Archive for June, 2008

Jesus ‘bleeds’ in Mumbai church or is it monsoon?

Jesus ‘bleeds’ in Mumbai church or is it monsoon?

Archnishop refuses to title it ‘miracle’ just yet, but people of all faiths turn up to have a look at Christ’s painting in Mumbai Church

Mumbai: Christians, Hindus and Muslims from across Maharashtra continue to descend on St Michael’s Church in Mahim to witness — what they believe — is a miracle.

The dark red patch around the heart on a painting of Jesus Christ has grown since it was discovered on Friday afternoon, and so has the queue around Mahim’s packed streets. Hundreds of people visited the church over the weekend.

Almost euphoric, people queued for up to six hours to spend just two seconds in front of the painting. They were allowed to touch and kiss the protective glass before being moved along.

Many broke down after seeing the ‘miracle’, some wept and several fainted.

However, the Catholic Church in India denied this miracle. “The Church is cautious about declaring something a miracle,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai. “God can work miracles, but it is too early to say that this is a miracle. It’s probably due to climate conditions from the monsoon. People should not get euphoric about this, but if it brings them closer to God, it is a good thing. I’ll visit the church soon to see it for myself.”

Clearly flustered by the unprecedented attention and a sleepless night, Parish Priest Father Raphael, stated that this was no miracle. “People can interpret it as they want to, but the picture is not bleeding and this is no miracle,” he said. Despite early chaos — when a stampede entered the church after the mark was first discovered — volunteers and police controlled the crowd and 500 metres long queue was formed. Ambulance crews were also on hand.

News of the ‘miracle’ spread fast and believers from Goa, Karnataka and Gujarat have made the pilgrimage to see the 3 by 4 foot painting. Several local schools gave children the day off to visit the church.

“It is a sign from God that Jesus has returned in this time of violence, sin and evil to give the message that he is dying for us again,” said David Serrao, a pastor at St Michael’s. “The blood started as a small red drop and was discovered by children playing in the church. It has now spread as Christ’s heart bleeds.” It is not just Christians that are flocking to Mahim. Large numbers of Hindus and Muslims are also coming to witness the image.

Maryam Shah travelled with her husband and three children from Malad. “I cried when I saw the blood,” she said. “We are Muslims but that does not matter when something like this happens.

People of all faiths should appreciate the message.”

© Copyright 2008 HT Media Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cure This : A citizen photo-journalism initiative

This is another initiative by Srijan Foundation Trust to help change government (state and central) policies and mismanagement of issues that concerns the ordinary citizen of the city/country.

See: to see some recent posts on water mismanagement by the Delhi government.


Creating Windmills with local resources for sustainable local energy

I came across this video on


Good Samaritans from Mumbai & Bangaluru:Lata Mani Das

Thanks to Ketan and TOI for this information


She equips these special ‘kids’ with vocational skills

Ketan Tanna I TNN

Mumbai: The incident happened last week. Fifty-one-year-old Bhandup housewife Lata Das was travelling with 27-yearold Chetna and her mother in an autorickshaw on a pothole-riddled suburban road. It was raining and the insides of the vehicle were a little cramped. Suddenly the rickshaw lurched, and Lata, who was near the exit, almost lost her balance. Then, to everyone’s amazement, Chetna put her hand on Lata’s shoulder and held her tight so that she would not fall out.
To those who wonder at the use of the word ‘amazement’, Chetna is mentallychallenged and incapable of carrying out even normal daily functions like taking a bath and using the toilet. It is rare for such people to exhibit emotions.

But that day Lata realised that deep within even the mentally- challenged there are latent sentiments that can surface any time. “I was touched that she cared so much for me. I still can’t get over it,’’ she says.

Chetna may not be able to articulate it, but evidently stores a deep recess of love and gratitude for Lata, a volunteer at the MBA Foundation School in Powai. For over three years, Lata has been volunteering here; she teaches vocational skills to the mentally-challenged, spastics, autistic and even the physicallychallenged.

She teaches thrice a week for three hours and has almost become a family member at the school—so much so that on the day she does not go, the inmates of the school feel incomplete, says Robert Aranha, assistant administrator of the school.

