Celebrating the girl child, Celebrating the mother earth – Piplantri in Rajasthan is the torch bearer!

In a country that still favours the birth of a son, Piplantri village in Rajasthan not only embraces daughters but has created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet. This endearing village makes a conscious effort to save girl children and the green cover at the same time, by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. A brilliant exercise in eco-feminism, this should inspire India and the rest of the world.

This wonderful eco-conscious tradition ensures that an increase in human population will never come at a cost to the environment. It is literally helping to ensure a greener future with each new generation.

The village gathers as a community and plants 111 fruit trees in honour of every newborn female child. Village residents collect Rs. 21,000 between themselves and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s parents. This sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a 20-year fixed deposit for the girl.

Parents are legally bound by a signed affidavit stating that their daughter will receive proper education. The affadavit also mandates that the girl should be married only after she reaches legal age and the trees planted after her birth have been correctly looked after.

The community ensures that the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girl grows up. The villagers don’t just plant trees, they look after them as well. To protect the trees from termites, the residents plant aloevera plants around them. These trees, and especially the aloevera plants, are now a source of livelihood for several residents.

This unique tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honour of his daughter who passed away at a young age. In the last 6 years, over a quarter of a million trees have been planted.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7 to 8 years.

This is a heartwarming and inspiring story that MUST be shared and replicated as much as possible across India and the world.

[thanks for the various media and sharing by people. I am inspired to put it together here and share]


Cocktail of Money, Politics and Media – How it is affecting the real INDIA : P. Sainath, eminent journalist

I have always been enlightened by reading P.Sainath’s articles, including his celebrated book, “Everybody loves a good drought”. I came across one video interview of his and it led to quite few. I felt like sharing here…

Kindly check out this initiative of P.Sainath, Rural India Online, that brings in reports from hundreds of journalists whose articles are not entertained by main stream newspapers. It is a treasure trove. Kindly go through for awakening the self.

Is INDIA going through a process of cleansing?

“I wish influential people including yourself and Satya Narayanan take the initiative to do something with regards to the rapes in india. Please consider this a humble request ! Teach your students this one extra lesson, I am willing to pitch in if needed”

-Geeta, a childhood family friend, who is based in chicago, US, commented on FB..

My response was…

Indeed, each one of us when we address youth we talk about thinking, aiming and doing things that are positive and that takes one towards excellence….realization of potential..

Secondly, the rape issues are coming out because of greater awareness and consciousness…. like the way you are feeling and sharing, every one is feeling and venting the anguish and desire to contribute for the change…the power of social media is immense…it is mobilizing opinions and expressions…for good

Thirdly, the issue, as one of my friends who lives in Europe shared, is no different across the world. It is all about evolution of human being in a social context. India is going through a phase of cleansing perhaps…..

what do you think?

Connected Bharat, Enabled Bharat, Empowered Bharat – An article for digitalEARNING Magazine!

Here was the request that came from the magazine, “After years of discussion and deliberations the ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme has been announced. What is the first step/initiative/challenges that you will address or take towards realising this goal, specifically in the field of EDUCATION?
I would request you to provide me a quote of around 100/words, along with the details mentioned below and a high resolution photograph.

Name: R. Sreenivasan;    Designation: Chief Innovation Officer; Co-Founder

Organisation: CL Educate”

————– My article to the request…..

I would want to call it, ‘Connected Bharat, Enabled Bharat, Empowered Bharat’ rather than DIGITAL INDIA. India has been in the digital era for the last three decades with only the URBAN INDIA making something out of it, and to some extent impacting larger masses too. We have had significant success in rail reservation, telephony etc, but mostly the service providers made use of it to deliver reasonably better services.

Now, the mobile revolution, especially the smart phone capability, in the hands of the ‘AAM ADMI’ is making the big difference now. I can see the impact happening in Education, Health and Sanitation, transportation while being connected with families live 24X7 from anywhere.

Having been at the forefront of web and related technology in the education space since 2000, I see now, the light at the end of the tunnel that we have been passing through over the last decade, to reach out to the real masses. The last mile connectivity is getting cleared now with Mobile technologies empowering their finger tips and their endeavours.

CL Educate started delivering live, interactive courses empowering Indian Children who used to log in from their homes in the middle-east (Indian expatriate population) in 2001 and have been doing so with fair amount of success since then. I can vividly recall one of the faculty, Mr. Pankaj Kumar, taking a session over the web,  on botany with a lot of animation built in, from his home in Patna, and students in Dubai, Manama and Kuwait city were enchanted and enthralled! Since then we have facilitated hundreds of children from the Middle-east to reach the sought after portals of IITs and IIMs and also the best of the universities abroad. Pankaj Kumar and his colleague, VM Sharma are reaching out to children in the remotest schools of Andamans, now!

