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Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016
Vol-1 | Issue-21 | May 08-14, 2017 | Price ` 5/-
Good News Weekly for Rising India
Students from a Chennai college helping bonded labourer free and getting up on their feet
This lady from Baghpat is now in Dubai for the World Wrestling championship
THE OLDEST STAR
At 106, Mastanamma is hot stuff in YouTube for her culinary skills and recipes
RASHTRA RISHI NARENDRA MODI
MODI GETS THE HONOUR OF RASHTRA RISHI The PM visited Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev at the latter’s Haridwar ashram and stressed on the significance of Ayurveda as a holistic life science, rather than just a curative discipline SSB BUREAU
HE depth of the touching relationship between Indian premier Narendra Modi and Yoga Guru Ramdev leaves nothing much to be asked for to be explained.
Quick Glance Modi sang paeans for the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda He said that Baba Ramdev has reawakened yoga across the world Baba Ramdev on his part named Modi as Rashtra Rhishi for his support
After Modi’s 2014 general election victory, the whole thing has turned into a governmental agenda. The government has taken up the issue of yoga and sanitation in a major way. Not just that, over the last three years, this has taken the shape of a national movement. It is also remarkable that it is on Modi’s initiative that the United Nations has declared 11 December as World Yoga Day. Baba Ramdev has a huge role to play in the spread of yoga getting recognised globally over the past two decades. The Baba has also lent his services to promoting Ayurveda,
...Continued on Page 2
SWACHH SURVEY MADHYA PRADESH
MADHYA PRADESH CLEANS UP THE SWACHH SURVEY With 11 cities from the state figuring in top 50 clean cities, Madhya Pradesh shows the way YOGESH VAJPEYI
ITH Indore and Bhopal emerging as the cleanest cities in the country the lingering state of Madhya Pradesh has shown how hard work and commitment can deliver even if the people are backward and comparative stranger to the world of black and white when it comes to the art of living. Indore was rated 25 last year while Bhopal was ranked 21. So what brought about the massive jump in rankings with Indore
moving 24 places and replacing Mysuru as the cleanest city in the country? It was a mix of awareness, implementation of laws and some deft administrative thinking on part of civic authorities in Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain and other MP cities that helped the cities move up in rankings over 2016. The results of the ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ confirm this. Almost starting from nowhere in the shining India’s efforts to showcase the country to the world at large, the state has not only ...Continued on Page 2
02 Rashtra Rishi Narendra Modi ...Continued from Page 1
MAY 08-14, 2017
MODI GETS THE HONOUR OF RASHTRA RISHI
Modi regretted that while we ignored our own sciences such as Ayurveda, other countries have been patenting our knowldege
along with yoga. This effort led to what may be described as a national event when Modi met the Baba at his Haridwar on the latter’s invitation to inaugurate the Research Lab at the Patanjali Centre. While Modi laid stress on the fact that traditional systems such as Ayurveda cannot – and should not – be neglected, he also reiterated that cleanliness as a national mantra for 125 billion Indians. The PM repeatedly stressed the link between hygiene, sanitation and health. “If we pledge ourselves to cleanliness, if we promise not to spread garbage, then we shall by ourselves save more lives than doctors save across the country in hospitals. He added that it is not as if cleanliness and sanitation has become a new and unique topic, but rather that these are part of the great Indian tradition. As an inspirational line for India’s youth, he added that our ancestors had invented unique technologies on these aspects and lent them to the world.Inaugurating the Ayurved research Centre, Modi said that while before Independence, under the British, a conscious effort was made to demolish traditional Indian sciences such as Ayurveda, after Independence, there has been a
tendency to ignore them. He expressed regret that while we ignored our own sciences, people from other countries have minted money by patenting our traditional knowledge. Modi said Baba Ramdev has played a big role in strengthening the government’s role in principled intervention globally on this issue. Underscoring the linkages between health, sanitation, cleanliness and disease curing, Modi said that today, across the globe, health philosophy has moved ahead of mere curative aspects to preventive life sciences. The PM praised Baba Ramdev’s initiative to spread the lessons of yoga across the world and said: “I am fortunate that I got to know Baba Randev from very close quarters. I think his true essence is his commitment to create a healthy lifestyle for people. On his own behalf, Baba Ramdev utilised to occasion to declare Modi as Rashtra Rhishi, or National Seer and reminded the handful that Modi’s work is being applauded across the world. The Yoga Guru said that Modi has given a global sparkle to yoga by practicing it himself on a daily basis. The prime minister also released that one-lakh pages compilation of the first part of the Ayurveda Encyclopedia.
...Continued from Page 1 MADHYA
PRADESH CLEANS UP THE SWACHH SURVEY
grabbed the top slot, but is just a whiskers away from its prosperous neighbor Gujarat. The survey was conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) during January-February this year by deploying 421 assessors for on the site inspection of cleanliness in 434 cities and towns and another 55 for real time monitoring of progress of survey and field inspections. Field inspectors used geo-tagged devices for collecting evidence in real time of their inspection at 17,500 locations. The survey found that Gujarat with 12 cities has the maximum number of cities in the top 50, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 11 and Andhra Pradesh with eight. In fact, 34 MP cities are among the top – the most for any state in the country. Seven of them make it to the top 25 ranks. Overall, as many as 34 cities from the state are in the top 100 list This, according to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reaffirms his government’s commitment to make Madhya Pradesh a ‘model state’ in terms of cleanliness and sanitation. The mayor of Indore, Malini Gaud is expectedly elated. “This is because of wholehearted participation of the citizens of the city who contributed towards Indore Municipal Corporation’s
cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat campaign,” she said, adding that the civic body would not sit on its laurels but continue its campaign. The improvement of Madhya Pradesh is no flash in the pan. It was the result of concerted efforts by the urban administration and environment department (UAED). “It began with holding joint conferences of towns and cities backed by excellent team work. It brought about structural change in the system and our focus was on cleanliness and adopting modern practises,” says UAED commissioner Vivek Aggarwal. A total of 34 cities and towns of Madhya Pradesh were reviewed on the basis of their sanitation and cleanliness index. The state’s efforts got a significant boost from 22 of these cities being notified as open defecation free (ODF). Along with promises of investment, a clusterbased approach led to tendering of major solid waste management proposals for all locations. “We maintained a centralised command and coordinated approach. The work was supported by city mayors and elected representatives. The result is for everyone to see,” adds UAED principal secretary Malay Shrivastava. The task began right after the criticism of ranking of MP cities in
The improvement of Madhya Pradesh is no flash in
the pan. It was the result of concerted efforts by the urban administration and environment department
MAY 08-14, 2017
TRYST MANISH SINGH
“MUCH MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE IN INDORE” The Municipal Commissioner of Indore, Manish Singh is man of few words but lot of action. He is not one to sit pretty with his city being awarded the title of Cleanest City in the country. In a candid chat with Yogesh Vajpeyi, he revealed his future plans for Indore
The state has a long road ahead if it wants to reach the target of making Madhya Pradesh open defecation free by 2019
Swachh Bharat rankings declared in August 2015. The state government was quick to bring about structural changes to shift the focus from infrastructure to involving consultants to chalk out a winning strategy. The approach paid dividends when four of MP’s cities were selected in first 20 cities for smart city project of the Union government. It was a mix of awareness, implementation of laws and some deft administrative thinking on part of civic authorities in Indore and Bhopal that helped the cities move up in rankings over 2016. As a result of this sustained campaign, Madhya Pradesh has joined the select group of the movers and shakers of the ongoing Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The state’s climb atop the sanitation ladder was not achieved by a miracle. The first step in this direction was to make the state open defecation free. “With the implementation of the Total Sanitation Campaign, we started gradually learning the ABCs of sanitation and ensuring that every household constructed a latrine,” say Asheesh Singh, the CEO of the Indore Zila Panchayat two years back. In Indore district all household below-poverty-line constructed a latrine in their homes. Singh was subsequently shifted to
Ujjain as the municipal commissioner, where he not only helped organize the Mahakumbh last year but subsequently organized a massive clean up of the temple city. As a result, the temple city that is still recovering from the burden of organizing one of the world’s largest and longest religious festivals that is attended by millions was ranked 12th in the list of India’s cleanest cities and was at the top in the Western zone. The state’s achievements in improving urban governance as reflected in the latest survey are undoubtedly commendable. But much remains to be done in Madhya Pradesh’s rural hinterland, where poverty, illiteracy and superstitions rule the roost. National recognition as one of the leaders in the national campaign to keep its cities clean, will hopeful enthuse the government officials and the people to now concentrate on improving the sanitation and hygiene in the rural areas. The state has a long road ahead if it wants to reach the target of making Madhya Pradesh open defecation free by 2019. (Yogesh Vajpeyi is a senior journalist with over 40 years of experience in newspapers like National Herald, The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Telegraph and The New Indian Express.)
ANISH SINGH, the municipal Commissioner of Indore is happy that his city has been adjudged the cleanest in India and grateful to its citizen for helping him in the do the job. But he is not someone who is content to sit on his laurels. Receiving the award is just half of the work. “There are still several challenges that Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) faces in keeping its number one rank in cleanliness. “Door-to-door garbage collection needs to improve to make it more effective and increasing the number of collection vehicles is a solution,” Singh said. Three transfer stations will start to function from next one month. It will take three to four months to develop five more stations for the secondary garbage collection processing stage to streamline. “Apart from strengthening bioremediation at the trenching ground, work is underway to establish a waste-to-energy plant in the next year and a half. The civic body is also working on Khan and Saraswati River cleaning project in three phases and on the sewage line tapping project in two phases,” he added. He also emphasized that spot fines will be imposed for littering and IMC employees’ work will be properly monitored to ensure cleanliness is maintained and they remain motivated.
Indore started out with a garbage bin free approach to cleanliness Door to Door garbage collection has to improve further Indore will strive hard to retain its number one rank in Cleanliness Index
While several cities have assigned private companies to manage cleanliness and garbage collection systems, IMC managed to clinch the award by its own hard work. IMC had assigned the garbage collection and disposal system to A-to-Z Company but after it failed to yield results, the civic body sacked the company around two years ago and took up the work on its own. “Dedication by sanitation workers, the support from all six unions of sanitation workers, citizens’ civic sense and the support of public representatives worked in our favour. Any other city can get the same result with this sort of a combination,” Singh said. We decided to move to a garbage bin free approach to cleanliness,” he said, adding that having no bins made the door to door garbage collection in the city many times more efficient. Besides this, we ran a number of awareness campaigns on radio and TV. Civil society in Indore is very strong and political support to tough decisions such as imposing spot fines was also key in ensuring the improvement, he said.
04 Swachh Survekshan-2017
MAY 08-14, 2017
83% INDIANS FIND SWACHH SURVEKSHAN-2017
SWACHH BHARAT MISSION IS A SUCCESS!
Swachh Survekshan 2017 finds PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi jumped 386 places to be ranked 32
N October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Swachh Bharat Mission - which means Clean India mission - with the usual fanfare. There were photographs of the prime minister holding a broom - and other ministers lurking in the background - and cleaning streets in a symbolic gesture. This year, Prime Minister Modi’s home constituency of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, jumped from 418th ranking in 2014 to 32, according to a government-sponsored cleanliness survey. Incidentally, Varanasi is the only city from UP to figure in the top 100 cleanest cities followed by Aligarh at a distant 145th rank and Jhansi at 166th rank. Gonda in UP was adjudged the dirtiest city in the country and was
Combined efforts of each and every citizen
involved in the Swachh Bharat mission has given it the shape of a Mahayagya
Quick Glance PM Narendra Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Mission in Oct 201 It was second edition of Swachh Survekshan conducted by QCI Indore topped the list, Bhopal second while Gonda was at the bottom
ranked 434th in the list. UP has 25 cities in the bottom of the list. Madhya Pradesh had its moment of pride as Indore and Bhopal featured on the top two spots of India’s cleanest cities. The list was based on a massive survey, Swachh Survekshan 2017, rating the cleanliness efforts put in by the municipalities in 500 Indian cities. Navi Mumbai is the cleanest Maharashtra city, according to the survey, at number 8 followed by Pune which is at rank 13. The Swachh
Survekshan 2017 placed Pune at rank 13. This was the second edition of the survey conducted since the launch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet cleanliness project to map it’s success rate. A similar survey conducted in 2014 did not take into account the parameters laid down for the Swachh Bharat Mission. Though 75 cities were initially chosen for the survey, Kolkata and Noida opted out for lack of preparedness.
The Ministry of Urban Development had claimed that more than 80 per cent of the 18 lakh people surveyed had given a positive response to the impact of Swachh Bharat Mission. Quality Council of India which conducted the survey deployed 421 assessors for on the spot assessment of 17,500 locations in 434 cities and towns. Another 55 persons regularly monitored the survey process in real
MAY 08-14, 2017
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF SWACHH SUVEKSHAN -2017
A view of Varanasi ghats from where Modi started cleanliness drive
Top 10 clean cities of India in 2017 are: Indore -1, Bhopal -2, Visakhapatnam -3, Surat -4, Mysuru -5, Tiruchirapally -6, New Delhi Municipal Council -7, Navi Mumbai -8, Tirupati -9, Vadodara -10
Performance of these top 10 clean cities of India in sanitation surveys of 2016 and 2014 S. CITY NO.
RANK IN 2017 RANK IN 2016 RANK IN 2014
(434 AMRUT cities/ Towns surveyed
(73 million plus population (476 cities/towns cities & capital surveyed) surveyed)
From the above, it is revealed that six of the top 10 clean cities of 2017 viz., Indore, Bhopal, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Tirupati and Vadodara have improved their sanitation rankings in 2017 over the 2016 and 2014 rankings. Comparison of rankings of bottom 10 cities of 2017 with that of 2014 S. NO. CITY/TOWN
2017 RANKING 2014 RANKING
time. Filed inspection resulted in evidence based reports on the cleanliness situation with assessors using geo-tagged devices. The ministry said 83 per cent of respondents to the survey claimed that their localities were cleaner than the previous year and almost 82 per cent found an improvement in sanitation infrastructure and garbage collection. It added that 80 per cent of the respondents said they had better access to community and public toilets. Announcing the results, the Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu noted that the overall result was very satisfactory and most cities have only shown improvement since 2014. He said the combined efforts of each and every citizen involved in the Swachh Bharat mission has given it the shape of a ‘mahayagya’, adding that making the country clean by 2019 is a serious part of mission Modi. Mission Modi, he said not only pertained to the personal vision of the prime minister, it strives to create a developed India. Naidu said that Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have shown very promising results with accounting for 50 of the cleanest sities on the list. Gujarat had the most, 12 clean cities, closely trailed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 cities. Andhra Pradesh had eight of the cities that scored well on the survey. Naidu, also commented on some of the worst performing states, with Uttar Pradesh at the bottom of the list with 25 cities that performed poorly in the survey. Lamenting the situation in the state, Naidu said, it was unfortunate. However, he expressed hope that the state would do well under the new BJP government. The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched to ensure cleanliness and to rid the country of open defecation by 2019, but has failed to garner the kind of public interest the government envisaged.
The cities were also ranked on efforts to spread awareness and influence behaviour change, door-todoor collection of waste, and transportation, processing and disposal of solid waste. Provision of public as well as community toilets and construction of individual household toilets were also key factors. Bengaluru, which features as a top start-up and information technology (IT) hub, was placed at 210 out of 434 cities for cleanliness in the Swachh Survekshan survey released by the government on Thursday, making a strong case against a city that is historically known for its gardens, lakes and comforting weather. Bengaluru has become a victim of its own success with unplanned growth that has left the city sunk in a pile of rubbish with tons of uncleared garbage, inadequate public and civic infrastructure, toxic and foam spewing lakes, dipping air quality and clogged drainage systems, only some of the reasons urban experts, old-time Bengalureans and citizen groups cite to reason why the IT capital of India may never make it to the top of the cleanest cities list any time soon. Most parts of Delhi (except North Delhi) and Mumbai were placed much higher than Bengaluru, while Chennai was placed 24 places below. Around 150 kilometres from Bengaluru is a much smaller city of Mysore, ranked number five this year after it slipped four places from the top of last year’s list. “It’s funny that Mysore reminds us of old Bangalore (Bengaluru),” said an IT professional who volunteers with a citizen’s civic group. Though promotional videos and pictures of the Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, Electronic city and the international airport look impressive online, ground realities are quite the opposite for a city literally drowning in its own filth.
