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Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016


Vol-1 | Issue-10 | February 26, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

Good News for Rising India




She has not only trained her two deaf kids but brought Vaani to her village



Jailed in the infamous Cellular Jail by the British, he never let his quest for freedom die




Anushka Sharma on her hairstyle, daily routine and her favourite holiday spots

SMILES at SHEROES Acid attack! The brave girls who face the dark reality have shown a mirror to society. But today, they are the S-heroes who celebrate life in their many cafes ASHIMA / DELHI


HE sip of hot coffee, bite of favourite food, discussions on global issues, enjoyment with friends and moments to spend some time with some of their own, cafes are the most

Quick Glance There are many women who fall victim to acid attacks Despite their trauma, the S-heroes Cafes are holding out a hope The Sheroes Cafes are testimony to the corage of trampled womanhood

appropriate destination for people to take a break from the city chaos. Cafes are the cheerful hubs for a city. While friends gather at cafes to share their joys and sorrows, couples come here to infuse some life into their ageing relationship. Cafes are a place where our exhaustion ends and we reenergise to grasp the pace of the next day. ‘Sheroes Hangout Cafe’ is taking this part of people’s life to another level. There are many aspects of this café that makes it unique. If you live in Agra, Udaipur or Lucknow or are looking to visit these places this time around, do visit this special cafe. Believe me, it’s a unique experience. When you enter the cafe, girls will

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Quick Glance On a trip to the sandbar on Brahmaputra, he found dead snakes He realised that the reason was a lack of forests and sand-heat He has planted thousands of trees that have now become a forest

It is not a small achievement for an unlettered to be invited to Paris to teach how to grow a forest MONALISA GOGOI / ASSAM


simple man with a simple mind can enjoy the charms of nature. Yes, that type of a simple person from Ounamukh area of Jorhat district, Assam, has ‘created nature’ by himself without any financial assistance from the government. He has transformed a large area of a river sandbar into a forest and at present it has become the habitat of seven tigers, more than 70 vultures, 330plus different species of birds, herds of

rhinos and elephants. Jadav Payeng, popularly known as ‘Mulai’, has never thought that he would get so much attention from nature loving people of the whole world and one day he would be invited to foreign countries only to train others on how to plant trees and ‘grow’ a forest. He is the undisputed monarch of that beautiful greenery which is presently known as ‘Mulai Kathoni’, where each and every leaf of the trees are taken care of by him. Remembering his childhood

days, Payeng says: “I am a simple villager. I love nature. I have never dreamt to spend a luxurious life. A vest, a ‘gamosa’ (hand-woven towel) and a dao (hatchet) is sufficient for me to survive. I want to spend my time with the trees among the birds and beasts. When I was in school, I came to the sandbar on the mighty Brahmaputra with my friends. One day while all of us were playing, I suddenly saw more than a hundred dead snakes which were lying there or lying there. They died only because of the heat of the ...Continued on Page 3

02 Cover Story ...Continued from Page 1

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

SMILES AT SHEROES availability of such dangerous items promote such actions, Laxmi’s long-term efforts in availing justice to other victims of acid attack is also commendable.


She not only does the ramp at will, but does not let her mauled face come in the way of her pride of being a wife and mother


HEROES CAFE is the result of the ‘Stop Acid Attack’ campaign’s success, of which Laxmi is a huge part. Laxmi is a personality that doesn’t need an introduction. Michelle Obama awarded Laxmi with the International Women of a life-long wound behind. But while she kept stressing the

policymakers to make strict laws against this brutal crime, she also faces the society’s continuous insensitivity.

welcome you smiling. These smiling girls bringing your order to your table are not just ordinary people. They are the ones who have seen the real face of the male dominant society, the scars of which are still on their faces. They have felt the pain which they had done nothing to suffer. They have silently struggled through the social boycott which they didn’t bring upon themselves. Disfiguring their faces with acid, the culprits may have managed to calm their masculine frustrations, but they could not take their dreams away, they failed in breaking their spirit. Today,

moving beyond such small thinking, these girls welcome everyone in Sheroes Cafe. This cafe is doing an excellent job in their crusade against acid attack and promoting women’s empowerment.

LAXMI’S APPEAL It was the result of Laxmi’s plea in the Court that the Supreme Court banned the open sale of acid. As the easy

PLEASANT RESULT OF A LONG STRUGGLE After long struggle undertaking the Stop Acid Attack Campaign, ‘Sheroes Hangout’ unfolded as a great concept. Acid attacks are one of the most condemnable realities in our society. There can be many spiteful reasons behind an acid attack. But proving

SONIA, EXAMPLE OF VIVACITY She is living a full life, despite having lost her face to a vicious acid attack


ADHO apni Pathhar ki Aankhon se” meaning “read with your stony eyes”... when Sonia Chowdhary was reading this poem in a function, you could read all her emotions on her face. With a dream of becoming an air hostess, thanks to her persistence, her success has reached heights no plane has ever been to. Sonia was subjected to an acid attack in 2004, but she never allowed hereself or never felt morose. While serving in the Sheroes Cafe, her modeling, ramp walk and photo shoots fills everyone with positivity. The story

of her vibrancy doesn’t end here; she also make others look good with her make-up skills. When she was attacked, Sonia was working in VLCC. Even now, when she delivers a motivational speech, the venue echoes with applause. When the acid attack took place, not only was her dream shattered but the medical expenses were also hard to come by, all this when she was responsible to run her

WITH ALOK It’s obvious that when a woman who falls victim to such manly frustration, she develops a common hatred towards all men. But after meeting a personality that is Alok, she changed her mind. Formerly journalist, Alok is a pioneer in the campaign against acid attacks. Laxmi and Alok met during this campaign, this meeting soon turned into a love affair. Today, there is a daughter named Pihu in their happy life. MODELLING AND ANCHORING Challenging the socially accepted norms of beauty, Laxmi not only sashays down the ramp in different outfits but has also earned plaudits for her anchoring skills on a channel. Laxmi’s self-confidence bears ample testimony to the fact that real beauty lies embedded in one’s personality.

CHILDHOOD IN ‘CHAVA’ Laxmi- Alok’s daughter Pihu spends most of her time in the office ‘Stop Acid Attack’ called ‘Chava’. Pihu is very intuitive with all the acid attack survivors. It depends on how the child is raised that the child is comfortable with everyone. The care given to Laxmi and Alok’s daughter Pihu is admirable. COURAGE TO GO FORWARD Since Laxmi started the campaign against acid attacks, she has produced huge dimensions. She has countless awards to her name in her consistent success. But her movement against the society’s take on the issue is still going on till this date. As they say the hunter is the lioness, not the lion, which just eats, like Laxmi’s past tormentor.

one’s masculinity by disfiguring a girl’s face through acid attacks raises several questions. The first question in line would be where the men find the courage to execute such heinous actions while it also reflects the insensitivity of our administration and society from time to time. While the members of ‘Stop Acid Attack Campaign’ repeatedly appeal to the administration for taking strict legal action against these brutal criminals, they also had to challenge society’s take on the issue. The campaign also carried out various workshops to build the confidence

among the survivors of acid attacks while also preparing them for a new life. Several awareness campaigns were carried out for the cause. The concept of Sheroes Cafe is commendable. The cafe is run by some acid attack survivors. So while you go and spend some time in peace in this cafe, you will also experience a strange flow of new energy.

family. So much happening all at once can break anyone’s personality. But Sonia, with zeal and passion vividly withstood it.

building courage and confidence. Just like Sonia, many other fighters have changed the lives of many others. Watching Sonia on a ramp is nothing new. With her beauty, style and smile, she puts life in every step she takes. Her long hair add more charm to her amazing act. As soon as ‘Stop Acid Attack’ receives the information of an acid attack incident, Sonia immediately reaches the hospital to meet the victim, ready to provide every possible help. Her visit encourages the victim.

THE HORRIBLE DAY It was the year 2004, when Sonia had bought a mobile phone through a neighbour. After a while she found out that the phone was a stolen piece. The boy was arrested based on her statement. In revenge, the boy later threw acid on her from a five-litre can. Almost half her body including her face was scorched. The treatment of acid attack is a multi-stage surgery. While Sonia found herself close to death, society’s insensitivity also smashed her courage. But a time came when she gathered enough courage. While the acid attack gave her wounds and scars all over her body and face, the insensitive society killed her confidence. Obviously, something like this would fill someone’s life with negativity. Now, as the fighters themselves have been through the struggle and pain of acid attacks, they help other victims concentrate on

BEAUTIFUL DESIGN As you step inside the cafe, you will experience the beauty from another world. When it comes to their cafe in

A LONG WAY TO GO Sonia’s effort now is to help other acid attack victims like her. She herself raises her voice against it, but he says there still is a long way to go. The incidents of acid attacks have not yet stopped. The crimes against women have not shown any positive improvement. But what’s noticeable is that countless acid attack victims like Sonia are paving the way for others to brave the trauma.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


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Agra, you will see a huge painting on the left wall as you enter with Ritu or Geeta at the counter on the right smilingly welcoming you into the cafe. Entering further into the cafe, you see several beautiful paintings on the walls, customers sipping their coffees and girls hard at their work. The beauty of the cafe sways the heart. This cafe is not only just a hub for food and beverages. It also has special arrangements for shopping. The customers can shop for designer clothing by designer acid attack fighter Rupa. PAY AS YOU WISH Obviously everyone is not the same when it comes to money, and a cafe’s price list also dictates the decision of visiting the place. But here too, Sheroes Cafe has left everyone behind. The menu card in the cafe only contains the names of the food items but not the price. Instead it says ‘Pay as you wish’ in huge letters. You can pay for the food as much as you want.

Unlike any other

restaurant, Sheroes has a menu card that does not carry any price list PLANNING MORE CAFES First Agra, then Udaipur and now Lucknow. The long time campaigner against acid attacks ‘Stop Acid Attack’ is now planning to open more cafes which will only employ the acid attack survivors for the most part. CELEBRITIES’ FAVOURITE This café is also the preferred destination for celebrities and foreigners. You can often bump into many well-known personalities in this cafe. Many foreign tourists visiting Agra also come into the cafe to spend some time. The cafe is not just limited to hangouts, it very often also organises several programs on social issues. All the fighters had a life going on before the acid attacks. But the attack brought a prolonged darkness in their lives. These fighters not only fought that darkness in their lives but they have also shown the way to others who have lost their own ways.


THE CREATOR OF A FOREST sand shore. There was no tree, no grass, no bush at that particular area for them to seek shelter from the intense sunlight and heat of the sand. I was unable to bear the pain of the snakes because I feel they have also their right to live, and on that very day I promised that I would start planting trees here and would create a green forest by myself.” Jadav Payeng had started his plantation of trees since 1979 at the barren sandbar, and at present, after three decades, the sandbar has been transformed into a huge, deep forest which is covering an area of not less than 1,400 acres. Payeng has never been to college for higher education, nor does he have any formal training in plantation, but he has a vast knowledge of protection of the environment and of global warming. He cannot speak English but he can give speeches on these two issues at a stretch, which could last for more than two hours. Payeng might not have formal education but he has maintained a good relation with the professors of Assam Agricultural University, which is situated at Jorhat. He has cows and buffaloes and he sells milk at the professors’ colony and so he gets free advice from them. Bijit Dutta, a blogger on ecotourism experts, says: “So far five documentaries have been made on Payeng. William Doglas Mcmaster, the Canadian cinematographer of the documentary ‘Life Style’ is very happy with his production and informs me that he wants to do more on Payeng. This documentary has already been shown at six international film festivals. People across the world like the theme ‘Payeng and His Forest’. Another filmmaker, Arti Srivastav from Mumbai, also made a documentary on Payeng and it has been awarded the VNS Parjyavaran Award for its theme. According to Ananta Nath, a Jorhat journalist: “Payeng is a blessing from God. At a time when the government fails to protect nature and reserve forests, a simple man with his dao preserves a huge jungle all alone. He has done all this by himself without any financial assistance. It’s really praiseworthy.” “I think Payeng is the only man in the world who dared to dream to create a forest. He is a dedicated nature activist and

He still lives the simple life of a toiling

man desirous of making his forest thicker so that more species can find a shelter he has no craze for glamour or money. Our NGO has completed a survey on the birds of his jungle and we are informed that more than 200 species of birds are there in his forest. As our survey was seasonal, so I am confident that the number of species will be more,” says the Director of an NGO, Green Guard Nature, Rituraj Phukan. The Jawaharlal Nehru University has awarded him the title ‘Forest Man of India’ in 2012 and the university also has recognised the name of the forest as ‘Mulai Kathonibari Reserve Forest.’ Payeng says: “There are seven tigers, seventy vultures, various types of deer, various kinds of snakes, other reptiles,rhinos and more than 200 elephants that are there in the forest. At first, the local people had not cooperated with me but now they all understand it clearly that to live, we must protect nature without losing time. Now we are starting ginger and turmeric cultivation and they are very happy because I am able to involve them with the forest and at the same time they are earning money.Everyday, I used to plant trees, and I never cut a single plant. My aim is to make the forest thicker, so that more animals will get their habitation.” Deputy Forest Officer Gunin Saikia had first discovered this man in 2007 who has been working silently to create a forest at the sandbar of Brahmaputra. Saikia says: “We got the information that a herd of elephants used to stay in the area at night and they used to come out from the jungle and disturb the common people. So, I

along with my team went there and then only we came to know that the herd came out from the forest created by Payeng. I called him to my office and promised to help him if he wanted any kind of help from the forest department.” Conveying his heartiest gratitude to the former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Payeng says: “Our former CM inspired me a lot. He told me that he was ready to give any kind of assistance. Moreover, I must mention the name of Gunin Saikia Sir, Binod Payeng and Pankaj Kalita. They gave me 10,000 saplings from their department. Sometimes I used to take the help of daily wagers to plant trees. I have my cows and buffaloes. I used to sell milk, and whatever I earned from this, I would invest here in this forest for plantation.” In 2014, he was invited to Paris to attend a global conference on environment and global warming. Nine hundred representatives of more than two hundred countries of the world attended that conference. He was requested to show practically how he planted tree. “They gave me a pine plant and the soil of Paris is full of sand and stone. I removed all the stones and planted the pine there. All the representatives contributed a spoonful of soil there. They informed me just a few days back that the plant was alive and it was growing very well now. I want to see a green world, and I think I am the happiest person of the world, because I live in the midst of a very green world among the birds and beasts,” says the Forest Man Jadav Payeng .

