Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Siragugal '09 - When Bhumi spread colour, joy and more!

Siragugal 2009 was a one day Art, cultural Fest held on 15 Nov, 2009.  796 children from classes 1-12 of 26 orphanages in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur Districts participated. The event consisted of  16 different competitions for three age categories, a science exhibition competition, fun events including a magic show and a theatre workshop for the children.

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S09 - 005 In spite of the heavy rains the children made it to the the venue, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kilpauk thanks to the buses Sponsored by Velammal Educational Trust. Siragugal'09 was inaugurated by Ms.Archana Raghuram (Cognizant Outreach), Mr.Kannan (Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development), and Mr. Mukesh (playback singer of ‘where’s the party tonight’ fame). An electrifying performance by Mr.Mukesh and Bhumian Ms.Aakansha set the tone for the day getting the children and volunteers into a frenzy.

S09 - 015 The children then spread out across the venue as six events started simultaneously. The morning session consisted of events like group song, solo dance, quiz, English and Tamil elocution, Tamil essay writing, Tamil poetry, drawing-painting, mimicry and monoact. While Siragu Montessori School delivered a prize winning traditional  villu paatu  during the group song event, many enthusiastic children drew and painted their message to society (“Say no to child labour”, “Give life by donating blood”, “Educate children” and the like).

S09 - 011 In the meanwhile, the six game stalls including balloon shooting etc and the Science Exhibition which had models prepared by Bhumi's Little Einsteins Team and also those brought in by the children for the competition were thrown open to all participants. The children and Bhumi volunteers displayed their scientific models, and actively explained the theoretical concepts to the other children.

S09 - 078 Immediately before lunch Magician Elango‘s show, a surprise element for the children doubled up the energy and the excitement in the auditorium. Lunch was sponsored by Cognizant Outreach and Food King.

S09 - 021 Post-lunch events commenced at the respective venues – Tamil skit, soap carving, pot painting, rangoli, group dance, and solo song. Despite the registrations being closed before the event, groups of children turned up with requests to participate in art events like soap carving and pot painting turning the venue into a colour riot! Meanwhile at the auditorium, an outstanding performance from a child who participated in group dance was asked to perform Solo on demand. His moves to the title song from the movie Villu  had the audience on their feet for a standing ovation! Definitely a moment that will be remembered by all those who were present there!

S09 - 045 The valedictory function marked the close of Siragugal’09. Our Chief Guest ‘Food King’ Mr. Sarath Babu delivered an inspirational speech to the children. The guests of honour for the evening were Mr. Balasubramanian and Mr. Sattainathan (SBI, one of our sponsors). The guests distributed the certificates and medals to all the prize winners.

And the Awards went to!

Best Children's Home Rolling Trophy - Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, whose children made a clean sweep at Siragugal’09

Best Participating Children's Home Trophy’ - Indian Council for Child Welfare

S09 - 042 Best Individual Performer, Male -- Mst. Udayakumar from SISTWA who stole hundreds of hearts with his realistic mimicry concept that revolved around the dancing styles of actors Kamal Hassan, Vikram and Vijay

Individual Best Performer, Female - Ms. Nancy Lavanya from St. Thomas children’s home for winning the most number of awards

Best Actor - Mst.Manikandan from CHILD Children's Home

S09 - 038 Volunteers from Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (Thamaraipakkam), Cognizant’s Outreach, Infosys’ Sneham and NCC cadets from college of Engineering, Guindy contributed with zest equivalent to that of the organising Bhumi volunteers.

We are deeply indebted to our Sponsors including Cognizant Outreach, SBI, Infosys Sneham, Food King, Velammal Educational Trust, Welmech Engineering, Sniper Systems, ISHRAE and over a thousand individual donors also contributed towards the finances of the event.

Participating homes (in alphabetical order) - Aadhiswarar Home, Adi Dravida Samooga Sevagar Sangam (Manavar Illam), Anbagam Street Children Care Centre, Annai Bharathamatha Educational trust, Annai Trust, Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, Bharatha Matha School, Child Children's Home, Ebenezer Home Of Social Outreaches, Good Life Centre, Indian Council for Child Welfare, Maranatha Intermission children's home, Mottukkal Good Shepherd Convent, Nalmanam, Nesakkaram Seeds, Open Door Orph. & Community Centre, Parisu Trust Child Development Centre, SAC Dr. P.V.Rao School-Children’s Home, Roshini Home, Sathiya Jyothi Destitute Home, Siragu Montessori School, SISTWA, Sree Sarada Sevasramam, St. Thomas Orphanage, Swami Charitable Trust, Webbs Memorial Orphanage.

