Along the corridor adjacent to ward number 16 of the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, a box resembling a postbox is seen.
Along the corridor adjacent toward number 16 of the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, a box resembling a postbox is seen. It is not a mere spectacle but serves a greater purpose. The initiative ‘Dress bank’ which was conceptualised by Health Minister K K Shailaja to provide new and clean clothes to patients admitted to the ICU or those without bystanders, has been garnering much attention. Contributions are flowing in abundance.
After her recent visit to the Medical College, K K Shailaja examined the poor conditions and problems faced by the patients and bystanders. This triggered the idea. The project is being sponsored by the hospital employees and authorities including Dr Thomas Mathew, principal of Medical College Hospital and Dr M S Sharmad, superintendent.
Dr Mohan Roy, the regional medical officer (RMO), said, “We often get patients who have no bystanders and lack basic necessities. Their clothes are either torn or stained. So we considered installing a dress bank in the hospital which will be helpful to patients and bystanders in case of emergency. Dr Mohan Roy is the nodal officer for the project and Dr Sharmad is one of the sponsors associated with the Rotary Club, Kowdiar.
By introducing a dress bank, the hospital employees and authorities believe the issue will be resolved to some extent. Dhotis, towels and nightwears are available at the dress bank installed at the Medical College. The first donation was made by the Rotary Club, Kowdiar. Two weeks since its launch, Dr Mohan opined that many organisations and individuals have come forward for the cause. To check the misuse of the facility, the clothes are given to the patients upon examining their economic background.
A register is being maintained and clothes are being distributed under the supervision of the head nurses and higher hospital authorities. The contributions can be made by the people by contacting the superintendent’s office at MCH. Mohan said, “We have received good feedback from everyone who have made generous contributions. We plan to add more dress banks.”
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / May 28th, 2019
The multifaceted KV Seshadrinatha Sastrigal believes that learning of Sanskrit is important to understand the crux of the Vedas, Ayurveda and the best of Indian philosophy and culture
KV Seshadrinatha Sastrigal, 85, is a traditionalist, for whom tradition refers to customs and ceremonials by means of which the past speaks to the present. Traditions, for this scholar, relate allegiance to authority, storing up as they do the sedimented wisdom of earlier generations. But what makes Sastrigal different from a whole clutch of scholars in Sanskirt, Vedas and Sastras is his contemporary and radical perspective.
Sastrigal understands that Sanskrit, the language through which, for thousands of years, ancient traditions and knowledge were passed on from generation to generation, has been marginalised, diluted and reduced to a pitiable state. Yet, he refuses to believe that the language can be erased.
In an effort to establish, develop, propagate and bring out the need for retention of Indian culture through the ancient texts, he formed a Trust, Veda Samrakshana Nyasa, in 1984, while he was in Chennai. Now, he has formed a new team for developing this idea in Kerala. Sasthrigal has established a Veda Padasala in Kalady, Ernakulam district, where around 24 students are studying Yajur Veda and Sanskrit. In addition, many others visit him to seek wisdom in this ancient language and the texts of knowledge. Sastrigal was honoured with the ‘Mahamahopadhyaya’ title by the Government of India, the first scholar to receive this title after Independence.
Macaulay, whom we call the father of our modern Indian education system, in his historical speech in the British Parliament, clearly indicated that the ancient system of Indian education needed to be dismantled. This, he considered, was the backbone of the country, its spiritual and cultural heritage. And he achieved the goal of eliminating Sanskrit from being an essential part of the Indian education system.
“That is history. So many foreign powers came to our land and brought with them their languages. But Sanskrit was not attacked. When the Muslim rulers came to India, Sanskrit was allowed to flourish, the beliefs were not touched. But everything changed when the British came. English was injected into every Indian brain; Sanskrit was pushed out of our thinking, our intellect. Along with the language they uprooted out culture and threw it away,” says Sastrigal, a renowned Vedic, Sanskrit and Ayurveda scholar and former Principal of Madras Sanskrit College.