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04 Rural Diary

FEBRUARY 26, 2017



A mother of two deaf children, she brought a school to her village with lot of efforts



F we can’t fulfil our children’s need, we must ensure his or her happiness, so that the need is not larger to them. Moslema Bibi of Malancha in South 24 Parganas of West Bengal believed this was the only way for her during troubled days when her child was suffering from deafness. She struggled with her fate to find out her own path to dignified life. The hamlet Malancha is nearly 60 kms from Kolkata. As like other little-educated girls of interior Bengal, she was also married off at a young age and soon became mother. Within few years, she gave birth to her second son. After four years of raising the second child, she discovered that the child is deaf. Helpless mother started knocking one medical facility after another across the state to find the right kind of facility in the state at cheaper cost, but in vain. She kept looking for a cheap cure for her son but in the meantime, Moslema Bibi again got pregnant. After she delivered her third child, a son, she did not even have an ounce of joy. Instead, her woes increased as she later found out that this one too was deaf. “I was unable to communicate with my child. It was so painful that I can’t express,”

Moslema Bibi said. Her child was growing without listening to his mom’s tune or words. From one stranger she heard that there is an NGO, called Vaani, which extends help to such children. She managed to get the address of Bangalore-based Vaani’s Eastern Regional Centre’s address at Tiljala Road and reached there. That took three hours’ for one way to reach by bus from her home. Despite her weakness due to delivery of third child, she started travelling with both her deaf sons to the Vaani Sadhan Resource Centre in Kolkata diligently, despite having to travel three hours one way for each trip. Observing that Vaani’s care and training was helping her son, she talked about Vaani Centre with her neighbors. Some of them too were in similar type of problem with deaf child. The news of Vaani servives benefitting her children spread across Malancha. Parents of many deaf children started approaching her but after hearing that they

will have to undertake about six hours’ journey everyday, most of them backtracked. It was not illogical too as most of the parents were poor farmer families where both husband and wife had to invest physical labour in the field apart from family chores. Moslema understood the reality and also the need for Vani services among other parents. She decided to take the initiative to go it other way. Till now, she was taking her children to Vaani in Kolkata. She thought why not Vaani reaches those who need their valuable help? She approached Vaani officials to open a centre at Malancha and provide services to the needy. But, it was not easy for Vaani to do so. It required a place to guide the children, to help them to play with toys. In a remote village, renting a house is nearly impossible. Moslema pursued Vaani and offered her cowshed for this purpose. She also pursuaded parents of four deaf children to send their wards to the new Vani Centre. Initially as decided, Vaani started sending a teacher for the deaf to guide once in a week. But, problems were there as cowsheds do not have doors to lock. For classes, children needed toys and learning materials and also light and fan has to be fitted. But, after the class got over, she had to unhook lights and fan everyday to protect them from being stolen. She had to lock all the toys and learning materials in a box and shift them to her bedroom. But, without any complaint, she continued to do so for the next four months. Deaf children were being helped literally at the cowshed amidst the prevailing stinking, dirty and messy conditions. Deaf children had to be there under with horrible conditions in rainy season while filth overflowing with rain water. Moslema took the issue to other parents and talked about how a small concrete room can be constructed. By that time, the

If any organisation has been rendering selfless service to the society, the beneficiaries too will have to cooperate to carry that forward

number of deaf students also started to grow. To accommodate those, the need was for bigger structure. The parents decided to approach Vaani’s Kolkata office and vowed to become self-reliant link centre. Vaani officials, understanding her selfless and determined services for her children and the village, approached prospective donors to help in her initiative. Soon Moslema Bibi found helping hands. Kolkata-based Rajni Nijhawan Charitable Trust expressed its desire to fund her dream to become a in reality. Rajni Nijhawan Charitable Trust is founded by Jagadish Nijhawan and his brother-in-law, Mr. Rajiv Krishan Puri, Chairman, Parcon (India) Private Limited, in memory of his mother to assist the poor, especially physically handicapped and the needy. The Trust wished to fund the entire cost of renovation of the cowshed and to build another room so that growing number of students can be accommodated. One can imagine how Moslema jumped to get her sons trained and within a year got the Bangalore-based NGO to step in interior village with a permanent building. Vaani organizers thank Moslema from the core of their hearts but admit that Moslema’s dream would not have materialized unless Rajni Nijhawan Charitable Trust extended generous help. It took the villagers about six months to slowly and gradually convert get the cowshed into a pucca building. The Foundation was laid, constructed up to plinth, then raised further and finally the roof was laid. Though the Trust extended total financial help, yet the parents of deaf children rediscovered it as their own. They extended all kind of help and contributed in their own way. Starting in November 2015, it took about six months to finish and in May 2016, the new Malancha Sadhan Resource Centre started functioning. Deaf kids of Malancha got a new place to learn and grow in a healthy way. Now Moslema spends more time with the Malancha centre of Vaani-Rajni Nijhawan Trust and looks after all the children at this centre. She has paved the way for others to raise their children in a better manner and communicative environment. It took her two years’ struggle which, according to her, is ‘most gratifying and satisfactory’. Her experience, “If any organization carries its selfless service to the society, the beneficiaries will cooperate to carry that forward.” And, this experience has turned the worried Moslema into a happy mother. Moslema Bibi’s story is also inspirational for other such persons having children with special abilities. Now, they know how to overcome their everyday struggles and get proper education for their children. As they say, where there is a will, there is a way. And Moslema Bibi is a living example.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017




Quick Glance


The three became friends at Indian School of Business and dreamt of doing something for the country In their US campus they found a machine that took in garbage and churned out discount coupons They returned home with the technology and set up the first such machine outside a Lucknow mall

available in India.

‘Three Idiots’ from India went to the US, watched a garbage machine churn out free coupons for anything and everything and have set up an indigenous one here SRAWAN SHUKLA / LUCKNOW


HEY had shared a dream to make India clean and more environment-friendly when they were studying in the US. When they returned home, they turned that dream into reality. They developed an indigenous Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) which may give wings to the much acclaimed Clean India Mission. Hailing from Lucknow, Rishab met Prateek and Neemish from Delhi when they joined the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad. The friendship between the three was so strong that soon they earned the sobriquets like “Three Musketeers” and “Three Idiots”. But these students had something different in their minds. “We were not looking at big jobs and fat salaries after passing out from the ISB. We had a dream to do something for the country,” says Rishab. Luckily, the three got a chance to study together in the US. LITTER GLITTER One day, when they were loitering around in the campus, they saw a

machine in which people were shoving empty plastic water bottles, cold drink and juice cans and newspapers, and the machine in return was letting out some coupons, which each one was picking up and going away happily.

The garbage gobbler

can handle plastic bottles and tin cans, but will become more efficient very soon

To have a closer look, they went to the machine and put some empty water bottle, cans and newspapers. “We were surprised that the machine accepted our trash for recycling and offered us discount coupons, mobile and wifi recharge vouchers,” says Rishab. They had a night-long discussion on the machine and its utility in India where streets were piled with garbage. Later,when they had a chance to visit China and Japan during their studies, they saw similar machines at almost all public places. It was then that they decided to bring the concept home and develop it indigenously for their own country, where littering is a common sight at public places. But the task was not an easy one. First they studied the machine and its functions and then they contacted its manufacturers. But obtaining the knowhow and the technology from the manufacturers was practically next to impossible. By the time they returned home they had enough knowledge about the parts and software to be used in developing the machine. They had to import a few parts which were not

THE ROLL OUT Raising the money was also a big challenge as no one was coming forward to offer us funds. We pooled in some money and took help from others to develop the body and pay for the imported parts. They got the software developed and the indigenous machine was ready to roll to take forward their dream of making India clean and pollution-free. Through this machine we wanted to take forward the Clean India Mission and create awareness among masses against throwing litter in public places and the hazards arising out of that. Since Lucknow is my hometown, we decided to install the first machine at Saharaganj Mall. The machine accepts plastic bottles and aluminium cans and in return offers discount coupons. We have had tie-ups with shopkeepers in the mall and convinced them about the benefits of installing the machine. They happily agreed and offered us discount coupons to promote their sales,” says Rishab. As of now, the machine accepts only plastic bottles and aluminium cans, but the threesome is now working on a software to include glass bottles, old clothes, newspapers and other garbage and disposables. The machine at Saharaganj is keeping the mall litter-free. People don’t forget to use the machine for disposing off empty water bottles and cold drink cans to get discount coupons for using them in their next visit at shops, eateries and joints. “It is a pleasant experience. Never thought you would get something from disposing garbage,” chuckles Sweety Khanna, a visitor to the mall. The trio is now planning to approach the PMO and Swachh Bharat Mission and different ministries for manufacturing more such machines to be installed at all airports, railway stations and public places to contribute their bit to keep India clean. Now at least they deserve all the support the government can give.

06 Good News




DIGITAL SURAKHPUR Delhi government took several steps to make the village digital

A state level Kahani Utsav will be held in Bhopal


HE Delhi government declared Surakhpur village in southwest Delhi as the capital’s first “fully digital payment-enabled village”. An official statement said Sub-Divisional Magistrate Anjali Sehrawat had made


P the formal announcement. To achieve the feat, the government took a series of steps including sensitising people about the benefits of moving towards cashless society, training in cashless means of transaction and reaching out to women “who were largely confined to the domains of their homes”, it added. “Door to door” survey was carried out by Civil Defence Volunteers (CDVs) to assess the extent of banked population and Aadhar enrolment. An Aadhar enrolment camp was organised in the villages.

A RT I C I PA N TS selected in the district will narrate stories on February 20 and the participants selected at the state level will narrate stories on litterateur Sumitranandan Pant Jayanti and Vishwa Matrubhasha Diwas (World Mother Tongue Day) on February 21. Earlier, ‘Kahani utsav’ was celebrated in 11,4000 government schools under School Education Department since November 29 last year. With an objective ‘Stories are considered a strong medium for development of language and personality in children’ the ‘Kahani Utsav’ was started in government schools of Madhya Pradesh on November 29. Children from class 1 itself were provided an opportunity to read, narrate and hear stories under the Kahani Utsav. At least 9297 children and same number of teachers were selected at district level from 3099 Jan Shiksha


LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME BHIM REGISTRATIONS The app is seeing enthusiastic support from the people

Teachers will be trained in leadership skills


HE recently launched Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app has seen more than 140 lakh registrations, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “The BHIM app, recently launched by the government of India will unleash the power of mobile phones for digital payments and financial inclusion. So far, over 140 lakh people have adopted the BHIM app,” Prasad said. He added that the government will launch two new schemes to promote the usage of BHIM -- Referral Bonus Scheme for individuals and a Cashback Scheme for merchants. Aadhaar Pay, a merchant version of Aadhaar Enabled Payment System, will also be launched shortly. This will be specifically beneficial for those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones.



HE Delhi government announced the launch of a programme in select state-run schools to begin with to develop and inculcate leadership skills among students. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia made the announcement at an event to facilitate meritorious students and schools for outstanding performances.

Kendras in the state to tell stories. As per a government communiqué, 966 children and the same number of teachers were selected for the district level story contest from 322 development blocks. Again 51 teachers and 51 children from the district level contest were further selected for the state level Kahani contest. Story telling genre is considered the best to familiarize oneself with folk culture, knowledge of history, language development, concentration and discipline. Kahani Utsav has been organized with the aim of creating a yearning in children to study and inculcate the habit of reading, says the communique. Suno Kahani is broadcast over Akashwani every Sunday from 10:35 am to 10:50 am. Esteemed persons narrate stories in the radio programme. Five children who give correct answers are awarded books by the School Education Department.



250,000 villages will be educated in digital affairs


CCORDING to an official statement, the Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make six crore rural households digitally literate. “The target of this project is to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019. This is in line with the announcement made by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2016-17. This is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world,” read the statement. Some 25 lakh candidates will be trained in 2016-17, 275 lakh in 201718 and 300 lakh in 2018-19. Each of the 250,000 panchayats would be expected to register 200-300 candidates to ensure equitable geographical reach.

Quick Glance The state government is going to launch a leadership course The first phase will see the course being run in government schools The AAP government is trying to impart international-level training

“A creative spirit and self-confidence are more important than academic learning. The leadership programme will be introduced in a few select schools and gradually expanded to include every school in Delhi,” Sisodia said. Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, stressed the importance of leadership skills in every individual’s life. “Leadership qualities are required to help an individual set the pace of his life. We want our children to inculcate the leadership qualities wherever they go in life, whether they join some profession or start a business,” Sisodia said. “They (students) should be able to lead the nation if the nation needs them.” The Aam Aadmi Party leader said in its first year, the government focused on educational infrastructure. In its second year, it tried providing international-level training to teachers. “In our third year, we will focus on making learning more creative and productive,” Sisodia added.

CRAFTS AND CUISINE: HOT IN HUNAR HAAT It is a bonanza of crafts and cuisine in Aligarh


N array of delicacies has been spread out along with a huge collection of handicraft items, from saris, shawls to paintings and home decor accessories at the second edition of the “Hunar Haat” which began here on Saturday. The event, initiated by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under the theme “Craft Aur Cuisine ka Sangam” has been organised to promote and provide artisans and craftpersons a platform to showcase their work. For the first time in this exhibition, very exquisite pieces of handicraft and handloom work like Makrana marble products from Sikar, banjara embroidery from Telangana, phool patti works from Aligarh will be presented.

Good News

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


Quick Glance


The SSB guards the 760-km long Indo-Nepal border It has rescuded 824 boys, girls and adults from the hands of traffickers These include 234 persons from the neighbouring country of Nepal



The border defence force from India has not only rescued Indian children but even those from neighbouring Nepal INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE


HE Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel guarding the 760 kmlong India-Nepal border in Bihar, have succeeded in preventing child trafficking and flesh trade in the area. The 2015 and 2016 data reveal that SSB personnel rescued 824 boys, girls and

adults, including 234 from Nepal, from the clutches of human traffickers. In 2015, they rescued 270 people, including 88 belonging to Nepal (66 minor boys, 18 girls and one woman among the four adults). In 2016, the SSB personnel rescued 554 people, including 146 from Nepal (145 minor boys and one minor girl). Confirming the data, SSB



The 14th edition of BioAsia, with the theme ‘Power of the Past, Force of the Future’ was launched recently SSB BUREAU


IOASIA, Asia’s largest biotechnology and life-sciences forum, began here Monday with the announcement of projects worth Rs 3,308 crore. The Telangana government signed a MoU with Cerestra to explore Life Sciences Infrastructure Fund to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to create modular plug-and-play infrastructure for pharma/ biotech/ medical devices industry. Projects entailing an investment of Rs 1,680 crore were launched at Genome Valley on the first day of the three-day event. These include MN Park’s iHub Phase II with two million square feet of lab space for R&D companies and start-ups with an investment of about Rs 1,000 crore. The Telangana government also handed over land allotment letters for about six companies which propose to make an investment of Rs 702 crore. Building plans of country’s largest animal resource facility were also

Quick Glance The Telengana government has signed an MOU with Cerestra Rs 1,680 crore of investments were launched at the Genome Valley This will make India take the leadership role in biotech in Asia

unveiled. The facility is being set up with the central government’s grant of Rs 330 crore while the state government is allotting 102 acres of land. Biological E’s also conducted groundbreaking of its vaccine plant in Genome Valley with an investment of Rs 300 crore.

IG, Chanchal Shekhar says that most of the children were taken to cities like Mumbai, Jaipur and Rajkot. Altogether 56 traffickers, including 36 from Bihar and 21 from Nepal, were arrested in 2015. In 2016, the number of human traffickers arrested was 136, including 89 from Bihar and 47 from Nepal. Lamenting over the prevailing situation, IG tells that Nepal is in Class-1 category on the global index of croos border human trafficking, while India falls in Class-3 category. That means human trafficking from Nepal is the highest in the world. After intensive enquiry, fact came to light that most of the rescued victims belonged to remote villages of east Champaran and Sitamarhi districts. SSB has also launched an awareness program on the bordering districts to protect the children. Not only children but their guardians are also allured by the traffickers in many ways. IG, Shekhar claims that close vigil on the border is being kept. SME Hub @IKP was also launched in Genome Valley. The 50,000 square feet incubation facility for Life Sciences SMEs is coming up with an investment of Rs 50 crore. The 14th edition of BioAsia with the theme ‘Power of the Past, Force of the Future’, was inaugurated by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in the presence of high profile industry leaders from government, corporate and regulatory bodies. He also presented Genome Valley Excellence Award to Nobel Laureate Prof. Kurt Wuthrichand and Dr. Paul Stoffels, Worldwide Chairman Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson for their contribution in the field of life sciences and healthcare. The governor noted that over 200 MoUs worth Rs 14,000 crore investments have so far been announced at BioAsia since the inception of the event. Telangana’s Industry Minister, KT Rama Rao said Hyderabad had always been known as the top pharma destination worldwide. “The city is and will remain the pharma production and innovation hub for the world and the proposed Pharma City will strengthen its position significantly. With new industrial clusters like Pharma City and Medical Devices park, Hyderabad is ready to assume leadership role of the life sciences industry in Asia,” he said.


