Tag Archives: Delhi News

Booking for Rs 251 Smartphones begins at 6:00 AM on Feb 18

Ringing Bells, the smartphone manufacturer in India, has launched the world’s cheapest smartphone Freedom 251 costing at Rs 251. The booking for the smartphone can be done from the company’s website freedom251.com starting February 18, from 6:00 AM onwards. Here are a few things to know about the Rs 251 Smartphone, Freedom 251, which cost less than $4:

India Digital Summit: Promising days ahead for Startups in India

The 10th India Digital Summit, with the theme ‘Stand-Up Start-Up’, saw the coming together of startups and investors from all across India, and the world. There were inspirational talks and discussions by the founders of popular Startups that are now a name to reckon with, like Paytm, Shopcules, Meru Cabs, Oxigen Wallet, to name a few. Aspiring startups introduced their innovative products before a bevy of investors gathered from all around the world.

Hundreds of executives from sectors like Mobile & Internet, Technology, Cloud, eCommerce, Travel, etc. attended the two-days meet, on Feb 10th and 11th, 2016. The largest gathering of the Digital organizations was conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), at The Lalit Hotel in New Delhi. The conference covered a broad range of topics related to the web and the mobile like value added services, payment, and networking, etc. Also discussed were issues relating to the use and application of various digital media -the web, mobile, social media, etc. Startups got insight into efficient positioning and promotion of Brands and their products.

Various Sessions discussed the penetration of internet in different sectors. Founder of Startups which made successful inroads in categories like food, rural India, health, travel, books, education, and women empowerment, participated in the discussions. According to experts in the online education courses, there is a great possibility for Edu-Tech in rural India. And people in rural India are ready to pay for the education products they buy online’.

A wide range of interesting products was introduced by startups before prospective investors and delegates. One interesting product was an App with which all of the Apps in the mobile can be opened at a faster pace. The age of the startups aspirants is decreasing with some of those claiming to be technical head of companies were still studying in college.

In the Valedictory Address, Jayan Sinha, Minister of State of Finance, Government of India, said that ‘Technology is the secret sauce of India’s transformation.’ Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha Member, who founded BPL Mobile, discussed the relevance of Net neutrality. Overall in the two days of Leadership talks, discussions and networking among delegates, there was a feeling of positivity with hopes of greater days ahead for aspiring startups.

Empowering the underprivileged with newspaper cuttings

When I met him first, he was taking photocopies of Newspaper cuttings and said that he ran an NGO, for helping the underprivileged.  I was just curious to know what kind of support S. Devender Singh Anand, 67, was providing for helping the needy. “I keep all the Newspaper cutting of News that benefit the public, for instance, the Legal News” he said. He uses the Newspaper cuttings to empower the underprivileged.  Suppose someone goes to the hospital for a handicap certificate with Address Proof, Id Cards, and still he is denied the license; then Mr. Anand provides the person with photocopies of Newspaper cuttings supporting his claims.  The applicant can then challenge for his rights with the Newspaper cuttings. If required, he confronts the officials about the provisions that the claimant is entitled to “I have the information, no one can challenge me on the information.”

Mr. Anand, who was into truck transportation business, was injured and bedridden in 1992. And since 1995, after the trauma, with the experience he gained, he decided to help the underprivileged.

He says only four out of hundred physically challenged are utilizing the benefits entitled for the physically challenged, and that too mostly from the educated section of the society.  Most of the physically challenged are unaware of their privileges. He says in Delhi there is the Handicapped Finance Corporation, which is underutilized by the physically challenged. And there two special commissions appointed for the physically challenged– National level Commissioner at 6, Baghwan Das Road and State level commissioner at Mata Gujri College. Suppose the specially-abled people are not getting the justice they can approach the commission and register a complaint against the authority who is denying them their right. At both the Commissioner offices, you get booklets about the facilities entitled for the physically challenged. Those who are knowledgeable about the content of the booklets avail the facilities.

empowering the underprivileged

Helping everyone in need

Other than the physically challenged, Mr. Anand has been empowering the underprivileged like the poor, the senior citizens, the uneducated and so on.  He tries to help everyone and guides people with Newspaper Cuttings. Whenever he meets people, he tells the deserving people to approach the authorities to get their benefits and in case, they are challenged they can show a photocopy copy of the Newspaper cuttings.

