வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை….” நெல்லுக்கு இறைத்த நீர் …” !!!

 

நெல்லுக்கிறைத்த  நீர்
…………………..
தண்ணீர் விட்டா வளர்த்தோம்  நம் சுதந்திர செடியை  ?
கண்ணீரும்  செந்நீரும் விட்டு வளர்த்த கொடி மரமல்லவா அது !
கேட்க  முடியுமா நம் முன்னோரிடம் அந்த கொடியின் விலை என்ன என்று ?
விலை மதிப்பில்லா சுதந்திரக் காற்று சுவாசிக்கும் நாம்  விலை வைத்து
விட்டோமே  குடிக்கும் நீருக்கும் , குழந்தைகள் படிக்கும் படிப்புக்கும் !
விலை இல்லா பொருள் கொடுத்து  எனக்கும், உனக்கும், எவருக்கும்
ஒரு விலை உண்டு என்று சொல்லிவிட்டதே  நம்  அரசியல்
கட்சிகள் !  விலை  மதிப்பில்லா நேர்மைக்கே ஒரு சோதனை காலம் இது !
நிலைமை கண்டு துவள வேண்டாம்  தம்பி …நீ ! சோதனை பல
கண்டாலும் சாதனை புரிய காத்திருக்கும் நீ செய்ய வேண்டியது ஒன்றே ஒன்று !
எடுக்க வேண்டும் ஒரு உறுதிப்பாடு  நீ  இன்று…
“என் முன்னோர் செய்த தியாகம்  விழலுக்கு இறைத்த நீர் அல்ல …
 அது நெல்லுக்கு இறைத்த நீரே   அன்றும் ,இன்றும், என்றும் ! …என் தேசம் என்
 சுவாசம் !
 எதற்கும் விலை போகாமல் நான் காண்பேன்  ஒரு புதிய பாரதம் “
தடைக் கற்கள் யாவும் உனக்கு படிக்கற்கள் ஆகும் …புதிய
பாரதமும்  பொலிவுடன் மலரும் ஒரு வல்லரசாக …!
நாளை உனதே தம்பி ! நாளைய பாரதமும் உன்னை நம்பிதான் தம்பி  !
Natarajan

From Golconda to Kandahar to London: The Journey of the Fabled Kohinoor Diamond…!!!

 

Described by the Mughal Emperor Babur as ‘Worth the value of one day’s food for all the people in the world‘, Kohinoor is one of the most coveted and valuable diamonds of all times. This dazzlingly beautiful rare jewel has been in the eye of the storm ever since it left the hands of its original owners, the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Never bought or sold, the fabled diamond changed many hands as it traveled through several dynasties that included the Khiljis, the Mughals, the Persians, the Afghans and the British before ending up at the Tower of London.

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This is the intriguing story of its eventful journey.

Photo Source

The Kohinoor has a complex history that goes back to the 13th century. A large colourless diamond that weighed around 793 carats, Kohinoor originated in India’s Golconda mines when they were under the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty.

Legend has it that it was used as an eye of the deity in a Kakatiya temple in Warangal in 1310.

In the early 14th century, Alauddin Khilji, second ruler of the Khilji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, and his army began looting the kingdoms of southern India. During a raid on Warangal, Malik Kafur (Khilji’s general) acquired the priceless diamond for the Khilji dynasty. It was then passed on to the succeeding dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate.

In 1526, Babur handed a resounding defeat to Ibrahim Lodi at the Battle of Panipat. The victorious Babur received reports that the Fort of Agra housed an immense treasure, which included a diamond that defied all description. Enraptured by the jewel on its acquisition, Babur called it the ‘Diamond of Babur’ and even mentioned it in his memoir, the Baburnama.

After Babur’s death, the precious stone was inherited by his son Humayun from whom it passed on to successive generations of Mughal rulers, including Shah Jahan, who set the priceless gem in his legendary Peacock throne.

Later, when he was imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan used to see the reflection of the Taj Mahal in the glittering jewel, placed near a window.

