Monday, August 25, 2014


AMAAVAASYA / Kali yugabda 5116 / Jaya Aavani 9 (August 25, 2014)
Dharhara is a small, nondescript village located about 20 kilometers from the district headquarters of Bhagalpur in Bihar that has found a great way to tackle declining sex ratio; global warming and climate change, all in one go. For years now, girls in this village have been welcomed into the world in the most novel way: By the local community planting at least 10 fruit trees – traditionally mango – in celebration. New daughters here are treated as avatars of Goddess Lakshmi and stand to inherit these fruit trees as they grow up.  Owing to the tradition, this green village is today nestled in the midst of more than 1,00,000 fruit-bearing trees. Sukriti, the young daughter of the village pradhan Parmanand Singh, says, “Even as the world is frantically discussing how to deal with issues like sex selective abortions, global warming and the carbon footprint, planting trees when girls are born is our simple solution to all these complicated problems.” Former pradhan Pramod had planted 10 mango trees about 12 years ago when his daughter, Niti, was born. Niti now goes to school and neither her father nor other family members consider her school fees a burden since the money comes from selling the fruit from her trees. Of course her very traditional mother, Rita Devi, has taken to planning for her marriage already and sees Niti’s trees as an asset in that context. For now, the 8,000 villagers of Dharhara, including scores of young girls, are enjoying the fruits of their labour. Shatrughan Singh, an octogenarian, has planted more than 600 trees in Dharhara for his daughters, granddaughters and other village girls. Planting mango is also profitable because once the trees become old they can be felled for wood, which is in great demand in the low-cost furniture market.
On the face of it, one may find it as nothing more than a reel life sequence from a 70s blockbuster showing a Mother India like character taking on dreaded dacoits with her emotional dialogues. That it can happen in real life too, was something not many would have believed till Sarjna returned to her Greater Noida (National Capital Region, Bharat) house with her husband, safe and sound. A lecturer at a college in Greater Noida, Ajit Singh was on his way home from Agra when he was kidnapped by a gang of dacoits from Chambal ravines. In the ransom call that Sarjna received the next day, the kidnapper, identified himself as Bheema (a listed notorious brigand of the Chambals), demanded Rs 5 lakh for the safe release of Ajit. The dacoits refused any negotiation on the ransom amount. She set off for the Chambals after informing the dacoits that she was coming to deliver the ransom and take her husband back. And it was this very act of hers that left the Bheema's gang so impressed that they declared themselves as her brothers. Not only verbal claims, the brigands gave Rs 5,100 to her from the ransom amount as 'a gift for their sister'. They also returned her gold earrings as a token of their appreciation and set the couple free but not before begging them for forgiveness. The dacoits were so impressed by the determination of Sarjna to ensure safe release of her husband and her courage to walk over 10 kilometres into the Chambal ravines all alone, that they could not help appreciating her decision. Daughter of a retired jailor, Sarjna was pursuing her studies at Lucknow University over a decade ago when she fell in love with her classmate Ajit Singh. Following objections from the family, they eloped and got married.
From THE TIMES OF INDIA, August 11, 2010

When I studied linguistics in college (way back in the 20th century), “generative grammar” was all the rage. This was the algorithmic syntax put forward by Noam Chomsky, who proposed that all natural languages have an underlying structure that can be teased out and modeled as a rigorous system of rules. What no one told me was that generative grammar had been invented earlier in India — 2,500 years earlier, in fact. Sometime around 500 B.C., the ancient scholar Panini analyzed the Sanskrit language at a level of complexity that has never been matched since, for any language. His grammar, the Ashtadhyayi, comprises some 4,000 rules meant to generate all the possible sentences of Sanskrit from roots of sound and meaning — phonemes and morphemes. Sound familiar? Panini’s grammar of Sanskrit bears more than a family resemblance to a modern programming language. As Chandra says, the grammar is itself “an algorithm, a machine that consumes phonemes and morphemes and produces words and sentences.” This is not a coincidence. American syntactic theory, Chomsky channelling Panini, formed the soil in which the computer languages grew.
From a book review by Shri James Gleick in THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 24, 2014. The book: Geek Sublime by Shri Vikram Chandra (Graywolf Press. Paper, $16).

On Monday, June 16, 2014, life in the heart of Chennai came to a halt to save a life. In a textbook example of precise coordination between surgeons of two hospitals and the city traffic police, a medical team transported a heart from Government General Hospital to Fortis Malar Hospitals in Adyar, about 12 km away, in less than 14 minutes by creating a "green corridor" - that is, red-light free access along the Beach Road and Santhome High Road, two of the busiest stretches. Normally, a vehicle takes 45 minutes to cover the stretch at peak hour. A human heart can be preserved for up to four hours, but experts say the earlier the transplant, the higher the chances of success. Karunasagar, the Additional Commissioner of police (traffic), was informed about the need to transport the organ. C Kathir, a seasoned ambulance driver, was chosen for the mission. Deputy Commissioner Sivanandan had charted the route the ambulance would take. By 3pm, he had in place 26 of his men at the 12 intersections the ambulance was to pass. As the vehicle passed each signal - touching 100 kmph at times - a pilot radioed in the location to the control room as also the police teams along the corridor. At the private hospital, the parents of Hvovi Minocherchomji, a 21-year-old B.Com student from Mumbai, received the heart - the mother in tears, the father with a prayer on his lips. As soon as the heart was brought, the transplant began. By 10.15 pm, the heart was beating in the patient's chest.
Based on a report by Karthikeyan Hemalatha & Janani Sampath in THE TIMES OF INDIA, June 17, 2014
Prashant, son of a construction worker and Ragahavendra Valmiki, son of a daily wage earner, secured the 255th and 1007th ranks in IIT-JEE respectively, thanks to ‘Tapas‘  (, a free residential programme of Rashtrotthana Parishat, Bengaluru (Karnataka, Bharat) which has avowed to turn the dreams of the brightest among the underprivileged into reality. It is an organization inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Tapas was started in 2012. Every year Tapas selects 30-40 most promising boys, studying in Class X and offers them free Pre University education and trains them for the IIT-JEE. As many as 34 students from very poor backgrounds have completed PU-II this year thanks to ‘Tapas’. The students selected for the programme have fared well in CET, JEE Main and JEE Advanced too. This year, 30 out of 34 students qualified in JEE Main and were eligible to appear for JEE Advanced and 7 have qualified in the JEE-Advanced and have become eligible for entry into Indian Institute of Technology. “At Tapas we focus on building character along with sharpening their skills for entering IITs,” said Dinesh Hegde, General Secretary, Rashtrotthana Parishat. Dr H.S. Nagaraja, Founder Director of BASE (Be Ahead with Sustained Excellence), said, “There are lots of students in the weaker sections of the society from rural areas who excel in their studies and seek the right training.” A day’s schedule includes Yoga, meditation, plenty of time for reading, interactive sessions with achievers like Magsaysay award winner Dr. Harish Hande regularly to enhance their self-confidence.
Based on a report by Shri  Prashanth Vaidyaraj in,  June 27, 2014