Sastrigal refuses to believe that Sanskrit is a ‘dead language’. “Unfortunately, many consider it to be a Hindu language and, therefore, not inclusive. Ninety-five per cent of Sanskrit literature has nothing to do with religion. You cannot kill this language, it is alive, the Vedas too.”
Learning of Sanskrit
There was a time in the past, says Sastrigal, when everyone, irrespective of caste and religion, studied Sanskrit. “Even girls studied the subject; I can point out so many instances recorded in our texts about this. Plays were written in Sanskrit and were they only for the Brahmins? No, because if there were no people to understand and appreciate these plays, they would not have been written and staged.”
Sastrigal also exhorts us to look at what happened towards the end of British rule and post-Independence in our country. The truth is that British scholars started learning Sanskrit, translated the ancient scriptures and documents into English even while they started a propaganda claiming that Sanskrit was a dying language. “At the same time through efforts of scholars like Max Mueller, Sanskrit was being introduced in almost all universities in Europe.”
Born in Kuzhalmandam, Palakkad, on June 20, 1934, Sasthrigal was a Vedic student at Nurani Vedasastra Patasala from 1944-1954. “Like so many landowning communities, my family was also forced to migrate following the enforcement of the land reforms act that abolished the tenancy system. We moved to Madras [Chennai] where I continued my studies and where I still live.” Sastrigal completed his graduation (Sahitya Shiromani) in 1959, winning the Presidency gold medal. He went on to complete Sahithya Vidwan course, passed the Vedanta Shiromani, Ayurveda Shiromani and Ayurveda Vidwan courses. He then did his research in Chithrameemamsa Vakyasudha under Dr V Raghavan, delving into the depths of Malsyapurana. For a while he was an Ayurveda medical practitioner, taught at the Venkitaramana Ayurveda College, Chennai, and was Principal of Madras Sanskrit College for 10 years.
“My association with Dr Raghavan opened new doors and helped changed my outlook towards these subjects. When I came first to Madras Presidency for Shiromani, he was pleasantly surprised. At that time I used to work for him at his house. He told me to join the university and begin my research. It was he who instilled in me that interest. He was a hard task master, made us work a lot but we enjoyed working. I was with him for nearly 10 years.”
Talking about his research subject, Malsyapurana, Sastrigal says that it was not just on the Puranas but more on the theory of evolution. “My only complaint is that people today ignore and discard the Vedas and Sastras even before trying to understand them. Can’t they at least listen, read and understand them before coming to a conclusion?”
A lot of scholars seek Sastrigal’s advice on Sanskrit, the Vedas, Ayurveda and even astrology, but though he swears by Ayurveda he considers astrology as a subject with no known source. “Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine. It is a general philosophy of health and wellness. It talks about proper diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene, and, of course, the use of herbal preparations. Like most traditional medicine systems, Ayurveda was developed and refined over thousands of years, through observation and experience. The term itself means the science of life. But astrology is not a truth. There is no specific mention of astrology in the Vedas, only astronomy is mentioned. For me, astrology does not exist.”
It is important to understand, says Sastrigal, though the practices of astrology and astronomy have common roots, there is an important distinction. “Astronomy is the study of the universe and its contents outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers examine the positions, motions, and properties of celestial objects. I do that. Astrology attempts to study how those positions, motions, and properties affect people and events.”
Veda Samrakshana Nyasa in Kalady has ventured into many projects with the advice and leadership of Sastrigal. A website (www.vedanyasa.com) has been created that offers information about Indian culture and traditions, the Vedas and Dharma Sasthras. Digitalisation of various ancient books and treatises on Ayurveda, astronomy, Vedas, etc., which will be made available free of cost to any user, publication of vernacular versions of these works, training and counseling sessions on lifestyle, food habits etc are some of the other projects that the organisation has on its anvil.
