Friday, January 15, 2016




Recently Pakistan staked claim on Basmati rice for Geographic Index. India rubbished the claim, stating that Basmati belongs to the soil of India. Incidentally, in his book 'In the Lap of the Himalayas: Holy Wanderings', Swami Akhandananda, one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, records an observation of his. "At village Tapovanam, near Rishikesh, the rice variety cultivated has an aroma and so is known as Basmati. The locals say that a saint, pleased with the hospitality of the villagers, blessed that the rice grown in the place would be aromatic". Recently, Mexicans carried Basmati seed to their land and cultivated it there. The rice they got was a look alike of Basmati, but the aroma was absent. (Based on a report in VIJAYABHARATAM, January 22, 2016).
In a kind gesture, an NRI couple from the US, D Jyothi Reddy and Sammi Reddy, has arranged the marriage of an orphan girl with hearing and speaking impairment in Warangal (Telengana, Bharat) on December 6, 2015. The couple, performed the 'Kanyadanam' of the girl, Saraswati, at the marriage that took place at Mallikamba Manovikasa Kendram, Warangal. A police officer, V Kiran Kumar found the girl abandoned at Hanamkonda bus stand in 2004 and handed over her to the Kendram. Since then the orphanage is looking after the girl, who hails from Srikakulam district. A private company employee, Ch Narender, who is also deaf and mute, came forward to marry the girl. Learning this, Jyothi Reddy volunteered to organise the marriage bearing all expenses. The marriage ceremony was held in a grand manner as per Hindu tradition. Warangal (West) MLA D Vinay Bhasker and others blessed the newlywed couple. The parents of Narender, Ch Upender and Sushila, Kendram Founder B Ramaleela and others were present. (From THE HANS INDIA, December 7, 2015).

Samuel Evan Stokes, 21, an American, came to India with the intention of working at a home for lepers in the Simla hills. He faced a lot of opposition from his family because he was heir to the family's prosperous business of elevators. Incidentally, Stokes and Parish Elevator Company later merged with Otis Elevators. But young Stokes was determined and his family relented to let him follow his heart and Samuel landed in Bombay on February 26, 1904. Thanedar, a little hamlet 15 KMs from Narkanda, a Himalayan town (Himachal Pradesh, Bharat). 6 KMs from Thanedar at Kotgarh stands an old church. Stokes was sent here to recuperate from the heat of the Indian plains. With time on his hands he set about exploring the surrounding hills and Thanedar worked her charms on him and he found himself completely in love with the place. In a drastic step he decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life here. Stokes planted in 1916 a few apple saplings in his Barobagh orchard in Thanedar. When they bore fruit, the apples were an instant hit. During his rest and recuperation days at the Kotgarh church, young Samuel came in contact with a lot of Sadhus on the Hindustan-Tibet road making their way to Kailash Mansarovar. While the priest of the church was finely robed and had three meals a day, the simplicity of those Sadhus perturbed him and set him thinking about the Hindu religion. Later on in his life he also studied the Bhagvad Gita in English and then in an endeavour to understand it, learned Sanskrit and studied it again in that language. In 1932, he became an Arya Samaji and changed his name to Satyanand Stokes. Paramjyoti Mandir, the temple he built in 1937 was to be his legacy to Thanedar. On its walls are verses from the Gita and the Upanishads. Satyanand Stokes died on May 14, 1946. (Based on a report by Shri Sanjeev Awasthi in HILL POST, March, 19, 2006.

Even while passing 13 months in jail, Gurgaon-based engineer Amit Kumar Mishra (31) created a piece of software that is making Indian prisons go high-tech. Mishra was sent to prison in a false dowry death case in 2013 when he was in his late 20s. While in prison, Mishra made the most of his time by putting his skills to use and created a piece of software, Phoenix, which increases the efficiency of the prison management system and makes the lives of inmates and officials easier and more productive. In a letter dated September 17, 2015, addressed to all states and union territories, the Ministry of Home Affairs had recommended incorporation of prison management software, and Phoenix was mentioned in a list of suitable options along with three other pieces of software. His wife committed suicide by taking poison within two years of their marriage. Even before he could recover from the tragedy of losing someone he doted on, his in-laws slapped sections 304 B (dowry death), 498 A (dowry) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on him. Once in, Mishra realised there were several other inmates who barely knew about the current status of their cases. With the help of Phoenix, kiosks that display the case records of an inmate from his thumb impression have been set up. Now, an inmate, with his thumb impression, can buy any product from the canteen and the money will be debited directly from his account. Mishra was acquitted of all charges in July 2014. By February 2015, he had set up his company Invader Technologies. His software has proved to be path-breaking for prison management and has been installed in all jails in Haryana. (Based on a report by Smt Sneha Agrawal in DAILY MAIL, December 17, 2015 Idea: Shri. N.Sadagopan

Shri Siddhi Nath Singh is RSS Kshetriya Sanghchalak or the regional head for Bihar and Jharkhand and the chairperson of RSS' social development wing, Rashtriya Seva Bharti. Singh, a resident of Jharkhand's electricity hub Patratu in Ramgarh district, has been imparting free skill training and creating livelihoods for the youth of hundreds of villages across the country at his firm Kalpataru. But what makes the engineer-turned-entrepreneur different from others is the devotion with which he remains involved in changing the lives of every youth in Hafua (Jharkhand, Bharat), with a population of approximately 1,000 people, around 70 km north of capital Ranchi. Some two decades back, a mere mention of Hafua used to alert the police and intelligence agencies. Majority of those involved in bank robberies and snatching incidents in Ramgarh and Ranchi were traced to this village. Children did not go to school and elders never worked in the fields even though most of them had vast tracts of land in their names. It was during one of his sojourns to the village, while researching on storage of rain water, that 68-year-old Singh came across a few parents who were worried about the future of their teenage children. Over the last 15 years, Singh has provided skill training to no less than 150 Hafua men, who are now working across India and in the Gulf, earning handsome salaries. Their children now go to schools and the living standard of their families has also improved. And in return they have nothing else, but, praise for Singh. "Hafua residents do not have any criminal case for the last 10 years. We are now earning with dignity and living with pride," said Zubair Ahmad, who has been working with the RSS leader's firm for the last 12 years. Lal Mohammad Ansari, a landlord and whose five sons have been Singh's students, said that he stands as an epitome of religious harmony at a time when some feel that the country has grown intolerant. (Based on a report by Shri Vijay Murty (Patratu, Jharkhand) in HINDUSTAN TIMES, January 8, 2016).

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