Monday, August 29, 2011


Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Amavaasya/ Kali Yugaabda 5113 / Kara Aavani 11 (August 28, 2011)


Lieutenant Commander Firdaus Darabshah Mogal of the Indian Navy made the supreme sacrifice off Mumbai while trying to save the life of six sailors under his command and has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously. On August 29 last year, while his submarine was on its way for a deployment, a defect was observed. The submarine decided to surface to attempt external repairs. Three sailors led by the engineer officer were on the casing for defect rectification when a strong wave swept two of the sailors and the engineer officer overboard. One sailor was badly injured. Mogal immediately realised the gravity of the situation and personally proceeded to rescue the injured sailor. On reaching the injured sailor, Mogal realised that the sailor was completely immobilized due to his leg injury. Displaying an unparalleled feat of heroism and fearlessness, , the officer carried the sailor from aft casing to the bridge, with complete disregard to his personal safety. Now Mogal dived into the sea to save the other five sailors and escorted them safely to the ladder of the submarine. However, before he could climb onto the ladder after completing the rescue act, a strong wave swept him away. He suffered serious head injuries. The officer later succumbed to his injuries. (Shaurya Chakra is the third highest peacetime gallantry award after Ashok and Kirti Chakras).  DAILY PIONEER, August 14, 2011.


The Economic Times has been running a series of features since July 18, 2011 on dalit entrepreneurs. Many came from lower middle class families, got a decent education, and then made good. But others came from labourer families, and their rise is especially heartening. (1) Shri Bhagwan Gawai worked as a construction labourer as a boy in Mumbai. But he completed school and college, and then joined HPCL. He always got good appraisals but these were tampered with by caste-conscious colleagues, so he was denied the promotions he deserved. He sued HPCL on grounds of discrimination, and won. Later HPCL posted him in Dubai. There he acquired Arab friends who became his partners in a new trading business. This business now has a turnover of a whopping $20 million. He has also brought 30 dalit entrepreneurs together under a holding company, Maitreya Developers. (2) Shri Sushil Patil's father was a labourer in an ordnance factory, who educated his son. He had to plead with the college dean to waive the last year's fees, which he could not afford. The investment paid off. Sushil was employed in various firms, but then decided to start his own business, with the help of small loans. He failed in a series of ventures. But he persevered, and ultimately set up a firm, IEPC, providing engineering procurement and construction services. This now has revenues of Rs 280 crore per year. (3) Shri Ashok Khade's father was a cobbler, working under a tree in Mumbai. Ashok went to college and then joined Mazagon Docks. He acquired skills in offshore maintenance and construction. Today, his company DAS Offshore is a major offshore services company and he now plans a jetty fabrication yard that will employ 2,500 workers. He does not believe in caste reservation—only 1% of his workers are dalits.


A 38-year old mother of three from Iraq, Smt Wizdan, recently received a peripheral stem cell transplant at Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre, Chennai (Tamilnadu, Bharat), as treatment for her cancer — Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Wizdan was diagnosed with Hodgkin's and had received several cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in various countries over the last two or three years. That is when she decided to head to India and examine different treatment modalities. High dose chemotherapy followed by a rescue with stem cells infused into the bone marrow turned out to be the best option for her, according to Anita Ramesh, of the medical oncology unit, SRMC. This involves drawing stem cells from the patient's own blood, storing it, and then re-infusing the stem cells back to the body, where they reach the bone marrow and start cleansing the system. Wizdan underwent chemotherapy to destroy the diseased lymphoma cells. The stem-cell preparation was later injected through her vein into the blood stream, and they homed in on the bone marrow to replace the cells destroyed by the chemo. Six weeks after the procedure, the stem cells had achieved their task – regeneration, and she was discharged, Dr. Anita said. She has been advised to get local follow-ups done at home, and come back after a year to SRMC for a check up. From a report in THE HINDU, July 20, 2011.


The 10-day Ganesh festival (beginning on September 1, 2011) will, for the first time, have 280 girls from Stds VIII and IX serving as purohits. The girls, along with 70 boys, are being groomed in performing puja to install the idol of Lord Ganesha in homes across Mumbai Central. The 350 children from Abhyudaya Nagar, Kalachowkie, for the past month have been practising the mantras and rituals for the big day. The puja classes are conducted every weekend for an hour. There are seven batches of 50 children each. The children are from the nearby Shivaji Vidyalaya, Ahilya Vidyalaya and the King George School at Hindu Colony, Dadar. The idea was the brainchild of Naresh Dahibawkar, the president of the Brihanmumbai Ganesh Utsav Samanvay Samiti (BGUSS). "There are only 3,000 purohits across the city. This year, we expect around 2.2 lakh Ganesha idols to be installed in houses and sarvajanik mandals in Mumbai. People often have to wait for a purohit, but he already has many commitments," said Dahibawkar. "Since we run a coaching class and knew of children who were learning Sanskrit, we asked them if they would be interested. We received an overwhelming response from girls," said Kailash Kadam, in charge of the training programme. The academy even roped in a professional purohit to teach children the right intonation and the correct way to perform the rituals. THE TIMES OF INDIA, August 18, 2011.


`Lanjam Thavirtthu, Nenjam Namartthu' (Reject bribes, hold your head high), says a board hanging above Madurai District Collector Shri  U.Sagayam's chair in his modest office. That's the code he lives by, even if politicians are incensed they cannot bend him their way—he's been transferred 18 times in the last 20 years—and has made enemies of both superiors and subordinates. Two years ago, as district collector of Namakkal, he voluntarily declared his assets: a bank balance of Rs 7,172 and a house in Madurai worth Rs 9 lakh. Once, when his baby daughter, Yalini, who had breathing problems, was suddenly taken ill, he did not have the Rs 5,000 needed for admitting her to a private hospital. At that time he was deputy commissioner (excise) in Coimbatore and there were 650 liquor licences to be given out. The going bribe for each was rumoured to be Rs 10,000. His years as a collector—he has slept overnight in village schools many times—have convinced him to better the lot of villagers by strengthening the village administrative officer (VAO) system. Many VAOs have never visited villages and often stay miles away from where they should be, in cities. In Namakkal, his action against errant VAOs had them ganging up with politicians to get him transferred. Over 5,000 villagers protested, saying they wouldn't let Sagayam go. The politicians had to retreat. (August 22, 2011)