Thursday, December 3, 2009

the real soul of india

Best regards,

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Subject: Article from The Hindu: Sent to you by avinashk.sahay

This remarkable lady is indeed the epitome of the Soul of India.Thanks to Hindu for bringing to us such inspiring stories.Indeed, with messiahs and splendid warriors such as Krishnaammal, there seems to be light for all of us at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
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Source: The Hindu (
Friday Review

Chennai and Tamil Nadu

Nobel thoughts


Krishnammal Jagannathan, the driving force behind LAFTI, and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize 2008.

Freedom March: (Clockwise from left) Krishnammal Jagannathan receiving the Alternative Nobel Prize from Jakob von Uexkull, chairman, The Right Livelihood Award; making a point and supervising paddy cultivation by Dalits in Nagapattinam district.

She walks alone from village to village in Thanjavur to the beat of Gandhiji's favourite song 'Ekla cholo re,' the very embodiment of the Gandhian philosophy of Satyagraha and non-violence. In Chennai earlier this month at the inaugural function of the Micro and Small Enterprises Support Workshop, organised by Fair Trade Forum India, SIPA and IFFAD, among the luminaries present none stood taller than Krishnammal Jagannathan, winner of the Alternate Nobel Prize 2008.
A Dalit whom the citation hailed as the 'soul of India' and a lifelong Satyagrahi working for social justice and sustainable human development, Krishnammal has achieved what has been called a non- violent social transformation of the lives of the landless poor, particularly Dalit women.
Achievements lauded
This frail and beautiful lady of 85 who walked shoulder to shoulder with Vinoba Bhave in his Bhoodan Movement, ushered in a silent revolution of land distribution to Dalit women in remote parts of Tamil Nadu. She is the winner of Swami Pranavananda Peace Award given by the Gandhi Peace Foundation, the Jamnalal Bajaj Award (1988), the Padma Sri (1989), the Women's World Summit Award, Switzerland (1989), the Opus Award, The Right Livelihood Award also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize (2008) and a host of other prestigious awards. She wears them all lightly.
Krishnammal came to the inauguration, where she was chief guest, clutching a fly ash brick in her hand. Manufactured by the Dalits of Kuthur village, she wants this eco-friendly hollow brick to be used by them to build their homes on the land which is now theirs, thanks to her relentless efforts. The fly ash hollow brick is a symbol of a collective dream which she hopes will translate into reality with the 5,000 homes for Dalits of the village. In this interview, she talks about her cause, her philosophy and the award…
What was the defining moment when you embarked on your mission of land distribution to the landless, particularly women?
Gandhiji dreamt of 'gram swaraj.' I strongly feel that as long as land is held by landlords, there can be no freedom for those tilling the land. By tradition, Dalits are tillers of the land and are attached to it. Every day, women leave their houses early in the morning and plant paddy till late evening, yet they have no right over the land in the existing system. I was part of Vinoba Bhave's padayatra and was walking with him pleading for land when news came on December 25, 1968, of the mass killing of 44 Harijan women and children at Kilavenmani in Thanjavur district, following a wage dispute between landlord and tiller. This horrific incident changed my life's direction and I decided to go to Kizhavenmani and not leave till Dalits got their land. And I am still there! My husband and I began our movement by getting the temple land owned by a benami landlord distributed among the women with much struggle. About 12,000 acres of land were distributed among the Dalit wom!
en. This was my first fight against the system. I walked from village to village in the region to meet the women and slowly they became the wind under my wings. Although I was harassed, arrested and even jailed, I never lost faith. I used to gather children who worked in the fields and give them basic education.
The NGO Land for Tiller Freedom or LAFTI has become the cornerstone of your movement. How did it come about?
In 1981, my husband and I started LAFTI, an NGO working for the socio-economic development of the marginalised classes. I decided to form village-based co-operatives for Dalit women to save money and collectively purchase the land which they tilled, from the landlords. I heard that the Government was helping Dalits buy land by giving them loans. I began to avail of these loans. Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi came to my office. Rajiv Gandhi created a separate wing for Dalit uplift called the National Scheduled Caste Development Corporation. Now that the Government gives us loans, I approach landlords, bureaucrats and other functionaries to purchase land and redistribute it among the women. They often pay back the loans in one installment. It is heart-warming to watch them cultivate their own land, and drink in the sight of green paddy fields and children playing there. Some 13,000 acres have been redistributed to women, and 11,000 will be distributed shortly. It has been a people-bas!
ed action, a non-violent transfer of land through LAFTI. We use Satyagraha as a tool of liberation. We sing bhajans in front of the landlord's houses in the mornings. We have been brutalised, attacked and once they even tried to pour petrol over me. But I just meditated and carried on.
What are LAFTI's other activities?
LAFTI also runs village industries. We teach women mat weaving, tailoring, carpentry, masonry and run computer classes. We have built three hostels in Vallivalan for girls and boys. The students are doing well, with 20 studying to be doctors, engineers etc. We have also set up a brick kiln, which has helped in building 'people participatory' eco-friendly houses for 2000 families so far. My next goal is to build 5,000 more houses, to make the dwellings of Dalit families decent.
So that is your next goal…
When I first came to Kizhavenmani, it was an act of desperation to give Dalits their land, to provide them livelihood and restore their dignity. Now my dream is to give every woman a house on her land with some modern facilities.
Is this fly ash brick which you have brought with you a first step in your commitment?
Yes. The brick is made out of fly ash which we get free. I approached ONGC and they donated the eco-friendly brick making machinery. The electricity took six months to come and our first fly ash bricks were made on 30 October. I brought this brick, freshly made straight from the village of Kuthur.
Tell us more about your proposed LAFTI house…
My aim is to build 5,000 such homes measuring 200 sq.ft. each. The villagers themselves will make the hollow bricks and provide labour for construction. The house 'patta' will be given to the women. We are looking at sponsors for each house which will be named after them.
What do the Awards, specially the Alternative Nobel Prize mean to you?
What can they mean to me? I really don't want these awards. Without my work, my life is a waste. I want to give dwellings to the homeless and the award money helps. I want every woman to have a dignified life and a home. All this will surely abolish caste and give them hope. I listen to (Vinobha) Bhave's Thiruarutpa song every morning at 2.30 a.m. and shed tears. When I am blessed to listen to his voice, what are these awards?
Your message to the people of the country which you so diligently serve…
Please help me financially to realise my dream of giving Dalit women homes. I appeal to every genuine heart to join me in this yagna.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Re: [IT-BHU-BatchOf1982] There lived a genius called Satyajit Ray