An interesting piece of information that Mr. Anand shared was, there is a provision for a free legal attorney, in every Court, for those having income less than Rs 1 lakh.  “You can go to a Court, and get a free lawyer immediately when you show documents of your earning,” says Mr. Anand.

In addition to providing information, if the situation requires he physically approaches the authorities and speaks for the underprivileged.  Once he educated his housemaid about the benefits of opening a Bank Account, but when she approached the Bank, she faced many hurdles. So Mr. Anand himself went to the Bank, talked to the officials and successfully opened a Bank Account for her. She was excited because she could now save her earnings and she also got free medical insurance coverage.  Encouraged by her, her relatives also opened bank accounts.

After helping the underprivileged for nearly two decades, he registered an NGO ‘Happy Living’ to help the cause of the physically challenged.  Happy Living accepts old clothes from donors and distributes them among the needy.

Mr. Anands strong support comes from his wife, Harpreet Anand, a Criminal Lawyer, who teaches the Children of Watchmen, maids and construction workers of the locality.

With the passage of time, Mr. Anand has advanced his methods to garner information.  He now uses the new-age tool of RTI (Right to Information) to “provide Justice for those who are denied Justice”. He is an inspiration to the youth of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Album from India and the World

Every country and every city have different traditions to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Some celebrate with cakes, wines and turkeys. Different places have customs and culture unique to that area. In Kerala traditionally people prepare appam (pancake) and chicken curry; they also make stars at home.  Here is a Christmas Album with pictures of Christmas celebrations around the world.

Delhi
Delhi-Outline-Map-LMIOn December 25 when the Christians are celebrating Christmas at home with family and friends, the Churches in Delhi are filled with Delhites, of various faiths, who visit in large numbers. Wearing Santas clothes and Caps, young and the old pay a visit to the Churches in the Shivering Winters. They pray, light candles and have cakes, which is considered like ‘prasad’ that is given at temples.

Delhites visiting Church on Christmas Day
Delhites visiting a Church on Christmas Day
Christmas at Sacred Heart Church New Delhi
Thousands of people waiting to enter Sacred Heart Church in Delhi even at 10:00 in the night.
Nativity at Sacred Heart Church Delhi
Nativity Scene at Sacred Heart Church, Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Midnight Mass
Mid-Night Mass at a Church in Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerala

KeralaChristianity came to Kerala in the very beginning itself, when the Apostles of Christ went around the world spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ.  St. Thomas (also know as the Apostle of India) landed in Kerala in AD 52, and worked among the local population. In the past 2000 years, the Christians of Kerala have followed their Christian faith while remaining rooted in the Indian Tradition. Traditionally, celebrations mainly included fasting and prayer and finally celebrating the festival with family by having appam, curry and snacks. The most important part of the celebration is serving the food to the neighbours of other faiths, helpers and the have-nots. Children made stars using transparent colour papers and bamboo sticks. Illumination lights were used to decorate local plants like chembarathi (hibiscus), Mulla (jasmine) and Thetti (Ixora coccinea). With the advent of globalization cakes, artificial Christmas trees and stars and Santa and decorations have become part of the celebrations. Kerala Christmas Celebrations still retain some of the rustic beauty of the yonder years Christmas Celebrations.

Christmas Nativity in a village
Nativity Scene enacted by School Students
Christmas carols in a village
Christmas Carols in a Village

 

Christmas Celebration in an Orphanage
Christmas Celebration in an Orphanage
Handmade Christmas Star
Homemade Christmas Star

Scotland

Scotland 1

The Christmas as we see in movies and stories is celebrated with cakes, wines and turkeys. Here are some pictures of Scotland, the Northernmost Country of the United Kingdom. The cold winters and snow give a picture perfect settings while singing Christmas Songs like “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”.

 

Scotland
Christmas tree heralding the Christmas Season in Scotland
Christmas Tree
A close-up view of a picture perfect Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas wine
Wines to begin the Christmas Feast
Christmas Turkey and Chicken Roast
Christmas feast is complete with Chicken or a Turkey Roast

Dr bindeshwar pathak: fulfilling the dream of Gandhi

“My name is Usha Chaumar, I am from Alwar, Rajasthan………….” Usha speaks confidently in English to a jam packed audience at Constitution Club, Delhi, on World Toilet Day. This is a transformed Usha! A decade back she used to clean septic tank from a very young age.  Belonging to the scavenger community,things were no different when she was married off at the age of 10…………. until she met Baba in 2003. Baba had adopted Alwar to help the scavengers restore their dignity and human values. One day Baba asked Usha if she would like to take up a better job, ‘who doesn’t like to get a better job opportunity’ she says. She was not only brought out of the de humanising activity of scavenging, but she was also taught skills for livelihood like beautician training, making noodles, pickles etc. Along with her many other scavenger women were also emancipated from their misery. She says she did not know how to speak politely. Whatever she is today is because of Baba.