It was in Aurangzeb’s reign that Tavernier, an enterprising French traveller and gem connoisseur, visited India in the search of rare and wonderful gems. Having been shown the diamond by Aurangzeb, Tavernier made the first sketch of Kohinoor in history.

Aurangzeb also entrusted the work of cutting and enhancing the diamond to Hortenso Borgia, a Venetian lapidary (gem artist) so clumsy that he reduced the weight of the stone from 793 carats to 186 carats. So enraged was Aurangzeb at the carelessness and stupidity of the lapidary, that not only did he refuse to compensate him for his labour, but he also confiscated all of Borgia’s worldly possessions.

During the rule of Aurangzeb’s grand son Muhammad Shah in 1739, Delhi was invaded by Nadir Shah, the Shah of Persia. His army looted all the jewels in the royal Mughal treasury, which also included the famous Peacock Throne, and Daria-i-noor, the sister diamond of the Kohinoor. However, the Kohinoor was nowhere to be seen. How Nadir Shah acquired the Kohinoor is a very interesting story.

Muhammad Shah used to carry the prized diamond with him hidden in the folds of his turban, a secret known only to a selected few, including a eunuch in the harem of the Emperor. Hoping to win the favor of the victorious Nadir Shah, the disloyal eunuch whispered the emperor’s secret into his ears. Devising a plan to deprive Muhammad Shah of his prized possession., Nadir Shah ordered a grand feast to coincide with the restoration of Muhammad Shah to his throne.

During the feast, Nadir Shah proposed an exchange of turbans as a gesture of eternal friendship and Muhammad Shah, unable to refuse the gesture, had to hand over his turban. After the ceremony, Nadir Shah returned to his private chambers where he eagerly unfolded the turban to find the diamond concealed within. Dazzled by its beauty, he exclaimed ‘Koh-i-noor‘, which in Persian means mountain of light. One of Nadir Shah’s consort, wonder struck by the Kohinoor, had said,

“If a strong man were to throw four stones, one north, one south, one east, one west, and a fifth stone up into the air, and if the space between them were to be filled with gold, all would not equal the value of the Kohinoor.”

Nadir Shah was assassinated soon after he returned to Persia and the diamond fell into the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali, one of his ablest generals, who later became the Emir of Afghanistan.

A descendant of Abdali, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Kohinoor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh,the ruler of Lahore, in exchange for his help in winning back the throne of Afghanistan.

Ranjit Singh , the founder of the Sikh empire, had the prized jewel sewn into an armlet, which he wore on all the important state occasions. It remained with him for the next twenty years. Ranjit Singh had willed the diamond to the temple of Jagannath in Puri, in modern-day Odisha, but after his death in 1839, the East India Company did not comply with the terms of his will.

His son, Duleep Singh lost the second Anglo-Sikh War leading to the annexation of the Punjab by the British. Under the aegis of Lord Dalhousie, the Last Treaty of Lahore was signed, officially ceding the Kohinoor to Queen Victoria along with the Maharaja’s other assets. The treaty specified,

“The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Malik by Maharaja Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.”

On 6 April 1850, the Kohinoor left the shores of India on board of the HMS Medea. So shrouded in mystery was its departure that even the Captain of the ship did not know the priceless cargo his ship carried.

n a grand event organized in Hyde Park in London, the Kohinoor was formally handed over to Queen Victoria by the officials of the East India Company.

Disappointed by its Mughal-style cut, the Queen, along with Prince Albert and others in the court, decided to refashion the diamond to enhance its brilliance. The re-cutting of the Kohinoor, that took a mere 38 days and costed £8000, resulted in an oval brilliant that weighed 108.93 carat. Despite the efforts of the Dutch jeweler, Mr Cantor, the results reduced the diamond drastically in weight. In 1853, it was mounted on a magnificent tiara for the Queen that contained over two thousand diamonds.