The ‘children’ that Lata cares for are not children in the strict sense. Most of them are grown up and anywhere between 18 and 45 years of age. But most appear much younger. “When I first entered the school I could not believe that some of them were my children’s age,’’ says Lata who has two grown-up sons.

Lata entered the field of voluntary work after her children grew up and she found herself with a lot of time on her hands. She wanted to teach children but with age not on her side, finding a volunteer slot for this was difficult.

She then approached SOSVA, an NGO that places various volunteers across different organisations depending on their skill-sets and the requirements of the job. SOSVA asked her if she was willing to teach the special ‘children’ of the MBA Foundation School at Powai.

Lata said yes. But on her first day, she found herself depressed. “When I saw the children, I was saddened. I wondered why God is so unfair. But then I shrugged off the feeling and got to work,’’ she says. Since then, she has been teaching the kids vocational skills like candle-making; at times she also teaches them meditation, painting and even English-language skills.

The MBA Foundation is an NGO working for integrated care services for persons with disabilities, with two care centres in Chembur and Powai. It was started by the parents and relatives of special children, and currently has 45 children, some of whom are boarders. The idea behind setting up the school was to train the mentally and physically challenged in various vocations and help them earn a living. Fourteen-year-old Krishna is one such child who has a muscular degenerative disease but a razor-sharp mind. “He is the boss of the other children and I have seen him guiding them,’’ says Lata.
Lata’s family has been very supportive of her voluntary work—she regularly chronicles her experiences at the school and emails them to her elder son who is working abroad. As for the future, Lata says she will continue teaching and taking care of the kids till they need her.

Lata can be contacted on 9322137293 and

New life for 40 kids with heart problems


Bangalore: One-year-old Gautami from Chikmagalur frequently fell ill. Her nails would turn blue and unlike kids of her age, she walked with a limp. She was diagnosed with a heart problem, but doctors refused to operate because it required a huge sum.

Gautami’s father works in a hotel and could not afford the treatment. But he saw hope for his kid after Rotary officials met him and asked him to come to Bangalore. Gautami was recently operated in Manipal Hospital and today, the one-year-old is a healthy kid.

Like Gautami, there were other children with heart problems who were cured with help from welfare bodies. Around 16 children from poor families were operated in Manipal Hospital for free.
Manipal Hospital and Rotary International have joined hands to operate on 40 children of poor families suffering from congenital heart disease. So far, 16 surgeries have been successful.

Some of the children who were operated upon are Mithun (7) from Mangalore, Jaipratap (2) from Salem; Mohammed Shahid (5), who discovered the heart condition from a check up done at school; Manjesh (10), son of a labourer from Shimoga and Hemant (10) from Mandya, who was born with a hole in his heart.

Dr Prasad Krishnan, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon at Manipal Hospital, who operated on 16 children, said the youngest was a 25-day-old baby. “It was a complicated case of open-heart surgery. With advanced medical technology, a baby’s heart the size of a fist too can be operated upon,” he said.

“Children with heart diseases become blue, are unable to walk and do certain activities. After treatment, a drastic change is seen. All of them can now lead a normal life,” he said. The other paediatric cardiologists who operated on these children are Dr Sreekanth Raghavan and Dr Ravi Narayan.

“Around 1.5 lakh children are born with congenital heart disease in India every year, out of which around 5,000 get treatment mostly with sponsorships and government aid,” Dr Krishnan said.


Have a wonderful life…………….!!!!!!!

Mr Watwani says:

Have a wonderful life…………….!!!!!!!

“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.

As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.

When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally.

You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.

You’ll be happy you did.”

I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me?

And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, “I’m not going to do it anymore.”

Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.

Love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t.

Believe that everything happens for a reason.

Never let the garbage truck run over

21st Century…

Our communication – Wireless

Our dress – Topless

Our telephone – Cordless

Our cooking – Fireless

Our youth – Jobless

Our food – Fatless

Our labour – Effortless

Our conduct – Worthless

Our relation – Loveless

Our attitude – Careless

Our feelings – Heartless

Our politics – Shameless

Our education – Valueless

Our follies – Countless

Our arguments – Baseless

Our boss – Brainless

Our Job – Thankless

Our Salary – Very less !!!


Sikh devotees leave for Pak

     AMRITSAR: Sikh devotees led by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Nankana Sahib Sikh Teerath Yatri Jatha (NSSTYJ) left for Pakistan to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore, on Sunday morning from Attari railway station on board pilgrim special trains.

     Swaran Singh Gill, president of NSSYTJ, instructed members to not indulge in any kind of business activity during their pilgrimage.

      He hailed the efforts of Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board for making adequate board and lodging arrangements.

        The Sikh devotees would reach at Gurdwara Nanakana Sahib on Sunday evening. After paying obeisance at Gurdwara Saucha Sauda, the jatha would move to Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassanabdal, on June 11 and to Gurdwara Dehra Sahib on June 14. They would come back on June 17.


Kolkata student Tops: Offers galore from US ‘Varsities

KOLKATA: From prestigious Princeton to MIT, city boy Rik Sengupta can pick and choose where he wants to study — for free. The South Pointer has bagged full scholarship seats at seven top universities in the US.

Princeton, the top ranking university in the US, has offered him a scholarship of $52,990 a year. His other scholarships have even more jaw-dropping amounts: Yale $53,764, Caltech $48,490, MIT $51,540, Williams College (1st among undergraduate liberal arts colleges) $50,390 and Amherst College $51,832.

“Rik has also won the Angier B Duke Memorial Merit Scholarship from Duke University, which is awarded to only two students worldwide. It includes a summer semester at Oxford and adds up to over $220,000,” said his proud father Jayanta.

The 18-year-old, who loves mathematics and physics as much as he does writing and music, wants to be an academic. After passing his higher secondary exams with an impressive score of 449, he opted not to take the IIT-JEE and WBJEE. Instead, he wants to focus on research with a “liberal arts education”.

“He has figured out that he can best follow his dreams in the US, because no institution in India would cater to his wide-ranging interests in science as well as the humanities,” Jayanta said. “USEFI tells us his achievement is unprecedented.”

Rik scored 2380 out of 2400 in the SAT Reasoning Test and 118/120 in TOEFL. “If a student tops SAT, he may receive offers from several top US varsities. Rik’s case is unique because he has received full scholarships from all top-notch US universities,” said Sunrit Mullick, regional officer and educational adviser, USEFI.

The whizkid is, however, modest about his achievement. “My application was very strong. They look for a good school record, extra-curricular accomplishments and teachers’ recommendations. Luckily, I could convince them about my choice of subjects,” Rik told TOI.

For the record, Rik chose Princeton.


Self-anointed ‘godman’ in trouble. Will more follow?

‘The Charity industry is booming in kerala since the last two decades.’

Religious affiliations and trappings are just traps for the the gulliable.

Hindus, Christians, Muslims, they are all there.

Bhadranandas, Yohannans, and Thangals, take your choice.

Godman tries to kill self in police station

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Yet another self-anointed ‘godman’ in Kerala ran into trouble with the law on Saturday, when a pistol he was carrying went off in a police station in Aluva in Ernakulam district.

On Friday, H A Bhadran alias Himaval Maheshwara Bhadrananda — upset about media reports that he had threatened journalists and used a red beacon atop his car — had surrendered before police after a complaint was filed against him.

But on Saturday, he called up newspaper offices and announced he was going to commit suicide. Before he could act out on his threat, police brought him to Aluva station.

Bhadran refused to hand over his pistol and got into a spat with the media present there. As he waved the gun around, it went off twice, injuring his fingers.

He was arrested and shifted to a hospital, where Bhadran sobbed that he was being victimised.

Police are inquiring about the pistol licence, which was apparently granted by the district SDM. Meanwhile, the political scene in the state also heated up over dewasom minister G Sudhakaran’s statement on Friday that saints were like “thieves” and “frauds”.

Hindu groups lashed out at the minister, saying it revealed the CPM’s hidden agenda to shatter symbols of sanatana dharma.

BJP state president P K Krishnadas too attacked the CPM saying the party was hobnobbing with fake godmen and insulting genuine believers.

Kerala bishop’s trust in legal trouble


Ananthakrishnan G | TNN


      Thiruvananthapuram: Bishop K P Yohannan, a popular evangelist in Kerala, is in trouble with the law. A preliminary inquiry by the intelligence department of Kerala police casts doubts on how a trust he runs spent a massive Rs 900 crore of donations from abroad. 

       The trust, according to reports, received Rs 1044 crore since 1995 from Texas-based Gospel for Asia apparently for charitable purposes but had spent only Rs 144 crore towards this purpose. No satisfactory explanation was given on how the rest of the amount was spent, police said. 

       The matter is now pending with the state home department which is said to be considering a detailed probe. Any inquiry would necessitate central assistance as it involves money from abroad which falls in the purview of the Reserve Bank of India. 

        Yohannan is the founder president of the Gospel for Asia and the Believer’s Church, both of which enjoy huge assets bases. What has raised eyebrows is that most of the trusts floated by Yohannan has on its board his family members. The trust, sources claimed, had recently purchased 40 acres of paddy fields in Pathanathitta district and filled it up to evade the Land Reforms Act. 

      Also under the lens is a land transaction worth Rs 130 crore said to have been undertaken by the trust some months back. The Church, however, denied the charges and claimed that its working was transparent.



Sikh to play Canadian football wearing patka

Sikh to play Canadian football wearing patka


Gur Kirpal Singh Ashk | TNN


      Patiala: Navraj Singh Bassi of Vancouver will be making history when he will take the field in the Canadian Football League with his ‘patka’ on. The 6 ft 6 inch Sikh footballer will play for Grey Cup champions Saskatchewan Roughriders.

     Till now the ‘patka’ was considered a hindrance among Sikhs who wanted to play the game. If he plays in his team’s match against BC Lions on July 4, he will be the first Sikh to play football with a ‘patka’.

         Navraj has his family’s full support in pursuing his passion. ‘‘We are very excited that he will be given an opportunity to showcase his talent and by the grace of god he will excel in the sport he has loved since childhood,’’ said father Kulwinder Singh Bassi. Talking about Navraj’s team, his brother Pavan, a super heavyweight champion, said, ‘‘Saskatchewan coaches are really impressed with his abilities and he is really enjoying the team atmosphere.’’

       Harbans Singh Jandali, former president of Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council told TOI from Toronto that Punjabis living in the area are eagerly waiting for the match and a large number of them would be in Vancouver to cheer Navraj. Navraj attended college at the University of Oregon. Despite receiving more than 40 offers for football scholarships, the North Delta Secondary School player chose to stay in the northwest to remain close to his family. He played a few seasons with the Oregon Ducks.

       Leading Punjabi broadcaster in Canada, Kuldeep Deepak, said with obvious pride, ‘‘We have already registered our community’s presence on the football field.’’


Encyclopaedia on Hinduism : Released by Dr Abdul Kalam

Kalam releases encyclopaedia on Hinduism


‘Unique Collection; I Like It’




Bangalore: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam on Saturday released a concise encyclopaedia of Hinduism compiled by Bangalore Ramakrishna Mutt president Swami Harshananda, in the presence of a large gathering at the mutt.
   Kalam spoke on the importance of Hinduism and, in particular, the twice-born family concept. “Nuclear families are giving rise to problems. I visited a joint family of 65 people living together. They do everything in the name of God. The aim of life should be towards God. I made it a point to visit the family in Meerut.”
   Kalam then recited a prayer on universal brotherhood, peace and welfare of the country. He quoted from the book the definitions of God. “I am very impressed by the various definitions of God in this work. It covers all aspects. I find even the definitions of Hinduism are very good. It is a unique collection. I like it a lot.”
   The encyclopaedia comes in three volumes and describes all aspects of Hindu religion, philosophy, culture, mythology, rituals, spiritual work, festivals and pilgrim centres. Other areas covered are astrology, biographies of religious personalities, iconography, Sanskrit language and literature, temple and religious institutions.
   It was while working at the Ramakrishna Mutt in Mysore that Swami Harshananda realised there was not a single book on Hinduism that reflected its diversity.
   He thought it important to compile an encyclopaedia and began working on it in 1975.
   Swami Harshananda said there were not many books covering Hinduism extensively and many had focussed only on the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. “This is where I felt the need for an encyclopaedia.”
   The encyclopaedia is priced at Rs 1,500, and 4,000 copies have already been sold. The Mutt expects to sell 5,000 more in the next 10 days based on orders it has received.