The Baba who saved Usha’s life is Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the Founder of Sulabh International, who takes forward the dream of Gandhiji to uplift the Scavenger community to the mainstream of the society. Dr Bindeshwar created a two-pit, maintenance free, toilet which  which can be easily customised and set up in any geographical environment. His innovation liberates the Scavengers and changed their life forever. The work of a human scavenger is to remove human waste, using a brush, into a bamboo basket and carry it  on the head to be thrown at a secluded place.  Dr Pathak’s toilets meant that the toilets no longer required to be maintained, leaving  the Scavengers free to take up other occupations.

Dr Pathak was born in a Brahmin family in Bihar. When he was 14 his  family’s fortune incurred huge financial loss after his uncle was murdered. As a young English Graduate he tried many jobs. His destiny to help scavengers was set when he participated in Gandhi Centenary Celebration where he was assigned the task to find a solution for open defecation and to find an alternative to end human scavenging. He went and stayed with the scavenger community to get a first hand knowledge of their life. There he saw a young bride cry because she was asked to clean her in-laws toilet and he saw a scavenger boy die on the road because no one came forward to help him. Dr Pathak created the toilet because he wanted to free the scavenger from their misery. His invention is now a world recognized model.

two pit pour flush ecological compost toilet designed by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak
two pit pour flush ecological compost toilet designed by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak

Initially Dr Pathak tried for a long to promote his creation to Government organisations, but no one was ready to give him a n opportunity. Finally a Municipal Officer gave him an opportunity to build two public toilets for Rs 500. And as the toilets became popular, people starting paying to use public toilets.  The usefulness of Sulabh toilets spread far and wide and outside India. Now Dr Pathak is the Founder of Sulabh International which has over 50,000 associates working with him.

To date Sulabh International has built 1.3 billion toilets, liberating more than 1,20,000 scavengers from scavenging. The scavenger have been rehabilitated. 640 towns have been made scavenging free till date. When Dr Pathak was told that steps should be taken to maintain the toilets because after one year many toilets become unusable, Dr Pathak replied that if people treat the toilets as their own child and keep them clean and hygiene, then no one else has to take care of the maintenance. The success of his model created a huge behavioural change when people started paying for the use of public toilets. Then, it brought in a cultural shift too when people started socially accepting those who once were meant for carrying the human waste. In places like Alwar the scavenging community has been rehabilitated and the upper class invite them to their homes. Usha says that during her scavenging days no one offered her water and even if someone did, they gave the water from a distance.

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak’s work is popular among the scavengers and the poor. His work has been recognized by the UN, which uses his two-pit toilet as a model for building toilets globally. Recently the BBC Horizons has declared the Sulabh technologies as one of five unique inventions of the world.

Dr Pathak is known for the high level of professionalism in achieving his targets. He has a systematic way of surveying the place,estimating the cost and building the toilets. According to Dr Pathak an estimated Rs 25000 to Rs 30000 is required to built a toilet. Due to the high quality of work, Corporates are willing to fulfill their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) by associating with Dr Pathak.

There are two types of people in the world, the one who use toilets and one who are deprived of using toilets. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is a Messiah of the one who do not have toilets. Imagine a situation when you do not have a toilet in your house, and you have to defecat in the open. In such a situation you will have to wake up either before day break or wait for sunset so as to answer the call of nature.  In such a situation you will be unable to concentrate on you work and because of stopping yourself from defecating will cause many health diseases. 100 million Indians defecate in the open leaving them behind in the strive for development.  They defecate in the open leading to many social, health and environmental issue.

Says Amritya Sen in an interview to the Guardian, “Half of all Indians have no toilet. In Delhi when you build a new condominium there are lots of planning requirements but none relating to the servants having toilets. It’s a combination of class, caste and gender discrimination. It’s absolutely shocking. Poor people have to use their ingenuity and for women that can mean only being able to relieve themselves after dark with all the safety issues that entails,”

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak is a strong advocate of one the biggest issues that Gandhiji was fighting for. He continues work to accomplish the dream of Gandhi. The two pit toilet has created a social revolution with the twin benefit of the people getting a toilet to defecate and the human scavengers being liberated  of their penury.  In addition Dr Pathak also provides shelters for the widows of Varanasi.  Sulabh International celebrates important festivals like Diwali, Holi and Christmas, giving the widows a news sense of being. There are a number of works of Dr Pathak that benefits the entire humanity. He has perfected the Biogass system, by which the gas emitted from the human waste is a alternative source of energy which is used to generate heat, electricity and cooking gas.  The water discharge from the waste is treated and can be used as fertilizer or discharged into the river.

The erstwhile women scavengers (untouchables) walked the ramp with the models who showcased their handiwork at the United Nations in New York
The erstwhile women scavengers  (untouchables) walked the ramp with the models who showcased their handiwork at the United Nations in New York

Award and Achievements of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak

  • In 1991, Dr. Pathak was awarded Padma Bhushan
  • Conferred St. Francis Prize Canticle of All Creatures in Assissi, Italy.
  • Stockholm Water Prize by Stockholm International Water Institute at Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Selected among 50 global personalities, including The US President, Barack Obama, “who have used their position in public life to make an impact on diversity”.
  • BBC Horizons declared the Sulabh technologies as one of five unique inventions of the world.
  • 1.3 million housing toilet built so far.
  • More than 1,20,000 scavengers have been liberated from scavenging.
  • 8000 public toilets in 25 states and 4 Union Territories in 1599 towns and cities which are used by 15 million people daily. 
  • In Kabul, Sulabh is maintaining five public toilets with biogas plants, which are quite popular with the local people, and Sulabh’s inventions, innovations and experiments have been accepted in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Entering a temple – a dream fulfilled on December, 21, 2008 of scavengers (untouchables) whose entrywas banned for centuries due to the practice of untouchability. 
  • 2003, adopted two towns of Rajasthan, Alwar and Tonk, for restoring the human
    rights and dignity of the local untouchables. Now the two towns are free from the
    problem of untouchability. There is no social discrimination, as Brahmins and other
    upper castes now freely mix and share food and hospitality with the ex-untouchables
    who have acquired skills in various trades, and are engaged in gainful employment. They
    have started a new life and are now part of the social mainstream.
  • Set up Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi, the first of its kind
    in the world. The museum, through replicas of various toilets, artefacts, pictures, posters
    and other materials, tells the story of the development of toilets through the ages.

Shauryanjali: 1965 war exhibition

I saw a beautiful instagram picture posted by a friend. The picture showed a well maintained road with hot air balloons lined on both the sides. The caption said that the picture was of Shauryanjali festival – celebrating the 50th year of Indo-Pak war, held at Rajpath.

The war exhibition initially planned for 6 days, from September 15th, was extended for two more days due to the huge public response. Rajpath, synonymous with the Republic Day parades, wore the look of a small republic day celebration as there was non-stop entertainment provided by the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the CRPF. The Armed Forces Band playing patriotic and film songs at the India Gate lawns attracted huge audience, who cheered the musicians after each performance. There were also martial displays by service contingents, witnessed by hundreds on the pavilion.  I realized that the hot air balloons which inspired me to the event was just a small part of the bigger exhibition which we were about to witness.20150919_152019

As if climbing on the top of army aircraft and going inside a bunker were not enough to make a day, an army man asked “did you visit the pavilions, you have lot to see”……… There was no queue but a huge crowd at the gates. “There will surely be a stampede when the gate opens” someone said. “No, I said, not at a military event. Military men work in adverse conditions to save lives during Natural Calamities like flood. They know how to manage crowd”20150919_150631

On entering the Gates there was a briefing about the 1965 war through a documentary. After which began the journey to know more about the war by visiting the 28 pavilions depicting the battles and the contributions made by Army, Navy, Air Force and CRPF.20150919_155101

Important locations of the 1965 war like the Indo-Pak boarder, the battle of Phillora were depicted using sand models. There were pavilions recreating the major battles. On display were some of the weapons and accouterments of the Pakistani Army that are preserved as trophies by the Indian Army –  pistols, rifles, and Patton and Sherman tanks. There were busts of valiant lieutenant colonels who lead the war ; pictures of valiant soldiers adorned the walls of the pavilions.DSC04994

The technical ingenuity of the Army was displayed at its best at the exhibition. They were successful in providing people with an insight of what happened during the war. At the navy pavilion there was a small water tank with a toy ship sailing. At first I thought there was nothing unusual about it; I waited for a few moment, suddenly a submarine emerged from under the water and destroyed the enemy ship.  So orginal were the army men in enacting their roles that people were asking if the ‘injured soldier’ lying in the replica of make-shift war hospital was actually hospitalized.DSC05017

I don’t remember any other event when the army men have come so close to the public. They were readily obliging to take selfies. There were also bunkers and cut-outs were people could take picture posing as Army men. Public was allowed to experience nearly every aspect of army activities – sitting inside tankers and fighter planes, learning about signal operation, going inside a bunker made of sand bags and so on.DSC05021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had planned only an hours site seeing at Rajpath but it took nearly three and half hours to visit all the pavilions. I left with a sense that I should have prepared for a whole days outing. And the initial plan of a hot air balloon ride was forgotten………..there will many more opportunities for a hot air balloon ride but experiencing the army life first hand was a once in a life time opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonstop festivity at Delhi Haat Janakpuri

One of the must-visit tourist spots for all visitors to Delhi is the Dilli Haats. Visiting the Dilli Haat is like seeing the whole of India through a Kaleidoscope. You can experience authentic handicraft, handloom and food from different parts of the country exhibited in a single premise.

In 2014, a third Delhi Haat Janakpuri in West Delhi was opened sprawling over 8 acres of land.  The wide car parking and the huge basket towers with bamboo outer cover catch the attention of the passersby. There are a 100 stall, 46 of them Air Conditioned, which are a shoppers paradise. An array of colourful handicrafts, handlooms, decorative items, perfumes, ethnic ornaments and much more provide a festive look to the shops in the Haat.

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There are a number of outstanding features in Dilli Haat Janakpuri like the amphitheatre which can accommodate around 800 people and an AC hall which can hold 840 people.  “The Haat which was inaugurated in 2014 has culture activities throughout the year,” says Mr Subash, an official at the Dilli Haat Janakpuri who was busy in planning Teej Festival Celebrations to be held from Aug 15-18. He says if anyone wants to open a stall of any kind of consumer goods during such events they can contact him in his Dilli Haat Janakpuri office. There is also a musical library and museum which has a collection of all kinds of musical instruments and song collection.

During holidays and on vacation, Dilli Haat Janakpuri is a perfect hangout for families and couples with kids games, shopping arcade, food, cultural entertainment and wide area to walk around.

An Indian Cultural and Food Festival was held from Aug 7th to Aug 15 by the ITDC. The evenings during the events was a colourful and festive occasion at the haat. At the entrance of Dilli Haat Janakpuri, there were bands playing mellifluous music and you could spot participants dressed in various costumes showcasing the Indian Culture. The beautiful costumes were a feast for the camera and the participants were willing to pose for the camera, As part of the event, there were food stalls from different parts of the country.   The entry ticket is free for the event which is held from 5:00 -10:00 PM until Aug 15th.

One of the basket towers has a big hall where frequent exhibitions and shopping fests are held. In July there was a Mango fest in the spacious hall where Mango Planters from around the country exhibited hundred of varieties of Mangoes.

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On the occasion of the Teej Festival, many events were organized at Dilli Haat Janakpuri. There were many entertainments for family, especially children. And much to the joy of the women to make the This Teej festival and Independence day was truly unforgettable as there were be special stalls for Ladies items: handlooms, ornaments, perfumes, and much more. There was also a gala of events: Teej shopping, cultural food, theme exhibition, rides, kids zone, kite festival and rain dance.

As the festive season is yet to begin you can except more entertaining and creative events at the haat, providing more than a feast for the eyes and palate but also an insight into the variegated culture of India.

Paika Dance of Jharkhand

Paika is a Jharkhand dance form performed by men in which many martial art forms are used. Paika dance is used to welcome guests during any occasion. The dancer carry swords and wear shields to protect them from harm. Paikas are said to a group of people who used to protect the kingdom during ancient times.

Watch the paika dance of jharkhand performance on the occasion of Independence day celebration at Dilli Haath, Janakpuri. New Delhi.

 

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