangalore, as she and her sister were being ill-treated by their stepmother."When Shanti akka took me and my little sister Anusha, I was happy that I got rid of my step mother who was torturing us badly," said Abhinaya. Collector Nagarajan handed over them to the district child welfare committee. From THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, July 26, 2011