“Sanskrit is the greatest language in the world. And if it is taken away from the life of the masses of this country, a light would be gone. The distinctive features of a rich culture will be lost. I have very little time left. My efforts are to educate the present generation not only on the Shodhasa Samskaras (Hindu traditions) but also the Dharmasastras, which can help them mould their life free from all sorrows, pains, difficulties and given them peace of mind,” says Sastrigal.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by K. Pradeep / Kochi – April 18th, 2019
Five of them attend normal schools after training at autism centre
The Autism Care Centre in Thrissur, set up four years ago, has sent five children to normal schools after training them for three years. They joined Class I at various schools last year.
“This was possible because they were sent to the centre when they were three years old,” said Ravi A.S., president of Autism Society, Thrissur, and caretaker of the centre which is run by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Thrissur Corporation.
A survey conducted by Autism Society had found that there were as many as 110 autistic children in 86 schools in the district. The disorder varies from person to person, and each individual requires support in accordance with the needs. It comes under a spectrum of mental health disorders, and it can be managed only by keen observation of the child and understanding his/her needs, Mr. Ravi said.
While intermingling of children is crucial in the growing-up stage, autistic children cannot be trained along with those with other disabilities as they shy away from eye contact and social interaction. They prefer to sit alone and do not speak even if they hear someone calling out to them.
“It is these particular behaviours that we first need to decode in each child at a young age and prepare them to attend normal schools. Training them along with children with other disabilities will only make them go backward,” said Mr. Ravi. The aim of the centre is to make autistic children self-dependent, he added.
Besides toilet training and washing, the children are offered money management training too by taking them for shopping. “We have adults too [over 18 years] at the centre who come here for training. Other therapies like Yoga and meditation too are provided.”
“An important aspect of training is that parents should associate with the children as autism is incurable. However, it can be managed by minimising the disorder by up to 80%,” Mr. Ravi said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kerala / by Shyama Rajagopal / Kochi – April 02nd, 2019
Mereena Aswani has a goal to make Malayali women get fit.
At 7.30 a.m., on a recent Saturday, inside the large shed of the Dakshina Bharatha Kalari, at Fort Kochi, Mereena Aswani gazes at the women standing in front of them. All of them are wearing black: T-shirts, track pants or salwar kameez, with a red sash tied around their waists. Soon, they raise their hands upwards, move forward, kick their legs up, turn around, move forward, and kick their legs up again. Later, they sit cross-legged on their floor and Mereena guides them through a series of arm-stretching exercises.
For years, Mereena had been assisting her husband, kalaripayattu exponent Aswani Kumar, but on March 8, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain inaugurated classes exclusively for women. “It was a desire of my teacher, Sreedharan Gurukal to start a Kalari exclusively for women and I have achieved that dream, with the help of Aswani,” says Mereena.
In fact, the duo got a shed constructed, with a mud-pressed floor, while spears and shields hang on the walls, which have been painted in red. At 1200 sq. feet, it is a spacious area.Once the local women came to know about the classes, they have stepped forward enthusiastically. There are Gujarati working women, ladies from the Muslim community, professional dancers, who want to strengthen their legs, homemakers and yoga trainers who want to learn a martial art. “The flexibility in yoga is different from the flexibility that you gain from kalaripayattu,” says Mereena.
The women range in age from 25 to 50 years. The training is different for newcomers. Mereena looks at them and evaluates their level of fitness. “How flexible are they? Are they willing to work hard?” she says. “I start them off very slowly, with just a few steps. After about eight classes, I will introduce leg techniques.”
One who has been a regular is 38-year-old Thanuja Rauf, an Ayurveda doctor. “I had been learning kalaripayattu under Mereena even before the classes began officially,” she says. “She is a very good teacher. My flexibility has increased. There is a lot of stress relief. And you get a lot of energy. So you are able to be much more active than before. It has also boosted my self-confidence.”But it is not easy. “Definitely, in the beginning, there will be body aches and pains, but you have to practise continuously,” says Mereena. “There is a saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. The biggest advantage is that you will be able to burn away negative energy.”Interestingly, Mereena has been burning away this negative energy for decades.