The Indian government is spending more on IT


ED by growth in business process outsourcing, the Indian government is set to spend $7.8 billion on IT in 2017, market research firm Gartner has said. “Government spending on IT services will total $2,093 million in 2017, a 15 per cent increase from 2016,” said Moutusi Sau of Gartner. IT services is expected to grow 14.6 per cent in 2017 to reach

$2 billion, making it the largest segment within the IT spending category. The software segment is expected to grow 15.7 per cent in 2017. Desktop will be the fastest growing segment with 16 per cent growth in this category, the findings showed. Devices spending will grow to reach $917 million.

PURE WATER A new eco-friendly treatment plant comes up in Mathura


unique eco-friendly waste water treatment plant, with a capacity of 75,000 litres, is almost complete at the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Dham in the town of Farah in Mathura district. Indian Agricultural Research Institute director Ravinder Kaur said, “After years of research, we have perfected this totally eco-friendly treatment system which does not depend on chemicals or energy. It is a combination of water harvesting and waste water treatment plant through use of certain types of weeds and plants which we have identified over the years.” Such decentralised plants can be set up anywhere. No sludge is generated, Kaur added. “At the ICAR Pusa centre, we have a 22 lakh-litre treatment plant working efficiently.” The organic waste can be used for making briquettes for burning, generating income for the locals.

08 Science & Technology

FEBRUARY 26, 2017



The top five countries of the Southern Bloc, which comprise 43 per cent of world population, will share their space satelitte data



HE five-nation group of BRICS will share spatial data on natural resources from their remotesensing satellites for utilising space assets optimally, said a top Indian space official.

“Space agencies of BRICS have agreed to share and exchange data, including images of natural resources from our remote-sensing satellites for mutual benefit,” said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director M Annadurai at an international seminar on


aerospace technologies here. Five major emerging economies -Brazil, Russia, India, China and later South Africa -- came together to form BRICS, which represents 43 per cent of the world population, 30 per cent of the world GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and 17 per cent of the world trade. Though only four of them -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- have remotesensing satellites in the sun-synchronous orbit, they will give data to South Africa (SA) as it does not have a satellite of its own. Top space officials of BRICS, including Annadurai, met at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee’s 54th session at Vienna in Austria from January 30 to February 10. “The initiative is to share the resources and bring developing nations under the umbrella of space, opening possibilities of using excess capacities in the satellites,” Annadurai told about 500 delegates participating in the three-day seminar being held as part of the biennial “Aero India 2017” expo from Tuesday. As the BRIC satellites spin around the earth in lower orbit, capturing enormous data on the planet and its resources in each country, they will share it in real

Quick Glance Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is a powerful bloc Space data today is the most critical in a global trade context The five countries have now signed a treaty to share their data

time for mutual benefit. India plans to use its Resourcesat2A, launched on December 7 from its spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, as part of its earth observation satellite for remote sensing data services to global users. “As the satellite of each nation is not looking at its landmass all the time, the data from another satellite or a constellation of BRICS satellites on it will be useful for harnessing the natural resources and exchanging with each other,” said another space official on the occasion. Going forward, the space agencies of the BRICS nations plan to share similar data for tele-education, tele-medicine and a host of societal applications, utilising the excess capacity of their respective satellites for their mutual benefit.


DRDO’S INTERCEPTOR NU DIABETES THERAPY The two-stage PDV missile is part of the double-layered ballistic missile defence system developed by Indian



HE Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired a Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) interceptor missile designed to intercept and destroy hostile ballistic missiles in space even before they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. This further enhances India’s capability of dealing with a nuclear attack threat. At 7.45 am, on the east coast of India, an incoming missile was successfully intercepted at a height of 100 km with a direct hit by an

interceptor missile, said a DRDO official. The PDV can reach even higher altitudes. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a rally: “Today our scientists have made a missile that could attack an incoming missile in the sky. Only four-five countries in the world have done this.” The two-stage PDV missile is part of the double-layered Ballistic Missile Defence system developed by the DRDO, the research and development wing of the Defence Ministry, with the Hyderabad based Research Centre Imaarat (RCI) as the nodal laboratory. Its interception window spans from 80-120 km.The fully automated system consists of a network of sensors, computers and launchers, designed to intercept hostile ballistic missiles, possibly carrying nuclear weapons and destroy them before they can cause any damage.

The Melbourne-based CSL Limited, along with an international team, investigated a theropeutic apporach that targets fatty acid transport INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE


N Australian pharmaceutical company has successfully prevented the progression of Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD) for the first time.DKD is an often fatal long-term complication of type 2 diabetes which is the most common cause of severe renal disease. It affects one third of people with type 2 diabetes and has no viable treatment until now, Xinhua news agency reported. An international team of scientists in collaboration with Melbourne-based global biotechnology leader CSL Limited investigated a therapeutic approach that targets the transport of fatty acids, or lipids, from the blood into tissues to treat DKD. Using 2H10, an antibody developed by CSL, the researchers were able to block Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B (VEGF-B), a protein that affects the transport of lipids into body tissue. Elevated levels of VEGF-B are a common symptom

among patients with DKD. By inhibiting VEGF-B signalling, the researchers were able to reduce the accumulation of lipid deposits within the kidney and moderate the progression of kidney disease in a number of models of type 1 and 2 diabetes. “This research addresses an important area of unmet medical need and could lead to an entirely new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” Andrew Nash, Senior Vice President of Research at CSL, said in a statement on Friday. Professor Ulf Eriksson, the lead researcher on the study, said that “the study reveals some mechanistic understanding of the disease progression and challenges the hypothesis that diabetic kidney disease is simply the result of chronic elevated blood glucose.” The study, which was published in the respected journal ‘Cell Metabolism’ on Friday, was carried out on mice but a human trial of the protein in humans with DKD has been flagged for the near future.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


PHONE-SCAN YOUR APPLES FROM NOW Phone scanners to check fruit quality exist but this one does away with the need for additional gadgets



EXT time you eat an apple, you can know its specific constituents by looking directly inside it using your smartphone, thanks to the engineers who developed an app that can ‘scan’ an object and reveal the information about it. The “HawkSpex mobile” app developed by engineers from Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg (Germany) gives the information about the objects by aiming the smartphone at the object and scanning it.

For example, if you want to know about an apple, just take out your smartphone and open “HawkSpex mobile” app and scan it. The results will show you if the apple contains pesticide residues and its constituents. Though such scanning devices already exist, they require users to install additional parts such as a prism onto the front of the integrated camera. What makes this app unique is “users do not need anything for a scan other than the camera already integrated in their smartphones,” said Udo Seiffert from Fraunhofer IFF. Researchers said the app can be used for quality control of foods, the effectiveness of cosmetic products or even agriculture. The app might be launched in the market around the end of 2017.

LIFE-POTENT WHITE DWARF The stellar object is around 200 light years away from the earth and is rich in the basic building blocks of life, scientists aver



CIENTISTS using NASA’s Hubble space telescope have discovered a white dwarf star whose atmosphere is rich in materials that are the basic building blocks for life -- carbon, nitrogen, as well as oxygen and hydrogen, the components of water. The white dwarf is approximately 200 light years from the Earth and is located in the constellation Bootes, said the study.White dwarf stars are dense, burned-out remnants of normal stars. The study presents evidence that the planetary system associated with the white dwarf contains materials that are the basic building blocks for life, said study co-author Benjamin Zuckerman, Professor at University of California, Los Angeles. And although the study focused on this particular star -- known as WD 1425+540 -- the fact that its planetary system shares characteristics with our solar system strongly suggests that other planetary systems would also. “The findings indicate that some of life’s important preconditions are common in the

FERTILITY CULT! Scientists have discovered a new form of urea that works in multiple ways to help farmers


OR billions of people around the world, rice is a primary source of calories and protein. But growing the crop requires a lot of fertilisers, which can rapidly break down in the environment before plants are able to absorb the nutrients. Researchers have now developed a new time-released fertiliser that slowly discharges its cargo. When applied to rice fields in Sri Lanka, crop yields increased, even when only half the typical amount of nutrients was added. A popular fertiliser is urea, a nitrogen-rich organic compound found in human urine. Urea is water soluble and volatile, which means that irrigation or a rain squall often sweeps it away in surface run-off or it escapes as a gas before it can be absorbed





Science & Technology

by plants. “Up to 70% of urea is lost to the environment,” says a materials scientist at the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology in Homagama and lead author of the study. That’s bad news for farmers—whose budgets are already stretched thin—and the environment: Fertiliser run-off into rivers, lakes, and deltas is a primary cause of algal blooms that are toxic to aquatic life. Now, the scientists have developed a new formulation of urea that works like a time-released drug capsule. The researchers attached urea molecules to

universe,” Zuckerman said. Many scientists believe the Earth was dry when it first formed, and that the building blocks for life on our planet -- carbon, nitrogen and water -- appeared only later as a result of collisions with other objects in our solar system that had those elements. The research, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, described how the white dwarf came to obtain carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen.The scientists reported that a minor planet in the planetary system was orbiting around the white dwarf, and its trajectory was somehow altered, perhaps by the gravitational pull of a planet in the same system. That change caused the minor planet to travel very close to the white dwarf, where the star’s strong gravitational field ripped the minor planet apart into gas and dust. Those remnants went into orbit around the white dwarf -- much like the rings around Saturn, Zuckerman said -- before eventually spiralling onto the star itself, bringing with them the building blocks for life.

Quick Glance Rice is staple to more than half the world across the world But cultivating rice needs lots of fertilisers that harm soil Now a new variety of urea will work like a time-released capsule

hydroxyapatite—a constituent of human bones and teeth—in a six-to-one ratio by weight. The chemical bonds between the urea and hydroxyapatite molecules prevent the urea from decomposing too quickly. Yet, they do break down over time, which results in a controlled release of nitrogen at a rate that plants can absorb. Hydroxyapatite, which also slowly degrades, has the added benefit of being rich in phosphorus and calcium, elements that plants also need to thrive. The researchers created roughly 90 kilograms of the fertiliser, which they shaped into 1-millimeter pellets. In the laboratory, scientists ran water over pure urea and the urea-hydroxyapatite hybrid and compared how quickly the samples released nitrogen. They found that pure urea expelled 99% of its nitrogen within 5 minutes, unlike the hybrid, which took

nearly a week. The researchers then tested their fertiliser on a rice field in eastern Sri Lanka. They measured rice yields in three sections of a field: one that received no fertiliser, one fertilized with 100 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare of pure urea, and one fertilized with 50 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare from the urea-hydroxyapatite combo. The rows fertilized with the urea-hydroxyapatite duo yielded roughly 10% more rice than those fertilised with only pure urea. This new fertiliser is made in a onestep process with inexpensive chemicals. It’s approximately 20 per cent more expensive than pure urea. But it still may wind up saving farmers money, because it also delivers phosphorus and calcium, nutrients that normally have to be delivered by yet another set of fertilisers. Scientists believe that this novel formulation will be economically viable. Now, the researchers are looking forward to testing their fertiliser on a perennial crop like tea. (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)

10 History Diary

FEBRUARY 26, 2017



CELLULAR JAIL & SAVARKAR Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s name would induce so much fear among the British that he was imprisoned for the maximum period. Some facts from his life on his Death Anniversay on February 26

The dreaded Cellular Jail in the Andaman & Nicober Islands where hundreds of freedomg fighters were incarcerated



UBERT H HUMPHREY, 38th Vice President of the US, was famously quoted: “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent and debate.” Long before Humphrey said this, though, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a living proponent of this statement. Savarkar’s life is a testament of an individual’s yearning for nation’s freedom and how much suffering and cruelty one can bear to fulfil this dream. Indian independence movement witnessed numerous freedom fighters who faced the brutality and callousness of British empire. Savarkar ranks very high among such names. The prefix of ‘veer’ (daring) is very apt for him as his indomitable spirit never succumbed to the atrocities of the Empire. His rebellion against the colonial rule never lost its intensity and kept the British unnerved till his very end. Nasik Conspiracy Case is immortalised in the history books due to the murder of AMT Jackson, the then Collector of Nasik. He was shot dead in a theater at Nasik. Savarkar was one of the key accused, and he along with twenty eight others was convicted. On April 7, 1911, he was deported to ‘Kala Pani’. It was the most dreaded sentence in British era. Savarkar himself

Savarkar was meted out the longest

incarceration amongst all political leaders wrote multiple accounts of the barbarism and cruelty inflicted on the inmates. They were forced to peel the raw coconut and extract oil out of it. Other than this, they were used in the presser (kolhu) to extract mustard oil and were made to level the marshy and mountainous terrain near the jail. They were hardly given any rest, and bamboo sticks and hunter whips were mercilessly used on them. As if this was not enough, they were not given enough food to eat. Savarkar spent close to ten years in Port Blair, from July 4, 1911 to May 21, 1921. There were numerous freedom fighters who were despised and punished by the British. But, Savarkar was considered to be their chief antagonist. He was imprisoned for the longest duration. For the first time, he was imprisoned on March 13, 1909 in London. Interestingly, he was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment, totaling fifty years. But, due to political resistance and weak legal angle, he was released after some time. His predicament started with ‘Kala Pani’ in Cellular Jail, where he was kept for almost ten years. Throughout his life, he was imprisoned for 5,585 days and

was interned for 4,865 days. A simple math will show that he was sentenced for 10,450 days, which equals to 28 years and 200 days. No other leader in world history has faced such sentence for a nation’s freedom.

Savarkarnama • He was the first Indian to organise revolutionary activities against the British • He was the first Indian, who burnt the foreign made clothes • His book was banned even before it was published • Savarkar was the first political prisoner in the Permanent Court of International Arbitration in 1910 • Savarkar designed the first Indian flag, which was unfurled by Madame Cama in International Socialist Conference at Stuttgart, Germany in 1907 • During his prison term at ‘Kala Pani’, he wasn’t provided writing resources. He wrote his poems on the walls of his cell using stones

Snapshots He was accused of Nasik Conspiracy Case, in which Collector Jackson was murdered From July 4, 1911 to May 21, 1921, he underwent imprisonment in ‘Kala Pani’, or Andaman Isles Authored a book on the 1857 revolt, titled ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’

THE REVOLT OF 1857, EXPLAINED British tried their best to obscure the impact of ‘Revolt of 1857’. They had outrightly termed it unsuccessful. British historians tampered the facts and evidences blindly to water down the impact of rebellion. Savarkar had other plans though. He diligently extracted all the historical facts, and brought a completely different narrative of ‘First War of Indpendence’, which was completely opposite to what the British had portrayed. This had shaken the British Empire. He went to study Law in London, where he took admission in Gray’s Inn Law College. He used to reside at India House in London. India House was a hub of all political activities, directed against the Empire. It was being run by Shyamji Krishna Varma. Savarkar founded ‘Free India Society’ which encouraged Indian students to fight for country’s freedom. During this period, he read many accounts of the ‘Revolt of 1857’ and wrote down his book ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’. His book was banned immediately, but Madame Bhikhaiji Cama got this book published in Netherlands, France and Germany. That’s how the book reached many Indians and got widely popular. This ignited the passion to fight for country’s independence and Savarkar vowed to free India from the clutches of the British. DHINGRA AND SAVARKAR In 1909, Savarkar’s friend and colleague Madan Lal Dhingra murdered a British officer, Curzon Wyllie. Dhingra’s bold step ignited the flame of revolutionary activities in India and abroad. Savarkar wrote a passionate article on Dhingra, assisted him in his legal battle and gathered political support for him. He openly talked about Dhingra in one of the meetings which was called by the British government. Government was keeping a close watch on the rising support for Dhingra and before it could get out of control, Dhingra was sentenced to death. This infuriated the Indian students in London. Savarkar fuelled this unrest and termed Dhingra as a patriot which provided momentum to the revolutionary movement.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

Special Story





The word ardhangini has no translation, and ‘better half’ is a poor English replacement. Here we bring some precious words from Bapu on Kasturba as his ardhangini, and other anecdotes, from the life of a woman least spoken of on her role in the freedom struggle bitterness too subsided. She was not irritable any more and her slow recovery also stepped up. BA AND VAIBHAV



