Monday, January 5, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Poornima / Kali Yugabda 5116 / Jaya Margazhi 20 (January 4, 2015)
Dear all,
This issue is devoted to contributions to society by women in different fields - from weight lifting to Samskritam.
A After a conference at Sonepat, Haryana , a group of 45 female students and staff from the MOP Vaishnav College, Chennai, had left for Delhi. They were scheduled to return to Chennai on December 16 by Spicejet flight SG 309 at 7 PM that day, which, however, was first delayed and later cancelled. “Since we had no way out, we reached the Delhi railway station in the cold winter night and were pondering over travelling in an unreserved compartment up to Chennai,” said Usha Ravi, professor at the Food Science department of the college who headed the group. Meanwhile, she managed to source the number of Union MoS for finance and commerce, Nirmala Seetharaman, and told her of their travails. “She is a minister, woman and from Tamil Nadu. After I personally spoke to her, she made some calls and arranged for our lodging at a hotel where our every need was taken care of,” she explained. Later, Nirmala Seetharaman spoke to officials in the Railway Ministry to arrange for a special coach for the group to return to Chennai. It was done. (Based on a report in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, December 20, 2014 and Vanathi Srinivasan’s Facebook page).
Smt Lekha Namboothiri (31), a native of Mavelikkara, (Kerala, Bharat) donated one of her kidneys to 35 year old Shafi Navaz, a poor Muslim hailing from Pattambi, free of cost, surpassing barriers of religion. Lekha spurned offers mounting upto Rs 15 lakhs, unmindful of her own poverty stricken background. The transplant took place in 2012. However it was not covered by media then. The matter came to light recently and Lekha was showered with praises. But this incurred the wrath of Shafi and his family. According to Lekha, Shafi is said to have spoken to her in a denigrating manner, after he claimed to have been taunted by his (relatives, friends and others in his community for having accepted a kidney from a Hindu woman. Lekha’s children attend RSS shakha and she says that it is to inculcate patriotic feelings in the kids. Lekha’s case has now been taken up by Human Rights Protection Council. An account has been opened in her name in SBT, in the Harippad branch (A/c 67286750448; IFC code 0000440). An appeal has gone out from Haindava Kearalam, a Hindutva website, to come forward and help this lady who lives with the motto “Manava Seva is Madhava Seva”. (Based on apost in the HAINDAVA KERALAM August 24, 2014).
Shweta Rathore, Ashwini Waskar and Karuna Waghmare are among the 17 women body builders from India selected to the finals of the sixth World Body Building and Physique Sports Competition in December 2014 at Mumbai organised by the The Indian Body Builders Federation (this is the only forum recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India). The three told Asian Age their stories about making an unconventional career choice, the obstacles they faced while pursuing their high powered dream and how, despite their success in the field, the going never really gets easy for them. But that’s when these tough women got going. “My neighbours keep saying how I am a point of pride in their Marathi culture, but when it comes to considering marriage, they keep their distance,” Ashwini, a fisheries department employee, a  chuckles. Shweta Rathore, is an engineer by qualification. She says, “I want Indian women to incorporate a fitness regime in their lifestyle. Ideally, however, every woman should have certain literacy about physical fitness.”Karuna Waghmare was into fitness right from childhood. Therefore getting into athletics was an obvious choice for her. A moment of clarity led her into becoming a bodybuilding champ. “One of my students at the gym got me a magazine which had a story with the headline Mother of Six and that woman had six-pack abs. “‘If a mother of six could have such a brilliant body, why can’t I?’ I thought,” Karuna says. That was in 2009 and since then Karuna has been building herself up for several national and international bodybuilding competitions. (Based on a report in ASIAN AGE, December 10, 2014).
One who wishes to study Sanskrit in depth, traditionally Kashi is the destination. Now, also Bilaspur (Chattisgarh, Bharat). Dr. Pushpa Dikshit (71) is there to teach you. Any researcher will have access to the over 10,000 sanskrit books in her library. The much decorated Mahomahapadhyayaa offers free food and stay to anyone desirous of learning Sanskrit at her feet. Just knock at her door. For several decades, Pushpa Dikshit has been teaching  Sanskrit stotras to commoners of Bilaspur  in order to ensure that their pronunciation is flawless. The other tool for this purpose that Pushpa Dikshit uses is pravachan  - of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Not satisfied, Pushpa Dikshit enables smooth running of two Sanskrit institutions in Chattisgarh – to take Sanskrit to more and more learners. Her unique contribution: the modern and scientific approach to Panini’s Ashtadhyayi through which one can have a thorough grasp of the ancient master grammarian’s work in six months straight, according to Pushpa Dikshit. (    
 “About 48 massacres by Maoists were reported in this region from 1980 to 2002, which, according to government statistics, claimed the lives of over 600 innocent people. The actual figure of the victims was more than 1000. But now the picture of Sikariya in Jehanabad region (Bihar, Bharat) has changed. A new hope of peace and progress has dawned in the village,” says local journalist Mritunjaya Kumar. This was brought about by the village chief Shanti Devi. She belongs to the section of the society which is called ‘deprived’. Shanti Devi is completely illiterate. Her husband Raj Vallabh Prasad is a daily wage labourer who had  lost one of his hands in an accident. Despite all these problems, development of the village is Shanti’s priority. She represents the society whose almost one generation was brought up playing with guns and bullets. It is due to her efforts that the children of the village now have pen in their hands instead of guns. They go to school and learn computer and internet. The main agenda of Shanti Devi is education, health and cleanliness. It is because of her efforts that every house has a toilet. She not only persuadved people in this regard but also provided money to certain families from the Panchayat fund. Self-help groups (SHGs) were constituted to financially help the women. Now many of them have started their own business.  She gives credit of all this courage to her husband who supported her in all circumstances. (From a report in SEVA SADHANA, March 27, 2009).