Monday, February 22, 2016


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Poornima / Kali Yugabda 5117 / Manmatha Thay 12 (January 23, 2016)


Throat cancer patients who have lost their voice can look forward to speaking again, without having to shell out thousands on an artificial voice box. Dr Vishal Rao, Bengaluru-based (Karnataka, Bharat) oncologist, has invented a voice prosthesis priced at just Rs 50. The device weighs just about 25 grams and is seen as a boon for the poor. The prosthesis available in the market costs Rs 20,000 (to be changed once in six months). The device has been aptly named Aum voice prosthesis. "We decided to term it Aum, as that is the sound which first resonated across the universe. Regaining one's voice is so much like a rebirth," said Rao. He took the help of his friend Shashank Mahesh, an industrialist, to deal with the financial aspect of the project. Ramakrishna, 55, a watchman from Peenya suffering from throat cancer, was the first recipient of the prosthesis."He was a beedi addict. He had been smoking for years to keep awake at night. He suffers from throat cancer and we had to remove his voice box. He was given a Western voice prosthesis. Though it had a shelf life of six months, he used it for two years as he couldn't afford a new one. He came to me with tears in his eyes saying that food was leaking through the prosthesis. Our device innovation was just about ready and we offered it to him for Rs 50. He regained his speech and returned with a million dollar smile, telling me that he was doing fine. That was the biggest gift for me," said Dr Rao. At any given point of time, there are over 1.5 lakh cases of tobacco-induced cancer in the state. (Based on a report by Smt Sunitha Rao R in THE TIMES OF INDIA, December 25, 2015).

Smt K.N. Paru in her late 70s had resigned to a life in her gutted one-room hut. For generations of the students of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Kochi (Kerala, Bharat) behind which stood her rundown house, she has been Paru Amma, the granny who unfailingly swept clean the campus. Moved, a few students of the School of Engineering decided to repay by refurbishing her home. And on January 15, they did as the School of Engineering Principal, G. Madhu, gave her key of the renovated house. It all started after Nitin Vasanth, a final year B.Tech student, spotted the septuagenarian sweeping the campus on a rainy evening last November. It took countless visits to local body offices to clear issues related to the 0.90 cent of plot and get the clearance. The students started with pulling down the gutted structure. They took turn to help masons. The truss work was done using welding machines at the mechanical lab. They braved cold December mornings to water the cement structures, painted the house during evenings after the classes and electrified the house. A contractor provided an earthmover for free to clean up the mess in the front yard. Finally, when a tearful Paru Amma boiled the milk to mark the house warming they were all present as if to make up for the absence of her own children. (Based on a report by Shri M.P. Praveen in THE HINDU, January 17, 2016).


Recognising his honesty, the West Bengal government today honoured a city taxi driver 42-year-old Prodyot Paul with a cash award of Rs 10,000 and urged others to emulate his example. Handing over a cheque (of that amount) at a simple function in his Writers Buildings chamber, state Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty informed that Paul had willingly returned Rs 7 lakh to its rightful owners, who had left the currencies in a bag in his taxi while travelling in the city on March 20, 2006. Paul after dropping a passenger near the Great Eastern Hotel found a bag lying on the floor of his taxi after about an hour. In order to trace the identity of its owner he opened the bag and to his surprise found that it contained several gold ornaments and bundles of cash inside. But without a second thought Paul first rushed back to the hotel and tried to identify the person he had dropped. But despite waiting for nearly an hour when he could not find him, he went to the New Market Police station and deposited the bag to the Officer-in-Charge. Later it was estimated that the cash and jewellery in the bag was valued at more than Rs 7 lakh which was returned to its owner the next day after proper verification, Chakraborty informed. Highly impressed by his act of honesty the New Market police recomended his case to the state transport department for a suitable reward. Paul refused to claim that he had done something extraordinary."I only tried to implement ‘honesty is the best policy’ - which I learnt in my childhood", he emphasied. UNI, February 19, 2007.

On December 22, 2015, a BSF plane crashed on the outskirts of Delhi. The plane, which was spiralling down towards the airport, was at a very low altitude and barely managed to avoid a passenger train as it came crashing down. “The landing path of the aircraft to the IGI airport goes right above our village, but this flight was flying way off the mark before it crash-landed,” said Rajeev, a resident of the Shahbad Mohammadpur village (Delhi, Bharat), indicating that the pilot might have deliberately tried to avoid the populated area. Hundreds of people had a lucky escape after a Ranchi-bound BSF aircraft narrowly missed an express train and crashed in west Delhi’s Dwarka after developing a technical snag, killing all ten on board. (Based on a report in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, December 23, 2015).
It is with a sense of déjà vu that Team Panchaamritam add hereunder an anecdote contained in PANCHAAMRITAM 36:
“It was early 1989. Squadron Leader S.K.Karve takes a quick glance from the cockpit of the burning IAF aircraft that he was piloting. It was a usual check-up sortie. Karve was one of the ace pilots of the special squadron of IAF in charge of ensuring that fighter-bombers are in fighting fit. The aircraft had developed a snag and had caught fire mid air. It flew across the sky awkwardly, leaving a trail of dark smoke. Down below, children were going to school along the road. Little boys were playing in the lake that Karve wanted to crash into. In a split second, he changed his mind. He was right above the village -- Paaroor-Kizhkuppam – near Krishnagiri, Tamilnadu. Now he decided to crash his craft onto the fields outside the village. Before he did that, it was too late. Karve lost his life. His body was torn to pieces like the aircraft, which smashed onto the roadside tamarind trees. The entire village was witness to the whole drama. They realized that the pilot could have saved his life by bailing out from the burning aircraft without bothering about the consequences. But Karve was too humane for that and he paid the price with his life in order to save the lives of the villagers. The grateful villagers renamed a village near Krishnagiri dairy farm as ‘Karvepuram’ on June 13, 1989”. (As reported by V.Yuvaraj in JUNIOR VIKATAN IN 1989).

An engineer hailing from Veerasamy Nagar Alankombu near Sirumugai, along with his family members, was on way to Udhagamandalam in a car. A bag was kept on the carriage of the car. When the driver took a sharp turn, the bag fell on to the road. Rangasamy (40) from Godepalayam near Bhavani Sagar, who was driving a car, picked up the bag and followed the other car in vain. As he could not stop the car, he handed over the bag to the Mettupalayam Police Station. The bag contained about 200 gm of gold jewellery, and Rs. 8,500. The police contacted a phone number found in the bag. The family members came to the station and collected the bag. They expressed their gratitude to Rangasamy, and his friends who were in the car. The police too appreciated their honesty. (Based on a report in THE HINDU, January 20, 2016).
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