Only in the last 4-5 years we have been able to generate the same momentum in India through better last-mile web connectivity, with about 3000-4000 students regularly logging in from homes across the country to attend one single session from the best of the masters in the test-prep space. But what is really transforming today, is the mobility – any time, any where – possibility. This year we have been able to reach tens of thousands with mobile apps within twenty four hours of launch of the courses on the apps – Truly enabling every Indian.

This morning when, I wrote this article, and was to upload on my website, I noticed a huge spurt, that happened yesterday, in the visitors on my site ! and I amended this article!!

Webgraph sreeni-vert


Over 900 visitors hitting the site in one single hour, to read an article on Piyush Tiwari and his endeavour, SAVE LIFE FOUNDATION – https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/act-promptly-save-life-piyush-tiwari-founder-save-life-foundation-indialogues/”. Most of these hits have been from mobile, immediately after watching a reference to Piyush on television in the programme, “SATYAMEVA JAYATE”, powered by Amir Khan. So television and mobile together created this tsunami on www.sreeni.org.

Similarly, classes on the web and mobiles in hand to attend them and respond, creates quite a few tsunamis, every now and then!!

These tsunamis are bound to grow in magnitude pretty soon. I see the mobility dimension impacting the real masses with every human being in the remotest part of the country enabled. If we are able to ‘power’ the country with alternate sources of energy – solar charging panels, solar powered lights etc, then the boundaries will vanish sooner. There are endeavours in that direction by brilliant set of ‘energy’ enablers.

If world class education facilitation reaches every family, the nation will be enabled and empowered. We are heading in the right direction. We will see the impact in the next three to four years; 2020 will see a different dawn!

know more about http://digitallearning.eletsonline.com/

looking forward to your feedback. Humble thanks.

Art in Public Spaces – Delhi is catching up…..

I had sought an appointment from Dr Alka Pandey, the in-charge of Visual art gallery, at IHC and I reached there. While waiting for her, was looking at works of a young boy displayed there in. I suddenly received a call from Ramji (Sri Ram Singhal), a good spiritual friend and mentor, who has let go thriving crafts exports business to devote time for spiritual pursuits. We met at my SPANDAN 2013, the dance photography exhibition and dance festival last May. Here I was at IHC to finalize on my plans for SPANDAN 2014 and I receive his call, and he said he is there at IHC in 10 minutes.

I met him and interacted while going through the works of the youngster ay VAG. And he shares about the inauguration of the Raghu Raiji’s Show at the central park, in Connaught Place and he wanted to take me for a quick dekho. We rushed in his car to CP and to my surprise, this was a photography festival in public spaces by the French Embassy. To my delight I saw large prints not only in The Central Park, but also on the buildings around the Central Park, metro station. Parliament street..

Selfies with Paris captures of Raghu Rai

The French have indeed set a few benchmarks in India in the last one year as far as public display of art goes. They did an interesting laser show along with fashion at jantar mantar, the last year. I am delighted to see these experiments as I have always been interested in art in public spaces. I had written about my experiments in an article earlier. My experiments in Open SPaces

I strongly believe that the Central Park of CP and a few such places in every city should be converted into spaces of art. Public to sensitize the population on various issues. The art has to come out of the confines of art galleries and auditoriums. Delhi has been at the fore-front of these experiments over the last decade with CP, Purana Quila, Nehru Park, Qutub, Red Fort etc turning into spaces for art.

I am eagerly looking forward to the day when the central circle of CP is devoid of any traffic, except people walking and admiring art displays and performances; The city centre becoming a hub for stimulating creativity among the gentry!

My next exhibition in public spaces is scheduled for April 26-May 05, 2014! I am excited!

How young socially conscious Oar-boys, created an example on Ghats of Varanasi

I landed in Varanasi last evening to do a workshop for all the call getters from Indian Institutes of Management. These successful aspirants were arriving from the entire eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Varanasi is the cradle of one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, with inhabitation of this city recorded as far back as 6000 years ago. It is a fascinating city on the banks of river Ganges and is one of the most sacred destinations for the Hindus, and also for many from the world who throng to see the magical city. It is always in the itinerary of every tourist visiting India. In fact, very many go on to stay here for years.

I have always enjoyed walking by the ghats and galis of Varanasi. Every visit has been a journey of discovery – of the city and of one-self too. As usual I reached the Dhashaswamedh Ghat in the darkness of early morning, after walking for about three kilometers. It was drizzling a little, the ghats were buzzing with activity, but not as was expected to be, due to the muggy weather and the winter chill.

The early morning Aarti for Mother Ganges, the river considered to be very pious

The early morning Aarti for Mother Ganges, the river considered to be very pious

I became busy clicking away the magical morning on the ghat – the dips, the aarti, the boats, the colors of dawn as I walked along the ghats. The ghats are 80 in number, and Dhashaswamedh is somewhere in between, and I proceeded towards the ASSI ghat. Each of the ghats have been built by one kingdom or other from across the country over the centuries, to shelter the citizens of their provinces when they come to this pious city.

Since the city has settled centuries ago, the modern amenities in the public are difficult to come by. The upkeep of the city is far from satisfactory and to the utter shock of most visitors, garbage is found littered in every corner of the street. I keep wondering why? At many locations on the ghats, men relieve themselves, that not only leaves stink but also pollutes further the polluted Ganges.

This morning, when I reached the Rana Pratap/mahal Ghat, I was surprised to see three pisspots neatly lined against the wall in a corner with a note, “kindly do not pollute mother Ganges, use the toilet to relieve yourselves.” Around the toilet along the ghat, many flowering plants are blossoming. They are neatly lined.

Deepak and Amit proudly posing at their outpost, Rana Pratap Ghat, Varanasi. You can see the toilet corner!

Deepak and Amit proudly posing at their outpost, Rana Pratap Ghat, Varanasi. You can see the toilet corner!

This effort is indeed admirable, especially because, it is envisioned and created by three young Oar-boys who ferry the visitors on the Ganges in their small wooden row-boats. Deepak (13), Amit (11) along with their elder brother Ravi (19) helped their father to make it happen. Deepak and Amit who solicit customers for the boat rides were filled with pride when they shared about their endeavor, rightly so! I took their photograph in the location promising that I will write a story about their conscious effort to keep the ghats clean and tidy. The ghat is stink-free and is a pleasure to walk by.

If only each one of us is conscious of our surroundings, and do our little bit, I am sure we can make a huge difference! Let us strive to make things happen1!

An eye opener for the young and old alike – CP’s Underground Services Tunnel

Delhi, in the wake of 2010 common wealth games, had to endure inconveniences at most of the places due to ongoing infrastructural projects. The next CWG is around the corner, a few of the projects are still long way from completion, even after four years. One of the locations that was seen dug all over was the Connaught Place, which is still some way from complete recovery.

I came across an article about the CP’s new wonder, an underground services tunnel! and that it was thrown open to the public to see for seven days before it got officially commissioned, claimed to be one of a kind gift to the city dwellers who frequent to CP, a hundred-year old shopping destination in the heart of the capital.

I was keen to take the family, especially kids. After a couple of attempts, finally managed to take three young, curious minds – Mallika, Nandu and Miku – along with the very young Svwara and family. The visit was an eye-opener not only to the young brigade, but also to all adults.

The underground service tunnel

The 1.8 km underground tunnel, two story tall and 30ft wide, runs all around CP, underneath the middle circle enclosing within, various ducts and pipelines, that service this bustling market place. It is a wonderful showcase of the urban planning and development that every city across the nation can easily follow. After Delhi Metro, that has become a standard for public transport in major cities, I see this will be a standard for services maintenance and delivery.

The engineers facilitating the young brigade and the old alike

When we descended through one of the gates into the tunnel, close to Palika Bazaar, we were greeted by a couple of Engineers from Shapoorji Pallonji, the executer of the project. They were very friendly and were encouraging questions and responding eagerly too.

Our discovery –

The multi-tiered structures that carry various electric and data cables to the entire CP network

There are 8-9 tiers of neatly organized conduits of wires going through the two story high tunnel.
a. High tension wires those carry load to the transformers etc
b. supply to the consumers from these transformers
c. The data cables that carry telephony and data
All these are cleanly organized, insulated and made sure that one does not interfere with the other. Data lines are located farthest from the high tension wires. Ample precautions have been taken so that under any eventuality, any accident can be responded to immediately. For a few of the ducts, water pipelines are laid, and for a few gas and hand held fire extinguishers are provided, based on the requirement. All handy and easily executable

Then there are larger pipelines, distinctly color coded –

The color coded pipelines that carry water for various purposes – RED, BLUE and GREEN; with safety valves

A. Red colored for the fire safety network. They carry water to the network of points, located all across CP so that any fire can be doused with those outlet and one need not depend or wait for fire-extinguishers to reach the spot through crowded markets. The response could be within a few seconds
B. The second set of pipelines, color coded, blue carry fresh municipal water to all the blocks, offices, houses and shops for regular usage
C. The third set of pipes, green, carry the rain water and such for recycling and dispersal, for watering the parks and green belts within CP…

The whole complex is monitored by a high-tech control unit which keeps track of temperature, pressure variations in order spot any malfunctioning, accordingly switches on or off the systems as and when need arises. Also it takes care of cooling and air-conditioning of the whole underground tunnel.

It was an eye-opener for me and the young brigade too. They were so enamoured of the complex that they wrote interesting feedbacks in the books placed there in.

All in all, it was a wonderful exercise for one and all..

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