MAY 08-14, 2017
THE COURAGE TO QUESTION
Sahas, an initiative by Mona and Purvi, is trying to tackle gender related issues which have remained a sensitive topic in our society
Quick Glance Nirbhaya issue was an eye-opener for Mona who took part in candle marches She decided to proactively work in changing mindset of the society Along with Purvi she formed Sahas to change gender discourse in India
haiya, why do you think a boy asking for a sanitary pad is frowned upon?”, asked Nisha in an unperturbed fashion. There was no mincing of words. For a moment, I was taken aback. I was meeting Nisha for the first time. She is a 14 year old, and lives in JJ Colony of Dwarka, Sector-3. She is currently studying in Grade 9 of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Dwarka, Sector 3. For her age, Nisha has surely understood the baseless taboo created around the sanitary pads. “After all, it is a part of female biology”, she adds. Nisha, along with 25 other girls, is attending the month long workshop by Sahas, an organisation creating a space for conversations around gender issues. All the girls are in the age group of 12-14 years and are comfortably sitting in a circle, which also comprises of Mona, Purvi and Vineet. Mona and Puvi have co-founded Sahas last year. Vineet is a professional with NABARD and is volunteering with Sahas for last 6 months. Today, the girls are discussing the social construct of gender, existing gender roles in society, and their inconspicuous impact on our psyche. As girls walk into a room to watch a small movie on the gender roles, Purvi explains, “It is very important for us to
sit in a circle. The issues which we are discussing, are considered a taboo in our society. Unless one feels very safe and secure, free of any judgement, one won’t be able to share his/her thoughts comfortably. In a circle, there is no ‘you and I’, everyone is part of the same space and is sharing it equally with everyone else.” Purvi’s words echo in the confidence of girls when they come back to the circle and start discussing on the detrimental effects of gender role in our society. Vineet shares his experiences, where being a man, certain things are expected of him, even if he is not willing. On the contrary, he is not allowed to perform some tasks which he enjoys. “I love cooking, but I am never allowed to, as my mother feels that it is not a man’s job to do so!”, he adds. After Mona and Purvi share their experiences about the times, when they were made to realise that ‘they are girls and need to do things differently’. After this, the girls sat in smaller groups and reflected upon the times when they were made to realise that the society functions as per gender constructs. “When I was coming for the workshop, I was getting late and I hate being late. But, I had to cook lunch for my family. My brother was playing with his phone yet he wasn’t obligated to cook. If he
would have cooked today, I wouldn’t have been late”, shared Pushpa, another bubbly 13 year old. There are very subtle ways in which our gender related perceptions are built, brick by brick, action by action. “From last year, my mother has forbidden me from wearing shorts. Dupatta is mandatory, when I venture out of my home,” Gauri offered, with an tinge of curiosity in her voice. THE STORY OF SAHAS Nisha, Pushpa and Gauri are not aberrations. Each one of us go through same behavioural patterns, sudden changes in our physical and mental space, and same set of questions. The adolescent years are the most difficult ones, as the rational part of our brain starts developing and it wants answers for all the questions it comes across.
In a circle, there is
no ‘you and I’, everyone is part of the same space and is sharing it equally with everyone else
Unfortunately, our societal setup doesn’t encourage much questioning and the crucial issues are hushed under the carpet. This has strong repercussions on our impressionable minds. By the time we are full grown adults, our mindsets have been cemented on weaker grounds and it negatively affects our daily lives in subtle ways. Nirbhaya incident was an eye-opener for Mona, who was doing her Masters in Psychology at that time. She admits that she has also grown up having gender biases, but the horrific incident shook her to the core. “I started wondering, what is the use of my education, if it can’t prevent gender violence. I was grieved by the horror of that event, I attended protest marches, lit candles at India Gate. I also realised that things are not going to change unless we proactively work to change the mindsets in the society”. It took her some time to understand the root of the whole issue. In the meantime, she attended gender related workshops and conferences, worked with different communities and individuals, before actually start working on gender issues. In all of her endeavours, Purvi was her constant companion. In most of the session they attended, they realised that the events and mindsets during the childhood, shape up the whole persona of any individual. It was after lot of deliberations, Sahas finally kicked off in June, 2016.
MAY 08-14, 2017
INTERVIEW MONA YADAV AND PURVI YADAV
Information gap is the primary challenge to tackle SSB caught up with Mona and Purvi for a freewheeling interview about their work, dreams and challenges. Here are some excerpts: In the broader societal context, what is the role of Sahas that you envision? Mona: In the longer run, we would like to see gender education as an integral part of school curriculum. Even in 21st century India, gender issues are dealt with frivolity. During my 10th grade, our teacher just skipped the lesson on sexual reproduction, because she felt too embarrassed discussing it in front of boys. If Sahas can change the discourse around gender education, our work will be done. How do you think these workshops are going to help? What are your support plans for workshop participants? Purvi: We feel that at this stage, information gap is the primary challenge we want to tackle. We
LIFECYCLE OF GENDER BIAS Gender bias is not a monolithic structure which can be tackled through a linear approach. It is systematically built over the years with numerous issues contributing to its existence. The first challenge in front of Mona and Purvi was to design the workshops in a way that it strikes the whole paradigm of gender bias comprehensively. On one hand, they definitely wanted to talk about the issues of child sexual abuse and gender violence. On the other they realised that such issues are not born out in isolation. They are results of deeply embedded fears and insecurities. More research opened up several avenues for them. They realised that the issues of one’s own identity,
have a two strands to our approach – knowledge delivery and capacity building. With the right type of knowledge, these teenagers are ready to ask the right kind of questions and remove the taboo around these topics. We select ‘gender leaders’ from the participants. These gender leaders go back to their communities and work with other children to impart them the learning. We provide them with resources, session plans, etc so that they can conduct these sessions seamlessly.
What keeps you motivated about your work? Mona: I always imagine myself answering to ‘future me’. If she asks me, what did you do for an issue which you feel so strongly for, I don’t want to go blank. This keeps me motivated. Other than the bigger picture of my work, I enjoy little things we do at Sahas, like creating session plans, designing the flow, creating the resources, sharing my own stories, questions from the kids. These never let my energy down.
During my 10th grade,
Are girls and boys equal stakeholders in your workshops? Purvi: I feel, gender knowledge is more important for the boys than girls. They are the main perpetrators in most of the cases of gender violence. They need more support in understanding themselves and these gender issues. It is also important for them to support the females in their lives, sisters, mothers, wives and raise a collective voice against the gender issues.
our teacher just skipped the lesson on sexual reproduction, because she felt too embarrassed discussing it in front of boys understanding own emotions, our body image, peer pressure, etc create a much deeper impact on our psyche. The knowledge of biological functioning of our body, puberty related body changes, menstruation are some crucial information pieces which builds up the understanding of teenagers. And all this are driven by our existing social constructs of patriarchy and misogyny. Mona and Purvi realised that in order to uproot the gender bias, an individual need to have a coherent understanding of all such issues. Designing the curriculum was just the first step; finding the right audience was next. In the longer run, Sahas would want to work with all set of people, across the boundaries of social and
economic classes. But, in the initial phases, the target audience should be carefully picked on. On much deliberations, they chose to start with under-served communities first. Mona explains, “There is a clear lack of opportunities in the slum areas. Parents leave their kids unattended as both of them go for work, which leaves the kids prone to gender violence. Most of the families live in a single room setup, where at tender age, the kids witness their parents having sex. Since, their questions related to it are not answered, it leaves them with a scarred conscience.” They worked with the adolescents of Kathputli colony on the topic of masculinity. When they actually started the work, they realised challenges are
much more than they could have imagined. Purvi reminisces, “We were having a workshop, which was attended by both boys and girls. After one of the session on body image, this 11 year old comes to me and says that he and her sister won’t come for the sessions from now on. Upon asking the reason, he mentioned that this kind of knowledge is going to ‘spoil’ them. It was a stark realisation for me. I wondered that at this age itself, the kids have decided that such things are bad influence! This, however, made my resolve stronger as I realised that this mindset is what I want to change” COURAGE TO CONTINUE In the initial few sessions, dropouts were many. Boys were too hesitant to attend the sessions with girls and vice versa. Sometimes, when the session got too awkward, they didn’t know how to bring back the normalcy. Many parents and caregivers were hesitant in sending their kids to the sessions, when they heard about the topics. This used to be very demoralising for Mona and Purvi, who were just trying to create their own space. But, right things happened at right time for Sahas. They were able to enter into right collaborations with different organisation. Sahas got in touch with Chhoti si Khushi, an NGO based out of Dwarka, which was working on the educational needs of children from slum communities. It was through such collaborations, Sahas started upping the ante and catering to more numbers. Mona sees collaboration as the right approach to expand Sahas’ reach. She says, “There are so many good individuals and organisations who care for a better society. All we need is to have shared objectives for which everybody is working together.” She remembers an incident, where Seema, founder of Chhoti si Asha, was attending the session on menstruation. When she learned that there are organisations working on low cost sanitary napkins, the very next day, she visited Goonj (an organisation working on menstrual hygiene) and brought some samples for her girls. Such small yet powerful incidents motivate Mona and Purvi to continue with full vigour. Sahas’s long term plan is to create a society, where everybody is open to discuss about the gender issues without any prejudices. A society which has safe and secure spaces for our children, a society which is devoid of any kind of gender violence. This is not going to be an easy task, as it takes generations to change mindsets. But, as Purvi says, ‘If not now, when? If not us, who?’ Her words resonate with that of Gauri, “Bhaiya, now when I understand about my own body, I feel I am ready to fight for it”.
08 Good News
MAY 08-14, 2017
CHANGE AGENTS RESCUE MISSION
DREAMS BEYOND BONDAGE Students from a Chennai college are working with rescued bonded labours to help them get back on their feet. A Thompson Reuters Foundation report
ORN into debt bondage, S. Appu spent 25 years confined to a rice mill in south India, watching his father repay a debt, and then working tirelessly to pay it off himself. When he was freed from the mill in Guduvanchery in Tamil Nadu state in 2015, he did not have a place to call home. “Home had always been the rice mill,” Appu, 27, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I even married there, all the while unaware that there was a world outside that space.” But today Appu lives in his own house, designed and built by students of Chennai’s Madras Christian College as part of a project funded by charities and the government to help rescued bonded laborers get back on their feet. Before moving into a oneroom brick house in December, Appu was living in a makeshift shelter on a piece of land given to him and eight other families rescued from the same mill by the Tamil Nadu government. “We found them living in temporary shelters during the 2015 floods that swept the region,” said Jesserson Joel, a 22-year-old student who helped to build Appu’s new home. “They were practically living in the open, unprotected and exposed. They needed shelter.” India banned bonded labor in 1976, but it remains widespread, with millions like Appu from the marginalized Dalit and tribal communities working in fields, brick kilns, rice mills or brothels or as domestic workers to pay off debts. Last year, the government announced plans to rescue more than 18 million bonded laborers by 2030, and increase compensation
and field coordinator for the college project. “One of my students waded through a lake to reach them.” Shocked by their plight, the students quizzed the families about their needs and began mapping out a project to build them permanent homes. By mid-2016, the foundations of the first set of homes had been laid. Each family promised to work with the students to develop their homes, replacing plastic and asbestos sheets with concrete pillars and roof.
for rescued workers by fivefold as part of efforts to tackle modern slavery. But without homes, land and jobs, it is easy for rescued workers to slip back into debt bondage, campaigners say. PROCEDURAL PROBLEMS “The compensation amount is given, but for all other welfare schemes, including housing and land, they have to fill in forms and follow procedures. “These take time and many don’t follow through,” said Sam Jebadurai from the charity International Justice Mission, which works to rescue bonded laborers and help them rebuild their lives. When he was asked where he would want to live as a free man by officials who had helped to rescue him, Appu recalls shrugging his shoulders and muttering that “it
“Home had always been the rice mill. I even
married there, unaware that there was a world outside”– Appu
Snapshots Millions of Indians have been living as bonded labours, though their debts have been paid for The government has announced plans to rescue over 18 million bonded laborers by 2030 Students from a Chennai college working with rescued individuals to help them find their feet
didn’t matter.” “Actually, I didn’t even know the name of the village my parents came from,” he said, sitting on the steps of his new home, watching his daughter smother her face with powder. “And besides, no one had ever asked me what I wanted.” Appu ended up living with other rescued laborers on the edge of a village in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram district in tents provided by a non-governmental organization. “These generational bonded laborers, all from the Irula tribes, had practically been forgotten,” said Prince Solomon, assistant professor
CASH INJECTION Appu said with its garden, enclosed bathroom and a tiled roof, his house was a dream home. The homes, which were designed to be held up by stilts, sit three feet (0.9 meters) above ground to limit the damage done by future flooding. Another key feature is proper toilets to replace the open-air bathing areas used by women – known as “four sticks and a sari” because they are formed by planting sticks in the ground around which women wrap their saris for privacy while bathing. “A woman told me that she finally felt safe,” Joel said. “(Before) they used the forest as a toilet, always wary of snakes and never venturing out after sunset.” The pace of construction has depended on the flow of funds. The students are waiting for another injection of cash to complete house number 12, the last home at the end of the street. “It’s good to have a proper roof over our heads,” a group of women told the students. “We want our children to study, do well and then build an even bigger house where we can all live together.”
MAY 08-14, 2017
SWACHHATA MIZO MANNERS
SOCCER: WINNERS TAKE ALL THE GARBAGE Shillong has never seen this… the winning football team sweeping all the garbage left over after the match
HEIR team did not just sweep out football major Shillong Lajong to win this year’s I-League tourney, the fans just swept the hearts out of Shillongites by mopping clean the 23,000 packed stadium of all the litter after the match. No wonder then that Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel tweeted about this saying, “After I-League win, Aizawl FC fans clean up Shillong stadium, win hearts. Real Swachh Bharat example, learnings for all.” Unsightly stadiums littered with heaps of plastic, food bits and sports memorabilia are generally considered to be a normal fallout of major sporting events. However, in a stadium in
Sporting events like see huge piles of garbage left over as match residue The Aizawl FC team supporters regaled in the victory of their team But they left the field after cleaning up the mess created by 23,000 fans
Shillong last week, celebrating fans won hearts and took everyone by surprise when they began to clean up all the litter generated by some 23,000 spectators. This mini drive for swachhta took place after Mizoram’s Aizawl FC won the I-League, one of India’s biggest professional men’s football tournaments. While social media has been busy celebrating the football club’s victory,
even more people have lauded the fans’ gesture. “Thank you Aizwal football fans for cleaning the trash after the match yesterday… speaks volumes of your attitude. We, the rest, should learn from them,” wrote one fan on Facebook, in a post that has gone viral. Even the Swachh Bharat Mission applauded the move, taking to Twitter to compliment the football fans for setting an example.
Around the world, sporting events pose huge solid waste management problems. Stadiums and arenas bring a high volume of people in one place at one time which means that the sheer volume of garbage generated is very high. Now the Mizos have shown a path that hopefully others will embrace. May be bringing winning and losing team supporters together in a sporting way of Swachhta bonhommie!
ENVIRONMENT BIKERS’ PROTEST
BIKERS PROTEST DEFORESTATION
CONSERVATIONISM IN ARUNACHAL
The bike rally through the two hour stretch from Siliguri to Lataguri to generate mass awareness against wanton felling
HE public protest against the alleged illegal, large-scale felling of trees in north Bengal took a sharp turn last weekend, with at least a hundred bikers participating in a 33 km rally from Siliguri to Lataguri, near the Gorumara National Park, sporting green capes. “Trees are being cut illegally and indiscriminately for the construction
of a overbridge. The bike rally protest through the two hour stretch from Siliguri to Lataguri is to generate mass awareness,” a rally participant said. Lataguri is located on the fringes of the national park, home to the Indian one-horned rhino, on National Highway No. 31. The bike rally follows a steady stream of protests through social media campaigns and online petitions against the construction of a rail overbridge over NH 31. Both men and women, donning black helmets rode through the scenic route, canopied by sturdy trees, in the region popularly called Dooars. Rallying under the banner of ‘Paribesh Premi Joutho Mancha’, they sported green cape-like jackets with ‘Save Forest, Save Wild Animals’ etched on them.
