Thursday, October 23, 2014

Panchaamritam 259

Amavaasya / Kali yugabda 5116 / Jaya Aippasi 6 (October 23, 2014)


There was an air of festivity on October 5, 2014 in village Nimbal in Aland taluk of Gulbarga district (Karnataka, Bharat).  Particularly overjoyed were the women of the village. It marked the first anniversary of their efforts to wean the men off alcohol and impose total prohibition in the village. The guiding force of the change, Sri Jadya Shantalingeshwar Swami of Shantalingeshwar Math, visited every house and enquired through gestures about the well-being of the members. (The Swami maintains silence throughout the year and speaks only on Ugadi). The Swami acknowledged the important role played by the women and Dalits of the village in imposing total prohibition. He sought their active involvement in ending the practice of open defecation as well as other vices to make Nimbal a ‘model’ village. The Swami’s threat that he would not visit the village till its inhabitants gave up alcohol acted as the catalyst for women in the village to join hands and force men to give up drinking. They ensured the closure of three liquor outlets in the village and formed a committee to enforce total prohibition by imposing a fine on those who drank elsewhere and came to the village. Shri Popat Pawar, chairman of the Maharashtra Gram Vikas Samiti, who was instrumental in turning Hirve Bazaar village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra into a ‘model’ village by eradicating open defecation and imposing total prohibition, was the star attraction at the celebrations on that day. The residents of Nimbal took a vow during the celebrations to end the practice of open defecation this year by constructing individual toilets in all houses. (Based on a report by Shri T.V. Sivanandan in THE HINDU, October 7, 2014).

After a brief spell in Madras, D V Gundappa (March 17, 1887 – October 7, 1975), doyen of Kannada journalism, settled in Bangalore. His articles brought him to the notice of Sir M. Visveshvariah, then the Dewan or Chief Minister of Mysore State. DVG’s forthright views expressed in his own English bi-weekly, the ‘Karnataka’, displeased even his friend, Visveshvariah.  Gundappa used to say: “As the policeman keeps awake the whole night in order that citizens might sleep in peace, as the soldier stands firm on the battlefield that his countrymen might live in security, the journalist has to shed all thought of comfort and has to toil so that all people may live happily.” DVG’s work brought him into contact with powerful Dewans of Mysore State like Sir MV and Sir Mirza Ismail. He won their friendship and regard. But he was never affluent. Yet he declined all offers of Government employment. He often assisted Sir M V; and Visvesvaraiah was not a man to accept free service. He sent cheques; DVG protested. Sir MV insisted; so DVG accepted the cheques–but never encashed them. Indeed, it was not in his nature to encash any service he had rendered. From those who knew him intimately, we have it on record that for years his wife would not visit neighbours because she did not have a decent saree to wear! (From ‘Dr. D. V. Gundappa, His life and Achievements’ By Prof. L. S. SESHAGIRI RAO).

Lead the Change, Youth Alliance's leadership programme, really changed Shashank Kalra’s thought process. Service-based leadership and enterprise are the two values it instilled in him. Now listen to Shashank, a third-year commerce student at Hindu College, University of Delhi: “As part of the Post Gramya Manthan programme started in June 2012, I decided to work to create alternative livelihood opportunities for women in Ganga Din Nevada village, near Kanpur. We began with two women in the village, where the indigenous skill is stitching and tailoring and set up a Swaraj Livelihood Centre there”. Shashank conducts collection drives in his college and urges students to donate old denims which are then used by these women to manufacture bags. His efforts got a boost recently as these women artisans bagged an order from Tata Consultancy Services to manufacture 100 bags. (Based on a report by Smt Gauri Kohli in HINDUSTHAN TIMES, January 22, 2013)

Having achieved the world record feat of becoming the first woman amputee to conquer Mt. Everest, Arunima Sinha, 26, said her journey from the railway tracks to the highest peak (29,000 feet) in the world was full of struggle. An ex-volleyball player at the national level, Arunima was thrown off a moving train nearly two years ago. To save her life, the doctors had to amputate her left leg below the knee. She reached the top of Mt Everest on May 21, 2013. With an aim to climb Mt. Everest, Arunima had joined the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation-run training camp in Uttarkashi. She had continuously been training under Bachendri Pal. "I never wanted myself to be seen as a handicap or a helpless person, so I decided to conquer Mt Everest while I was still in the hospital," recollected Arunima.  She is running a sports academy named after Chandra Shekar Azad, for poor and physically challenged children. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), world biggest student organisation has announced that it would honour Arunima with ‘Porf. Yashwant Rao Kelkar Yuva Puraskar’ for 2014 at Amritsar in November 2014 at its 60th All India conference (Based on a report in THE ECONOMIC TIMES, May 30, 2013 and Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Bharat).

Indian police inspector Shakti Devi who is with the Jammu and Kashmir police, has won the International Female Peacekeeper Award 2014 of the United Nation's police division for her outstanding achievements with the UN mission in Afghanistan including her efforts in helping the victims of gender-based and sexual violence. Shakti Devi is currently deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghan-istan (UNAMA). She has contributed to the improvement of the status of female police in Afghanistan and motivated them to move towards achieving their goals of fully adopting democratic principles of policing. She was awarded during the Inter-national Association of Women Police (IAWP) conference held earlier this month in Winnipeg, Canada. India is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, having contributed more than 170,000 troops in 43 out of 69 peacekeeping missions mandated by the UN Security Council so far. (Based on a report in, October 14, 2014).