Dear Nilesh,
                    Thanks for the info about Ritwik Ghatag's Megha Dhaka Tara. I'll catch up for sure.
                                            You know what I particularly admired about Ray was the fact that he seems to imply that the so called "bhadralok" may, in fact,be caught up in a cul-de-sac,and be actually a "koopmanduk"(his words).And this coming from the ultimate bhadralok himself!
                                  That's precisely the genius of the man. To understand that there is something rotten about the vessel itself that he's housed in.That we are too narrow, too intolerant of other people and other cultures, too smitten about modern science and technology to realize that it's become a religion itself, narrow and intolerant.
Best regards,

From: Nilesh Mukherjee <>
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 6:33:21 PM
Subject: Re: [IT-BHU-BatchOf1982] There live a genius called Satyajit Ray


Avinash, Ray is wonderful. I have the apu trilogy but in VHS. If I can get it in digital form I shall let you know. Also, if you get the chance try watching some films by a director named Ritwik Ghatak especially Megha Dhaka Tara.

--- On Sat, 11/28/09, avinash sahay <asahays@yahoo. com> wrote:

From: avinash sahay <asahays@yahoo. com>
Subject: [IT-BHU-BatchOf1982 ] There live a genius called Satyajit Ray
To: "IT BHU" <it-bhu-batchof1982@ yahoogroups. com>
Date: Saturday, November 28, 2009, 2:09 AM


This is the tragedy of modern living.Geniuses are terrible marketeers.Therefor e I've known Ray only through Shantranj Ke Khiladi. But today I watched Agantuk, and  am now better exposed to Ray's genius, and the Apur Trilogy now I'll surely buy to absorb more of Life.Yes, that's true. The more we live in love, the more LIFE comes to us unannounced, the richer our life becomes.
                                            Aganuk is about the return of a prodigal, a genius who has topped in Matric, Intermediate and BA. Then his grandmother gives himRs 3,000(around 1950) saying he's brought glory to the family. With this fortune he gets a chance to do his own things, becoming a kind of "oddball" for the supposedly "civilized" society that we claim proud inheritance of.
                                               My sense is that we should not be smug about our civilization. The world will change beyoud your comprehension in the next 50 years. Just be full of love and open yourself, and you'll be absolutely safe and secure in these most challenging and dynamic times.But those who are "koopmanduk" and cocooned in their own small spheres, will find the going tough. 
Best regards,
http://poshaning. blogspot. com/



Armed Struggle is a Monumental Folly

The accompanying piece is a compelling story of the Maoists.In the last 50 years they have come a long way, and it's time they come forward for a dialogue with the govt so that all of us are spared another bloodbath.
I just hope there are sane elements in the govt who equally realize that the Maoists cannot be militarily defeated.There's a huge problem of rural and urban poverty in our country and this can only be solved by a dialogue on both sides.
If both the sides engage in an essentially UNWINNABLE war, they'll mutually ensure that only the WAR LOBBY is smiling all the way to the bank, thus raising a suspicion that there are elements on both the sides doing the bidding of the militarists.
In a war only the poor die and never the leaders. There's a theory that the same group of powerful financiers was financing both Lenin and the Americans to begin with, and then the Allies and the Nazis during the horrific WW2. So the common citizenry at large should always take the spirit of jingoism on both sides with tons and tonnes of salt.

ARMED STRUGGLE - Mao's way is still the only one

ARMED STRUGGLE - Mao's way is still the only one


we are the ones we are waiting for

I want to share this powerful message with you. Have no doubt that our life becomes much grander once we start LIVING the message.Your lack of confidence and love for yourself has created a mess not only for ourselves but for the world as a whole. So clearing up of the mess should start in right earnest NOW. And it should begin with each and every one of us.

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Beware of Spam in my Blog

It's most embarrassing for me to realize that other people are having free access to use my blog for the promotion of their business interests.
I want to tell my friends that I have no interest at all in such activities. Infact I have already lodged a complaint with the bloggers, and I'm not sure what more I should do remain protected.If any of you have some experience in these matters, pl advise me.