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Vol-1 | Issue-46 | October 30 - November 05, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561


Good News Weekly for Rising India





modus Operandi

A Futuristic Development Plan For The underbans On The Anvil

PM Narendra Modi spoke on the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission


photo feature

chhath puja

The Sixth day of Karthik month, we worship Goddess Chhathi along with the Sun

Widow Remarriage

historic wedding after 160 years

Raja Ram Mohan Roy & Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar had dared to get widows remarried, and now Dr Pathak has done so Sanjay Tripathi


ourage’s second name is Bindeshwar Pathak, otherwise who could have thought that a widow from the Kedarnath catastrophe could be ceremoniously given in marriage with all the splendour that a woman gets in her first wedding? And make no mistake, it happened after 160 years as a historical re-enactment of the socially revolutionary work done by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar way back in the year 1856! Vinita was widowed in the

Dr Pathak, a strong supporter of widow remarriage, didn’t want this revolutionary event that has brought social change to go unnoticed

Quick Glance The wedding was organised at Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan Sulabh also organised Deep-Utsav for the widows of Vrindavan & Varanasi The wedding ceremony was witnessed as a historic moment

Kedarnath tragedy when Rakesh gave her a new and happy life after choosing her as his life partner but there was one thing remaining -- to marry in front of family and society with enthusiasm and excitement. The kind of extravagant marriages that happen in our country wasn’t a possibility for us. It was an anonymous marriage, done in a court and temple, only attended by the families of the couple. It was just a formality which was accomplished. Rudraprayag, in the last five years, became a place for widows from Vrindavan along with Varanasi and Uttarakhand. In Deoli Banigram in Rudraprayag, Founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak came to the aid of the widows of the congregation. Dr Pathak was often worried about the wellbeing and livelihood of Vinita, a 21-year-old widow from Sirwani village. When

he heard the news of her wedding, he couldn’t contain his happiness and went to visit her and her in-laws in Uttarakhand. Whilst interacting with Rakesh and his family, he found out that Vinita’s marriage happened but without fanfare, without any celebrations. Dr Pathak, a strong supporter of widow remarriage, didn’t want this revolutionary event that has brought social change to go unnoticed in the veil of anonymity. After this, although symbolic, the marriage

ceremony was held on 16, October 2017 in Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan with an elegance that was noticed by the entire nation. Not only national media but also foreign reporters were present to cover the wedding. This wasn’t a political turmoil, nor was it the marriage of celebrities, not even a catastrophic event or tragedy. It was an event of a social change, which was given historic significance by Sulabh. When the marriage was held in Gopinath Temple, widows from the

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Young Suvarna meditating

Vrindavan ashrams were also present to witness the ceremony. Seeing misogynistic conservative traditions crumble in front of their eyes made them very emotional. Their tears of joy were visible to the entire country. Since the last five years, Sulabh has been celebrating festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Christmas with the widows from the ashrams of Vrindavan, going against old traditions, according to which, widows are not allowed to celebrate any festivals. Like every year, Sulabh organised a Deep-Utsav for the widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi in Gopinath Temple. This along with the news of Vinita and Rakesh’s wedding infused the environment with a different

level of enthusiasm. This celebration was not limited to Gopinath Temple. The news of this was piquing the curiosity of all in this town of Radha and Krishna. Inhabitants of the city along with people from the entire country were also very excited about this event. The roads and lanes leading to the Gopinath Temple were abuzz with widowed mothers. Today, they would witness a wedding that was considered a sin to even think about in the past. They were all confused about whether it was actually happening or not. They quickly walked in the direction of Gopinath Temple. The premises filled even before the event started. People were watching from stairs, rooftops,

Raja Ram Mohan Roy & Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were products of Bengal Rennaissance and Dr Pathak has started his own revolution

everywhere. The bride’s family, the groom’s family, and the guests were all present. When Dr Pathak reached the temple with ceremonial drums playing and the dance troupe dancing along with the bridegroom Rakesh, he was welcomed by the temple’s Director, Krishna Goswami on behalf of the bride’s family. The attendees were showered with flower petals. Sandalwood tikas were applied on their foreheads. The marriage

pavilion was all set up and decorated. When bridegroom Rakesh reached, the widowed mothers welcomed him with claps and rolling tongue sounds in true Bengali tradition. This marriage was not only attended by Rakesh and Vinita’s family, the widows from Sirwani village in Deoli Banigram congregation, children, youths, and Vinita’s older brother-inlaw Suresh were also present. There was a time when Suresh and his

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Inaugurating Dr Pathak’s book, Dr Vansi said he will be remembered as much as Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar family did not approve of Vinita’s remarriage. But today, even they were happy. As long as people like Dr Pathak keep at it, changes are inevitable. The rarest sights were visible here. Have you ever witnessed a son attending getting restless on his mother’s lap on her wedding? Have you seen daughter delighted to see her father get married? This was visible here in Gopinath Temple. It quickly filled with media correspondents. Their microphones were directed towards Dr Pathak and Rakesh. The family members were being asked all sorts of questions. Everyone agreed that this was a historic event. On this occasion, Dr Pathak announced his gift of a big car along with a driver to Rakesh so that he could travel and nurture with his family with convenience and ease. Usually, media persons leave after getting their news bites but here, they all stayed till the marriage ceremony ended. Formally launching Dr Pathak’s book “Two Blooming Flowers from Uttarakhand”, Dr Vansi remarked Dr Pathak’s support in widow remarriages as a kind of higher social change. He further said that Dr Pathak’s name will be remembered with the same respect as people remember Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. When the bride Vinita, wearing the red wedding sari, arrived at the auspicious pavillion, the rolled tongue sounds got louder. When the priest Santosh Diwedi initiated the marriage ceremony amongst the sounds of conch shells and Vedic mantras, Vinita’s parents got emotional, thinking why they couldn’t get her married like this. After the marriage when it was time to bless the bride and groom, Vinita was gifted with a lot of cash. Dr

Dr Pathak accompanies groom Rakesh at the gala

Cover Story


Dr Pathak gifting a special sari to bride Vinita, while a small girl applies immaculate mehendi on her hands as other widows look on

Rose petals were showered in profusion on the couple by Dr Bindehswar Pathak after he blessed them post the sindoor ceremony

Pathak gifted the groom with a gold chain and presented the bride with a beautiful jewelled necklace. Vinita and Rakesh’s mothers were also presented with gold chains as gifts. After the marriage, the couple went to the main temple with Dr Pathak to receive blessings from God. The post-wedding celebration decorations were set up by Dr Pathak himself. The mothers from Vrindavan and widows from Deoli Banigram congregation thoroughly enjoyed and danced on songs sung by Dr Pathak. The whole event went on from 10 am to 6 pm and Dr Pathak was the source of energy and

enthusiasm for all the widowed mothers present. Like every year, the women lit ‘diyas’ at the ‘rangolis’ that were made and everyone gathered for the ‘Deep-Utsav’. Some of the women even danced whilst holding lit ‘diyas’ in their hands. Keeping environmental conservation in mind, firecrackers weren’t set off. And finally, the time came to watch the legendary dancer and Padmashri recipient, Shovana Narayan. She blessed the bride and groom and praised the work done by Dr Pathak. Then she beautifully portrayed the story of Vinita and Rakesh through her dance. It was so

touching that even Dr Pathak couldn’t contain his tears. After about an hour, the programme ended with an enjoyable dinner. Vinita, Rakesh and their family members said that it was God’s grace that they were involved in such an event. Dr Pathak’s actions were widely covered by the media, stating that youths like Rakesh should step up and marry widows. The following day, the newspaper featured the story of a young man from Madhya Pradesh wanting to marry a widow. It seems that the happier times for more widows getting married are nearing.

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Can fallen flowers re-blossom? Yes, says Vinita In 2013, overnight she had been turned into an ‘unwanted’ girl of just 23. Three years later her remarriage was solmenised in style Quick Glance

ssb bureau


t was a Monday morning but not like any usual Monday. This morning came as a breaking dawn to mark a historical event which will go down the pages of history in India. Entire Vrindavan was agog. News was in the air that a widow would be formally remarried in the Gopinath temple, which was in fact out of the question till this day. The widows – most of them old – are bustling with preparations. Each of them had a separate task, and they were going about it to prepare for what was an exceptional occasion. The temple complexes were cleaned and spruced up, and decorated fit enough for a princess’ wedding. For the messiah behind the event, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak had said it would be a grand affair. And it would let a young life, till then pushed into trauma and tears, blossom again. It was the year 2013, when the floods of Uttarakhand had left Kedarnath area in a state of devastation. Vinita’s husband had

been one of the thousands who had perished in the never-seen-before deluge. In fact, Vinita was one among many in Deoli Banigram Village of Rudraprayag District who lost her husband and turned a widow. Practically all women there had met the same fate. With no men left, the village came to be known as the ‘Village of Widows’. Two months after the death of her husband, Vinita left her in-laws’ house and moved to her parents’ place where she encountered the ugly eyes of a society towards a pretty widow with no money and no support. “Two months after my first husband was killed in the floods, I left my in-laws’ home and returned to my parents’, to take care of my ill mother. I realised how difficult life is for widows after spending a few months in my mother’s home after I was widowed. People there treated me as an alien and hesitated to

even talk to me,” said Vinita. Amongst those grim faces, she met a very encouraging taxi driver – Rakesh Kumar, who helped her make it on her own feet and bring stability to life. “I met Rakesh through my brother accidentally one day. A few weeks later he sent word that he wanted to marry me. We got married in court. But despite our court marriage, society did not accept us at all,” Vinita reveals. The marriage took place in 2014. But such was the animus of the villagers “that we had to shift to a different village in our same district,” she says. Though, the duo was frowned upon when Rakesh approached Vinita’s parents for marriage, they agreed. That is when Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, which was already working with the Village of Widows, came to know of the marriage and decided that it has to be formalized in a traditional manner, and that too, in a grand style. That happened on that sparkling Monday of October 16, 2017, at the Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan. With this, Vinita has set a benchmark for all the other widows whom she now urges to come forward to take their own decisions in life – from education to career to choosing a life partner. “Her marriage before the community is not just an act of

“I think more women should come forward and

take decisions of their lives on their own” Vinita

Vinita, who was widowed at 20, says society looks upon widows with nasty eyes She and a heroic man, Rakesh, got married in court in 2014, but the people made them outcasts Dr Bindeshwar Pathak came upfront and gave them in solemn Hindu marriage

courage but a learning that women’s life does not end if she is left alone due to some reason,” said Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of Sulabh International. The Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act of 1856, enacted in response to the campaign of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, provided legal safeguards against loss of certain forms of inheritance for a remarrying Hindu widow, though, under the Act, the widow forsook any inheritance due her from her deceased husband. The first widow remarriage was held on December 7, 1856, breaking the social anathema. Despite the struggles of social workers, even 161 years later, today widow remarriage remains a ‘sin’ in portions of Indian society. No, a woman’s life does not end with the death of her husband. This was the message that echoed loud and clear for a society that has now for far too long frowned upon the concept of ‘widow re-marriage’. The marriage of Vinita to Rakesh Kumar was no less than Diwali celebration. “When I lost my first husband, people there treated me as a pariah and no one would even talk to me. The local people would not even accept a court marriage so I decided to get married in a traditional manner,” said Vinita. “I think more women should come forward and take decisions of their liveson their own, whether it is about education, career or choosing a life partner,” she said. “I wish to do something that can provide good education to my children. I have taken a bold step, and hope the future will be bright,” she concluded.

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Cover Story

Path-Breaking Traditions

Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement organised Diwali celebrations for over 700 widows of Vrindavan’s Ashrams who were celebrating Diwali for the first time since they became widows Photos: jairam

The entire Ashram turned into a fairytale of joy with lights, laughter, and love expressed everywhere. The widows lit diyas and participated in the festivities with enthusiasm and energy. The venue was illuminated with multi-coloured bulbs. Rangolis and Diyas covered the entire scenery. With dusk alighting with the sunset, the entire Ashram livened up in a bath of light and colour. Breaking away from old traditions, the widows actively participated in the festivities and celebrated Diwali after years of pain and sadness


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It was about two hundred years ago that two reformers were born, who put an end to the abhorrent practice of Sati – a widow made to burn alive on the pyre of her husband - prevailing among Hindus, at that time. While Raja Ram Mohan Roy got the practice banned legally, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar initiated widow remarriage. Let’s take a look at two reformers… Raja Ram mohan Roy

Raja Turned Reformer

Witnessing his sister-in-law’s being forced to commit Sati, made the scholarly Raja Ram Mohan Roy get a law banning the despicable practice


ssb bureau

aja Ram Mohan’s brother Jagmohan died. His wife Alakamanjari had to observe ‘Sahagaman’ (to be burnt alive with husband’s body). All arrangements were made for cremation. All the relatives gathered. Alkamanjari put on a lacedsari and there was ‘Kumkum’ on her forehead. Her hair was dishevelled. Fear was written on her face. The corpse was brought to the cremation ground. Raja Ram Mohan begged his sister-in-law not to observe ‘Sati’. Relatives objected to this. When she actually felt the flames on her person, she made an attempt to get up and escape. But the orthodox relations, dreading such escape as almost an act of heresy and sacrilege, managed to keep her pinned down to the pyre by means of bamboo poles while, with the noise of tom-toms and other instruments, they drowned her frantic shrieks. This heart-rending sight of his sister-in- law’s ‘Sati’ made a deep impression on Raja Ram Mohan’s mind. Then and there he took a vow to put an end to this dreadful custom. Some people believed that the scriptures said that the wife should die along with her husband. Raja Ram Mohan referred to all the sacred books. But, nowhere was it laid down that the wife should perform ‘Sati’. This custom had come into practice in some age. Some people who knew it was wrong did not have the courage to a condiment. The brave Raja Ram Mohan took up this difficult task. But his task was not easy. Many people opposed Raja Ram Mohan and abused him. Some even tried to murder him. But Raja Ram Mohan did not flinch. Even the government was afraid to interfere in this matter, but he risked his life and fought against this. In the end, he won and the government made ‘Sati’ a crime. Along with fight for the abolition of ‘Sati’, Raja Ram Mohan started a revolution for women’s education and women’s right to property. He showed that woman enjoyed equal freedom, according to Hinduism. Raja Ram Mohan was born in the village of Radhanagar, near Krishna

Raja Ram Mohan Roy witnessed the awful scene of his bhabhi being burnt alive on her husband’s pyre and was stricken with pity and remorse Nagar, in Hooghly district, on May 22, 1772. He belonged to a respectable Brahman family. His great-grandfather, Krishna Chandra Banerji, saw service under the Nawab of Bengal and was honoured with the title of “Roy”, which stayed with the family in place of caste name “Banerji.” Very early in life, Raja Ram Mohan showed signs of conspicuous talent, and his father Ramkanta spared no pains to give him an excellent education. He received his early instruction in the village school, where he studied Bengali. But Bengali was not of much consequence in those days. Persian was still the Court language, and knowledge of it was a must. He received private tuition in Persian at home under a Maulvi, and later was sent to Patna, then a great centre of Islamic learning. There he read Euclid and Aristotle in Arabic, and also made a study

of Koranic literature. He was then sent to study Sanskrit to Benares, where he did not take long to become well-versed in the literature, especially the Upanishads. While this education made him an ardent admirer and advocate of the monotheistic religion inculcated in the Upanishads, it shook his faith in the popular Hindu religion. On his return home, he fearlessly attacked the meaningless ceremonialism and the priest-ridden idolatry which prevailed all round in the name of Hinduism. This led to an estrangement between him and his father and made him leave his paternal house. In search of a truth, he went out to all far and wide up to Tibet. After about three years of travel Raja Ram Mohan returned to his father when he was about twenty years old and on his return was taken back with great kindness and affection. He lived in Varanasi for the next 10 years.