It all began when she was only ten years old. Because of weak legs, she would fall down often. So, the doctor who treated her told her parents that one of the ways to develop strength in the legs was by practising a martial art.
For the family, this was an easy choice. Just two houses away, at Fort Kochi, was the master Sreedharan Gurukal who used to hold kalaripayattu classes. So Mereena was enrolled. Usually, she would come to the courtyard every day at 5 p.m., after school was over, for training along with a few ladies and girls. “I was the youngest in the group,” she says. And over time, as she practised regularly, her legs became stronger and the pains went away.
But Mereena never stopped. “I was hooked to kalaripayattu,” she says. Asked the advantages of practising the art form, Mereena says, “Your body becomes very flexible. Secondly, in my case, I have developed so much of courage that I feel confident that I can tackle a man bare-handed. Also, through kalaripayattu, I am connecting with our ancient traditions, which are steadily being lost. We are blindly following the West which is not a good thing.”
Kalaripayattu has other benefits, too. Before entering the kalari (ring), the kalaripayattu artist touches the ground with his hand. Thereafter, he or she touches the feet of deities like Ganapati and Bhadrakali, at the different corners of the kalari. Then you have to touch the feet of the guru. “Through these acts, you become humble,” says Mereena.
Apart from kalaripayattu, Mereena also teaches yoga. Last year, she had gone to Germany to teach yoga. At the kalari, Mereena gives a body massage for those who have body aches and pains. Through all this Aswani is right next to her. The couple, who tied the knot on April 30, 2005, has two school-going daughters.
And they have a mission: to make Malayali women get fit. “They are unfit because they are giving up their lives to serve the family and don’t look after themselves at all,” says Mereena. “So I ask them to take out one hour a week only for themselves. And when they come, they experience a lot of stress relief,” she says.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Shevlin Sebastian / Express News Service / March 27th, 2019
Mata Amritanandamayi’s life, which has witnessed success after overcoming several obstacles, is a role model for each and every woman, said Malayalam writer P Valsala.
Mata Amritanandamayi’s life, which has witnessed success after overcoming several obstacles, is a role model for each and every woman, said Malayalam writer P Valsala. She was speaking after inaugurating the Amritasree district conclave held at Puthiyappa Sree Bhagavathi temple ground in Kozhikode on Sunday.
Amritanandamayi Math Kozhikode chief Swami Vivekamrita Chaitanya, who delivered the benedictory address, spoke on the power of Mata Amritanandamayi’s spiritual benevolence.
Former minister and CPM leader T K Hamza, KPCC General secretary N Subramanian, BJP state vice-president K P Sreesan, Mathrubhumi managing editor P V Chandran, former Malayalam actress Vidhubala and Arjuna award winner and badminton player Valiyaveettil Diju were among the others present for the function. Amritasree has transformed itself into one of the greatest example of women empowerment in the state, said T K Hamza. K P Sreesan said the organisation has evolved itself into a mega initiative for social work.
N Subramanian who also spoke during the function said Amritasree was an example of care and compassion shown by Amritandamayi in uplifting people.The inaugural ceremony was followed by distribution of pension, saree and food to the members of Amritasree self-help groups in Kozhikode. Over 10,000 Amritasree members took part in the conclave. Each self-help group consisting of 20 members was given a fund of `30,000 at the event.
Around 3,000 Amritasree self-help groups are functioning in the district. It was started in 2004 to empower women from lower economic backgrounds.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / March 25th, 2019
23-year-old Dhanya has penned 32 keerthanas and dreams of being an RJ
Dhanya has a disarming smile that even cerebral palsy could not rob her of.
The smile belying her age, however, is also deceptive of her steel will to reduce her physical state to a minor irritant. Her resilience found another manifestation when renowned playback singer K.S. Chitra released an audio CD of 32 keerthanas penned by her at Sharjah last month.