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  Team Bhumi celebrating the close of Siragugal '09

A bigger and better Siragugal 2010 beckons! Siragugal '10 will be a two day Art, Cultural, Science, Athletic and Sports Fete. See you all again in July 2010!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let’s nationalise Cricket in India!

India is now a top contender for the best Test and one day cricketing team in the world.

  • Is it because unlike other sports in India cricket is less controlled by the government? – But then there are so many politicians in BCCI!
  • Is it because we have the best talent in the world? – Or is it because world over people are tuning into football and no one is bothered about Cricket?

If a country, like the USA with a third of our population can win a hundred plus medals every year at the Olympics, why do we have to get in there every year at the bottom of the pack? Shouldn’t there be three times more potential medallists among a billion Indians?

So where’s all that talent??? Probably languishing in some desk job because they were was not supported by their family or the system(rather the lack of it!)

While Indian budget for all sports in India this year is about Rs.1,000 Crore INR, BCCI’s Income itself Rs.700 Crore (it was 1,000 last year!) and this doesn't include the Indian Premier League Cricket who are earning Rs.8,200 crore just for ten years media rights!

If cricket is earning more that what’s being spent on all other sports combined, how will all other sports and sportspersons thrive?

Shouldn’t the BCCI be nationalised? Yes, there’ll be more corruption. But, won’t the state of other sports be much better?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Srilankan Tamils being excuted naked and blindfolded by Srilankan Army

Video released by Journalists for Democracy, Srilanka and shown by Channel 4 News, UK. Be warned the contents are shocking to say the least. Srilankan Tamils being stripped naked, blindfolded and shot dead from behind

Does any one deserve to die like this without any dignity? Much less, killed by their own army? How can any two communities live in peace after people are executed like this? This isn't rooting out Terrorism but planting more seeds for acrimony and more violence!

Why aren't any of the war crimes charges against the Srilankan government being investigated?
Why is India providing tacit support for such barbaric acts?
What is the Srilankan governement still doing in those alleged 'concentration camps' where independent media is yet to be allowed free access?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Excellence in Literacy Rotary Award for Bhumi

Bhumi is the proud recipient of the Excellence in Literacy Award 2009 from the Rotary Club of Madras Chenna Patna. Congrats to all Bhumians!

 Receiving the 'Excellence in Literacy' Award Citation from past Rotary International District Governor
Receiving the 'Excellence in Literacy' Award 2009 from past Rotary International District Governor
This is just the beginning! Bhumi Team @ Hotel Savera after the Award ceremony 30.07.09!
Bhumi in the News: The Hindu

Sunday, June 07, 2009

BHUMI is YouthActionNet’s Global Fellowship Program Semi-Finalist!

Great News at the beginning of a new academic year!

Bhumi has been selected as one of 50 semi-finalists from over 500 applications received for the Youth Action Net Global Fellowship! http://www.youthactionnet.org/

YouthActionNet®’s Global Fellowship Program targets exceptional young social entrepreneurs anywhere in the world who have developed innovative approaches to addressing issues of international relevance.

Congrats to all Bhumians!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spare a thought for the innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka

So Prabhakaran the Terrorist has been killed. Happy? Rejoicing?

Ever thought of the thousands of innocent Tamils who were slaughtered by the indiscriminate use of artillery and chemical weapons by the Sri Lankan army during the Genocidal war?

If not spare a thought, they’re Humans like you too…

Which government that cares about it’s people, would drop bombs over hospitals and crowded places, just because it suspects terrorists are in their midst? You wouldn't shoot at the passengers and bomb the whole bus, if you had to rescue the hostages!

Ever thought why the western nations which went running to Kosovo and Israel ignored Sri Lanka? Is it because it was battle between the Sinhalese Buddhist majority and Tamil Hindu minority?

