Sunday, April 5, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Poornima / Kali Yugabda 5116 / Jaya Panguni 21 (April 4, 2015)

P Duraipandi (55), runs a flower shop for nearly 40 years near the old bus-stand in Virudhunagar (Tamilnadu, Bharat). He leaves four garlands behind at the shop after business hours to help families looking for garlands to pay last respects to their beloved one, who died at night. Duraipandi has thus been leaving four garlands for the past 15 years after he happened to overhear a conversation between two persons on a bus that they couldn’t find garlands at night for their kin who passed away, as it was an unearthly hour. Says Duraipandi: “When I was travelling by bus one day 15 years back, I heard the two speaking about how difficult it was to find a garland during the night to pay respect to their relative who had passed away. Though I own the flower shop, I was not aware of the trouble people faced looking for garlands at night. From that day, I started keeping four garlands in my shop at night as they would come in handy to those who wished to pay their last respects to their deceased family member or relative.” He said he had not told anyone about the garlands kept during the night time as he did not wish to publicise the service he was doing. Even the people who owned shops near his flower shop did not know about this practice, Duraipandi added. From THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, March 30, 2015.

Nisar Ahmed (45), in all his 22 years as an autorickshaw driver, has always made sure he has returned unclaimed property to the rightful owner. It was during one of his early morning rides that he once chanced upon a briefcase on the road in Cox Town, Bengaluru (Karnataka, Bharat). It was 4 am and there was hardly anyone around. Ahmed headed straight to the police commissioner’s office with the briefcase, without unlocking it. H T Sangliana, the then commissioner, had the briefcase opened and they found a few personal articles and a bunch of credit cards in it. The police were able to contact the owner, who arrived and collected the briefcase. The commissioner immediately honoured Ahmed with a certificate, recognizing his honesty. On another occasion, Ahmed found a young woman sobbing at the Bangalore City railway station. On making enquiries, he learnt that she was married just a week ago and headed for her husband’s house in Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh from Chennai but slept through the journey. On waking up, she found herself in Bangalore. Fellow auto drivers managed to pool in enough money for the ticket. Ahmed asked the police that a policewoman accompany her to Kuppam and insisted on an acknowledgement that the woman was handed over to her family. Ahmed, the father of three, who lives in a rented house, said, he doesn’t take articles left in his auto back home. “If I tell my children someone left it in my auto, they’ll then begin to think it is alright to take other people’s things,” he said. (Based on a report in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, December 19, 2013).


Farmer Shri B. Ramaraj became the Chairman of Kombai Panchayat Union, district Theni (Tamilnadu, Bharat) in 1996. Viilage Kombai, lies on the rain shadow or the leeside of Western Ghats; thus it is a dry area as the mountains block the passage of rain-producing clouds. The only possible crops were dry crops like cholam (jowar), kambu (millet) and ragi (finger millet). Ramaraj, now 74, managed to build over 400 check dams in the area, sourcing help from the state government schemes. That resulted in raising subsoil water level over the years; in turn, wet crops including vegetables could be reared additionally. What had pained Ramaraj was the scene of farmers of the village quitting the place and moving to other districts in search of livelihood. He saw to it that Kombai is included in the River Scheme. Kombai was mapped with the aid of remote sensing satellite. Canals along the foothill were identified and 240 check dams were built across them during the tenure of Ramaraj. Over 1500 acres of rain fed forests were provided mud bunds to save water. After his term, he did not seek re-election. Instead, he got the horticulture department to add 5 check dams a year. In a decade, 400 check dams dotted the landscape. With an improved subsoil water level, even coconut and banana are grown there. As a result, a relieved Ramaraj informs that farmers who had deserted the village have returned. (Based on a report in THE HINDU TAMIL, March 18, 2015).

The 68-year-old Sindhutai Sapkal hides many stories behind her strong personality. Being an unwanted child, she was nicknamed “Chindhi” which means a torn piece of cloth. Born on November 14, 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village (Wardha district, Maharashtra, Bharat) she was keen on completing her education and used Bharadi tree leaves to write as the family could not afford a slate. Her early marriage put an end to her desire to study. She got married at a tender age of 10 to a 30-year old man. Her abusive husband beat her up and threw her out of the house when she was 20 and nine-months pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl in a cow shelter outside their house the same day and walked a few kilometres in that condition to her mother’s place, who refused to give shelter to her. She started begging at railway platforms for food to look after her daughter. As she spent more time begging, she realized that there are many orphans and children abandoned by their parents. She could feel their pain and she decided to adopt them. Over a period of time, she emerged as the “mother of orphans”. Till date she has adopted and nurtured over 1,400 orphans, helped them get an education, got them married and supported them to settle down in life. The children are not given up for adoption. She treats them as her own and some of them are now lawyers, doctors and engineers. To eliminate the feeling of partiality among children she gave away her biological daughter to Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune. Her daughter herself runs an orphanage today.             (


West Delhi's Mayapuri police station has won the best police station award.  Inspector Raman Lamba, Station House Officer of Mayapuri police station, is what we wish our 'friendly neighbourhood cop' would be. His initiatives are now being copied by several police officers across the capital. You will not fail to spot the words 'Hotline to the SHO' written in bold above a mobile phone with a headphone permanently stuck to the wall, near the women's helpdesk. Push the button near the mobile phone and you get directly connected to Lamba. "It is frequently used by women complainants Thousands of labourers who work in the Mayapuri industrial area live in the slums, and their children often go missing. Lamba has found a simple way to ensure none of the missing children remain untraced. Earlier this year, all children below 15 years living in the slums were asked to come to the police station and their photographs were saved in police records along with their names and other details. Experience has taught Lamba that when slum children go missing, the biggest hindrance in tracing them is the absence of a photograph. A total of 138 motor vehicles, including two trucks, lying there for several years, had occupied a major portion of the police station area. Within months of taking charge of the police station, Lamba disposed of all the vehicles. A few days later, a volleyball court was built at the spot.  While most sub-inspectors take 12-15 years to become an inspector, he had managed to become one in just five years by solving the Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case. (Based on a report by Shri Prawesh Lama in THE INDIAN EXPRESS April 28, 2013).
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Even before dawn breaks in the coastal town of Kanyakumari, loudspeakers in churches are blaring sermons. "We must guard against those trying to divide us along religious lines," warns an ominous sounding priest. "We must safeguard our faith."

A stone's throw from the church rests the Vivekananda Kendra, an organisation set up to propagate the teachings of the Hindu seer Swami Vivekananda. "There has been a positive change i ..