Quick Glance He studied Bengali, Arabic, Persian, English and Law He also got educated in scriptures and tantra He worked for East India Company as a clerk & Dewan

The death of his father in 1803 led him to remove from Benares to Murshidabad, the old Mogul capital of Bengal. There he published his first work, entitled Tuhfat-ul-Muwahuddin, or A gift to Monotheists - a treatise in Persian with an Arabic preface. Raja Ram Mohan now entered service under the East India Company as a clerk in the Collectorate under Mr John Digby, the Collector at Rangpur. He was subsequently promoted to the post of Dewan, “the principal native officer in the collection of revenue.” Raja Ram Mohan commenced the study of English in his twenty-fourth year (1796). During his stay at Rangpur, Raja Ram Mohan carried on religious debates with Pundits, wrote tracts in Persian, trans lated portions of the Vedanta, studied the Tantras and made a study of the Kalpa Sutras and other Jaina scriptures. Thus it was a time of strenuous preparation for his future work. Besides these, he used to hold vigorous religious discus¬sions every evening at his residence, in which he used to expose the absurdities of idolatry. After about ten years Raja Ram Mohan retired from service with a view to finding more, time for the work which lay nearest his heart. There was one fateful event that happened during this period which left an indelible impression on Raja Ram Mohan’s mind and acted on him as a powerful impetus later in life, to the everlasting benefit of his country – that was his brother’s wife Alkamanjari being made to commit Sati in 1811. His arguments and his appeals to ancient authorities held sacred by the Brahmans, enlightened the minds of many of them. So great was the agitation engineered by the blind Hindu orthodoxy of the day in favour of its retention that, but for Raja Ram Mohan’s indefatigable exertions and powerful moral support, it would hardly have been possible for Lord William Bentinck, the then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, actuated as he was by the most humane sentiments and the best of intentions, to abolish the Sati. In 1829 the Sati Act was passed and the inhuman practice put down for ever.

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Cover Story


Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar

A Man of Letters

Because of his huge knowledge, he was titled Vidyasagar or ocean of knowledge. He worked for women’s welfare, getting a law enacted for widow remarriage Sanskrit department. The brilliant mind that he was, he soon became proficient in English and Hindi. He became Principal of Sanskrit College in 1851. In 1855, he assumed the responsibilities as a special inspector of schools.

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shwar Chandra Vidyasagar was as one of the pillars of Bengal renaissance who managed to continue the social reforms movement that was started by Raja Rammohan Roy in the early 1800s. Vidyasagar was a wellknown writer, intellectual and above all a staunch supporter of humanity. He had an imposing personality and was revered even by the British authorities of his time. He brought about a revolution in the Bengali education system and refined the way the Bengali language was written and taught. His book, ‘Borno Porichoy’ (Introduction to the letter), is still used as the introductory text to learn Bengali alphabets. The title ‘Vidyasagar’ (ocean of knowledge) was given to him due to his vast knowledge in several subjects. Poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta while writing about Ishwar Chandra said: “The genius and wisdom of an ancient sage, the energy of an Englishman and the heart of a Bengali mother.” Early Life and Education Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyaya was born in Birsingha village of Midnapore district in Bengal on September 26, 1820. His father, Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and mother Bhagavati Devi were very religious persons. The economic condition of the family was not well so Ishwar had to spend his childhood amidst the scarcity of basic resources.

Ishwar Chandra learned basics of Sanskrit at the village pathshala after which he set out for Calcutta with his father in 1826. His father Thakurdas stayed at Burrabazar area in Calcutta along with his sons and money was scarce so Ishwar Chandra used to help in household chores after school hours, and at night he used to study under the gas lit street lamps to save oil for cooking the next day.He breezed through his lessons and cleared all the necessary exams. He learned Vedanta, Vyakaran, Literature, Rhetoric’s, Smriti and Ethics in Sanskrit College during 1829 to 1841. He earned regular scholarships and later took up a teaching position in a school in Jorasanko to support his family’s financial condition. He took part in a competition testing knowledge in Sanskrit in 1839 and earned the title of ‘Vidyasagar’ meaning Ocean of Knowledge. The same year Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar successfully cleared his Law examination. Vidyasagar got married at the age of 14 to Dinamani Devi and the couple had a son named Narayan Chandra. In 1841, at the age of 21, he joined the Fort William College as the Head Pandit in the

Educational Reforms Vidyasagar is credited with the role of thoroughly remodelling medieval scholastic system prevailing in Sanskrit College and bring about modern insights into the education system. The first change that Vidyasagar made when he came back to the Sanskrit College as a Professor was to include English and Bengali as the medium of learning, besides Sanskrit. He introduced courses in European History, Philosophy and Science alongside Vedic scriptures. He encouraged students to pursue these subjects and take away the best from both worlds. He also changed the rules of admission for students in Sanskrit College allowing non-Brahman students to enrol in the prestigious institution. He wrote two books, ‘Upakramonika’ and ‘Byakaran Koumudi’, interpreting complex notions of Sanskrit grammar in easy legible Bengali language. He introduced the concepts of Admission fee and tuition fee for the first time in Calcutta. He set up the Normal School for training teachers enabling uniformity in teaching methods. Through his contacts at the deputy magistrate’s office, he would help his students get government jobs. He was an ardent advocate of women education. He rightly viewed education as the primary way for women to achieve emancipation from all the societal oppression they had to face at that time. He lobbied hard for the opening of schools for girls and even outlined a suitable curriculum that not only educates them but also enabled them to be self-reliant through vocations like needlework. He

He opened 35 schools for women throughout Bengal and was successful in enrolling 1,300 students. Initiated Nari Siksha Bhandar, a fund to support this

Quick Glance Ishwar Chand studied under street lamps He mastered Bengali, Sanskrit and English He reformed educated system in India

went door to door, requesting heads of families to allow their daughters to be enrolled in schools. He opened 35 schools for women throughout Bengal and was successful in enrolling 1300 students. He even initiated Nari Siksha Bhandar, a fund to lend support for the cause. He maintained his support to John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune to establish the first permanent girls’ school in India, the Bethune School, on May 7, 1849. Social Reforms Vidyasagar was always vocal about the oppression that the society inflicted on women at that time. He was very close to his mother who was a woman of great character, who directed him once to do something to alleviate the pain and helplessness of Hindu widows, who were forced to live a life of abnegation. They were denied basic pleasures of life, marginalised in the society, often exploited unfairly and treated as a burden by their family. Vidyasagar’s compassionate heart could not take their plight and he made it his mission to improve the quality of life for these helpless women. He faced raging opposition from an orthodox society which termed the concept as heresy. He challenged the Brahmanical authorities and proved that widow remarriage is sanctioned in Vedas. He took his arguments to the British authorities and his pleas were heard when the Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act, 1856 or Act XV, 1856, was decreed on July 26, 1856. He did not just stop there. He initiated several matches for a child or adolescent widows within respectable families and even married his son Narayan Chandra to an adolescent widow in 1870. After his death, Rabindranath Tagore said, “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

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Dr bindeshwar pathak Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement

from ruin to happiness!

The Kedarnath catastrophe had taken the light out of Vinita’s life


ollowing the disaster in Uttarakhand, the sad laments of the widows from the DeoliBanigram district in Rudraprayag were heard. Even though the efforts of Sulabh put an end to their tears and brought independence to their lives, there still remained a void that was felt for several days. Even in this desolation, the decision to live one’s life with enthusiasm whilst rejecting all beliefs was also heard. A woman from DeoliBanigram’s Sirwani village, Vinita, lost her husband Maheshchandra. She decided to let go of the painful memories associated with him that hold nothing but tears in them and chose to start her life afresh. She decided to make Rakesh from Tilwada her life partner. I still remember Vinita’s face four years after the incident, when I went to meet the widows of Dehradun and Deoli-Banigram after the disaster. She was the youngest widow amongst the women who lost their husbands in the tragedy. She didn’t express any other emotion except pain and grief. After hearing that she got married again and has two children already, I decided to go meet her at her in-laws in Tilwada. At first, I couldn’t even recognize her. The eyes that only had tears in them now showed happiness; not just in her eyes, but her words also reflected the same. Her house was hustling and bustling with activity and so was she. She was so busy managing everything. Who would she manage, herself, the kids, or the house? She tried to cover her inconvenience with laughter. Seeing her like this, I was relieved. She seemed happy. At her house, her husband Rakesh, mother-in-law, Surama Devi, father-in-law, Deeplal, and brother-in-law Rajneesh live with Vinita and her two children, son, Aryan, and daughter, Aditi. Her sisterin-law was working in the fields and Rakesh’s younger brother Shailesh had gone to Dehradun. In today’s age, where we are forgetting our relationships in cities, where we don’t even know our neighbours, people living in the remote villages of Uttarakhand still

Rakesh met Vinita through her brother, a friend, and could not forget her, so he asked to marry her after a while know each other well and meet often. Every village has relations in other villages. I went to her in-laws in Tilwada, her home in Kumdi and her previous marriage home in Sirwani to see her earlier life. Although I had to travel over 700 kilometres for this, it was worth it. Well, let’s talk about Vinita and

Rakesh’s new life because it was their initiative. Rakesh works as a car driver. He traverses the mountains frequently. Rakesh’s maternal home is in Mosadung, a little further ahead from Vinita’s maiden home in Kumdi. He would take his mother to meet his grandmother in his car. One day whilst returning home after dropping off his mother, he met Vinita and her brother Suresh. Rakesh knew Suresh from before and they were friends. Rakesh found out that Vinita wasn’t keeping well and Suresh was on his way to the doctor and was waiting to find a car. Rakesh gave both of them a lift in his car and took them to the doctor. Rakesh knew that Vinita had lost her husband in the Uttarakhand tragedy

and was living the life of a widow. Rakesh had never seen Vinita before this day. He later said that he was missing Vinita after dropping her and her brother off to the doctor. He said “I kept wondering how she was managing her life as a widow at such a young age. I just couldn’t shake the image of seeing her saddened face. One day I met Suresh again.” He said “I started asking Suresh about Vinita. I asked, ‘Why don’t you get her remarried?’ He replied in a saddened tone “Who would marry her?” We both were silent for a long time and I returned home. My mind started thinking about her even more. I just couldn’t forget the sadness on her face. One day I called Suresh and

October 30 - November 05, 2017

asked him the same question. Suresh’s reply was the same “Who would marry a widow?” My concern for Vinita turned into a liking for her. I told Suresh on the phone “I will marry Vinita.” Suresh kept quiet for a while, then he said “Let me discuss this at home.” I informed my family as well. In my village, men get married at the age of 20-22. My mother was quite worried about the prospect of me marrying Vinita. I told my mother about Vinita. At first, she was quiet, but when I told her that I really wanted Vinita in my life, she agreed. Vinita didn’t have any children from her previous marriage, this gave my mother some assurance. On the other hand, when Suresh discussed the marriage with Vinita’s parents at home they too agreed. I also wanted Vinita’s approval for this. When I conveyed this to Vinita on the phone, she said “When everyone else has agreed, then I agree too.” I knew that the society and her previous in-laws wouldn’t agree. Here my mother only had one wish – to have my marriage celebrated following traditions and with fanfare. She wanted that I come to the wedding venue on a horse with attendees following, that I bring Vinita from her maiden home after they see her off. However, Vinita’s father said “This won’t be possible. The same girl being married twice leaving her maiden house doesn’t look good. Other than this, whatever you say, we approve.” Just so Vinita doesn’t have to deal with unnecessary red tape, we got married in the court on August 26, 2014. We then went to Kumarnarayan Temple. The marriage commenced following the traditions in the presence of both our families. I was on horseback and Vinita arrived at the home in a ‘Doli’. Her face was glowing with happiness and that’s exactly what I wanted to see. Today, we have two children.” When Rakesh was speaking,

the happiness was clearly visible on his face and words. Vinita’s smile also gave it away. Vinita became a widow at the age of 20. Living a new and happy life, she has let go of her painful past. She doesn’t even want to remember and now with taking care of the house and two children, she is plenty busy to not have to remember her past. She says: “I remembered the entire thing only after you mentioned it when Deoli-

Baniram’s villages were dealing with the news of the loss of their sons, husbands, and fathers in the disaster in Kedarnath. During that time, my husband, father-in-law, and brotherin-law were in Kedarnath running a horse carriage. I received the message after two days that my husband and father-in-law were gone in the debris. I not only lost my husband but lost a good human being. My father also came. They tried their best to find them but were unsuccessful. Without him, I was driven to insanity. After poor treatment at my in-laws, I decided to return to my maiden home. Had I continued staying at my in-laws, I would have never gotten remarried and would’ve spent my entire life being suffocated there. Maheshji was a good human being. The only problem was that I couldn’t even see him in his last moment.” Vinita’s mother-in-law Surama Devi is 50-years old. When asked how she was able to accept the marriage of her bachelor son with a widow, tears came to her eyes. She said that “When I was Vinita’s age, I had also lost my husband. Back then I had six children between the ages of 1-4. How I managed myself and the children after that, only I

Rakesh’s mother was very worried about him marrying a widow, but when he puts his point clearly, she gave her consent

Cover Story


know. I used to wish that someone would’ve been there for me and supported me. I didn’t even have the capacity or the permission to think along the lines of remarriage. No one was ready. Seeing a young widow, people only think about her body. They don’t’ think about getting involved with the widow. I am proud of my son that he has shown such courage. The marriage is his choice and that’s how it should be. My daughter-in-law is great, so what else do I need? She looked so great coming back from her marriage, I even gave her 500 rupees as blessings.” Vinita’s children have been named after their grandmother, even though she doesn’t know the meaning of the words. She even enjoyed the chocolates given to Aryan. Her brother-in-law Rajneesh loves his bhavi’s (sister-inlaw) cooking. The same day that I met them, Vinita had to visit her maiden home also. She had to then go to another nearby village to attend the marriage of a relative. I made a programme to go with her. She asked for thirty minutes to get herself and her children ready. We headed downstairs where the car was parked. A few moments later, when Rakesh and Vinita came downstairs with their children they looked spick and span. Aryan was wearing a big locket on his neck. We then went to Vinita’s maiden home in Kumdi which was located on a nearby mountainside. The way to her house was risky and dangerous, where we even got scared a couple of times.

