Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai


Pancha is five in Samskritam, Amritam is nectar

Amavaasya / Kali Yugaabda 5113 / Kara Karthigai 8 (November 24, 2011)

7 year old Venkatesh was begging as usual, dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, at a street close to Visakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh, Bharat) railway station. This was noticed one fine morning in 1997 by a traffic police inspector Shri Arjun , who had a chat for a while  with the boy. Venkatesh's mother had died. His father was a liquor addict. It was to bring up his siblings - a younger brother and a younger sister - that he begs like that. Arjun did not simply walk away after listening to the heart rending tale. He got all the three children admitted to Prema Samajam, an NGO in the city. Years rolled by. In 2007, Venkatesh scored 481 marks in the SSLC exams – he was declared class-first. His brother and sister too were class toppers that year. From DINAMANI, May 17, 2007.
Biogas plants are not a new concept to rural sector, but their big size, installation cost, need for large quantities of cattle dung, and space restriction prove a deterrent for those opting to install them. But Shakthi Surabhi, a kitchen waste based biogas plant developed by the Vivekananda Kendra Natural Resources Development Project (Vk nardep), Kanyakumari, after nearly quarter century of experiments, promises to change all that. Leftover cooked food (veg and non-veg), vegetable wastes, waste material from flour mills, non edible oil seed cakes (neem, jatropha etc) are some of the required feed materials. About 5 kg of waste is required for a 1 cubic metre plant which is equal to 0.43 kg of LPG. The unit consists of an inlet waste feed pipe, a digester, gas holder, water jacket, a gas delivery system and an outlet pipe. The advantage of Shakthi Surabhi is not just because it economizes and provides alternative fuel for cooking gas. It is also an excellent mechanism for biodegradable waste disposal. The process is hygienic and is devoid of odour and flies. The unit also helps in controlling climate change effects and arrests green house gases, and the digested outlet slurry of the unit acts as good organic manure. It is estimated that 100 cubic metres of biogas could produce 5 KW of energy to meet a 20-hour power requirement of a house. From a report in THE HINDU, July 29, 2010. (Listing Shakti Surabhi as an alternative to the now scarce LPG, AVAL  VIKATAN, a woman's magazine, in its issue of December 6, 2011 says it costs Rs 26,000 to install with no monthly recurring expenses).
"Prior to this experience of Ekal Vana Yatra in rural Rajasthan (Bharat), I connected Village to the notion of "poor", "struggling" or "underprivileged". While the villages may not have all the amenities of a large or developing city, they are rich with many things: They are rich with Happiness – everywhere we went and every place we visited I saw smiles on the faces of the children, of the Village citizens, of the elders. They are rich with Respect – for elders, for their visitors for their teachers – whom themselves each come from the villages in which they teach. They are rich in confidence – The kids greeted and talked with adults in a confident yet respectful tone. There were all mature beyond their years. They are rich in Hospitality – I felt welcomed in every village that we visited. Each went out of their way to ensure that their guests were comfortable. They are rich with Beauty – Beauty in many ways. The setting and surrounding within each village, the buildings and shelters, The  play, the smiles, the people, the respect, all beautiful! The simple lifestyle has brought about simple necessities. Education, health and well-being are clearly simple necessities. I was proud that at least for 1 day that I was living a part of the Ekal mission."  From a recent note by Shri Rodney Clark, GM, Microsoft. (www.ekal.org)
Dharmavati Arya (22), a student of Panini Kanya Mahavidyala, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh, Bharat), has mastered archery at national level. She was recently invited by Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur, for advanced training in the sport at international level. "I can hit the object with my arrow by looking at the object in the mirror (this act was practiced by Arjun of Mahabharat). "By the time girls reach 18-20 years, they know all the warfare - archery, swords, daggers, javeline, lathi, horse riding, etc. Little girls, Akriti (13) and Kasturi (14) have mastered two handed swords and knives while some of them have mastered the art of archery performing yogasans. They can also offer flower garlands to guests with a click from their bow and arrow and can produce dance drama with the sounds of their swords. Acharya Dr Priti Vimarshini, teacher of warfare, who herself studied in the same Gurukul, says: "There are several tales of self defence. Madhuri Arya, a student of the Gurukul, jumped off from a running train chasing a thief and came back safely. Similarly Dharmvati Arya has solved many cases of eve teasing on roads." Girls from different regions of the country of different caste, including dalits, and some special guests from foreign lands study here. The 40-year-old Gurukul has been imparting knowledge in Sanskrit, Astyadhyayi, Vedas, vedic hymns, Science, Indian philosophy and karmakand (performing rituals). Based on a report by Smt Swati Chandra in THE TIMES OF INDIA, November 10, 2011.
102-year-old Thadagathi of Pudukulam village near Madurai (Tamilnadu, Bharat) was elected as a Panchayat member in the recent civic elections. As a midwife she helped women deliver babies. Thadagathi, also known as Nattathi Ammal by villagers, defeated her two opponents nearly seven decades younger to her in the polls, winning over 50 percent of the votes polled. Knocking on every door in her ward, she asked for votes and it was difficult for the people to turn her plea down. In these days of mega scams and land grab complaints Thadagathi promised people that she will not swindle public money or property. Thadagathi had come to Pudukulam village as a child bride and since then she has been there. Even at her ripe old age, Thadagathi earns her wages from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. While her husband Perumal is no more, Thadagathi has two sons, three daughters and 10 grandchildren. Thadagathi's elder son P. Undupandi is a construction worker while her younger son P. Karuppu is a farm worker. Her daughters are all married. www.sifynews.com October 23, 2011.