Queen Victoria wore the diamond frequently afterwards and left it in her will that the Kohinoor should only be worn by a queen of the royal family. This was due to rumour of an ancient curse associated with the Kohinoor that said,

“He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”

As a result, the diamond is worn only by the female members of the British Royal Family. Since getting into British hands, the Kohinoor was been worn by Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

It is now displayed along with the other British crown jewels in the Tower of London. Crystal replicas of the diamond set in the oldest crowns as well as the original bracelet given to Queen Victoria can also be seen at the Tower’s Jewel House.

During the Second World War, the Crown Jewels were moved from their home at the Tower of London to a secret location. The biography of the French army general, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, by his widow Simonne says that George VI hid the Kohinoor at the bottom of a lake near Windsor Castle where it remained until after the war. The only people who knew of the hiding place were the king and his librarian, who apparently revealed the secret to the general and his wife on their visit to England in 1949.

The subject of bitter battles and court intrigues, today Kohinoor casts its brilliance on the millions of tourists who, for the most part, are unaware of its long history in shaping the destinies of men.

Source…..www.the betterindia.com

natarajan

France mints Rs. 65 lakh gold coin with Taj Mahal….!

 

The world-renowned Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) has unveiled a rare work of artistry – a gold coin bearing a Taj Mahal engraving – at their Manhattan showroom. The limited edition gold coin weighs one kilo and is priced at Rs. 65 lakh. Each coin, which is minted in .999 pure gold and measures 37mm in diameter, is the world’s first coin to include 68 hand-set Cartier diamonds. Here’s a look at the limited edition Taj Mahal coin that was issued on November 17, 2010.

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A picture taken on November 17, 2010 in Paris, shows the world’s first one-kilo gold coin to feature 68 hand-set Cartier diamonds, bearing a Taj Mahal engraving. The coin is released in a limited edition of only 29 pieces with a price tag of 100,00 euros. The Taj Mahal, built in the 17th Century by Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, has been a symbol of eternal lover for centuries. (Photo: AFP)

In India the collection will be marketed by the Taj Association for Art, Culture and Heritage (TAACH). Walter J. Kole, Chief Numismatist for The Franklin Mint, said the Taj Mahal gold coins offer a unique opportunity to buy a piece of history for any collector who is looking to buy gold.

The Taj Mahal gold coin, especially designed to appeal to specialty collectors, is one of the largest coins of its type in the world.

Founded in 1964, The Franklin Mint is an American icon which is renowned for its innovative design, meticulous attention to detail and creation of the highest-quality collectibles in the world.

The eye-catching coin is housed inside a custom leather display handcrafted by the makers of the finest luggage in the world, Goyard

Source…..www.ndtv.com

Natarajan

How a Class 7 Indian-Origin Girl in Texas Raised Rs. 13 Lakh to Distribute Free LED Bulbs in Delhi…?

 

This Class 7 student in the US raised funds to buy and distribute LED bulbs for free to poor people in India. This is the story of her determination to do something concrete for the future of the planet.

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“Small things can make a difference – provided all of us do our part. I am asking you to join me in the effort of replacing 77 crore incandescent bulbs in India with energy efficient LED bulbs. This will go a long way in reducing energy consumption and carbon emission along with the electricity bills of those who can least afford these bulbs. For the sake of India and for the sake of this planet, let’s all change our future, one bulb at a time.” – This is 13-year-old Meera Vashisht’s message to children of her age around the world.

An Indian-origin girl who was born and raised in the US and lives in Sugar Land, Texas, Meera will soon be in Delhi to distribute LED bulbs for free to those who cannot afford them.

Meera’s interest in the project came about when she was researching a project in school. She stumbled across a news article about the LED revolution in India. The Indian government is in the process of replacing 77 crore incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, as a part of the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme. She was intrigued to learn that simply changing a bulb at home can not only change the lives of people by offering increased energy savings, but reduce our carbon footprint as well.

Under the UJALA scheme, the Indian government is distributing LED bulbs across 16 states, in the price range of Rs. 75-95.