The Karmapa tradition of deliverance will be carried on by monks of Buddhist Cultural Society by conserving forest INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HIS is where the Fifth Karmapa escaped to when persecuted by the Dalai Lama (Yellow Hat) faction of tantric Buddhism in China. That was many centuries ago. The Karmapa spread his spirit of Universal Deliverance, Om Ma Ne Pe Ma Hung Rhi, symbolically marked by the five coloured mantra poles, white, red, yellow, green and blue. This is the tradition of deliverance that the monks of the Mon-Lhagyala Buddhist
Cultural Society (MLBCS) and the Kalaktang Tsopa, a confederation of more than 20 Monpa villages, will carry on, by conserving the extensive forest area under its control. The protected area has been declared as Mon-Lhagyala Community Conserved Area (MLCCA) for the long-term management and sustainable livelihood purposes. Named after the Lhagyala Gonpa (Monastery), the protected area falls under the Kalaktang circle of West Kameng district covering an area of 85 sq km.The Society has banned any form of hunting and illegal/ commercial extraction of forest resources inside the protected area. Violation of the order will be a punishable offence under the provision of customary laws of the Tsokpa and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
MAY 08-14, 2017
HEALTH NEWS IN BRIEF
PARKINSON’S GUT CONNECTION
PARKINSON’S STARTS FROM GUT? Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study
ROSEMARY FOR KIDS’ MEMORY
In a rare study, effects of ordinary aromatic flowers like rosemary were found to help children memorise
S your child struggling to remember his lessons at school? Expose him or her to the aroma of rosemary essential oil as it can significantly enhance working memory in children, researchers say. “We do know that poor working memory is related to poor academic performance and these findings offer a possible cost-effective and simple intervention to improve academic performance in children,” said Mark Moss of Northumbria University in Britain. It was previously known that the aroma of rosemary essential oil could enhance cognition in healthy adults. In the study, a total of 40 children aged 10 to 11 were randomly assigned to a room that had either rosemary oil diffused in it for ten minutes or a room with no scent. They then took part in a classbased test on different mental tasks. The analysis revealed that the children in the aroma room received significantly higher scores than the nonscented room. The test to recall words demonstrated the greatest difference in scores, the researchers said. “It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when people are exposed,” Moss said. The findings were presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton. Rosemary oil is often used for indigestion, relieving flatulence, stomach cramps, constipation, and bloating. It is also thought to relieve symptoms of dyspepsia and is an appetite stimulant.
ARKINSON’S disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study published in medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The vagus nerve extends from the brainstem to the abdomen and controls unconscious body processes like heart rate and food digestion. The preliminary study examined people who had resection surgery, removing the main trunk or branches of the vagus nerve. The surgery, called vagotomy, is used for people with ulcers. Researchers used national registers in Sweden to compare 9,430 people who had a vagotomy over a 40-
year period, to 377,200 people from the general population. During that time, 101 people who had a vagotomy developed Parkinson’s disease, or 1.07 per cent, compared to 4,829 people in the control group, or 1.28 percent. This difference was not significant. But when researchers analysed the results for the two different types of
Quick Glance Medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology has a finding Parkinson’s disease starts from gut & spreads to brain via vagus nerve People who got Vagus nerve branches removed had less chances of getting
vagotomy surgery, they found that people who had a truncal vagotomy at least five years earlier were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not had the surgery and had been followed for at least five years. In a truncal vagotomy, the nerve trunk is fully resected. In a selective vagotomy, only some branches of the nerve are resected. TRUNCAL CONNECT A total of 19 people who had truncal vagotomy at least five years earlier developed the disease, or 0.78 per cent, compared to 3,932 people who had no surgery and had been followed for at least five years, at 1.15 percent. By contrast, 60 people who had selective vagotomy five years earlier developed Parkinson’s disease, or 1.08 per cent.
DISEASE RUNNING NOSE
CAUSE OF PERPETUALLY RUNNY NOSES FOUND Johns Hopkins researchers report that exposure to dirty air has a direct link to perpetually runny noses INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
ESEARCHERS have long known that smog, ash and other particulates from industrial smokestacks and other sources that pollute air quality exacerbate and raise rates of asthma symptoms, but had little evidence of similar damage from those pollutants to the upper respiratory system. The new findings, published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, have broad implications for
Quick Glance People in polluted cities & industrial areas are more susceptible American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology says it The finding is likely to spur research to find effective cure to running nose
the health and well-being of people who live in large cities and industrial areas with polluted air, particularly in the developing world. “In the U.S., regulations have kept a lot of air pollution in check, but in places like New Delhi, Cairo or Beijing, where people heat their houses with wood-burning stoves, and factories release pollutants into the air, our study suggests people are at higher risk of developing chronic sinus problems,” says Murray Ramanathan, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. To see how pollution may directly affect the biology of the upper airways, the researchers exposed 38 eightweek-old male mice to either filtered air or concentrated Baltimore air with particles measuring 2.5 micrometers or less, which excludes most allergens,
like dust and pollen. The aerosolized particles, although concentrated, were 30 to 60 percent lower than the average concentrations of particles of a similar size in cities like New Delhi, Cairo and Beijing. Nineteen mice breathed in filtered air, and 19 breathed polluted air for 6 hours per day, 5 days a week for 16 weeks.They found five to 10 times higher concentrations of the cytokines involved in inflammation in the mice that breathed the polluted air than in those that breathed filtered air. Interleukin 1b is a chemical messenger that promotes inflammation, and both interleukin 13 and eotaxin-1 are chemical messengers that attract eosinophils.
MAY 08-14, 2017
AVOCADOS FOR HEALTH Zest for life, spirituality and removing stigma are some of the things that can greatly help breast cancer survivors, find experts
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
ANT to shed those extra kilos? Try avocados, which may help lower body weight, body mass index (BMI) as well as lead to smaller waist circumference, researchers
have found. The findings, published in the journal Internal Medicine Review, showed that avocado consumers were 33 per cent less likely to be overweight or obese and 32 per cent less likely to have an elevated waist circumference compared to non-consumers. On average, avocado consumers weighed 7.5 lbs less, had a mean BMI of 1 unit less and 1.2 inches smaller waist circumference compared to non-consumers. Further, avocado consumption may also lead to an overall better diet, as consumers had higher intakes of dietary fibre, total fat, good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids), vitamins E and C, folate,
Quick Glance Avocado consumers were 33 per cent less likely to be overweight or obese It also leads to an overall better diet, as consumers had higher fibre intake Avocados also regulated insulin levels and reduced levels of homocysteine
magnesium, copper and potassium. Avocado consumers also had lower intakes of total carbohydrates, added sugars and sodium, compared to non-consumers. “These findings indicate incorporating avocados could be one way to meet the recommended fruit and vegetable intake and potentially improve physiologic measures,” said Nikki Ford, Hass Avocado Board Director of Nutrition in California, US. “We encourage healthcare professionals to remain committed to recommending avocados as part of an overall healthy diet,” Ford added. Eating avocados also regulated the insulin levels and reduced levels of homocysteine -- associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
TATA TRUSTS TO BUILD CANCER HOSPITAL IN TIRUPATI Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Tata Trusts and TTD, which manages the affairs of Tirumala temple SSB BUREAU
ATA Trusts and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) have joined hands for the construction of a state-of-the-art cancer centre in this temple town in Andhra Pradesh. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed on Friday by Tata Trusts and TTD, which manages the affairs of Tirumala temple. Given the rising cancer burden in the region, Tata Trusts has joined hands with TTD to address this concern by bringing affordable cancer care closer home to the people of the region.
Quick Glance The hospital will have an OPD, diagnostics, therapeutics, rehabilitation It will soon have operation theatres, radiation oncology & Brachytherapy Hospital will be built on 25 acres of land provided by the TTD
The proposed facility will have in and out-patient facilities, diagnostics, therapeutics, rehabilitation and other such support services. In a phased manner the centre will house operation theatres, linear accelerators for Radiation Oncology, Brachytherapy and a Bone Marrow Transplant unit. The hospital will be constructed on 25 acres of land provided by the TTD, said a statement by Tata Trusts.
The MoU was signed by Sambasiva Rao, Executive Officer, TTD and M R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, in the presence of R.K. Krishna Kumar, Trustee, Tata Trusts, and N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons. Tata Trusts have been working in cancer care for several decades across a spectrum of activities, ranging from the setting up of pioneering institutions such as the Tata Memorial Hospital in 1941 and Tata Medical Center, Kolkata in 2011, to providing medical relief grants to individuals suffering from this dreaded disease. Recognising the centrality of infrastructure to cancer service delivery and the shortage of the same in the country, the Trusts are in the process of conceiving and setting up or upgrading various super specialty centres across the nation with the objective of decentralising cancer care in the country. As a member of the National Cancer Grid, a forum of 106 cancer hospitals, Tata Trusts have access to experts across these centres to enable its various cancer initiatives. The Trusts plan to raise funds internally and externally to finance these not-for-profit hospital projects. “We are grateful to TTD for this partnership. Our aim is to ensure the provision of equitable, affordable, high quality cancer care for the masses.
HEALTH NEWS IN BRIEF MOBILE PHONE
SMARTPHONE, TABLET USE MAY UP SPEECH DELAY IN INFANTS
For each 30-minute increase in hand-held screen time, the risk increased by 49 per cent
HE more time your toddler spends using smartphones, tablets or other screen devices, the more he or she is likely to begin talking later, researchers have warned. The study showed that for each 30-minute increase in hand-held screen time, there was a 49 per cent increased risk of expressive speech delay. “Hand-held devices are everywhere these days,” said Catherine Birken, pediatrician at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Ontario, Canada. “While new pediatric guidelines suggest limiting screen time for babies and toddlers, we believe that the use of smartphones and tablets with young children has become quite common. This is the first study to report an association between hand-held screen time and increased risk of expressive language delay,” Birken added. However, there was no apparent link between hand-held device screen time and other communications delays, such as social interactions, body language or gestures, the researchers said. The findings were presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco. For the study, the team included 894 children between ages 6 months and 2 years. According to their parents, 20 per cent of the children had daily average hand-held device use of 28 minutes. The results also support a recent policy recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics to discourage any type of screen media in children younger than 18 months, Birken said.
12 Aquarium Farming
MAY 08-14, 2017
ASSAM AQUARIUM FARMING
FISHING MONEY ORNAMENTALLY As many as 52 farmers of Aathgaon village have been engaged in breeding ornamental fish and earn a living for the past few years
Development Authority (MPEDA).
Two years on, the
initiative was given formal shape with the formation of Matchyagandha Fish Farm for ornamental fishes RAJ KASHYAP
small village in central Assam is silently scripting a success story that is unusual but has immense potential of economic benefits in the future. At a village near Dhing in Nagaon a group of farmers has given shape to the state’s first ‘ornamental fish village’. As many as 52 farmers of Aathgaon village, about 120 kms east of Guwahati, have been engaged in breeding ornamental fish. Backed by technical support from institutions like the Raha based Fishery College, Dhing College, KVK (Nagaon), the department of fisheries and National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), the farmers are now producing around 3.5 lakh ornamental fishes of eighteen varieties and supplying them to six districts in the State. Ornamental fishes are attractive and colourful varieties kept as pets in confined space of an aquarium or a
ornamental fish worth Rs 20 lakh is imported to Assam
Quick Glance Ornamental fishes are attractive and colourful varieties kept as pets in an aquarium Every week, ornamental fishes worth Rs 20 lakh is imported to Assam from different parts of the country Now with the initiative of Partha Hazarika, Assam fish farmers are set to export them
garden pool for fun and fancy. Ornamental fishes are usually kept in glass aquarium and hence popularly known as ‘’Aquarium Fishes’’ Every week, ornamental fish worth Rs 20 lakh is imported to Assam from different parts of the country. The production of these species in Assam is negligible despite the fact that the state is home to some of the most exotic varieties of ornamental fish. Already 217 fish species belonging to 136 genera have been identified in Assam, of which about 150 species have been reported to be of ornamental value and in case of more than 50 species, overseas demand has been established. TAKING LEAD Partha Rathi Hazarika, a science graduate (industrial fish and fisheries) from Nowgong College, took the lead in laying the foundation
stone of the unique scheme in 2012 in the village 2012, when he began an ornamental fish farm at a three katha land at Aathgaon village. Five years on, the farm now has an aquarium house (400 sq ft), 40 concrete tanks in 2.5 katha land and another 50 terracotta tanks in the periphery. He engaged 52 villagers after training them for several weeks. Of the 18 species they produce, four are indigenous. The price range of the fish varies between Rs 10 to Rs 300 per fish. Two years later, the initiative was given a formal shape with the formation of Matchyagandha Fish Farm with the goals of mass production of ornamental fishes through farming and employment generation, improvement of socioeconomic condition of surrounding areas, women empowerment through engaging women in ornamental fish farming and making them selfdependent, and finally, establishing an ornamental fish village. Hazarika told the media that the plan to begin the venture in Assam struck him when he was employed in an ornamental fish farm in Kerala. He returned and launched an aquarium service centre at Nagaon, which was followed by some exposure visits to places like Hyderabad under the aegis of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and Marine Products Export
BREEDING MONEY Subsequently, he began breeding some ornamental fish species in 12 small tanks at the premises of his residence in Nagaon. That has paid off well, and now he has involved local fish farmers. To cut down on costs, of which fish feed is a major component, they tried out different methods. So now, the farmers are also making the fish feed themselves. The institutional support received by the farmers is mostly related to disease control and water management. According to officials in the department of fisheries, the locally produced ornamental fish is priced about 25 per cent less than those from Kolkata. The quality of some species bred here are also better than those from Kolkata. Encouraged by the success of the farmers in Aathgaon, NFDB has firmed up plans to support a second ornamental fish village in Goalpara by forming a cooperative among farmers on the lines of Aathgaon. The NFDB also plans to put in place a proper a marketing mechanism so that the farmers can reap the maximum benefit. However, in spite of all these efforts, the trade of indigenous ornamental fishes in the state is unorganised and mainly based on natural collection. The fishes are collected from the wild habitat by local fishermen and marketed by traders who actually control the activities. PILOT SCHEME To remove these bottlenecks, the Department Of Animal Husbandry, Dairying And Fisheries, under the Union Ministry Of Agriculture And Farmers Welfare, has initiated a programme to unlock the ornamental fisheries sector by launching a pilot scheme, with a total outlay of Rs 61.89 crore. Assam is one of the eight states in the country which will benefit from the central scheme. The project will be implemented by the National Fisheries Development Board through state fisheries departments.
