Wednesday, June 8, 2016


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Amavaasya / Kali Yugabda 5118 / Durmuki Vaikasi 22 (June 4, 2016)

Posted on June 7, 2016

According to many religious beliefs, flowers offered during prayers are sacrosanct and cannot be dumped into the garbage once they’ve wilted. This is one of the reasons why people prefer to discard them in rivers, lakes and other water bodies. But not many of us think about the fertilizers and pesticides that might have been used to grow these flowers, which then mix with the water and pollute it. The problem really troubled Kanpur-based Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi. After considerable research, they came upon a solution: the discarded flowers could be turned into incense sticks, fertilisers and soaps. The duo picks up flowers from different places of worship every day – approximately 500 kg of them. The flowers are then mixed with organic cow dung and treated with about 17 natural components like coffee residue, corn cobs, etc. These help increase the nitrogen content in the end-product. After a few days, earthworms are added to the mix. These worms consume the mixture and lead to the formation of vermicompost after 60 days. Vermicompost is a ready-to-use fertilizer. In 2014, they started their own company HelpUsGreen, a social enterprise dedicated to preserving rivers by recycling the discarded flowers. "Our enterprise is now managing five self-help groups with 10 members each," says Rastogi. “The packaging for our products are also designed in such a way that when disposed, plants will grow from them,” says Ankit. Based on a report by Shri Abhimanu Nagarajan in THE TELEGRAPH, Kolkatta, February 8, 2016 and other media reports. Idea: Shri Vasuvaj.


Hospitalised in Madurai, C Venkatesan, a 65-year-old from Vellore, the recipient of a liver harvested from a brain-dead person in Puduchery, was on cloud nine since the good news of organ donation reached him on May 26 evening. It was natural for him and his kin to be bursting with joy after a 55-day wait. But S Jegatheesan, 35, a native of Sivaganga, was  even happier. He was the man at the wheel, rushing the harvested liver from Puduchery in little over three hours on May 27. For Jegatheesan, this is the seventh such assignment ever since April 2015. He has transported organs four times from Puducherry, twice from Tiruchy and once from Nellore to Madurai. “I was nervous during my first trip. But I understood my responsibility later: I’m helping to save a life. Even though I don’t know the donors, I feel happy when I’m in the driver’s seat. I don’t feel the pressure of driving at 140 km/hr as police create a green corridor.” (Based on a report by Shri Kaushik Kannan in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, May 28, 2016).

They had fled to India across the Western border to escape the constant nightmare that haunts Hindus living in Pakistan. Seven-year-old Raj Nandini, who crossed over along with her parents last year from Sindh, is one of them. She and 200 others are now living in a shanty town in Rohini Sector 11 , Delhi. Her desire is to escape the grim poverty and deprivation in the refugee camp and find success in the Promised Land. Her prayer was answered in the form of 19-year-old Pareedhi Bhatnagar, a student of Kasturi Ram College, and an aspiring journalist and photographer. According to a report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan, up to 1,000 women—700 Christians and 300 Hindus—are forcibly converted to Islam every day in Pakistan. For Pareedhi, meeting the little refugee girl was beginning of a new endeavour. She was determined to improve the future of the refugee families by empowering their young. She now teaches pro bono around 50 refugee kids living in the camp. Most of them go to government schools nearby, but are unable to spell, count or write properly. Pareedhi, armed with her DSLR camera, a laptop and a box of candy for the children reaches the camp every day to teach. Portraits of Hanuman, Durga, Radha and Krishna look down benevolently on the children. Keeping them company is a portrait of Gobind Ballabh Pant (It is in fact a portrait of  Dr. Hedgewar, the born patriot who founded the RSS!). Once Pareedhi arrives and settles down, her little pupils gather around her. “From childhood I wanted to give something back to society”. (Based on a report by Shri Siddhanta Mishra in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS, May 29, 2016).

In a gesture of goodwill extending beyond the borders, an Indian officer has saved the lives of newly-born Nepalese twins by donating blood of a rare group, along the Indo-Nepal International Border  in Bihar. Naveen Kumar Singh, a resident of Nepals Rautahat district, approached officials of border guarding Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and informed them about urgent requirement of "O-ve" blood for his twin babies who had developed some "serious health complications." They said Singh and his wife Seema, after finding no person with the rare blood group in their area, approached the SSBs border post at Bhanga, in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district for help. The company commander of the 20th battalion deployed in the area, Vijay K Isser, volunteered as he had an "O-ve" blood group. Assistant Commandant Isser, who commands the Alpha company of the SSB at the border, immediately got in touch with his Nepal counterparts on the border and crossed over to the Brajaha village to donate blood to the twins, they said. A senior SSB officer said Isser donated one unit of blood that saved the lives of the twins, born in March this year. SSBs official twitter handle too tweeted the development: "A big clap for Vinay Kr Isser, Asst Commdt ACoy, Bhanga 20Bn for his prompt selfless initiative in saving the lives of the twins from #Nepal." Paramilitary SSB is tasked with guarding the 1,751km long Indo-Nepal border and is also the lead intelligence gathering Indian agency on this open border (PTI, May 30, 2016).

It was a heartwarming occasion. Fifty-one underprivileged and differently-abled couples got married on, May 29, at Mumbai's Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre. Of the 51 couples, 22 were physically challenged, 7 had one physically challenged partner and 22 were from  underprivileged backgrounds. The couples came from different parts of India, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The wedding, conducted by the Narayan Seva Sansthan -- an NGO established in 1985 that helps differently-abled and underprivileged people -- had been organised in a large air-conditioned hall that had a beautifully decorated stage. There were chariots to bring the couples to the venue and an excellent feast after the wedding. Baba Bankim came all the way from Rajkot came to witness the mega event. Dancer and actress Sudha Chandran -- who lost her right leg after a road accident when she was just 18 -- performed at the event. (A report by Shri Hitesh Harisinghani in May 31, 2016). Idea: Shri Vasuvaj.
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