Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Appeal for An Upgrade

My recent visit to Durgapur and Shantiniketan was great. Met a lot of people, experienced their culture, shared urban legends and folklores. I felt people there are warm or would like to stay warm as there is a circle of dependency and everyone acknowledges and respect every co survivors.

During my travel I came across many visionaries, reformists, not political rebels but just commoners who are good people. Sharing their views about life and things around it was like sitting below the ‘bodhi’ tree and attaining enlightenment. I was going through the various profiles of these tribes and rural communities. Each have their own ways to survive as each carry their unique traditional skill sets.

Most communities in India are profiled on basis of the type of businesses, services or the trade that they involve. Customarily, Damais are tailors, Kamis are smiths, Sarkis are cobbler, Dhobis are washerman, Khumbaras are potters and so on...

This is about a particular set of people who live among us and are now fighting for the existence of their clan and culture.

‘Khumbaras’ are ethnic and indigenous community in India who are almost in the edge of extinction. A group of Khumbaras now live in Aruvakode , Nilambur, Kerala and are said to have migrated to these parts during the reign of Tipu Sultan. They are artisans by trade, men who make their crafts with sand and clay. Their way of life is ancient, one that has existed over civilizations. Courtesy

There is a relation here and that’s why I started with my travel to north east and swung all the way down to the south because I see a connection, to make a small change in things.

Most tea shops and in the trains in south India, as far as I have seen, uses ‘plastic cups’. As per the environmental act, it is against the constitutional guidelines and it must be maintained.

Now the request to the ministry of environment is to replace the plastic cups by these ‘matkas’ that I came across in tea shops in West Bengal. I am sure it is used elsewhere but I liked the idea of these 'matkas'… even if you thrown it on the ground it just goes back to its natural form and no harm.

But that is not the case with plastics cups. Its choking the environment and suffocates the living.

The Khumbaras should be given the opportunity to produce these ‘matkas’ at government subsidized procured materials. This way they can have a stable income to support their family. Children who are highly exploited to labor and house chores can go to school.

There will be a significant enhancement in the rural development through this project. There will be infrastructural developments , hospitals, colleges, better roads, quarters etc. The chain of good events will only lead to good results and we hope to bring the change soon.

There are social workers who are willing to volunteer in procuring, managing and monitor materials and production. The Khumbaras just need to sit back and do the best in what they do.

It is understood that the quantity of consumption is huge however, we can first start with government institutions, offices and government administered bodies. We can even begin this with the Southern Railways.

The government needs to understand that adding many such ‘Act’ to the constitution does not make the constitution meet the global standards unless the ‘Act’ is enforced and shown in results. The change has to start from there and they need to set examples.

Anyone can work towards this, no experience required but needs real dedication and clear intentions to help people in building a better world for them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Million dreams to become true by 2020

It was a spectacular event at Kolkata... it stared with

My intentions with respect to the recent activities involving Akshaya Patra and IndiBlogger was clear enough that I am here to support their cause in whatever way the best I can. This is one such activity where I have involved with my heart only and not my mind with any hidden agenda.
The first blogger meet for creating the awareness about this program in the virtual world was held in Bangalore on the 9 of Jan 2011. Many like minded and kind hearted bloggers and non bloggers attended the meet and showed their participation by donating, their blog posts.
The online contest and the meet received raving global response and the buzz was on …
In as sequel , the next chapter at Kolkata is scheduled to happen on the 20th, and i am very much looking forward. And many thanks to the Infinity Infotech Group who has encouraged the past blogger meets and the upcoming ones.

I had a chance to meet with Mr. Ravidra Chamaria the MD of the group over lunch yesterday and he shared with me his views and visions for improving the status and standards of education in India.
He was kind enough to invite me for a fund raiser event in the evening at the oberoi grand for Akshaya Patra. He had also invited Mr Narayana Murthy to give a speech to encourage the people of West Bengal to join the fight against hunger in the state.

Mr Murthy too is an active member of the Akshaya Patra Programs. He shared his experience to the audience, he explained in detail about the process, the stake holders involved and the beneficiaries who are the unprivileged children of India.

Here comes the spectacular part,almost at the end of the event and in less than a span of 30 mins, more than 40 people donated their disposable income to Akshaya Patra and it was estimated to be around Rs 4,500,000 . That is equivalent to provide midday meals to 450 schools every single day for the next one year.

With such overwhelming response from a room seated with around 100 nobel men, the vision of Akshaya Patra can be achieved much easier and much sooner . 5 million school children to be fed by 2020. It can be done before 2020,in my opinion.

I can only see a million more smiles now and a million more dreams that will soon become real for those children in near future.

(In Pics)Left: Mr Ravindra Chamaria . Right Mr.Narayana Murthy