MAY 08-14, 2017
A RAIL COACH THAT COACHES OTHERS PASSENGERS THE WAY TO TREAT PUBLIC The NGO Rail Parishad that maintains this coach celebrated its 10-anniversary in March this year INDIRA SEAL
N a country, where public utility is being more often being abused and misused by the very users, compartment C3 on the Panchavati Express - the super fast train that runs between Mumbai and Nasik stands out as a beacon of hope and example for millions of other railway users in India. Aptly called the ‘Adarsh,’ or ideal, coach, it is a First class chair car compartment that accommodates 70 passengers. Over the last 10 years, it has acquired a number of distinctions that make it stand out from all other coaches that run on Indian Railways. The passengers themselves take an active part in the maintenance of the coach. However what makes it unique is the fact that all of its passengers follow a voluntary code of conduct that has ensured its place in the Limca Book of Records for being the first of its kind. Aside from the regular cleaning by the Railways staff, passengers also ensure that there is no garbage in the coach. They also make sure to switch off lights whenever they are not needed to save energy. Pest control is being done regularly. The coach has a well-equipped first aid box, a diary with names and details of its regular passengers, who get free services assisting them not just with buying their monthly season tickets but also with accident insurance cover. The passengers voluntarily ensure a strict prohibition on consumption of liquor, chewing tobacco and playing cards. They also ensure seat covers and curtains are periodically cleaned or changed, and the NGO takes care of small maintenance needs. However, what is more interesting is the routine that the passengers follow during their three-and-ahalf hour long journey. The whole journey has been divided into four sessions as per the code of conduct where the first session between Nashik and Igatpuri stations - 7am to 8am - is reserved for reading newspapers and answering personal calls. The next session is between
Igatpuri and Kasara station is breakfast time. The third session is the 10-minute journey between Kasara and Kalyan, the passengers were expected to remain silent and meditate while the last section of the journey from Kalyan to Dadar is being used for phone calls and interpersonal conversations. This routine is being strictly followed by the daily passengers of Adarsh Coach for 10 long years! However, the change did not come easily, with many passengers resisting and opposing the implementation of the voluntary code of conduct. However, the Rail Parishad team persevered and after a while, their unswerving efforts began paying off when all the passengers started following the guidelines. These are unique norms unheard of not only in India but anywhere in the world and has earned national accolade for Bipin Gandhi who first floated the idea. “I have heard many people talk of the comfort of train travel in other countries. I wanted to do it here in India,” said Gandhi, who was initially laughed off by railway officials. “When required we ourselves clean the coach with a broom and also do dusting. Our passengers don’t
even throw a chocolate wrapper in the coach and now it’s their habit that they keep things clean around themselves everywhere. Passengers also make sure to switch off lights whenever they are not needed to save energy. Pest control is done regularly. The coach has a wellequipped first aid box, a diary with names and details of its regular passengers, who get free services assisting them not just with buying their monthly season tickets but also with accident insurance cover,” said Gandhi, the president of Rail Parishad, the NGO that is in charge of the coach. “All this is being done through voluntary contributions of the members as they themselves wants to associate themselves with a movement,” Gandhi added. “We got our sanction when a
Quick Glance Coach number C-3 on Panchvati Express is known as Adarsh Coach Daily passengers clean their own coach and maintain strict routine This is being done by NGO Rail Parishad for past 10 years
According to Limca Book of Records, this was the
first-ever wedding ceremony on a train coach in India
coach was allotted to us. On March 29 2007, we flagged of our journey initially, many laughed at us as the idea was unbelievable for most,” he added. The idea has not only astounded other passengers, but also the railway officials who now during their 10th anniversary celebration treated the members with chocolate cake. Over years, a close bond has been formed amongst the regular passengers, and the relationship is now beyond the daily time-schedule of the commute. The members have joined hands with the commuters to form an informal support system that enriches the life of every passenger. Birthdays, anniversaries and even wedding receptions for the newly married are hosted on the Adarsh Coach. In fact, in 2013, regular passengers and Nashik residents, Shyam and Sarika Jadhav got married on the Adarsh Coach, with a pandit performing the rituals and nearly 110 guests attending the ceremony. According to the Limca Book of Records, this was the first-ever wedding ceremony on a train coach in India! “We are a family now not just co passengers. The feeling is mutual and the relationship is beyond the three hour commute,” said another regular passenger of compartment C3. It is not uncommon for train travelers to build such strong bonds but to channelize such friendship into such exemplarity is unheard. On the occasion of Adarsh Coach’s 10th anniversary, Rail Parishad gave certificates of loyalty to 50 passengers who have been members for all the ten years. The NGO is now collaborating with more passengers and various departments of the railways to ensure that other coaches too are kept clean and looked after. Plans to spruce up the ill-maintained Igatpuri station as well as introducing an Adarsh Coach on the MumbaiPune Deccan Express are also in the pipeline.
14 State News
MAY 08-14, 2017
NEWS IN BRIEF ASSAM
TOILET CONSTRUCTION TARGET SURPASSED 10.54 lakh toilets built in rural areas against a target of 8.5 lakh
ARUNACHAL PRADESH VISION 2022
‘POWERING’ WATER, HEALTH, EDUCATION
State machineries are working on Vision 2022, which gives special attention to water, health, electricity and education INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
SSAM has surpassed the target set for construction of household toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) during the 2016-17 fiscal. Public Health Engineering (PHE) minister Rihon Daimary said that 10.54 lakh toilets were built in the rural areas of the State during the last fiscal as against a target of 8.50 lakh. The Central government had allocated a total of Rs 747 crore during the last fiscal and the entire amount was spent, he said, adding that the State government also released its share of Rs 201 crore, including arrears for previous years. In the current fiscal, the government has set a target to construct 14.70 lakh toilets and the Centre has allotted Rs 712 crore for the purpose. As per the figures from the baseline survey, only around 14.70 lakh households remained to be provided with household toilets in the State and once this year’s work is completed, most the work will be finished. Daimary said that along with construction of toilets, emphasis has also been given to spreading awareness about sanitation and for this purpose Swachh Melas are being held in all the districts. He said the situation in Assam, where the percentage of sanitation is 73 per cent, is much better than in many other states. Daimary said many old water supply projects have been in limbo and all the MLAs have been asked to suggest six schemes in each constituency for revival.
Disclosing his ‘Vision for development of Arunachal Pradesh’ during a day-long Pandit Deen D ayal Upadhyaya birth centenary celebration ‘Prashikshan Shivir’ organised by the state BJP for the Ministers, MLAs, Councillors, Panchayat members and party office bearers here, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that state machineries and departments have started working on Vision 2022 for Arunachal, under which special attention will be given to border areas to provide water, health, electricity and education facilities.Even as he underlined the key challenges facing the state in terms of infrastructure and connectivity and underutilization of the potential in mining, horticulture, agriculture and tourism and forest sectors, Pema said the budget 2017 has focused on youth
Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu
employment, entrepreneurship and skill development with more than 50% coverage on these sectors. He said the government is working to provide alternatives to the youth to address the unemployment issue. Under the Chief Minister’s Swavalamban Yojana, which is proposed to be re-named as Deen Dayal Swavalamban Yojana, the state
CSR VENTURE YIELDS RESULTS
30 youths from Golaghat district are currently undergoing a 6-month training on Ayurveda Panchakarma RAJ KASHYAP
NDER Numaligarh Refinery Limited’s CSR program focusing on skill development of beneficiaries, 30 youths from the vicinity of the oil refinery in Assam’s Golaghat district are currently undergoing a 6-month training on Ayurveda Panchakarma at the Santhigiri-NRL Institute of Paramedical Sciences in Guwahati. The initiative was started keeping in mind the Centre’s policy of appointing trained paramedics at Ayurvedic centres across the country. The NRL Santhigiri Ayurvedic Institute in Guwahati has been training these 30 students since January, 2017. Twelve students from this group have recently joined the All India Institute of Ayurveda at New Delhi as Panchakarma Para
Medical Attendant. At a time when State government jobs have been a far cry for unemployed youths, the selection of 12 students from a remote locality in Assam to join a national institute is being regarded as a remarkable achievement. It may be mentioned that Panchakarma is a traditional Ayurvedic practice prevalent in South India,
Quick Glance State machineries and departments have started working on Vision 2022 Attention to be on water, health, electricity and education facilities State budget focused on youth employment & entrepreneurship
government has worked out with banks to provide Rs 10 lakh to 1 crore for to help entrepreneurs on 30 per cent subsidy. He also informed that the state government is working to implement the CM’s universal health insurance scheme, which will be named after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay. Highlighting the steps being taken to make Arunachal an organic state and to increase the ginger and large cardamom production, the CM said that similar steps would be taken for other sectors to boost income of local people. Khandu further informed that state government has cleared Rs 4000 crore financial deficits accumulated from the previous government. “Each March month, the state financial position showed negative balance, but this year through proper financial management, the state government has avoided such crisis,” he informed.
Quick Glance NRL’s CSR program focusing on skill development of beneficiaries 30 youth from nearby areas undergoing training as para-medics Of them 12 have joined AIIMS, New Delhi as Paramedical Attendants
particularly Kerala, the demand for which is surging in India and abroad. As per industry estimates, the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani , Siddha, Homoeopathy) sector, which has an annual turnover of around Rs 120 billion, is growing by 20 per cent annually. There is a need for about 90,000 Ayurveda Panchakarma technicians every year. NRL undertook the venture to train local youths in this skill in view of the huge opportunities that it offers. The CSR initiative is in line with the ‘Skill India’ mission of Government of India, which would also serve to propagate the AYUSH systems of health care. The Refinery had inked an MoU with M/s. Santigiri Ashram in this regard last year. After completion of the program, the youths will be placed in Santigiri Centres across the country.
MAY 08-14, 2017
AJRAKH-THE PRINT OF FASHION About 100 families of a village in Kutch region of Gujarat are keeping alive a tradition of block textile printing with natural dyes
S the scorching sun beats upon the dry land in this western part of the country, the brown landscape suddenly starts getting dotted with sheets after sheets of colourful cloth, all dyed and block-printed, and laid out in the open to dry. Heavy stones are put at the four corners to keep the sheets from flying off. The lengthy dyeing and printing process includes un-dyed fabric being first prepared by being torn into a particular length -- usually nine metres -- and being soaked in water overnight before being washed to remove the starch. It is then dried in the sun. After that, it is dyed with myrobalam and again put out in the sun. At a time when many traditional crafts are struggling to survive, Ajrakhpur – a tiny village in the Kutch region of Gujarat – is alluring domestic and international buyers with its beautiful natural-dyed, block-print cloth that is turned into exquisite garments and home furnishing. This print is known as Azrak, which takes a lot of time and effort in making and it is a long process. More than 100 families of the village are connected to this craft, after which the highest quality is ready finally makes its way to the collection of top-notch fashion labels. From a collection that is maybe decades old, artisans then select a wooden block with traditional designs. The first block
is coated with lime and acacia gum and carefully pressed onto the cloth at regular intervals -- an act termed the “resist”. While being Chief Minister of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured to promote the art of this village. Ajrakhpur, the village, in itself is not very old – the artisans, led by the family of Sufiyan Ismail Khatri, shifted from a different village, Dhamadka, there after the devastating 2001 Bhuj earthquake – their craft is more than 400 years old. Sufiyan, who is a ninth generation Ajrakh printer, traces his roots to the 16th century when his ancestors carried their craft here all the way from Sindh. “Traditional Ajrakh printing using natural dyes is a 16-stage process which takes anywhere between 14 to 21 days, depending on the number of colours and layers of block print designs used,” Sufiyan said while explaining a particular design to one of his workers in the workshop. “One of the main differences between Ajrakh and the block printing you find in Rajasthan is this ‘resist’ technique,” Sufiyan
Quick Glance More than 100 families of the village are connected to this craft Ajrakh printing using natural dyes is a 16-stage process The process completes in 16 to 21 days depending upon colours & layers
Ajrakh is linked to the Arabic word for indigo, a
blue plant which once thrived in Kutch until 1956 told. Thenceforth, artisans continue selecting blocks, coating them with dyes and pressing them carefully on the cloth in a particular alignment. After each colour of print, the cloth is washed and sun-dried. As the name suggests, the natural dyes are all sourced from nature. In fact, the name ‘Ajrakh’ is linked to the Arabic word for indigo, a blue plant which once thrived in the arid landscape of Kutch until the 1956 earthquake. But the popular story among artisans is that the name is derived from the phrase “aaj rakh”, meaning “keep it for today”. It is very common to see scrap iron lying around workshops in Ajrakhpur. That is because the colour black is derived from a mixture of iron, jaggery and gram flour. The process, Ismail Anwar, another artisan of the village said, takes about 15 days and they make around 200 litres in one go. Tamarind seed powder and alum makes red, turmeric makes yellow, and lime is used for white. “Traditionally, Ajrakh printing was only in natural colours, but because there is also a demand for cheaper variety, we also make clothes with pigment or artificial colours. Artificial colour printing is also faster -- printing a sari will take two days -- so it works well when there is heavy demand,” Anwar explained.
It has not all been a colourful story for Ajrakh -- there have been difficult times, like when the artisan families had to move to their present address and put together all their resources to re-build their lives. “But our craft is now in much demand. Designers like Tarun Tahliani have worked with me, and I have visited many countries, including the US, Australia, the Netherlands and Hungary, on invitation by designers to showcase our art and to learn from each other,” Sufiyan said. Between July and November this year, he is visiting 12 countries and is also working on a project “to revive the 400-year-old art linkages” with Thailand and the Netherlands. Anwar similarly said he has received many students from design institutes to learn his craft. Most artisans also participate in exhibitions across India. Even as hot winds blow through an April afternoon in Ajrakhpur, work does not come to a halt. “These summer months are the best time for our work. Our craft is everything to us; it is passed down generations. Earlier, it was the nomadic pastorals like Ahirs and Rabaris who wore Ajrakh; now it’s finding its presence in urban homes. People’s love for Ajrakh is a big gift to us.” Anwar smiled.
MAY 08-14, 2017
“Things work out best for those who make the
best of how things work out” John Wooden
SHARAD GUPTA A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications
ALTERNATIVE IS THE NEW PRIMARY To save the earth from rising temperatures, there is no other way than shifting to alternative sources of energy
FACE THE AXE NOW Non-Performing Asset holders will finally have to bow
HREE years into his tenure Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally cracked a whip on chronic loan defaulters by authorising the banks to initiate insolvency and recovery proceedings against the non-performing asset (NPA) holders. It is a welcome and long due step because NPAs have touched Rs 7 lakh crore. And most of this amount pertains to only a few corporate houses who have been taking loan without caring to return it. This is why stressed loans had become 17 per cent of the total loans given by the banks. It was in the pipeline for a long time. The banks were in a soup. They had done due diligence. But, in certain cases, lapses were on part of some bank officers as well who were generous enough to have extended further loans to entities which had not cared to return the first loan. If officers were careful enough the banks would not have suffered so much. The lender bank normally has at least one of its officers on board of directors as non-executive or independent directors who participates in their all important meetings. It isn’t possible for him not to have known financial status of the company. Now, of course, things are set to change.
KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
HE earth is heating up. Glaciers are melting and so is the Arctic and Antarctic ice. Ice being white, reflects sunlight. But, when it becomes ocean water – it takes deep blue hue and hence starts absorbing sunlight. The water gets heated up and hence quickens melting of iceberg floating in the ocean. It’s a vicious cycle and scientists have been predicting that if we don’t keep the global commitment reached in Paris round of Climate Talks – to contain earth temperature within 2 degrees of preindustrialisation era – there will be no ice left on Arctic region in next 28-30 years. It is indeed a vicious cycle. As the atmosphere gets heated up, use of air conditioners and refrigerators would go up. With rapid growth in urban population, vehicular traffic too is going up. Hence, the emission will increase. Poisonous gases emitted by various industries too have been contributing to the Greenhouse effect. So, what is the way out? Can we cut down on the development goals, urbanisation and industrialisation? Shall we go back to preindustrialisation era and save the earth? These measures are just not possible. We, therefore, have to look forward to reduce emission of greenhouse gasses, reduce reliance on fossil fuel and find out alternative source of green energy besides embracing green technology more vigorously. For a country like India which is seeking to achieve the goal of ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy’ for all — one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for member nations by 2030 — hybrid technologies will play a key role in getting us there.
We would be needing cars that don’t run on fossil fuels but on to electric or solar power. Hectic efforts are on foot to ensure commercial manufacturing of electric cars. The issue so far has been - the battery size. It’s too bulky and cant power the vehicle to last long distances before recharging which again is a time consuming process. Scientists are trying to find a cheaper substance which has lasting charging capacity. Another solution could be hybrid cars in which dual fuel system can either work simultaneously or in parallel to optimise fuel usage and performance. Hybrid cars are becoming extremely popular because they pollute significantly less than their internal-combustion counterparts, and also provide better mileage, thus reducing consumption and wastage of fossil fuels. This makes hybrid cars ideal for India, which adds over 50,000 vehicles to its streets every day. Experiments are going on to have hybrid airplanes as well. We have already seen some microaircrafts flying successfully. One of them in fact, did a complete circle of the earth. Now, people are trying to develop commercial vehicles using the hybrid technology. Global aviation majors like Boeing and Airbus, agencies like NASA, as well as several startups are investing heavily in developing hybrid planes that run on a mixture of jet fuel and electricity, liquefied natural gas or biofuels. Clean tech-based aircraft are not only better for the environment, but could also help improve operating costs for airlines, which could then be passed on to consumers in the form of cheaper tickets. For India, whose aviation sector is set to be the world’s third largest by 2026, this is definitely a trend to watch. At roughly 1000 kilowatthours, India’s per-capita electricity consumption is one-fifteenth that of developed nations. However, with a fast growing GDP, this figure is bound to see a sharp rise in the years to come, especially given that large areas of the country are yet to be connected to the grid.
Narendra Modi has already laid out a vision of covering roofs and terraces of most airports and railway stations with solar panels
MAY 08-14, 2017
If we are able to meet our renewable energy targets, in next 10 years we will stop using coal in our thermal plants
Fortunately, rising electricity tariffs and lack of consistent power supply is driving product research into hybrid gadgets that use less power, or switch to alternate sources like solar when required. Many such appliances and gadgets have entered the market recently—from airconditioners to refrigerators, inverters, water purifiers, heaters, power banks, etc. Reducing reliance on grid power has cost benefits for the consumer, and also reduces indirect pollution. Transporting over 22 million passengers daily, the Indian Railways is the country’s biggest consumer of electricity. In 2014-15, it consumed over 18.25 billion units of electrical energy, at a cost of Rs. 12,635 crore. The cost of diesel was even higher, at Rs. 18,586 crore. Hence, electrification is a key priority for the Railways, since it is likely to contribute to faster expansion of the Indian rail network owing to significant cost savings. Railways therefore, are also focusing on electricity produced via solar power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already laid out a vision of covering roofs and terraces of most airports and railway stations with solar panels. Not only that, if rooftops of train compartments are lined with solar panels, their reliance on traditional energy resources too would go down. According to a report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), by 2025, Indian Railways may source a quarter of its power needs from renewable sources. It’s no secret that India faces a huge sanitation challenge. This has also been articulated in the Swachh Bharat mission, which targets building 110 million toilets across rural India by 2019. And while building enough restrooms is the first step; ensuring adequate water supply is equally important. Given the frequent water problems across the country, hybrid toilets, which drastically minimise water usage, could be a solution. In late 2015, the Indian Railways announced that it had built a prototype hybrid vacuum toilet, which is similar to the ones found in aircraft. Besides, we have laid major emphasis on wind-solar hybrid projects, with an eye on the target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. In the longer term, India’s goal is to achieve 40% of its electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuel based sources by 2030. Alternative power generation could go a long way in making power cleaner, cheaper and more accessible for millions of people. According to a research estimate, if we are able to meet our renewable energy targets, we might not have to use coal in our thermal plants at all in next 10 years.
BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHHAAMI
The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs
In today’s cacophony, it’s very difficult to find answers to the prevailing quandary. We should turn to the teachings of Buddha, whose teachings from 2,500 years ago are still valid
OCIAL intolerance is on rise world over. Uniformity is being seen as the primary condition for betterment of the society. Many political leaders are fanning the fears and insecurities of social groups and gaining political mileage. People are failing to see the bigger picture of such incitement and are succumbing to political manoeuvring. People are forcing their choices of food, clothing, lifestyle, religious, etc on others and noncompliance is leading to violence and turbulence. One of the reasons behind such regressive behaviour is our superficial understanding of self, where we fail to understand what we are and what we are trying to seek. Time is quite opportune to revisit the philosophy of a man, who saw the suffering around him and decided to find the solution within his own mind. The man who left his home as Siddhartha,
but came to be known as Buddha – the enlightened one. His four noble truths about the suffering, its cause, its end and the path leading to its end, presents an unpretentious picture of the world and is relevant in present context. The answers are trying to find lies within the realms of our own minds. These days, many youngsters are fascinated by this idea of self-awareness. The idea of Zen Buddhism, where the focus is on meditation and introspection is gaining ground
with the youth. Another form, Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is practiced by many youngsters. During ten days of Vipassana course, the individual is not supposed to speak and follow the five precepts of Buddha – no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying and no intoxicants. One can easily discard the teachings for being too ideal. But, however utopian it might sound, the end to the pain and misery lies within one’s own control. Sooner, an individual realises this, and seeks the solution within one’s own conscious paradigm rather than forcing it on others, better it is for the mankind. Hermann Hesse has communicated this brilliantly in his book, Siddhartha. “Wisdom cannot be imparted. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR anniversary of the poet Dinkar. After reading the article, I felt like saluting from the bottom of my heart. Today we see that all over the world nations are giving priority to their own languages, whereas the students in India are leaning towards English and even texting Hindi messages by using English keyboard. This is a matter of concern Tanvi Tripathi, Mumbai, Thane
IMPORTANT DICTIONARY The article ‘Sulabh To Launch A New Hindi Dictionary’ is about a very important matter. Dr Pathak made this announcement on the death
GREAT FLIGHT IDEA The article ‘PM Modi Flags off UDAN’ is about a great step taken and will give relief to the citizens living in the region of Himachal Pradesh. I was excited to know that I could reach my home within an hour as I’m from Himachal. But what strikes me is whether people will face difficulty in availability of tickets during the off-season. If
such minor problems are taken care of, this will be a wonderful plan. If my voice can be taken to PM I would like to thank him through you. Vivek Thakur, Shimla, Baluganj ENLIGHTENING ARTICLE The article ‘Small Tea Growers Grow Big in Assam’ opened my eyes. Belonging to a 100% Vaishnav family where tea and coffee are prohibited I knew Assam as a tea plantation only, but this article has changed my views and thoughts towards Assam and tea. I always thought what was great about tea. The article has helped in learning new and unexplored areas in my life. Being from the plains I did not know about plantations in the hills, water requirements, and how the farmers there have found out solutions to local problem. Kumud Gaur, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Please mail your opinion to - email@example.com or Whatsapp at 9868807712
18 Photo Feature
MAY 08-14, 2017
The CMs Meet Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP headquarters sometime back, for a review of their performances
Photos: SIPRA DAS
1. PM Modi being garlanded by BJP chief Amit Shah 2. PM Modi addressing the Chief Ministers 3. BJP President Amit Shah addressing the CMs 4. PM Modi speaking to Home Minister Rajnath Singh 5. Finance Minister Arun Jaitely with Ramlal & MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan
MAY 08-14, 2017
11 12 10
6. BJP workers warmly greeting the Prime Minister 7. Everyone wants to have a glimpse of the PM 8. The MP from Mathura Hema Malini 9. Delhi BJP leaders Shyam Jaju, Manoj Tiwari and Vijendra Gupta 10. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari 11. MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha 12. Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Keshav Prasad Maurya flashing a victory sign
MAY 08-14, 2017
RESEARCH DEFECATION SCIENCE
WHY IT TAKES YOU AND AN ELEPHANT THE SAME TIME New parenthood got fluid dynamics experts thinking about what ends in the diaper and they headed to the zoo and lab to come up with a physics story of defecation
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HE ancient Chinese practiced copromancy, the diagnosis of health based on the shape, size and texture of faeces. So did the Egyptians, the Greeks and nearly every ancient culture. Even today, your doctor may ask when you last had a bowel movement and to describe it in exquisite detail. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to talk about. But that’s where science comes in, because what we don’t like to discuss can still cause harm. Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal infections and other poop-related ailments cost Americans billions of dollars annually. But trying to stem these problems was not our main motivation for trying to figure out some of the physics of defecation. It was something else, much more sinister. FROM PERSONAL OBSERVATION, INTO THE LAB When parenthood hits, it hits hard. One of us is a working dad who survived by learning a new set of skills, one of which was faecal analysis. Years of diaper changes and then potty training turned me from a poo-analysis novice to a wizened connoisseur. My life passes by in a series of images: hard faeces pellets
Bigger animals have longer faeces, and they also
defecate faster. For instance, an elephant defecates at six cms per second, six times a dog’s speed like peas to long faeces like a smooth snake to a puddle of brown water. Unlike the ancients, we didn’t believe that we could predict the future from children’s stool. But we did think it was worth trying to understand where all these shapes come from. Having a laboratory to answer questions about the everyday world is one of the distinct pleasures of being a scientist. As fluid dynamicists, we joined forces with colorectal surgeon Daniel Chu, and two stalwart undergraduates, Candice Kaminski and Morgan LaMarca, who filmed defecation and hand-picked faeces from 34 mammalian species at Zoo Atlanta in order to measure their density and viscosity. We learned that most elephants and other herbivores create “floaters” while most tigers and other carnivores create “sinkers.” Inadvertently, we also ranked faeces from most to least smelly, starting with tiger and rhino and going all the way to the panda. The zoo’s variety of animals provided us with a range of faecal sizes and shapes that served as independent pieces of evidence to
validate our mathematical model of the duration of defecation. We also placed the faeces in a device called a “rheometer,” a precision blender that can measure the properties of liquidlike and solid-like materials such as chocolate and shampoo. Our lab shares two rheometers with Georgia Tech physicist Alberto Fernandez-Nieves. We have since categorised the rheometers as the “clean rheometer” and the “David Hu rheometer” – which has seen its fair share of frog saliva, mucus and faeces. THE SECRET TO THE SPEED What else did we learn? Bigger animals have longer faeces. And bigger animals also defecate at higher speed. For instance, an elephant defecates at a speed of six centimeters per second, nearly six times as fast as a dog. The speed of defecation for humans is in between: two centimeters per second. The relationship between body mass M and defecation time. Symbols represent experimental measurements; dashed line represents best fit to the data; solid line represents the theoretical prediction.
Quick Glance Most ancient cultures practiced copromancy, or poo science Some scientists tried to study where ths poo shapes came from Bigger animals have longer faeces but also higher mucus content
Credit: Patricia Yang. CC BY-ND. Together, this meant that defecation duration is constant across many animal species – around 12 seconds (plus or minus seven seconds) – even though the volume varies greatly. Assuming a bell curve distribution, 66% of animals take between five and 19 seconds to defecate. It’s a surprisingly small range, given that elephant faeces have a volume of 20 litres, nearly a thousand times more than a dog’s, at ten millilitres. How can big animals defecate at such high speed? The answer, we found, was in the properties of an ultra-thin layer of mucus lining the walls of the large intestine. The mucus layer is as thin as human hair, so thin that we could measure it only by weighing faeces as the mucus evaporated. Despite being thin, the mucus is very slippery, more than 100 times less viscous than faeces. During defecation, faeces moves like a solid plug. Therefore, in ideal conditions, the combined length and diameter of faeces is simply determined by the shape of one’s rectum and large intestine. One of the big findings of our study was that faeces extend halfway up the length of the colon from the rectum. A UNIFIED THEORY OF POOPING Putting the length of faeces together with the properties of mucus, we now have a cohesive physics story for how defecation happens. Bigger animals have longer faeces, but also thicker mucus, enabling them to achieve high speeds with the same pressure. Without this mucus layer, defecation might not be possible. Alterations in mucus can contribute to several ailments, including chronic constipation and even infections by bacteria such as C. difficile in the gastrointestinal tract. Beyond simply following our scientific curiosity, our measurements of faeces have also had some practical applications. Our defecation data helped us design an adult diaper for astronauts. Astronauts want to stay in space suits for seven days, but are limited by their diapers. Taking advantage of the viscosity of faeces, we designed a diaper that segregates the faeces away from direct contact with skin. It was a semifinalist in the NASA Space Poop Challenge earlier this year. It just shows that physics and mathematics can be used everywhere, even in your toilet bowl.
MAY 08-14, 2017
OPERATION CLEAN GARBAGE
MMC to hand over segregation and collection of garbage to a new agency
Thane Municipal Corporation to start the facility for destitute street urchins
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
destitute children in their early childhood begin begging on each of these stations. They do not get the facility of education in school nor do they get the opportunity to properly understand life. They sometimes take the wrong path. That’s is why ‘Platform School’ is being set up for them. If this experiment is successful at Mumbra station, then efforts will also be made to make similar schools at other railway stations. Municipal Commissioner Sanjiv Jaiswal says that since right to education has been givem to every child, so they should get education in any circumstances.
avi Mumbai is now showing the way to Mumbai in garbage collection. Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) will now clean the garbage through the same techniques as Navi Mumbai has been doing. According to this, waste deposited in the buildings will be divided into two parts, dry and wet. The boxes will be tagged so that the vehicles carrying this garbage don’t get confused. These vehicles will be tracked so that they do not mix the two. This work will be handed over
CANDIES FOR KIDS FOR USING PUBLIC TOILETS
‘BIKE AMBULANCE’ ON THE ANVIL Inspiration for the new scheme came from Aamir Khan’s ‘Three Idiots’
Quick Glance An NGO in Bhopal is giving free toffees to children who use public toilets The NGO is being backed by Bhopal Municipal Corporation The NGO seeks to make a premanent behavioural change
n a novel initiative to bring about behavioural changes in children towards sanitation and hygiene, an NGO is distributing toffees to children who use public toilets. Backed by the Bhopal Municipal
Corporation (BMC) along with the district administration, the initiative has been a game-changer of sorts to reorient strategies and achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat Mission. “There are over 500 slums across Bhopal. Many children often defecate in the open. Our aim is to motivate these children to use public restrooms and in the process provide them an incentive to grab a sweet,” said Avarutti Samiti, a representative of the NGO.
to a new agency. It will also take the responsibility of collecting waste and reaching the dumping ground in the right manner. It must also be careful that the waste does not spill over on the way. The pilot project, will be implemented in four areas initially - Borivali, Kandivali, Dahisar and Mulund. Dahisar-BorivaliKandivali together produce about one thousand metric tons of garbage, which is a lot given the size of the area. Work has already started in Meera-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, which are outside Mumbai but adjacent to these areas. Elections are due there this year. This scheme has been taking shape fast mainly due to the awareness of the people in the housing societies. Every day in Mumbai more than eight hundred metric tons of waste is collected. Dumping this is a major problem in itself. But it is believed that the new technology will significantly solve this problem. This technique will indicate from which building the garbage has been collected and which building has been left out.
HEALTH EMERGENCY SERVICES
In a unique measure, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation will give toffees to children if they use public toilets
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
‘PLATFORM SCHOOL’ IN MUMBRA
HANE Municipal Corporation has announced a unique arrangement for the education of poor and destitute children who beg for a living. These children normally spend the night sleeping in some corner. They are illtreated because of their soiled clothes. Taking a remarkable initiative, Thane Municipal Corporation decided to make immediate arrangements for the education of these children so that they could become literate. It chose Mumbra railway station for this project and decided to start a ‘platform school’ there. The school will be constructed soon. The Municipal Corporation’s has estimated that at least two dozen
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
nability of ambulances to reach hospitals on time due to frequent road jams has become a recurring problem in Mumbai. Patients often have to suffer serious losses because of this. But the Maharashtra
government has an immediate remedy in the form of ‘bike ambulance’. This experiment was tried by Aamir Khan in the film ‘Three Idiots’, which was very successful and the patient’s life was saved. The government has initially chosen Mumbai to carry out its experiment and has decided to launch 10 ‘bike ambulances’ in June itself. This service will primarily benefit needy, poor patients. Initially it will be available in Kalba Devi, Bhendi Bazar, Sion, Dharavi, Nagpada, Malad, Malavani etc. It will function very well in cases of small accidents. The bikes will be easy to navigate on narrow lanes. It is believed that accidental casualties will be significantly reduced after this.
22 Science & Technology CLIMATE ISSUES FOOD
EDIBLE INSECTS MAY HELP CUT HARMFUL EMISSIONS: STUDY Consuming insects such as crickets and mealworms, instead of beef could help tackle climate change
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
study, published in the journal Global Food Security, showed that replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with crickets and mealworms would cut farmland use by a third, substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. “A mix of small changes in consumer behaviour, such as replacing beef with chicken, reducing food waste and potentially introducing insects more commonly into diets, would help achieve land savings and a more sustainable food system,” said lead author Peter Alexander from the University of Edinburgh in Britain. Further, consuming insects and imitation meat - such as soybeanbased foods like tofu - are the most sustainable as they require the least land and energy to produce. Beef is by far the least sustainable, Alexander said. Lab-grown meat was also found to be no more sustainable than chicken or eggs, requiring an equivalent area of land but using more energy in production. For the study, the team used data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and compared the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food. In addition, halving global consumption of animal products by eating more insects or imitation meat would free up 1,680 million hectares of land, the researchers said.