10 Cover Story

October 30 - November 05, 2017

To make the situation lighter, I started talking about the couple’s life. “I am a driver but I can’t give a lot of time to my family. I only go home when I don’t find work,” Rakesh said. “Vinita not only looks after the kids but also the home. She gets groceries, takes the children for medical checkups, and manages other things as well. She doesn’t mind it. When it gets late at night, she scolds me a bit. The day she found out that I was getting late because of drinking alcohol with friends, she erupted. It took 3-4 days to convince her I would change, and I left drinking for good,” he added. Like other women, Vinita also enjoys watching TV shows in the little moments of free time she does manage to get. But that can happed, naturally, after she is through with the household chores. She never neglects her responsibilities. She would watch a movie or a serial but the children don’t stop watching cartoons. Now even she is starting to like watching cartoons with her children. She has only studied till 5th standard in school but she has already started sending her son Aryan to Anganwadi. She has gotten her children the necessary vaccinations on a regular schedule. I even found out that Rakesh loves her smile and she loves the shape of his nose.! Discussing all these things, we eventually reached Kumdi. We had to stop the car one kilometre before her house. From there we continued on foot. On our way, we met Vinita’s father, Devdas. Aryan and Aditi immediately ran towards him on seeing him. He sat Aryan on his shoulders and walked towards the house. The children of the village had noticed us coming and had started descending towards us. Vinita was someone’s aunt and someone’s sister. All the kids touched the feet of Rakesh and Vinita for their blessings. After a little climb, we reached Vinita’s house. In addition to mother Bhagya Devi and grandmother Sunita, the children of the village were also waiting for us. The moment Vinita touched the elders’ feet, they hugged her. Her father is a labourer and has brought up his children very diligently. He still remembers the day her late husband Maheshchandra came to their house on horseback. His daughter hadn’t even settled in her marital home that tragedy destroyed her life. Vinita’s father Devdas got slightly emotional and said: “I started searching for Mahesh right after the news of his disappearance. I searched the debris of the mountains for him for days without food and water, although I couldn’t find any trace of him. When I came back, I couldn’t bear the look of pain and sadness on my daughter’s face. She

“When my son told me that Rakesh from Tilwada village wanted to marry Vinita, I just could not believe it”: Vinita’s father Devdas was always a happy-go-lucky person before this. I brought her back home. The entire household was enveloped in sadness along with Vinita. We couldn’t even think about getting her married again even if we wanted. “When my son told me that Rakesh from Tilwada wanted to marry my daughter, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. When Vinita told me that Rakesh proposed to her, I was in tears. I was introduced to his gentle and sweet character when I met him. He is a driver and has studied till 8th standard. He earns enough to run a family. What else do I need? God has graced my house in the form of Rakesh. He wished for only one thingh—to come on horseback and take his daughter’s hand in marriage. But I couldn’t fulfil his wish. Other than

this, whatever else he asked for, I approved. But social customs did not allow that. Whenever he comes to visit, he comes as a son, not son-inlaw. My happiness was doubled when I became a grandfather.” Vinita’s mother Bhagya Devi said “I didn’t cry when my daughter left after the first marriage, neither when she became a widow. But seeing her get married for the second time, tears came to eyes instantly. I thank the same God I was cursing earlier for his cruelty. The same God has given a new life to my daughter. I can’t thank God enough,” Even Bhagya Devi believes that God graced their home in the form of Rakesh. “Not only my household, but the entire village is happy with the news of Vinita’s marriage to Rakesh.”

I returned after drinking the sweet water of the mountain glaciers and eating home-made jaggery. To understand the reaction of Vinita’s first in-laws and villagers, I headed to Sirwani village of Rudraprayag’s highest mountain district, DeoliBanigram. The journey was 200 kilometres by road and three kilometres on foot. I finally reached Sirwani. Deoli-Banigram is a high hill village where quite a few families are of Valmikis. On of those houses is owned by late Devlal who lost his life along with the life of his son Maheshchandra in the disaster. The house is occupied by the widowed mother-in-law Bichna Devi, elder brother Suresh and his wife Sanju. Everyone got emotional the moment someone mentioned the incident. We were all quiet for a while. Even I ran out of topics to discuss. It seemed as if they weren’t happy with Vinita’s second marriage. Bichna Devi said, “I have lost a son along with my husband. It was not that we never took care of Vinita properly. It’s not like I wasn’t worried about her. I am a part of this society. Vinita left and now I have to hear taunts from others.” Sanju, Vinita’s previous sister-in-law interrupted Bichna Devi and said, “We are happy that she has remarried. She is young and she has a life ahead of her. She wouldn’t have done the same if she had children. The only thing that bugs me is that she didn’t even talk to us after leaving. She could have at least consulted us. We found out later through others that she had gotten remarried.” The village’s former sarpanch, Keshav Tiwari was also with me. He immediately asked Sanju “Had she consulted you before marrying again, would you have allowed her?” Sanju didn’t have an answer to that. On returning, I met Gita. She too had lost her husband in the disaster. When I had visited Deoli-Banigram, I had adopted her youngest son. Gita was the happiest after hearing of Vinita’s marriage. She said, “I have three children, who can support me later, but Vinita didn’t have anyone to support her in old age,” After climbing down further we stopped at the Sulabh Training Centre. There, I met widows like Poonam Tiwari, Sangeeta, Jyoti Semwal and Rajni Purohit among others. All of them were aged between 25-30. They were all happy for Vinita that she had started her life afresh after remarrying. Remarrying young widows is critically required in our society. To give them a second shot at living a happy life. The thousands and millions like Rakesh should step up to do the same with courage.

October 30 - November 05, 2017



tourism sunderbans

A Futuristic Development Plan For The Sunderbans On The Anvil? The West Bengal government has started working on a futuristic plan to develop Sundarbans into a world-class tourist destination, without harming its ecology

Quick Glance

Prasanta Paul


underbans, home to Royal Bengal tigers and the world’s largest mangrove forest, may soon spruce up to a new entity if a holistic tourism development plan being mooted by the West Bengal government takes shape in near future. In fact, a futuristic plan to develop Sunderbans into a world-class tourism destination, without disturbing its rich heritage of environment and wildlife is under active consideration. The plan, sources say, has taken into account all the stakeholders and the focus is on a minimal, yet sustainable intervention because, at stake are several crucial issues which always attract the glare of international environmental experts. There are not only critical vulnerable coastal areas(CVCA) but ecologically sensitive aqua species and wildlife apart from the world-famous mangrove forest. Any misadventure in the name of development of tourism, will be quite costly for the region. The Indian territory of the Sunderbans covers 9,600 sq km of which 5,400 sq km is the non-forest area. The remaining 4,200 sq km of the forested area famous as Sunderban Biosphere Reserve(SBR), is divided into two forest divisions – South 24 Parganas and Sunderbans Tiger Reserve(STR) which are separated by the river Malta. The total geographical area of STR is 2,585 sq km. The national park has an area of 1330.12 sq km. This along with another 241.06 sq km forms the critical ara habitat. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary covers 362.63 sq km and a buffer zone of 651.77 sq km is the hub of tourism. The forested region dotting several intertwined creeks and streams comprises 102 islands and 54 human settlements. The mangrove forests are home to more than 85 Royal Bengal tigers and the region is also the habitat of endangered species such as fishing cats, estuarine crocodiles and Batagur Baska or terrapin, the last found only in India. For the first time, a cameratrap exercise that covered the entire Indian side of the Sunderbans – put

The plan is based on minimal yet sustainable intervention The Indian territory of Sunderbans covers 9,600 sq km The development plan outlines major infrastructure changes

The West Bengal government is taking steps to boost holistic tourism in the Sundarbans using state-of-the art infrastructure to create the facilities

the number of tigers at 85 and indicated that the tiger count in the region has been rising. The exercise completed in April last year was conducted jointly by the World Wildlife Fund, India and the state forest department. Having said that the holistic planners have been extremely cautious about the big cats’ movements; because, in the event of shortage of food in their core area, which has shrunk to a great extent in the last two decades, tigers are often found to have made forays into neighbouring villages and the human toll in the man-animal conflict is equally worrying. Not that the cats have to be blamed always; there have been umpteen occasions of human intrusion without the required permission from the forest department into the heavily protected zones that have led to the tragedies. “Hence, the plan envisages both short-term and long-term measures,” explained a spokesman for the forest department who wished not to be named; “since the environmental issues have derailed several big-ticket

tourism projects in the past, utmost care and caution have been taken to draft measures to address the environmental concerns first. Thereafter come the issues concerning beefing up the infrastructure and the state-of-the-art facilities that are the hallmark of international tourism.” The blueprint of the plan which is being looked into by none other than chief minister Mamata Banerjee needs to be vetted by top environmental experts and legal luminaries so that this dream project of the state government doesn’t face any hurdle when tendering for the same is thrown open. Because, in her maiden stint, the chief minister had accorded stress on investments on tourism-related infrastructure and development and the state had then focussed on developing inland waterways transportation. However, in the wake of Aila and repeated onslaughts of natural calamities in the region, she had revised her focus and directed the planners to undertake a holistic development effort that would take into account freak weather of the

region as also capacity building of the local communities in planning and managing eco-tourism facilities on the basis of a sustainable development method. “The roadmap and timeline of the future plan will be announced very soon,” the spokesman added. A sneak preview of the proposed plan reveals a comprehensive change in the approach. The authorities have plans to introduce adventure tourism in Susni islands; there will an exclusive crocodile project at Bhagabatipur and a bird watching circuit. To remind the tourists of the Kew Botanical Garden of London, there are plans to build an overhead treetop walkway in Hamilton Island. The futuristic plan at Sunderbans has proposed a state-ofthe-art boating terminal at Godhakhali Ghat and Namkhana Ferry Ghat which are considered twin primary entry points to the lush green wilderness. There will also be watchtowers, viewing decks and river cruises. In order to protect the environment and ensure an atmosphere devoid of an artificial sound of power generators, solar energy will be extensively tapped. World class resorts and hotels that may come up to cater to international tourists would require to compulsorily instal solar power equipment for their energy resources, the government’s vision document stated. Interestingly, the government seems to be strictly specific about its focus on the core area of the reserve forest. Apart from discouraging regular tourism in the core area, the plan firmly insists on an absence of other community related developmental activities that could cause noise or other pollution in the protected zone. Not only that, the vision document has laid stress on declaring Sunderbans as the biggest Green Zone of Bengal.

12 Good News

October 30 - November 05, 2017

satellite isro

ISRO’s Quantum Leap ISRO has joined the new space race to build satellite networks for secure “quantum communications” in space



fter some delay, India is joining the handful of nations that have already embarked on a new kind of space race to build satellite networks for secure “quantum communications”. Existing communications systems are not hack-proof. Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bengaluru has joined hands with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to develop the quantum technologies that ISRO’s satellites would need to establish such a network. Quantum communication exploits a bizarre phenomenon of quantum mechanics -- called “quantum entanglement” -- in which photons (which are particles of light) are “linked” together in such a way that they affect one another no matter how far apart they are. They appear to be connected to each other, as if by magic, and behave as a single physical object. Because a third party cannot tamper with the photons without destroying their “entanglement”, there’s no way to eavesdrop undetected. Under the memorandum of understanding signed recently between RRI and ISRO Space Applications Centre (ISAC) also in Bengaluru, the latter will fund the Quantum Information and Computing (QuiC)

laboratory at RRI for developing the quantum technology tools. “This is India’s first step towards quantum communications between ground and satellites,” Urbasi Sinha, who heads the QuiC laboratory and has been pioneering fundamental quantum experiments “using single and entangled photons”, told this correspondent.Although Sinha’s lab at RRI has been engaged since 2013 in “manufacture, manipulation and application of single and entangled photons,” experimental validation of the tools it had developed for quantum communications had to wait for payload space in an ISRO satellite. This has now become possible

though it is not known when a satellite carrying Sinha’s payload will get launched. ISRO’s entry into this new area was apparently hastened by China’s $100 million landmark experiment last year which laid the foundation for large-scale quantum networking and quantum communication. Using its world’s first quantum satellite called “Micius”, China demonstrated for the first time satellite-based entanglement distribution to two ground stations in China 1,200 km apart. On September 29, 2016, Chinese scientists also successfully held a video conference between the Presidents of the Chinese

charging nanotech

Nanotech Can Charge Phones faster The new energy-storage device uses nanotechnology to deliver high capacity currents that charge devices in seconds IANS


Finding it painful to wait for your smartphone to be fully charged? Relax, as researchers have designed novel energy-storage devices using nanotechnology that can charge your phone in seconds. Supercapacitors -- energy-storage devices -- are a promising, green alternative to traditional batteries, with benefits

including improved safety and reliability, in addition to much faster charging. However, existing commercial supercapacitors have been limited so far by their relatively low storage capacity. The novel design, detailed in the journal ACS Nano, roughly doubles the amount of electrical energy the rapid-charging devices can hold, helping pave the way for eventual use in everything from smartphones and laptop computers to electric vehicles and high-powered lasers.

Quick Glance RRI has tied up with ISRO for the quantum communications project Quantum communications exploit “quantum entanglement” In quantum entanglement, photons are linked together

Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the Austria Academy of Sciences in Vienna as the first real-world demonstration of intercontinental quantum communication. China’s grand feat has given fresh momentum to research in quantum communications in many nations launching what some call “a new space race.” Two years ago, researchers at the National University of Singapore built a nano-satellite with a payload carrying the basic components used in quantum communication and computing. Encouraged by its successful operation, Singapore plans, in the coming years, to use entangled photons beamed from satellites to connect points on opposite sides of the planet. Scientists of the University of Waterloo in Canada have recently reported the successful demonstration of the first quantum key distribution transmissions from a ground transmitter to a quantum payload on a moving aircraft. ISRO’s move to join the race “is welcome indeed,” Arun Kumar Pati, who heads the quantum information and communication group at The Harish-Chandra Research Institute in Allahabad, told this correspondent. “But this has to be some kind of mega project involving scientists with a theoretical, experimental and computational background as well as engineers.” “We’re showing record numbers for the energy-storage capacity of supercapacitors,” said lead researcher Michael Pope, Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “And the more energy-dense we can make them, the more batteries we can start displacing,” Pope added. To boost the storage capacity, Pope and his team developed a method to coat atomically thin layers of a conductor called graphene with an oily liquid salt in supercapacitor electrodes. Although these supercapacitors are unlikely to ever attain the full storage capacity of batteries, they have the potential to conveniently and reliably power consumer electronic devices, electric vehicles and systems in remote locations like space, the researchers noted.

October 30 - November 05, 2017


twitter Drug Peddlers

Tech Catches Drug Peddlers on Twitter A new machine-learning technology has been developed that mines Twitter to identify users peddling illegal drugs online ssb bureau

Cisco, Google Tie Up Hybrid Cloud Solution The new hybrid cloud solution will help customers better develop and manage applications on-premises and on Google Cloud IANS


oogle has announced a new partnership with Cisco to deliver an open hybrid cloud solution that will help customers better develop and manage applications onpremises and on Google Cloud. “Together, the companies will work on a complete solution to develop, run, secure and monitor workloads, enabling customers to optimise their existing investments, plan their cloud migration at their own pace and avoid lock-in,” Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners at Google Cloud, said in a blogpost on Wednesday. “Developers will be able to create new applications in the cloud or on-premises consistently using the same tools, runtime and production environment.” The joint Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid solution will help developers to make the use of open source platforms, such as Kubernetes and Istio, GCP Service Catalog and service mesh monitoring. Using these services, developers can discover available Google Cloud services, auto-authenticate from onpremises to Google Cloud services, future-proof existing on-premises applications to be cloud ready. The solution will be available to a limited number of customers during the first part of 2018, with planned general availability later in the year.


esearchers have developed a machine-learning technology that mined microblogging site Twitter to identify users peddling the illegal sale and marketing of prescription opioids online. “Our study demonstrates the utility of the technology to aid in searches of social media for behaviour that poses a public threat,...,” said lead author Tim K. Mackey, Associate Professor at the University of California-San Diego. “Social media providers can use this technology to find or prohibit content that is illegal or violates laws to ensure consumers have a safer experience online,” Mackey noted. While the online sale of controlled

substances is directly prohibited by federal law, social media appears to act as a conduit for increased risk to substance abuse behaviour, the researchers said. Machine learning to isolate tweets related to the marketing of opioids, and web forensic examination to analyse posts that included hyperlinks to

cancer nanoparticles

Nanoparticles Could Treat Cancer The intelligent nanoparticles have the potential to heat up enough to kill cancerous cells and self-regulate temperatures after treatment IANS


cientists have in a breakthrough developed “intelligent” nanoparticles that have the potential to heat up to a level high enough to kill cancerous cells, but then also self-regulate the temperature and cool down before harming the healthy tissues. The self-stopping nanoparticles could soon be used as part of hyperthermic-thermotherapy to treat patients with cancer. Thermotherapy has long been used as a treatment method for cancer but it is difficult to treat patients without damaging healthy cells. However, tumour cells can be weakened or killed without affecting normal tissue if temperatures can be controlled accurately within a range

of 42 degree Celsius to 45 degrees Celcius. The newly developed “Zn-Co-Cr ferrite” nanoparticles are self-regulating, meaning that they self-stop heating when they reach temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius, the researchers noted in the paper reported in the journal Nanoscale.

Good News


Quick Glance The technology can be used for live surveillance Sites like Twitter have a seen a rise in sale of illegal narcotics The technology mines Twitter and searches for keywords related to narcotics

external websites. The researchers collected some 619,937 tweets containing the keywords codeine, Percocet, fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone and hydrocodone between June and November 2015. Of these, they found 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 per cent included hyperlinks to online sites for purchase. Forensics researchers connected marketing on Twitter to blogs, other social media platforms, user forms, online classified ads and websites. The majority of sites had foreign addresses, with many linked to Pakistan -- a country identified as a source and exporter of fake, counterfeit and falsified medications, Mackey said.

Quick Glance The nanoparticles are self-stopping They could soon be implemented in hyperthermic-thermotherapy Thermotherapy has long been used as a viable treatment

“This could potentially be a game changer in the way we treat people who have cancer. If we can keep cancer treatment sat at a temperature level high enough to kill cancer, while low enough to stop harming healthy tissue, it will prevent some of the serious side effects of vital treatment,” said Ravi Silva, Professor at UK’s University of Surrey. Importantly, the nanoparticles are also low in toxicity and are unlikely to cause permanent damage to the body. For the study, the team created nanoparticles which, when implanted and used in a thermotherapy session, can induce temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius. However, “by making magnetic materials with the Curie temperature falling in the range of hyperthermia temperatures, the self-regulation of therapeutics can be achieved. This is a major nanomaterials breakthrough,” Zhang added.

14 Sanitation

October 30 - November 05, 2017


‘Izzat Ghar’


It’s Not Toilet, Its ‘Izzat Ghar’ The catchy term came to light after the PM noticed ‘Izzat Ghar’ written on public toilets in Varanasi Quick Glance The new nomenclature would promote a sense of pride The Centre is encouraging all states to adopt the new name All toilets built under SBM will now be named ‘Izzat Ghar’

SSB Bureau


ollowing the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Varanasi, the Centre issued a letter of recommendation stating that all public/community toilets in the city will be named ‘Izzat Ghar’ After visiting Varanasi, the PM said: “I was happy when I was told that newly constructed toilets in UP have ‘izzat Ghar’ written on them and not ‘shauchalay’ ”. Since the word ‘Shauchalay’ means toilet in Hindi and is quite commonly used, the PM believes the new nomenclature would motivate people to respect the ideals of cleanliness and sanitation more. Prime Minister Modi encountered his first ‘Izzat Ghar’ when he visited Varanasi last month where he laid the foundation stone for a toilet in the village. “When I was laying the foundation stone for toilets at a village, I saw ‘izzat Ghar’ written on them. I was happy to see the name. I congratulate the state government for coining this name,” said Modi at the time. Instructions were issued by the Central Government after PM Modi’s

visit directing all states and local bodies to formally name public toilets. The term ‘Izzat Ghar’ would be used in the Hindi-speaking states and the term ‘house of dignity’ would be translated into local languages in states where Hindi isn’t the primary language. This would help in inculcating a feeling of pride among people who use toilets. The government issued the advisory stating ““It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation that toilets in many parts of Uttar Pradesh are being named ‘Izzat Ghar’. This is a good practice that instils a sense of dignity and pride in the entire family for their toilet, and will also have a positive impact on usage... it is recommended that this practice could be considered for replication in other parts of India.” The step will also promote the idea of getting a toilet constructed in homes which lack it. Toilets being constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission and the ones planned by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation across the state will now be named ‘Izzat Ghar’. At present, the city has around 350 public/community toilets with approximately 3,000 seats. About 70%

The Centre directed states to adopt the nomenclature ‘Izzat Ghar’ for public/community toilets to encourage their use and construction in homes

of them are operated and maintained by Sulabh International, a social service agency. The idea is to motivate people to construct a toilet in their homes. The toilets that are constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission and those planned by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation in the state will now be named ‘Izzat Ghar’ henceforth. There are about 350 public/ community toilets in Varanasi with around 3,000 seats. Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement operate and maintains 70% of these toilets.

Protecting the dignity of the house

SMC Proposes 30 New Public Toilets In Srinagar The proposal not only includes new public toilets, but also the beautification of the area along with installation of street lights SSB Bureau


rinagar Municipal Corporation has proposed the construction of about 30 public toilets, some of which are already under construction. Informing the corporations Commissioner, Shafqat Khan, the proposal includes the beautification of the area and the installation of street lights. “While reviewing various ongoing developmental works of Corporation, Dr Shafqat Khan instructed the concerned engineering wing to go with speedy work on the construction of community toilets at identified places particularly for the construction of women’s toilet block,” the Corporation said in a statement. Khan instructed the engineering staff to immediately start construction of exclusive women toilet blocks.

The idea of building toilets indoors is resisted by many households in India because of the belief that defecating where one prays or cooks is unholy.

Swachhta in UP

Elbowing out other states in the construction of toilets, UP government was able to build 3.52 lakh units over 17 days under the Centre’s Swachhta Hi Seva campaign constructed between September 15 and October 2. Rajasthan followed UP with over 2, 53,953 toilets and Karnataka with 2,41,708 toilets constructed within the same time frame. The campaign concluded with around 18, 24,549 toilets being constructed during the Swachhta Hi Seva campaign.

Goals of SBM

The goal of SBM is to make the country entirely open defecation-free by 2019, the 150th anniversary of M.K. Gandhi’s birthday. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2014. This was following the Indian Supreme Court’s recognition of sanitation as a fundamental right along with the UN General Assembly which recently recognized sanitation as a distinct human right.

The engineering staff was instructed to start working on the female toilet blocks by the Commissioner. “[He] reviewed the pace of ongoing civil and drainage works and set deadlines for each activity,” the statement read. Saying that lackadaisical work by subordinate engineers would be “strictly dealt with”, which shall be followed by “harsh recommendations to be sent to Government for further action”. Khan also met various delegations of residents and civil society groups. Khan assured residents of speedy work on the ongoing projects. He said the government is committed to delivering high-quality civic amenities, including sustainable drainage network.

October 30 - November 05, 2017


‘Nirmal Ganga’ a reality for Varanasi soon: Government Currently generating 300 million litres of sewage daily, Varanasi’s new sewage treatment plants will clean up Ganga IANS


ith new sewage treatment plants coming up, the dream of Varanasi residents and visitors to have a ‘Nirmal Ganga’ (clean Ganga) will soon become a reality, the Water Resources Ministry said. Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, currently generates an estimated 300 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, which is expected to increase to 390 MLD by 2030. The three existing sewage treatment plants at Dinapur, Bhagwanpur and DLW treat only 102 MLD of sewage. The remaining flow directly into the Ganga through Varuna and Assi rivers. “To bridge this gap, a 140 MLD sewage treatment plant at Dinapur and a 120 MLD plant at Gotha are being constructed. These projects are at an advanced stage of construction and will be commissioned before March 2018,” the Ministry said in a release. Apart from this, a 50 MLD plant at

Ramana has also been awarded under hybrid annuity based public-private partnership model to exclusively address the sewage treatment requirements of Assi BHU area, it said. “Together, these plants will create sewage treatment capacity of 412 MLD, adequate to meet the sewage treatment demands of the town till 2035,” it said. In addition, the works on interceptor sewers for rivers Varuna and Assi, development of three pumping stations at Chauka ghat, Phulwaria and Saraiya, rehabilitation

Quick Glance The MLD is expected to increase to 390 MLD by 2030 The new sewage treatment plants are being constructed at Dinapur Together, the new sewage plants will create a treatment capacity of 412 MLD

of old trunk sewers and rehabilitation of ghat pumping stations and existing sewage treatment plants are also underway to improve the entire sewage management infrastructure in Varanasi, the Ministry said. To clean floating waste in the river, a trash skimmer is operational since April. “The Central government last year started cleaning of 84 heritage ghats of Varanasi under Namami Gange programme which has shown positive results,” it said. The work for construction of 153 community toilet complexes has been awarded, of which 109 toilets are ready and are being used by 15,000 to 20,000 people every day, it added. The Ministry said that four dhobi ghats (used by washermen for washing clothes) -Pandeypur, Nadesar, Bhawania Pokhran and Konia -- have been renovated while the construction of three others at Bazardiha, Machodari Slaughter House and Bhawania Pokhari (extension) is underway..

Sanitation toilet


Indoor Toilet Brings CEO To Village CEO of Belagavi Zilla Panchayat visited the house of a labourer to show his appreciation after she built an indoor toilet SSB Bureau


hile villages across India are focusing on building outdoor toilets, the Belagavi Zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer R Ramachandran decided to visit the house of daily wage worker, Fakiravva Yamanappa Ingalagi, who built the toilet inside her house. Speaking to Agencies, R Ramachandran said, “Fakiravva Yamanappa Ingalagi is a daily wage worker from Anigola in Bailahongala Taluk and is living with three daughters. She has a very small house and there is a no

Nagpur campaign

Special Cleaning Squad In Nagpur The new campaign will be executed to elevate Nagpur’s Swachhta status anand bharti


he campaign has been started to make Maharashtra’s second capital Nagpur as the cleanest city in the country. Now people with a habit of polluting the city and their surrounding will be treated strictly. If you accidentally or intentionally spit on roads or other public places, then you will have to face the consequences. A huge fine is being proposed for this. Nagpur Municipal Corporation is going to execute this plan in the next few days. For this, a special monitoring team is also being formed, which is being named the Rowdy Research Squad. Former soldiers are being recruited in this. On this, the municipal corporation will spend about 2 crores 60 lakhs rupees each year. But this amount will be withdrawn from recover penalties.

This time the Corporation is more worried about making the cleanliness campaign and the beautification of the whole city a success. They want Nagpur to be remembered as the cleanest city in the country. They want to achieve this goal on the strength of their resources. The message is being given to people that to draw

the attention of the world by making Nagpur the most beautiful city. This will not only make the city residents proud, but the whole state will feel proud. But for this, cleanliness must start from us. Although it is being said that most people are supporters of the cleanliness campaign, but there are people who still are not able to give up their habit. They throw the garbage anywhere they feel like, and do not even refrain themselves from spitting on the road. For them, the punishment of huge fines is being made this time. A special squad of about 100 employees and officials has been formed from NMC, which will keep track of those who are encroaching, spitting paan and tobacco anywhere in the city. Citizens and police will also have their role in this squad. The squad will have the right to recover the penalty.

space outside her house. It was for this reason that she decided to renovate her house and took out one room for a toilet. The trend in the villages is to only construct toilets outside, mostly in the backyard. Since there is no space in the backyard or in front of the house, and realising the importance of a toilet, she renovated her house to accommodate a toilet.” Inspiring other families to do the same Fakiravva said “It is very difficult for women to go far out into the fields away from the settlements so I decided to build one inside our house,” “This is a revolutionary move for villagers to construct a toilet within one’s home,” CEO Ramachandran said.


October 30 - November 05, 2017

Education does not only “mean learning, reading,

narendra modi Prime Minister of India

writing and arithmatic; it should provide comprehensive knowledge



The PM’s Modus Operandi A Curse Removed

Widow remarriage a welcome step

Now state governments are offering incentives up to Rs 2 lakh to the person marrying a widow


ati was banned due to efforts of Raja Rammohan Roy in 1826. But this did not make the lives of widows any easier. Hindu widows were considered extremely inauspicious and were condemned to a life of prayer and fasting. They were also not invited to be part of any weddings or celebrations, which were extremely common in Hindu families. Widows had to undergo a complete change in their appearance, in most cases their hair was shaved off and they had to wear a coarse, white sari. The Hindu Widow Remarriage Act was legalised on July 16, 1856, and was enacted on July 25. This cause was championed by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, an important figure of the Bengal Renaissance. Vidyasagar went ahead and provided legal safeguards ensuring that widows do not lose out on any inheritance that they were entitled to by their deceased husbands. However, according to the act, widows were to give up any such inheritance. This act was particularly targeted at child widows whose husbands had died before the consummation of the marriage. Things seem to have changed in the 21st century with a number of state governments offering incentives up to Rs 2 lakh, to the person marrying a widow.


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:,

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission about his motivations, intentions, and plans for India The following is an excerpt from a speech PM Modi delivered on October 2, 2017


joined politics very late. I was working in Gujarat, there was an accident involving the Machu Dam in Morvi, thousands of people were killed, the entire city was submerged in the water, so I was deployed for service, for cleaning the city. All the work related to cleaning the city was going on, it went on for nearly a month. Later, we people, some members of civil society and also through the NGO it was decided that we will construct houses for those whose homes had been destroyed. So we adopted a village. We collected the money from the people and we wanted to rebuild the village; it was a small village, there might have been some 350, 400 houses. When we were designing the layout then, I insisted a lot on this thing that in any case there must be a toilet. Then the villagers used to say that: ‘we don’t need a toilet, we have a big open field here, please don’t construct the toilet, instead just increase the size of the room a little bit.’ But I told them that I would not compromise on this thing. We will construct a room as per the funds available with us, but the toilets will be constructed in any case. So, in any case, they were going to get it free of cost, therefore they did not argue much and it was constructed. And when I again visited that area after nearly 10, 12 years, I felt the need to meet old associates as I had worked in that area for several months, so I went to see them. After visiting that place, I regretted it a lot as goats were kept in all those toilets constructed by us. So this is the tendency of society. It is not the fault of that person who constructed it neither the fault of the government if it insists on this thing. Society has its own nature. We are required to bring about changes while understanding these limitations. Can anyone tell me whether all the schools in India have been constructed as per the requirement or not? Whether teachers have been employed as per the requirement or not? Whether all the facilities, books etc have been provided to the schools as per the requirement or not? They

are there in large quantities. However, given the state of facilities, the status of education is low. So the government, after making all these efforts, after spending the money and constructing the buildings, after appointing the teachers, and if it gets the cooperation of society, then it won’t take much time to achieve 100 per cent literacy. The same infrastructure, the same number of teachers can achieve 100 per cent literacy, but it is not possible without the cooperation of society. The government thinks the task will be accomplished if we construct buildings if we pay salary to teachers. Yes, we can take satisfaction that earlier it was this much and we have done that much. If a kid takes admission in a school then stops attending the class. Even now, parents don’t ask him to go to school. The issue of toilets is similar to this. So cleanliness is a responsibility. The more we create this kind of atmosphere, and then everyone will think 50 times before doing something wrong. Our kids, small children, the households that have sons, grandsons and granddaughters, in a way they are the biggest ambassadors of my cleanliness mission. These kids, if a grandfather throws something somewhere, then they ask him to remove it, they tell

“Society has its

own nature. We are required to bring about changes while understanding these limitations”

October 30 - November 05, 2017

“Development does

not take place by the mere development of the system unless an ideological movement is also being launched” him not to throw those things there. This kind of atmosphere should be created in every household. If kids accept something, then why can’t we adults do the same? How many kids have been dying just because of not cleaning their hands, because of not being able to clean their hands with soap before having their meal? But as soon as you mention this topic, people will say: ‘How can we buy soap? How can we get water? Modi will only deliver lectures. How will people wash their hands?’ Oh, brother, if you can’t wash your hands, then leave it, but those who can wash their hands, at least, let them do that. Look, there may be a thousand reasons to criticise Modi. Every day, I give you some or the other reason, you should utilise that. But we should not make fun of such things or do politics over the need to bring about change in society. We should follow a collective responsibility and you will see that things will change. You see, these kids have done a great job. I had been posting pictures of these kids on social media on a daily basis; I used to post them with a lot of pride. I, personally, don’t know these kids. But when I see pictures of kids who have shown enthusiasm for cleanliness, I post them and they reach millions and millions of people. An ideological movement is also necessary for cleanliness. Development does not take place by the mere development of the system unless an ideological movement is also being launched. So this effort to produce films, the efforts to bring creativity, essay writing -- all these things are an attempt to provide an ideological basis to cleanliness. And when something finds a place in our minds in the form of an idea, finds a place as an essence, then it becomes very easy to follow that thing. So this is the reason behind associating these activities with this campaign. If you watch the television programmes that were produced four, five years ago in which if some kids were shown performing the job of cleaning in a school then it used to become a news story; teachers were criticised for making the kids to do the cleaning job in the schools. Parents used to rush to the school asking: ‘Will you educate our kids or will you make them do the job of cleaning?’ Today, this has brought about such a big change that if kids are cleaning a school then it becomes the headline on TV news.



What Are You Connected To?

mihir paul

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

In a world of 4G data connections, Whatsapp Groups, and Facebook notifications, it is easy to lose connection to healthy things that make us thrive



s sentient beings, we thrive on connecting with life around us. We connect ourselves to social groups, institutions, beliefs, material things, and pretty much anything we come to interact within our daily lives. Our connections define who we are and how we see the world. The quality of our connections determines the nature of our experiences in life. While we can’t always choose who or what we come across, we can still make sure that the connections we are maintaining so meticulously in life aren’t harming us. There is this feeling of loneliness and disconnectedness that drives us all to seek connections to anything and everything around us. It almost feels like a space in our soul which we must fill to live happily. When we don’t feel complete, we turn to religion, entertainment, social life, drugs, relationships, food etc. to fill this space in our souls and make sense our lives. Without any connections, we would just be lost in life; without a purpose or intent to live. Since it is imperative we seek connections to live a fulfilling life; we

must carefully pick the connections we choose to incorporate into our lifestyles. When the nature of our connections is negative, what follows is – a downward spiral of negative experiences. All the suffering in the world is because of lack of healthy connections. Life is a symphony of interconnected ever-changing experiences through the eyes of sentient beings. The only crux here is knowing the quality of what we are connecting with in life. There are healthy connections such as connections to one’s family, friends, community, passions, hobbies, service to others, and in general to life itself. Then there are unhealthy

connections like connections with drugs, toxic relationships, harmful behaviours, materialism, selfish motives, negative thoughts and negativity in general. It is critical to cultivate and nurture real, positive, and healthy relationships with other people in person to maintain sanity in today’s world. Having a few close friends who see you every day is much better than having 2,000 Facebook friends who only know you online. In our technology-driven society, we get distracted by the instant gratification of communicating and connecting with the rest of the world through our smart devices, but in this relentless search for feeling connected to everyone, we end up alienating others and isolating ourselves in 5-inch screens. What we are connected to determines how we act and how we act determines our experience of life. Thus, being aware of creating healthy and positive connections in life is important if transcending suffering is the goal.

letters to the editor know all too well how this affects families and the livelihoods of the people suffering from it. Especially considering that people belonging to lower socio-economic sections of our society are often ignored and forgotten. This man is spending his daily earnings for the service of others. How noble is that! It is so refreshing and inspiring to read such stories. Komal Gupta, Noida

Leprosy dignified! The Unsung Hero story on Hemnath, the auto-rickshaw driver assisting and treating leprosy patients is so heartwarming. Having a family member suffer from the disease, I

we are united The article “Muslim Hairdressers of Hindu Idols” is simply amazing. It is so inspiring to read that even when communal tensions run high amongst troublemakers of our society, communities like these remind us of our similarities and humanity. Being a practicing Muslim myself, I personally believe that even though we are all entitled

to practice our own religions, the fact that we all live together in one country makes us Indians first. And as far as cultural appropriation is concerned, my family celebrates all the festivals. We don’t see separation in festivals and I am sure that’s exactly how most of us Indians see this. We don’t see differences just because of different religions. Unity in the face of adversity has been this country’s greatest strength and examples like these only bolster that strength further. I also recall that it was Muslims who had first traced the Vaishno Devi idol. And today, all the 5,000odd men who ferry people up and down the shrine are Muslims, and they keep chanting ‘Jai Mata Di’. It’s so nice to see such seemingly rare sight of immense communal harmony.It is simply inspiring! Aalia Khan, Hyderabad

Please mail your opinion to - or Whatsapp at 9868807712

18 Photo Feature

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Chhath Celebration

The Sixth day of Karthik month, we worship Goddess Chhathi along with the Sun. Every year the four-day festival is celebrated with fervour and gaiety at Dr Bindeshwar Pathak’s Delhi house. A glimpse of Chhath-2017...

Photos: montu

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Photo Feature


The biggest feature of Chhath Puja is that while on one hand, it is an integral part of our folk tradition, as well as it is the occasion where the cordiality of family and society is visible prominently. The simplicity and purity of the Chhath Puja give the message of social

20 Health

October 30 - November 05, 2017


Blood HIV

Rise In HIV, Hep-C Linked To Opioid Use

Sharing equipment used for injecting opioids like Heroin is the main contributor towards the transmission of blood-borne diseases like HIV

Daydreamers Are Smarter and Creative New findings showed people with efficient brains constantly run on overdrive that leads to daydreaming whilst performing easy tasks IANS


orried about the habit of daydreaming or a wandering mind during meetings in the office or at home? Take heart, it may not be as bad as you think, but a sign that you are really smart and creative, researchers say. The findings showed people with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering when performing easy tasks. “People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can’t. Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn’t always true. Some people have more efficient brains,” said Eric Schumacher, Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US.Higher efficiency means more capacity to think, and the brain may mind wandering when performing easy tasks, he said. “The correlated brain regions gave us insight about which areas of the brain work together during an awake, resting state,” said Christine Godwin, a doctoral student at the varsity. “Interestingly, research has suggested that these same brain patterns measured during these states are related to different cognitive abilities,” Godwin added. Individuals who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability and had more efficient brain systems measured in the MRI machine, the researchers said.

Quick Glance


The number of people abusing opioids via injections is 15.6 million


s a result of increased opioid use, worldwide nearly one in six people are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and more than half have been exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV), and one in ten have active Hepatitis B virus (HBV), researchers have found. According to the study, published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, globally an estimated 15.6 million people injected drugs, in the age group 15-64 years, in 2015. Out of these, 18 per cent are living with HIV infection and 52 per cent test positive for hepatitis C antibody. The main drug was either an opioid (heroin or another opioid) or stimulant (amphetamine or cocaine), the researchers said. Further, sharing of equipment used for injecting drug

18 per cent are living with HIV and 52 per cent with Hepatitis C Southeast Asia has the most opioid drug users in the world

use was found as the substantial cause of disease burden and a contributor to blood-borne virus transmission. “Across all countries, a substantial number of people who inject drugs are living with HIV or HCV and are exposed to multiple adverse risk environments that increase health harms,” said lead author Louisa Degenhardt, Professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. In the study, the team found evidence of injected drug use

Human Brain

Mind Reading Tech Can Decode Thoughts

The new mind-reading technology uses artificial intelligence to decode what the human brain is seeing IANS


esearchers have developed a novel mind-reading technology that uses artificial intelligence to decode what the human brain is seeing, an advance that could lead to new insights into brain function. Using the “convolutional neural

networks” -- a form of “deep-learning” algorithm -- instrumental in facial recognition technology in computers and smartphones, the researchers found how the brain processed static images. The algorithm was for the first time used to understand brain processes while a person watches natural scenes, a step toward decoding the brain while people are trying to make sense of complex and dynamic visual surroundings, said lead author Haiguang Wen, a doctoral student at the Purdue University in Indiana, US. For the study, appearing in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the team acquired 11.5 hours of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data from each of three women subjects watching 972 video clips, including those showing people or animals in action and nature scenes.

in 179 countries that contain 99 per cent of the world’s population aged 15-64 years, up from 148 countries in 2007. The largest use of injected drugs was found in east and southeast Asia (4.0 million, 3.0-5.0 million), Eastern Europe (3.0 million, 1.7-5.0 million), and North America (2.6 million, 1.5-4.4 million). The provision of programmes to prevent the spread of HIV and HCV is inadequate in many countries around the world.

Quick Glance The technology uses convolutional neural networks These networks are a form of “deeplearning” algorithm The algorithm can understand signals from the brain and decode function

Using the convolutional neural network model, the team was able to accurately decode the fMRI data of the activity in the brain’s visual cortex while watching the videos. “I think what is a unique aspect of this work is that we are doing the decoding nearly in real time, as the subjects are watching the video. We scan the brain every two seconds, and the model rebuilds the visual experience as it occurs,” Wen said. The finding is important because it demonstrates the potential for broad applications of such models to study brain function, even for people with visual deficits. “We think we are entering a new era of machine intelligence and neuroscience where research is focusing on the intersection of these two important fields,” explained Zhongming Liu, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Malaria Vaccine

New Malaria Vaccine Targets Found The newly discovered malaria vaccine targets can reduce a malarial parasite’s ability to invade blood cells IANS


S scientists have identified five malaria vaccine targets that have the potential to reduce the parasite’s ability to invade blood cells. Malaria is a disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. In 2015, malaria was responsible for the death of nearly half a million people globally and it infects more than 200 million people each year. The results showed that the vaccines may be most effective if they target multiple parasite factors at its most vulnerable stage -- when invading human red blood cells. Red blood cell invasion is an essential step in the parasite’s lifecycle and is a stage when the parasite is at its most

vulnerable and exposed to the immune system. Further, the malaria parasite should be targeted in combination. Alone, no single antibody gave protection against malaria in people. However, combinations of the new antibodies did protect against the parasite, the researchers suggested. “Producing a successful vaccine

Weight Drug

New Experimental Weight Loss Drug

The experimental drug targets the appetite control system in the brain and can regulate hunger triggering weight loss in obese IANS


esearchers have found a drug that targets the appetite control system in the brain and could bring about significant weight loss in people with clinical obesity. “The drug reduced hunger but also cravings for food and the sensation of wanting to eat and these had previously been thought to stem from different parts of the brain,” said lead researcher John Blundell, professor of Psycho-Biology at the University of Leeds. “Semaglutide” is a new drug being developed by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk as a treatment for diabetes. It is in the advanced stages of development but is not yet available in the market. For the study, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, the drug was given to a

few people with a body mass index (BMI) range of 30 to 45 kg/m2. The participants were split into two groups -- half got semaglutide and the other half a placebo (dummy) substance for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, they were invited to a testing centre and offered lunch and evening meal and told to consume as much as they needed to feel ‘pleasantly full’. What they were eating was recorded, along



Quick Glance


Malaria is a disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite The parasites invade red blood cells in its incubation stage The newly discovered five sites stop the parasites from entering RBC’s

against parasites is challenging because they are very complex organisms with many components, making it difficult to know which ones to target,” said Gavin Wright, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the US. For the study, published in the journal PNAS, the team raised rabbit antibodies against 29 potential targets, then tested the antibodies against two different strains of the deadly Plasmodium falciparum malaria, one from Africa and one from Asia. Of the 29 antibodies, the researchers discovered five that reduced the parasite’s ability to invade red blood cells in both malaria strains. Thus pairing antibodies that each acted at different steps led to a more effective combination, the researchers said.

Quick Glance The drug reduces hunger and cravings for fattening food The drug is called Semaglutide developed by Novo Nordisk Participants receiving semaglutide consumed 24 per cent lower calories

with food preferences and their sensations of liking and wanting food. They then repeated the process, with participants who got semaglutide, this time getting the placebo and vice versa. The research team found that on an average the daily energy intake, a measure of the amount of food consumed, was 24 per cent lower with semaglutide. “The potency of the drug is probably due to the action of the GLP-1 protein receptors on broad aspects of the appetite control system including hunger, craving and rewarding aspects of food,” Blundell noted. A further feature of the study was that measured energy expenditure from metabolic processes (the Resting Metabolic Rate) remained roughly the same throughout the experiment suggesting the weight loss could not be due to metabolism becoming more active.

Humans First InterBred With Neanderthals Findings into the anthropological history of West Asia suggest that our ancestors inter-bred with Neanderthals IANS


estern Asia is the most likely spot where humans encountered and had sexual rendezvous with a different hominid species -- the Neanderthals -- says a study. The findings suggest that the relations that our ancestors had with Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago may continue to exert an influence on our well being today. When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe. The research, published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, analysed the genetic material of people living in the region today and identified DNA sequences inherited from Neanderthals. “Within these genomes, the areas where we see relatively common Neanderthal introgression are in genes related to metabolism and immune system responses,” said the first author of the study Recep Ozgur Taskent, a PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo. These functions can have an impact on health. For example, one DNA sequence that originated from Neanderthals includes a genetic variant linked to celiac disease. Another includes a variant tied to a lowered risk of malaria, the study found.

22 Science & Technology

October 30 - November 05, 2017

intellectual suit

Chinese scientists Develop ‘Intellectual Suit’

genome northeast

Genome India Project Launched In Northeast

The new Genome India Project will carry out Whole Genome Sequencing of over 2,000 individuals

The intellectual suit is fitted with large-area textile sensors that can detect temperature, pH levels, pressure, and other vital signs

Quick Glance The WGS would span over different genetic sections WGS would help in identification of genetic disease burden IBSD will actively collaborate with the Genome India Initiative



group of Chinese scientists have developed an intellectual suit which is fitted with largearea textile sensors that can detect temperature, ph levels, pressure and other indicators showing the health status of a person. At the third International Conference on Nanoenergy and Nanosystems in Beijing, Wang Zhonglin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, introduced the invention, reports Xinhua news agency. The suit, via wireless transmission, can send signals to a cellphone, a computer, or even to a doctor’s computer a thousand miles away, so a person’s health can be monitored anytime and anywhere, said Wang. The conference, organised by the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, is one of the most influential in the field of nanoscience and energy. This year it focused on topics such as nanogenerators, self-powered sensors and systems, piezotronics, piezophototronics, energy storage and self-charging power systems. Over 700 scientists from more than 30 countries attended the conference that ended on Monday. Wang also mentioned “nano tattoos”. These stickers on the arm, which can be shaped as a pattern much like a tattoo, will be able to administer drugs into a patient’s veins, providing a private and painless way of injection for diabetics. “Scientists have made prototypes of all these gadgets at the institute’s Technopark. They are expected to hit the market in two to three years,” said Wang.



hole Genome Sequencing (WGS) of over 2,000 individuals spanning different ethnic, linguistic and sociocultural sections of the northeastern states will be carried out as part of the Genome India Project, launched in the region on Tuesday. This exercise will help in identification of the genetic disease burden of specific subsets of populations, which will have “farreaching implications” in improving the healthcare landscape of this region, scientists involved with the study said. “The people of the northeast have many things which are unique and the genetic diversity of the people is not well understood. People spend huge amounts of money for their medical treatment and are thus left with very little money for household expenses. In

google assistant

Google adds games, activities to Assistant Google announces 50 new games and activities targeted towards children’s entertainment

addition to that, old age related health issues are an additional burden,” said Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director of Imphalbased Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD). “This burden can be reduced by personalised medicine which can be achieved by use of the genetic information,” said Sahoo while launching the project for the northeast. The IBSD is a national institute of the Department of Biotechnology and it will be actively collaborating with the Genome lndia initiative undertaken by the Centre for Brain Research at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The project will also lead to a new understanding of the different ethnic groups of India -- a country with the highest diversity of ethnic groups, and which puts India in a unique position for the mapping of the human genome, said Sahoo. “The mapping and IANS


n a bid to keep children entertained, a bunch of new games and activities have been added to Google Assistant that would work on Android phones and Google Home smart speaker. The update, previewed earlier this month, includes “more than 50 new games, activities, and stories,” ranging from things like musical chairs and freeze tag to science trivia, Disney-

understanding of the human genome in the country, particularly in the northeastern region which has over 220 ethnic groups living in very diverse topographies, will have tremendous applications in understanding not only the genetic origins of the different ethnic groups but would lead to an increased understanding of the genetic disease burden which would help in the development of personalised medicine,” said Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, Founder Chairperson, Centre for Brain Research, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and former Director, National Brain Research Centre, Haryana. The objectives of this initiative are to systematically document the genetic information from whole genome sequencing for thousands of Indian individuals belonging to different geographical locations and diverse population groups across the country, to facilitate genome wide association studies at a cheaper cost in India for any genetic disease or trait. Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, Infosys, has contributed Rs 225 crore for this initiative, the statement added. themed games, and original kids’ tales, The Verge reported. The kids can use these games on their own (and to sign up some new Gmail users seriously early). Google is also adding in voice identification for children. According to Google, the Assistant was now better at recognising kids’ voices and like adults, it would be able to distinguish between them so that it can customise responses to each person. It will require parental permission.

October 30 - November 05, 2017

monsoon forecast

Quick Glance

New Tool To Improve Monsoon Forecast Monsoon forecasts in India will be more accurate thanks to the new method developed by Researchers in the US IANS


esearchers from Florida State University in the US have created a tool for objectively defining the onset and retreat of the Indian summer monsoon. The new method, published in the journal Climate Dynamics, uses rainfall rates to mark the span of the monsoon at any given location throughout the affected region. “Current weather forecasting and monitoring protocols focus attention on monsoon onset at one location -specifically the state of Kerala in the southwest corner of the country -- and extrapolate for the rest of the region,” said lead investigator Vasu Misra, Associate Professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. “We have gone down to specific locations, we’ve covered the whole country, and we’ve objectively defined the onset and demise dates for any given year,”

Misra added. With this methodology, a question that has baffled meteorologists for decades finally can have a simple, actionable answer.“You don’t need complicated definitions,” Misra said. “Now we completely base the definition on rainfall, and it hasn’t failed,” Misra added. The lack of a clear, granular and objective benchmark for monsoon onset

Kerala IT exports at Rs 12,000 crore Even after a quarter century, Kerala still lags behind neighbouring states in IT exports IANS


confident that things are going to change. In the remaining three and a half years of the present Left government, a record new one lakh direct IT jobs would be created, he said. “Kerala IT continues to have the cost and ‘congestion’ advantage compared to other states and with every direct IT job that’s created, there will


space travel

The new method utilizes rainfall rates to mark monsoon spans It can predict monsoon periods at any given location The new system ties monsoon to rainfall thresholds

and demise for all areas of the country has been a longtime source of anxiety for the Indian people. In some parts of the country, the torrents of rain that characterise monsoon season account for more than 90 per cent of the total annual precipitation. Consequently, many rhythms of Indian political and agricultural life can be destabilised by dubious or false claims of monsoon onset. This new system, which ties the onset of the monsoon to locationspecific rainfall thresholds, can work to allay that frustration, according to the researchers. Anchoring the definition of onset and demise solely in local rain rates eliminates the need to rely on less accessible atmospheric variables. This streamlined approach makes it considerably easier to monitor monsoon evolution, the study said. “We’ve tested this for 105 years of available data, and this criterion hasn’t failed once for any location over India,” Misra added.

Quick Glance

kerala exports

espite having a promising start by launching the first Technopark in the country in 1990, Kerala lags behind neighbouring states in IT exports. Over a quarter of a century later, the figure stands at Rs 12,000 crore for FY 2016-17. There are close to one lakh IT professionals working in nine million square feet space at Technopark, Infopark campus in Kochi and other smaller parks, according to a top IT officials in the state on Wednesday. However, in spite of the state’s slow progress, Department of Information Technology Secretary M. Sivasankar is

Science & Technology

Kerala’s first IT Park was launched in 1990 The value of exports is at Rs 12,000 crore for FY 2016-2017 Kerala IT continues to have cost and congestion advantage

be close to three indirect jobs too,” said Sivasankar. “At the 400 acre Technocity campus near here, various companies including TCS have started to build their own campus.” President Ram Nath Kovind will lay the foundation stone for the first IT building owned by the Kerala government at Technocity, which will have a built-up area of two lakh sqft and is expected to be completed by 2019. Kerala IT Parks CEO, Hrishikesh Nair, said that Technocity is not just planned as another IT park which provides basic IT infrastructure for IT or ITES companies but as a Centre of Excellence for frontier technologies that will encourage research and development in upcoming technologies.

Space Travel Affects Gene Expression

Causing an increase in the process of turning genes on and off, space travel leads to massive changes in their expression IANS


pace travel causes an increase in the process of turning genes on and off, leading to massive changes in their expression, preliminary results from NASA’s twin study have shown. “Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,” principal investigator Chris Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University, New York. “With this study, we’ve seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth,” Mason said in a statement released by NASA. When retired twin astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth in March 2016, the “Twins Study” research intensified with investigators collecting samples from him and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly. The researchers began combining the data and reviewing the enormous amount of information looking for correlations. “It really sets the bedrock for understanding molecular risks for space travel as well as ways to potentially protect and fix those genetic changes,” Mason added. Final results of the study are expected to be published in 2018, NASA said.

24 Environment

October 30 - November 05, 2017

industry carbon disclosure


Indian Firms Make Carbon Disclosures Over 40 Indian companies responded to the Carbon Disclosure Project and disclosed their carbon emission levels

Quick Glance

Corals Find Plastic Tasty: Study

40 per cent companies are committed to renewable energy production CDP works with stakeholders and corporations to disclose gas emissions Infosys, Tata, and Bharat Cement are committed to renewable power

Corals eat all types of plastics but usually prefer the bacteria-free microplastics IANS


hile many marine animals mistakenly eat plastic debris because the tiny bits of the floating material might look like prey, the sightless corals eat the rubbish because of the taste, new research has found. Visual cues, such as a resemblance to prey, do not factor into the appeal because corals have no eyes, said the study published online in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. “Corals in our experiments ate all types of plastics but preferred unfouled microplastics by a threefold difference over microplastics covered in bacteria,” said one of the researchers Austin Allen, PhD student at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Microplastics, tiny pieces of weathered plastic less than five millimetres in diameter, began accumulating in the oceans four decades ago and are now ubiquitous in the marine environment. They pose a major threat to foraging sea animals. Because plastic is largely indigestible, it can lead to intestinal blockages, create a false sense of fullness or reduce energy reserves in animals that consume it. “When plastic comes from the factory, it has hundreds of chemical additives on it. Any one of these chemicals or a combination of them could be acting as a stimulant that makes plastic appealing to corals,” Alexander Seymour, a geographic information systems analyst at Duke University, added.



ver 80 per cent of the 51 Indian companies responding to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) India have reported one or more types of emission reduction targets and initiatives this year, a new report said on Tuesday. About 40 per cent companies are committed to renewable energy production and consumption targets. The CDP is an international organisation which works with shareholders and corporations to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of major corporations. Three Indian companies -- Infosys Limited, Tata Motors Limited and Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited -- have committed to 100 per cent renewable power and joined the RE100 campaign boosting the country’s clean energy ambition. The CDP India report for 2017 was prepared in collaboration with ERM India by CDP, the non-profit global environmental disclosure platform. In addition, 40 reporting companies have an internal price on carbon or intend to put one in place within the next two years. Companies have declared a price ranging from $2 by Shree Cement

to $29 by Ambuja Cement, said the report. At the global level too, there is a reason to be optimistic. early 90 per cent of the world’s biggest, most environmentallyimpactful companies now have carbon emissions targets, with a fifth planning low-carbon into their futures to 2030 and beyond. The world’s biggest annual tracker of how these companies are responding to climate change was published globally on Tuesday by the CDP across many regions. Picking up the pace, the second edition in the annual tracking corporate action on climate change series finds that more leading companies are embedding low-

With the Indian

government exploring regional carbon markets, more companies are coming forward to announce their commitment to renewables

carbon goals into their long-term future business plans. They are also increasingly aligning themselves with the carbon emissions reductions scientists say are needed to prevent dangerous climate change. Fourteen per cent of the global high-impact sample of 1,073 responding companies have futureproofed their growth by committing to set science-based targets via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). These are emissions reduction targets in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, the central aim of the Paris Agreement signed by nearly 200 nations. An additional 317 companies, 30 per cent of the sample, aim to set science-based targets within two years. Existing targets take the sample almost one third, 31 per cent, of the way to being consistent with keeping global warming below two degrees, a notable improvement since last year, 25 per cent, reflecting the rise in science-based target-setting. In India, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Hindustan Zinc and Mahindra Sanyo Steel along with Aditya Birla Chemicals have committed to SBTi. “No sooner had the Chinese authorities announced setting up of carbon markets in several regions, CDP witnessed a 40 per cent jump in companies reporting an internal carbon price,” Damandeep Singh, Director CDP India, said. “With the Indian government too exploring regional carbon markets, it is only a matter of time till we see exponential growth here as well,” he added.

October 30 - November 05, 2017

earthquake prediction

New AI Technique Predicts Earthquakes A new machine learning technique has been developed that uses earthquake ‘fingerprints’ to train the machine to predict future earthquake timings IANS


n international team of researchers has developed machine learning techniques that could successfully predict the timing of a real earthquake. The researchers from the University of Cambridge, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Boston University, identified a hidden signal leading up to earthquakes, and used this “fingerprint” to train a machine

learning algorithm to predict the timing, but not the size, of future earthquakes. Using a lab-based system that mimics real earthquakes, the researchers applied machine learning techniques to analyse the acoustic signals coming from the “fault” -- on which earthquakes occur. A fault is a thin zone of crushed rock separating blocks of the earth’s crust. When an earthquake occurs on one of these faults, the rock on one side of the fault slips with respect to the other. This sound pattern can be used to give a precise estimate of the stress on the fault (that is, how much force it is under) and to estimate the time remaining before failure, which gets more and more precise as failure approaches, the researchers said in the paper detailed in the journal Longevity Geophysical Research Letters. “This is the first time that machine learning has been used to analyse

Quick Glance The researchers used lab-based systems to simulate earthquakes The machine analyses unique earthquake signals Researchers can train a machine to predict earthquakes

acoustic data to predict when an earthquake will occur, long before it does, so that plenty of warning time can be given - it’s incredible what machine learning can do,” said Colin Humphreys, professor at Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy. “We’re at a point where huge advances in instrumentation, machine learning, faster computers and our ability to handle massive data sets could bring about huge advances in earthquake science,” added Bertrand Rouet-Leduc from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

odisha natural gas

Odisha gets piped natural gas Odisha’s PNG supply system will start rolling out soon and will provide PNG connections to over 1,000 households IANS


nion Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply system in Odisha by rolling out the first phase of the project here -- almost six months before the deadline. With this, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) started supplying environment-friendly PNG to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar located at Chandrasekharpur area. It also plans to provide PNG

connections in the near future to adjacent Jeevan Bima Colony and Maitri Vihar Colony, covering a total of 1,000 houses. The assessment was also being carried out for PNG supply to leading hotels, hospitals and industrial units of the city. Expressing happiness at the fast pace of work, Pradhan said GAIL took up the project on a war-footing and praised it for the early commencement of this first phase of supply of PNG in Bhubaneswar -- expected to be completed by March 2018.

Initially, natural gas will reach Bhubaneswar in special containers called “cascades” which will be transported by road from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. Later, natural gas will be supplied through the Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline ( JHBDPL). Gail has planned to provide PNG in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack by end of 2019. In Odisha, the natural gas pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crore and have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts.



plastic pollution

95% Of Plastic In Seas Comes From 10 Rivers Large river systems like the Ganges carry a comparatively large volume of waste on account of large discharges IANS


hile eight of these 10 river systems are in Asia, two are in Africa. The findings published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology showed that large rivers play a particularly large role - not only because they also carry a comparatively large volume of waste on account of their larger discharge. “The concentrations of plastic, i.e. the quantity of plastic per cubic metre of water are significantly higher in large rivers than small ones. The plastic loads consequently increase at a disproportionately higher rate than the size of the river,” said Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ in Leipzig, Germany. “Halving the plastic input from the catchment areas of these rivers would already be a major success,” Schmidt added. “To achieve this, it will be necessary to improve the waste management and raise public awareness of the issue. We hope that our study will make a contribution to a positive development so that the plastic problem in our oceans can be curbed in the long run,” Schmidt said. They converted the results of the studies into mutually comparable datasets and determined the ratio of these figures to the quantity of waste that is not disposed of properly in the respective catchment area. “The more waste there is in a catchment area that is not disposed of properly, the more plastic ultimately ends up in the river and takes this route to the sea,” Schmidt added.

26 NorthEast

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Buses ASTC

Assam Moots Green Buses

Quick Glance The green buses would run on either electricity, solar power, or biogas The electric bus being considered has a capacity of 26-34 passengers The Pollution Control Board, Assam has also started monitoring toxicity levels

The Assam State Transport Corporation is contemplating introducing green buses in response to the rising pollution in the state Raj Kashyap


oncerned at the rising pollution levels in the State, particularly in capital Guwahati, state owned Assam State Transport Corporation is mooting the idea of introducing green buses for public transport. The corporation has kept its options open and is in talks with various manufacturers to explore the possibility of operating buses which can be run by electricity, solar power and even biogas. As part of its efforts, the corporation flagged off the trial run of an electric bus provided by Tata Motors. The bus will be ply from Paltan Bazar to Kamakhya Temple. The 9-metre electric bus has a seating capacity of 26-34 passengers. The full-auto transmission Tata Ultra electric bus was flagged off by Anand Prakash Tiwari, Managing Director, Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) making it the first state transport undertaking (STU) in Eastern India to start trials of an electric vehicle. The ASTC in collaboration with Tata Motors will run the trials for seven days and will offer free transport service to the participants of FIFA team and devotees from Paltan Bazar to Maa Kamakhya Temple. This trial follows the successful trials of the 9-metre electric bus from Parwanoo to Shimla a few months ago, where the bus covered a distance of 160 kms in one full charge. Tata Motors says trials in Chandigarh also showed ‘very encouraging’ results in a running of 143 kms, covering approximately 70 percent of the charge. Dr. A K Jindal, Head, Engineering Research Centre, Tata Motors said, “These buses qualify for the subsidy under revised FAME scheme which will give a big boost to the electrification of public transport. Tata Motors is also working with various study groups formed by the central government to work out various business models for operating electric vehicles and to optimise the overall economics of these buses, for a

truly Make in India solution.” The ASTC’s MD AP Tiwari said another team of the corporation is exploring the possibility of operating buses on biogas. “We are also looking at solar vehicles. We will experiment all these options and after a proper assessment, taking into account the feasibility and other factors, we will take a call,” Tiwari said. “Gradually, we intend to replace the public transport with green vehicles. This will reduce the burden on the environment,” the MD said. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had recently expressed concern at the rising air pollution in eight towns and cities of the region, including five in Assam and had called for a coordinated approach from various stakeholders to control it. Since 2011, at least 94 Indian cities have not met national air quality

standards. Many of these cities have been on the list from the 1990s. Among them are Guwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Silchar and Sivasagar, besides Byrnihat in Meghalaya and Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland. These places have consistently recorded higher than acceptable particulate matter (PM10) levels and the CPCB has listed them as polluted cities in which the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards are violated. The Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) has also started monitoring levels of other toxic substances – PM2.5 (smaller particulate matter), benzene, ammonia and carbon monoxide – from this year. So far, the PCBA has been monitoring only PM10, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The PCBA has also written to the

The implementation of green buses running on

electricity, solar power or biogas will significantly lower the air pollution levels in Guwahati

Central government proposing to increase the number of monitoring stations in the State from 23 to over 30. Nearly two lakh new vehicles have been registered with the District Transport Office (Guwahati) since April 2015, taking the number of on-road vehicles in the city to over 10 lakh. According to the District Transport Officer (DTO), around 300 new vehicles are registered every day – one series of registration numbers often exhausts in three to four months’ time. This apart, around 4,000 vehicles coming from Tripura, around 5,000 from Meghalaya, around 1,000 from Nagaland and another 300 from Mizoram and Manipur land up in Guwahati every day. In the last couple of years, over 13,000 app-based taxis have been registered and are plying on the city roads, estimates said. There are around 1,300 city buses on Guwahati roads, and ASTC operates around 350 of them. The total length of the blacktopped roads in the city is a little over 218 km.

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Assam film Festival

Guwahati’s First Ever International Film Fest ssb bureau


inema lovers of the region are in for a treat with the first ever Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) ever to be held in northeast India was inaugurated on October 28 at Guwahati by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. A total of 75 films from 35 countries of the world were screened in three screens at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra and one at the Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society during the six-day festival. Assam’s Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley said that eminent names from India and other parts of the world participated in the festival. “Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N Karun, Jahnu Barua, Resul Pookutty, AK Bir was part of the festival in various capacities, and had sections like world cinema, country focus, Indian Panorama, Contemporary Iranian Cinema, Retrospectives, cinema of Northeast, cinema of Assam and the tribute section,” the minister said. The festival was curated by one of India’s top curators Srinivasa Santhanam, who has curated festival like IFFI, and MAMI besides

ssb bureau


wiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has offered to help Manipur government in revising the State Action Plan on Climate Change which was drafted in 2013. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency that is responsible for the overall coordination of Switzerland’s overseas relief and development activities. SDC is currently working with the different Himalayan States on their respective action plans for climate change. SDC will provide technical support to the Manipur government in the exercise. It will help in reviewing the State Action Plan on Climate Change, accessing the results of the plans taken up so far and finding ways to improve for making a revision.

The Guwahati International Film was inaugurated recently. It featured 75 films from 35 countries Bangalore, Pune and Chennai film festivals. An added attraction to the event is the presence of filmmakers from Spain and an actor from the Czech Republic. Ambassadors from four countries, including Iran, Estonia, Croatia and the Czech Republic were also present. Noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Prassana Vitthanage was the Chairman of the jury to select the ‘Best Film’ from Assam. Chairman of Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society Pabitra Margherita, seeking the support of the media in taking the festival to cine enthusiasts, said, “An important part of a film festival is Delegate Registration. Those who love cinema and are above 18 years are eligible to apply and become a delegate,” he said adding that there will be no passes or ticket sales for cine enthusiasts. An important feature of the festival was the Open Forum sessions on topics related to films and the region as well as Master Classes by masters in their respective

fields. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought cooperation from all sections of the society particularly from the film fraternity to make the first ever Guwahati International Film Festival a success. While reviewing the preparations

put in place for the Guwahati International Film Festival, the Chief Minister pushed for an all out effort on the part of the administration and the film fraternity to make the film festival truly a memorable one. Turkey was the focus country in the fest. Popular films like The Harmonium, Glory, We

Manipur Climate change

Swiss Help To Revisit Manipur’s Climate Change Plan

Helping the Manipur Government in revisiting the State Action Plan on Climate change, SDC plans to provide technical support to Manipur

“Manipur is a very natural and green State with a pleasant weather condition. However, a revision of the action plan is necessary to combat frequent floods, landslides and variation in weather condition,” Head and Counsellor, Swiss Cooperation

Office, India, Embassy of Switzerland, Marylaure Crettaz, told journalists. She is on a Manipur visit with her team and delegates from the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP). Once a new State Action Plan is in place, there will be a list of things which will be taken up as projects. The Swiss Cooperation will also support in terms of capacity building and training to assure that State actors are sensitised on the issue. State officials at national, state and district level will be given training on ways to deal with the issue so that

North East


Quick Glance

The film festival screened movies at Srimanta Sakardev Kalakshetra The festival took place over a period of six days Turkish traditions was the theme of the festival

are Never Above, Two Lottery Tickets were screened along with others that shared the screen during the festival. “The Guwahati International Film Festival has given us an opportunity to raise the standard of Assamese film and to project the Assamese Films at the world forum. The festival was a melting pot where there were cinematic exchanges among various countries,” Sonowal said. “Guwahati International Film Festival is yet another addition to the list of international events that Guwahati city has organised and we should make all efforts as Team Assam to make the event truly memorable,” he said. He also reiterated the need of involving other towns as well as villages of the state in organising the festival. Referring to the Act East Policy which envisages making Guwahati as a Gateway to the South East Asia, Chief Minister Sonowal said that the film festival where 32 countries including most of the South East Asian nations are participating will be a way forward towards cultural and business exchanges between Assam and other nations featuring in the film festival.

every sector/department is equipped to respond to climate change. Studies like risk and vulnerability assessment will be done to make a better plan. Manipur’s Environment director Nabachandra Singh said the department is focused on various plans to conserve wetlands and water bodies in the State. He said the department is checking and monitoring the water quality of the research and development projects apart from water rejuvenation and conserving lakes. Community participation is being encouraged for conserving wetlands. Altogether 19 wetlands have been identified for ecodevelopment which will be taken up in phase-wise, Singh said. “Once the State Action Plan on Climate Change is revised, the government can work on framing a state policy on climate change. With support from all corners, swift action can be taken to save the ecology,” he added.

28 Off-Beat

October 30 - November 05, 2017

noise pollution

casteism kerala

The ‘non-Brahmin’ priest of Kerala 81 years to historic Vaikom Satyagraha, yet non-Brahmin priest Sudhi Kumar faces clash over caste

Formula extracted to avoid Noise pollution Virali Foundation purchased nearly ten thousand headphones and connected them with WiFi to stream its spiritual discourses Anand Bharti


surpassed measure was taken out regarding noise pollution in Ulhasnagar, adjacent to Mumbai due to the conscious government and court. This city is famous for organizing religious programs. Every now and then some event took place there. The loud noise of hymns, spiritual discourse, etc is becoming a topic of issue. Keeping in this view, Virali foundation has taken a unique initiative. They provided access to headphones to people who come for Satsang and freed local people from the noise. Actually, a forty-day Satsang has been organized in Ulhasnagar, starting from 24th September to November 4th. Because of the Satsang and spiritual discourse for so many days people were having a problem. Due to the court’s stand, the police administration and Municipal Corporation have the pressure to curb the sound. Virali Foundation bought nearly ten thousand headphones and connected it to Wi-Fi. This way the spiritual discourses and hymns reach directly through the headphone to their ears. The rest of the people don’t get disturbed this way.

Swastika Tripathi

Quick Glance


ou are a Brahmin by Karma, and not by birth” – these are the words of Sudhi Kumar, a non-Brahmin priest in Kerala, who recently won the battle for his right to be a Keezh Santhi (assistant priest). It all started on June 19, 2017 when the Travancore Devaswom Board transferred Sudhi to the Chettikulangara Devi Khetram as the first non-Brahmin ‘Keezh Santhi’. Other than Devaswom Board temples, there are thousands of temples in Kerala that follow Sree Narayana Guru (Gurudeva)’s traditions. In all these temples, the priests were non-Brahmins. But the temples under the Devaswom Board only had Namboodiris as priests. Afraid of ‘angering the goddess’, the temple’s Thantri (head priest) wrote to the Board that it was not possible to have a non-Brahmin as a Santhi in the temple. Following this, the temple’s Hindu Matha Convention – called Sridevi Vilasam – acquired a stay against Kumar’s appointment. On July 7, 2017, the Convention approached High Court, seeking restrictions over appointing anyone other than a Malayali Brahmin, who has undergone rituals upto ‘Samavarthanam’ of Shodasa Samskaram, as a priest at the temple. The High Court did not accept the stay as it was a human rights violation and disposed of the petition the very same day but without a clear decision. It instructed the Devaswom Board Commissioner to take the matter in his hands, who subsequently cancelled the transfer. The cancellation of the transfer created a big uproar in the state. The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana

He is a learned priest victim of casteism Devaswom Board temple denies non-Brahmin priest Temple afraid of ‘angering the goddess’

Yogam (an Ezhava organisation) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist started a statewide protest against the decision. Come August, Kayakulam MLA Prathibha Hari moved a submission in the Assembly on the issue. Following discussions in the Assembly, Devaswom Board minister responded saying that the government would see to it that Kumar would be re-appointed at the same temple. Finally wrapping the issue, an order was passed on September 26 asking Sudhi Kumar to join the temple and the very next day, amidst hundreds of people from the SNDP and CPM cheering, he joined the temple. Such is ‘The Great Indian Casteism’ that Sudhi Kumar, a third-generation Ezhava priest who has been working as a Santhi for the Devaswom Board for 19 years, had to face discrimination 81 years after the historic Vaikom Satyagraha. The Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924 is a milestone in Kerala’s history as it resulted in many major

“All are born as Shudras, only when you acquire

knowledge do you become a Brahmin,” – Sudhi Kumar

social reformations in the state. The Satyagraha aimed at securing freedom of movement for all sections of society through the public roads leading to the Sri Mahadevar Temple at Vaikom. The event led to the entry of Hindus from all castes into temples and hence considered a landmark event in Kerala’s history. It also allowed the ‘untouchables’ of society to make use of roads near the temples and other places which were the exclusive domain of upper caste Hindus in Kerala. Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had visited Vaikom back then to support the movement. He met with the regent Maharani and the minor Maharaja Sree Chithira Thirunal of Travancore which eventually resulted in the opening of roads near the temple. The Vaikom Satyagraha led to the historic Kshetra Pravesana Vilambaram or the Temple Entry Proclamation of Travancore on November 12, 1936 which allowed the entry to ‘low-caste people’ (Avarnas) into Hindu temples in the princely state of Travancore. 81 years, yet a very learned and traditional priest, who grew up hearing the chanting of Vedas and prayers was barred position in the name of caste. “All are born as Shudras, only when you acquire knowledge do you become a Brahmin. We are taught that you are a Brahmin by karma and not by birth. Nobody become a Brahmin by birth. If you ask me why I decided to be a santhi, I feel I was born to be one,” says a victorious Sudhi Kumar.

October 30 - November 05, 2017

Off-Beat mars

fifa u-20 aiff


Pushing India’s U-20 WC bid at FIFA council meeting AIFF President, Praful Patel will look to make the most of the opportunity by pushing for India’s case for U-20 WC IANS ll India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel, who has been invited to the world football governing body FIFA’s council meeting to be held here on Friday, will look to make the most of the opportunity by pushing for India’s case for hosting the Under-20 World Cup in 2019. “I will use all the goodwill in my and India’s command to good use when I address the FIFA council where I have been invited as the hosts,” Patel told reporters at the FIFA U-17 World Cup wrap-up press conference here.

“These are almost (senior) World Cup level stadiums, not only U-20 World Cup level stadiums. In every aspect, they can host major event. If the development goes on like this and they do good work, I think infrastructure wise they have the ability to host any major event. There is one picture LOC (Local Organising Committee) has not sold yet. That is “Proud to be Indian.” They should be proud.” Patel, who is also the chairman of the LOC, said India will have a Centre of Excellence accommodating all senior teams and age-group teams including six academies.

The final composition of the FIFA Council will consist of 37 members: one President, elected by the FIFA Congress; eight Vice-Presidents and 28 other members elected by the member associations - each for a term of four years. Patel said FIFA president Infantino has invited him to the meeting. Infantino arrived this morning and is the state guest of the West Bengal government. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will host a dinner for the FIFA chief. Infantino, who was accompanied by a 35-member delegation, will also

attend a programme along with a host of former footballers at Eco Park. On October 28, the FIFA boss will hand over the glittering U-17 World Cup Trophy to the winner of the summit clash between England and Spain at the Salt Lake Stadium. Patel had earlier said that the country had made a formal bid to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup and expected the current U-17 team to be part of that tournament too. Jaime Yarza, head of FIFA tournaments, said India is “almost” ready to host a senior World Cup, let alone the U-20 World Cup.


Quick Glance The Fifa Under-20 World Cup will be hosted in 2019 India has already hosted Fifa’s Under-17 World Cup India had earlier made a formal bid to host the World Cup

The move is aimed at uninterrupted development of the U-17 World Cup team. “We are setting up National Centre of Excellence in the near future. I have spoken to the FIFA president that FIFA must also give us support in whichever way possible. He has been solid in his commitment to support,” he said. “The Centre of Excellence will also be the home for senior national team, various age-group teams and women’s national team. I think it should be ready in two years’ time and will be a further boost to all our development activities,” Patel said. Talking about the members of India’s U-17 World Cup squad: “The Indian U-17 team will continue to play as one unit. We will not only keep them together and as close as possible. We will compensate them appropriately so that they are not only playing for the country, but also need build a career for themselves professionally. That will be ensured by AIFF,” he said. “They will play in the I-League with some 18-19 year-old players. They will get all the infrastructural support that they have been getting during the U-17 World Cup,” Patel stated. “We will also create another U-17 team with 13 and 14 year olds starting from now. Our investment in grassroots programme will continue in the same vein. This team will get the same support as this U-17 national team got for the World Cup. We will continue with them and invest in them,” he said.

Mars has an invisible magnetic “tail” An invisible twisted magnetic tail trailing behind Mars as it orbits the Sun Urooj Fatima


ASA has found an invisible, twisted magnetic tail trailing behind Mars as it orbits the Sun, caused by the effects of rushing solar winds and perhaps explaining more about how the Martian atmosphere escapes into space. Invisible to the naked eye, the so-called ‘magnetotail’ was recently detected by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission spacecraft (MAVEN). It showed how the Red Planet’s local magnetic fields behave differently from the global magnetic field around Earth. Interactions between magnetic fields in the Sun’s solar winds and the pockets of magnetism left on Mars could give remaining atmospheric particles an escape route out into space, according to scientists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. “Our model predicted that magnetic reconnection will cause the Martian magnetotail to twist 45 degrees from what’s expected based on the direction of the magnetic field carried by the solar wind,” says DiBraccio. “When we compared those predictions to MAVEN data on the directions of the Martian and solar wind magnetic fields, they were in very good agreement.” “Mars is really complicated but really interesting at the same time,” says DiBraccio.

30 Gender

October 30 - November 05, 2017

song ghoomghar

village ikea

IKEA Empowering Village Women

Tribute To Brave Rajput Women

Through Rangsutra, around 600 women now work with IKEA and is soon expected to make retail presence in India

The movie Padmavati features the song ‘Ghoomghar’ which retains its Rajasthani authenticity graciously

Quick Glance Rangsutra is a community-owned craft company of artisans


The company leverages the growing handicraft businesses


eeing the amazing grace that Deepika Padukone brings to the “Ghoomar” song in “Padmavati”, it is evident that the number did not just happen in the routine way that filmy choreographic songs go. One of the most accomplished Ghoomar dancers of Rajasthan Jyothi D. Tommaar was on the sets to make sure that Deepika performed the dance with the understated grace that it deserves. A source from Sanjay Leela

Bhansali productions says: “We wanted to retain absolute authenticity of the Ghoomar. Deepika had to perform the subtle and intricate dance form not the way it is shown in our films but the way royalty performs it.” Deepika spent 12 days rehearsing the “Ghoomar” number and four days actually performing it on camera. About 60 chorus dancers, all trained Ghoomar exponents, performed alongside Deepika. The result is spectacular beyond belief. Movie director Sanjay Bhansali says: “We wanted the ‘Ghoomar’ to retain its purity since this was being performed by Rani Padmavati. Every step and every move in the dance form celebrates the royal grace of royalty. This is our dance tribute to the brave Rajput women of Rajasthan.”

IKEA formed a partnership with Rangsutra for its CSR initiative



or Nirmala Maurya, 32, running and managing the home became tedious and she began a different life swimming against the social current. For Nirmala, from Arjunpur Pathak village, her journey of self-reliance and financial independence began in 2010 when she was approached by Rangsutra, a community-owned craft company of over a thousand artisans from remote regions of India which boasts of “ensuring sustainable livelihoods and regular employment for rural artisans”. The company leverages the growing handicraft businesses to reduce poverty and to empower women by making them financially independent. In several villages near Mirzapur, many women like Nirmala - with or without their family’s support - made the same attempt to break the deadlock and joined the organisation. “It was a huge battle against the taboo,” Nirmala told IANS. She said her husband, against her wishes, wanted her to shift with him to Kolhapur, where he works. “For the one week training programme that Rangsutra held in Jaunpur, I wasn’t given permission by my parents-in-law...I had to go to my mother’s house in Benaras where I left my kids and went on to get trained,” she said. It took time to win the family’s support but, Nirmala says, people in the village still have objections. “They keep saying all kinds of things, they joke about it but I don’t care about anything they feel or say as long as my job makes

me happy,” she said. “Many of them can’t even educate their kids but I have been successful in sending all my three daughters to school.” Now, she has started to save money to build a proper house and to get rid of the mud house that she and her family have been staying in. She is one of the hundreds of women in Uttar Pradesh who, for the past five years, have been making textile products for IKEA, the Swedishfounded, Netherlands-headquartered furniture and home appliances’ giant. Through Rangsutra, around 600 women now work with IKEA, which still does not have a retail presence in India but is expected to open soon. “Since 2012 IKEA, has been forming partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world. The social entrepreneurs IKEA works with gain access to a global marketplace, giving them a strong foundation for selfsufficiency and independence,” said Vaishali Mishra, Global Leader, Social Entrepreneur Initiatives, IKEA. “These partnerships are a new way to make a business where everyone wins. The social entrepreneurs gain access to a global marketplace and are able to provide the artisans with a job on their own terms, helping them stay in their village and at the same time provide for their families,” she added. Mishra said that across the years, she has seen lives change. “I remember the same women were so shy and withdrawn initially. They would not come out in the open without their ghunghats on,” she said. “Today, you see them confidently taking up the

job, feeling responsible and confident” about being able to make a financial contribution to the family, she stressed. Radhika Vishwakarma, 22, had a tough time convincing her mother-inlaw, who finally snapped: “Do whatever you want!” “I felt, all right, she has given her permission,” she laughed. With little dreams for themselves and big ones for their children, every morning many of these women hail a ride on auto-rickshaws and bicycles to the IKEA workshop here in Mirzapur. One of them, very humbly, said: “I want my daughter to grow up and become a pilot.” The workshop has some inspiring, and some very heart-touching stories about women with calibre, women with confidence and about women who dream to become big and move beyond the social barriers. But then, everybody’s tale is not the same. There were also those whose husbands and parents-in-law were more than ready to let them work. “Acha hai apne bacho ke liye dochaar paise kama leti hai. Ghar pe bethe bethe bhi kya karna waise (Nice, she earns for her kids. What’s the point of sitting idle at home, anyway?)” questioned 65-year-old Munni Devi, mother-in-law of Rangsutra employee Rekha. Her father-in-law Radhe Shyam added: “Zamana badal gaya hai...ab sab pehle se alag aur behtar hai. Kaahe nahi jaegi Rekha kaam karne (Times have is different and better than before. Why shouldn’t Rekha go to work?)” “The money I earn, I confidently spend on myself without asking my husband for any support,” said 28-year-old Rekha, who now has around 20 women working under her. “This independence feels good.”

October 30 - November 05, 2017



shooting worldcup

Shooters Rai, Sidhu win gold at World Cup

Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai won the gold medal in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the ISSF World Cup Quick Glance


Sidhu and Rai shot a total of 483.4 points in the five teams final


eena Sidhu and Jitu Rai gave the Indian campaign at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final a golden start as they won the 10m air pistol mixed team event here last week. Sidhu and Rai shot a total of 483.4 points in the five teams final. France took the silver with 481.1 points while the bronze went to China (418.2). This was the Indian pair’s third gold in the event this year, after having won both the test events (Grand Prix status) at two earlier World Cup stages this year in New Delhi and Gabala. This was also Heena’s second WCF gold medal. She had won the individual women’s 10m Air Pistol gold in the 2013 edition. This was also Jitu’s second medal at the WCF level. He had taken silver last year in the individual men’s 50m Pistol event. In Tuesday’s final, each team had to shoot 30 shots before the bottom placed team began successively eliminating themselves after the 34th (17th individual shot) shot and subsequently after every four shots per team. The Indian pair made a strong comeback as they were at the third spot after the first two series of five shots each. At that point, the French were at pole position followed by the Chinese.But Heena and Rai picked up their game from the third series and steadily gained ground on their rivals. A magnificent couple of 10.9s by


France took the silver with 481.1 points This was the Indian pair’s third gold in the event this year

Jitu on his 15th and 17th individual shots, meant that they held on to win gold easily. A 10.8 in his 21st individual shot was also crucial as Longevity Heena was a picture of consistency throughout the final. Earlier, the Indians struggled at the start of the qualification rounds and took time to settle down before entering the final as table toppers with a total of 767 out of 800. The qualification round comprised four series of 10 shots each, with each

India’s marksmen, Sidhu and Raj brought home their third gold medal this year in mixed team shooting championships


Shuttler Carolina Starts French Open With Win The Spanish badminton player won the first match of the campaign with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Japan’s Minatsu Miltani

shot offering a maximum of 10 points. France (766), China (764), Ukraine (761) and Chinese Taipei (760) were the others to qualify. Sidhu started the qualification round with a series of 94/100. She scored 96, 95 and 97 in the next three series to register a total of 382 points. Rai scored 97, 96, 95 and 97 for a total of 385 points. In other events, China’s Song Buhan and Wu Mingyang won the mixed team 10M Air Rifle gold

SSB Bureau


panish badminton star Carolina Marin kicked off her 2017 French Open campaign with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Japan’s Minatsu Mitani. Mitani took a 16-12 lead at Stade Pierre de Coubertin here when Marin missed two consecutive smashes, but the world No. 4 reeled off nine of the next 10 points and clinched the first game when the Japanese player netted a return of serve on Wednesday, reports Efe. The Spaniard got off to a better start

in the second game, grabbing an 11-6 lead at the mid-game interval and then extending that advantage to 19-10 when Mitani sent a smash wide. Marin took

shooting 499.8 at the end of the 48 shot final. The silver medal went to the Serbian pair of Milutin Stefanovic and Andrea Arsovic who shot a combined 496.8. China’s Team 2 took the bronze as Sui Gengcheng and Shi Mengyao shot 430.3 to push the Indian pair of Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar to the fourth place. The Indian pair who suffered a two-shot penalty for shooting in the wrong sequence would have probably landed a medal otherwise. In the mixed team Trap, Spain’s Antonio Bailon and Beatrice Martinez won gold shooting 42 out of 50 in the final round. Italy’s Giovanni Pellielo and Jessica Rossi had to be content with the silver. The Italian pair scored 40 while Americans Derrek Haldeman and Ashley Carroll got bronze with a final round score of 31. This the first time the mixed team events are being held officially at an ISSF World Cup. The mixed team events were organised as test events at the World Cups held earlier this year and are scheduled to be included for the first time at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. her foot off the gas as Mitani saved five straight match points to make the score 20-18, but the 2016 Olympic gold medallist clinched the first-round victory when the Japanese player netted a drop shot. Marin, the winner of the French Open in 2015, has been drawn in the tough top half of the women’s singles draw, which also includes Chinese defending champion He Bingjiao, Taiwanese world No. 1 and top seed Tai Tzu-ying and Thai world No. 9 Ratchanok Intanon, winner of last week’s Denmark Open.


October 30 - November 05, 2017



32 Unsung Hero


auto-rickshaw driver

13-Year-Old raises Rs 1.5 Lakh to Save Toddler’s Life


Alaiha used Milaap crowdfunding to raise treatment funds for toddler, Veer Pawar, who is suffering from lung cancer


aising nearly Rs 1.5 lakh to save a two-year old suffering from cancer, Alaiha Vanjara, a 13-year-old student of Mahim’s Bombay Scottish is making headlines for her altruistic actions. A few months ago, Alaiha heard about Veer Pawar, a toddler in the neighbourhood, suffering from terminal cancer with a treatment cost of Rs 4 lakh. The treatment was unaffordable for Pawar’s parents. Even more heartening is that the young girl decided to forego decorating her room with her favourite actor, Varun Dhawan’s merchandise, so she could use the money she saved to help Veer! Up

until then, Alaiha saved Rs 10,000. Hushna Vanjara, Alaiha’s mother, says, “When I saw the Facebook post, I showed it to her, and she became concerned. We immediately contacted the hospital which confirmed its authenticity. Then, we circulated a message seeking funds and soon help started coming in.” Veer’s father Balraj, a taxi driver, in Mumbai and had lost his first child 15 days after delivery. “So, when Veer fell ill I wanted to do all I could to ensure that I don’t lose him as well,” says a concerned and worried Balraj. While he was able to borrow some money from friends and relatives, it was nowhere close

Alaiha Vanjara to the treatment costs. Fortunately, patients are admitted in Mahalaxmi’s NH SRCC Children’s

Hospital even if they don’t pay upfront and the hospital allowed a credit line, which most hospitals do not do nowadays. Going a step further, the hospital decided to raise funds for Veer’s treatment. The hospital connected NGO’s and Milaap, a crowd funding site. Alaiha’s mother recalls how her daughter contacted her family, friends, and even her school’s viceprincipal for help. While she wanted to spend her savings on Varun Dhawan posters, she chose to spend it on Veer’s treatment instead. “When I learnt about the child, I thought of spending my money on something more meaningful,” she told Mid-day. She was able to collect Rs 1.23 lakh with over 40 donations in just a week!. Alaiha and her mother also made sure to visit Veer in the hospital and spent time cheering him up. The hospital felicitated Alaiha for her gesture and the boy’s family was extremely grateful for her efforts.

ers ak New New s smma kers


Choti Kumari Singh

20-Year Old Gets International Recognition For Uplifting Musahars Choti Kumari joined the programme run by Mata Amritanandamayi Math and offered free tuitions to Musahar children

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 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. With 108 children enrolled, Choti’s tuition classes were a huge success. This is not a small feat considering the village has a population of fewer than 1,000 people. 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.

Indian origin Teen Is UK’s Youngest Millionaire

Akshay Ruparelia


Juggling school work with property deals, Akshay runs a no frills business in the UK

fter his online real estate business received a valuation of 12 million pounds, Akshay Ruparelia effectively became one of UK’s youngest millionaires. His website – ‘www.doorsteps.’ became the 18th biggest real estate agency in the country in just 16 months after it went live. Juggling school work with high stakes property deals, Indian-origin Akshay Ruparelia, at just 19 years of age, successfully runs a no-frills business that offers to sell properties for a fraction of the cost charged by established real estate agents. Already having sold 100 million pounds worth of properties since its inception, Ruparelia is optimistic about his future. Starting his company on borrowed money, he began with a meagre 7,000 pounds borrowed from relatives. He hired a call centre to answer calls coming to his workplace while in school during the initial stages of his business. His business employs a growing network of selfemployed mothers across the UK, who show the properties to the clients. The teenage tycoon believes his model is set to turn the property selling market away from agents in flashy suits.

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 46 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 46)  

Widow Remarriage Historic wedding after 160 years

Sulabh Swachh Bharat - (Issue 46)  

Widow Remarriage Historic wedding after 160 years