Sunday, May 17, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Amavaasya / Kali Yugabda 5117 / Manmatha Vaikasi 3 (May 17, 2015)



During the recent earthquake in Nepal, Butham Sai, a 14-year-old orphan from Rama Krishnapauram Colony in Timmapur mandal, Karimnagar district (Telangana, Bharat), rescued five children,  three boys and two girls, all aged below four, by evacuating them from a toppling building in Kathmandu while everyone was trying to save themselves. Sai had migrated to Nepal two years back with the help of his paternal uncle. He was taking care of the children of his uncle and some relatives. Around a hundred families from RK Colony live in rented houses in the Shinamangal area of Kathmandu. On the day of the earthquake, Sai was watching TV along with the other children. “I realized it was a earthquake only when the TV set fell on the children. I then started shifting the children to the road,” said Sai. “A flying piece of tin cut my left eyebrow, resulting in bleeding, when I was trying to rescue my uncle’s children, eight-month-old Venkata Sai and one-year-old Indu.” The other children who Sai rescued were Ganesh (4), Anu (3) and Shivani (3), children of other residents of RK Colony. (Based on a report in DECCAN CHRONICLE May 08, 2015).


Light of education is spreading in backward, tribal and remote areas of Madhya Pradesh. Two students from the most marginalised Baiga tribe in (Madhya Pradesh, Bharat)  have cracked the Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) Main exams and have become eligible to sit for the JEE (Advanced) 2015 scheduled to be held on May 24, 2015.  If the students Geeta Tekam and Santosh Kumar qualify the IIT-JEE (Advanced) exams, they will be eligible for admission into one of the most prestigious engineering colleges of India. Both the students live in acute poverty and their  mortgaged everything to fund their education. Eighteen-year-old Geeta Tekam is the first girl of Baiga tribe to see the dream to study in IIT. She has already cracked JEE-Main. Her labourer parents, living in acute poverty at Sunehra village in Mandla, preferred to choose her for academics than two sons.  Santosh Kumar of Jablpur is the second talent of Baiga community. A resident of Paundi village, Santosh is not sure about the branch of engineering he would opt for in future, but he has big aspirations. In fact as many as 135 children from different tribes have cleared IIT-JEE Main exams 2015 from Madhya Pradesh. All of them, including Geeta and Satosh are being provided special coaching by the state administration for IIT-JEE Advanced exam. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has congratulated the duo for their success.  Over 13 lakh students had appeared for the IIT-JEE Main exams 2015. (Based on reports in May 7, 2015 &

Hiware Bazar - Located in the Ahmednagar district (Maharashtra, Bharat)  has transformed from being a place fraught with issues to being possibly the richest village in IndiaFrom 168 Below Poverty Line families in 1995, Hiware Bazar now has just three. The village, which has 235 families and a population of around 1,250, now also boasts of 60 millionaires. The cement houses along well-planned, clean roads are pinkish brown. There is a sense of discipline and order. Liquor and tobacco are banned. So is open defecation and urination. Every house has a toilet, a fact that few Indian villages can boast of. The fields are lush with maize, jowar, bajra, onions and potatoes. Hiware Bazar is an oasis in a drought-affected area. Earlier it was not like this.  There were 22 liquor shops in the village.  Alcoholism had made them poor and addicted. Popatrao Pawar, 52, the only postgraduate in Hiware Bazar  was elected Sarpanch unopposed. Pawar realised he had got the chance of a lifetime to usher in change. He got the liquor shops closed. He got the gram sabha to tie up with the Bank of Maharashtra to grant loans to poor families, including those who were brewing illicit liquor earlier. He got the villagers to voluntarily help in rainwater harvesting. Soon, the villagers built 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 32 stone bunds and nine check dams. Water management helped them harvest multiple crops. Before 1995, there were 90 open wells with water at 80-125 feet. Today, there are 294 open wells with water at 15-40 feet. In 2007, the village won the National Water Award for community-led water conservation. There is no doctor in the village. There is no need of a doctor here as everyone is healthy. No one can fall sick when the streets and houses are clean.The gram panchayat has now decided that the second daughter’s education and marriage expenses will be taken care of by the village. The village has just one Muslim family and as there was no mosque for them to offer prayers, one was built for them. Banabhai Sayed and his family take part in all Hindu festivals and effortlessly sing Hindu bhajans. (Based on a report by Shri Ramesh Menon in TEHELKA MAGAZINE, October 20, 2012).


At Ganganagar locality of Meerut (Uttar Pradesh, Bharat) is the house named Satyakam. Twelve  children live in the house, all of them HIV-positive and blessed to have found parents in Ajay Sharma, 41, a former teacher at the Government Inter College in nearby Phalwada, and his wife Babita, who teaches at the Ismail Degree College.  Ten years ago, Ajay had a brain haemorrhage and slipped into a coma for 15 days. This close encounter with death helped him “understand the importance of being alive”, says Ajay, dictating his decision to quit his full-time job and dedicate the rest of his life to the cause of underprivileged children. Wife Babita has been a pillar of support; it’s her salary that Satyakam runs on. The couple has two biological children of their own.  The couple enforces a strict daily regimen of yoga, timely meals and sleeping early to ensure a healthy and disciplined lifestyle for the 12 children. They have to be coaxed, however, to take the bitter medicines twice a day. In the end, though, it remains just a semblance of normalcy, the harsh truth never too far behind. One child, Balwant has already reached Stage II of the disease and knows his condition may worsen any day. Aniket, 11, lived in Satyakam for over two years before his relatives finally accepted him and he went back to stay with them. The Sharmas adopted their youngest, Samrat, from a hospital when he was an emaciated and malnourished kid of two. Five today, he is ecstatic to have a family to call his own. The couple wishes to adopt more kids and increase the number to 50. Right now, the adoption laws don’t allow them to take in girls with the boys. So the Sharmas are planning to rent out a separate house for girl children infec­ted with HIV soon. Their motto is very clear. “I want these 12 children to reach out and help a hundred like them,” says Ajay. Hope multiplied. (Based on a report by Smt Sakshi Virmani in OUTLOOK magazine, September 15 2014).

For once, the porters did not indulge in any bargain, but rose up to the occasion voluntarily and promptly after the blast at Chennai Central on May 1, 2014, rescuing the injured and rushing them to proper medicare after first aid. And Southern Railway decided to reward the licensed porters for their Good Samaritan act when its General Manager Rakesh Mishra lauded the timely effort that helped to prevent blood loss and agony. “This is no just reward but means more to us. It’s recognition for us coolie porters,” — was the common refrain of the group of porters who were honoured on May 5. “Chennai Central is more than my house…it’s my temple,” says A. Hameed Basha, 34, a licensed porter who was honoured on the occasion. “This is our livelihood, and we would strive to safeguard the passengers whom we don’t even know by their names, denominations or destinations, when the situation demands,” Shri. Basha says, even as his comrades Shri  Kalyani, Shri N. Murugan and Shri B. Pandian nod in agreement. “Even if such unfortunate circumstances recurred, we would not hesitate to help, unmindful of the danger to our life and limbs,” the porters, who number around 300 at the Central’s 11 platforms, reiterated off the dais. (A report in THE HINDU, May 6, 2014).
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