If you didn’t spare a thought for them as a human, maybe you can as a Hindu!

Ever thought why Pakistan which spawns terrorism worldwide and China which has ignored terrorism elsewhere are helping Sri Lanka? The Sri Lankans who slept with the Americans to give them Trincomalee port to combat India during the Cold War have now given Hambantota to the Chinese who are building a billion dollar port for the Chinese Navy! So China forestalls all discussions about the genocide at the UN and supplies weapons to the army.

Chinese weapons,  Indian intelligence, Sinhala Armed personals and racist Sri Lankan leaders came together to perform one of the most cruel war that has cost the lives of many thousands innocents – LINK: The Telegraph, UK

Yes, the people who are supposed to protect us are sleeping though this hostile development… If you didn’t spare a thought before, maybe now you can as an Indian!

Everyone who are responsible for slaughtering an estimated 70,000 innocent Tamils over the last 25 years and another 7,000 over the last 4 months alone and the continuing ‘white van abductions’ of Tamils in the ‘liberated’ areas will pay for it someday, whether it’s the racist Rajapakse brothers and their political cohorts, the murderous Gen. Fonseka or the traitorous Col.Karuna…

So what if LTTE’s leader who was terrorist to many and a freedom fighter to those who mattered was killed today? Even if the LTTE is finished with him, LTTE was not the only militant organisation that fought for the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils. If naxalism and armed struggles can exist in a pluralistic democracy like India, how long would it take for the FREEDOM struggle to begin again from the smoking embers in Sri Lanka?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is Prostitution Wrong?

Is it wrong to take up Prostitution voluntarily?
-This question is NOT about the men who solicit prostitutes
- A woman takes up prostitution by choice, why should the society have any problem with it?

Maybe I'm the exact opposite of people in the MNS and Ram Sene, I think if an adult is old enough to vote and decide the fate of the country, the adult is old enough to decide his/her own fate and how he/she lives his life.

If the person makes a wrong choice as an adult, maybe we as a society failed to infuse the right values into the younger mind when ideas and convictions were forming.

It is wrong to force someone into prostitution! It is wrong to rob another person's life or property! Why should it be wrong to sell your own body or take your own life?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The silent horror of the war in Sri Lanka

The horror that is unfolding in Sri Lanka becomes possible because of the silence that surrounds it. There is almost no reporting in the mainstream Indian media — or indeed in the international press — about what is happening there. Why this should be so is a matter of serious concern.

From the little information that is filtering through it looks as though the Sri Lankan government is using the propaganda of the ‘war on terror’ as a fig leaf to dismantle any semblance of democracy in the country, and commit unspeakable crimes against the Tamil people. Working on the principle that every Tamil is a terrorist unless he or she can prove otherwise, civilian areas, hospitals and shelters are being bombed and turned into a war zone. Reliable estimates put the number of civilians trapped at over 200,000. The Sri Lankan Army is advancing, armed with tanks and aircraft.

Meanwhile, there are official reports that several ‘‘welfare villages’’ have been established to house displaced Tamils in Vavuniya and Mannar districts. According to a report in The Daily Telegraph (Feb 14, 2009), these villages ‘‘will be compulsory holding centres for all civilians fleeing the fighting’’. Is this a euphemism for concentration camps? The former foreign minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraveera, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘‘A few months ago the government started registering all Tamils in Colombo on the grounds that they could be a security threat, but this could be exploited for other purposes like the Nazis in the 1930s. They’re basically going to label the whole civilian Tamil population as potential terrorists.’’

Given its stated objective of ‘‘wiping out’’ the LTTE, this malevolent collapse of civilians and ‘‘terrorists’’ does seem to signal that the government of Sri Lanka is on the verge of committing what could end up being genocide. According to a UN estimate several thousand people have already been killed. Thousands more are critically wounded. The few eyewitness reports that have come out are descriptions of a nightmare from hell. What we are witnessing, or should we say, what is happening in Sri Lanka and is being so effectively hidden from public scrutiny, is a brazen, openly racist war. The impunity with which the Sri Lankan government is being able to commit these crimes actually unveils the deeply ingrained racist prejudice, which is precisely what led to the marginalization and alienation of the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the first place. That racism has a long history, of social ostracisation, economic blockades, progroms and torture. The brutal nature of the decades-long civil war, which started as a peaceful, non-violent protest, has its roots in this.

Why the silence? In another interview Mangala Samaraveera says, ‘‘A free media is virtually non-existent in Sri Lanka today.’’ ‘This concern has not travelled to India’

Samaraveera goes on to talk about death squads and ‘white van abductions’, which have made society ‘‘freeze with fear’’. Voices of dissent, including those of several journalists, have been abducted and assassinated. The International Federation of Journalists accuses the government of Sri Lanka of using a combination of anti-terrorism laws, disappearances and assassinations to silence journalists.

There are disturbing but unconfirmed reports that the Indian government is lending material and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government in these crimes against humanity. If this is true, it is outrageous. What of the governments of other countries? Pakistan? China? What are they doing to help, or harm the situation?

In Tamil Nadu the war in Sri Lanka has fueled passions that have led to more than 10 people immolating themselves. The public anger and anguish, much of it genuine, some of it obviously cynical political manipulation, has become an election issue.

It is extraordinary that this concern has not travelled to the rest of India. Why is there silence here? There are no ‘white van abductions’ — at least not on this issue. Given the scale of what is happening in Sri Lanka, the silence is inexcusable. More so because of the Indian government’s long history of irresponsible dabbling in the conflict, first taking one side and then the other. Several of us including myself, who should have spoken out much earlier, have not done so, simply because of a lack of information about the war.

So while the killing continues, while tens of thousands of people are being barricaded into concentration camps, while more than 200,000 face starvation, and a genocide waits to happen, there is dead silence from this great country. It’s a colossal humanitarian tragedy. The world must step in. Now. Before it’s too late.

Arundhati Roy in an article for TOI

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Whose culture is it anyway?

What is Culture?

The characteristic features of everyday existence, the set of shared attitudes, values, conventions, or social practices that characterizes people in a place or time.

What happens when people in a place belong to different 'times'? - India happens!

While there are people of who belong to the older generation who think that life should be lived like this and people should behave like this etc.

There is the youth brigade, almost a third of the Indian population, who think they should have the freedom to decide what's right from wrong and chart their own course.

So who's wrong? Neither! as long as each other sets values for only themselves... When the young don't try to set values for the older people why should they set values for us?

Indian Culture has tolerated prostitution, drug and alcohol addiction for hundreds of years. What's wrong with young men and women meeting up and having a drink at a pub?

If we are old enough to decide what's right and wrong for the country and vote aren't we old enough to decide what's right  and wrong for ourselves? Please leave us and 'our culture' alone!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

China: Death for two in tainted milk case - When do we see such headlines in India?

A Chinese court has handed down death sentences to two men implicated in a tainted-milk scandal that killed at least six infants and sickened hundreds of thousands of others.

The Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang issued the first verdicts in a nationwide scandal surrounding milk powder tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

Two men, Zhang Yujun and Geng Jinping, were sentenced to death. Zhang ran a workshop that allegedly was China's largest source of melamine used in the tainted dairy products. Geng was convicted of producing and selling toxic foodstuffs.

The court sentenced Tian Wenhua, the former head of the dairy company at the center of the scandal, to life in prison and fined her nearly $4 million. She was found guilty of making and selling fake or substandard products.

Her company, the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, was fined more than $7 million. Six other former Sanlu executives were sentenced to jail, for five to 15 years.

The court had announced it would also sentence 21 defendants implicated in the scandal later.

Some parents are disappointed that no Chinese officials have had to face formal charges.

The scandal involving tainted milk broke in September, although Sanlu authorities knew of problems with their company's products months earlier.

Middlemen who sold milk to dairy companies had watered down the raw milk and then mixed it with melamine, which gives an artificially high reading for protein.

Melamine is normally used to make plastics and fertilizer. If ingested in large amounts, it can cause kidney stones and kidney failure. The Ministry of Health said it was likely the tainted milk scandal with Sanlu Group at its centre killed at least six babies. Another 2,96,000 infants suffered kidney stone and urinary problems.

When would we see such quick judgments against corruption happening in India?

Cross posted from Indian Medicos