Category Archives: Society

More Than Tomorow (MTT) Project


In India only 2 % of all schools have computers. Working to bridge the last mile of the “Digital Divide” is the US-based not for profit “More Than Tomorrow“.

Its founder Marshall Krinitz is an affable personality who is passionate about his mission. A chance meeting with him at the local swimming pool got us to know each other. MTT Project is aimed at helping villages to acquire computers. As the brochure says: “The guiding principle is the belief that if we partner with people, especially people in poor, rural areas, and provide them the cutting- edge tools with which to enhance their lives, we can initiate a new dynamic.” It is a humnle beginning on his part, but given his commitment, I am sure the organization will be a great help to the needy people.

Started in mid- 2007, the Organization is mainly working in rural areas of Dharamshala, HP.

Valentine Day

Valentine Day and the hype and hoopla! Over last many years, this day too has become increasingly commercialized and one can not escape the harangue associated with it. You got to go and get kids purchase bulk cards for the phenomenon called “Classroom Valentine”! It is a fun for kids, I know! Nancy Gibbs has rightly observed in an essay in Time Magazine: “The best gift for Valentine’s Day is to ignore it altogether.”

Case of Race in USA

The ongoing US Presidential election primaries do witness discussion on race issue , even though many a time in a subtle manner! The reason is that both democratic hopefuls- Barak Obama (an African American) and Hillary Clinton ( a female Presidential aspirant) have carefully avoided this issue hotting up due to political compulsions. But, yes, the concept of race in USA is definitely an issue.
I recently read a reader’s views in The Time magazine and tend to agree what he has said. His letter says:
“Caught Between Color Lines I enjoyed John Cloud’s “breaking down the Black Vote” [Jan. 28]. I am from Tanzania, and like many foreigners who come to the U.S., I found—to my surprise—that I belong to a pool of supposedly disadvantaged minorities. I struggle with the skewed concept of race in America. For some reason, having black blood is almost seen as some kind of contamination. How would this racial-political dialogue play out if, say, Barack Obama were one-fourth or one-eighth black? I am reminded of the Christian teachings on original sin. However good, intelligent or capable a person you might be, there is something that still taints your righteousness. Whether we like it or not, Obama’s black half will ultimately lead to the demise of his presidential aspirations. “

Yohanne Kidolezi, BOSTON

Baba Amte Passes Away

Noted social activist and Magsaysay award winner Murlidhar Devidas Amte alias Baba Amte died at his Anandvan ashram in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra on Saturday, February 09,2008. He was 94.

I was saddened to hear about his demise. He leaves behind the wonderful legacy of selfless service of the downtrodden and weaker section of the society, particularly leprosy patients. His 2 sons are ably carrying on the legacy. Dr Vikas Amte looks after the operations in Ananadvan and younger son- Dr Prakash Amte- who is better known as the ‘jungle doctor’ is serving the tribal s in remote areas in Vidarbha (central parts of India). Theirs is the long established tradition of selfless service!

I personally drew great inspiration from Baba Amte. I remember having visited Anandvan and personally saw the wonderful community work which had been raised over the decades in Anandvan (Ananadvan is a Sanskrit/ Hindi name and literally means ‘forest of joy’). It has brought succor and relief to thousands of leprosy patients.

Kidney Racket in Gurgaon

A new kidney racket has been busted in Gurgaon, a satellite town of Delhi. Poor and gullible people are lured into making quick bucks and by the time they realize that they have lost their kidneys, it is too late. The un-regulated medical profession of India throws up new surprises and this utterly inhuman crime will soon be buried in the past! It is another waive of news that will soon pass by and such tragic event will start shaping up at a new place under a new set of criminal intents. Keep watching! Health officials are in deep slumbers!

Khyati Joshi and her Activism

Khyati Y Joshi is an assistant professor at the School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey and is on a crusade: To get schools to give equal respect to religions other than Christianity. She has authored a book “New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground’. Khyati (whom everyone will conveniently call ‘Kathy’ ) says: “Whatever illusions we may entertain about the separation of Church and state, religion is in schools. Specifically, Christianity is in our schools as it is in society. My work, both my writing and teaching advocates not that we try to exclude Christianity, which would be impossible, but that all religions should be seen and respected in schools.”

She further adds: “Being a scholar in US, I study and write about Christian hegemony and its effects on non-Christians. If we were in India, the same motivation would cause me to study and write about Hindu hegemony”. Very true, indeed!

One of her articles “Because I Had a Turban” gives more insight into her point of view.

To know more about her work, visit her website: http://www.khyatijoshi.com

Auction: Bats Signed by Ricky Pontning

Sahaj Sankalp is an NGO working in Delhi and other cities of India under the able and dynamic leadership of Dr Rajeev Nagpal. He is a UK-trained Pediatrician and has chosen to return home to be among his people and also focus on his social work which is close to his heart.

On January 4, 2008 (11 AM to 4 PM), the NGO is hosting a fund-raising ceremony at Studio Vasant in Vasant Vihar, N Delhi. The events include exhibition of artworks and an auction of the bats duly signed by Ricky Ponting (famous Australian Cricketer and Skipper).
To see what Sahaj Sankalp has achieved in child literacy , do visit the website: http://www.sahajsankalp.org

The venue of the auction is:
Studio Vasant
39, Pashimi Marg, Opp. Vasant Vihar Club
Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
Phone: 011- 46012292/ 9811142494
www.studiovasant.com

Impediment to social progress

As India continues to march forward, some events -which may not be of a bigger magnitue- continue to bring disrepute to us as a society. This incidence which happened in Haryana is a slur on our modernity and social ethos. A new born baby was snatched away from a couple by the community panchayat (Khap panchayat) on the grounds that the couple belonged to the same ‘gotra’ or lineage, hence they had no right on this baby! What a perverted logic and what kind of legal sanctity these so-called community panchayats have!
Whereas the caste based system must be loosened to an extent of it becoming irrelevant, these kinds of acts are a sure impediment in the social progress of the society.