Wednesday, May 13, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Poornima / Kali Yugabda 5117 / Manmatha Chithirai 20 (May 3, 2015)

This issue of PANCHAAMRITAM could be posted only on May 13; the delay is due to unavoidable reasons. – Moderator.

On Tamil New Year’s Day (Mid April), a group of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) students donated unused bicycles to needy students in nine villages near Tiruvallur (Tamilnadu, Bharat). A total of 53 school students were given bicycles that were abandoned at IIT-M by alumni. A group of youngsters from IIT-M joined together to reach out to needy students through the ‘IViL-IIT for villages’ programme. “We learnt that several school children dropped out because of lack of transport. We came up with an idea to identify abandoned bicycles on the campus and repair them with funds from various organisations. It was encouraging to see the excitement on the children’s faces after the bicycle were distributed,” said Bhanu Chander V., an MS research scholar at IIT-M. The members of ‘IViL-IIT for villages’ also take classes and teach computer science in their spare time. “We have now made posters intimating students who are completing their courses to donate their old bicycles, in order to reach out to more students,” says Bhanu Chander. Their next goal is to provide solar table lamps, which are being designed, to schools. IIT-M students joined hands with Srinivasan Services Trust to identify school children in dire need of better transportation. (Till very recently, K. Sandhya, a class VII student of Tiruvallur Panchayat Union Middle School, would wake up early to help her parents in the fields and do housework. She would then prepare for a half-hour walk to her school in Aayalur near Sevvapet. She no longer has to endure the ordeal of long walks as she now has a bicycle). (Based on a report by Smt K. Lakshmi in THE HINDU, April 19, 2015).
He had a dream job with IBM in London, a swanky car and all the luxuries a 27 year-old could possibly imagine. But after working for four years, Shuvajit Payne decided that this was not what he wanted to live for. He wanted to do something meaningful in life rather than making a multinational company richer! Shuvajit Payne graduated in economics from the Presidency College, Kolkata. He then did MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow in finance and marketing and went abroad like many of his peers. Bracing stiff resistance from parents, society and of course friends, Shuvajit moved ahead in his pursuit to build a better India. A friend suggested that State Bank of India’s Youth for India program would be an ideal platform to take the plunge. Supported by SBI, the 13-month long programme gives an opportunity to youngsters to work on rural development projects with experienced non-government organisations. They are provided with a stipend and connected with NGOs to work towards building solutions to help people, who don’t even have access to basic facilities. Presently, 54 fellows are working on a number of projects at 35 villages in 10 states. After the basic training, he was posted to a village called Waifad in Wardha district of Maharashtra. Since the Vidarbha region (Maharashtra, Bharat) was prone to farmer suicides, people wanted to move out of villages in search of greener pastures. If 2 or 3 children from a family get better jobs, they can plough their income back to farming. So it is very important that they find good jobs, according to Suvajit. He trained about 300 students in interesting ways. The happiness, satisfaction and sense of achievement, this job gives is irreplaceable, explains Shuvajit as he continues to live his dream of building a better India. (Based on a report by Smt A.B. Manu in, May 11, 2015). Idea: Shri. Vasuvaj.

Located in a dilapidated building tucked away in a nondescript corner of Nizampura in Girmajipet of Warangal city (Andhra, Bharat) is the Bhagavad Gita Vidyalaya. The school has been constantly producing hundreds of young scholars in Sanskrit and Bhagavad Gita every year for six decades. The school was set up by two philanthropists Mudumbai Ramanuja Charyulu and Motupally Krishnamacharyulu. It secured government recognition in 1971 and was upgraded into a high school a decade later. According to the school management, of the 300 students, 120 are Muslims and 30 Christians. Initially, only Hindu students used to join the school, which incidentally is located in a Muslim-dominated area. Of late, many Muslim and Christian students have joined the institution. In the recent state-level competition in Bhagavad Gita recitation conducted by the Jeeyar Educational Trust and the Gita Trust, four Muslim students won gold medals: Kulsum of Class I, Sadia Feroze of Class VI, and Saba Sultana and Muskan of Class IX. Sanskrit and Bhagavad Gita are taught as compulsory subjects, apart from the regular curriculum prescribed by the state government.
It was 8.40 in the night on April 29 when I found out to utter horror that my bag was   missing. My bus was due to depart at 9.00 pm that night from the Koyambedu Bus Terminus, Chennai (Tamilnadu, Bharat). After cancelling my journey, I was standing in front of the terminus nonplussed. I had travelled by an autorickshaw to reach the terminus from my residence. I lodged a complaint with the police by calling control room number 100. Even while I waited at the police booth nearby, the control room official informed me that the bag could be traced as the auto driver Varadarajan himself had informed the control room about an unclaimed bag in his vehicle. Shri Varadarajan drove in in his auto with my bag by 10.55 pm. The contents – my ipad and smartphone - were intact. I joined the police officials in thanking and patting varadarajan for his honesty. (An experience narrated by PANCHAAMRITAM reader Shri Nambi Narayanan to Team PANCHAAMRITAM).
The Sri Dattagiri Maharaj Vedic Pathashala located in an ashram in the Bardipur village (Telangana, Bharat) has an ambiance just like any other ashram - quiet and peaceful. Established around 55 years ago this ashram teaches the children the vedas and the mantras and offer a course that trains them in becoming a priest themselves. But the uniqueness of the ashram lies in the fact that religion and caste are not taken into consideration for admission. In Hinduism, the post of a priest has always been conventionally held by a Brahmin and this ashram emphasises on changing that mentality. The best example of this is Naveen Naik, a shy student at the school. Naveen, who turned just 14 in April 2015, is a tribal boy from Narsapur in the Marpalli mandal of Ranga Reddy district. Though this may not mean much to a person in a metropolis, it is a huge step forward when it comes to abolishing caste-based discrimination that is prevalent in India. Naveen comes from a humble background. His father, Raju Naik, is a daily wage labourer and has fought a lot of social stigma to ensure that his son would become a priest someday. Currently as many as 60 students are studying in the school and they plan to take 30 more students for the next academic year. It is a four-year course, with an exam after each year. (Based on a report by Shri Nitin B. In THE NEWS MINUTE, May 5, 2015).  Idea: Shri M. Venkatesan.
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