MAY 08-14, 2017
INDIAN SCIENCE MISSION PANCHGAVYA
S&T MINISTRY BATS FOR VALIDATING PANCHGAVYA India is scientifically validating the benefits of Panchagavya (concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee) INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
HE power of panchgavya is known but there is need for scientific validation through modern technology so that the world can recognise it. The world accepts the power of Ayurveda and Yoga but if we don’t validate it scientifically, it won’t get the deserved recognition,” Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister for science and technology told IANS at the conclusion of a two-day Department of Science and Technology conclave in Kolkata. “The work that is being done across India on Panchgavya, we are validating it scientifically. By only saying that cow urine is good, it is not done,” he said. Panchagavya is an ancient Indian science of mixing five products of the cow: milk, dung, urine, curd and ghee. It is known to be a fabulous soil enricher. In December 2016, IIT-Delhi had organised a national brainstorming-cum-
consultative workshop on “Scientific Validation and Research on Panchgavya” (Svarop). It was supported by DST, DBT and CSIR under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said a consortium of ministries would be
OCEANOGRAPHY OXYGEN LEVEL
OXYGEN LEVEL IN WORLD’S OCEANS DIPPING
An island chain had once stood up to 1,000 metres above the sea has over the years done underwater INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
he amount of dissolved oxygen contained in the water of oceans across the globe -- an important measure of ocean health -- has been declining for more than 20 years, says a study. For the study, the researchers looked at a historic dataset of ocean information stretching back more than 50 years and searched for long term trends and patterns. Oxygen levels started dropping in the 1980s as ocean temperatures began to climb, said the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “The oxygen in oceans has dynamic properties, and its concentration can change with natural climate variability,” said lead researcher Taka Ito, Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta, US. “The important aspect of our result is that the rate of global oxygen loss appears to be exceeding the level of nature’s random variability,” Ito said. Falling oxygen levels in water have the potential to impact the habitat of marine organisms worldwide and in recent years led to more frequent
Quick Glance Panchagavya is an ancient Indian science that has many benefits Cow milk, dung, urine, curd and ghee mixed form panchagavya The governments wants to validate this using scienitif measures
involved in establishing the scientific basis of different aspects of Panchgavya’s usage. Sharma also clarified the validation had nothing to do with the belief of the “sacred cow. The material is same but its usage is different. There is nothing to do with sacred cow. Its a material resource, whether you look at it as a construction material, or a fuel. “You use it as a fuel (cow dung is used in villages) but how do we get better fuel out of it, how we do we get cleaner fuel out of it? “Because of the way we burn it, it causes pollution, so you can not get away from the reality of pollution or the reality of the use of that material,” Sharma added.
Quick Glance The levels of dissolved oxygen in oceans has been dipping This alarming change has been noticed for over the last 20 years A scientific study says that this is happening due to climate change
“hypoxic events” that killed or displaced populations of fish, crabs and many other organisms. Researchers have for years anticipated that rising water temperatures would affect the amount of oxygen in the oceans, since warmer water is capable of holding less dissolved gas than colder water. But the data showed that ocean oxygen was falling more rapidly than the corresponding rise in water temperature. “The trend of oxygen falling is about two to three times faster than what we predicted from the decrease of solubility associated with the ocean warming,” Ito said. “This is most likely due to the changes in ocean circulation and mixing associated with the heating of the near-surface waters and melting of polar ice,” Ito added.
MAY 08-14, 2017
Science & Technology
UNIQUE QUANTUM COMPUTING DR RAHUL KUMAR MISHRA
The IBM quantum-computing service will not immediately outperform cvonventional computers, but will lead to a new market for quantum machines
OPING that if you build it, they will come, IBM plans to roll out the world’s first commercial ‘universal’ quantum-computing service some time this year, the company announced on 6 March. Named IBM Q, the system will be accessible over the Internet for a fee. It will not outperform conventional computers, at least not yet. But the company says that the system will be crucial in developing a market for future quantum machines that can handle complex calculations currently out of reach of classical computers. The cloud service is the latest salvo in the heated battle to build a useful quantum computer. CLOUD CLARITY The project builds on know-how developed around IBM’s existing cloud computing service: Quantum Experience, which anyone can access for free. That system went online in May 2016 and recently received an upgraded user interface. “Having it up for ten months has taught us a lot,” says physicist Jerry Chow, who leads the quantum-computing laboratory at IBM’s research centre in Yorktown Heights, New York. It has provided a way for researchers around the world to practise building quantum algorithms without access to their own quantum computer. IBM’s overall strategy is to build “a community and an ecosystem” around its technology. The company is being tight-lipped about when exactly IBM Q will come online, saying only that it will happen this year. It is also not disclosing how powerful the system will be, or how much it will cost to access. The company says that it has already lined up its first clients, although it would not identify them, saying only that several commercial partners will test and develop their own applications for the machine. QUANTUM COMPETITION Quantum computers harness the counterintuitive properties of subatomic physics, in which bits of information — called quantum bits, or qubits — can assume multiple states simultaneously, rather than simply representing a 0 or 1, as bits do in classical computing. Starting in the 1990s, theoretical physicists, including some at IBM, have developed qubit-based
Quick Glance IBM plans to roll out the world’s first commercial ‘universal’ quantumcomputing service The cloud service is the latest salvo in the heated battle to build a useful quantum computer The project builds on know-how developed around IBM’s existing cloud computing service
The company says that it has already lined up its first clients, although it would not identify any of them
algorithms that in theory could perform certain tasks exponentially faster than classical computers can. But in practice, getting enough qubits to work together to run any such algorithm — in what is known as a universal quantum computer — has proved extremely challenging. Two technologies have emerged as front-runners for handling qubits. One traps individual ions in a vacuum using electric and magnetic fields; the other incorporates qubits into microscopic superconducting circuits kept at a few degrees above absolute zero. IBM has bet heavily on the latter approach. In recent years, Google has also entered the fray, establishing a superconductingqubit lab in Santa Barbara, California. Google, IBM and a handful of other companies and academic labs have announced aggressive road maps for building machines that can outperform classical computers. But these machines would need to run on roughly 50 qubits each. The current record is about 20 qubits, barely enough for simple computations. PRACTICAL MATTERS So when IBM rolled out Quantum Experience — which runs on five superconducting qubits — some did not see the point. “A lot of folks looked at it as a publicity stunt,” says physicist Christopher Monroe, who runs an ion-trap laboratory
at the University of Maryland in College Park. “But I think it’s a really big deal.” Even though it is not a state-of-theart machine, IBM had to overcome a number of challenges to get Quantum Experience online and make it usable for researchers who are not necessarily physicists and have never worked on a quantum computer before. That included creating a system that functions without the constant attention of the physicists who built it. “Putting the machine on the cloud is an obvious thing to do,” Monroe says. “But it takes a lot of work in getting a system to that level.” Having access to a system such as Quantum Experience or IBM Q also means that researchers around the world could start working on the unique challenges of quantum programming. This is very different from conventional coding, and requires programmers to understand and adapt to the limitations of physical qubits. In principle, a five-qubit machine is easy to simulate using a classical computer — even a laptop, Monroe says. But real qubits are not so simple. “The real challenge is whether you can make your algorithm work on real hardware that has imperfections,” says Isaac Chuang, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Chow says that IBM Q will have more qubits than Quantum Experience, but the company has not yet settled on a specific number.
CLOUD ERA Quantum Experience has so far attracted about 40,000 users from more than 100 countries. Chuang, for example, used it in an online, graduate-level class on quantum computing that he taught late last year, so that students could practise programming an actual quantum computer. The system’s users have performed 275,000 experiments and produced about 15 research papers. Among them is one in which a team led by Monroe and his collaborators compared the performance of IBM’s superconducting machine with that of a five-qubit ion-trap machine at Monroe’s lab. The company’s quantum cloud service was faster, but Monroe’s machine was more precise. Monroe has co-founded a start-up called IonQ that expects to roll out a cloud-based, trapped-ion quantum service, but he won’t speculate on when. Google is planning to do the same with its own superconductingqubit machines, but only after it has made a working 50-qubit computer, says John Martinis, who heads the company’s quantum-computing laboratory in Santa Barbara. Meanwhile, D-Wave, a company based in Burnaby, Canada, has had a quantumcomputing service on the cloud since 2010. “The core of our strategy is really gearing towards the cloud access model,” says Jeremy Hilton, senior vice president of systems. But D-Wave’s machines are not ‘universal’ computers, and can only run a limited range of quantum algorithms. Nevertheless, several research groups have used it for their projects. (The author cracked IIT-JEE and secured a position in the merit list. He did his PhD in chemistry from Israel and now he is pursuing research in antibacterial agents and industrially important chemicals)
MAY 08-14, 2017
HARD KD: LADY KHALI FROM BAGHPAT The girl from Jind dreamt of turning pro and tweaking the arms around of women wrestlers internationally. And her husband and in-laws have helped shape that dream Quick Glance
Kavita always wanted to become a wrestler, though her own family restricted her to just lift weights
HE makes chapattis with ease, and with those same hands knocks out professional women wrestlers within minutes in the ring. Known as “Lady Khali”, Kavita Dalal Grover is the first Indian woman professional wrestler to be participate in the World Wrestling Entertainment Championship in Dubai, which started in the last week of April. A Gold medalist in SAARC Games 2016, Kavita is four-time National weightlifting champion in 2007-8 and then again in 2013-14. Impressed by her physique and wrestling tactics, the world renowned Indianborn WWF wrestler Khali invited her in his show “The Great Khali Returns” and advised her to turn professional. Within no time she became one of Khali’s most favourite. BULBUL CHALLENGE Kavita shot into limelight when she accepted the challenge thrown by CWE Champion Bulbul. “It was my first professional wrestling fight in the ring. I refused to wear shorts and jumped into the ring with SalwarKurta. The organisers and even the audience were shocked to see me fighting in salwar-kurta. Within 10 minutes I won the bout,” she recalls. Someone in the audience made a video of that fight, and viral it went. The video of a woman wrestler wining the bout in uncomfortable salwar-kurta created a stir within the wrestling world. When Khali saw that video, he recognised her potential and sent her an invitation immediately. After meeting Khali and taking tips from him, Kavita never looked back. “He is my ideal and Guru. I have a great respect for him,” says Kavita. Khali gave her opportunities to fight in international events organised by him. In her first ever contest, she knocked out famous American woman wrestler Natalia in just 12 minutes. Later, she won contests against two other American women wrestlers, making them bite
One video-gone-viral of her matting a rival even while dressed in salwar-kurta grabbed Khali’s attention With support from her husband and in-laws from Baghpat, she is now the buzzword: Hard KD
Her daily menu: six eggs, half a dozen bananas, two litres of milk, 30 soaked almonds, nine pieces of bread with jam, butter and cheese, plus 100 gms of peanuts, and a kg of mutton or fish
the dust in the ring in less than 17 minutes. That gave Kavita international exposure. But since all these contest were part of “The Great Khali Returns’ show, she started her preparations to fulfill her dream of fighting in world championships. SWEET DREAMS “My dream came true sooner than expected. I am the only Indian
woman professional wrestler who will be contesting in WWE Championship in Dubai. My husband and family members are so happy that I have achieved what I was aiming for in life. I am sure that I will make my country proud and bring the title home from Dubai,” she claimed. But Kavita’s journey was not so easy. Born in a village in Jind, Haryana, in a lower middleclass
family, her parents initially hesitated when she showed keen interest in becoming a wrestler. But they gave her permission to be a weightlifter. She would practice for hours with iron rods and weights back home. Seeing her strength to lift weights, she was later allowed to join a camp where she got professional tips and she became the national weightlifting champion four times. But her passion and dreams were still to jump into the ring and show the world that Indian women can also dominate in international events. “After my marriage in 2009, my husband and in-laws always encouraged me to join the international circuit and make the country proud,” claims she. Her husband Gaurav Tomar from Baghpat is in Shasastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the couple have a son. WEDDED SUPPORT “When someone calls her Lady Khali we feel so proud. My parents and I are always with Kavita to continue her passion and bring more laurels to our country and family,” says Gaurav. Kavita remains out of the country most of time and misses her son and family. But even after hogging international headlines, Kavita remains down to earth when home, and acts as best as she can to give her very ‘strong shoulders’ (pun intended) to run the home, as a mother and a daughter-in-law. “Whenever I am at home in Baghpat, I make it a point to cook meals for the entire family, do all home chores including feeding to
MAY 08-14, 2017
KENYA EDUCATING GIRLS
CAMEL’S PAY SCHOOL FEES? Camels are everything in the desert nations of Africa. But something’s changed, for the poorest, drought-hit families seem determined to get their girls educated Quick Glance animals and making cow-dung-cake,” claims she. To maintain her physique and stamina, Kavita follows a strict exercise regimen in the gym and in her diet chart. After running, exercise and aerobics, the woman now known as “Hard KD” internationally, starts the day with six eggs, half a dozen bananas, two litres ofmilk, 30 soaked almonds, nine pieces of bread with jam, butter and cheese and 100 gms of peanuts. For lunch she takes four to six chapattis, lots of green vegetables and salad, rice and arhar daal with 500 gms of yoghurt. Before going for the practice in the gym, she takes a full glass of milk with coffee and almonds fried in desi ghee. After finishing at the gym, she takes 85 to 100 grams of canned protein and vitamins. She loves both veg and non-veg. At dinner she eats about 500 to 1 kg of mutton / fish / chicken or paneer (cottage cheese) with chapattis. Before going to bed, she will have a glass of milk and Glucose. INDIAN GRACE Kavita claims that she is confident of winning the WWE Championship in Dubai. At the time of going to print, the tourney was still on. “I have done a lot of hard work to prepare myself physically and mentally to take on international wrestlers. During practice sessions I mainly concentrated on correcting even the smallest mistakes I make. To charge my body and mind, I regularly do yoga to keep a balance between the two,” points she. Once jumped into the ring donning uncomfortable salwarkurta, Kavita is very conservative when it comes to saving the Indian grace and following the country’s traditions. Despite pressure from organisers, she refuses to wear biknis, tights and even the least sexiest dresses. “I always prefer dresses designed by me for the ring. I usually wear full leather tight pants,” Kavita says.
Droughts lead to the early marriage of girls, as families look for dowry payments to protect livestock losses This time, herder families are instead selling livestock and using the money to keep girls in school Responding to drought by keeping girls in school is far from an obvious coping strategy
THOMPSON REUTERS FOUNDATION
ORMALLY droughts lead to the early marriage of girls, as Africa’s pastoralist families look for dowry payments to help cushion the impact of livestock losses. But this time, something unusual is happening: Hard-hit herder families are instead selling drought-threatened livestock and using the money - along with government cash payments - to keep girls in school. “It is no longer profitable to exchange our young daughters with livestock, because when the animals die of drought, it is like we have lost the girl,” Joyce Apus Ipapai, a mother of eight from Lorengelup village, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her 18-year-old daughter, Mercy Lopungre, is one of 150 girls still in classrooms at Nakurio Girls Secondary school this year, despite the terrible drought. Next year the teenager will take the final exams at the school, the only girls’ secondary in Turkana’s Kerio sub-county, a region with one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the country, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Responding to drought by keeping girls in school is far from an obvious coping strategy for poor families like Ipapai’s. Her family lost its entire herd of 60 goats to the last brutal drought in 2011. Normally girls in the area are married off well before they reach 18 years, often at times of drought. But since 2013, Ipapai’s family has received cash transfers under the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP), implemented by the
government through the National Drought Management Authority. The programme gives 5,400 Kenyan shillings ($52) every two months to the poorest and most vulnerable households in northern Kenya – and lets them decide what to do with the money. More than 38,000 households in Turkana County receive the payments, officials said. Ipapai has kept back some of that money – at points burying it in the ground without her husband’s knowledge – to try to keep her daughter in school. Other money she has invested in starting a kiosk selling Turkana baskets, beans and other food. The 39-year-old mother is not the only one who has used social safety net payments to rethink what resilience to drought should look like. In recent years, other parents in the area also have decided to forgo marrying their teenage daughter to win dowries, instead relying on social payments to get them through droughts and investing in their daughters’ education and future employment prospects as a new more resilient form of savings. The transition to keeping girls in school has not always been an easy one. When Lopungre passed her primary school exams, in 2014, her father began making plans for her marriage. “That was the main plan, but before marriage arrangements commenced I dug out the money from the ground and, with something in my hands, I convinced my husband that it was time for our daughter to proceed with her education,” the girl’s mother said. With memories of the animals that
succumbed to the 2011 drought still fresh, her husband finally was persuaded and offered to sell two camels to support his wife’s idea. As a result, Lopungre became one of the 35 girls who started at the new Nakurio Girls Secondary school in 2015. Today the school has 150 girls, nearly all of them from the Turkana community. “People in this county are slowly changing their mentality. Unlike what happened just 10 years ago, where girls were forcefully married off in exchange with livestock, the same parents are now willing to sell the very livestock in order to pay school fees for their daughters,” said Missionary Alfred Areman, the principal at the school and a clergyman at a local Catholic church. According to Leonard Logilai, who has been the administrative chief in Lorengelup since 1997, many girls started school following the 2011 drought that consumed most of the community’s livestock. “Some (families) have been selling the surviving livestock to pay school fees, while others use part of the HSNP money to settle the fees arrears,” he said. The switch comes on the back of tireless campaigning on the value of keeping girls in school by the church, local officials and humanitarian organisations. “I have always told my people that when you educate a girl child, you gain double because apart from adding value to her life, she will still get married, through which the parents will still get the much-wanted dowry,” said Logilai. “Once a few girls get it right, they will become role models to others, including their parents, and that will help us keep up the campaign to promote girl child education in this area,” he said.