There is a doggedness about the way the 23-year-old pursues her passions — be it listening to music and mythological stories or penning stories and poems for children. But she’s largely dependant on her parents Ramanan and Sunitha for moving around.
Mr. Ramanan, originally from Thrissur and employed with Dubai municipality for the last 30 years, had initially toyed with the idea of sending his only daughter to special schools in Dubai. “But those schools mostly had mentally-challenged children while my daughter only suffered from restricted muscle movements. So we opted for home schooling and she is now doing Class 8,” he said.
Ms. Dhanya is mostly cheerful and active on social media with three Facebook pages to her credit. While she has published all her 32 keerthanas in PDF format in one page, another page dedicated to stories for children features eight small stories written by her. According to her father, she has so far written nearly 72 stories.
The youngster is now experimenting with poetry for children. Her latest Facebook page dedicated to poems features one of her three works.
For someone who loves to laugh, Ms. Dhanya dreams of becoming a radio jockey or a television anchor someday.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by M.P. Praveen / Kochi – March 08th, 2019
Barrier-free access for hearing and visually challenged to country’s first planned ecotourism destination
Visually challenged people reaching Thenmala, the country’s first planned ecotourism destination, will be provided with a visitor’s guide in Braille, the tactile writing system, from March.
For the aurally challenged, a video brochure with sign language has been incorporated as a separate corner in www.thenmalaecotourism. com, the official website of the Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society (TEPS) that manages the destination.
A mobile application, a guiding app that will briefly narrate the attractions of the destination, is also on the anvil. The 16-page Braille brochure has all information needed for a traveller.
The initiative is part of the efforts to encourage people with visual and hearing impairement to visit Thenmala.
It is also part of the barrier-free tourism project launched last year to make tourist destinations accessible to all visitors.
“This is the first time a Braille tourism brochure is being made available at a tourist destination in the State. The brochures will be provided to the visually challenged from the TEPS office,” Ecotourism Director and CEO of TEPS P.P. Pramod told The Hindu.
Students of Government School for the Blind, Vazhuthacaud, is behind the Braille brochure.
It is the outcome of a day trip organised for students as part of a CSR initiative. “We realised the constraints faced and requested them for solutions. The Braille brochure was the outcome,” he said. Students of Government VHSS for Deaf, Jagathy, came up with the video brochure with sign language after their visit.
For using the mobile application being launched on trial basis, the QR code will come in handy if the visitor does not have data connection. After getting the feedback, a complete version of the app will be rolled out by TEPS in IOS platform.
Along with this, Buddha Mayoori, which has been declared as the State butterfly, has got a special corner in the butterfly park.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by S. Anil Radhakrishnan / Thiruvananthapuram – February 27th, 2019
Kerala student Manu Prasad bags design award for his ‘Uni-cast’, which he says addresses multiple hygiene issues
Innovation has always been the passion of Manu Prasad and his urge for invention has bagged the prestigious Lexus Design Award for him in the student category this year.
Mr. Prasad, 26, an electronics engineer, is presently pursuing an Advanced Product Design course at the Kerala State Institute of Design.
He is all smiles as he speaks to The Hindu about his invention — a resizable and recyclable cast for treating arm fractures.
He says that he has already filed an application to obtain patent for the universal cast, christened Uni-cast.
Research at hospitals
Mr. Prasad came up with the idea after a series of research work at various hospitals across the State.
According to him, this unique cast is a low-cost product and for that reason, accessible to every one.
Mr. Prasad said the Uni-cast can overcome several problems.
The product has been designed to address various problems associated with traditional casts, like sweating, itchiness, dry cell accumulation, bad odour, difficulty in keeping the cast dry, hygiene issues and neck pain, he said.
Unlike the conventional system, the Uni-cast is both light-weight and waterproof, Mr. Prasad said.
“The product is ergonomically designed so that it can be used for both hands. Uni-cast is recyclable and can even be remade, leaving zero waste behind,” he said.
Moreover, Mr. Prasad’s invention has got a sporty look, making it different from the traditional casts and braces.