E were almost ordinary couple or may be slightly less. It was 1906 when, we with mutual consent and after experiments without knowing, adopted self-restraint as a rule in our life. It was a matter of great happiness to me because this self-restraint brought us together like never before. Although it was against my will, it resulted in an end to our separate personalities and she wished to dissolve her existence in my personality. As a result she became my better half in real sense. She was a lady with strong will power from her initial days and I had developed the bad habit of being stubborn. But unknowngly, her strong willpower made her very competent. This made her my teacher during my practice of art of nonviolence and non-cooperation. This practice began with my own family. When I initiated these practices in the political arena, they turned in to most comprehensive and specially crafted style of politics which was called Satyagraha. When Indians were imprisoned in South Africa, Kasturba was one of the

This incident took place when Gandhis were in Phoenix Ashram, South Africa. Ravji Bhai, Manibhai Patel and Gandhi were sitting on the dining table after having breakfast around 11 am. Gandhi used to eat after everyone had finished his food. Gandhi was eating and an elderly person, Mani Bhai Patel from his family was sitting beside him. Baa was standing and was cleaning her kitchen. Mani Bhai was quite surprised to see Kasturba working in the kitchen because even a modest merchant in South Africa used to have a servant for kitchen work and cleaning. He asked Gandhi, “Bhai you have made your life very simple and have totally changed your life style. Even Kasturba hasn’t seen any luxury.” Bapu replied, “when did I stop her from enjoying luxurious life? Hearing this, Baa laughs and taunted, “when did I ever enjoy luxury even in your house?” Gandhi laughed and replied in the same tone, “when did I stop you from wearing jewellery and silk sarees. I even got gold bangles when you demanded them”. Baa got serious and replied, “you got civil satyagrahis. She went through worst types of physical torture. When she was me everything I ever asked for and imprisoned – and it happened several never stopped me from wearing times - she opted to stay in discomfort just anything. But I never used them because like all prisoners. Several other persons I realised that you have a different vision had also been arrested along with me. She of life. You wanted to become a saint or was too included among those arrested. monk. How could then I have used This shocked her and made her bitter. She those silk sarees and jewellery. So, I was not at all ready for my arrest. She had consoled myself and adopted the same not anticipated it. style.” I only had assured her that government This statement of Baa: “I adopted the trusts my non-violence same style and changed and will not arrest me my mind” is the key to till I don’t surrender he never objected success of her life. She myself. The nervous never became obstacle to Mahatma shock of my arrest was in his adherence to so severe that she Gandhi’s principles principles of his life. In developed diarrhoeal fact she adopted the infection that too of a same ideals and deadly kind. Luckily Dr. Sushila Nayar principles in her life too. Baa never had was there with her in prison to take care of the ambition to make her life complete her. She nursed her well and made great alike Bapu. It is really not easy to sacrifice efforts to bring her to consciousness all your will and walk on the path of your again. It was very much possible she could husband. It requires lot of inner-strength have died out of this dreaded infection and amazing dedication to do this. Baa before I could meet her while she was had both the qualities in her. under house arrest. I was lucky enough to meet her and My presence in the detention BAA IN SEVAGRAM camp comforted her. Her diarrhoea abated On way to Bapu’s hut in Sevagram, Baa’s without much discomfort and her hut used to come first. Generally, Baa


Snapshots It was in 1906 that Bapu and Baa decided on self-restraint Interestingly, he says this bonded them deeper than ever before Since then she has remained an echo of the Mahatma

would be seen weaving yarn or doing any other household work. Any new guest would first visit Baa. Baa used to welcome them very warmly, whether she would know him or not. She would ask them in simple and straight way, “from where are you coming? Did you come here directly or had been to Vardha too? Have you eaten or not?” If the guest was hungry, she would offer him food. Guests used to discuss their main problems with Bapu, all other problems were solved by Baa only. Everyone knew, whenever they had any problem, they would visit Baa. She used to take care of even the smallest needs of guests. It was because of Baa only that even Motilal Nehru, who had the habit to eat royally, would happily spend many days in the ashram. It was Baa only who used to take care of even the tea and coffee of Rajaji. It was she, who made special flavoured tea for Jawahar Lal. It was the tradition of her Ashram that everyone used to clean his plate after finishing meal. Once, a very rich lady visited her Ashram. After the meal everyone picked up their plates. That lady was very confused what to do. She had finished her meal but she was confused about her next step. Baa slowly pulled her plate. That lady got embarrassed and ashamed too. OBJECTION ON GHEE DIYA

Bapu and Baa both were staying in Sevagram Ashram. It was Mahatma’s birthday so Baa lit a diya. For some time, Bapu kept staring at the diya and then said, “Nothing would have changed if you hadn’t lit this Diya. There must be many people around us who do not even have a chapati to eat. In this situation it is a sin. So next time when we plan to celebrate ‘Gandhi Jayanti’, first we need to see, how far we have gone from the miseries of poor people around us. If we had been sensitive towards it, thousands of kids in our country wouldn’t be dying because of malnutrition.

12 Environment

FEBRUARY 20, 2017


HIMALAYAN EFFORT TO GET WATER FOR MOUNTAINS He is the inspiration for the iconic Three Idiots character Phunsuk Wangdo, and he is real... and he is transforming the alpine desert of Ladakh into a greener land



SOLATED, immobile and crude, so is life in Ladakh. We live without technology, communication and basic lively services. Our crops die of thirst in the summers with us as we crave for attention, says reformer Dilip Jain explaining Ladakhi struggles. This is why when the ladakhi Engineer Sonam Wangchuk came forward with solution to their problems, the people lurched at the opportunity. From out-ofcontext education to lack of proper roads, Ladakh has a lot of basic problems, but the most immediate was the extreme water scarcity that Wangchuk attempts to solve. Sonam Wangchuk’s name might not sound familiar to people but Phungsuk Wangdu will certainly ring familiarity. To the uninitiated, he was a character played by Amir Khan in highly acclaimed film “3 Idiots”. This character was loosely based on the life of Sonam Wangchuk only. Water shortage is a common problem in the mountain areas but it is no stranger to the people here; these problems have persisted in these places since the beginning of time. However in this Indian village in the extreme north of India, the situation is worst. Ladakh is situated at an altitude of 2700 to 4000 meters, with little or no rainfall. The condition is especially

critical in the summers when the ice melts and there is no water. At this time most villages face acute water shortage, particularly in April and May when it is time for irrigating the crops. Around this time, the mountain streams run dry while in June and July, the streams are flooded with water. One of the major problems is that there is no or little water storage in these areas. Luckily the answer is close. ICE STUPA They are gigantic ice towers in the shape of mountains. It wouldn’t be wrong to call

Snapshots Ladakh region is known as one of the largest mountain deserts in the world This is because of nonavailability of water at the time of sowing of crops Ice Stupas are artificial glaciers that would provide water to Ladakh when needed

them artificial mountains but these are called Ice Stupas. This is a form of artificial glacier formed in a conical shape by the young innovator Sonam Wangchuk, as the answer to the water shortage in the mountain areas. Wangchuk explains, “In summers, the glaciers melt late in June, whereas the sowing starts in April and May. To make water available in the required months, I thought of channeling the water downwards from the melting glaciers during winter in a pipe, which then because of gravity comes out with such a force that it spouts the water in the form of a fountain jet.” These stupas are formed by sprinkling water through a fountain that quickly freezes the water in the low temperature of around -30 ° Celsius eventually forming an ice stupa. These ice supas according to Wangchuk would hold up to 10 million liters of water each and he is planning to create around 20 of them. Inspired by a fellow engineer, his design is an update on Chewang Norphel’s water storage technique in flat beds of ice. He has created 15 artificial glaciers in Ladakh to solve the perennial water crisis and was awarded a Padmashree in 2015. His technique hit a dead-end though when he realised the water is melting too fast. That is when Wangchuk came in, in order to sustain the stupas for longer, instead of storing the water in flat beds he coined the idea to store the water in conical shape to minimise the surface area in contact with the sun, as the result these ice stupas sustain longer than the flat beds and more efficiently contribute to the mountaineer’s needs. THE HERO The star of the story is the innovator Sonam Wangchuk who found the idea of storing the water into conical shaped ice stupas. Wangchuk, a Mechanical Engineer from the National Institute of Technology who instead of joining a well paid corporate job and urban life, decided to spend his life solving the problems of his people. The recipient of Rolex Award for his innovative conservation technique in water-scarce Ladakh in November last year, Wangchuk’s contribution goes much more than just getting water from these frozen glaciers. An innovator and reformer at heart, he is the founding director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL). Struggling against the imposed system of foreign educational system, these students call themselves the ‘victim’ of an alien education system. VICTIMS OF ALIEN EDUCATION Another aspiring project by Wangchuk is developing a more relevant and contextual education system. Fed up with the imposed and outdated education system, Wangchuk started his SECMOL School in 1988 and is now planning to launch a university in Ladakh.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017




Next target is to build a University in Ladakh This engineer realised early that the system of education across the country is not suitable to the learning skills of his people in Ladakh and has transformed the situation Tell us a bit about the Ice Stupas. How did you come up with the structure? What led to the innovation? I was inspired by the experimental work of a fellow Ladakhi engineer, 80 year old Aba Chewang Norphel. Aba Norphel had created flat ice fields at heights of 4,000 m and above. But villagers were reluctant to climb that high to maintain them. It was a tantalizing situation: a logical water supply solution was available, but faced challenges. I experienced an eureka moment, when I was driving past a bridge over a stream near our SECMOL Alternative School. I saw a big chunk of ice under the bridge, which at 3,000 m was lowest altitude and hence warmest place in the whole area, and it was the month of May. So, I thought we can keep ice right here in Phey if we protect it from the sun. How does the Stupa work? The ice stupas are formed using glacial stream water carried down from higher ground through buried pipes whose final section rises vertically: due to the difference in height i.e. gravity, pressure builds up in the pipe and the water passes along the pipe, flows up and out from its raised tip through a fountain into subzero air and then freezes as it falls to gradually form an ice cone or stupa. In late spring, the melt water is collected in large tanks, then fed onto planted land using a drip-irrigation system. How challenging was it to get people to take notice of this venture and its sustainability?

The impact of what the Ice Stupa could do to transform the lives of the land and the villagers was generally understood by them immediately. People of the village came and volunteered to plant 5000 trees which were supported in the lean months by the moisture from the ice stupa. The fact that the “Ice Stupa” artificial glacial experiment had the blessings of His Holiness Drikung Chetsang Rinpochey, one of the topmost leaders in Tibetan Buddhism helped a lot to gain the confidence of the local population. What is the future for these Ice Stupas? I think the future is already here and it is bright. In the last three months, we have taken the ice stupa technology to Sikkim on invitation of the state government to drain and re-freeze a dangerous glacial lake that could otherwise cause Kedarnaath type flashfloods. We then took it to the Swiss Alps where we are currently building ice stupa prototypes on invitation of the Swiss authorities, as a tourism attraction in the short term and a glacier enhancement measure for the long term. I think artificial glaciers will be an occupation and enterprise of the future. How involved are your students in the project? The Ice Stupa team is formed of volunteers who are mostly former students from our alternative school. I expect that some of them will carry it forward as a career as glacier entrepreneurs. What are the other projects that you are working on at SECMOL? There are several other projects like setting up a company that builds pre-fabricated

He was inspired by Aba Chewang Norphel, who created flat ice fields at 4,000 mtrs

Sonam Wangchuk announced of opening a university in the cold desert of the Himalayan region that will be known as Himalayan Institute of Alternatives (HIAL). Wangchuk announced the news saying, “We are preparing to launch our most ambitious project till date -Himalayan Institute of Alternatives in Ladakh, an alternative university for mountain development. It will use our 25 years of experience of hands-on practical education at SECMOL (Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) school and scale it up for higher education at international level.” However, SECMOL School was started after Wangchuk realised that the local kids were losing interest in the conventional methods of learning, which manifested in

the high number of failing students. But the situation soon improved as the school regained its ground and word spread of its fame. Dilip Jain, one of the core team members tells, “In other areas, education is imported from cities, however in case of Ladakh, education is under the Jammu and Kashmir education board. So it is more contextual to people in Jammu and

Wangchuk is taking

trickling water to make massive ice cones that will melt in the summers and irrigate the alpine desert

fully solar heated mud buildings for the Indian Army and the local population. Similarly we are starting some experiments on preparing Ladakh to adapt to an era of increased rainfall and diminishing glaciers. But setting up the Alternative University is by far the most ambitious project. What does an award like the Rolex Award for Enterprise mean for you? Over the last two decades, our work has received ample recognition. Rolex Awards for Enterprise however, is the only award that we applied for, and this we chose to do for a very specific reason. When it looked like Ice Stupa was going to be a success, it looked like we could be greening a huge dessert. We wanted this desert to host a University where young people could be engaged in innovative solutions for the mountain regions. The award comes with massive global publicity, so to reach out to the world we applied for the Rolex award.

Kashmir not in Ladakh.” Wangchuk has said that he will be using his Rs one crore reward amount from Rolex Award as seed money for the project. While he has also launched a global crowd funding campaign to seek potential donors in the building of the learning centre, the local government also has donated 200 acres of land for the university. Explaining the unicity of their upcoming educational institute, Jain said, “Our university will focus on providing a practical and hands-drawn approach towards education. Our effort is to make education more contextual, the university will be just like the SECMOL School, we are just going to upscale its approach to the levels of higher education.”

This we hope will help us in this next journey to set up the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL). Meanwhile we are contributing the award money of 100,000 Swiss francs for greening the deserts. We hope people of the world will also come forward and help us realize this dream. Tell us more about HIAL.. When we saw that the ice stupa could actually green large large chunks of desert in the Phyang valley near Leh, we thought it could fulfill our desire for an alternative university that engages mountain youth in finding many indigenous solutions to local issues. We are a microscopic minority, not just linguistic and ethnic but also climatic and technological. What works in New Delhi or New York does not work for Ladakh. So we wanted our youth to pursue higher education to engage in finding real life solutions to our unique challenges rather than just be part of a ritual of chalk, talk and paper... that ends with a paper degree. We want to set an example which hopefully will change the face of higher education for other parts of the world as well. Fortunately, things worked out as per our designs and we won the award, although there were 2,322 applications from 144 nationalities. Already organisations like Future Institute have been partnering in master-planning of the university campus all pro bono, companies like Jain Irrigation Systems and Essel World have supported with pipes for making of ice stupas, Indian Air Force airlifted pipes when passes were closed and Milaap India’s largest crowdfunding platform has waived all platform fees for people who contribute for this cause on

FUTURE LADAKH With the receding darkness and isolation, the future for Ladakh seems bright. The SELCOM School has completed 25 years of operation while now a university is coming up in the area. The Hill council has donated 200 acres of land for the university, although according to Jain, the university is still in planning stage but he is positive the construction may start next month. They are also foresting the desert land through the ice stupas, expecting to turn the stupas into a tourist attraction that may help sustain the university. Ultimately, through proper education, water availability and elevated tourism, Ladakh might just end most of its struggles.

14 Health & Sanitation NEWS IN BRIEF

FEBRUARY 26, 2017





It is a quadrapill, one in four drug combining four major anti-blood pressure medicines


The agreement is very broad and includes many crucial areas


HE Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Senegal in the field of health and medicine. Among the main areas of cooperation are integrated disease surveillance, medical research, emergency relief, hospital management, drugs and pharmaceutical products/hospital equipment, traditional medicine and AIDS control. A working group will be set up to elaborate on the cooperation and to oversee the implementation of the MoU.


