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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561


Vol-1 | Issue - 52 | December 11 - 17, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

Good News Weekly for Rising India remembrance

sardar patel

His thoughts on Indian economy were clear and closer to Nehru’s




mumbai’s clock towers


Mohamad Al Jounde

There are sixteen of them and offer amazing sights and insights into the city’s history

The 16-year old Syrian got 2017 Children’s Peace Prize for his work on refugees


Quick Glance

Divas with Dreams

For the first time, the Indian Navy appointed a woman as a pilot Nirmala Sitharaman is the country’s first full-time woman defence minister Manushi Chillar has won for India the Miss World 2017 crown

Our society is inching toward a future when the phrase “you code like a girl” will be a compliment of the highest order Urooj Fatima


ndian women have always stood up for their rights and fought their battles despite restrictions and limitations. They are the shining beacons of hope and have displayed exemplary dedication in their respective fields. Women are leaders everywhere you look—from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. The need for empowerment of women arises from the subordinate position they have been accorded for a long time. The empowerment has been felt as a tool to bring about changes in their socioeconomic condition. It has been felt on the part of the nation as well as the individual that no society can progress till women, a major constituent of society, lag behind. Narendra Modi sees women empowerment with a whole new look. He says, “The progress of humanity is incomplete without the empowerment of women. The issue is no longer Women Development but it is Women-Led Development.” The deep

sense of concern and responsibility he feels towards the situation of women has directly resulted in the Indian government taking many strides to provide them with an equal and equitable platform in every aspect. The Prime Minister is not only paying full attention to the development of the country but also giving importance to the fact that its character is inclusive and women’s role in it is important. Perhaps this is the reason why women’s representation in India has gained r e s p e c t a b l e recognition in many areas today. The task is not too difficult to achieve. The honesty and sincerity on the part of those involved is a must. If a lot of women change, it will have a positive impact on society. Hence, women’s development is the need of the hour. From sports to defence to science, women have been raising the bar across a multitude of fields this year. While some of these achievers have now earned the ‘first Indian woman’ tag, others are setting out on some exciting journeys. Some of these women are working to make the world a better place, while others are earning laurels in their fields. These women clearly deserve standing ovation.

There’s something

so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. We need to reshape our own perception

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December 11 - 17, 2017

First woman Defence Minister

the other women in cabinet

Nirmala Sitharaman

Maneka Gandhi, Uma Bharti, Harsimrat Kaur & Smriti Irani



irmala Sitharaman has become India’s first full-time woman defence minister. She has taken charge of this post filled with great challenges and sensitivity. She has the responsibility of protecting the boundaries of the country; it is of utmost importance for the country’s identity. Nirmala Sitharaman has held this command with full strength and courage. The several programmes that PM Modi has launched for empowering women are very well known. It is a big message the Prime Minister has given to the world that women are second to none by assigning the important portfolio to Sitharaman.

f the 27 members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, six are women. This is the first time since the country’s independence, when the participation of women members at such a large level has been ensured in the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been lauded for empowering and including women ministers like Smriti Irani and otherss in his Cabinet. The Modi ministry has six women ministers in charge of portfolios such as foreign affairs, information and broadcasting, women and child development, External Affair, Defence and sanitation.

the other women in CCS Sushma Swaraj

Maneka Gandhi


nother important decision taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure is significant. Cabinet Committee on Security, for the first time, has two women ministers—Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman—as their external affairs and defence ministries are part of the powerful group. In this committee, besides the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Foreign Minister are the members.

first navy pilot Shubhangi Swaroop

Harsimrat Kaur

Uma Bharti

Smriti Irani

women mig-21 bison jets pilot

Avani Chaturvedi, Bhavna Kant and Mohana Singh


eventy years after independence, Shubhangi Swaroop has made history by becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Indian Navy as a pilot. Shubhangi Swaroop, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, will soon be flying Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft. After completing her B.Tech in biotechnology, she was eager to join the defence forces. A national gold medalist in taekwondo and a passionate diver, she always dreamt of becoming part of the defence forces. Three other women cadets, Astha Segal from New Delhi, Roopa A from Puducherry and Sakthi Maya from Kerala, also scripted history by becoming the country’s first women officers at the Naval Armament Inspectorate (NAI) branch of the Navy.The first batch of women officers at the Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) branch, which was considered a male bastion so far. Though Shubhangi is the first Naval woman pilot, the Navy’s Aviation branch has had women officers operating as air traffic control officers and as ‘observers’ in the aircraft who are responsible for c o m m u n i c at i o n and weapons.


vani Chaturvedi, Bhavna Kant and Mohana Singh are the first women in the country, who have been commissioned as fighter pilots in the IAF. After completing the third level training in Bidar in Karnataka, Avani, Bhavna and Mohana, who have their names recorded in the history of Indian Air Force, will be given fighter planes like Sukhoi and Tejas next year to fly. The first three woman fighter pilots of Indian Air Force will get the chance to fly the MiG-21 Bison aircraft first. The three women were commissioned as flying officers in July last year, less than a year after the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis.

December 11 - 17, 2017

A women-only Indian Navy team on a mission


he first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew and shall attempt to circumnavigate the globe on Indian Navy’s sailing vessel INSV Tarini. The crew is expected to return to Goa in April 2018, on completion of the voyage. The name of the global journey is ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’. Promoting women empowerment in the country, the team will be sailing over many oceans. An all woman crew will be managing the whole operation in this first ever global journey. The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Indian Navy along with showcasing the Government’s support for empowering women.

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Woman Ambassador of Tourism Australia Parineeti Chopra


ustralia has roped in Bollywood Actress Parineeti Chopra to be its first Indian Woman Ambassador in “Friends of Australia” advocacy panel by Tourism Australia to encourage Indians to visit the country. Being an avid traveler, Parineeti keeps visiting destinations across the world. In fact, she travels a lot and visits 4-5 new countries every year. Chopra will be the first Indian woman ambassador to be a part of the FOA advocacy panel. The FOA programme has been devised as a way for TA to foster mutually beneficial and long-term ‘friendships’ with those they regard as unique, positive and influential story-tellers. From coastal beauty to rich wildlife, Parineeti Chopra is gearing up to explore every bit of Australia’s natural opulence. She will also be visiting Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ayers Rock to indulge in several adventurous activities.

World wrestling entertainment Kavita Devi


avita Devi, who was a part of WWE’s Mae Young Classic tournament earlier this year, has become the first ever Indian woman wrestler to sign with the biggest show in wrestling entertainment. Kavita Devi who hails from Haryana underwent training to become a professional wrestler under the guidance of The Great Khali at his training academy in Punjab. Kavita, who has represented India at the 2016 South Asian Games, is also a powerlifter. She also won a gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games. She is expected to begin training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida this January.

Success in Beauty Asia Cup Hockey Victory


his year, the Indian women’s hockey team performed brilliantly in the Asia Cup, defeating China 5-4 in the final to win the title. With this win, the Indian team has also qualified for the World Cup 2018. The title was decided by the shootout. Before the match was over, the two teams were equal to 1-1. This is the second Asia Cup title of the Indian women team. Earlier, India had named this prestigious title in 2004 when it defeated Japan 1-0. With this victory, the Indian team also retaliated with the defeat of China in the tournament title in 2009

First Sikh Woman Mayor Preet Didbal


reet Didbal has been elected as the mayor of Yuba City in California, becoming the first Sikh woman to hold the position in the United States. Didbal’s parents moved to Yuba City in 1968 from India. She was the first in her family to attend college and receive a master’s degree. Didbal was elected to Yuba City Council in 2014 and is currently vice mayor.

Manushi Chillar


eventeen years after Priyanka Chopra was crowned Miss World, another Indian girl from Haryana has made India proud at the big stage. India’s Manushi Chillar has won the coveted Miss World 2017 crown at a grand event in China, bringing to an end the country’s dry spell of 17 years at the top pageant contest. The 20-year-old from Haryana, who is a medical student, edged out top five contestants from England, France, Kenya and Mexico at the event, which saw participation from 118 countries.Chillar is the sixth Indian to win the coveted crown, which was first won by Reita Faria back in 1966. She aims to be a cardiac surgeon and wants to open a chain of non-profitable hospitals based in rural areas. Manushi likes outdoor games slike paragliding and bungee jumping and scuba diving. She is also trained in classical music.

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December 11 - 17, 2017

mary kom’s fifth Mary Kom


ary Kom created history when she won her fifth Asian Boxing Championships gold medal in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Playing the 48kg final, Mary beat Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi with a 5-0 unanimous decision.The 35-year-old boxer was away from the ring for a long time and had made a comeback earlier this year. Mary Kom powered her way into the finals with unanimous decision in the semifinal. Mary Kom’s gold at the Asian Boxing Championship is a huge victory for India’s women power. At 35, this mother of 3 has shown that with grit and determination you can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Mary Kom is a huge inspiration for all women. She is all set to add another honour to her glittering career when she receives the ‘Legends Award’ from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on their 70th anniversary on 20 December. Mary Kom is also a multiple-time Asian champion and was named an AIBA brand ambassador during the World Championships earlier this year.

Lok Sabha’s first woman secretary general Snehlata Shrivastave


nehlata Shrivastava, a 1982batch retired IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, appointed the first woman secretary general of the Lok Sabha. As Secretary ( Justice), it was Shrivastava’s second stint in the law ministry. Earlier, she was a joint secretary in the same department. She has also worked with the finance ministry. She has also held several senior positions in the Madhya Pradesh government, including as Principal Secretary in the ministries of Culture and Parliamentary Affairs. Her tenure will end on 30 November 2018. Rama Devi holds the distinction of the being the first woman secretary general of the Rajya Sabha.

Mayor of the city of Nawabs Sanyukta Bhatia


anyukta Bhatia not only won the election, but also became the first woman mayor of the state capital. In a historic event Lucknow will have its first woman Mayor. It has taken long for the government to get the mayor’s seat reserved for women in Lucknow. Citizens are hopeful and optimistic; hoping the appointment of a woman candidate will bring a muchneeded fresh perspective to things. Uttar Pradesh has already given India its first woman Governor and Chief Minister but Lucknow made history by electing its First woman Mayor in 100 years. A woman has never before been elected as head of the municipal body after the Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act came into existence.

Scaling New Heights Anshu Jamsenpa


t’s not every day you meet someone who holds the world record for scaling Mount Everest, Twice, in five days. Anshu Jamsenpa is a woman of substance and an inspiration beyond admiration.An adventure enthusiast and mother of two, Anshu’s journey began in 2009 when she was motivated by trainers at the Arunachal Mountaineering & Adventure Sports Association to take up mountaineering. It wasn’t that easy though. The fact that she was a mother of two young girls, and even more the fact that she was a woman, often played a deterrent. But Anshu wasn’t one to be affected by negativity. In 2011, Anshu conquered the 29,029 ft. peak for the first time and did it once again in a span of 10 days. Soon enough, Anshu headed back to Everest for the third time in 2013. However, it was her ‘double ascent’ in 2017 that made her the only woman in the world to achieve the feat within five days! It also made her the first Indian woman to scale the top peak five times.

Guarding Our Frontiers Tanushree Pareek


anushree Pareek has made history by becoming the first woman field officer of the Border Security Force. This is the first time in the 51 years that BSF has existed that a woman has been commissioned to be part of the border protection force, known to be the world’s largest. Pareek (25) also led the passing out parade of 67 trainee officers that was reviewed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the Border Security Force camp at Tekanpur near here. The Home Minister was at hand to personally put the ranks on the shoulders of Tanushree at the ceremony. The force had begun induction of woman officers in 2013. She will now be posted to command a unit along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab.

heading HCs Indira Banerjee


s of March this year, women headed the country’s oldest high courts, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. Indira Banerjee was appointed chief justice of the Madras HC. She joined the ranks of Bombay HC’s Justice Manjula Chellur, Delhi HC’s Justice G Rohini and Calcutta HC’s acting Chief Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre.On the other end of the spectrum is Ridhima Pandey, a nine-year-old from Uttarakhand, who sued the government in April for failing to implement green laws. She filed a legal case with the National Green Tribunal, appealing that the Centre be directed to “take effective, science-based action to reduce and minimize the adverse impacts of climate change.”

December 11 - 17, 2017

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Knock it out Deepti Sharma


he list of first for Indian women in sports is long enough to warrant a few stories of its own. In cricket, the women in blue have been smashing record after record this year. Deepti Sharma and Poonam Raut’s 320-run opening stand in May now holds the record for the largest first-wicket partnership in ODI history. During the match, Deepti scored 188 vs Ireland to bag the second highest individual score ever in a women’s ODI. Jhulan Goswami is no stranger to breaking records. This year, the 34-year-old scripted history by becoming the world’s top wicket-taker in Women’s ODIs, with 181. She attained the feat in a 9 May match against South Africa at the Women’s Quadrangle series. Moving on to the other sports, the Indian women’s ice hockey team registered their first ever international win in March, when they beat the Philippines at the Challenge cup of Asia in Thailand.

the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for her outstanding contribution for making India self-reliant in the field of missile technology. She is also an example for a woman who is doing her best in a male dominated society of ours.


fencing gold


ince 1977 the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation gives awards named after Jamnalal Bajaj annually. This year, the “Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Constructive Work” was given to Shashi Tyagi, the founder of GRAVIS. The foundation describes Shashi Tyagi as a “straight forward, simple, devoted social worker and an educationist” and underlines the great objectives of GRAVIS, like the work for vulnerable and most needy groups, the development of self-reliant rural communities, the community involvement and sustainability of GRAVIS’ work and the blend of traditional wisdom with modern sciences.

Bhavani Devi


havani Devi won India her first gold in an international fencing event after she won the sabre event at the Women’s satellite Fencing Championship held I Reykjavik, Iceland in May. The 23-year-old from Chennai, who had previously also won medals for India at Commonwealth meets and U-23 Asian Championships, was only competing at her third satellite event. She managed to make it to the finals overcoming tough opponents from Chile and Great Britain before beating Sarah Jane Hampson, 15-13 in the final. Bhavani Devi had previously won a silver medal. In yet another mind blowing first, 101-year-old Man Kaur from Chandigarh, won the 100m sprint at the World Masters games in Auckland in April to bag her 17th gold medal. The centenarian finished the race in 1 minute, 14 seconds- 64.42 seconds off Usain Bolt’s 2009 world record.

Missile woman of India Tessy Thomas


he first woman to head an Indian missile project, Tessy Thomas has decisively broken the glass ceiling to make her mark in a traditionally male bastion. Having stood out ever since she joined the DRDO in 1988, she has played a pivotal role in India’s missile development programme, particularly in the making of its long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, the Agni-V. Tessy Thomas was appointed by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in Agni Missile program when she finished her M-Tech from Defence Institution of Armament Technology, Pune and that is where she has been ever since. Known as the ‘Missile Woman of India’, Thomas became the Project Director for the 5,000-km range Agni-IV missile in 2009, which was tested successfully in 2012. Thomas is the first woman scientist to head a missile project in the country at the DRDO. Tessy Thomas was conferred

first Indian woman member of IOC Nita Ambani


he founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation Nita Ambani became the first Indian woman member of International Olympic Committee after being elected at the 129th IOC Session in Rio. Nita, who also founded the Indian Super League football tournament, was nominated for the post in June this year. She is the only individual member from India and her appointment at the world body is until she attains the age of 70. Nita has been steering initiatives in the area of education, sports, health and art and culture. She has been involved in promoting multiple sports in the country with focus on developing talent through a number of large-scale grassroots initiatives. The grassroots programmes that she has initiated have reached out to over 3 million children in multiple sports.