The award was presented to Mr. Prasad at the Design Festival 2019 held in Pune a week ago.
P.B. Venugopal, president of Lexus India, said, “India possesses an incredible depth of design talent, and we wanted to give these designers an opportunity to exhibit their skills.”
With the theme ‘Design for a better tomorrow’, Lexus Design Award India (LDAI)-2019 was open to emerging designers, both professionals and students
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Health / by Radhakrishnan Kuttoor / Pathanamthitta – February 12th, 2019
Here’s a solution to counter the lack in quality of packaged water distributed in the city.
Here’s a solution to counter the lack in quality of packaged water distributed in the city. Even as concerns are being raised over the safe consumption of bottled water in the city, a group of students from Mohandas College of Engineering have come up with an innovative solution which helps in getting rid of the E-coli in the water and acting as a disinfectant.
The project titled ‘Design of a water disinfection system using silver and copper nanoparticle impregnated coconut shell waste carbon’ was proposed by a team of students- Shilpa K Nayana, Akhila Krishnan C and Shilpa Raj S from Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology (MCET), Nedumangad. They were guided by their professors, K M Usha, the principal investigator and S S Shijina, the co-investigator of the project.
“ The inspiration behind this project is the sense of responsibility towards society as citizens in general and biotechnologists in particular. After the floods, the presence of E- Coli had become a major concern with many packaged water bottles testing positive to the presence of the bacteria. This is why we thought of developing a project using raw materials which could not only help in purifying water but also act as a disinfectant which can kill 99 per cent of E Coli,” said Shilpa K Nayana, one of the innovators.
Decontamination of drinking water by making use of the raw materials, which are available in abundance, is the prime objective of the project. The project envisages to set up a synergetic system capable of adsorption as well as destructing microbial organisms. This innovative attempt makes use of anti-bacterial property of nanoparticles and absorption. Silver and copper are synthesised and impregnated onto the coconut waste to provide disinfection against E Coli and other organisms. “Unlike the normal water purifiers that only help in purifying water but fail in disinfecting, our innovation has both the purifying and disinfecting facility,” said Shilpa. The students say the procedures are cheap and safer. It also helps in recycling water thereby reducing the demand for fresh water.
The team was also selected for funding by Kerala Technological University (KTU) Center for Engineering Research and Development (CERD) under the scheme ‘CERD Student Project 2018’. The team has also bagged the second position in idea presentation at ‘TheTech Conclave’, which is the flagship event of Drishti, the annual technical festival of College of Engineering, Trivandrum. ‘Engineers for society’ was this year’s theme. This accomplishment has paved the way for direct entry to ‘Idea Day’ by Kerala Startup Mission.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Steni Simon / Express News Service / January 16th, 2019
She was among 12 persons who were presented with the award during a programme conducted at the India International Centre Auditorium in Delhi, on the eve of World Disability Day.
City-based NGO Jyothirgamaya Foundation’s Tiffany Brar was presented with the 19th National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)’s Mindtree Helen Keller Award. She was among 12 persons who were presented with the award during a programme conducted at the India International Centre Auditorium in Delhi, on the eve of World Disability Day. According to the organisers, the awardees were selected for their initiatives in promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Speaking on the occasion, Arman Ali, executive director, NCPEDP, said, “Tiffany’s Jyothirgamaya Foundation, which empowers the blind not only in her state of Kerala but also across the country had till date trained more than 300 blind people in activities of daily living, mobility, the realms of access technology and interpersonal skills.”
He further appreciated the efforts made by Tiffany during the floods. “Despite being visually challenged she was in the forefront in collecting basic materials for the relief camps in Wayanad.” Talking on the occasion, Tiffany thanked NCPEDP for the award and said, “Jyothirgamaya Foundation was initially started as a mobile school on a small basis. We have come a long way since and we will strive to achieve our goal of providing employment and inclusion to people with disability.” The event was also attended by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / December 04th, 2018