Tuesday November 21, 2017
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Backward Assam Village Heads for Brighter Days

Gone are the days of illiteracy and poor living conditions

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Rani (Assam): Forty-five-year-old Dhaneswar Boro is excited that his days of illiteracy are over. He can now write his name is Assamese and he is gradually getting to know his rights as an Indian citizen.

But it was a bleak story till last year. Life remained stuck in a morass of underdevelopment in Bakrapara village in Rani development block, just 30 km from the state’s main city of Guwahati. However, the winds of change are now blowing, thanks to Guwahati’s NPS International School that has adopted the village as part of its CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative.

Bakrapara, Assam
Bakrapara, Assam,Image Source: www.thehansindia.com

For decades, Dhaneswar and his fellow villagers here lived without the basic facilities. Their life revolved around cultivating land, fishing and selling the catch in the local market. Many among them earned their living as daily labourers. The developmental schemes of the central and state governments didn’t reach this village, which lies in the Dispur assembly constituency.

The curse of illiteracy passed on from one generation to another- the 70 families here could not afford to send their children to school due to lack of money. The dark shadow of poverty loomed large.

But all that’s in past now, ever since the village was adopted by NPS International School in 2015.

Related article– Barsimaluguri: Story of transformation of an Assam Village

“We adopted the village in 2015 as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility and we are working for the betterment of the living conditions of the people,” NPS International School director J.N. Das told IANS.

“The families here belong to the BPL category and we are training them on alternative livelihood options.

“We have brought in experts to train the villagers on rearing pigs, ducks and chicken, which has benefited them economically,” Das added.

Thanks to the effort, several villagers have now taken up rearing pigs, ducks, goats and chicken, moving away from their traditional occupations.

It’s also changing for the senior villagers, for whom the school organises literacy camps. They are also being trained on health, hygiene and other issues.

The initiative also has an environmental aspect to it — the villagers are being made aware about the hazardous effects of plastic.

“We are telling them about the need to conserve the environment,” Das informed, adding that the the village has been declared a ‘no-plastic zone’ and anyone found dumping plastic and other non-biodegradable waste is slapped with a fine.

The villagers have planted about 100 saplings last year as part of the green initiative.

Das’s claims are endorsed by Dhaneswar. “There have been so many changes here after the NPS School adopted the village. We are learning how to conserve the nature. My wife has been trained on rearing duck and chicken. It is benefiting us economically,” Dhaneswar told IANS.

“Politicians come here only at the time of elections. But now, the days are changing for good. I feel the younger generation will see better days,” chimed in Dipak Basumatary, another villager.

A primary school was set up in the village about 20 years back. The few children who study there now have a chance to interact with their counterparts at the NPS International School.

“These interactions will certainly benefit our children as they will learn a lot of new things,” said Ila Kachari, an elderly village woman, who proudly added that she too can now write her name after participating in the literacy program.

“The village used to be backward. But we are now developing it as a model village. We are ensuring that the villagers participate in all the activities,” Das said. (IANS)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)