State-of-the-art labs will ensure the quality of laboratory investigations



group of Australian researchers have developed a new ultra-low dose four-in-one pill that can effectively lower high blood pressure. Hypertension or high blood pressure which affects around 1.1 billion people worldwide is one of the major risk factors for heart attack, stroke, dementia and kidney disease. Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia, prescribed a quadrapill -- a single capsule containing four of the most commonly used blood pressure-lowering drugs each at a quarter dose (irbesartan 37•5 mg, amlodipine 1•25 mg, hydrochlorothiazide 6•25 mg, and atenolol 12•5 mg) -- or a placebo for 18 patients in Sydney over four weeks.

Quick Glance Hypertension affects nearly 1.1 billion people the world over This is among the most serious factors causing heart attacks Australian researchers have developed a single dose cure for this

Nearly 53,000 children are promoting cleanliness in MP

The results, published in The Lancet medical journal, revealed that 100 per cent of patients on trial saw their blood pressure levels dropping below 140 over 90, whereas just 33 per cent of patients on the placebo could achieve this rate. “Most people receive one medicine at a normal dose but that only controls blood pressure about half the time. In this small trial, blood pressure control was achieved for everyone,” said Clara Chow, Professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. Patients who consume the commonly available hypertension-lowering drugs experience side-effects which can vary from swollen ankles to kidney abnormalities depending on the type of class of the drug. However, the new pill has no such side-effects, the researchers said. “We know that high blood pressure is a precursor to stroke, diabetes and heart attack. The need for even lower blood pressure levels has been widely accepted in the last few years. So this could be an incredibly important step in helping to reduce the burden of disease globally,” Chow added.



HE Maharashtra government has entered into an agreement with HLL Lifecare Ltd, whereby they will provide quality diagnostic services in around 2,300 state-run health centres The company said that as part of the agreement, HLL, a ‘mini Ratna’ PSU of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will set up the diagnostic centres in Maharashtra and these will become operational in the next 90 days. “By implementing this project, diagnostic tests will be made available to the public in the remotest villages of Maharashtra. The state-of-the-art labs of HLL will ensure the quality of laboratory investigations,” said HLL Lifecare CMD R.M. Khandelwal. HLL is also implementing similar projects in Assam, Kerala and Odisha, partnering with the National Health Mission.

TROLLEY UP FOR CLEANING The piling garbage cannot be controlled by using bins and so the civic body of West Delhi will replace these with junk trolleys SSB BUREAU


HE West Delhi Municipal Corporation is going to issue trolleys to replace dustbins in the common dump-yards of large areas. The trolleys will immediately be taken to landfill sites as soon as they are full. The Corporation is currently preparing a list of places struggling with litter problem. The Chairman of the Municipal Corporation’s western zone, Karamveer Shekhar tells that there are several places that collect garbage from multiple wards. These

dump-yards are always filled with garbage inside out. The problem becomes critical when due to some reasons, the garbage cannot be taken to the landfill site. Given this problem, it has been decided that these



EARLY 53,000 school-going children in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur district have come forward to promote cleanliness and civic sense among elders. These children have become members of the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation’s City Guardian Club (CGC) and have undertaken a ‘Roko-Toko’ campaign wherein, with folded hands, they request their elders and family members to keep off from littering and wasting water and electricity. “The club has been formed in less than three months. More importantly, 53,000 students from 540 schools have joined it for promoting civic sense and cleanliness,” Jabalpur Municipal Commissioner Ved Prakash has said.

Quick Glance The garbage dumped everywhere cannot be handled manually The MCD is replacing the usual bins with new trolleys These trolleys will carry the garbage directly to the landfills

junkyards would be replaced with trolleys. These trolleys can carry up to eight tonnes of garbage at once. As soon as these trolleys fill up, they will be transported to the landfill sites. Presently the carriers transport garbage to the landfills once or twice a day from each junkyard. This problem will be solved once the trolleys are installed. Shekhar explains soon a trolley will be issued for the junkyard in front of the stadium in the rehabilitated colony. It will be provided soon elsewhere as well. Apart from this, the junkyard adjacent to the Milap Nagar Municipal Corporation School is also in a bad shape. It also collects the garbage from many nearby wards. The mayor has stressed on running an awareness campaign against the poisonous atmosphere around the children.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

Health & Sanitation



People in the Assamese village Sikdamakha feel that if Mawlynnong of Meghalaya can become the Cleanest Asian Village, they too cannot be left far behind


Snapshots Currently, Mawlynnong of Meghalaya is the Cleanest Village in Asia Residents of Assam’s Sikdamakha feel that they too can achieve that Each and every person in the village is doing their best to achieve that target



LOSE on the heels of Mawlynnong in Meghalaya which was declared the cleanest village in Asia by Discover India magazine in 2003 is another small settlement in Assam’s hill district of Karbi Anglong which has made rapid strides in this direction. Located about 70 kms east of Guwahati is Sikdamakha in Hamren subdivision, which was bestowed the title of “cleanest village” in Karbi Anglong (West) district by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC). The story of this village began two years ago even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign. Residents were upset with the heaps of garbage left behind near the settlement after every weekly market. The traders who sold their items came from far-off distances and they would not pay heed to requests to keep the area clean. The area would stink and the trash was also a source of diseases. Efforts by some senior citizens to get rid of the problem by approaching a few officials failed to yield results. Left with no option, the villagers decided to put in their own efforts and make cleanliness a way of life. A small meeting of representatives of all the households decided to launch a cleanliness drive in the village – an environment free from filth, dirt and pollution. They formed

Villagers feel that they have some very clear advantages over Mawlynnong of Meghalaya

various sub-committees and every individual was entrusted with the task of keeping the village clean with specific roles. The lead was taken by the youth of the village who motivated the rest by holding competitions on cleanliness among the households on Christmas. Almost all the families participated and the results were encouraging. That cleanliness was inextricably linked to hygiene and a disease- free environment was driven home in no uncertain terms. The message

was accepted and implemented with tremendous enthusiasm. Individuals collecting bits and pieces of muck and depositing them in the bins is a regular sight that greets the visitor on arrival to Sikdamakha village. For this, there are cute baskets made of bamboo hung in front of every home. They are emptied into designated sites for garbage. Four years later, the success achieved has been beyond expectations. This was made evident when the Union Ministry of

Drinking Water and Sanitation published a Village Cleanliness Index. Sikdamakha earned the maximum points in the cleanliness sub-index of the national gauge. Sikdamakha’s reputation has spread and the neighbouring villages have been encouraged to tread on the same path of cleanliness. Sikdamakha consists of 89 households, predominantly inhabited by the Tiwa community. It was established in 1953 at the same spot which was once believed to be haunted by ghosts and devils. The example set by Sikdamakha will undoubtedly contribute to the campaign of “Clean Karbi Anglong Mission” already launched by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. The Council has been holding meeting every week with representatives of civil society organisations, NGOs, clubs and self-help groups for guidance and assistance in the programme. Some local politicians have told the media that Sikdamakha would soon be developed as a tourist destination. They explained that efforts would be made for disbursal of funds to the village for development of infrastructure. Karbi Anglong is one of the two hill districts of Assam, ruled by an autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. These councils have been termed by scholars as “states within a state” for the vast powers that they enjoy. Funds are allocated under a special arrangement which is different from the mechanism with development councils found in other parts of the Northeast. Karbi Anglong is a museum of communities which also explains why the hill district has been witness to deadly communal riots in the past. The hills and the valley are considered a treasure trove of medicinal plants and biodiversity. But deforestation has taken a heavy toll with trees regularly being chopped and sold in the market. Viewed in this backdrop, the success of Sikdamakha is no mean achievement. The village has earned the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status recently – an achievement that could encourage other villages of the hill districts in Assam to follow suit. Residents of Sikdamakha have also declared a war against plastic. Local vegetable sellers and traders are not found using plastic bags in the village which contrasts sharply with the practice found in other villages of the district.


FEBRUARY 26, 2017

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong

Kasturba Gandhi


A veteran author with varied literary pieces in his kitty. Yet he likes to call himself a ‘literary activist’



The issue of Mother Language has been so complicated and convoluted from the very beginning, after UNESCO announced it



Outdoor pollution killed more people in India than China, the world’s most polluted country


T is a silent killer. And it’s omnipresent. Yes, be it water or air; our homes or outdoors – pollution doesn’t spare us anywhere. Air pollution is especially bad in the metros because of ever increasing automobiles which contribute poisonous gases like carbon mono-oxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, while construction activities contribute suspended particulate matter (SPM) into the atmosphere. Everyone will remember how Delhi state government had to shut down schools for three days in November. The alarm signal has gone up once again with a Greenpeace study attributing a large number of deaths to air pollution in India, as many as, if not more than, China – the world’s most polluted country. It said outdoor air pollution had killed 3,283 people in India in 2015, compared to 3,233 in China. The level of PM2.5 pollutants – a kind of SPM which is the most harmful because they can reach deep into the lungs and also the brain - reached 999 in parts of the city recently, though the prescribed safe limit is only 60. Even little smoke is considered harmful for infants. The present level of air pollution may affect brain development and psychological problems. The report claimed that most of the deaths had taken place due to lack of adequate measures taken by the government. It found direct corelation between the exposure to outdoor air pollution - which comprises ozone and particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers and 10 micrometers - and premature deaths. India, especially Delhi, witnessed very high levels of smog in the 1990s as well. But then the government introduced CNG-run buses, autos and taxis to reduce air pollution. Even Delhi metro, supposedly the largest construction conglomerate, introduced strictest of measures to keep the SPM level in check. The state government then raised emission standards for vehicles and moved some heavy industry to the outskirts of the city. It has also barred heavy vehicles from entering the city during daytime.


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:,


N Asian subcontinent, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was the first country to be concerned about dignity as their students had to underline its importance by sacrificing their lives. This was the year 1952 and place was Dhaka. Students of Dhaka University, Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical College staged a massive demonstration over their demand that Bangla be accorded status of one of the two national languages. Protests were brutally crushed by Pakistan police. Bodies of demonstrating students lined up roads leading to Dhaka High Court. Protests when suppressed have a history of getting enflamed. Pakistan Government had a contemptuous attitude towards Bengali residents of East Pakistan, their language, civilization and culture. Imposing Urdu on East Pakistanis was completely uncalled for and unjust because they used to speak Bangla and not Urdu. They not only used to treat Bangla as superior to Urdu but were also ready to sacrifice their lives for it. The matter did not end there. Martyrs’ graves kept smouldering. They ultimately erupted into flames of Bangla Freedom Movement smearing entire East Pakistan with their blood in 1971 and rechristened its name as Bangladesh. Language is the loudest resonance of memory and pride. It is the greatest conservator of our heritage and the biggest bridge between identity and communication. Over 7000 languages are spoken in the world. According to a survey, 50 per cent of them will die their own death in near future. Death of a person last year resulted in death of a language because he was the only person knowing that language. He was a tribal. Lone person speaking a language? Strange but that’s true. As many as 96 per cent languages prevalent in the world are spoken by only 4 per cent and only a few hundred are being used as medium of education and communication. Kudos to UNESCO for becoming aware that linguistic diversity needs to be preserved in the same way as vegetative and animal diversity. That is why UNESCO launched a slogan to mark World Mother Language Day in 2016 : “Make Mother Language medium of education in higher studies for better results”. Government of India in

its linguistic goals aimed at achieving till the year 2030, has included conservation of all languages, linguistic diversities including the internet besides increasing literacy especially among rural folks. It has clearly delineated that Mother Language should compulsorily be used as basis of education in primary classes. People are niot going to accept hegemony of another other language over mother Language, it has noted. Foundation for International Mother Language Day was laid by UNESCO General Assembly in 1999 itself. UN took a pledge on May 16, 1999 to protect and conserve all the vanishing languages in the world. The Day is celebrated on February 21 not only in US and UK but also in majority of the countries including Spain, Canada and Brazil and of course in Bangladesh as well. They celebrate it as Martyrs’ Day in Bangladesh and it is a national holiday there on February 21. Awards like International Lingua Pax Award, Ekushe Surakshit Nidhi Award and Ekushe Youth Award are also given out in Bangladesh on this day. These are the second highest civilian awards in Bangladesh introduced in memory of the martyrs of the Bengali Language Movement of 1952. The award is given to recognize contributions in a number of fields, including culture, education, and economics. Thus it’s a given that there is no other medium than language to protect mobile and immobile heritages of the world. Mother Language is not a single track issue. Whether it is Pakistan or any other dictatorial country and howsoever determined it might be – religious or linguistic division is always a bad option. And this was a religious division not linguistic one. If it was so, then all Muslims

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

English is, ironically, the global lingua franca, and the issue of Mother Language remains perpetually contentious

would have been one country, Baudhs another country and similarly Christians in yet another country. And then India and Nepal would have been one country. Religion is a spiritual necessity while language spread its root from our knowledge to our consciousness. People who have their self-respect intact, do away with foreign language imposed on them. Those who lack it feel proud in continuing with ‘greatness’ of a foreign language. Most thinkers world over have advocated that mother language should be the medium of education. But, we see our salvation in English only. Kamal had asked – How many years will it take for Turkish to replace English? Somebody said two years somebody quoted another figure. Great Turkish leader Mustafa Kamal said, “Imagine that the period quoted by you has ended today. All official work in Turkey will be carried out in Turkish from tomorrow”. Similarly, a BBC radio correspondent asked Mahatma Gandhi in English, at the time of independence, “On this occasion, what message would you like to give to the world?” Gandhi quipped, “Tell them, Gandhi doesn’t know English”! Language issue is often so deep that the Government had to have reorganisation of states to resolve linguistic disputes immediately. Potty Sreeramulu had to sit on an indefinite fast demanding carving out Andhra Pradesh out of Tamil Nadu. One was a Telugu speaking region and another Tamil aspeaking. Sreeramulu died during the agitation. The agitation escalated. Then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was forced to create a state out of Tamil Nadu on linguistic basis. Andhra was divided again with Telangana being carved out of it. But, this time more than linguistic reasons, socio-economic factors played major role. If language is made the basis of provincial divisions there would be so many states like Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Brij, Bundeli etc etc Similarly, Himachal Pradesh was carved out of Punjab, Haryana too separated from Punjab and Gujarat from Mumbai (then Bombay). All these divisions were effected on linguistic basis only under pressure of local population. It is interesting to note that Mother Language Day was founded against Pakistan’s repression of Bangladeshis in 1952, the same Pakistan has been facing secessionists’ agitations on linguistic basis. Punjabis in Pakistan led a major agitation in 2015 in Islamabad itself, demanding declaration of Punjabi language as official language of the province. English is the mother language of only three of the 20 richest countries in the world while 18 out of 20 poorest countries use English.