MAY 08-14, 2017
CLIMATE CHANGE THE LAKES
LAKES AND HEATING THREAT Scientists have been too focused on studying climate change in terms of seas and oceans, but the lakes across the world are easier barometres
BOUT 40 kilometers off Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, in the waters of Lake Superior, rises the stone lighthouse of Stannard Rock. Since 1882, it has warned sailors in Great Lakes shipping lanes away from a dangerous shoal. But today, Stannard Rock also helps scientists monitor another danger: climate change. Since 2008, a meteorological station at the lighthouse has been measuring evaporation rates at Lake Superior. And while weather patterns can change from year to year, Lake Superior appears to be behaving in ways that, to scientists, indicate long-term climate change: Water temperatures are rising and evaporation is up, which leads to lower water levels in some seasons. That’s bad news for hydropower plants, navigators, property owners, commercial and recreational fishers and anyone who just enjoys the lake. WHAT IT MEANS When most people think of the physical effects of climate change, they picture melting glaciers, shrinking sea ice or flooded coastal towns. But observations like those at Stannard Rock are vaulting lakes into the vanguard of climate science. Year after year, lakes reflect the long-term changes of their environment in their physics, chemistry and biology. “They’re sentinels,” says John Lenters, a limnologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Globally, observations show that many lakes are heating up — but not all in the same way or with the same ecological consequences. In eastern Africa, Lake Tanganyika is warming relatively slowly, but its fish populations are plummeting, leaving people with less to eat. In the U.S. Upper Midwest, quicker-warming lakes are experiencing shifts in the relative abundance of fish species that support a billion-dollar-plus recreational industry. And at high global latitudes, cold lakes normally covered by ice in the winter are seeing less ice year after year — a change that could affect all parts of the food web, from algae to freshwater seals. LAKE LAYERS Lakes and ponds cover about 4 per cent of the land surface not already covered
by glaciers. That may sound like a small fraction, but lakes play a key role in several planetary processes. Lakes cycle carbon between the water’s surface and the atmosphere. They give off heattrapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, while simultaneously tucking away carbon in decaying layers of organic muck at lake bottoms. They bury nearly half as much carbon as the oceans do. Yet the world’s more than 100 million lakes are often overlooked in climate simulations. That’s surprising, because lakes are far easier to measure than
oceans. Because lakes are relatively small, scientists can go out in boats or set out buoys to survey temperature, salinity and other factors at different depths and in different seasons. A recent survey of 235 lakes worldwide found that from 1985 to 2009 most warmed while several cooled. On average, the 235 lakes in the study warmed at a rate of 0.34 degrees Celsius per decade between 1985 and 2009. Some warmed much faster, like Finland’s Lake Lappajärvi, which soared nearly 0.9 degrees each decade. A few even cooled, such as Blue
Year after year, lakes reflect the long-term changes of their environment in their physics, chemistry and their biological resources
Cypress Lake in Florida. Puzzlingly, there was no clear trend in which lakes warmed and which cooled. The most rapidly warming lakes were scattered across different latitudes and elevations. Even some that were nearly side by side warmed at different rates from one another — Lake Superior, by far the largest of the Great Lakes, is warming much more rapidly, at a full degree per decade, than others in the chain, although Huron and Michigan are also warming fast. “Even though lakes are experiencing the same weather, they are responding
in different ways,” says Stephanie Hampton, an aquatic biologist at Washington State University in Pullman. Such variability makes it hard to pin down what to expect in the future. But researchers are starting to explore factors such as lake depth and lake size (intuitively, it’s less teeth-chattering to swim in a small pond in early summer than a big lake). Depth and size play into stratification, the process through which some lakes separate into layers of different temperatures. Freshwater is densest at 4° C, just above freezing. In spring,
Quick Glance Lakes cover four per cent of the entire landmass that is not already under glacial cover They are prone to climate change, which affect not just their flora and fauna but fishing industry Some recent studies have been conducted to see how lake heating is causing ecological damage
using the Great Lakes as an example, the cold surface waters begin to warm; when they reach 4°, they become dense enough to sink. The lake’s waters mix freely and become much the same temperature at all depths. SEASONAL CYCLE Some lakes stratify twice a year, separating into layers of different temperatures. Surface waters become warm enough (in spring) or cool enough (in autumn) to reach 4° Celsius, the temperature at which these waters become dense and sink toward the lake’s bottom, mixing the waters. In summer and winter, the layers separate. Lake Superior is stratifying earlier each year, giving its surface waters more time to heat up in summer, contributing to its long-term warming. Lake Superior is warming so quickly because it is stratifying earlier and earlier each year. It used to separate into its summer layers during mid- to late July, on average. But rising air temperatures mean that it is now stratifying about a month earlier — giving the shallow surface layers much more time to get toasty each summer. “If you hit that starting point in June, now you’ve got all summer to warm up that top layer,” Lenters says. Siberia’s Lake Baikal, for example, sees three to four weeks less ice cover than it did a century ago. That shift could affect Baikal seals (Pusa sibirica), the world’s only freshwater seals, which depend on ice cover to birth and shelter their pups each spring. There are no hard data on seal declines, in part because annual surveys of seal populations ceased in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union broke apart. “But if the ice duration is too short, then the pups may be exposed to predators before they’re ready,” Hampton says. (Courtesy: Science News)
MAY 08-14, 2017
DIAMOND CITY’S RESILIENCE REPORT The port town of Surat has finalised its Resilient City project under the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100RC
Besides, fortune seekers are constantly settling in the cash-rich city. But affordable housing is a problem. The city has a limited transport system; that is, all added up, it is a cakewalk to disaster. It is in the wake of recognizing this fact that Yagnik’s role becomes primal. In his early 30s, the Mumbai native moved to Surat, which handles 90 per cent of the world’s rough diamond cutting and polishing.
(UPPCB), district administration and the Moradabad Municipal Corporation to get the river bank cleaned of the e-waste. Ramganga West River originates from Doodhatoli ranges in the district of Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand state of India. The Ramganga River flows to south west from Kumaun Himalaya. It is a tributary of the river Ganges, originates from the high altitude zone of 800m-900m. Ramganga flows by the
Corbett National Park near Ramnagar of Nainital district from where it descends upon the plains. Moradabad, Bareilly, Badaun, Shahjahanpur and Hardoi are situated on its banks. Earlier in April, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had made a surprise inspection in Moradabad and found several illegal e-waste industries operating and polluting Ramganga. The joint inspection team report of the CPCB, UPPCB and the Union Environment Ministry also informed the tribunal that a number of “sealed” and “closed” e-waste industry were operating in densely populated residential areas of Uttar Pradesh. The report further said that the electricity department had failed to disconnect the connections of 27 illegal units. According to reports, India is the fifth-largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste annually.
Surat’s economy is based largely on diamond cutting and textiles, with all raw materials imported This could make it vulnerable to economic shocks and hence Surat needs to expand other industries The port city is prone to sea level rise and saline ingression has already affected drinking water
outlines how to achieve the city’s vision of “healthy, just, economically viable and environmentally sound” communities
AMLESH YAGNIK is man with a designation that is complete new to corporate board rooms: he is the Chief Resilience Officer of Diamond City Surat, and under him, Surat has become the first city to publish its strategy under the 100RC project. That project of creating 100 resilient cities (RC) under funding from the
Rockefeller Foundation, is aimed at ensuring a resilient, robust and environmentally sustainable city. There are reasons for this scare. In the 1960, Surat, the port town, was settled over just a little above 8 square kilometres on the banks of the Tapi River. By 2009, it has spread to over 326 kilometres. Being by the sea, it is prone to sea level rise, and salt water ingression into its water sources is also a problem.
NGT: RAMGANGA TO BE CLEANSED The green tribunal has banned all illegal polluting activity in Moradabad, especially from the e-waste industry SSB BUREAU
ITH an aim to save river Ganga and its tributaries from e-waste dumping by several illegal industries mostly around Moradabad, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last week announced Rs. one lakh fine on violators. The bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said the hazardous e-waste containing heavy metal was polluting the river Ramganga -- a tributary of the Ganga. “Huge quantity of hazardous e-waste generated from various industries is being disposed of in powder form at the
Quick Glance Ramganga West River originates from Doodhatoli ranges in Pauri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand Justice Swatanter Kumar’s bench said the e-waste containing heavy metal was polluting Ramganga A number of “closed” e-waste industry were operating in densely populated residential areas of U.P.
banks of Ramganga in Moradabad,” the bench said. The tribunal also formed a committee comprising officials from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board
In the two decades since, the engineer has set up a technology consultancy and a clean energy management firm, raised a family, and come to regard Surat as home. Now he is the city’s first chief resilience officer, tasked with making the industrial hub “cohesive, robust and sustainable”. It will not be an easy task. Surat, home to nearly 6 million people, is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. The Tapi River is the city’s main water source but its quality is deteriorating. Meanwhile the industries that made Surat’s name could lead to its undoing, experts warn.“This city is thriving, and it’s only because of the growth of diamonds and textiles”, Yagnik explains. But the raw materials are not produced in India with much of Surat’s diamond supply coming from Africa and that makes the city highly vulnerable to outside shocks, he emphasised. “Economic resilience is a prime pillar for us,” said the former head of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Two weeks ago, Surat unveiled a document outlining how to achieve its vision of “healthy, just, economically viable and environmentally sound” communities. The strategy explores how the city can diversify its economy, to bolster it against any downturn in diamonds and textiles, by developing policies to support its IT industry, promoting smaller businesses, and providing skills training.
The Surat RC document
28 Book Review
MAY 08-14, 2017
WHY GANDHI STILL MATTERS
“Why is it that Gandhi is quoted more often than Churchill or any other figure from his time?” Gandhi’s dedication to the cause of India’s freedom meant he could not give adequate time to his family, but he ‘was human’, says Rajmohan Gandhi
INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE
AJMOHAN GANDHI, noted intellectual and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, says the “all-demanding and remarkably effective effort” of the Father of the Nation to realise his goal came at a price and he should have devoted more time and attention to his wife and sons. “He should have given more time and attention to his wife and sons, and listened more to them. A flawless Gandhi would have been a superb husband and a superb father, in addition to being the astonishing friend and inspirer he was to Indians of every kind,” Rajmohan Gandhi told IANS in an interview ahead of the release of his new book, “Why Gandhi Still Matters”. “But he was human. He could not resist an all-consuming passion to liberate an enslaved India, and to make all Indians friendly and if possible forgiving to one another,” he added. Thus, on the flip side, members of
The atuhor analyses Gandhi’s commitment to
democracy, secularism, plurality, equality and his true gift to the world: satyagraha Gandhi’s family were often hurt, and that realisation was a wound in his heart too, the author said. The new book appraises Gandhi and his legacy by examining some of his most famous and often most controversial ideas, beliefs, actions, successes and failures. The author analyses Gandhi’s commitment to democracy, secularism, pluralism, equality and non-violence, his gift to the world of satyagraha -- the key strategies in his fight for India’s freedom -- his
opposition to caste discrimination and his equations with Winston Churchill, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and B.R. Ambedkar, as also his failings as a human being and family man. But what are his views on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in contemporary times? “If in our polarised land, a heart free of enmity -- a heart that embraces all Indians -- is irrelevant, then Gandhi is of no value to us. If a pro-poor commitment by the elite is irrelevant, then we can cheerfully ignore him. If
Quick Glance He could not escape an all-consuming pasion for freeing enslaved India Family members were often hurt, but that equally pained Gandhi This book deals with his most famous and controversial ideas
a relentless pursuit of self-interest will make India happy, then we need not recall Gandhi. “We can also ask ourselves, why does the world remember Gandhi as it does not remember any of his contemporaries from any part of the world? Why is Gandhi quoted far oftener than Churchill or (Franklin) Roosevelt or any other figure from his time,” the author asked. He said that two wonderful IndianAmericans, Dr Akshay Shah of New Jersey and Dr Barindra Desai of Pennsylvania, wanted him to recall some central aspects of Gandhi’s life and thought for a multiracial and multinational audience, which ultimately led to this book. The central message of Gandhi’s life, for the author, is to be true to one’s conscience. “That to me is his life’s central message. And since I want to be faithful to my mind and my conscience, I do not feel pressure in being his grandson. I do not ask myself whether I am living up to his expectations or to what others may expect from a grandson of his,” he added. Asked to share his views on Gandhi’s perspectives on secularism and democracy and how his lessons can help foster brotherhood in these increasingly divisive times, the author pointed out that in 1909 -- 108 years go -- he said categorically in “Hind Swaraj” that “religion and nationality are two distinct things”, and that “no successful or modern nation can afford to mingle with the two”. “It was a stand from which he never wavered. By the time he was killed in 1948, he had ensured -- with the wholehearted cooperation of leaders like ( Jawaharlal) Nehru, (Sardar) Patel and Ambedkar, and the bulk of the Indian people -- that at least in its statute our republic would be secular and impartial,” the author noted. When asked whether, in his own words, “power-hungry politicians” have let Bapu down, he responded: “We need not ask whether powerhungry politicians or any others have let Bapu down. We should all ask ourselves whether we have been loyal to our own principles. Our politicians should, of course, ask themselves whether they have put themselves or the country first.”
MAY 08-14, 2017
GOD’S OWN KITCHEN
THE INSPIRING STORY OF AKSHAYA PATRA The NGO runs the world’s largest mid-day meal programme for school students and runs 27 kitchens across 11 states in the country
eople often asked Madhu Pandit — “Why did you leave IIT to become a monk?” Had he followed the conventional path, Madhu Pandit would have been a big-shot in some large corporation. Instead, he was the ‘CEO’ of a large temple. Guided by his guru AC Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada, propelled forward by the Divine Plan, a chance meeting with Mohandas Pai inspired Madhu Pandit to use the spare capacity in the ISKCON kitchen. To start a mid-day meal programme for 1,500 children in and around Bangalore. Today, Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO-led mid-day meal programme, with 27 kitchens across 11 states. In spite of the numerous hurdles it has had to face, it serves hot meals to 1.6 million students in government schools every day during term time. This is the exciting story of spiritualists and capitalists coming together to launch a unique start-up. And taking it to scale a ‘Made in India’ success story using the head, the heart and a whole lot of soul. But the pitfalls have been many, and just one will suffice here. Way back in 2004, Akshaya Patra had attempted to start operations in Delhi, but despite the backing of telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal, “there were vested interests and tangled threads of bureaucracy which had made it impossible to function”, writes Rashmi Bansal, an author, entrepreneur and youth expert who has under her belt seven bestselling books on entrepreneurship that have sold more than a million copies
Quick Glance Madhu Pandit left the IIT to become a monk under AC Bhaktivedanta His first attempts to start the kitchens faced red tape barriers Akshay Patra served its twobillionth meal in May 2016
Harvard Business School published a study on
Akshay Patra on translating the language of poverty into the language of business and have been translated into 12 languages. Some years later, the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit invited Akshaya Patra to start a kitchen and feed 2.5 lakh children daily. However, land was not forthcoming even though the Lieutenant Governor was “encouraging”. Then came the question of permissions being sought and even though Dixit threw her weight behind them, they weren’t forthcoming and she finally threw up her hands, saying: “You don’t understand Delhi...” That was the signal to the fixers to step in and demand a cut for “getting your work done”. The organisation stood its ground and secured initial approval to feed 30,000 children for three months. There was the
question of the menu with the one set by the Delhi government costing Rs 17 per meal, against the countrywide norm of Rs 7. “This was an unhealthy situation -- for the children and for Akshaya Patra... a decision was taken to close down the kitchen. This was one time that Akshaya Patra had failed miserably,” writes Bansal, an economics graduate from Mumbai’s Sophia College who also holds an MBA degree from IIM-Ahmedabad. The organisation faced similar hurdles in other parts of the country too, notably in Vrindavan and Bhilai, and the state of Odisha, where any number of sharks wanted to meet “Mr Patra” till it was explained to the mystified enterprise that this was a common surname in the state.
