Thursday, February 19, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Amavaasya / Kali Yugabda 5116 / Jaya Maasi 6 (February 18, 2015)

Elders in Bekkinakeri village, 16km from Belagavi / Belgaum (Karnataka, Bharat) have found an innovative way to convince the importance of having toilets to the people practicing open defecation; that is saying 'good morning' to those heading towards answering nature's call at the wee hours. Elders comprising local gram panchayat body, anganwadi teachers and asha workers gather at the popular places of open defecation from 5.30 am to 8am and say 'good morning' to the people heading towards there. While returning after answering nature's call, they are convinced about benefits of having toilets in terms of health, safety of women and self-esteem. Earlier, the initiative became a joke in village but gradually it has started influencing the minds. Belagavi zilla panchayat observed 'Shouchalayakkagi Samara' (fight for toilets) programme. Bekkinakeri village conducted toilet awareness programme for 11 days. Jatha (procession) by the school students, door-to-door visit by the anganwadi teachers and asha workers were the part of programme. Families were warned with blocking government facilities if toilet is not constructed. Based on a report BY Shri Ravindra Uppar in THE TIMES OF INDIA, November 19, 2014.
Shri  Manohar Parrikar took oath as cabinet minister November 9, 2014. He has been given the charge of defence ministry. Manohar Parrikar has served thrice as Goa chief minister. Once in New Delhi, he stayed at a VIP suite in the Kota House Naval Officers' mess.  He recently surprised defence ministry officials by offering to pay for his two-month stay. The bill had come to more than Rs.1 lakh. The mess officials of Navy were taken aback as Navy as well as Army and Air Force come under his department, but here is the Minister ready to pay the bill for his stay! Even during his tenure as Goa Chief Minister he was known for his straightforwardness. From INDIA TODAY February 16, 2015.

Sanatombi, a girl from Imphal, Manipur, is in Delhi, having received a scholarship from the culture ministry to learn Kathak. After her first day at the dance school, she is back at the house where she lives as a paying guest. Her mother, a veteran Manipuri dancer, calls from Imphal (Manipur, Bharat) to ask about the class. “I don’t know whether it was a good decision to come here,” Sanatombi says. “The first question everyone asks me is: Kahaan se aayi ho? When I say I am from Imphal in Manipur, they ask ‘Chinese ho? (Are you Chinese?) You do not look Indian.’” After a particularly traumatic experience in a market, Sanatombi wants to return to Imphal. When she is asked to perform a Manipuri dance at a function, she uses the opportunity to give her compatriots a little lesson about her home state, including the fact that Chitrangada, the bride of Mahabharata’s Arjun, was from Manipur. Sanatombi’s experience, lived through by many Indians from the country’s north-east, is shared by Molina Sushant Singh, the Mumbai-based Kathak dancer who played the protagonist in Nahaakgee Nungsirabi (Local Foreigner), a play performed recently as part of the Zindagi theatre section of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The play received a standing ovation from the audience. From a report by Shri Maoj R Nair in the NORTH EAST TODAY, February 11, 2015.
Sairam Bhat, 78, is a farmer by profession and an ayurveda physician by descent. Swami builds houses for the poor free of cost, provided they have at least five cents of land. He lives at Kilinjar in Kasargod district (Kerala, Bharat) Bhat’s journey in helping the poor started by cutting short another ‘important yatra’ in 1995. He had been setting aside money to go to Kashi on turning 58. That was when a poor labourer and his neighbour, whose shack was destroyed in a storm, came to him seeking help. He told him, “Son, I will build you a new house,” remembers a genial Bhat, sitting in his living room which doubles up as a clinic. He used the money saved up for Kashi yatra to build a house for Kuntynana. “After that I never felt the need to go to Kashi again,” he says. The word spread fast, and people started  approaching him for houses. Since 1995, he has built 224 houses. Initially, he started with Rs 40,000 per house, and then he raised the budget to Rs 1.20 lakh. Bhat does not remember all his beneficiaries, but one name he recalls is Abdul Rahman, a daily wage labourer in Kunjar. “That’s because all other people came to me; in Rahman’s case, I went to him,” he says. Every room in Rahman’s shack leaked, and was shared by seven children. “Rahman’s was my 25th house,” he says. Based on a report by Shri George Poikayil in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, February 2, 2015.
Shri C Kannan, a teacher at Velliangadu government school near Karamadai (Tamilnadu, Bharat), chose to pay his respects to his hero, revolutionary poet Subramania Bharathi, on his birth anniversary by gifting the fountain pens to all the 750 students from classes VI to XII. For this he spent Rs 20,000. He has already provided students from economically weaker sections with two sets of uniforms. The science teacher says the gesture would also serve as an encouragement for the students who are in the middle of their half-yearly exams. Kannan says, “Sincerity and dedication from teachers motivate students to perform better. Inspiring children and moulding them into responsible citizens are part of the duty of every teacher.” R Palanisamy, headmaster of the school, said that though Kannan was appointed as a BT Assistant to handle science classes for students of classes VI to IX, out of interest, he used to take English and Mathematics classes. Kannan would make the learning process interesting for students by discussing general issues with them before getting into the text books. Based on a report in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, December 16, 2014.