The author is the Managing Editor of Parliamentarian and has been writing on socially burning topics as well as culturerelated issues for over two decades


The quest for social justice and augmenting human dignity is being answered by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak



ITH exclusion and inequality on the rise, we must step up efforts to ensure that all people, without discrimination, are able to access opportunities to improve their lives and those of others.” This quote of Ban Kimoon, then Secretary-General of United Nations defines the commitment of social justice worldwide. The quest for social justice and augmentation of human dignity for all is the most critical mission of the UN. In pursuing this target, UN’s General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007. The day was scheduled to be first observed in 2009. Since then it is observed as a day to encourage people to look beyond the discrimination narrative. Social injustice remains a major societal problem in most of the developed and developing countries. If the United States is still facing the regression of racial discrimination, our country is battling with injustice tangled with many factors

like caste, gender, economic and socioculture since ages. And the most affected of social injustice are dalits and women. At the threshold of civilisation, dalits remained the last in the social ladder and were involved in the inhuman practice of untouchability by carrying human excreta. Chandals, Shudras, acchhyuts, untouchables or dalits, they are called by many names, but they don’t have a face, and survive on the edges of society. In addition to dalits, women, especially widows suffer this prejudice since caste system was formed. Though it is true that the social reform movement in our country

started before the first revolt for freedom in 1857, yet we were not able to accept the injustice deep rooted in our society. Despite the fact that many years before the revolt took place, different reforms started blooming. The 19th century witnessed the rays of reform movements through reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Debendranath Tagore. Post Independence, the plight of dalits (scavenger women) and widows more or less remained the same. For Usha Chaumar, Sushila Chauhan, Laxmi Nanda and other such women scavengers, freedom was a mere dream till the time they met social reformer, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak. They are liberated and amidst the new life of hope, these women are living with dignity. Another example of social justice is the silent movement of Sulabh for widows who were forced into living ostracised and stigmatised lives. Dr Pathak lights up their lives and fill them with the colour of life and self-respect.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR on. One of the best plays I saw was Dharamvir Bharti’s ‘Suraj Ka Saatvan Ghoda’. It would be good to read more such articles about cultural events. Saransh Goswami, Mathura

RANG MAHOTSAV Dear Sir, The article on Bharat Rang Mahotsav was highly informative and helped to heighten my interest in theatre. Articles like these will help many readers to develop an interest in other areas related to drama and theatre. They will also help to understand different forms of representation that show emotion, explain direction, details regarding performance and so

HIGHER EDUCATION Dear Sir, The article on free Higher Education will be a source of much encouragement for several unfortunate students who are unable to collect sufficient funds for their education. It is fact that many intelligent and hard-working students do not continue with higher education because they have to take care of their families. It is not only their loss but also a great loss for the country. Megha Manral, Dehradun KALAM’S DREAMS Dear Sir, It’s nice to read articles like navigation satellite that makes me feel proud that the dreams of late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam are coming true. It even feels good that India is participating in space research programs so frequently and efficiently that there is a continuous

news every week, enlightening the readers’ awareness to the fact that our resources are being properly used. This news enhances the faith of youth in their charismatic reader. Mayank jayesh, Purnia, Bihar LADY TARZAN Dear Sir, The article like Lady Tarzan has motivated me a lot and has made an impact on me. It has motivated me for planting more trees throughout my colony and with the help of my neighbours, I’d like to make my colony the greenest in our area and would really like to meet her. I would also like to request other readers to plant only at least one tree to give the lady an award from our side. Ashish Johar, Patna TECH SANITATION Dear Sir, Articles like ‘Tech For Sanitation’ has changed my mind and made me more conscious of the serious issues that we need to address Abdul Shah, New Delhi

Please mail your opinion to - or Whatsapp at 9868807712

18 Photo Feature Kunti’s Land FEBRUARY 26, 2017


The original fable related to Suraj Kund comes from her conceiving from Lord Sun at this holy pond, but today this is now better known for the extremely joyous crafts fair that draws global visitors

Photographs by SHIPRA DAS 1




7 6


1. A performance in progress in the open air auditorium 2 Aerial view: the thatched shops create a perfect village ambience at the mela 3. Promoting sport in graffiti 4. Ganesha party... small, big and mammoth 5. Lion atop Radha Krishna... unique to Suraj Kund 6. A lively stage show 7. The peacock in royal regalia 8. Narielpaani to satiate the thirst 9. Drums of Destinty: Bringing Chhattisgarh to Haryana


FEBRUARY 26, 2017


Photo Feature

19 11


10. Dancing at the proscenium: a Jharkhand tribal dance 11. Are the tigers for real or the men out there? 12. An idyllic Haryanvi hamlet 13. And what is Haryana without dangal? A combat in the akhara! 14. Lamps for the connoisseur 15. Wooded brilliance: Atractive archaic artefacts 16. An artisan at work 17. Exquisite footwear


14 15



20 NGO

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


NGO MELA: A POTPOURRI OF IDEAS LSR Alumini Association’s festival is a great platform for NGOs to interact and learn from each other



HINMAYA MISSION, Lodi Road was bubbling with exuberance. Colourful charts, decorated stalls, beautiful decorative items, animated chatter and vibrant smiles. True to its name, NGO Mela organised by ELSA, the alumni association of Lady Shri Ram College, was a lively affair. Hidden behind this exuberance were multiple stories – stories of hope, stories of determination, stories of change. As Mrinalika Rathore, an LSR alumna, narrated, “For me, education is all about empowerment. I come from an orthodox Rajput community in Rajasthan. For me, higher education and that too, outside my hometown, was out of bounds. But today, I stand before you, as a proud alumna of a renowned college which is far away from my hometown, only because of my education. And I want to create such opportunities for the thousands of children back in Rajasthan.” Rathore is founder of Sashaktikaran, which focuses on empowerment through education. Her project focuses on the low income schools of Jaipur. There are many others like Rathore, scores of them, who are explaining their projects to the visitors and donors. A college’s alumni network plays an important role in keeping the alumni close knit and engaged with their alma mater. ELSA decided to go a step ahead and bring all the LSR alumni who are doing exemplary work for the community

and societal development. NGO Mela was a platform for all the alumni who are involved in working for social sector to come under a roof and leverage the strong network. It was an opportunity to learn from each other’s strength and give a better shape to their ongoing work. As Rathore puts it succinctly, “Today’s learning is equivalent to months of efforts”. Mona Yadav, founder of Sahas, also had similar experience. Her organisation works for the adolescents’ issues and wants to create a free and embracing space where every child is open to talk about any issue. The hard hitting questions, asked at Sahas’ stall were a sneak peek into their work. “What would you feel if you come to know about a sexually abused child”, “What was your first reaction, when you first saw a condom”, etc are the kind of questions Sahas’ wants the society to get comfortable with. Mona and her team conducts sessions for the teenagers on various issues like menstruation, puberty, peer pressure, body image. She says with a beaming pride, “There would be a day, when our society just accepts these issues as issues and not any taboo.”ELSA’s NGO Mela saw overwhelming response from the alumni as well as their peer network. Many donations were pledged, many biases were burnt, and of course new pathways for a better society were created. ELSA has plans to conduct more such melas on a more frequent basis to ensure a better networking for the change-makers.

ELSA plans to

have more such melas for better networking of changemakers



Ro-Ros are river transporters that ferry wheeled cargo and will facilitate river traffic substantially RAJ KASHYAP/GUWAHATI


SSAM Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patwary has said more than a 100 new ghats will be built in the State and night navigation and ro-ro services will be introduced shortly. “We are shortly starting night navigation. We are also bringing in five ro-ro ships besides other new vessels. Around a 100 new ghats will also come up,” he said. Ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as

cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter. “Even though new bridges are being built, the government understands the need to develop navigation facilities,” the minister said. He also said an agreement has been signed with Central government agencies to dredge the Brahmaputra for enhancing water transport. The Central government had been

Even though new bridges are being built, the

Assam government realises the need for these concentrating on developing the inland waterways to boost communication to remote areas as well as save transportation costs. There are five existing national waterways in the county and 101 more such national waterways have been proposed to be added. Of these, 13 cover various rivers of NE,

including Barak, Lohit, Subansiri, Gangadhar, Puthimari, Dikhu, Doyang and Tlawng. Brahmaputra is already a national waterway. In order to promote water transportation, various projects of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) are being pursued in Assam, including a ship repair facility at Pandu in Guwahati.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


CLEAN AIR AUTHORITY After his recent visit to Tokyo, KT Rama Rao decided to set up a clean air authority like in the Japanese capital



YDERABAD will soon have a clean air authority on the lines of Clean Air Authority of Tokyo. The authority will be headed by the Chief Secretary of Telangana and would include heads of all departments. After his recent visit to Japan, Minister for Municipal Administration, KT Rama Rao proposed setting up of a similar authority for Hyderabad. A preliminary meeting to work out the modalities of the proposed authority was held. It was felt that the proposed authority should have statutory powers and that it should not be

confined to air pollution but also include noise and water pollution as well in its jurisdiction. A committee was constituted to prepare a concept note and submit it by February 15. This committee would prepare a note on the creation of a model Act; define structure and jurisdiction of the proposed authority. The contributory factors of pollution, rules of solid waste management and the guidelines of the Tokyo Clean Air Authority would also be studied for preparing the concept note. Navin Mittal, Secretary, Municipal Administration, said that while the Pollution Control Board (PCB) would function as a regulatory and enforcement agency, the proposed authority would look after planning, coordination and implementation. PCB Member Secretary, Satyanarayana Reddy briefed about the Tokyo Clean Air Authority which was set up for management of solid waste and generating power out of waste.



An anti-poaching team has been set up with the joint initative of the Bihar government and Wildlife Institute of India



N anti-poaching squad has started functioning in the Valmikinagar Tiger Reserve (VTR) area. The initiatives taken by the Government of Bihar has been created to protect wlidlife in the vulnerable forest on the IndoNepal border, said AK Singh, Regional Director of the VTR. The guards of the squad have been trained and equipped well before being dispatched. They are keeping a 24X7 vigil in the forest which has seen the first tiger pug marks recently after decades. A team of environmentalists is already on tour of Valmiki Nagar Reserve Forest

to measure the pollution prevailing in the forest area. “The environment of the forest is pure and rich in oxygen which is conducive for the wildlife and flora and fauna existing in the zone,” said one of the members of the team. The team has been sent as a joint initiative of the Government of Bihar and the Wild Institute of India, situated in Dehradun. The team had also visited either side of the Gandak river to observe the erosion taking place in the forest area. The team has suggested to officers to pay proper attention to erosion which can be detrimental for wild animals. It has already been observed that many tigers were found dead in mysterious circumstances. After the frequent casualties of Royal Bengal Tiger and panthers, the department was jolted and have recently taken many serious and critical steps as security measures to protect the forest. Many sophisticated weapons and night vision devices have already been sent to the forest authorities for close vigil of sick animals, said an authority of the department.





The world’s largest river island, Majuli, is all set to become the country’s first zero-carbon district in the country INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE


HIEF Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal’s constituency, Majuli is the world’s biggest river island. Majuli is set to become India’s first carbon-neutral district by 2020. The plan for the project is developed by IORA Ecological Solutions, an environmental consultancy firm. The main focus will be forestry and bio-diversity and other interventions will be taken over next three years. “To begin with, we are now collecting data for preparing a carbon audit. Information on electricity consumption, emission levels by different industries and emissions by agricultural practices like burning of crops. Also, what is the total forested area,” said Pallav Jha, the District Commissioner of Majuli. “At the moment, it’s the rural emissions, be they agriculture-based practices or burning of fuel, which we have to check. But we have to keep in mind the increase in vehicular pollution in the near future -- when Majuli gets connected with the mainland by a national highway, as declared by the central government,” Jha told IANS. Recently, Central Government promised a bridge connecting Majuli. This will lead to increase in the tourist flow to the island, but it might have some

adverse environmental impact. The administration is planning to impose a green cess to counter this. At the moment, efforts are on to make locals aware about the implications of climate change and nudge them towards adopting changes in their lives. Organic farming is being encouraged. Development of fisheries is also being encouraged. Launched by the Assam government as Sustainable Action for ClimateResilient Development in Majuli (SACReD), this project is part of the French Development Agency assisted Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of efforts to check fuel emissions, the District Commissioner said that LPG connections will be given to those who lack these. To cut down using kerosene lamps, a 5-10 MW project by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) will help electrify villages that are now bereft of power.


ISRAELI TOUCH TO YAMUNA The Israeli company Ayala is sharing its technology with the delhi government to clean up the highly polluted Yamuna



HE Delhi government has decided to employ Israeli technology to clean the Yamuna River for a cleaner environment and water, the Israeli embassy has said. Ayala Water and Ecology Ltd. will focus on a stretch of eight kilometres of sewage which drains into Yamuna River as an initial step towards cleaner water and

environment. Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel in India, said: “I commend the Israeli company Ayala Water & Ecology on their work in India, and is now reaching New Delhi. Addressing the challenges of water and environment is something both India and Israel share. I am proud to see this partnership in action.” Ayala is also partnering with other Indian cities, including Hyderabad and Chennai, offering Israeli technology to help address water and ecological challenges. Israel, in addition to being one of the major exporter of weapons to India, is also contributing in the areas of agriculture and horticulture, among others. Israeli drip irrigation technologies are now widely used in India.

22 International

FEBRUARY 26, 2017

Quick Glance


India-Pakistan relations hit a low following militant attacks in Uri


India boycotted Saarc summit in Islamabad, Pak banned Indian films

Two in every three drivers report psychological distress

ICCR’s move to sponsor KLF is a move in the right direction


USTRALIAN researchers have developed a mobile application to monitor and improve the mental health of taxi drivers. Researchers from the University of Melbourne developed the app after a study discovered that taxi drivers were among the most stressed people in a workplace, says Xinhua news agency. The study found that two in three taxi drivers reported high levels of psychological distress due to long working hours and the prospect of being assaulted by passengers. “We’re all used to messages about cutting the road toll, but there’s another road toll that is unique to taxi drivers -- the mental and physical health hazards they face on the job,” Sandra Davidson from the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice said.


FREE WI-FI AT EVEREST BASE CAMP To help rescue climbers trapped after some calamity



Indian Council for Cultural Relations comes forward to sponsor the Karachi Literature Festival, soothing frayed Indo-Pak relations SSB BUREAU


T a time when the diplomatic dialogue between India and Pakistan has come to a standstill, a thaw was seen as Indian government’s flagship cultural body was one of the sponsors of the just-concluded Karachi Literature Festival (KLF). This development comes at a time when India has undertaken a diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan internationally. But on the other hand, Indian Council for Cultural Relations

(ICCR), which promotes the country’s relations with the external world, came on board to support KLF. ICCR, for the first time, sponsored Karachi Literature Festival, held from February 10 - 12. The Karachi Literature Festival has become one of the major cultural events in Pakistan and serves as a melting pot of literature with participants from various countries. Since its inception in 2010, the literary event has grown by leaps and bounds and has served as a platform for discussions, debates, poetry readings and book



For the first time in the history of Nepal, 651 transgenders applied for civil services exam conducted by Public Service Commission



EPAL government is setting up free wifi zones on the Lukla-Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Base Camp. “We will expand this service in other areas too,” Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) Chairman Digambar Jha said, adding that the service will operate on the Okamura Model. The model suggests use of low-cost optical cable for high-speed internet. The initiative comes after Nepal’s Tourism industry was hit due to several avalanches triggered by earthquakes including the one at Everest base camp post 2015 Nepal earthquake. Climbers get trapped on the slopes. Rescue teams often reached the trapped people late, leading to deaths.


OR the first time in the history of Nepal, 651 transgenders applied for civil service exams conducted by the Public Service Commission last year. The forms for civil service jobs exams had three gender options, one for male examinees, the other for females, and the third for the ‘Other’ sex, Kathmandu Post reported. The percentage of those who appeared in the ‘Other’ sex category was 0.11 per cent of total 5,95,031 applicants. It nevertheless was a big step forward for the country’s

Quick Glance It is a major step forward for LGBTI community of Nepal It is not yet known whether some of them qualified for civil services Demand is being raised now for their inclusion in reservation quota

LGBTI community, PSC Chairman Umesh Prasad Mainali said. The report does not state how many transgender applicants secured jobs as the results of many exams have not come out, said Geeta Kumari Humagain, information officer at the PSC. “The results of all exams were not included in the report, so there is a chance that people identifying themselves as the ‘Other’ sex might have secured jobs in civil service,” she told the Post. Even if the transgender applicants did not make it through the exams, they can

launches. ICCR director general Amarendra Khatua has reportedly said that ICCR is working to maximise India’s cultural footprints in many countries, including Pakistan. Following the Uri attack last year, India had boycotted the SAARC summit in Islamabad, which ultimately led to its postponement as several other members walked out. There was also an “unofficial ban” on Pakistani artists called by Shiv Sena and other extreme-Right groups. Pakistan too had banned Indian films briefly, which has now been lifted. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister. Its objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations; to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people; and to develop relations with nations. have a go next time, she said. “The government opening doors to allow transgenders to join the civil service is a positive decision. It is a matter of providing equal opportunity to all citizens,” said Mainali. A member of Blue Diamond Society, an LGBTI advocacy group, praised the opportunity provided to transgenders by the government but said they should also be included in the reservation policy, like women, Dalits, other ethnic minorities and disabled persons, for whom the government has been setting aside 45 per cent of the civil service seats. “The government should give LGBTIs a leg up for them to succeed in the society. There are many of us who come from poor background and who have lived in stigma all their lives just like the people who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes,” Chairman of BDS, Pinky Gurung said. According to local media, the PSC made such provision after the rights of gender and sexual minority were guaranteed by the new Constitution of Nepal. PSC spokesman Laxmi Bilas Koirala said there was equal treatment for male, female and transgenders in the recruitment process. “We will treat all with equal footing. Male, female and transgender all can compete for government jobs,” said Koirala, the Post reported.

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24 Unsung Heroes

FEBRUARY 26, 2017



HANDICAP? NOT HIS! It is an impossible story of an accident victim, now 90 per cent disabled, remake his life - and of others as well - through painting


asant Sahu is the name of The accident leaves him a sensitive and creative 90 per cent disabled. He can’t artist, who works generally make any movement without on Chhattisgarh’s culture and life help and hops between bed and and in spiritual arts. At the age a wheelchair. Two years later, of 21 years, he started doing a however, he started to express job of motor winding in a small his thoughts through painting. shop. Two years after starting It was impossible for him to grip the job he was travelling to a the brush with his fingers. It was nearby village when he suffered sheer will power which helped a tragic accident. Not finding him. By small movements of his any movement in his body, the doctors gave him up for dead. But after two hours, he e regularly visits showed a little movement in Naxal affected areas to his body. Meanwhile in his stupor, he travelled through teach children self a deep ocean of infinite expression spirituality.


wrist, he paints with a brush tied by a belt. So far he has held 10 solo exhibitions, both at the state and national levels. He has also participated in more than 15 group exhibitions. Now he spends most of his time in bed, but does not spare himself his social responsibilities. He has devoted his life to art and has a passion to train little children. He is continuously visiting Naxal affected areas to meet these children and trains them to express themselves by painting. Basant who is disabled not only in terms of physical status but financially also, has a great passion to do something for his country through his works of art. He has proved himself an ideal, not only for the handicapped but for anyone and everyone.


GRAMMY, AN ACHIEVEMENT He would play tabla rhythms even on his school desk, and now he has come a long way



NDIAN tabla player Sandip Das was awarded the 59th Grammy Awards. Das received the award of the Best World Music Album for the album “Sing Me Home” as a part of Silk Road Ensemble, a collaborative effort by musician Yo-Yo Ma to bring together performers and composers from more than 20 countries. Raised in Patna, Sandeep struggled through a lot of challenges in his journey to Boston. Born in 1971, he completed his initial education from St. Xavier High School, Patna. Later he graduated with a gold medal in English literature from Banaras Hindu University. Sandeep’s interest in the instrument deepened during his school days. The school teachers had complained to his parents about his persistent tabla playing on the school desks. Taking notice of his interests, his

father gifted him a tabla and got him trained under a neighbouring tabla player. Learning Tabla since the small age of eight, Sandeep approached the legendary Tabla master Ustad Pandit Kishan Maharaj for training at the age of nine. He used to travel from Patna to Banaras twice a week for his Tabla training. After a few years of training, at the age of 15, he gave his first performance on stage with Pandit Ravi Shankar. After playing Tabla for 11 years in Benaras Gharana, he came to Delhi. His desire to move forward and achieve something big impelled him to move abroad. He achieved fame in several foreign countries before receiving the Grammy award this year. He has been nominated in the past as well, twice to be exact, back in year 2003 and 2009. But he couldn’t win the award both times.


His model of empowred panchayats is creating jobs for the community and has been noticed


ECOGNISING his special contributions in social sector, Saurav Ghosh has been selected for the honour of Ashoka fellowship. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee recently honoured him for his work in the field. Entrepreneurs working in the field of social work on an international level are chosen for the honour of Ashoka fellowship. In the past 35 years more than 3,000 people have been selected for the Ashoka fellowship. Among the fellows of around 82 countries, more than 380 Indians have received this fellowship so far. The selection of Saurav in the fellowship is not only an achievement for him but for the country as well. He has been awarded the fellowship for his great idea of ‘swanigmit panchayat’ (self-administered Panchayats). Under this self-administered panchayat, employment is generated on a community level. This move

SAURAV GHOSH has proved effective in checking the exodus as locally available jobs would put an end to migration, thereby putting a check on the expansion of slum areas. Saurav’s plan is to implement his idea in all of 2,38,000 panchayats in India. He is working hard toward this direction. To create better opportunities on the ground level, Saurav along with his associates founded the community friendly movement (CFM) in 2015. CFM is working at rural level towards improving agricultural output, solving irrigation problems, arsenic problems, availability of clean drinking water, awareness towards cleanliness and development of rural infrastructure. Saurav’s organisation is making huge contributions in Madhaya Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha , Bihar and Jharkhand.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017











Shooting as ‘Kasturba’ for ‘Gandhi’ was a Revelation She was suggested as a probable actress for the iconic film by Richard Attenborough, and she got selected at the very first trial in the screen test

Snapshots When Sir Richard’s offer came, she ws very busy with her activities in Maratha Theatre Her name was initially missing from the ones shortlisted but finally she went to London Immediately after her screen test, Sir Richard Attenborough declared her as ‘Kasturba’

Me and my husband had started our own Maratha Theatre Group known as ‘Avishkar’ and had staged more than 150 plays. It was during that period when I was engrossed with my Maratha theatre that I was contacted by Dolly Thakore who was entrusted with the work of selecting the Indian star cast for the film ‘Gandhi’. QUITE DIFFICULT AND HECTIC During that time I was supposed to meet Sir Richard, who was flying from Delhi to London via Mumbai and I happened to meet him. We had discussions for an hour and a half about theatre, and then he left for his destination. Later on I received a letter from him that there are many



RUE, time flies. It’s been 35 years since the release of Sir Richard Attenborough’s Oscar winning film ‘Gandhi’. This was the third film of my career. I started my movie debut in 1978 with ‘Arvind

Desai ki Ajeeb Dastan’, then I appeared in films like ‘Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hain’ followed by ‘Chakra’ before getting an offer from the British director for the film ‘Gandhi’. During those days , I was very busy with my Maratha Theatre after graduating from the National School of Drama, New Delhi.

During the time Sir

Richard’s offer came,I was very busy with my Maratha Theatre

26 My Story


Sir Richard was very

particular and he had made me as well as Ben to use the charkha in 45 days, which was a challenge but I was successful in shedding 7 kilos of weight. He was very happy about it that I adhered to his word. I do not have any hesitation in saying and I confess that I was very young when I was doing this film and that was the reason that I was not able to understand the importance of the role. It was just a role for me and nothing else. He would often allow me to interpret certain scenes in my own way. Although my understanding and knowledge was limited, I was still able to grasp my role and performed well.

Initially my name was

prominent heroines who had been shortlisted for the role of ‘Kasturba’ but my name was nowhere in the list. But the very next day in a remarkable development I was contacted by Dolly and was asked to fly to London for the shoot. It was not an easy task for me to pack my bags and board the plane, but with God’s grace everything fell in place. More so when I was fully booked for my play and was not having a valid passport! But Dolly stood by my side and boosted my morale. With her assistance, I was able to get a temporary visa in a short span of eight days. My Maratha play producer also encouraged me and permitted me to fly to London. Then everything was streamlined and things started to take shape as they fell in place.

day, I discussed this issue with Basu Bhattacharya, that why is it that I am only getting the roles of a mother. To which he answered that there are only two actors in the Indian film industry who can do young and adult roles, I am one of them, the other being Sanjeev Kumar. So he encouraged me to do my roles, whether that of a young girl or an adult woman.

ROLE OF A MOTHER For the screen test of ‘Gandhi’, I was to put on a handloom sari with a bindi and mangalsutra. It was the scene where Kasturba refuses to clean the toilet. After this screen test, I was officially announced as ‘Kasturba’. I was 27 years old when the shooting of ‘Gandhi’ started, and since I had my eyes fixed on the parallel cinema, this was a big break for me. After this, I was offered character roles mostly that of a mother in the mainstream cinema and people forgot the young Kasturba. One

THE PREPARATIONS Working with Sir Richard in ‘Gandhi’ as ‘Kasturba’ was a revelation to me and was unique to me from every angle. We were all given time-bound scripts and were not allowed to deviate from it. I tried to find out books on Kasturba but was successful in laying my hands on two books on her. Further , I gathered literature and material from my own resources. This was my first international film, and I never wanted to leave any stone unturned, in spite of the challenges that I was facing relating to my

not in the list of probables, but that suddenly changed

role. We were all given time-bound scripts as I said earlier, and everybody was supposed to work on it. Sir Richard was very clear on how he wanted my English pronunciation as he did not want me to put an accent. At the same time he never wanted any Marathi accents in my speech. To imbibe the character of Kasturba in me, I went to a Marathi language school to take elocution and language classes. LIBERTY & FREEDOM Sir Richard Attenborouhh gave me a lot of freedom because he was of the view that I understood the Indian culture better than him. I still remember a scene where a stranger comes to visit Gandhiji in Champaran and I was supposed to be in the backdrop. Now the question was, what am I supposed to do in the background. I suggested that I could be portrayed making rotis. So a chulha, tawaa and all the ingredients were arranged. The scene came out so well. I am happy that Sir Richard had appreciated my efforts and the importance of my contribution. IMPORTANCE OF THE ROLE Sir Richard gave us the liberty to do our roles and he had also taught me and Ben to spin the wheel (charkha). He had also asked me to reduce my weight by 8 kilos

ROLE OF A MOTHER I still remember many things related to the release of the film. My life changed in the spur of a moment and it had a tremendous impact on my real life. I found myself travelling all over the world for the premiere of the film. It is noteworthy and quite amazing that we did six premieres in 15 days, which was exceptional. ‘Gandhi’s’ success opened new avenues for me in Bollywood. But I was then asked to play the role of a mother to stars like Amitabh and Mithun Chakraborty, which was again a challenge for me as I was only 27 years old, and these stars were much older to me. Given the option to choose between the role of a ‘mother’ or a ‘sister’, I chose to play the role of a mother. I loved playing the role of a mother, not only to Amitabh and Mithun but also to stars like Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit , Sunny Deol, etc. But the character of ‘Kasturba’ prevailed over all these roles and over me as well. My work was also appreciated in films like Saransh, Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho, Pratighat, Sahenshah, Chalbaz, Agnipath, Raat, Lajja, Damini, Ghatak, Pukar, Badhai Ho Badhai and Munna Bhai MBBS. I was honoured with many awards, but as I said earlier, my role as Kasturba kept following me everywhere. I have no regrets as it was a milestone of my life and career as people till date remember me as ‘Kasturba’, which is a compliment.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017





Quick Glance Shimla, once the summer capital of the British, still remains a ‘cool’ favourite with tourists Summer Hill is one of the seven hills that together make up Shimla and the Mahatma often stayed there Fagu offers a unique trekking joy; it is always accessible, even during winters

No matter how far you go in the mountains and how many places you explore, but the place that stays closest to the lover of hill stations is Shimla. A trip to Fagu and Summer Hill makes the pleasure all the more exquisite ASHIMA


EOPLE’S interest in tourism has seen a leap in entirely new ways since the advent of social networking sites. One can clearly note the rising trend in the excitement of travelling and uploading photos on Instagram, Facebook and other sites. Travel websites that offer several suggestions or share their experience, have also registered an increase. The point to be noted is that in these sites an unwritten priority is given to the Himalayan tours. Information and arrangements are offered, about adventure points starting from popular spots to adventure in Ladakh. But today we will discuss a place that seems common and yet is very special. Shimla is a hill station that remains unmatched wherever one might roam in the mountains. There must be some good reason that during British rule it was made the Summer Capital. One may remember Imtiyaz Ali’s film “Tamasha” where Ranbir Kapoor can be seen running wildly on these hilly roads. This is the most wanted and preferred honeymoon spot of our Indian middle class in the name of hill station. For educational trips of schools and

Snowfall has its own charm, but monsoon is also a delight

colleges Shimla again heads the choice. The unending tourist crowd, both Indian and foreigner, moving down the Mall Road bears ample proof of the fact that their search for peace might not end in Shimla but it definitely halts here. Another special feature of Shimla is that one does not have to wait for any particular time to visit the place, it remains beautiful throughout the year and that perhaps is the reason for its popularity among tourists from all sections of society.

with umbrellas and raincoats. Walking is a joy in itself for the adventurous and those who are blessed with good health, and it is often that they walk the entire area in Shimla on foot. Now let us move a little away from the shopping joints which have been so popular for ages, to places other than the usual tourist spots- Jhakhu Mandir, Kufri, and of course, the ever-famous Mall. Let us speak of the quiet but beautiful Fagu and Summer Hill.



Snowfall might have its own charms but even the monsoon season in Shimla is exquisite. The cool dampness, the ghostly clouds ominously hanging over the hills covering them in smoke and the white fog gives the travellers a unique experience. During these months, both the tourists as well as the local people are seen walking

one among the seven main hills in Shimla, Summer Hill is the most beautiful. Famous for its sunrise and sunset. It is a historical fact that Mahatama Gandhi had lived in this area when he visited the place during his tours. The area is completely covered with numerous pine trees that lend it natural beauty.

This is the reason why it is known for its glorious winding paths and walks. The soil here is fine, used for clay work like pottery; consequently, this is the reason it is called Potters Hill also. Beside the natural sights, we crave to photograph, one can also enjoy horse rides. During summer, it is an ideal place to visit and in winters it is snow covered and coldthe roads become a synonym for chill and desolation. Unlike Chilli Kalan season in Kashmir and Kinnaur where roads are out of bounds during heavy snowfall, there is no particular season to visit this place. Matters of physical fitness attain significance in certain seasons, as people prefer more to walk. Summer Hill continues to welcome tourists.


For trekkers, all hilly areas are ideal, but if you want to get away from the crowded spots of the main town, you should come to Fagu. Situated about 22 kms away from the main city of Shimla, this point offers the wondrous peace and quiet that many city dwellers dream of-away from the urban rush, sparsely populated mud houses built here and there. A dreamworld of a place waits here, hill ranges, apple orchards, natural beauty and rural serenity. May to October is the best time to visit Fagu, as this is the season of apple flowering and ripening. But during the rains, the dense greenery of forests is breathtaking. Another attraction is the Banthiya Devta templea unique example of wood carving. While being a good place to plan a honeymoon.


Shimla is a great place in all seasons and reaching there is also very convenient. Delhi and Chandigarh airports are good links for people coming from far off places, but Shimla has its own airport in Jubbarhatti. Trains connect Kalka station with metropolitan centres and then the ride to Shimla in the narrow gauge ‘toy’ train is an enchanting experiance. Taxi and bus services are available from Chandigarh and Delhi. The real spiritual journey begins once one arrives in Shimla! So pack your bags and head for this hill station!

28 Green Homes

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


GO GREEN: New Mantra for Indian Housing

Survey reveals that due to environmental regulations in the housing sector, more and more realtors are preferring green housing writes Geeta Singh


HOUGH the realty sector scenario of the country is sinking the new trend of green homes is booming. Developers are going with many projects catering to the needs of ecologically sound residential as well as commercial infrastructure. Today the world is facing the severe effects of global warming. Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Therefore both government and the people have become sensitive towards sustainable development. In the realty sector too, advanced technologies like carbon-neutral and zero-net-energy homes are becoming a reality and developers and builders are looking for costeffective, sustainable designs. New high-rise residential, commercial and mixed-use developments are expected to be the top three sectors for green building growth. This trend is largely driven by the environmental regulations and demand for healthier neighbourhoods in the urban sector. Zero-carbon homes are those homes which are not using fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse gases. In Europe, the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm is gunning to become the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. Even United Kingdom has set a goal to require all new homes to be zero-carbon by 2016, and the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm is gunning to become the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. Other important benefits of green homes are efficient, microfilm technologies that create less waste and involve lower costs, and concentrated solar power plants for electricity, the savage and effective usage of water through various means like rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation of public green spaces, waste-water management and grey water recycling. Being the second populous country in the world, India’s growing demand for housing sector is one of the highest contributors to the country’s carbon emissions

accounting for 22 per cent of India’s total annual carbon emissions. In the world scenario of carbon emission, we are the fourth largest carbon emitter. Buildings account for up to 40 per cent of the total energy consumption in the country, of which residential real estate accounts for over 60 per cent. So, going green will be an important move towards sustainable development for residential projects. According to World Green Building Trends 2016 Report,

to reach $234 billion by 2019. USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi viewed that green buildings offer significant operational cost savings compared with conventional buildings. The survey states that green buildings whether new or renovated ones command a seven per cent increase in asset value over conventional buildings and the countries like India which continue to urbanize at a breathtaking pace need the necessary tools that support

The demand for green homes and offices is growing across the country environmental regulation has been rated as the most important trigger by a majority of survey respondents (57 per cent) for constructing new green buildings in the country and green building industry in India will grow 20 per cent by 2018 (reference report -US Green Building Council). The report, conducted in nearly 70 countries, also demonstrates that global green building market continues to double every three years. Green building market has touched $1 trillion mark, backed by increasing consumer demand. This has led to a corresponding increase in the scope and size of the green building materials market, which is expected

stable and sustainable growth. If we look at the present global scenario, India will soon have the second highest number of green buildings in a country (around 57 per cent) by 2018, rising from 37 per cent at present, just behind South Africa at 61 per cent. There are more than 1,990 projects spread over more than 822 million sq ft of space participating in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The growth of LEED reflects its global adaptability as the world’s most widely used and recognized system guiding the design, construction, operations and maintenance of green buildings.

Snapshots In the era of scary climate change reality, realty is increasingly turning to these The constrctions offer green technologies like micrifilm that reduce waste and garbage Mumbai, with 698 green homes, tops the list, followed by Pune and Bengaluru

According to the data of Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), an arm of Confederation of Indian Industry Mumbai (698 registered green projects) is the top Indian green city, followed by Pune (362), Bengaluru (333) and Chennai with 321 registered sustainable projects of which 37 per cent of the projects are residential, 36 per cent of them are commercial, 6 per cent are railway stations operated by MRTS and the rest includes factories, landscape, and existing buildings. Chennai has India’s first platinum-rated green home called ‘Vishwa Syamalam’ in Madipakkam. The city accounts for more than 10 per cent of structures in India certified as eco-friendly by the Indian Green Building Council. While this trend was initiated in India when the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) was established in 2001, since 1994 Biodiversity Conservation India Ltd (BCIL) has been working towards developing such green communities in urban clusters. Greenfield projects such as Trans Indus, Townsend, and T-Zed in the suburb of Bengaluru, Wildgrass in Mysore are some of the few apartment enclaves in Karnataka. In these gated communities, modern lifestyles are combined with ecological aspects like common rooftops of club houses and restaurants decorated with terrace gardens. In these gardens with the help of mulching, lentils and seasonal vegetables are planted. Even the developers pooled a big part of the land for a multi-community resource in order to plant nursery and for re-using of greywater from kitchens and washing machines, energyefficient appliances, weather-proof windows, good insulation and non– toxic materials. If the buyer is looking for a home on energy-saving and wellness grounds, then green homes can fulfil his need. Such green homes can save 30-40 per cent energy from day one of occupancy, which, as recent research shows, can light up 35 village homes per year. Similarly, water savings are 20-30 per cent above a conventional home.



DIGITAL PAYMENT The Future of Payments




Founder, Sulabh Sanitation & Social Reform Movement

Transfer Funds to another Bank Account

types of POs

Dial *99# from your phone


Physical Card Swiping – PTSN with landline / GPRS enabled

Welcome to NUUP Enter 3 Letters of your bank’s short name or first 4 letters of your bank’s IFSC

Enter Your Option 1. Balance Enquiry 2. Mini Statement 3. Fund Transfer-MMID 4. Fund Transfer-A/c No. 5. Fund Transfer-Aadhar 6. Know MMID 7. Change M-PIN 8. Generate OTP

Enter Beneficiary Mobile No.


types of cards & usage

Phone connected with external POS device through jack / Bluetooth



1. Pre-loaded from your bank account 2. Safe to use, limited amount of transaction 3. Can be recharged like mobile recharge

1. Linked to your bank account 2. Used to pay at shops, ATMs, wallets, micro-ATMs and online shopping

ussd based banking Can be used for payments upto Rs 5,000 per day per customer


Phone connected with external POS device through jack / Bluetooth 1. Visit your branch to link mobile number and bank account

2. No need for separate MMID; You will get your Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and Mobile PIN (MPIN) upon registration; Can be done at ATM or online also

3. Remember your MMID and MPIN

aadhaar enabled


Seed your account with your Aadhar number at bank or with the help of banking correspondent

Step-1: INSTALL BHIM APP and open Step-2: Select Language: English or Hindi Step-3: It will asks for permission, click Allow Step-4: Click on “let’s get started” Step-5: Verify your bank account registered mobile number Step-6: Enter a 4 digit pass-code you just received on your mobile and confirm Step-7: Select the bank account you want to use with this app BHIM APP Download process completes You are all set to send/receive money

You can do Account balance Aadhar to Aadhar fund transfer Cash withdrawal Cash deposit Purchase at Fair Price Shops with AEPS Now you can do many transactions at any AEPS point without any pin or password (AEPS points – Micro ATMs)

Go Cashless India!


UPI based banking

using wallets


start using wallet to make payments

sign-up using mobile

load money using credit card or debit card or internet banking



select bank




consumer downloads the app in smartphone

30 Lifestyle LIFESTYLE

FEBRUARY 26, 2017



Fitness Mantra She has been portrayed as the bubbly girl next door and she likes to be that in her real life as well. Some themes from her interview to Gopa C

BUBBLY IN REAL LIFE In both her upcoming films “The Ring” and “Fillauri”, Anushka has been portrayed as a lively and bubbly girl, which she loves to remain in her personal life as well. She says that she enjoys life to the fullest which is seen in her lifestyle. UNIQUE DRESS SENSE She is very trendy and loves to dress up as per the occasion. She says that whether you are in your country or abroad, one must always dress aptly. Stylish jeans and top is her regular wear. She is also seen in this attire while travelling abroad, especially in a floral designer-wear top. She confesses that after doing the film ‘Rab ne bana di Jodi’ she fell in love with saris, which she carries with ease.

regularly, runs on the treadmill for at least 15 to 20 mins a day and does workouts at least seven to eight times in a week inspite of her busy schedule. EATING HABITS If she is not doing a shoot in the early hours, then she loves to laze out and get out of bed by 9 am. Her first intake is a glass of warm

She is essentially a fun-loving girl next door, whether in her choice of dress or food and loves travelling She says the sari falls in the category of formal dressing, that’s why she dresses casually. One can also find her clad in a sari on cultural occasions. She likes georgettes, net and chiffon with heavy sequin and embroidery. These days one can see her in a sari off-screen also. CHANGED HAIR STYLE She is very serious about her hairstyle alongside her dressing. Many hair stylists appreciate her hairstyle, the one in which her hair cover the profile of her face and gives a extra look to her eyes. She feels it convenient to leave her hair open since it is straight. She also loves to get her hair cut in steps or layers. She has flaunted a different hairstyle in the film “The Ring”, which she believes will be the highlight of the film and will be talked much after once the film is released. Pony tail is her favourite hairstyle with salwar suits or any other ethnic wear. The secret of her fitness is that she does yoga

water with citrus fruit juice, followed by Amla (gooseberry) juice after 30 minutes. Her breakfast comprises two eggs and juice of sweet lemon. Sometimes for a change, she also has toast with eggs. She likes dal and rice, is a hardcore non-vegetarian, likes fish and chicken, but has a mix of vegetables in her platter, especially green leafy vegetables. Chilly toast is her favourite time pass. Bangalore’s Grasshopper is her favourite hotel, followed by ‘Sakura’ of Delhi and Mumbai’s ‘Royal China’ and ‘Mia Susina’. She has a craving for Thai food after her favourite Japanese food Sushi, which she eats lovingly. Anushka never diverts her attention while she is travelling. She loves to travel to places where she can satisfy her taste buds. Recently she had visited Rajasthan with her brother Karunesh where she enjoyed all the Rajasthani dishes. NATURE AND HERITAGE SITES She loves to visit natural and historical places which is quite appreciative. During her shooting for the film ‘The Ring’ in Romania, she had enjoyed visiting prime locations of cultural and historical importance.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017


BRILLIANT ‘FAILURE’ One of the rarest of talents of recent times, his films for some reason are never released ASHIM CHAKRABORTY


N his inimitable manner, he has kept himself aloof and refrained from attending any awards function in the last few years. In other words, he is openly sending a signal that none of his films has been nominated in any of the awards category. He strongly feels that however good his role may be, and it may have won the appreciation of the public and critics at large, when the time comes for his recognition, the award somehow unfortunately goes to a person who might not have even done one per cent of his job seriously. DISTRAUGHT OVER OM JI Yes, this is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In a recent interview we happen to hear the reality of the tinsel town straight from the horse’s mouth. He is overcome by discouragement and sometimes feels insecure about his career and thinks that he is a misfit in present-day Bollywood. We happen to get hold of him at his Versova beach apartment amidst all this turmoil. It was dusk and he was getting ready for the shoot which was going to continue for the entire night. He has had sleepless nights, not because of the stress of work, but because of the irreparable loss of his dear friend Om Puri, whom he will never be able to see in front of the camera. He is unable to accept and digest that Om Puri is no more.

He says that everybody is shedding tears for the actor, but has anybody thought about this exceptional actor as to how much he was accepted and acknowledged for his roles? Anguish can be seen on the face of Nawaz and he says that if Om Puri has to work for money, then what will happen to lessor actors like us. DISSATISFIED & DISCONTENTED While talking to us, this 42 year old actor spills out his anguish and frustration. A few years back, people used to call him ‘ Garibon ke Nawaz’ and needless to say India’s King Khan, Sharukh Khan has shared the screen with this messiah of the poor in Raees. Shahrukh feels that this was Nawaz’s best film and this has elevated the position and the fan following of the duo as well. Nawaz says that working with SRK is a very different experience and feeling altogether. Though he is a superstar but on the sets, he is a very humble and down to earth person. “We (SRK & I) are always eager to put in our best, as a result of which we faired well in the film ‘Raees’. I sometimes feel that I have been born in the wrong era as the type of work that I want to put in is not happening.” GETS DEPRESSED A few days back in January 2017 his film ‘Haraamkhor’ was released after four years of its start. Though this

film was applauded at the National Film Festival, but it was a flop at the box office and did not show in theatres for many days. When we talked about this film, Nawaz stated that Indian film directors don’t want to do something out of the box. They follow the same stereotype sequences, five songs, one or two fight scenes and the happy ending of the film with the reuniting of the hero and heroine. This is the authentic mainstream cinema. A smile can be seen on his face. Few years ago, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Hansal Mehta and Sujoy Ghosh had made an effort to change the thinking of the mainstream cinema. At that time the only person who was optimistic was Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But he goes on to say that he was proved wrong that all those films which were appreciated at the film festival can carve a niche for themselves at the box office. He fails to understand the taste and choice of the public. “Sometimes I feel depressed in between, that films which fare well abroad are not even released in India which is a matter of concern and regret.”


last six years, but not even one of his films was released except in the film festivals. He has his doubts whether they will be released at all, but still he wants to work in such films which are a shade different from mainstream cinema. By doing popular films one can satisfy one’s tummy but not get contentment. While he was shooting for the film ‘Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa’, he felt that this film will become the craze of the public but the irony of this film is that except for the film festival, this film has not been released in Bollywood. He had learnt a lot from these flops and unreleased films. He says that if he keeps on pondering over whether his films will be released or not, in such a scenario he will never be able to work. He had worked hard and with zeal in all his films post ‘Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa’ and learnt something new with the passing of every new day. LEARNED DANCING His close friends and associates do believe that Nawaz has learnt a lot in these last few years, like dancing. He laughs on hearing this. He accepts that it became imperative for him to learn dancing since it was the demand of his upcoming film ‘Munna Michael’. “Then in the film ‘Freaky Ali’ I never used to look good while dancing, as I never knew how to dance, but then came a day when this thought engulfed my mind that if the film demands a poor boy to play golf then why can’t he dance. These films not only taught me acting but also taught me the way of life and the art of living.” He still feels the same way as he used to during the days of his struggle when he used to toil hard and roam about on empty stomach on the streets of Mumbai. It is a coincidence that in spite of having so many films at hand they were not released. “Let bygones be bygones,” he smiles wrily . Anyway, ACP Ghulam Patel of ‘Raees’ is always keen and eager to put in his best. Seeing the dedication and devotion with which he worked on the sets of ‘Raees’, Sharukh Khan has called him a ‘Perfectionist’ which is worth it. Nawaz also kept on getting ready for his shoot while talking to us. On coming out of his flat, one can still see the shop from where Nawaz used to eat ‘Pav Bhaji’ during his struggling days, which this ever-sobusy actor has not forgotten even till now. In reality once the lights of the tinsel town come off, we can say that he is the ‘Nawaj of Budhana’ or the ‘Gareebon ka Nawaj’.

I fail to understand what the audience wants and why some films fail

BRUSHED UNDER THE CARPET He has acted in eight films in the




FEBRUARY 26, 2017


Anaarkali of Aaraah Anaarkali of Aaraah starring SWARA BHASKAR is a courageous film that will definitely elevate the filmography of Swara. The story revolves around an erotic singer, who sings songs with innuendoes. One day things take an ugly turn when Anaarkali has a confrontation with a very powerful man who molests her and instead of bowing down, she chooses to fight back. As Swara says, “Anaarkali of Aarah’ is a very special film for me. Not just because it’s a topical film on an important issue. I have never worked so hard on any film.”

New Chandrakanta Chandrakanta, a famous Hindi novel on fantasy and romance penned by DEVAKI NANDAN KHATRI, will be back in a new incarnation. Kritika Kamra is returning to the small screen with “Prem Ya Paheli, Chandrakanta”. Although Chandrakanta was made into serial in the 90s but Kanika wants to give a new dimension to the character Kanika said, “As a child, I watched some episodes of the original series, which I don’t remember now. I remember the song and some characters clearly. But I have not watched it for preparation”.

Remorseful Adele Lion is roaring! After many nominations and awards, the film Lion is still roaring. Salman Rushdie has praised it: “Lion’ is a beautiful film. It moved me deeply. (Sunny and Dev) are both outstanding ... and Nicole Kidman’s monologue, in which she tells her adopted son the truth is very powerful. I loved the moments when SAROO’S past and present seem to fuse,” Rushdie told Garth Davis won the best first-time director from Directors Guild, and Greig Fraser bagged one from the American Society of Cinematographers.

Adele won record of the year at the 2017 Grammy Awards but said in her speech that she could not accept the award because Beyoncé should have won. The shocking moment - that took place at the end of the night - left Beyoncé and ADELE in tears. Adele won for her album- 25 and song of the year Hello. Beyoncé was also nominated for her visual album Lemonade which Adele refers to in her speech. As regards the Song of the Year award, but she explained from the stage at length how she felt Lemonade was a more deserving winner than her own 25.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 10 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

Sulabh Swachh Bharat (Issue-10)  
Sulabh Swachh Bharat (Issue-10)