And yet, Akshaya Patra has soldiered on, backed as it is by individuals like Madhu Pandit Dasa, President of ISKCON, Bengaluru; Mohandas Pai, the then CFO of Infosys and now Chairman of the Manipal Global Education Group; Chanchalapathi Dasa, VicePresident of ISKCON, Bengaluru; and Raj Kondur, a Harvard Business School graduate and venture capitalist -- and not to forget Sudha Murthy, the wife of Infosys cofounder Narayana Murthy and an evangelist in her own right. Little wonder then that an A.C. Nielson report “highlighted the positive impact of Akshaya Patra on education outcomes. The meal was ‘more than a meal’. It was an incentive to come to school, to stay in school and study better”, the book says. Harvard Business School “published a case study on Akshaya Patra, catapulting the organisation onto the global stage, translating the language of poverty into the language of business”. Never has a hot meal been skipped in the last 16 years and today, Akshaya Patra serves kids in 13,800 government schools across 11 states from 27 kitchens -- recording its two billionth meal in May 2016. “The dream is to reach five million children (daily) by 2020,” Bansal writes, quoting Mohandas Pai as saying: “We pray to God... that he gives us the strength every single day.” To put that prayer in perspective, here’s a sobering thought: “The total number of mid-day meals served in India each day is 120 crore (1.2 billion), across 12.65 lakh (government) schools. Most of them receive substandard meals,” Bansal writes.
MAY 08-14, 2017
IRENE MOYO IS HAPPY!
The biogas digester set up in her school means she does not have to get up at dawn, chop trees and wheelbarrow the wood back to run her school kitchen
RENE MOYO, a cook at Phangani Vocational Training Centre, no longer wakes up at dawn to prepare breakfast for the students. Until the institution installed a manure-fed biogas digester three years ago, the mother of five spent two hours a day collecting firewood in the nearby mountains to meet the school’s heating and cooking needs. “It was very exhausting ... because of the distance to the mountain, chopping firewood and pushing the wheelbarrow,” said 43 year-old Moyo, who works in Matabeleland South province in southwestern Zimbabwe. “It became much tougher when it was wet, as firewood produced a lot of smoke which affected my eyes,” she said.The biogas stove lights instantly and is quicker at boiling sugar beans, eggs, sorghum porridge and tea for the 200 students. She no longer worries about making the lunch hour and dinner schedule. There is also no shortage of student and staff volunteers to feed cow dung into the digester, as the payoff is warm bathing water on chilly mornings. COSTLY SOLUTION Biogas – the process of producing
energy by fermenting waste – is gaining in popularity around the world as a way of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, cutting deforestation and providing cheap, reliable and easy-toproduce local energy. It has proved an attraction in rural areas, beyond national power grids, where animal dung is plentiful but firewood is becoming harder to access. But a $3 million project to roll out biogas across Zimbabwe, set up by the government in partnership with development organisations SNV and Hivos International, has had a low take-up in most rural areas. Cost is a problem, in a country where 20 per cent of the population live on less than $1.90 a day. Over the last five years, about 40 digesters have been built at farms and institutions, and some 250 home units well short of the project’s aim of 7,400 home digesters by 2017. “Considering the high costs associated with constructing biogas
digesters for many rural households, the uptake has been good,” said Blessing Jonga, biogas expert at the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. He said home units can cost $800 and institutional units $2,000 or more, with cement the biggest expense. People also have to buy stoves, lamps and refrigerators designed to run on biogas. Despite the challenges, Zimbabwe is pushing to scale up biogas use, said Dumisani Nyoni, Matabelelend North Provincial officer for the Agriculture Ministry. “We realise that with shortages of electricity in Zimbabwe and Africa in general, there is need to think (of) renewable energy and promote the use of biogas and solar systems,” Nyoni said. CUTTING COSTS One way to cut costs and expand biogas use is to train local technicians to make biogas stoves, lamps and other equipment, said Kuda Mudokwani, a researcher specialising in climate change and disaster risk reduction at the Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, a non-governmental organisation in Matabeleland South. “Right now biogas products, even refrigerators, come from China but they can be modelled and produced here... This will also create jobs for our people,” said Mudokwani. People in rural areas can mould their own bricks and crush quarry stone which will also reduce the costs of building a digester, said Mudokwani. “This way, we will beat
Since 2012, 40 digesters have been built at farms and institutions, well short of the project’s aim of 7,400 home digesters by 2017
Quick Glance Biogas as an energy alternative in poor countries in Africa and is becoming increasingly popular A $3 million project to roll out biogas across Zimbabwe has been set up by the government But looking at cost factors and slow uptake, NGOs are trying to find local solutions that are more viable
the cost associated with setting up digesters and roll out the programme more widely in Zimbabwe,” Mudokwani added. In the meantime, the government has made imported solar and biogas products duty free, to help cut costs, said Jonga. Agriculture and mechanisation officer with the Agriculture Ministry, George Chinyama, said households can get around the high set-up costs by saving as communities. “That way they can also approach the Ministry of Energy to assist them,” said Chinyama. Some district councils have set up revolving funds which can be lent to communities to build a digester and paid back after they have sold their crops, said Sandra Gobvu, a spokeswoman for Environment Africa, an NGO that has also been backing the use of biogas in Zimbabwe. They can also earn money from selling the nutrient-rich manure which is a by-product of the digesters, she said. BEYOND AID The $3 million push, which is due to end this year, aims to help Zimbabweans run everything from hospitals, clinics and schools to commercial dairy farms on biogas power. The national Rural Electrification Agency and its partners will continue to fund and promote biogas after the project ends, Nyoni said. Stella Nyanhete, a farmer who has installed a biogas digester for her home in Mashonaland Central province, said it had proved a good source of energy for cooking and lighting. The manure from six cattle is enough to run her digester. “It’s a resource that never runs out as long as we have cattle that produce dung,” she said. (Courtesy: Thomson Reuters Foundation)
MAY 08-14, 2017
RECIPE QUEEN MASTANAMMA
THE OLDEST YOUTUBE STAR Bernard Morin
Quick Glance She is uneducated, lost husband at 22 and brought up children by working in paddy fields Her cooking talent was unearthed by her grandchildren barely nine months ago Her YouTube channel has almost 3 lakh subscribers and her videos have received up to 66 lakh hits
The 106-year-old Mastanamma is the Queen of Recipes from India ANUPAMA YADAV
HE lives in a small thatched hut in village in Gudivada village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. She is barely educated and lost her husband at the age of 22. She worked in paddy fields to raise her five children, gave them education and made them stand on their own feet. One would imagine 106-years old Mastanamma to be a frail, stooping woman living in abject poverty and oblivion. Far from it, she is a YouTube sensation – the oldest star on the video sharing website – because of her culinary skills discovered by her two grandsons. Her grandson K Laxman and his friend Srinath Reddy introduced her to the world outside her village by making her videos while cooking and posted them on a food channel named Country Food on YouTube. The channel has almost three lakh subscribers. And, all this happened during last nine months only. Each of her videos has scored anywhere between one lakh to ten lakh hits. Initially, Mastanamma thought they are just taking pictures impressed by her but later she realised they are making her videos and people loved it too. The villagers idealise her with a banyan tree as she is majestic, wise and authoritative. There was a time when only few people knew her but today she has become an international sensation in the culinary world with over 43 million cumulative views on you tube. Moreover, channels like Barcroft media and the BBC have noticed her and planning to tell her story to the world. One of her most popular videos has her cutting a tomato at the top and with expertise pouring an egg inside the tomato to make a rare tomato egg recipe. Her unique recipes like Emu Egg Fry, Watermelon Chicken, Pumpkin Chicken, Fish Pulusu, Fish Fry in Banana Leaf, Egg Idly and King Crab Curry have been liked the world over. Watermelon chicken has a remarkable 66 lakh views in which the granny show how to roast chicken in watermelon shell.
Mastanamma cooks ordinary dishes in extraordinary way. Donned in cotton saree, the 106 year old Mastanamma adds humour and nostalgia along with variety of spices in her dishes. She is on the roll with her unique traditional cooking style and lifestyle. Strikingly, she has her own way of cooking and living her life that actually defines her journey of bitter sweet memories. Mastanamma videos are eyecatcher as she cooks in the open wooden stove in the middle of the
wonderful lady. She doesn’t like to sit at home. She works all the time: either she is seen cooking food or else she is working in paddy fields. Srinath informs, “Laxman did not know much about his great grandmother. Once we decided to go on a holiday to his village, we found her cooking extra-ordinary. That’s when we filmed her and uploaded her video on YouTube. First video itself went viral. Then we made the YouTube channel.” He further added, “Eggplant curry was the first recipe she cooked.
Mastanamma’s videos are eye-catchers as she cooks in the open on a wooden stove in the middle of the green paddy fields
green paddy fields assisted by her great-granddaughter. Her videos have a binge of humor and nostalgic incidents of her life. The videos are shot by Laxman, the graphic designer, and edited by Reddy, who is the video editor. Even her relatives from the US and UK have telephoned to appreciate her. “I got married when I was just 11 year old. I remember I had long curly hair and I loved to swim in a big river. My father-in-law always treated me like his daughter,” says Mastanamma. Her granddaughter says she is a
The recipe ideas are her own, we just give some ideas for this trend,” Mastanamma says assertively with a toothless smile, “If I start any work success will come to me. When I was young I used to carry 100 kg bag. Though I am not educated but I can count money quite well. “ Reckoning an incident she says, “Some guy teased me in my village long time ago, one guy touched my hand, and I threw him into the river. His brother pleaded to save him. But I dared him not to take him out. Later, he was saved somehow. “
Praising her husband she says, “He had immense confidence in me when I asked my husband before he died that how would I survive without you with five children. I still remember his last words - you are very intelligent you can survive without me.” Her relatives watch her in the videos and feel Mastanamma is doing things in a quite laudable way. Apparently, after each you tube video, she is seen distributing food in large amounts, like a typical grandmother to her children, grandchildren and farmers working in paddy fields and make sure everybody is well fed and chuffed. She loves to be independent and lives in a house adjacent to her son’s house. On asked about the favorite recipe of granny Laxman said, “She loves to eat fish curry and prawns that’s her favourite one.” “The motivation behind her cooking is her immense energy, optimism and her great grandson who always asks her to cook something new,” says Srinath. Guntur district is famous for spices and for almost 100 years she has lived there. She says she has figured out all the recipes herself. Her specialty is in sea food, and she can cook anything from fish to prawns to crabs in the local spices available in the state. For her, cooking is a sleight of hand as the way she peels tomato, ginger and potato is unique. Interestingly, she has always cooked on fire wood and other natural substances that can be used as a fuel. Srinath and Laxman have quit their day jobs and are devoting their full time in making videos. On asked about the funding and future plans Laxman said, “I and my partners are doing the funding. We are also planning to come up with some delicious recipes, especially granny’s secret recipes.” Apparently, she receives encouraging comments from all over the globe for her astounding style of cooking and serving. It will be apposite to say that cooking is the most versatile form of art and a spiritual activity. Mastanamma’s story is the paragon for others to be inspired and learn the art of cooking in the most natural way.
32 Unsung Heroes
MAY 08-14, 2017
UNSUNG HEROES DR UDAY MODI
FREE LUNCH FOR THE OLD
Doctor Uday Modi provides free lunch to aged people from his house in Mira Bhayander area of bustling Mumbai
HRAVAN TIFFIN SEVA is providing free lunch to nearly 200 senior citizens in the Mira Bhayander area of Mumbai. Dr. Uday Modi, an Ayurvedic doctor, is the man behind the ‘seva’, which initially started with cooking food for an aged couple near his hospital, who were unable to cook for themselves. “Once, an aged man came to me for some medicines for his wife, who had suffered a paralytic stroke, and I was shocked to learn that the elderly couple had been dumped by their kids and there was nobody to prepare food for them. Since then, I resolved to provide some relief to such lonely elders.” After providing food for this
couple for the first few days, his wife urged him to find and help more people who could be suffering like them. His wife used to cook initially, when they were providing food for eleven people who were not capable of fending for themselves. Now, there are four cooks appointed to prepare food daily for around 200 people. Food is prepared separately for diabetics and non-diabetics, and Dr Uday himself tastes the food daily to ensure its quality before it is sent out to the people. He believes that he imbibed the quality of helping people in need from his father, who used to provide
free slippers to construction workers in their locality. This was three decades ago, when the money available was very scarce. “My father used to work in the post office, and he used to make just enough. Still, he managed to save money. This is 1987 I am talking about; there was a lot of construction work going on, with a lot of labourers working barefoot. He used to buy slippers of different sizes and offer them (labourers) to pick their size. The happiness on their faces as they walked about wearing these slippers is what touched me,” Dr Uday said.
Dr Uday has been offering food for 10 years now, and at present, he is also taking care of their medical needs, with the help of a few social workers. While he does get a few sponsors, the proceeds are not sufficient to meet the needs of the people he is helping. So, in his free time, he also acts in serials on television, and he invests the money he gets from acting into helping more people. Dr Uday’s dream is to open an old age home one day, one that would provide shelter for even disabled elders, for free.
SUDARSAN, SAND SONA! Internationally renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik won the jury gold medal at the 10th Moscow Sand Art
NTERNATIONALLY renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik from Odisha won the jury prize gold medal at the 10th Moscow Sand Art Championship. The competition was held between 22nd and 28th April at Kolomenskoye, Moscow in Russia. The theme for the competition was “The world around us”. Pattnaik was the Indian representative in the competition, where 25 sculptors from different countries participated. The prize was awarded to Pattnaik in a ceremony by Pavel Menikov, the chief organiser of the event. Sudarsan later called on Pankaj Saran, the Indian ambassador to Russia, who congratulated him on winning the medal. Last year, Sudarsan had won the gold medal in Moscow for his sand sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi on world peace. Recently, he created the world’s tallest sand castle on Puri beach in Odisha, which got a place in the Guinness World Records.
VISWANATH’S PHALKE Dada Saheb Phalke award came to him for his lifelong work on celluloid
ENOWNED filmmaker K Viswanath was given a standing ovation as he received the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award from President Pranab Mukherjee at the 64th National Film Awards ceremony in Mumbai. A prominent name not just in
Telugu cinema but also in Tamil and Hindi films, Viswanath, 87, became the 48th recipient of the Phalke award, the highest recognition in Indian cinema, which includes a golden lotus, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs, a citation and a shawl. An emotional Viswanath, who attended the ceremony with his wife Jaya Lakshmi, thanked his parents and fans in a brief acceptance speech. “It is an auspicious occasion to receive this prestigious award. I offer my ‘pranams’ to my parents and to the Almighty who is everywhere. Thank you to his excellency, the President, honourable ministers and jury members and to all my fans everywhere in India,” the veteran filmmaker said. Lauding Viswanath’s contribution to the Indian cinema, Mukherjee said, “I congratulate K Viswanath for receiving the Dada Saheb Phalke award and thank him for his contribution to the film industry, to national unity, integrity and also for conveying strong message of peace.” Viswanath, who started his journey as a sound artiste, directed award-winning films such as ‘Sankarabharanam’, ‘Sagara Sangamam’, ‘Swati Mutyam’, ‘Saptapadi’, etc.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 21 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain