Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sewa Sandesh 121: 8 August 2009

From Editor’s desk
Vishwa Mangal Gau Gram yatra that would be launched on the Vijayadashami day this year i.e. 2009 from Kurukshetra, Haryana and is planned to visit all the states of Bharat before it reaches the final destination Nagpur on the Sankranti day next year i.e. 14th January 2010, has generated many hopes across the country as the focus is “cow centric/cow based integral development of the villages” in Bharat. Obviously Cow has been the most sacred creature mentioned all along the literature of Bharat starting from the Vedic times to the present day and yet somewhere along the history line, this aspect has been pushed aside in the melee of faster development.
Bringing back the environment friendly development back to the agenda, the yatra has been rightly named “Vishwa mangal”- integrated village development for global welfare of all beings. Cow and calf were the symbols of traditional organic farming that matches the human history and needs to be brought back to the central theme from the fringes.
The yatra is also an effort to get all the scientists, farmers and the beneficiaries who have deep trust in the organic farming, on one single platform to save the “Gau Mata” from the abattoirs that have proved to be hazardous to the humanity.
Vishwa Mangala Gou Gram Yatra (VMGGY)
To Be Started From September 30
The saints and socio-cultural organisations of the country have come on a joint platform to launch from Sept 30, 2009 to Makar Sankranti 2010 - a 108 day national awareness mission covering a distance of 20,000 KM to reach every nook and corner of the country the message of the vital role of cattlewealth in the protection of nature and welfare and quality of human life.

Role to Play
Making life meaningful is the purpose of this movement. This journey will progress with a sense of inclusion for the humans and cows and all other living entities of the universe, with a resolve not to rob another being of its life or food. Each one of you has a responsibility to involve in this journey, internalising and voicing this noble and holy message.
This is only a starting point in the journey to continuously evolve life. You can consider a few points for its success. Each entity has unique constitution and different roles.

Rligious Institutions : Can show a path forward and also collaborate with government agencies in their plans.
Government : Should strengthen its resolve to work for the betterment of citizens. There cannot be compromise on quantity and quality of services. In the past, the green revolution gave people a little toxin along with food, white revolution fed poison in the name of milk. The government can claim another achievement by providing medical treatment to the people who have thus suffered – but this is not useful.

The government can form a new ministry dedicated for the welfare of cows, enforce existing rules and formulate new laws to support the cause. Encroached grazing land should be liberated for dedicated use of cows. Government can open model cattle farms at district and taluk levels and create models and guidelines for rearing and nurturing cows. It can prohibit cross-breeding of cows. It can include and encourage Indian breeds in indigenous technologies, in green revolution, and in white revolution. By promoting cow related products like food, medicine, manure, insecticides, gobar gas for cooking and electricity, people can make cow-rearing profitable.

Voluntary organisations can help the government in these welfare oriented programs.
Farmer : Farmers can turn to profitable cow centred agriculture. Apart from the yield of milk, they can use other cow-products gainfully and experience their superiority over inorganic products. Considering long-term benefits, they can use oxen in farming, cow manure in the fields, and cow urine as insecticide.

Industrialist : As a unique example – extract of cow urine can cure terminal cancer. There are several such unparalleled qualities in different cow products. These products are still new to our society and industrialists are cautious. They need to take some risk and put cow based products in the market. Cow Based Products
Possible Products : From Indian breed cows – milk and milk products, wholesome food items; effective treatment for cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, neurological problems, psychological problems, skin diseases, ENT problems, fever, cold, hair loss, etc.; in cosmetic products like soap, shampoo and beauty aids; for farming, manure and insecticides; cooking gas and electricity – all are possible.

Do remember, the industrialist should not think of grabbing the bulk of profits, but should share with others who are part of this system.
Scientist, journalist, artist, worker and common man: Consider what your involvement would be in achieving your values. The path you take can be a model for others.
Keshava Seva Samiti:
Reaching Out to the Unreached
Keshava Seva Samithi is a Charitable Trust that serves the economically backward sections of the society, with a special focus on slum dwelling families. KSS is managed by a team of dedicated volunteers with an aim of creating a sense of dignity, equality and responsibility.
For about a decade, the Samithi has been executing several service projects in more than 150 slums in the city. The thrust areas of these projects are education, health, women and youth empowerment. As of now, direct beneficiaries are around 9000 annually.
KSS is exclusively supported through voluntary efforts and the support from philanthropists and donors, is bound by the spirit of service.

The Objectives
• Create a sense of dignity, equality and responsibility among these poor people
• Impart values and life skills to them, particularly to the children
• Empower women in such families for economic self reliance.
Vidya Bhagya – Tuition Centres:
(Vyasanga Kendra) This is a scheme focused on school going children, wherein additional coaching (tuitions) is offered after their school hours. Being from illiterate families and studying in schools with poor facilities, quality of education received is often very sub-standard.
Hence, KSS has been conducting these tuition centres in 50 slums. Spoken English classes during weekends are also offered to these students by volunteers from the IT Industry and other MNCs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Measurable indicator of achievement:
This has gone a long way in enhancing their performance in school and helped in controlling dropouts. So far KSS has been successful in providing tuitions to 5400 students in 3 years.

Shishu Mandirs:
Slums have the most number of daily wage employees which include both men and women. This leaves most of the children below 6 years of age unattended. Hence, KSS has been managing 3 Pre-school learning centres for children aged between 3 and 6 yrs.
Measurable indicator of achievement
There are 3 shishu mandirs covering 3 slums. These mandirs have supported 270 children in 3 years.
Bala Samskar Kendras:
(Value Education Centers) (6-14 yrs) Slums, being areas which are both educationally and financially backward, value education among the younger generation always takes a backseat. Hence, to inculcate better cultural and moral values among the children, 18 Value-Education Centers are run by KSS. Children are taught singing, dancing, story telling, yoga and breathing exercises, meditation, drawing and craftwork etc., and educated via games (learning through playing).
Measurable indicator of achievement:
There are 18 Bala Samskar Kendras catering to 1000 children. These are conducted weekly between 9 am to 12 am.

Summer Camps are conducted annually in atleast 7 places each numbering around 129 children for 20 days. The children are taught drawing and painting, dancing and singing, arts and crafts, yogasana, story telling, social awareness, personal hygiene, awareness of global warming, importance of rising pollution and using biodegradable and eco friendly recycled material by experts from their respective fields..
Mobile Library: A ‘Book lending library’ in the slums to instill reading habits in the children is set up in one slum. About 100 books are available in the library and is being managed by one librarian working as part time. The books available are in two languages and cater to age group between 8 and 20 years. Subjects like sports, wildlife, grammar, stories, fiction, poetry, educational books etc., are circulated to the children at their doorstep. Reference books like encyclopedia and magazines are also part of the library.
Measurable indicator of achievement:
54 students are registered as members of this and every 15 days, books are re circulated among them.

Vidya Vahini:
Target: Youngsters above 13 yrs
This programme is focused at encouraging students to continue their education beyond high school level. This has helped talented and meritorious students to study further and improve the living standards of their families. This has helped to reduce child marriage. In this scheme, students are adopted and all their needs are taken care of. Some are given scholarships and others who are in need of an environment which is conducive to studying are provided with hostel facilities.
Arogya Bhagya:
This is a wholesome scheme adopted for the entire wellbeing of the slums and undertaken for all the inhabitants irrespective of age, sex, caste or creed. The programmes conducted under this scheme are as follows:
• Free/subsidized health check up and health assistance camps which include eye, dental, childcare, gynecology, general hygiene
• Conducting free dispensaries in slums
• Pranayama and Yoga activities
• Free eye surgeries and spectacle distribution to the needy.

Measurable indicator of achievement:
13 eye camps have been conducted which have benefited 4780 people in the past 3 yrs. 135 patients have undergone cataract surgeries free of cost.
Free distribution of spectacles have been undertaken for 750 people.
6 camps for children have been held where free health check up facilities have been provided to 3000 children primarily for malnutrition, skin diseases, ENT etc.
Mathru Shakthi:
Target: Women
Every week, women from slums are brought together and social awareness programmes are conducted.
Target: Women from the weaker section of the society seeking employment opportunities.
Formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women for economic and self reliance has been very successful in the slums. These SHGs are registered with nationalized banks who gave a matching grant for the savings made by the women. One volunteer in each group coordinates this activity and manages the book keeping.
Vocational training:
Vocational training is provided to women based on the needs assessment carried out from time to time in the slums. Computer classes, screen printing, tailoring, beautician courses, agarbathi making, candle making etc., are conducted.

Income Generation Activity (IGA) is an offshoot of the SHG activity. These women earn revenue for contributing to the SHG saving through various IGAs. Following are the programmes undertaken by the women:
Making “Paper Bags”: News papers are collected from residential apartments and converted into bags which can be used as alternative to plastic bags. These bags are sold to super markets, groceries, NGOs and corporate for their seminars, workshops etc.,
Job Placements: Destitute and orphaned girls who are above the age of 16 yrs are given vocational training and appropriate placements. Many of them are offered jobs as supervisors, volunteers in the KSS programmes itself.
Measurable indicator of achievement:
Tailoring classes are being conducted regularly which consist of 6 months course. 2 classes are currently in progress with 150 women benefiting from these courses.
20 women who have benefited from the tailoring classes have been gifted with tailoring machines.
There are 20 self help groups catering to almost 400 women in various slums.
Push carts and vegetable carts have been given to 14 women.
A Model of Self –Reliant Villages
General Body Meeting of
Deendayal Research Institute (DRI)
Concludes in Chitrakoot
“About 500 villages in Chitrakoot region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh borders
are going to become role model for the whole world by achieving the goal of self-reliance. Due to the tireless efforts of rural people poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, diseases and many other social problems have been eradicated from the region. By the year 2010 these villages are expected to leave their indelible imprint on the map of India. This was the message of the general body meeting of Deendayal Research Institute (DRI) that concluded in Chitrakoot on August 2 in the presence of Shri Nanaji Deshmukh, eminent social worker and founder of DRI. RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh Shri Madan Das and many other workers associated with the DRI.
Speaking on the occasion Nanaji said, “Everything is achieved as we planned in Chitrakoot. The impact of the joint efforts of the government and non-government agencies can be seen in these villages.” "No positive result can be achieved without setting a goal and firm determination. The DRI workers have proved it. The day the Swavlamban Abhiyan (Self-reliance Campaign) had begun in 2002 from Khodri village we were confident that it would produce positive results. As a result the work that could not be done in 60 years has been done within five years. Today, the villagers are conscious of solving their own problems and they do not wish to depend on the government," he said.

Shri Madan Das said, “The wind of change that has started in these villages should not stop. The uplift of the countrymen is a big mission, which would ensure the development of the whole country.” “This work should spread all nooks and corners of the country. It is to be noted that these villages have witnessed over 70 per cent decline in conflicts. Roads have been built by villagers themselves, where there were no roads. Water harvesting work has resolved the problem of drinking water and irrigation permanently. People are conscious about education and have become self-reliant. The credit of this change goes to the Swavlamban Yatra conducted by the DRI to educate the villagers”, he said. Dr Bharat Pathak presented the account of different activities. Dr Nandita Pathak narrated the experiences of the three-phased Swavlamban Yatra.
>> G V Balasubramaniam aged 40 from Kaundanapadi of Erode District seems to be a different person. People going abroad, usually earn some amount and wanted to settle in their native. He is one such person attracted by nature’s manure, guided by Mr. Subash Palekar an Eco-scientist. He left his job at Kuwait, came to his native and started cultivating vegetables through natural manure. He is now guiding the upcominme to his native and started cultivating vegetables through natural manureg agriculturists in this field. He is not expecting any subsidy from the Government.

>> Politicians may have achieved little consensus on stopping global warming, but religious leaders are moving quickly. Some proposals make religious texts available on recycled paper, food in gurudwaras will be cooked in solar-powered kitchens, and places of worship around the world will install waste recycling and water-harvesting systems. Islamic leaders are expected to announce that the Haj pilgrimage will be green starting next year and environment studies will be taught in religious schools, and Pope Benedict XVI has just released an encyclical — a statement — that mentions the environment. Some measures have already been taken. Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati, Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi, and the Golden Temple in Amritsar already use solar-powered kitchens — apparently the world’s largest — to prepare lunch for devotees, and churches in England and southern India have developed seven-year plans to save the environment.
Olav Kjorven, head of the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) international policy division on the environment, points out, “Religious bodies are the world’s biggest civil society and they can make a huge impact on the fight against climate change.”

>> Most Hindu primary schools were established in rural Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean in the early 1950s by one man, Bhadase Sagan Maraj. He converted temples into schools on private lands that were donated by altruistic individuals and organizations. The cost of renovations, refurbishments and furniture was borne by the goodwill of members of the community. Today, these schools are a source of pride to Hindus. The results of the 2009 SEA examination in 2009 reveal the largest number of students among the top 100 performers came from Hindu schools.. Hindu schools comprise just 10 percent of all primary schools in the country, but secured 35 percent of the schools that made it to the top 100 places in the SEA examination. Among denominational institutions, Hindu schools performed the second best after Muslim schools. (Courtesy: Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Chennai)

Caste restricts opportunity. Restricted opportunity constricts ability. Constricted ability further restricts opportunity. Where caste prevails, opportunity and ability are restricted to ever-narrowing circles of the people.
— Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia

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