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December 11 - 17, 2017

women Achievers

Jnanpith Award Krishna Sobti


oted writer of Hindi literature Krishna Sobti conferred with the country’s highest literary honour, Jnanpith Award this year. Also Known as the ‘Grande Dame’ of Hindi literature, Sobti has published many noteworthy works since the second half of last century that dealt with bold themes like female identity dysphoria and sexuality. Her language is highly influenced by the intermingling of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi cultures. Sobti is a path breaking novelist. She has immensely enriched Hindi literature. With themes far-ranging from Indo-Pak partition and relationships between man and woman to the ever-changing dynamics of the Indian society and the slow decay of human values, most of her works revolve around strong and audacious characters, making her stories engaging and unforgettable.

So Many Records, So Little Time Dr Neeru Chadha


n June, Dr Neeru Chadha became the first Indian woman to be a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the sea. The eminent lawyer I now the first Indian omen in a top UN position after Vijay Lakshmi Pandit. In March, Subha Varier, B Codananyaguy and Anatta Sonney, scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation( ISRO), were conferred with the Nari Shakti Award by President Pranab Mukherjee. While the women at ISR have been taking India to new heights with every successful space mission, a teenager from Bengaluru has made a mark for herself in outer space- literally. Sahiti Pingal, a class XII student, is all set to have a minor planet named after her. She was awarded the honour by the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after having aced the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with her research on water pollution. Another wonder woman is Shruti Singh, who bagged a Diploma in Physiotherapy in February. The 23-year-old, who suffers from a genetic disorder, may just be India’s first deaf-blind physiotherapist. In May, 44-year-old Percilla Veigas was honoured by the University of Toronto’s Massey College for having completed her Ph.D. Veigas, who hails from Karnataka, has terminal cancer. Her research will help ‘match trauma patients to the most effective blood products to transfuse in order to manage bleeding and save their lives.

Some Unsung Heroines Here is a bouquet of women who made a difference this year but, barring two of them, they went unsung. This is from SSB’s coverage on them over the last year SSB bureau

WINGS OF FREEDOM Jasvinder Sanghera


uthor of two best-sellers has been fighting for women rights for NRI women in Britain 52-YEAR-old Jasvinder Sanghera is becoming a pivotal pillar to those helpless women who want to get rid of the clutches of forced marriage. Her nonprofit organisation Karma Nirvana helps women who are trapped in an abusive relationship or want to escape the prospect of forced marriage and are the victim of any kind of “honour” based crime. She is a highly acclaimed international speaker and an expert advisor to the courts. Jasvinder is recognised as bringing the issue of forced marriage into the public domain. The author of two bestselling books- Shame, which described her own experiences, and Daughters of Shame, detailing the stories of some of the thousands of women who had been helped by the charity. Karma Nirvana took birth from her own turmoil. Jasvinder‘s father left India’s Punjab in the 1950s to live in England. His values didn’t allow daughters to complain about the in-laws to her parents. Whenever they complained about the in-laws’ oppression or husband, they were advised to keep their in-laws happy. After five of her sisters had already been married off to men they had not chosen, Jasvinder refused to follow the same path. But Jasvinder’s mood was different. She was not in her nature to endure pain like her sisters. She wanted to live an independent life by reading and writing. So after leaving her home and spent many nights at different parks, Jasvinder found a motto to fight against this atrocity.



urvi Vyas is among one of those women this year who were in news for their work. It was one weekend that changed her life and Purvi Vyas, a Masters in Environmental Management from Australia’s Western Sydney University, turned into a full-time organic farmer. She is now preparing the next generation of farmers and youngsters to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.After finishing her masters in 1999, Purvi came back to India and started working for several NGOs for sustainability and development. It was in 2002 when she joined the famous Environmentalist Bina Agarwal to work on one of her research projects that Purvi happened to get her first brush with the farming community. The research took her to a small tribal area of Netrang and Dediyapada in south Gujarat. She was surprised to know that these illiterate women had all the knowledge of the plants and the trees available in the jungle. “Even the kids knew about these plants so well! It was an eye opener for me that I was an educated ignorant and so are most of us in the cities. These

December 11 - 17, 2017 people were living a much healthier life than us and on the other hand, I observed a huge gap between what people were saying about the environment and how they were actually living their lives in the cities, including me. This paradox made me unhappy and I was constantly looking for a way to implement what I was saying,” she says.

UNICEF’s Global goodwill ambassador Lilly Singh


NICEF appointed Indian origin Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh as its newest Global Goodwill Ambassador at a special event in New Delhi. Lilly was in the National capital to support UNICEF’s Youth4Change initiative, a programme to support their peers and communities in taking action on issues such as health, hygiene, child labour and gender equality. “I’m honoured to join UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador and to use my voice to support its mission of reaching every child. It’s time to stand for what your kids want and not society,” Lilly said.



he dedication and efforts of female police officers in the country have recently come under the spotlight as we collectively fight corruption and terrorism on all sides of the nation. Sanjukta Parashar, known as the Iron Lady of Assam is the IPS officer made headlines for her valour in the field this year. Appointed as an IPS officer in Assam, she has arrested over 64 terrorists in the last 15 months setting a clear example for others. First, she was sent to Makum, Assam, back in 2008, working as an Assistant Commandant. She neutralized 16 terrorists in the 15 months she conducted her operation and arrested 64. This fearless mother of a four year-old, Sanjukta was in a recent operation wherein she jumped into the front lines herself with her AK-47 rifle. She has completely dedicated herself to Anti-Bodo militant operations. Her valour and dedication exhibited is exemplary and respect worthy.



plifting the Musahar community, Choti Kumari Singh, a 20-year-old from Bihar has made her community proud by winning international acclaim for her efforts. The Musahar community is considered the lowest and most downtrodden in the state’s caste-based society. Hailing from an impoverished upper caste Rajput family, Choti Kumari Singh was awarded the Women’s Creativity in Rural Life award by the Women’s World Summit Foundation based in Switzerland. After joining a programme run by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math of the spiritual leader Mata amritanandamayi Devi (amma), Choti started helping with social and educational work in the Musahar community in her village. The award was instituted in 1994 to honour women showing immense courage, creativity, and commitment to the betterment of quality of life in rural areas. Choti is the youngest recipient of the $1000 award. Choti started offering free tuitions to school students when the

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programme was first introduced at Ratnapur in 2014. “It was a herculean task to bring Musahar children to the classes because their parents did not show the slightest interest in educating them. I went door to door gathering children and trying to convince the parents, Choti says. While the Musahar community was hostile at first, they eventually warmed up to her. “They used to drink, gamble and verbally abuse me. However, once they started observing the positive changes brought by our work, the situation became relatively favourable” Choti recalls.



hen TV Anupama took charge as the District Collector of Alappuzha district in August 2017, no one in Kerala’s political circles could have imagined that she would rock the landscape by taking on a powerful minister in Pinarayi Vijayan’s cabinet.TV Anupama, who bagged the fourth spot in Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 2010, has put a check on food adulteration business in Kerala ever since she took office as Food Safety Commissioner in Thiruvananthapuram. Anupama has conducted numerous raids around the state and has almost put an end to adulteration in Kerala. Since the Department of Food Safety was set up only in the year 2011, she had to deal with the nitty-gritty of establishing a new department. The crackdown started a couple of years ago, when Anupama conducted some raids and found out about the illegal practices being carried out in Kerala. That followed a number of raids and checks uncovering food adulteration and pesticide overuse. Laboratory tests showed the pesticide quantity present in some fruits and vegetables, was more than 300 per cent of the safe limit. One of the main causes of such fast proliferation of cancer is consumption of chemicals and pesticides. This made her resolve more steely. Within 15 months of her first raid, she had filed around 750 FIRs against food adulteration products, ceasing up to 6,000 adulterated samples. While on the job, she also found out a way to immediately avoid the use of such products. She started promoting her findings online. As her posts were picked up by the mainstream media and published regularly, people became cautious about buying food off the market. It was a tough job dealing with the adulterators since the department is new and doesn’t have a proper infrastructure and manpower.



ive Indian American teens are among the top 10 awardees of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search included Indrani Das, Prathik Naidu and Archana Verma. Indrani Das, a 17-year-old Indian girl from New Jersey, won the ‘Junior Nobel’ award, which this science talent search competition is also known as, and bagged a whopping grant of $250,000 in addition. Indrani Das was felicitated along with other 39 finalists by the committee comprising some of the best in the field of science and technology. She was awarded $250,000 for her intensive study of a new approach to treating the death of neurons in the brain, which results from brain injuries and which causes neurodegenerative diseases like cerebral attack, and Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. The winner of the Junior Nobel Prize 2017, Indrani Das demonstrated how the cerebral neurons can be saved, using a laboratory model. 17-yearold Archana Verma from New York is another Indian American finalist of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition. She received a grant of $90,000 for her project on chemistry behind energy efficiency.

08 Gender

December 11 - 17, 2017

muslim girl education

Light Penetrates The Hijab! Thousands of Muslim girls are now attending schools while honouring their community customs, like wearing the hijab, which is no longer a barrier to education

Abu Zafar


or Ghazala Tasneem, October 31 was not a normal day. It was the day her dream came true and she was rewarded for her hard struggle of three years. She was selected in the Bihar Judicial Services Competitive Examination with 65th rank and can soon aspire to be a judge. “Indeed, it was difficult, but thanks to Allah, due to the continuous support and motivation from my husband and other family members, I have achieved what I deserved,” says Tasneem, a housewife from Katihar district of Bihar with two sons. There is a general perception that Muslim women rarely pursue higher education, or go for competitive exams, and the social odds are stacked even higher once they get married and have kids. But women like Tasneem challenge such stereotypes. India has the largest Muslim population after Indonesia, which is about 14.2 percent of its 1.34 billion population and the 2011 census says that about half of the population of Muslim women is illiterate. But

Quick Glance India has the largest Muslim population after Indonesia Half of the Muslim women are illiterate: 2011 Census But now thousands of Muslim girls are enrolling in schools

“The situation is not good because the number of

boys is decreasing and now our college is becoming just like a girls’ college,” Abidi said women like Tasneem think that the situation is changing fast. “Though in areas like law and judiciary, still, the number of Muslim girls is very less. But in general, the situation is changing now and there are many more Muslim girls going to school,” Tasneem said. Zebun Nisa Khan, associate professor at the Department of Education in Aligarh Muslim University, says that situation has already changed. “The trend is not changing, but it has already changed. For the last few years, the number of Muslim girls in schools has increased massively,” Khan said. Muslim women’s literacy rate is on the increase in Uttar Pradesh, but the situation in states like Bihar and West Bengal needs to further improve. Moonisa Bushra Abidi teaches Physics at Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Mumbai. She also thinks that educating the girl child is an increasing trend among Muslims and an increasing number of Muslims girls encouraged by their parents, particularly mothers are going for higher education. “One can see a larger number of

girls with hijab in many institutions now. In the early 1990s, when I was pursuing my M.Sc. from the University of Mumbai, I was the only girl in the entire university with a hijab,” Abidi explains. She says that during her days in the same college, at the intermediate level, there used to be one division of girls against four of boys, but now there are four divisions of girls against one for boys. At UG and PG levels, there are hardly 8 to 10 boys in each class against 80 to 90 girls. The college is being run under the presidentship of a woman, Fatima Zakaria, a Padma Shri awardee, journalist and academician, and mother of veteran journalist Fareed Zakaria. “The situation is not good because the number of boys is decreasing and now our college is becoming a girls’ college,” Abidi said. But what had been the major issues for educating Muslim girl child in India? Khan lists poverty and lack of awareness as some of the major problems in the path of the girl child education. “The major obstacles are poverty and lack of awareness. Many Muslim families are below the poverty line and they are unable to educate

girls,” she explained. Sadia Rahman, PhD scholar of international relations at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, thinks that widespread poverty and financial constraints are the major causes that prevent Muslim girls from accessing modern education. “Also, the poor quality schools in Muslim populated areas is also responsible for it,” says Rahman who hails from Kolkata and completed MA from Presidency University. According to Islamic teaching arrangements of classes, male and female students should be separated and many people believe that it is also one of the important reasons for the low literacy rate of Muslim women in various places. “I think the biggest obstacle for girls’ education was co-education and less availability of Muslimmanagement colleges. Sometimes a girl with a hijab becomes the butt of jokes, because of which religiousminded girls are hesitant to go to colleges run by non-Muslim managements,” Abidi added. Abidi believes that Muslim girls from conservative families don’t feel comfortable in the co-education system and the community should think about opening more separate colleges for them. “In rural areas, even Hindu girls prefer girls-only colleges and avoid co-education,” Khan pointed out. Neyaz Ahmad Daudi, who runs Fatima Girls Inter College in Daudpur

December 11 - 17, 2017

Non-availability of

schools and colleges nearby is also one of the major obstacles and a major issue in many areas village in Azamgarh district of eastern Uttar Pradesh has another story to tell. Daudi, who has doctorate in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University and served at Shibli National Intermediate College as principal for over a decade, says that he chose to start a girls’ college because boys can go far and there were not enough girls’ colleges at nearby villages and towns. Non-availability of schools and colleges nearby is also one of the major obstacles and a major issue in many areas. Daudi says that in places like Azamgarh, where most of the guardians away in the Gulf countries or in metro cities earning a livelihood, people are cautious about the security of girls and don’t allow them to be sent too far; they also seek a safe and secure transportation system from home to school. At 73.01 percent, Azamgarh has the highest Muslim female literacy rate in Uttar Pradesh. But being a small place, it is still difficult to gain higher education here. “Now girls are educated but they have less opportunity for higher studies and competitive exams because usually it is available only in bigger cities,” Daudi explained. There is another misconception that some people think that educating a girl child – especially modern education – is against the religion, but Khan believes that getting an education is a religious duty. “The very first revelation on Prophet Mohammed was the word ‘Iqra’ which means ‘you read’ and such words are mentioned in many places in the Holy Quran. It is general guidance for both males and females,” Khan says. “Islam and Muslims are not against education. Islam teaches one to gain knowledge from cradle to grave, but some people misinterpret Islam,” says Tasneem. “All educational goals can be achieved being in a veil. There are a number of examples in the early Islamic period where women were very much involved in education and nursing sectors,” Tasneem added.



Achievers Patriarchy

‘Durgas’ Of Haryana They have successfully challenged patriarchy. Suddenly over the past few years, the highly conservative state is seeing a fantastic bevy of women achievers SSb BUREAU


rust Aamir Khan to create a multi-million dollar cinema sensation, Dangal, from the story of the Phogat sisters. The sisters did get news space when they came back with wrestling medals. But that was cursory, factual space. But with Dangal their story retold became a sensation. What gave the film its highest achievement was its raging success in China, where women in droves rode to the cinemas to watch a film that challenged patriarchy, a major problem in China. And the latest success from the state, Manushi, has become such a rage that her relatives are not getting time to set up a family party for her!. Success as in the movies, international sporting medals, scaling Mt. Everest, and now bagging the coveted Miss World title. Women achievers from Haryana which has lived with the tag of being a “girl killer” with the worst sex-ratio among Indian states are re-writing the script of the state’s infamy. The crowning of Manushi Chhillar, 21, who was born in Rohtak town and whose family hails from the dominant and conservative Jat community, as Miss World 2017, has again brought the focus back on women from the state making it big at the international level. The odds that women in Haryana face are all too well known. Till last year, Haryana had the dubious distinction of being the worst among all states in terms of sex ratio -- a dismal 850 girls for every 1,000 men. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, now claims to have arrested the rot with the sex ratio improving to around 930, though there have been reports of

Quick Glance Haryana is a highly prosperous but culturally challenged state Girl children were considered a curse and most often killed But a series of achievers have shaken the established patriarchy

The achievements of these women are guiding hundreds of other women in the state to break longestablished barriers

figures being fudged. Yet, earlier this year, an official magazine of the government showed a rural woman in a “ghoonghat” (veil), sparking off angry reactions from women achievers and organisations that the state was still trying to project women in an outdated way. Manushi’s achievement lies not only in winning the Miss World, or earlier this year the Femina Miss India, title. She is pursuing her MBBS degree from a government medical college in a rural part of Sonepat district and aims to be a cardiac surgeon. That’s not all. Manushi is a poet, painter and also a dancer, besides her keen interest in fashion and beauty. And she has joined a long list of women achievers from Haryana. The story and struggles of wrestler sisters Geeta and Babita Phogat -- who bagged medals for the country at the international level -- was well depicted in Aamir Khan’s superhit movie “Dangal”. The film not only did roaring business in India but also overseas, including in Hong Kong and China. Another woman wrestler from the state, Sakshi Malik, brought glory to the country by winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mountaineer Santosh Yadav became the first Indian woman to scale the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, twice. She was also the first woman to scale the peak from the tougher Kangshung Face. The Indian women’s hockey team has been dominated by players from Haryana, particularly from a hockey nursery in Shahbad Markanda town, about 60 km from here. Be it captain Mamta Kharab or players like Suman Bala, Jasjeet Kaur, Surinder Kaur, Pritam Rani and Sita Gussain – all hail from Haryana. Former Miss India and Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla, actresses Parineeti Chopra and Mallika Sherawat have been born in Haryana, a state where killing the unborn girl child in the womb has been a common practice. Ace international badminton player Saina Nehwal too has her family roots in Haryana. In 1997, Haryana-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla took the state to unprecedented heights when she went on a NASA space mission. She went on another mission in 2003 and met with a tragic end when the spacecraft disintegrated on its return journey. On the political front, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who has made her mark in international affairs in recent years, is from Ambala. The achievements of these women are guiding hundreds of other women in the state to break long-established conservative barriers and make a mark in various fields. The signs are great, as a Khap Panchayat just recently ruled that there will be no loud musing playing during weddings, a thing men had always insisted.

10 Sardar Patel

December 11 - 17, 2017

Quick Glance

Sardar Patel Economic Thoughts

Ironing out free India’s economy Self-reliance was among the chief tenets of his economic philosophy and his views were closer to those of Pandit Nehru than Mahatma Gandhi’s

Puja Mehra


ardar Patel dominated Indian politics from 1917 to 1950. First, he was at the forefront of the freedom struggle. Then, after Independence in 1947, as Deputy Prime Minister, he held the crucial portfolios of Home, States and Information and Broadcasting. The ‘Iron Man’ and a founder of modern India, he restructured the Indian bureaucracy after the transfer of large number of officials to Pakistan, integrated the princely States into the Indian union, and had an important role in shaping the Indian Constitution. Fol low ing ter r itor ial consolidation, the immediate goal was for the Government, industrialists and labour to participate in a great national effort for recovery and reconstruction. The objective was to bring an improvement in the living standards of countrymen. The British had taken what they had to, leaving behind, in his words, only their statues. Many of the instruments of economic control that had been put in place by the British government to gear the Indian economy towards the war effort were still operating. So, imports remained severely restricted, and foreign currency earned from India’s exports for the war had still not been transferred by

Sardar Patel’s approach was balanced, pragmatic

and liberal. Economics was an “intensely practical science” for him the Bank of England to the Reserve Bank of India. As a result, a sizeable sterling balance had accumulated, but war-damaged England was in no position to settle the dues. Inflation had spiralled out of control. Speaking at the meeting of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) at Indore in May 1949, Sardar Patel declared his intention of rejuvenating the Indian economy. He said, “Our long period of slavery and the years of the recent war have drained the life-blood of our economy. Now that we have taken over power, the onus is on us to rejuvenate it; new blood has to be poured in drop by drop,” Partition added to the vulnerabilities and thus restoring business confidence was paramount. Ahead of Partition, Calcutta’s worried businessmen had wanted to move out of the city that they had operated out of for generations. Sardar took the lead in dissuading them and asked them to stay on. Sardar Patel’s thoughts and approach to India’s economic

challenge were shaped, to a great extent, by the historical setting at that time and also by his role of a nation-builder and a founder of India’s political democracy. Selfreliance was among the chief tenets of his economic philosophy, on which his views were closer to those of Pandit Nehru than Mahatma Gandhi’s, who championed selfsufficiency at the village level. The role he envisaged for the government was that of a welfare state, but realised that other countries had taken up the task at more advanced stages of development. He was unimpressed with the slogans raised for socialism, and spoke often of the need for India to create wealth before debating over what to do with it, how to share it. Nationalisation he rejected completely; clear that industry ought to be the sole preserve of the business community. Nor was he a great believer in planning, especially of the kind practised in the developed and industrialised countries.

After Independence, the immediate goal was economic reconstruction Patel said the British had taken everything excepting their statues He wanted a welfare state but not on the lines of advanced economies

He was not for controls. The indifference was, in part, because there simply wasn’t enough staff to implement them. He was working with an administration capacity depleted owing to the departure of a disproportionate number of officers that had opted to go to Pakistan and the posting of senior civil servants in the newlyestablished embassies across the world. To him, the profit motive was a great stimulant to exertion, not a stigma. He wholly approved of it, and advocated it for even the noncapitalist classes, the middle classes, the labour and even the agriculturists. That does not mean he did not recognise concentration of wealth as a social problem and unethical. He did, and in fact, appealed for a higher sense of civic consciousness and national duty to transcend all motives. His argument was that it was not merely ethical and patriotic, but even economically pragmatic, to channelise hoarded wealth in economic undertakings, where the returns were certain to be richer. Besides, what good could the stashes be if the country’s economic problems led to chaos. He constantly advised against greed. To the labour, he said, participate in creating wealth before claiming a just share, and advocated Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy on labouremployer relationships. The Mahatma’s methods, he said, could bring labour its legitimate reward through constitutional means. He wanted to see India industrialise quickly. The imperative being to reduce dependence on external resources. A modern army required equipment that only machines could produce: apart from arms and ammunition, uniforms and stores, jeeps and motor cars, aeroplanes and petrol. But machinery was not going to solve the “great disease” of idleness in the thickly populated country. “Millions of idle hands that have no work cannot find employment on machines”, he said while addressing the Chief Ministers’ meet in April 1950. Being primarily a farming country, agricultural revival was of primary importance. His promise

December 11 - 17, 2017



education west bengal

Becoming ‘Mothers’ in Malda Transwomen turn teachers for Dalit children in Bengal, as this is the closest to them in fulfilling their dreams of becoming mothers, they say

sahana ghosh

“We must have capital

from within the country. We cannot base our economy on foreign funding or loans” to industry was for no “impediments, bottle-necks or red-tape” as he said in a radio broadcast on Pandit Nehru’s birthday on 14th November 1950. In the same broadcast, he championed investment-led growth and said, “Spend less, save more, and invest as much as possible should be the motto of every citizen.” He appealed to every segment of the society - lawyers, farmers, labours, traders, businessmen and government servants for saving every ‘anna’ that could be spared and to place their savings in the hands of the government for utilisation in nation-building enterprises. In the same address, he emphasised on saving every spare penny and said, “We must have capital, and that capital must come from our own country. We may be able to borrow from international markets here and there, but obviously we cannot base our everyday economy on foreign borrowing.” This was a call for voluntary savings, and for savers to choose their preferred means of investment. Sardar Patel’s approach was balanced, pragmatic and liberal. Economics was an “intensely practical science” for him. Short cuts and arbitrary policies of temporary palliatives or artificial reductions in prices or stimulation of investment were not acceptable to him. He wanted Indian economy built on surer foundations of increased production, industrial and agricultural, and increased wealth.


otherhoo d transcends gender. Unconditional love knows no caste barriers. Defying norms, in a rundown neighbourhood in Malda in West Bengal, transwoman Arindam Saha Kundu (now known as Priyanka) and her fellow transgender friends (Abhijit Nag and BaponJemadar) are busy imparting education to more than 40 children belonging to the Dalit community that is largely engaged in manual scavenging. Known for its juicy mangoes, Malda district has a high percentage of children not attending school, as documented in the book “Dalits and Tribes of India” (a compilation of Papers presented at a threeday National Seminar on “Agenda for Emancipation and Empowerment of Dalits and Tribes”). Children from the scheduled communities are even less likely to do so. The shanties around the railway colony in Malda town harbours the Dalit community. Choosing to look beyond their own share of problems (discriminated for their gender), Priyanka and the rest, hailing from the town itself, decided to be a ray of hope to the marginalised kids, who lose much of their childhood to manual scavenging, gambling and drugs. “Although it is 2017, people still treat the Dalit community as untouchables. The children suffer as the impoverished families are not able to afford education and often take

Quick Glance Famous for its mangoes, Malda is infamous for the lack of education Arindam, aka Priyanka, is educating Dalit children Even in 2017, people still treat the Dalit community as untouchables

“By soul we are women and so there is a deep yearning to be a mother. Since we can’t do that, this is the closest possible”– Priyanka

their wards along while doing manual scavenging, cleaning tasks, etc. We wanted to do something for them,” Priyanka told IANS from Malda. She also wanted to give in to her maternal instincts. “By soul we are women and so there is a deep yearning to be a mother. Since we can’t do that, this is the closest possible; we can be with children and help them find their way,” said Priyanka, a commerce graduate. So in June, “Sapno Ki Udaan” under the Gour Bangla Sanghati Samiti took wings in a room of a local club. Ranging from the primary to middle school levels, the children,

mostly dropouts, have only had snatches of education. “Some children know the alphabet, some don’t. So the challenge was to customise the lessons. We are providing them lessons in basic science, maths, English, etc. The idea is to get them up to scratch so they can go back to schools,” Priyanka explained. The beginning was shaky. “The children were friendly with us. So we didn’t have much issues with them, but their parents were reluctant. It was not just that we were transgender, it was also the fact that they didn’t feel educating their children would be of much help,” Priyanka explained. The idea was galvanised into action with the help of Bapon, a transgender from the Dalit community. He helped convince the parents to let the children come each evening to the school. “In addition, we wanted to break stereotypes. There are taboos associated with our community and we wanted to show the other side.” Salaries are supported through crowd funding. “There is no fixed salary. Whatever comes, we are fine with that. If we do any social work for some gain, then it’s not social work. We want funding to run the school,” said Priyanka. According to Abhay Kumar Roy, a lecturer in Malda College’s department of English, who also supports the group in academic ways, the fact that the transgender community members chose to look beyond their own problems and work for the disadvantaged speaks a lot about what can be achieved if alternative gender identities are recognised. “In ancient India, there were 20 to 25 gender identities which are not explored today. The transgenders have to accept themselves and have to rise up to the occasion and we have to support them in that for an inclusive society,” Roy, who researches on the pluralistic interpretation of my thology, told IANS.

12 Good News

December 11 - 17, 2017

Crop Burning

Uttarakhand Museum

Culture Museum in Nature’s Lap A single man, now 78, has been working for the preservation of local culture and heritage in Nainital Quick Glance Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya is a private museum in Bhimtal

Smog, Smog, Go Away!

Mathpal keep the dying arts of the Kumaon and Garhwal alive Just three persons are working on the task to take care of the centre

Sampurn Agri Ventures has introduced paddy straw-based technology to do away with strawburning which is a major contributor to high smog IANS


unjab-based Sampurn Agri Ventures (SAVPL) has introduced a biogas-based power plant operating on paddy straw, thus making available an alternative to straw-burning that is said to be a major contributor to high smog levels in Delhi. The new technology not just generates nearly 4,000 cubic metres of biogas from 10 tonnes of agricultural residue, but also produces fertiliser, said Sanjeev Nagpal, Chairman of SAVPL, at a press conference in New Delhi. He said the company had already set up a plant in Fazilka in Punjab, which was approved by Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and Punjab Agriculture University. It is Asia’s first biogas-based power plant. “Paddy straw is an asset, not a liability. We are going to set up 42 such plants across Punjab -- at least two in every district. Each plant will need 70 tonnes of paddy straw every day,” Nagpal said. The company said every 2,500 tonnes of straw handling would create 20 jobs. About 30 million tonnes of straw produced in Punjab and Haryana would generate 3.5 lakh jobs directly and 3 lakh jobs indirectly, he said.



ne of the most sought-after destinations for tourists visiting Uttarakhand, Nainital has remained an abode of eternal charm, but very few are aware of the Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya, a private museum in Bhimtal that houses several rare art objects. Its owner, now in his late 70s, continues to strive day and night on its upkeep. Meet Yashodhar Mathpal, the septuagenarian who built this museum to preserve local culture, documents, oral and written traditions and folklore, provide training to the vanishing arts and crafts of the region, and encourage local artists and artisans. “Art is something which, if not preserved, will become extinct. It represents our culture and is our identity. If not protected, then nothing will be left to show the later generations. So, I wanted to build a place where I can collect and display the art and let people know about our roots,” Mathpal, 78, told IANS. This museum man of Bhimtal has multiple designations in his kitty; apart from being the founder of this museum, he is a Padma Shri awardee, a curator, research scholar, public relations officer, fund-raiser, artist, sculptor,

guide -- and even a sweeper. With a team of just three, including himself, Mathpal said it is often a difficult task to take care of the entire museum. He added that his age has now become a hurdle, but it is his long association with the museum and love for art that still keeps him going. “Before opening this place I worked in many other museums and learned many things. And now, that experience is helping me to make LokSangrahalaya stronger. I am still the curator of this gallery,” he explained. But there was a touch of despair in Mathpal’s tone. He conveyed that despite being a museum with such valuable art objects, there are hardly any visitors to his place -- the reason being people are unaware of the museum. “Art is what defines us, it is our identity. Strangely, people are not

“I have travelled a lot and still prefer to, when my health permits. But I want to continue collecting art objects till my last breath”

concerned about it. It is mostly foreign tourists who come here and very few Indians. Not even the local people make any visit,” Mathpal lamented. His effort to keep the dying art of the Kumaon and Garhwal belt alive has been largely ignored by the media, but he has no regrets. He doesn’t lament that he hasn’t got due credit for his contributions. What hurts him, though, is the lack of appreciation and promotion by the government. “I got a call from a museum in France to showcase my collection, but unfortunately never got a chance to be a part of any art exhibition in Nainital. Art is yet not appreciated in India as it is done in other countries, especially in Europe,” he said. “This is a tourist spot; the hotels can add this museum to their travel suggestions. Local art can survive only if the locals are involved in it. Help from the people living in this region is needed; they should first be made more aware and then the DM (District Magistrate) and the state government officials should come and help,” Mathpal added. Although he has got several invitations from the National Museum to display his collection, he never accepted the requests. And now the museum authorities have fallen silent. The reason? “The officers, without taking commission, will never sanction any proposals for the museum. And they know very well that I am not going to give money to display my collection. So now they don’t bother to call me,” he responded. His future plans? “I have travelled a lot and still prefer to, when my health permits. But I want to continue collecting art objects till my last breath,” he said.

December 11 - 17, 2017

Good News


iconic places

medicine cancer

Come 2018, potential cancer cure may be a reality Early results from tests conducted by British scientists signal better treatment and potential cure for cancer IANS


ritish scientists are in the process of developing an immune therapy based on blood cells from patients who have made “miracle” recoveries from cancer, a breakthrough that could lead to potential cure for millions. Early results from tests conducted in laboratory not only signal better treatment for cancer but also a potential cure that could be ready to test on patients as early as next year, the reported. The novel therapy involves neutrophil cells -- which form part of the body’s first line of defence against foreign invaders. Neutrophils kill cancer cells either directly by destroying them with chemicals or antibodies or indirectly by recruiting

other immune system cells. The researchers noted that they have found a way to extract the cancer-killing immune cells from donor blood and then multiply them by the million. “We’re not talking about simply managing cancer. We’re looking at

“We’re not talking about simply managing cancer. We’re looking at a curative therapy that you would receive once a week over five to six weeks” - Alex Blyth

girl child education

‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ gets pan-India approval Proposed outlay of Rs 1,132.5 crore on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao expansion approved for the duration 2017-18 to 2019-20 IANS


he Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for expansion of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ for a pan-

India reach covering all the 640 districts (as per Census 2011) of the country to have a deeper positive impact on Child Sex Ratio. Expansion under BBBP has been approved based on the successful implementation in 161 districts.

Quick Glance The under-test therapy is based on blood cells from cancer patients The therapy involves neutrophil cells which kill cancer cells The trial, starting soon, would involve 20-40 patient-volunteers

a curative therapy that you would receive once a week over five to six weeks,” said Alex Blyth, Chief Executive of LIfT Biosciences -- a leading biotech company, which is now preparing for early trials on patients. “Based on our laboratory and mouse model experiments, we would hope to see patients experiencing complete remission. Our ultimate aim is to create the world’s first cell bank of immensely powerful cancer killing neutrophils,” Blyth said. A key advantage of neutrophil treatment is that a donor’s cells can be given to anyone without fear of serious rejection, Blyth explained. “However, it’s too early to say whether this research will be safe or effective in humans as they’ve only studied it in mice and cells. But we look forward to seeing future results,” Anna Perman of Cancer Research UK was quoted by the as saying. The trial, potentially starting in a year’s time, would involve a small number of 20 to 40 patients. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on 22nd January, 2015, at Panipat, Haryana, as a comprehensive programme to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum. The CSR, defined as number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years, declined sharply from 976 in 1961 to 918 in Census 2011. Currently the scheme is being implemented as a triministerial, convergent effort in select 161 districts, enabling girls’ education and effective enforcement of PreConception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act.

10 new ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ on the cards 10 more heritage sites commence special sanitation action under the ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ project of the Swachh Bharat Mission IANS


two-day National Consultation of Swachh Iconic Places (SIP), an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission, took place in New Delhi. Representatives from 20 Iconic Sites, including central and state officials, representatives of iconic places, and corporate and development partners including World Bank joined the consultations. Initiated as a project to implement Prime Minister’s vision to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of ‘swachhata’, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness, Swachh Iconic Places is now in its second phase. Ten new iconic sites identified under Phase II are: Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Charminar, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Kalady, Gomateshwar, Baijnath Dham, Gaya Tirth and Somnath temple. These phase II SIPs will join 10 iconic places where special ‘Swachhata’ work is under implementation for about a year. The Phase I iconic places are: Ajmer Sharif Dargah, CST Mumbai, Golden Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Meenakshi Temple, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Shree Jagannath Temple, The Taj Mahal and Tirupati Temple. In his opening address, MDWS Secretary, Parameswaran Iyer, said that SIP is a unique initiative and is aligned with the PM’s vision of achieving high standard of cleanliness and easy access to sanitation at iconic places of historic, religious and tourist importance. He highlighted the importance of collaboration between multiple agencies, which has accelerated the implementation of action plans.

14 Heritage

December 11 - 17, 2017

mumbai heritage

Marking time for Mumbaikars The 16 clock towers of Mumbai offer as much as majestic sights as of an entire range of quant histories Quaid Najmi


hey are not-so-mute witnesses to history, clanging away at intervals of 15 minutes, as if asking us all to grab the moment because time was slipping by. Perhaps in the daily, mad rush in Maximum City, not many Mumbaikars pay attention to the 16-odd time-keepers of the city, some of them centuries old. But they have seen dramatic changes as Mumbai evolved from a conglomeration of fishing villages into a burgeoning metropolis a modern, global financial centre accommodating 17 million people that often appears to come asunder at its seams.Yet, they have been evidently bypassed in the Swachh Bharat campaign. “I was once permitted to go up the tower to click Mumbai views, but came across a lot of dirt, pigeon droppings and even dead birds. If people are allowed to visit them regularly, maintenance will be better,” historian and archaeologist Mugdha Karnik told. She says clock towers are an important aspect of any city’s history and should be more accessible to the masses, especially in Mumbai. The most famous of the lot is, of course, the Rajabai Clock Tower adorning the entrance of the University of Mumbai, which once played God Save The King and a Handel Symphony with 16 tunes that kept changing four times a day now limited to chimes every quarter of an hour. But it still makes heads turn with people glancing at their own watches to match the time. The iconic 280-feet tall structure, once visible from distances of 15 km, entered the 140th year of its existence in November. It has seen the reclamation of land beyond the present Oval Maidan, which pushed back the Arabian Sea by nearly 200 metres. Access to the top, which offered a panoramic view of Bombay, was stopped a few decades ago after it became a suicide point. Other famous clock towers are at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Naval Dockyard, David Sassoon at Byculla Zoo, Crawford Market, St. Thomas Cathedral, BH Wadia in Fort, David Sassoon Library,

Life Insurance Building Churchgate, the Khoja Shia Imami Ismaili Jamatkhana gifted by the Moloo Brothers of Zanzibar all in good working condition. There is a Time Ball Building clock tower in the Mumbai Port Trust, which is not functional, another at Sasoon Docks Gate in Colaba, Lakshmi Insurance Building in Fort, Fulchand Nivas Building at Chowpatty, Mhatre Pen Building and Vijaynagar Building, both in Dadar to the north, and a few stray ones in other parts of Mumbai. Avid clock tower lover, conservationist and historian Aadil Desai said the ones at CSMT, St. Thomas Cathedral built in 1718, David Sassoon at Byculla Zoo, David Sassoon Library, Naval Dockyard, BH Wadia and some others are very wellmaintained and continue to grab attention. “Several conservation activists regularly keep in touch with the owners of these premises on the status of the clock towers and they are very cooperative as it is a part of the city’s rich heritage and history. The Mumbai Port Trust is even considering setting up a museum at the site,” Desai said.

Every clock tower is unique, each having its own history and importance for the city, he said. For instance, Rajabai Tower was financed by “Cotton King” Premchand Roychand, one of the original founders of the modern-day Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd, and completed in 1878. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott on the lines of London’s Big Ben and built in nine years for what was then a staggering amount of Rs 550,000. It is named after Roychand’s blind mother, Rajabai, who was a staunch Jain and needed to have her meals before dusk, and the clock chimes helped her do that without needing to depend on anyone. The massive clock above the CSMT which was one of the sites targeted during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was built in 1888 by Sir Frederick William Stevens, inspired by the Victorian Gothic architecture of London’s St Pancras Railway station. It’s now a UNESCO world heritage site and the imposing clock sees millions of commuters hurrying past daily or tourists gaping and photographing it.

Perhaps it’s time to step in and preserve the towers which may otherwise become the victims of, well, time

Quick Glance Mumbai has 16 clock towers, all of them historically significant Access to some of them have been stopped as they became suicide points Rajabai Tower was financed by “Cotton King” Premchand Roychand

Recently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has built a “selfie point” off the CST and the BMC headquarters to help people click pictures of the heritage precincts. It was in the 1860s that Albert Abdul Sassoon, son of a Baghdadi Jewish philanthropist, came upon the idea of setting up a good library in the heart of the city. It materialised in 1870 as the David Sassoon Library at Kala Ghoda, near the Jehangir Art Gallery. It is built with yellow Malad stone, like the nearby Army & Navy Building, Elphinstone College and Watson’s Hotel, with a proud white stone bust of David Sassoon adorning the library entrance. The Sassoon Docks, with a large clock tower, is one of the oldest fishing docks of Mumbai built on reclaimed lands in Colaba and constructed in 1875 by Albert Abdul Sassoon as a prime fish unloading and trading spot, which remains operational till date. The Crawford Market, renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, is a stone’s throw from the CSMT and opposite the Mumbai Police Headquarters. Blending the Norman and Flemish architectural styles, the freizes at the entrance depict Indian farmers and fountains made of Kurla stone, designed by Lockwood Kipling, the father of the legendary novelist Rudyard Kipling. The Time Ball Building clock tower at Mumbai Port Trust is just one of the two surviving -- the second being in Kolkata -- and among the handful in the world, like at Greenwich, UK. Desai says it is an important piece of historical heritage and must be protected. Perhaps it’s time to step in and preserve the towers which may otherwise become the victims of, well, time.

December 11 - 17, 2017

3D print living tattoo

MIT 3-D Prints A ‘Living Tattoo’ Engineers from MIT have 3D printed a “living tattoo” using ink made from programmed bacteria cells IANS


ngineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to 3-D print a “living tattoo” using a new kind of ink made from genetically programmed living bacteria cells. The “living tattoo” -- a thin, transparent patch patterned with live bacteria cells in the shape of a tree -could have implications for future wearable sensors and in the manufacturing of drug capsules and surgical implants. The cells were engineered to light up in response to a variety of stimuli, showed the study published in the journal Advanced Materials. The researchers came up with a recipe for their 3-D ink, using a

combination of bacteria, hydrogel, and nutrients to sustain the cells and maintain their functionality. “We found this new ink formula works very well and can print at a high resolution of about 30 micrometres per feature,” said Xuanhe Zhao, Professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “That means each line we print contains only a few cells. We can also

print relatively large-scale structures, measuring several centimetres,” Zhao added. They printed the ink using a custom 3-D printer that they built using standard elements combined with fixtures they machined themselves. To test the patch, the researchers smeared several chemical compounds onto the back of a hand, then pressed the hydrogel patch over the exposed skin. Over several hours, branches of the patch’s tree lit up when bacteria sensed their corresponding chemical stimuli. The researchers also engineered bacteria to communicate with each other. For instance they programmed some cells to light up only when they receive a certain signal from another cell. The researchers believe that the technique can be

food for kids

Nuts, Oily Fish Cuts Kids’ Risk Of Asthma, Rhinitis Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, these super-foods prevent the risk of developing asthma and rhinitis in children IANS


ncluding nuts, oily fish like salmon, flax seeds, and soybean oil – rich in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids – in your children’s diet may prevent their risk of developing allergic diseases, especially asthma and rhinitis by teenage, a study has suggested. Both asthma and rhinitis affects the kids since their childhood, either due to hereditary or environmental factors. The results show that the presence of an increased amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Omega-3 and an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid in the blood

is associated with a reduced risk of allergic diseases among children. Children who had higher blood levels of omega 3 at the age of 8 years were less likely to have developed asthma or rhinitis by the age of 16 years. High levels of an omega-6 fatty acid, called arachidonic acid, were associated with a reduced risk of asthma and rhinitis at 16. “Since allergies often debut during childhood

it is of particular interest to study if children’s environment and lifestyle affect the development of these diseases,” said Anna Bergström, researcher at the Karolinska



Quick Glance The “living tattoo” is a thin patch patterned with bacterial cells These cells are in the shape of a tree These living tattoos could be used as wearable sensors

used to fabricate “active” materials for wearable sensors and interactive displays. Such materials could be patterned with live cells engineered to sense environmental chemicals and pollutants as well as changes in temperature. In the future, researchers may also use the technique to print “living computers” -- structures with multiple types of cells that communicate with each other, passing signals back and forth, much like transistors on a microchip. “This is very future work, but we expect to be able to print living computational platforms that could be wearable,” said graduate student Hyunwoo Yuk. The researchers also envision their technique may be used to manufacture drug capsules and surgical implants, containing cells engineered to produce compounds such as glucose, to be released therapeutically over time.

Quick Glance Including these items in children’s diets is crucial for them High levels of Omega-6 fatty acid reduces the risk of asthma Previous studies show that Omega-3 fatty acid prevents Alzheimer’s disease

Institutet in Sweden. For the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team conducted a survey over the blood samples of 940 children. Among children with asthma or rhinitis at the age of 8 years, higher blood levels of arachidonic acid were associated with a higher probability of being symptomfree at age 16 years, the researchers said. Previous studies have also suggested that Omega-3 fatty acids helps in preventing Alzheimer’s and reduces the worsening of liver damages.


December 11 - 17, 2017 “The law of conservation of energy tells us we can’t get something for nothing, but we refuse to believe it”

Swastika tripathi Swastika is working for and Parliamentarian magazine




ode to those who are changing society They have challenged the basic matrix of patriarchy


hen one reads of the repeated and heinous atrocities on women every day, one feels left in despair. Quite on the other hand, the stories of many such women who are scorching the social milieu and hard-held ‘beliefs, one cannot but feel a sense of triumph. The triumph of Manushi Chillar was a two fold of the triumph of intelligence and her battle against a highly conservative society. As a cultural entity, Haryana has been panned down the decades for its record of female foeticide. It has also been known for its rigid social rules under Khap panchayats. But Manushi, and just before her, many female sportspersons from the state have broken away from the ‘women’ stereotype of weak persons who need to be dimonated upon. In a sense, this has been a true ‘Dangal’, a wrestling match between women and patriarchy. And not just in Haryana... women across the country have been working independently, joining the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy as pilots, are about to fly A320 jumbos, all thought of earlier as purely male professions. Our ladies are also working as independent entrepreneurs and in the field of social work and earning kudos. There are some, though, whose work is not often talked about, so we bring back our coverage on them as well. Here’s a big cheer for Indian women!


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:,

renewable energy is here to stay! December 14 is observed as National Energy Conservation Day, and it is important to reckon this as India is still a net energy importer


hat and if are two simple words in the English language – as nonthreatening as it gets. Now put them together, side-by-side, and they gain the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. What if..? What if we had not exploited the natural resources, but conserved, and my little daughter would not have been crying in the middle of the night right now all drenched in sweat. What if I had stopped and thought through when there was still time? What if we had come up with alternatives which were there to stay? What if? What if? What if? A sudden rush of emotions for that poor, little, yet-to-be-born being, and even higher feeling of helplessness for the future parent in you, swirls in the stomach at giving it even a second’s thought, right? Energy conservation gains importance worldwide. But it has a wee-bit-higher call for the action in India in the wake of staggering and widening gap in the energy production and demand – nearly one-quarter of its population has no electricity and many others get it only intermittently. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world whose development is primarily fuelled by coal (a LOT of coal – about 60 per cent of the nation’s generation capacity, as per Central Electricity Authority). But mind you, coal is not here to stay (not for long, given the speed it is being consumed). Its formation takes millions of years and a developing economy cannot wait for that long to continue its growth from here. Plus, what India does matters, because it is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. So even if coal stays, for as

long as possible, it is no lesser a bane than a boon. With India’s power needs expected to grow substantially as its economy continues to expand, its energy use will also heavily influence the world’s chances of containing the greenhouse gases that scientists believe are driving global warming. To conserve or not to According to government figures, estimated electricity consumption between 2005-06 and 2014-15 increased by a compounded annual growth rate of 8.72 per cent, growing to 948,328 gigawatt-hour, even as an estimated 240 million Indians are still without access to electricity. In 2014-15, India’s coal imports were 212 million tonnes (MT) and cost over Rs 1 lakh crore–up more than five times from 38.5 MT in 2005-06, largely due to poor quality of domestic coal, lack of competition among producers, and insufficient investments. Summing the two data up, coal is failing to meet the everyday increasing requirements of the nation, costing crores to the national economy, and paving way for global warming, all at the same time. Hence, it’s time we look beyond natural resources and strongly focus on renewable forms of energy.

Renewables is not a

new idea but will take time to take shape in India due to certain problems on the ground

Renewable Greens Renewable energies – which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat, a concept which is not new but still not able to take a solid shape in India because of a plethora of challenges ahead of it. According to a 2015 report by Niti Aayog, India would need to make available the

December 11 - 17, 2017

The government has

taken note of the problems involved long back, and has been intensifying measures to tackle them necessary capital, and get comfortable with managing the variability and uncertainty of renewable energy generation in conjunction with the existing and planned fossil fuelbased and large power plants. On the more, these resources are not wide-spread, instead concentrated in their availability. Plus, their potentials vary in wide ranges from state to state. For example, an exercise of calculating the state-wise solar potential in the country was carried out by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in 2014-15. The results vary from as high as 111.05 GWp (of the total calculated nation-wide potential of 748.98 GWp) in Jammu and Kashmir to as low as 0.88 in Goa. Thus, India would also need to invest in smart grid systems, storage options and demand-side flexibility to manage the variability of renewables. Goodbye to energy crisis The government has taken note of the upcoming situation long back, and lately started taking measures against it. Tariffs for renewables in India, especially solar, have fallen heavily – by 73 per cent since 2010. In February 2017, at the Rewa solar park auction, a levelised tariff of Rs 3.3/ kilowatt-hour was achieved, competitive with the cost of new coal-fired power generation. Wind tariffs, too, fell to a record low of Rs 3.46/unit in the same month. The question is whether these low tariffs are sustainable, but at least the trend is undoubtedly positive for the future of renewable energy in India. Apart from giving an edge to renewables by way of tariffs, the government is also lessening its coal-consumption by cancelling many in-progress coal-fired plants. The government has also taken a sharp reversal by lowering its annual production target for coal to 600 milliontonne from 660. In fact, going by experts who now say that India not only has no need of any new coal-fired plants for at least a decade from now, given that existing plants are running below 60 per cent of capacity, but that after that it could rely on renewable sources for all its additional power needs. So, it is favourable that India now moves beyond the concept of ‘energy saved is energy produced’, looking beyond conserving the coal, and invests more in renewable sources of energy. After all, what India does, matters!



The Spirituality Of Creativity

mihir paul

Mihir Paul is a graduate of Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

Creativity is the physical manifestation of spirituality within us all



he link: It is common knowledge that our brains have two halves – the left and the right. While the left side of the brain is associated with self-preservation, rational thinking, language, analysis, the right side of the brain is associated with creativity, imagination, feelings, and intuition. The right side of the brain is linked to creativity and in a way, spirituality also. Our higher selves that we perceive as –God(s)/the universe/ supreme power/soul/consciousness are processed and known by the right half of our brains. While creativity is a result of a certain degree of spiritual awakening, the root of creativity itself isn’t the brain, it is the higher self. The higher self is the source of inspiration and that inspiration expresses itself physically as creativity in various degrees. The soul gets exposed to one’s creativity and it is truly the expression of the supreme truth of the universe and existence.

Although spirituality and creativity are right-brained activities, our society is inherently left-brained. We downplay creativity and focus on the logical things like -- math, science, statistics, languages etc. While this does serve the purpose of providing society with a structure and keeping it afloat, it suffocates creativity. Creativity has tremendous potential and it simply shows in some people. People in touch with their spirituality are inherently creative because they are mindful of the present and living spontaneously. A downside to this is that creativity can sometimes manifest as impulsive

actions and impulsive actions aren’t always good. This can be avoided if one practices mindfulness. the creativity channel You can choose to open your creative side or activate the right side your brain. You simply need to have the intention to do so. The intention is powerful in motivating change. Other things you can do to stimulate creativity is -- try doodling or auto-writing, meditate, do yoga, do spontaneous activities, listen to music, exercise and the list go on. Creativity isn’t a far-fetched dream when one is in harmony with one’s existence and mind. Creativity springs from being in the moment because spontaneity happens in the moment. Life happens in the moment and it is the source of the creative life-force that holds reality. Being at peace with one’s higher-self and having a mind free of compulsive thinking is crucial for achieving harmony. Creativity is released the moment the mind rests from the barrage of thoughts and lets inspiration arise spontaneously.

letters to the editor Katha’ it is very difficult to know whether this step will success in the future or not? The movie states the fact that the Government gives or takes out funds for a particular purpose but by the time it reaches the work target site it is delayed and insufficient. in return we all blame the govt for this but now we need to examine whether this plan will be executed properly and effectively. Vishnu Musahar, Amritsar

great deed for bihar The article ‘Bihar Govt Gives Loans For Toilets’ is about a great deed and step taken by the Bihar Govt. But after watching the movie ‘Toilet Ek Prem

simulating life The article ‘Are You Living In A Simulation’ is a fact of life. One sometimes feels that we have experienced some scenes of life in advance and therefore when we experience it again in the present we find

it amusing and also shocking. We are probably or actually dreaming and imagining that this scenario, and we think about it in various ways when it comes to the reality of the present day. But yes, it is an important question that I think every one of us should ask our selves regularly about its meaning. We unknowingly and without questioning, move on in life, working, travelling and enjoying things. Some elders even say that every movement of our body is guided and controlled by the godly figure, but at the end of the day, we are unable to answer many questions. As a result, we continue to remain confused. Geeta Prakash, Gaya

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18 Photo Feature

December 11 - 17, 2017

Other Ways Of Living As the earth is not just heating up, but also seeing more cyclones, forest fires and other catastrophe, there is a genuine, almost universal demand for clean energy Photo Courtesy: PIXABAY

Photo Feature


Cycling is getting more and more popular, even for commuting to office, and is a wonderful health deal. Meanwhile, electric cars are becoming more efficient. The windmill on the left is not just heritage, but ‘inspiration’ to the modern wind farms. Biogas is not a backyard technology any more. The modern ones are huge and grid-connected, and the chargeable lamps are changing rural lifestyle

20 Science & Technology BIOFUEL COFFEE WASTE

DECember 11 - 17, 2017


You’re not smart, just better ‘wired’! IANS


London runs on coffee, literally London buses are powered by waste coffee grounds oil blended with diesel IANS


aste coffee grounds are now used to help power some of London’s buses, according to transport authorities. A biofuel created by blending oil extracted from coffee waste with diesel is to be added to the public transport fuel supply, reports the BBC. London-based technology firm bio-bean Ltd has said it has produced enough coffee oil to power one bus for a year. Transport for London (TfL) has increasingly turned to using biofuels to reduce transport emissions. Londoners create 200,000 tonnes of coffee waste a year, according to bio-bean. The company takes the used grounds from coffee shops and instant coffee factories, and extracts oil from it in its factory which is then processed into a blended B20 biofuel. “It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource,” bio-bean founder Arthur Kay said.

ifferences in intelligence have so far mostly been attributed to differences in specific brain regions. However, are smart people’s brains also wired differently to those of less intelligent persons? A new study supports this assumption. In intelligent persons, certain brain regions are more strongly involved in the flow of information between brain regions, while other brain regions are less engaged. Understanding the foundations of human thought is fascinating for scientists and laypersons alike. Differences in cognitive abilities -and the resulting differences for example in academic success and professional careers -- are attributed to a considerable degree to individual differences in intelligence. A study just published in Scientific Reports shows that these differences go hand in hand with differences in the patterns of integration among functional modules of the brain. Kirsten Hilger, Christian Fiebach and Ulrike Basten from the Department of Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt combined functional MRI brain scans from over 300 persons with modern graph theoretical network analysis methods to investigate the neurobiological basis of human intelligence. Already in 2015, the same research group published a meta-study in the journal Intelligence, in which they identified brain regions -- among them the prefrontal cortex -- activation changes of which are reliably associated with individual differences in intelligence. Until recently, however, it was not possible to examine how such ‘intelligence regions’ in the human

brain are functionally interconnected. Earlier this year, the research team reported that in more intelligent persons two brain regions involved in the cognitive processing of taskrelevant information (i.e., the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex) are connected more efficiently to the rest of the brain (2017, Intelligence). Another brain region, the junction area between temporal and parietal cortex that has been related to the shielding of thoughts against irrelevant information, is less strongly connected to the rest of the brain network. “The different topological embedding of these regions into the brain network could make it easier for smarter persons to differentiate between important and irrelevant information -- which would be advantageous for many cognitive challenges,” proposes Ulrike Basten, the study’s principle investigator. In their current study, the researchers take into account that the brain is functionally organised into modules. “This is similar to a social network which consists of multiple

In their current study, scientists have found the brain functionally organised into modules

Quick Glance Study claims smart people’s brains are wired differently from lesser intelligent ones Brain regions are more strongly involved in information-flow Intelligence goes hand in hand with differences in patterns of integration

sub-networks (e.g., families or circles of friends). Within these subnetworks or modules, the members of one family are more strongly interconnected than they are with people from other families or circles of friends. Our brain is functionally organized in a very similar way: There are sub-networks of brain regions -- modules -- that are more strongly interconnected among themselves while they have weaker connections to brain regions from other modules. In our study, we examined whether the role of specific brain regions for communication within and among brain modules varies with individual differences in intelligence, i.e., whether a specific brain region supports the information exchange within their own ‘family’ more than information exchange with other ‘families’, and how this relates to individual differences in intelligence.” The study shows that in more intelligent persons certain brain regions are clearly more strongly involved in the exchange of information between different sub-networks of the brain in order for important information to be communicated quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, the research team also identified brain regions that are more strongly ‘decoupled’ from the rest of the network in more intelligent people. This may result in better protection against distracting and irrelevant inputs. “We assume that network properties we have found in more intelligent persons help us to focus mentally and to ignore or suppress irrelevant, potentially distracting inputs,” says Basten. The causes of these associations remain an open question at present. “It is possible that due to their biological predispositions, some individuals develop brain networks that favor intelligent behaviors or more challenging cognitive tasks. However, it is equally as likely that the frequent use of the brain for cognitively challenging tasks may positively influence the development of brain networks. Given what we currently know about intelligence, an interplay of both processes seems most likely.”

DECember 11 - 17, 2017

Science & Technology


Oxytocin – the key to a ‘smiling’ human-dog relation Oxytocin hormone influences dogs’ emotional states, suggests research IANS


esearchers in the University of Helsinki’s Canine Mind research project found that oxytocin made dogs interested in smiling human faces. It also made them see angry faces as less threatening. Associated with affection and trust, the hormone oxytocin is probably a key factor in the interaction between dogs and humans. “It seems that the hormone oxytocin influences what the dog sees and how it experiences the thing it sees,” says doctoral student Sanni Somppi. Researchers in the Canine Mind group showed 43 dogs images of smiling and angry faces on a computer screen. Each dog was tested twice:

once under the influence of oxytocin, which was administered as part of the test, and once without oxytocin. The dog’s gaze on the images and pupil size were measured with an eye-tracking device. Emotions and attentiveness guide the gaze and regulate pupil size, making eye tracking a window into the dogs’ minds.

seismology EARTHQUAKES ahoy

Tiny changes, big jolts await the world

Scientists predict bigger earthquakes in 2018 and next few years with tiny, but increasing, fluctuations in Earth’s rotation



he world could see an increase in the number of strong earthquakes in 2018 and the next few years due to periodic slowing of the Earth’s rotation,

Quick Glance Periodic slowing of Earth’s rotation may result in stronger earthquakes Earth’s rotation and global earthquake activity are co-related Slight changes are enough to release vast amounts of underground energy

scientists have warned. There is a clear correlation between the speed of the earth’s rotation and global earthquake activity, said Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana, who presented their research at the annual conference of the Geological Society of America. Fluctuations in the Earth’s rotation are tiny, changing the length of the day by several milliseconds, but these minute changes could be enough to release vast amounts of underground energy, the two scientists said. “On five occasions in the past century, a 25-30 per cent increase in


Quick Glance Oxytocin makes smiling faces attractive & angry faces less threatening for dogs Researchers find Oxytocin a probable key factor in dog-human communication University of Helsinki’s Canine Mind research project tested 43 dogs for influences

Dogs typically focus on the most remarkable aspect of each situation, such as threatening stimuli in a frightening situation. Recognising and interpreting threats quickly is important for survival. Dogs under the influence of oxytocin were more interested in smiling faces than they were in angry ones. In addition, oxytocin also influenced the dogs’ emotional states, which was evident in their pupil size. “We were among the first researchers in the world to use pupil measurements in the evaluation of dogs’ emotional states. This method had previously only been used on humans and apes,” says Professor OutiVainio, who heads the research group.

Without oxytocin, the dogs’ pupils were at their largest when they looked at angry faces. This indicated that the angry faces caused the most powerful emotional reaction in the dogs. Under the influence of oxytocin, however, images of smiling faces enhanced the dogs’ emotional state more than angry ones. This is to say that oxytocin probably made the angry faces seem less threatening and the smiling faces more appealing. “Both effects promote dog-human communication and the development of affectionate relations,” says Professor Vainio. Professor Vainio’s research group has previously successfully applied eye tracking and EEGs to studying the canine mind. In this study, the group partnered with JózsefTopál, a Hungarian pioneer of canine research who specialises in doghuman interaction and the social intelligence of dogs.

annual numbers of (earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater) has coincided with a slowing in the mean rotation velocity of the Earth, with a corresponding decrease at times when the lengthof-day (LoD) is short,” Xinhua news agency quoted the scientists duo as saying. Slight changes in the behaviour of the Earth’s core may be responsible for this effect, according to the scientists.“Whatever the mechanism, the 5-6 year advanced warning of increased seismic hazards afforded by the first derivative of the LoD is fortuitous, and has utility in disaster planning,” the scientists said. In their study, the researchers looked at earthquakes of magnitude 7 and greater that had occurred since 1900, the Guardian reported.

“The year 2017 marks six years following a deceleration episode that commenced in 2011, suggesting that the world has now entered a period of enhanced global seismic productivity with a duration of at least five years,” the researchers added. While the research did not indicate precisely when and where these future earthquakes will occur, it showed that most of the intense earthquakes that responded to changes in day length seemed to occur near the equator.

22 Enterprise

December 11 - 17, 2017

northeast industry

UK Firms Keen on NE Piggery A consortium of British firms have visited the northeast and checked out the possibility of developing pork trade, but needs ground support Raj Kashyap


ritish firms are keen to invest in the piggery sector in the Northeast and are exploring the possibility of joint ventures. A conclave that was held in Guwahati on 29 December witnessed a lively discussion by the participants which included representatives from the British and Indian livestock industry local business associations. The event, organised by the British Deputy High Commission and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was held at Hotel Vivanta by Taj. The British delegates showcased the best of British agri-tech and features of the piggery sector. Representatives belonging to Genesis UK Ltd, JSR Genetics, Meatwise International, Pedigree Exports UK and Pedigree Pigs Ireland gave their views on collaboration with local firms and the government in the piggery sector. British Pig Association president Chris Jackson said that the delegation expected the government to apprise them about the assistance required for pig farming in the region. “We can provide our expertise, but we need to know what kinds of pigs are required in the region. We can furnish a list of suppliers who can provide the entire genetics. We can even provide expertise to handhold till the desired result is achieved.” Jackson explained that the industry strategy in the UK was to develop markets and a long-term relationship. “So there will be multiple visits and the British High Commission will play the most important role in firming up a relationship. It will be shown to

Quick Glance A conclave was held amongst British and Indian livestock industry The British have said that growing pigs is not being done scientifically They are keen to develop the trade if they know the kind of pigs needed

Indian farmers and entrepreneurs as to how they can benefit from enhanced genetics, advanced management and the whole production chain of the UK.” The UK is a world leader in the livestock sector, and with India planning to double agricultural production by 2022, there could be major opportunities to support India in the sector. In October 2017 the Department of Animal Husbandry had accepted UK’s revise Export Health Certificate for export of live swine from the UK for breeding in India which is expected to give a major boost to the IndiaUK collaboration in the piggery sector. Deputy head of mission at the British Deputy High Commission, Calcutta, Shahida Khan said, “British pedigree pigs offer advantages of superior production traits that include fast growth, low food conversion, maximum lean meat and unmatched sow productivity.” This is the third visit in two years by the British Pig Association, which is trying to improve the genetic

potential of nucleus breeding stock in the Northeast. The UK offer to India covers the entire range of livestock sector - from genetics for improving production to setting up clean cold chain centres. India’s pork import was 527 metric tonnes in 2015 and has grown at the rate of 11 per cent annually. Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya are major pig-rearing states of the region and 28 per cent of India’s total pig population is found in this region. Piggery on large scale on commercial line is a new concept in the Northeast and it is yet to gather momentum by overcoming all kinds of problems. Research reveals that feed plays an important role in successful pig production. The quality of the rations determines the rate of growth of young pigs to a great extent. Pigs are the most rapidly growing livestock but in comparison to other ruminants, they suffer more from nutritional deficiencies. A complete diet for pigs, as for other livestocks, includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and ample good

India’s pork import was 527 metric tonnes in 2015 and has grown at the rate of 11 per cent annually

water. But pig producers are almost entirely dependent on their own resources of feed. Availability of compound feed is also limited in the government breeding farms. The problems of pig marketing in the Northeast are numerous and complex. An official who attended the conclave was of the opinion that there was a total lack of amenities in providing shelter, water troughs and light for the animals. There is no provision for maintaining the breeding and production records of animals. Livestock market of Assam has not been regulated till now. The production units are often small and poorly adjusted to the market requirements. The inadequate transportation network also affects marketing organisations to a great extent. For financial assistance farmers still depend upon the professional money lenders and pay high rates of interest. In the Northeast, a majority of the farmers do not have sufficient money for investment in other financial activities like pig farming. As there are no modem transportation facilities and the road communication at some vital points of rural and urban areas is also poor, so the plight of the farmers and sellers further aggravate. Due to non-availability of modern slaughter houses, people in this region slaughter the live pigs in the traditional method, which is not conducive for wholesome meat production. Only a few pork selling centers have a permanent infrastructure and are running smoothly. Many pork selling centers have no permanent structures and run occasionally, once or twice a week in open space. So infestation of meat by flies is a common feature usually observed in these pork selling shops. These are mostly located in the vicinity of towns or cities in Assam.

December 11 - 17, 2017

Stories from South


Quick Glance

karnataka education

‘No Bag Day’ in Karnataka schools

In a first ever, the state has decided to make this effective from next year Already some of the schools, private and government, have such a practice Both students and teachers enjoy this exercise as a challenging experiment

At least once a week, school children will be freed from the drudgery of lugging heavy bags ssb bureau


here is some good news for school children in Karnataka. The state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has decided to mark ‘No Bag Day’ once a week in all schools from the next academic year. This will mean students won’t have to trudge to school with heavy bags, at least for a day. Probably the first such move in the entire country, this would apply to all schools, including those affiliated to CBSE and ICSE. According to DPI officials, the idea is to encourage students to enjoy their journey to school. An official order from the department of education is expected to be issued once the current Legislature session at Belagavi concludes, says an official. However, the department has not yet decided which day would be a ‘No Bag Day’. “The department wants every school to follow ‘No Bag day’ on the

same day. So, we are still deciding the common day for all. There are suggestions to implement it on Wednesdays because most ICSE and CBSE schools are off on Saturdays. If it’s Wednesday, then students will have to carry bags only on the first and last two days of the week,” explains the official. ‘No Bag Day’ is already in practice in some private, unaided and government

schools in the state. The Government Higher Primary School at Neeralagi in Gadag district, for instance, has been following ‘No Bag Day’ on Saturdays for the past three years. Little Flower Public School, an ICSE school at Banashankari, Bengaluru, implemented the ‘No Bag Day’ on Wednesdays in 2012. Dr B Gayethri Devi, principal of Little Flower Public School, says, “This is an experiment we began six years ago and it’s a big success. Not just students, even teachers are happy as they get to know how to teach without text books.” Department officials said the move won’t come in the way of conducting

Quick Glance

Bengaluru space gallery

First Ever Space Gallery After the ‘Niagara Falls’ replica, Bengaluru has added Space Gallery to its draw on tourists from across the world G Ulaganathan


Space Technology Gallery, set up in an area of about 700 sq meters at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) in Kasturba Road, Bengaluru, will be a major attraction for visitors. The gallery, the first of its kind in the country, will give a glimpse of space technology, especially India’s space programme. From Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, up to the indigenous shuttle, the air breathing Scramjet engine, and also the yet to be launched solar mission Aditya, the gallery has an impressive interactive display showcasing the variety of satellites developed by ISRO. Inaugurated by ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar, the gallery, set

up at a cost of Rs 85 lakh, brings the various facets of space technology in an easy to understand format through several interactive and impressive exhibits. There is an interactive display of India’s most popular and successful space programmes - the Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbiter Mission. Also on display is an attractive section which guides us through the life of Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go into space, along with a glimpse of the life and works of Kalpana Chawla and

classes. “Whether to conduct normal classes or devote the entire day to extra-curricular activities is left to school authorities. We just want kids to be relieved from the weight on their shoulders, at least for a day,” says the official. A year ago, the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) had constituted an expert committee to give recommendations on the reduction of school bag weight. The committee, headed by academician Dr Niranjan Aradhya, had submitted its report in May 2016 and one of the main recommendations was fixing the bag weight at one kg for Classes 1 and 2, two kg for Classes 3 and 4, four kg for Classes 5 to 7 and five kg for Classes 8 and above. But the report is still pending with DPI and no measure has been taken. Following a survey which revealed several health issues like increasing back aches because of heavy bags, some schools decided to go for a ‘No Bag Day’ on every Wednesday.

Sunita Williams, two Indian-origin women astronauts. Interestingly, food items like space mission idli, developed by the Mysuru-based Defence Food Research Laboratory, and which will be consumed by astronauts during India’s human space endeavour are

This is the first ever such space gallery anywhere in the country It has all the curious items of space technology, including ‘space idli’ It has areas dedicated to two of Indian origin women astronauts

also on display. Visitors, especially students, can catch a glimpse of how ISRO carries out its launch from its spaceport in Sriharikota as there is a spectacular exhibit of both the launch pads that demonstrates how a rocket is used to launch satellites. The mission control room explains how the rockets and satellites are controlled and tracked. Major milestones in space technology starting from the Mysorean Rocket to Voyager, which has now reached interstellar regions in outer space, find a place in the gallery. At the satellite imagery station, one can explore images taken by satellites like the glaciers of the Himalayas, Bengaluru Metro Station and many more by waving one’s hand on air.

24 North East

DECember 11 - 17, 2017

Entertainment Film Industry

Arunachal Pradesh

Assam woos Bollywood Sonowal urges film makers to take advantage of state’s new incentives and subsidies; Subhash Ghai keen to set up a film institute in Assam Quick Glance

A kg of tea fetches Rs 18,801 under hammer

Assam has recently formulated very attractive incentives Top filmmakers and companies from Mumbai attended the event Rebates will be there for stories from Assam and shot in the state

The Doniyo Polo Tea Estate is located at Pasighat of Arunachal Pradesh and is the only garden of Siang Tea & Industries Pvt Ltd SSB Bureau


he Guwahati Tea Auction Center created history when a kg of speciality tea was sold at a price of Rs 18,801. This is the second highest price ever fetched by tea in an auction in the country. A total of Golden Needle Grade variety of speciality tea made by Doniyo Polo Tea Estate from Arunachal Pradesh was bought by Vincent Enterprises LLP at the price of Rs 18,800. Darjeeling’s Makaibari Tea Estate’s Silver Tips Imperial sells for Rs 21,000 a kg. The Arunachal tea was sold by Contemporary Brokers Pvt. Ltd. In recent times GTAC is making lot of efforts to sell speciality tea through its auction platform. Doniyo Polo Tea Estate is located at Pasighat of Arunachal Pradesh and is the only garden of Siang Tea & Industries Pvt Ltd. “We have been trying this for quite some time. It has been possible due to prolonged efforts. We had a stable team. We know every bush in the garden…how it reacts in a particular month,” manager of the garden Manoj Kumar said. The garden had ventured into speciality tea only this year. They have made a number of speciality teas like Oolong tea, yellow tea, orthodox, white tea, silver tea, golden tea, two types of needle tea etc. It produced around 1,000 kgs of speciality tea this year. The teas had fetched prices like Rs 12,000, Rs 6,500 and Rs 4,000 earlier. “It gives us a proud moment when it fetches record price through pan India auction system. We hope this will create a new market for speciality tea and more such teas will be on offer in GTAC.



ssam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has called upon the Bollywood film industry to take advantage of the newly formulated incentives and subsidies for film producers by the Assam Government. He was interacting with eminent producers and directors of Mumbai film industry as part of ensuing Global Investors’ Summit slated to be held on February 3 and 4 in Guwahati. “Assam Government has recently formulated very attractive incentives and subsidies for film producers. The Government of Assam has committed to strongly work towards accelerating infrastructure support for film producers like accommodation, transport and roads”, Sonowal said with an invitation to the film producers for an assessment tour to Assam. The film fraternity represented by Producer and Director Subhash Ghai, Manmohan Shetty, Rahul Rawail, Jahnu Barua, Filmmaker from Assam, Manish Goswami, Vice President, Producer’s Guild, Kulmit Makkad, CEO of Producers Guild, Pankuj Parashar, Producer

and Director, Dipti Jindal, CEO, Sajid Nadiadwala, Hansal Mehta, Director, Sandeep Bhargava, CEO, Purple Pebble, Sunil Aggarwal, CEO of Yashraj, Nitin Ahuja Editor of Box Office, Vijay Verma, MD Post House Studio among the others from the film Industry took part in the interaction and held wide ranging discussions with the Chief Minister on the opportunities for film making in Assam. Subhash Ghai, Producer, Mukta Arts, said he would like to set up a film institute in Assam on the lines of Whistling Woods. The Film fraternity also spoke about changing the perception about Assam’s Law and order situation. The Industry leaders suggested that Assam may consider constituting a film commission like Maharashtra. Suggestions were also given to also set up a film school, post production houses in Assam so people do not have to depend on Mumbai for Trained personnel. Appreciating the suggestions made by the film fraternity, Sonowal said that the state government would actively consider the same for implementation. He informed that the new incentives and

Subhash Ghai, Producer, Mukta Arts, said he

would like to set up a film institute in Assam on the lines of Whistling Woods

subsidies include financial grant of 25% of cost incurred in Assam to Hindi, English or Foreign language Cinema makers who have produced minimum 5 feature films with country wide audience and minimum 25% of the entire shooting expenditure of the feature film in Assam subject to a maximum limit of Rs. 1 crore. The Chief Minister further added that additional rebate of 10% for film having storyline on Assam’s culture, tourism and heritage as well as for shooting more than 50% of the film in Assam are some of the incentives provided to the film makers. He also informed that the producers who have produced minimum 10 films in Hindi, English or Foreign language will be provided free accommodation and transport for the costs incurred by them during the period of stay for shooting of films in Assam. During the two-day visit, the Chief Minister held one on one meetings with top industrialists and invited them to invest in Assam with primary focus on agriculture and food processing, handloom, textile and handicraft, tourism, hospitality and wellness, plastics and petrochemicals, power, pharmaceutical and medical devices, heavy industries, inland water transport, port township and river front development and IT &ITeS, civil aviation, petroleum and natural gas. The top industry leaders who met the chief minister included Ratan Tata, MukeshAmbani, Essel Group Chairman, Subhash Chandra, and a number of other top industry leaders like the Mahindras and the Hinduja Group apart from top leadership of sectoral associations like the Plastic Manufacturers Association.

DECember 11 - 17, 2017

Meghalaya Education

Meghalaya to get first state varsity

The foundation stone for the first state-sponsored university named after Captain Williamson Sangma was laid by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma at Tura in west Meghalaya SSB BUREAU


eghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma laid the foundation for the first state university. He also laid the foundation stone for the College of Architecture & Urban Planning. Sangma said the Captain Williamson Sangma State Technical University will cater to the students of the State as well as from outside. Its campuses and study centre will be established in different parts of the country. A Bill to set up the university was passed in the Meghalaya Assembly in 2011. “The delay in establishment of the university was primarily because of various political upheavals in the State. In our State, it is difficult to keep our MLAs together as almost on a daily basis our legislators attempt to shift their loyalties,” Sangma said in a lighter vein. The government has sanctioned Rs 19 crore for construction of the university building. It will be built in

SSB Bureau


hief Minister N Biren Singh said that there is a need to develop more habitations in various areas so that the animal could breed and increase the population of the pony in the State. A breeding farm would be developed and maintained by the State Government so that the rare and precious gene of Manipuri Pony breed is not diluted at any cost, he said. He reaffirmed the State Government’s determination and efforts to preserve and protect the endangered animal. The Chief Minister chaired the first meeting of the Manipuri Pony Development Board held at Chief Minister’s Secretariat recently which thoroughly discussed the issues regarding the rehabilitation, long term sustainability to preserve and conserve the Manipuri Pony. Stating that Polo game plays an important role in protecting the state’s rare breed of ponies from extinction, Chief Minister underlined the need

an area of 100 acres at a site at Jewilgre, about 20 km from Tura. “The construction of the university has already begun and efforts are being made to ensure that it is completed soon,” Sangma said. The Chief Minister said that after five years Meghalaya would celebrate 50th glorious years of statehood and there are lots of expectations. He said the State has made its humble beginning and there will be a lot of welfare programmes for the people.

“We have to ensure that the State is capable of nurturing young minds and paving the way to enable them to realize their dreams,” he added. He lamented that Meghalaya is yet to have its own medical college and many aspiring young people have to shun their dreams of becoming a doctor for want of an institution, which was precisely the reason that the government has focused on medical colleges. Sangma said establishment of the university as well as medical

Pony Wildlife

Saving the Manipuri Pony Manipur Government has prepared an action plan to protect the endangered Manipuri Pony

to develop Polo fields and grounds in rural areas of the State too. Grazing fields will also be identified soon. Taking note of the stray ponies on the streets, the government has also decided that every Pony owner

of the State needs to register their Ponies with the Government. Owners would be given some incentives for maintenance and care of the Pony. If the owners fail to register their ponies on time then necessary action will

North East


Quick Glance A Bill to set up the university was passed in the Meghalaya Assembly in 2011 The government has sanctioned Rs 19 crore for construction of the university It will build an ecosystem. The youth will be inspired in their backyard

and engineering colleges in Meghalaya will not only educate the youth, but also inspire them to dream higher. “It will build an ecosystem, where our youth will draw inspiration from their respective backyard,” he explained. He said the College of Architecture & Urban Planning will be the firstof-its-kind institution in the whole of Northeast. “Urban planning is a lucrative profession and a need of the hour. Look at cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Guwahati, where an hour of rain is enough to cause mayhem as it leads to artificial flooding,” he pointed out. “We invite all our educated people working outside the region to come back with their enriching experiences and join our universities and institutes and contribute towards the welfare of the State,” Mukul appealed. The Chief Minister said the government has embarked on an agenda where the State will be self-reliant and not dependent on other States. “Leaders must be able to connect with the aspirations and expectations of the people,” he added.

be taken up and the Ponies will be auctioned in public. The meeting also discussed about the procurement of dry fodder like straw etc in the post harvest period and to maintain fodder storage for the Ponies. It may be mentioned that ‘Manipuri Ponies’ are among the seven recognised breeds of horses found in India. In the livestock census conducted in 2012, the population of this pony was found to be 1,100 only. Polo was introduced into the area of Manipur state as early as the seventh century, and Manipuri ponies were one of the first breeds used in the game. Manipuri ponies played a major part in the cavalry commanded by Garib Newaz, whose horsemen terrorized upper Burma throughout the early 1700s and in 1738 were used during his Sack of Sagaing.Between 1859 and 1916, Manipuri ponies were extremely desired by the British for playing polo, and there were further infusions of Arabian blood in the 19th century, as British administrators and military officers sought to upgrade their polo ponies.

26 Living in Hills

December 11 - 17, 2017

uttarakhand initiative

Rigid About The Hills Anita and Kalyan Paul had given up their brilliant prospective careers to settle down in the Hills and work for the upliftment of the villages – and villagers – of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh

Saurabh Singh


an Himalayan Grassroots, a nonprofit voluntary organisation, began working about 25 years ago in 1992 in an effort to combine eco-systems with the process of development in the rural and semi-urban areas in the hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The motive was to improve the living conditions of the local inhabitants, which was becoming increasingly difficult due to deteriorating ecology and environmental degradation in the central and western Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The goal of the enterprise was to promote sustainable, self-reliant and self-help at the village level through community participation. The primary goals of Grassroots has been to set up micro-industries with the involvement of the people living in the region, improve water quality and sanitation conditions, plan modes of energy alternatives, encourage growth of trees, and support development of agriculture and small industries. Grassroots is the result of years work

Quick Glance The primary goals of Grassroots has been to set up micro-industries with the involvement of the people Infiltration wells developed by them enables the people with supply of safe drinking water Grassroots is engaging locals to reverse forest degradation and help restore community forests

put in by Anita and Kalyan Paul, who along with more than 20 development professionals, set aside their enviable academic and career backgrounds in order to work for the betterment of the ordinary people. They have received awards and recognition. But their biggest award is the change that has come in the lives of the people. Among the primary matters that Grassroots has addressed in the course of its work in the region includes the problem of water shortage, fuel needs, depleting forests, food requirement, and sanitation. Quenching Thirst The hilly regions face a constant difficulty related to clean and easily available drinking water. Grassroots has introduced an appropriate technology application in the form of an Infiltration Well. This enables the people with supply of safe drinking water. Rainwater harvesting is a method which has been discussed extensively but rarely put to effective use. In Grassroots, Dr Tim Rees, a British geohydrologist living in India since the 1960s, pioneered an appropriate technology designed in the form of an Infiltration Well. His innovation is an infiltration well that collects water from subterranean water capillaries, which are located deeper than the local trenches and ponds dug for this purpose.

The Kumaon Artisans Guild, which is a community and local-based group organised to encourage self-help, constructs the well by hand without the need for heavy machinery. This makes installation more affordable in the most remote of villages. In this way, these community drinking water systems are operated and maintained by the people themselves. More than 55,000 people from 370 communities in remote areas have received supply of safe drinking water through adoption of this intermediate technology application. Bio-Energy The need for kitchen fuel and heat sources to keep families warm in the cold climate of the hills causes a lot of discomfort, especially to children and the elderly. Women and young girls trudge miles to gather fuel for their everyday needs. Over the past many years, Grassroots has been able to offer an alternate renewable energy option through installation of household level bio-gas units, which provide clean smokeless cooking gas. This has helped in improving family health, besides reducing the pressure on forest resources. In Grassroots, the process for recycling cattle waste and transforming it into usable fuel is simple yet quite scientific. This domestic bio-gas unit, the

Grassroots has promoted free range poultry on a domestic level to further enhance local food security in the hill villages

Deenbandhu fixed model, as it is called, ferments cow dung as well as human waste, to provide bio-gas, through the release of methane. In the lower regions of the Himalaya, the Deenbandhu fixed model is especially suitable because the digestion chamber is underground and serves to provide good insulation. But the success of Bio-gas plants lies in ensuring quality during construction, and training user groups in the correct use for the maintenance of the plants. The design of the bio-gas plant used by Grassroots is optimised for a longer period than is generally the case. It is a 55 day cycle so that the mixture gets more time for digestion. Care is also taken to choose sites that get 2-3 hours of sunlight in winter. Forest Lands The hills might appear greener in comparison to some cities on the plains, but it is a subject of great concern for the environmentalists and nature lovers that not only is the beauty of the forests depleting at a fast rate but it is also responsible for causing immense hardship for the inhabitants. According survey reports, the ratio of forests to agricultural lands is not balanced enough to sustain mountain eco-systems. Grassroots has put in a lot of efforts to help and restore forests through a network of village nurseries. Ideally one unit of agricultural land requires 6-7 units of forest land to support it. Without it the eco-system is out of balance resulting in water insecurity, reduced soil fertility and reduced crop output impacting local livelihoods. In some areas of the Himalaya,

December 11 - 17, 2017



Grassroots supports farming families to

develop their own micro-enterprises by increasing the market value of their products Interview

“Hill Youth In Cusp Of Change” Given the extensive and much needed work being done by Grassroots, it was important to know what motivated Anita Paul and Kalyan Paul to get into this. Excerpts from an interview…

Your group has been serving the people of Uttarakhand and HP for 25 years now. What major changes do you see in their lives now after all these years? Grassroots Holistic Intervention Strategies has led to an improvement in the quality of life for remote mountain communities as follows. It has enabled access to enhanced quantities of safe drinking water in614 hamlets in 55 blocks of 12 Districts of Uttarakhand children and Himachal Pradesh- On a typical day, Infiltration Wells are providing 2.40 million litres of safe drinking water to approximately 17,600 households with close to 100,000 people or 25 litres per capita. This has resulted in improved hygiene as well as ‘time saving’ in terms of fetching water. Women now feel that they have more time to spend with their, pay greater attention to domestic cleanliness and generally have more independence. Grassroots promotes Environmental Sanitation in the form of twin-pit water-seal toilets in order to address the issue of water borne disease and provide an iota of dignity, especially to women. Over the years, about 4,400 toilets have been installed in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Grassroots has been installing biogas units as an appropriate domestic energy option in order to reduce the biotic pressure on fast dwindling forest resources and provide clean energy to women leading to positive impacts on their

health by reducing smoke in their kitchens. 3,000 households have adopted this alternate energy. 1500 women are earning sustainable livelihoods leading to economic and social empowerment. They are now also taking on leadership roles in their communities and contributing to the overall development of their region. Women are playing lead role in greening their degraded village common lands and there by impacting positively on the hydrology of their village water resources through improved percolation of rain-water. Over one million saplings of broad leaf fodder trees have been planted and protected by the self- help groups of women. That sounds like a real revolution raging in the quiet hills! But to come to another question that has been worrying us. There has been a surge in the past decade or so in construction, mining, urbanizing activities in the hills. Has this

affected your work? The processes of modernisation have been making swift inroads in these remote mountain communities as well leading to a change in the aspirations of younger generations. They are finding themselves at the cusp of change wherein traditional subsistence farming systems are threatened and new skills for engaging in modern processes are adequately being addressed. Young people have long been turning towards metropolitan cities for their future. Is it possible for the youth here to rediscover the treasures in their home regions? They are migrating to urban sweat shops not by choice but due to lack of opportunities. If infrastructure and livelihood options can be improved then out- migration can be reduced considerably. This is linked to the issue of educational and employment opportunities. How far is it possible to retain local talent? What future do brilliant students have here? This has been partially answered above. But in addition to it I want to add that the younger generations must build on their entrepreneurial skills and set up their own enterprises and provide opportunities to their peers for further growth of their region. Delhi has become a gas chamber, as people say. Any suggestions you would like to convey to Delhi citizens to improve their environment? Delhi environment needs concerted efforts from both civil society and more importantly, the implementation of appropriate measures by the concerned authorities. Perspective plans needs to be drawn up with a modern vision and future growth of the national capital which currently is in a deplorable state of affairs.

this ratio is 1-1. Grassroots is working to reverse this harmful trend by engaging local people to actively participate in the restoration of their community forests. Villagers have established nurseries to raise mature seedlings of broad leaved native tree species, shrubs and grasses which they then plant on wasted hillsides. Bio-diversity conservation in this way not only sustains mountain farming but ultimately protects fragile mountain springs. Not just trees but also raising and planting native species of shrubs are a part of the goal. Although the local residents are sometimes blamed for using forest resources for their domestic needs, they do value and respect nature as a matter of tradition and custom. The people, particularly the poor, are often compelled to over-exploit the local natural resources in order to meet immediate household needs. In this sense, commercial projects need more monitoring. The organisation provides funding to cover 80 per cent of the cost of the nurseries, and technical support, while the villages themselves invest 20 per cent and manage the cultivation of the saplings. Food security Grassroots supports farming families to develop their own micro-enterprises. This implies increasing the market value of their products through processing and marketing while making sure that they retain complete ownership across the process. Grassroots has helped small and marginal farmers to work more on production of traditional rain-fed crops to supplement family income. Although increasing environmental and market challenges have led to food shortages across the region, Grassroots has tried, through self-help people’s groups, to address this problem in order to ensure that the village residents have a yearround supply of food for their families. Grassroots has also promoted free range poultry on a domestic level to further enhance local food security. Households are encouraged to own poultry for their domestic needs while any surplus can be traded on the local market.

28 Environment solar alliance

International Solar Alliance Enters Into Force

December 11 - 17, 2017

UN Sustainable Development Goals 2019

Nations Pledge For Pollution-Free Planet

193 nations asked the United Nations Environment Assembly for a plan linked to the execution of Sustainable Development Goals 2019

The ISA is a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation after Guinea’s ratification efforts



he International Solar Alliance (ISA) recently became a treaty-based international inter-governmental organisation following ratification by Guinea as the 15th country to become a member of the body created in 2015 through the joint efforts of India and France. The Gurugram headquartered ISA aims at large scale deployment of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. On the occasion, industry chamber Ficci offered to work with the ISA “to bring innovation to the forefront of the solar energy landscape”. “We are sure that many more countries will realize the strong value proposition of ISA and ratify the treaty in the coming months,” Ficci President Pankaj Patel said in a statement here. Meanwhile at an event here on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook Report 2017 was relaunched in association with local think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The report highlights India’s emergence as a major driving force in the global energy market.



oving towards a pollution-free planet, 193 nations unanimously asked the United Nations Environment Assembly to submit a plan linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for execution by its next assembly in 2019. The nations, including India, resolved to encourage sustainable lifestyles and move forward to ensure more sustainable consumption and production patterns by providing reliable sustainability information to the consumers. After three days’ hectic negotiations in the third United Nations Environment Assembly that culminated in this Kenyan capital, the countries asked to make it easier to rethink, reuse, recycle, recover and remake any products, materials and prevent and reduce waste generation. “This type of political declaration is first of the kind. It has been an astonishing success,” UN Environment head Erik Solheim told IANS. He said the nations needed a threepronged strategy to deal with the litter. “The plastic material needs to be recycled. The air pollution sources need to be minimized through electrical mobility and promoting public transportation. And (there’s)

India has geared up the efforts to protect the environment and is preparing to host the World Environment Day next year

a need to stop the processing of chemicals like mercury, a major pollutant,” an optimistic Solheim said. Stressing the important role India and China need to play in fighting pollution, he said: “The United Nations can bring people together and inspire them. I’m very optimistic about India’s approach. During my meeting with China’s Environment Minister Li Ganjie, we saw huge progress in China.”

Quick Glance India was one of the member nations to take the pledge The negotiations were held in Nairobi The nations have resolved to encourage sustainable lifestyles

“In the most polluted areas in China, Beijing and Shanghai you see a substantial reduction in pollution. The government of China is taking determined action. The number of coal burning has gone down drastically. This doesn’t mean that all problems are solved. “There are a number of agreements with India and the United Nations Environment can work together in the days to come. Pollution was one of the key issues discussed during the meeting with the minister (India’s Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan),” he said. “The World Environment Day in going to take place in India in June next year. That’s their platform for setting aside environment practices. I see the same shift in the environment policy of India as China,” Solheim added. “We will promote fiscal measures such as incentives to stimulate positive changes, taking into account the importance of minimizing pollution and making every effort to invest in more sustainable, environmentally sound solutions,” said the three-page declaration. “We will strengthen and enforce more integrated policies, laws and regulations. We will continue to develop and expand partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia, relevant United Nations agencies and programmes, indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society and individuals.” Asking the United Nations Environment Executive Director to submit a plan for implementation of their consideration, the ministers pledged to advocate for this declaration in all relevant fora, including at the HighLevel Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

December 11 - 17, 2017

World’s Most Complex Fusion Power Plant The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project is now 50 per cent built


he world’s most complex machine, the International T h e r m o n u c l e a r Experimental Reactor (ITER) – a project in which India is a scientific partner to prove that fusion power can be produced on a commercial scale – is now 50 per cent built, it was announced recently. Carbon-free and environmentally sustainable fusion is the same energy source from the sun that gives the earth its light and warmth. ITER, the most complex science project in human history, will use hydrogen fusion, controlled by superconducting magnets, to produce massive heat energy. In the commercial machines that will follow, this heat will drive turbines to produce electricity. Scientists say a pineapple-sized amount of hydrogen offers as much fusion energy as 10,000 tonnes of fossil fuel coal. The ITER facility is being built in southern France by a scientific partnership of 35 countries. ITER’s specialised components, roughly 10 million parts in total, are being manufactured in industrial facilities all over the world. They are subsequently shipped to the ITER worksite, where they must be assembled, piece-by-piece, into the final machine.


green initiative

fusion reactor



Each of the seven ITER members – the European Union, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US -is fabricating a significant portion of the machine. This adds to ITER’s complexity. In a message on December 1 to top-level officials in ITER membergovernments, the project reported it had completed 50 per cent of the “total construction work scope through First Plasma”. First Plasma, scheduled for December 2025, will be the first stage of operation for ITER as a functional machine. “The stakes are very high for ITER,” writes ITER DirectorGeneral Bernard Bigot. “When we prove that fusion is a viable energy source, it will eventually replace burning fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable and non-sustainable. Fusion will be complementary with

The ambitious ITER

plan will produce 500 megawatts of thermal power that could virtually power an entire city

Quick Glance

Beijing Airport’s ‘Green’ Journey China’s largest airport is now progressing towards greening its operations

India is a scientific partner in the ambitious project The goal of the project is to show feasibility of commercial fusion The ITER facility is being built by a consortium of 35 countries

wind, solar, and other renewable energies.” “Our design has taken advantage of the best expertise of every member’s scientific and industrial base. No country could do this alone. We are all learning from each other, for the world’s mutual benefit.” The ITER 50 per cent milestone is getting significant attention. The concept of the project was conceived at the 1985 Geneva Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. When the ITER Agreement was signed in 2006, it was supported by leaders like French President Jacques Chirac, US President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. More than 80 per cent of the cost of the ITER, about $22 billion, is contributed in the form of components manufactured by the partners.Many of these massive components of the ITER machine must be precisely fitted, for example, 17-meter-high magnets with less than a millimetre of tolerance. Each component must be ready on time to fit into the master schedule for machine assembly. The European Union is paying 45 per cent of the cost; China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US each contribute 9 per cent equally. All members share in ITER’s technology; they receive equal access to the intellectual property and innovation that comes from building the ITER. When will commercial fusion plants be ready? ITER scientists predict that fusion plants will start to come on line as soon as 2040. The exact timing, according to fusion experts, will depend on the level of public urgency and political will that translates to financial investment.



eijing Capital International Airport, China’s largest with 94.39 million passengers passing through last year, is making steady progress towards greening its operations, but can do more to minimise its environmental impact, a new UN research said on Wednesday. According to the Assessment Report on Beijing Capital Airport, use of gasoline and diesel by airport vehicles declined 45 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, between 2010 and 2016, while overall carbon dioxide emissions were cut by almost 16 per cent between 2014 and 2016. This is despite the airport adding roughly 10 million annual passengers since 2010, a growth rate that is comparable to the increase in Beijing’s Gross Domestic Product. “Beijing Capital International Airport has shown strong commitment towards sustainability, balancing growth in air, cargo and passenger traffic with enhanced environmental performance,” Steven Stone, Chief of Resources and Markets Branch of the Economy Division of the UN Environment said in a statement. “With focused actions in the right places -- including electric vehicles, renewables and better transport links among them -- the airport can continue its leadership in environmental stewardship.” Of the airport’s 4,000 vehicles, more than 60 per cent are special purpose. The airport aims to switch at least 10 per cent of these and 20 per cent of the general purpose ones to electric-powered ones by 2020.

30 Bihar

December 11 - 17, 2017

green village bihar

Daughters of Dharhara Whereas Haryana girls have of late broken the myth of it being the girl killer state, this village has always looked at the girl child as something special sanjeev


n a state like Bihar, the number of girls is much less than the boys, which is due to the female foeticide, but there is a village in Bihar which has traditionally given the girl child a special treatment and respect in the society. Along with the protection of the girls, trees are planted. Or, in other words, environment and daughters, both are linked to each other. From the recent years this village has become a source of inspiration for others villages. Here the paths and alleys are common, but they lead to a special place, the place where both the daughter and the tree are worshipped, both of them are complementary to each other. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative is seen on social as well as other media throughout the country, but in the pursuit of protecting daughters, this village is very much ahead of others. Here special attention should be given to the village of Dharhara where there is an old tradition which is to protect daughters. And this does not come from any official instructions or system itself, but from hundreds of years of the village tradition, and today it has given the village a special identity. Now it will be an inspiration for everyone. This village is the village of Lavi... Who is this Lavi? In fact, in the month of June 2012, when the 2nd birthday of a girl born in the village was celebrated, the CM of the state, Nitish Kumar was present. And because of his presence on the occasion of the birthday of Lavi, ten fruit trees were planted. From that day the village is known as Lavi’s village. People used to follow this practice even earlier, before Lavi’s birth too. These traditions have been going on for decades. In this tradition, whenever a daughter is born in this village, 10 trees are planted. These trees can be fruit trees or expensive timber. With the help of these trees, the life of the girl child is made beautiful. These trees come in as useful for meeting the cost of her study or to her marriage to a life partner. Wherever you talk to the

In this village, there are new and old trees about 98 thousand in number, that is only on the village land, plus others elsewhere

daughters or a member of this village, they want to tell you how both daughters and trees are related here. The village Dharhara of Bhagalpur district is about 245 kilometers from Patna and 30 kilometers from the city of Bhagalpur. It is situated between Ganga and Kosi, where the danger of floods persists. But the people’s motivation has increased so much that even after the dangers of floods, they plant trees and prepare large gardens. These gardens are not less attractive than any garden anywhere. Today, there is a need to find a way to enter this village, because it is not seen from outside. This is the key to the fame of this village. Today, other people have also walked the path of this village. That is, the importance of both the daughter and the tree has increased in this area. Vimal Prasad Singh, a resident of this village himself is unable to recall when this practice started, but his memory definitely says that living without trees cannot be imagined here, and that is why the twenty trees he planted on the birth of his two daughters are useful for them even today. The trees ensure the present bright future of both the daughters and even today his earnings from them is giving him a feeling as if his children are earning.

The tall trees here are touching the skies, and the daughters of Dharhara too are flying high in life today. What Dharhara is giving to these daughters is a unique example. On the one side the daughter’s life is being protected, on the other, the environment here too is being protected. That is the secret of the happiness of Dharhara. Seeing these new plants here, it seems as if the future time to come will belong to them. The fruit trees planted in hundreds brings in money, a place where the daughters seem to be making a future on their own by the support of these trees. The trees, on the other hand, appear to be watching as daughters are born here and their birth is celebrated. Even now in Bihar the sex ratio is 918 women to 1000 males, but the village of Dharhara is lucky in this respect. In this village in the past 5 years, 43 daughters were born in 2006, 52 in 2007, 31 in 2008 46 in 2009 and 49 daughters in 2010. At least 10 plants have been planted on the auspicious arrival of each daughter, which has enriched the village both in terms of money and environment. Such a trend has continued here for years, but the news was made came when Bihar Chief Minister

Quick Glance For ages, they have been planting ten trees for every girl child born Today it is so densely greened, it cannot be seen from the road Chief Minister attended the birthday of one such child and planted a tree

Nitish Kumar came here during a development tour on the birth of a girl here. When Lavi was celebrating her second birthday, Nitish Kumar had planted a tree here, today many trees have been named in the name of Lavi. On her part, Lavi too is happy that her village became known for her name. Today most of the people in this village are farmers, but despite rising prices and dowry, because of these trees, daughters have been brought up well and married into good prosperous families. These girls want everyone to respect the daughters of the house, and make the daughter’s future safe. The road taken by Dharhara is now being followed by other villages too. They too have started following the same path, and hopefully other people from other places also will take these paths, so that both the daughter and the tree are protected through this campaign and the day will come when the ratio of the number of daughters will be equal to the sons. This tradition has continued for hundreds of years in Dharhara, and if the people of other villages decide up for themselves, then there will be nothing to stop them. So far they have done so much on their own, but with changing times, they also need some help. There are approximately 610 girl children (1-20 years) in this village now. There are new and old treesabout 98 thousand in number, that is only on the village land. On the panchayat land ahead of the village there are more than 1 lakh 25 thousand trees more.

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December 11 - 17, 2017

proof alien life


Alien Life


Quick Glance Engineers said the bacteria were not there at the ISS’ launch Bacteria harvested from metal skin may be from outer space They were found during routine swab tests of the space station’s hull

Proof of alien life may have been found on the surface of the International Space Station according to a Russian astronaut SSB BUREAU


nacks in Gariahat are mouthwatering; variety of fish in Ballugunj is indeed, awesome; the red lentil( mosur dal) in Tollygunj is too inviting to be ignored; chopped chicken in Garden Reach is jaw-dropping; eateries around the Sealdah station are dirt cheap....the food fest for the Bongs and wanderers in Kolkata is simply irresistible. So is the level of poison in them. Living bacteria have been found on the outside of the International Space Station, and they may be extraterrestrial, according to one cosmonaut. Anton Shkaplerov, a flight engineer who is currently planning his third trip to outer-space said that scientists found the living bacteria while collecting samples

on the surface of the station. The bacteria are now being taken back to Earth for further study after initial tests aboard the orbiting station showed they are harmless to humans. Anton said: “Bacteria that had not been there during the launch of the ISS module were found on the swabs.” The astronaut explained that this meant that the bacteria must have landed on International Space Station once it was already in space. He said: “So they have flown from somewhere in space and settled on the outside of the hull.” The unexpected discovery was made after the cosmonauts used cotton swabs on the external surface of the man-made structure. They took samples from places where waste fuel accumulated, and from ‘obscure’ parts of the station. “And now it turns out that somehow these swabs reveal bacteria that were

Bacteria discovered on the surface of the

International Space Station may not be from Earth, a Russian cosmonaut claims

deep sea species

Urooj Fatima


he Mariana Trench, in the western pacific, near Guam, is the deepest stretch of ocean on Earth. These waters are mysterious and difficult to study, but so far scientists know the depths are home to amphipods and other crustaceans, sea cucumbers, jellyfish, and tiny one-celled organisms called foraminifera. Life’s tough 8,000 metres (26,000 feet) beneath the ocean’s surface. The pressure is 800 times that on the surface, the temperature is just above freezing, and there’s zero light. Officially known as Pseudoliparis swirei, the new snailfish gets its common name from its home, the Mariana Trench, which at a maximum depth of over 36,000 ft (11,000 m) is the deepest known part of the ocean. This is a good thing for this new record-holder for ‘world’s deepest fish’ – because the newly discovered Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) really isn’t much to look at. The fish are slightly longer than a human hand, with translucent, scaleless skin that reveals

absent during the launch of the ISS module,” said Shkaplerov.‘That is, they have come from outer space and settled along the external surface. However, there is also a chance that the bacteria managed to survive the tricky journey from Earth. There have been examples of bacteria overcoming the sharp swings in temperature during the journey. Sharp swings of temperature take place during a spaceship’s journey from Earth to outer space. Temperatures can change

from as high as 150 degrees celsius to -150 celsius. While the bacteria is being monitored on Earth in order to find out more about the potential alien substance, it is also possible that the bacteria was brought to space on PC tablets onboard the Space Station used for analysis purposes. Last month, Sky reported that bacterial cells treated with a common antibiotic were spotted changing shape to survive while aboard the ISS.The defence mechanism could pose a serious problem when it comes to treating astronauts with infections. The “clever shape-shifting” is believed to help the bacteria survive. Dr Luis Zea, the study’s lead author, said: “We knew bacteria behave differently in space and that it takes higher concentrations of antibiotics to kill them.”

Pseudoliparis swirei Is The Deepest-dwelling Fish In The Ocean There may be nothing new under the sun. But something new was just discovered deep in the ocean pinkish organs beneath. To be fair, being soft and squishy is the best option for life deep down. Even animals that usually have calcium carbonate shells struggle to build them thanks to the intense pressure. Scientists still do not understand how the little fish manage to withstand such enormous water pressure. During research trips in 2014 and 2017, the researchers collected 37 specimens of the new snailfish species from depths ranging from 6,900 metres (22,600ft) to 8,000 meters (26,200ft) along the Mariana Trench. The creature

was found to have a number of unique physiological characteristics that marked it out from other snailfish. In fact, in 2008 a snailfish species called Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis was filmed at 7,700 metres (25,300 feet) in the Japan Trench, setting a previous

record for world’s deepest fish recorded on film. “Snailfishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches,” says environmental scientist Thomas Linley of Newcastle University. But what would make a fish bother venturing into such an intense void? Turns out, life at the bottom isn’t as bad as we’d imagine. “Here they are free of predators, and the funnel shapes of the trench means there’s much more food,” says Linley. An analysis of this new discovery’s DNA and a careful look at its anatomy confirms the Mariana specimens are a whole new species.


December 11 - 17, 2017

fund raising

Raising Funds For The Bravehearts Of India Samir Singh has been running in marathons to raise money for the families of the martyrs of CRPF


ailing from Kanaheda village in the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, Samir Singh started running at the age of 35. A decade later, without organisational backing, trainers or physiotherapists, he is planning to take part in a 15,000 km run, to raise money for the families of martyrs of the Central Armed Police Forces. Invited to run under the Government of India’s “Bharat Ke Veer”, a website which allows people to donate directly to an individual braveheart’s account,

Samir Singh

Samir hopes to generate funds for the families through online donations. Samir has won notable Ultra races in India, including Vadodara, Mumbai Ultra (a 12-hour run), which he finished on top, after having logged 121 km in 2016 and 107 km in 2015. Unfortunately, he needs to divide time between finding financial assistance and training for the run, which will begin from the Wagah border in Amritsar, take him through various places in Punjab, and culminate again at the border. He will be accompanied by soldiers from paramilitary forces in a few places. In April, Samir decided to run for 10,000 km — about 100 km



32 Unsung Hero


HERO daily for 100 days — but fell short of 36 km because of physical injuries and lack of support. Samir came to Mumbai 16 years ago and tried his luck in acting in Bollywood and television while working a day job at a survey company. He says, to the Times of India. “While conducting a survey on the Mumbai Marathon, I learnt that one could earn money by running too. It gave wings to my dream of running.” He hopes that his run will serve the purpose of raising money for the families of servicemen who gave their life for the nation, saying “As long as God is on my side, I have no fear. This race has been written in my destiny since birth.”

ers ak New New s smma kers


Assamese Weaver Making Bhagwat Geeta On Cloth This weaver from Assam has woven over 500 verses of the Bhagwat Geeta on cloth


emprabha, a weaver from Assam, is weaving the Bhagwat Geeta on cloth in English and Sanskrit. She’s breaking

the language barrier in a very unique way. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna. Weaving over 500 verses of the Bhagwat Geeta in S a n s k r i t , Hemprabha has also woven a chapter in English. Starting this work in 2016, Hemprabha earlier weaved six stanza of Sankardev Gunamala on a 17 inch broad and 80 feet long Guna and Muga Silk cloth. This project took her nine months to complete. “After the hard work of nine month, I weaved the Gunamala on cloth. I have been appreciated a lot all over the state for my work. Now I am weaving Bhagwat Geeta in Sanskrit and English language,” she said. Hemprabha, has urged the government for a museum for preservation and display of her work.

Mohamad Al Jounde

16-Year-Old Wins Children’s Peace Prize 2017 16-Year-Old Syrian Wins Children’s Peace Prize 2017


ixteen-year-old Mohamad Al Jounde from Syria was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for his efforts to ensure the rights of Syrian refugee children. Al Jounde, a refugee of the Syrian civil war, set up a school together with his family in a Lebanese refugee camp that currently provides 200 children with eduction, Xinhua news agency reported. “School is not only a place where you can learn how to write and read, it is also a place where you can make friends and memories, learn about new people and teach other people about yourself. School is a place where you can become who you are, where you can express yourself freely and discuss your ideas with your peers and teachers,” he was quoted as saying.

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 52 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 52)  
Sulabh Swachh Bharat - (Issue 52)