“But even at these subsidised rates, people belonging to the poorest sections of society would find it difficult to afford these bulbs,” Meera concluded.

“This was my moment of reckoning. After all those days when I had thought of doing something for India but didn’t know what to do, I suddenly discovered something that I could actually do and make a difference,” she wrote in an essay.

Meera’s first thought was to save her allowance money and send it to India as her contribution to the UJALA scheme. But that wouldn’t be enough she realized, so she thought of something else: “Let’s distribute the bulbs for free!” Her parents encouraged her to develop the idea further and it was then that she came up with the idea of a fundraiser.

She picked up a telephone directory and started writing letters to random people in the US, asking for help in making LED bulbs available to those who need them the most in India.

The challenge here was – why would anyone in the US want to fund something that was going on in India? But Meera was willing to take on this challenge. She told us – ‘The planet is one. We all share this planet. Whatever happens in India affects everyone. So let me try and draft this letter,’” says her mother Sunanda Vashisht, who works as a writer and columnist.

To everybody’s surprise, the first cheque arrived for Meera in just a few days, and the money kept coming in after that. Meera sent 500 letters and collected $ 2,000 (approximately Rs. 1,40,000) over the span of a year.

“In my letter, I explained why an LED revolution in India can save the whole planet and why we all should participate and contribute. I explained that a simple action of switching a light bulb in India could help achieve the goal of providing 24/7 electricity across the country. What most of us don’t understand is that electricity is empowerment. In rural areas it helps kids study after dusk, it helps ease the workload of people, it improves agricultural output, it helps set up small scale industries and connects remote areas with the world at large via the Internet and smartphones. This is empowerment in its truest sense and real democracy in action,” she wrote.

Now Meera had to find a way to reach those people who would need these bulbs the most. Sunanda contacted India’s Ministry of Power, informing them about Meera’s desire to visit and contribute to their mission, and the authorities were more than willing to help.

Sunanda and Meera will reach Delhi in the first week of July, and the Ministry will help them identify the underprivileged families that need these bulbs.

Meera’s father is an engineer and her family’s ancestral home is in Punjab. “We have family in India and we keep going back to visit them all the time. We are inculcating affection for India in Meera. She always says that she wants to work for people there,” says Sunanda. Through this distribution drive, Meera also wants to create awareness about the use of LED bulbs among people who might think that giving Rs. 75 for a bulb is a waste of money.

The teenager also stays connected to her roots through music and dance. She learns Hindustani classical vocal music and has been learning Bharat Natyam since she was four years old. Her grandfather’s passion for environmental causes has inspired Meera to work for the environment as well.

“He is an avid lover of nature, an artist, and an environmentalist. He is very considerate and compassionate. From him I have learnt to respect all life…I am so glad to be finally able to now come to India and make a contribution to the cause of cleaning the environment in a tangible way. I couldn’t be happier,” she says.

Here’s hoping this young environment enthusiast finds success in all her endeavours towards making the planet greener and more compassionate towards the less fortunate.


You can contact Sunanda by writing to her at sunanda_vashisht@yahoo.com.

Source….TanayaSingh in www. the betterindia .com

Natarajan

Shakuntala Railways: The Only Train Line In India That Is Still Not Owned By India !!!

 

The Indian Railways is India’s lifeline. Every day millions of passengers avail its facilities.

It has become such an integral part of our lives that we cannot imagine a life without it. The Indian railways were nationalized way back in the year 1951. But today, we are not going to talk about the Indian railways but we are going to talk about of its long forgotten relative ‘The Shakuntala Railways’. I am sure that for most of you this sounds a bit alien. Hearing the name you might think of it as a name of some train or maybe a little-known rail zone.

Shakuntala Railways is one of only a few operational railway lines in India that remains with private owners and perhaps the only one that belongs to a British firm.

Beyer.Garrett

But Shakuntala is neither one of them. In fact, it is an independent railway which does not come under the Indian Railways. So, technically the Indian Railways does not enjoy a monopoly. When Nationalization happened in 1951, Strangely this line was left alone. Interestingly till date, nobody knows the exact reason why this line was never de-privatised.

The birth of Central Province Railway Company (CPRC) or The Shakuntala railways took place way back in 1910. It was founded by a British Firm called Killick-Nixon.

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It was formed during the British Raj. During those times, most of the rail lines were operated by individual firms. The location of the track was quite strategical as this route was used to transport cotton from Vidharba. This cotton then made its way to Manchester.

During those times, there was a deal between the CPRC and the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR). This deal stayed in place even after GIPR became Central Railways.

Soon, not only cotton but the line was used even to ferry passengers. The GIPR used CPRC’s lines to run its trains and paid a compensation or rent to the company. The deal continued even after GIPR was replaced by the Central Railways. To this day, the Central Railways pays the British firm a compensation for using its lines. Interestingly, in recent times, the Indian Railways has not paid the decided rent instead has been adjusting it from the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Unlike most train lines in India, this train line still uses a narrow gauge.

The rail line itself is quite unique as the unlike most of the rail lines that are broad gauge lines, Shankuntala railways still use narrow gauge lines. The British company still gets more than 1 crore rupees from the Indian Railways for running a train on its tracks called the Shakuntala Express.

The Shakuntala Express is a passenger train that runs from the towns of Yavatmal to Murtijapur

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The train runs through the beautiful cotton growing areas of Achalpur, which falls under Amravati division. If you are ever lucky enough to board this train then this train journey is sure to take you back to the 19th century. Everything about it is old school. It seems that when modernisation happened everywhere it forgot about poor Shakuntala.

Every day it covers just one return journey and even today it is a lifeline for hundreds of poor people, who cannot afford to take the road, as it almost 5-6 times the train’s fare

It covers a journey of almost 190Km in about 4 hours.  For these people, it is the cheapest means of transport and they can’t imagine their lives without it. The train runs through a narrow gauge which itself gives it a very toy- train kind of feeling.

It still runs on a steam engine and the rail signals have been there right from the British Raj

Most of the official works are also done manually. In times when our trains run on electric engines ,  Shakuntala Express still uses an old steam engine. Another interesting thing that you would find when you board this train is that all the existing rail signals are still from the British era with the words ‘made in Liverpool’inscribed on it.

This journey literally takes you on a trip down the memory lane.

Source….Abir Gupta in http://www.storypick.com

Natarajan

Ramu to IAS Ramesh: The Story of a Disabled Bangle Seller Who is Now an IAS officer….

From selling bangles to becoming an IAS officer – who says hard work and determination don’t pay off? This is the inspiring story of Ramesh Gholap.

Ramesh Gholap, known as Ramu in his village Mahagoan in Barshi district of Maharashtra, was a bright child. His father Gorakh Gholap ran a cycle repair shop, enough to provide an income for his family of four, but the business did not last long as his health suffered from constant drinking.

It was then that Ramu’s mother Vimal Gholap started selling bangles in nearby villages to support the family. And though Ramu’s left leg was affected by polio, he and his brother joined their mother in her little venture. Ramu and his brother would yell out loud, “Bangde ghya bangde (Buy bangles!),” and their mother would help the women try them on.

As Mahagaon had just one primary school, Ramu later went to stay in Barshi with his uncle to study further.

He knew education was the only way out of the poverty his mother and family were facing, so he worked as hard as he could.

Ramu’s sincerity and dedication made him a star among his teachers. But, in the year 2005, when he was in Class 12 and his college model exams were going on, he got news of his father’s death. The bus fare from Barshi to Mahagaon was Rs.7 those days. And since he received a bus pass for the disabled, the fare for him was just Rs. 2. But Ramu did not even have that.

His neighbours helped him with the money and only then could Ramu go for the last rites of his father.

Just four days after his father’s death, Ramu had a chemistry model exam in his college. On his mother’s insistence he went and appeared for the exam but, after that, he skipped the other model exams. He did not even submit his journals. The final exam for Class 12 was just a month away when he received a letter from his teacher that he had scored 35 marks out of 40 in chemistry. The teacher wanted to meet him. With help and encouragement from his teacher, Ramu took his final exams and scored 88.5%.

Ramu chose to do D.Ed (Diploma in Education) in spite of scoring so well, because this was the cheapest course he could afford to do to get a job as a teacher and support his family. He completed his D.Ed and also pursued a graduate degree in Arts from an open university simultaneously. And finally, he was able to start working as a teacher in 2009. This was like a dream come true for his family. But, deep down, it was not what Ramu really wanted to do.

Ramu lived with his mother and brother in a small room provided by his aunt, who had got her two-room home through a government scheme called Indira Awas Yojna. He saw his mother making visit after visit to government offices to get a house for herself too under the same scheme, but she was turned away because her BPL (below poverty line) card wasn’t eligible.

Ramu was angry with the ration shop owner too, who sold kerosene in the black market instead of providing it to needy families like his.

He had already been through the frustration of seeing his father not get adequate attention when he was admitted for tuberculosis in a government hospital.

He saw his mother and other widows being manipulated by an officer who collected money from them and made false promises to get them their pensions.

During his college days, Ramu had been a member of the student’s union and consequently had to go thetehsildar’s office often to get approval for various college issues. He saw the tehsildar as being the most influential and powerful government official he had ever come across. Ramu decided he wanted to become a tehsildar too in order to solve all the problems he and his family faced.

In September 2009, he took the first step towards his dream. Using the loan that his mother had taken from a self-help group in his village, Ramu went to Pune to prepare for the UPSC exam, taking a leave of six months from his job.

“I did not even know the meaning of MPSC and UPSC since I had always lived in small villages. I did not have money to take coaching classes either. So, the first thing I did was to meet one of the teachers of these coaching classes, just to understand if I was eligible to take the UPSC exam. The first teacher who met me was Mr. Atul Lande. I requested him to write down the answers to a few of my questions, like what is UPSC, can it be taken in Marathi, am I eligible for it, etc. And he told me there was nothing to stop me from taking the UPSC. It is only because of that one statement that I finally did it,” says Ramesh Gholap.

Ramu appeared for the UPSC exams in May 2010 but unfortunately didn’t make the cut. In the meantime, he had also formed a political party with the help of some friends in his village of Mahagaon to fight the local panchayat elections. His mother stood as a candidate for sarpanch. The mission of the party was simple – to come to power and help the distressed. On October 23, 2010, the results of the panchayat elections were out. Ramu terms this date as the biggest turning point of his life in his autobiography, Ithe Thambne Nahi (I Won’t Stop Here).

Ramu’s mother, Vimal Gholap lost the elections by a few votes but the loss did not break Ramu. Instead, it gave him the strength to stand up and fight back again against the system. On the same day, he announced in front of all the villagers that he was leaving the village and would come back only when he became a powerful officer.

After this, no one could stop Ramu. He left his job and cleared the State Institute of Administrative Careers (SIAC) exam – this gave him a hostel to stay in and a stipend as scholarship. He painted posters to take care of his expenditures. And finally, this son of illiterate parents, who studied in a zilla parishad school and by correspondence with open universities, cleared the UPSC examination with an all-India rank of 287, without any coaching.

Ramu was selected for the IAS in the year 2012. And, as per his promise, he came back to his village on May 12, 2012, after finishing a long journey from being Ramu to becoming Ramesh Gorakh Gholap, IAS.

 
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In the next couple of months, the MPSC results were also out and this time Ramu broke all records. He topped the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam in the year 2012, scoring the highest ever marks of 1,244 out of 1,800.

Ramesh Gholap is now posted in Jharkhand as Joint Secretary in the Energy Department.

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Mala swatala shikta nahi aala pan porala khup shikwaycha asa tharwila hota…Aaj majha mulga itka motha sahib zalay he baghun khup anand hoto…pang fedala porane (I couldn’t get an education but I had decided that I would educate my sons. Today, my son has become such a big officer and that makes me so happy…. my boy has returned all my debts!),” says Vimal Gholap.

Ramesh Gholap has given more than 300 informational and motivational talks to youngsters aspiring to take the MPSC or UPSC exams. He is also fulfilling his dream of helping the poor and distressed through his work.

“Whenever I cancel the licence of a PDS shop owner who has been black marketing kerosene, I remember my days when I had to turn off the lantern for lack of kerosene. Whenever I help a widow, I remember my mother begging for a house or for her pension. Whenever I inspect a government hospital, I remember my father’s words when he had left drinking and just wanted better treatment. He would ask me to become a big man and take him to a private hospital. Whenever I help a poor child, I remember myself, I remember Ramu,” says Ramesh Gholap, IAS.

Source….Manabhi Katoch in http://www.the betterindia.com

natarajan

Hundreds of South Koreans Visit Ayodhya Every Year. This Is Why…!!!

The holy city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, plays host to hundreds of South Koreans every year – who come to pay their tributes to the legendary queen Hur Hwang-ok. According to legend, queen Hur Hwang-ok, also known as Princess Suriratna, was the princess of Ayodhya before she went to South Korea and married King Kim Suro of Karak Clan in 48 AD. It is believed that she reached Korea on a boat, and was the first queen of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. She was 16-year-old when she got married and is considered the first queen of Gaya Kingdom.

It is because of the presence of her monument in Ayodhya that around 60 lakh people of the Karak clan consider the city as their maternal home. The memorial was first inaugurated in 2001 in Ayodhya and more than a hundred historians and government representatives, including the North Korean ambassador to India, were present during the ceremony. Seven million Koreans, representing the Kimhae Kim clan, Hur clan and Incheon Yi clan, trace their ancestry to the royal union.

In South Korea, her tomb is located in Kimhae and there is a stone pagoda in front of it. It is said that the pagoda is made of stones that she brought from Ayodhya.

Tomb of Heo Hwang-ok in Gimhae, South Korea

Tomb of Heo Hwang-ok in Gimhae, South Korea

Source: Wikimedia

Describing how she landed in Gaya when she first met the king, she said that the heavenly lord (Sange Je) appeared in her parents’ dreams and told them to send her to the Korea as the king had not found a queen yet. Legend states that the queen died at the age of 157.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to South Korea in May last year, the two countries agreed that a bigger monument of the princess will be built in Ayodhya. Recently, during a meeting with the Korean delegation, Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav said that the memorial would be constructed according to the Korean architecture. He asked Kim Ki-jae, President of Central Karak Clan Society, to provide the design of the monument so that the government can proceed.

Featured image for representation only. Source: Flickr

Source…….Tanaya Singh in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

 

Siachen Miracle – Army Jawan Found Alive, Buried Under 25 Feet of Snow for 6 Days!

Miracles happen! And the Army jawan who was found alive after remaining buried under 25 feet of snow for six days, is a living example of an amazing miracle.

Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa was found in a critical condition after six days of rescue efforts on the Siachen glacier.

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Source: Twitter

10 Army personnel including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Army’s 19 Madras Regiment were stationed at an altitude of 19,600 feet on the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir. On February 3, they were hit by a massive avalanche, and rescue operations have been on since then. The base was located on the Saltoro ridge, close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

On February 4, a Defence Spokesperson had said that the hopes of finding anyone alive were “very remote”. And later, the Indian Army had declared them presumed dead.

After probable locations of the incident were identified by the rescue team with the help of specialised equipment, they had to cut through up to 40 feet of ice at multiple locations. Frequent snow blizzards, extreme freezing temperatures and low visibility made the search operation very difficult.

Army teams have been sifting through huge mass of ice in the hazardous region where temperatures range between minus 42 and minus 25 degrees Celsius.

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Source: Twitter

“It was a miraculous rescue, all efforts are being made to evacuate Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa to the RR hospital in the morning,” Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander, told PTI.

Five bodies have been recovered so far, and four of them have been identified.

“The teams are working round the clock and observing all precautions since the unstable ice and snow in the region could trigger fresh avalanches. Rescue efforts will continue till all our soldiers are found,” said an Army spokesperson.

On Friday, the Ministry of Defence had released the names of all 10 soldiers who were hit by the avalanche:

1. Subedar Nagesha TT – village Tejur, Hassan district, Karnataka.
2. Havildar Elumalai M – village Dukkam Parai, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu.
3. Lance Havildar S Kumar – village Kumanan Thozhu, Teni district, Tamil Nadu.
4. Lance Naik Sudheesh B – village Monroethuruth, Kollam district, Kerala.
5. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad – village Betadur, Dharwad district, Karnataka.
6. Sepoy Mahesha PN – village HD Kote, Mysore district, Karnataka.
7. Sepoy Ganesan G – village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu.
8. Sepoy Rama Moorthy N – village Gudisatana Palli, Krishna Giri district, Tamil Nadu.
9. Sep Mustaq Ahmed S – village Parnapalle, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh.
10. Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV – village Maskarwadi, Satara district, Maharashtra

The survivor is a resident of Betadur village in Dharwad district of Karnataka.

“We are happy. The entire village is happy and relieved. We were eagerly waiting for some news for past few days. It was difficult to even believe that he was saved. Now, we need everyone to pray for his survival,” his uncle told The News Minute.

Source…….Tanaya Singh in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

Hyderabad Lab Claims It Has Made World’s First Zika Virus Vaccine…

Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad based vaccines and bio-therapeutic manufacturer, claims it has made a breakthrough in developing the world’s first vaccine against the dreaded mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The World Health Organization recently announced that Zika, which causes serious birth defects in children, is now present in 23 countries. Brazil has the maximum number of cases (3,530) and the United States too announced its first case yesterday.

There is concern that the virus could soon spread to Asia and Africa as well. India too is not as safe as hoped, although the virus was last seen here over 60 years ago.

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Pic Source

 

The virus causes only a mild illness in most people. However, in pregnant women it is linked to abnormally small heads in their babies, a birth defect called microcephaly.

Bharat Biotech International Limited in Hyderabad told NDTV that they have patented the vaccine.

“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” said Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech Ltd.

The company used a live Zika virus, imported officially, to develop not one but two candidate vaccines.

Dr. Ella says the company has sought help from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to get this vaccine out to the world as soon as possible.

“We have just been informed about the Zika vaccine candidate that Bharat Biotech has. We will examine it from the scientific point of view and see the feasibility of taking it forward. It is a good example of a Make in India product,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, pediatrician and Director General, ICMR.

Dr. Ella is also seeking the help of Prime Minister Modi in fast tracking the development and delivery of the vaccine to those parts of the world where it is needed most.

The company says it can make one million doses of the vaccine in four months.

Source…….Nishi Malhotra in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

India Exports the First Six ‘Made in India’ Metro Coaches to Australia…

Six metro coaches made in the Bombardier Transportation Plant located in Savli, Vadodara, were shipped to Australia from Mumbai port on Friday. According to plan, 450 such coaches will be exported to Australia over a period of two and a half years.

Each coach is 75 feet long and weighs 46 tonnes. This is the first-of-its-kind export from India since the launch of the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

railcoach

Picture for representation only. Source: Wikimedia

According to a statement by Ministry of Shipping, loading these coached for export requires high degree of precision. “The entire stevedoring operation (loading into ship) of these prestigious over-sized metro coaches has been done in-house by Mumbai Port Trust unlike any other port in India where private operators carry out such operations,” the statement said.

The total value of the contract signed for the project with the Canadian firm, Bombardier Transportation, is approximately USD 4.1 billion. And Bombardier’s share is valued at approximately USD 2.7 billion. The project will be executed in the company’s Vadodara facility, which has been developed for export-oriented activities.

Source…….Tanaya Singh in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan