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Vietnam Scraps Nuclear Energy Plans

The decision dealt a blow to global nuclear energy trade and watered down efforts of Japan at exporting reactors

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Nov 29, 2016)
Ban on Mass Sterlization and Empowerment

On 14 September the Supreme Court banned mass sterilisation camps in India, putting an end to a system that had become synonymous with medical callousness.

( Source: CivilSocietyOnline, Posted: Nov 29, 2016)
Art By Children Outreach Initiative Launched in Kerala

This is a programme wherein around 5,000 children will be inspired through art to imbibe the essence of healthy living.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Nov 29, 2016)
Bengaluru Music Fest Features Tribal Music and Instruments

On November 26 and 27, Bengaluru residents got to take in some music performances by tribal artistes and see an exhibition of rare tribal instruments at the Echoes of Earth music festival.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Nov 29, 2016)
Standing Up Against Exploitation, One Broom At a Time

For many tribal women in Kashipur block in Rayagada, Odisha, making and selling brooms is the primary source of income and livelihood. Now with Ama Sangathan, things are taking a better turn.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Nov 20, 2016)
Beyond Drip Irrigation

K.S. Gopal of the Centre for Environment Concerns (CEC) has designed a system that is more efficient than drip irrigation because it is subterranean and delivers moisture to the roots of plants.

( Source: CivilSocietyOnline, Posted: Nov 20, 2016)
Honoring Faraaz Hossain

This year, the Harmony Foundation will be posthumously honouring Dhaka terror attack hero Faraaz Hossain.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Nov 20, 2016)
Keeping Alive the Literary Culture of a City

Asha tai, a 78-year-old poetess from Nagpur, runs an amazing literary organization in the city and is encouraging upcoming poets express themselves.

"I pray thee, not for gold, nor for silver, but for a heart...brighter ever...brighter ever..." -- Asha Pande, 'My Prayers' from Resounding Bells, 2012.
Tai, Aamchi tai (our sister, in Marathi) or simply Asha tai -- this is how Asha Pande, a celebrated poetess living in Dharampeth, Nagpur, is known among friends and well-wishers.

Tai is also the President of Sahitya Vihar, a reputed literary organization in Nagpur.

wp_20161024_14_22_20_pro Born and brought up in Madhya Pradesh, Asha tai was the headmistress of Kasturba Kanya Vidhyalaya in Tumsar for eight years. Before moving to Nagpur, she was also posted as the Principal of N.H. Girls’ High School in Brahmapuri. Then she joined Navyug Vidhyalaya in Nagpur as a language teacher -- a post that she held for 30 years until she retired in 1999. “Sahitya Vihar began in 1971 as a small organization known by the name of Mitra Mandal (a committee of friends),” she says. With about 15 members at the time, the organization used to conduct informal meetings at their houses. Asha tai took the first step of initiating a programme on a large scale at the Rajaram Dixit Library Hall in the year 2005. Following the success of the event, similar programmes took place in the Scientific Hall of Nagpur in 2007 and 2009. In 2011, Asha tai felt the need to get the organization registered and this is how Sahitya Vihar was officially born on November 9, 2011. She started by publishing monthly magazines of Sahitya Vihar. “It was basically a booklet of 16 pages, sold at a reasonable prize of Rs. 5. In the very first year, we sold out 1,000 copies of the magazine,” she recalls.

She no longer publishes those monthly magazines because of increasing expenses, but the organization takes out special issues during Shravan (rainy season), Diwali and Vasant (spring season).

wp_20161024_14_28_23_pro The motto of her orgainsation is “Sarva Bhasha Sama Bhava” meaning “All languages must be treated equally”. With this aim in mind, Sahitya Vihar organizes multi-lingual poetry competitions every month. “A fee of Rs. 50 is collected from all participants and the same is distributed to all winners,” she says. Then a grand multi-lingual competition is organized on the last Sunday of December every year. “This helps in bringing people belonging to different cultures together.” Asha Tai herself is a multi-lingual poetess and has published 19 books of poetry in Marathi, Hindi, English, Sanskrit, and Urdu.

Her anthology of poems in Hindi -- Bhule Bisre Geet (The Forgotten Songs) was published by Sahitya Vihar this year.

wp_20161118_18_57_26_pro1 Sahitya Vihar also publishes books by upcoming poets to encourage them. The organization has 110 members now --all distinguished fellows in their own fields with a common interest in poetry. Dr. Pankaj Chande (Founder and Vice Chancellor of Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek), Dr. Vinayak Deshpande (Head, Department of Management studies of Nagpur University), Dr. Leena Rastogi (renowned Sanskrit scholar), and Shri Shyam Kant Kulkarni (children’s author) are some of the reputed members. Asha tai has been the backbone of Sahitya Vihar. Even at the age of 78, she handles all the paper work from home.

She also composes poetry besides lending a helping hand to upcoming poets who come to learn at her residence. Her poems have been aired by the All India Radio several times and her first book Archana, written in 1998, has been converted into a CD by T Series, New Delhi.

wp_20161118_18_59_59_pro1 She was conferred with the title of ‘Sahityalankar’ by Mahanubhav Vishwa Bharati –an organisation in Amravati, Maharashtra, for her Ghazals. Sahitya Vihar is now planning to launch a book-fair. “All the literature lovers are invited to attend the same.” she says. The book-fair is scheduled for November 27, 2016 and will be held at Sarveshvara Devalaya, Ram Nagar, Nagpur.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Nov 20, 2016)
A Museum for Toilets

Sulabh International Toilet Museum in Delhi offers a glimpse of the development of sanitation facilities across the world. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, set about trying to collect all the information he could about toilets from across the world for his dream project: a toilet museum.

The result, of this treasure hunt of sorts, is a hallway lined with toilet specimens and information about toilet facilities from as far back as 3000 BC.

[caption id="attachment_75524" align="alignnone" width="1200"]window-photo A view of the Toilet Museum[/caption] Here you can find information about kings who had their thrones fitted with commodes, how elephants were potty-trained, toilets that can massage constipation away, and toilet models that range from the mundane to the ornamental to the bizarre. Established in 1992, the collection includes a commode shaped like a treasure chest (used by the English when out camping, with the express purpose of fooling robbers), some more modern varieties of commodes that look like a printer/fax machines, a toilet in the form of a stack of books, a toy-commode from China, and even an electric toilet from USA. A highlight is the replica of the throne of French King Louis XIV (1638-1715), which also served as a toilet seat.

It was aptly labeled, “The Rumble Throne.” His court jester apparently remarked: “There are two things in your work that I can never get used to...One is eating alone and the other is defecating in company.”

[caption id="attachment_75523" align="alignnone" width="1200"]rumble-throne A replica of the "Rumble Throne" of French King Louis XIV[/caption] For history aficionados, the place is a treasure trove of information containing hidden gems about the use of toilets through the ages, including how the lack of toilets brought the downfall of Persians against the Greeks in the 3rd Persian War in 480 BC. Many of the Persians apparently perished in a plague caused by the improper disposal of their excrement. Roman Emperor Heliogabas was assassinated in a toilet in 222 AD. Not many people would know that the ancient Hindu scriptures of Manusmriti and Vishnupuran lay out different sets of “toilet etiquettes” for married and unmarried people, or that they even list such recommendations. Literature lovers may want to check out the section dedicated to literature inspired by the activity of defecating. There are also remedies for constipation, a display of tacky toilet signs, and information about the most expensive toilet in the world.

The cost of the last is literally out of the world – at $19 million, the toilet installed in the International Space Station is one of the most expensive places to take a leak.

[caption id="attachment_75518" align="alignnone" width="1200"]ornamental2 Model of ornamental toilet[/caption] The walls are dedicated to the history of sewage systems and toilets, displayed chronologically from the ancient, medieval to the modern eras. The museum documents how the development of sanitation facilities parallels the development of civilization – from chamber pots that were cleaned manually to toilets installed on the top floors of houses that would deposit the waste into rivers and ditches below. The 19th century was known as the “Century of the Toilet,” because of the rapid development in sanitation facilities. Over time, some inventors went beyond the requirements of comfort when creating designs for heeding the call of nature. In 1929, an American electrician patented a seat that was warmed using electricity.

In 1966, a Chicago hairdresser designed a toilet seat with a buttock-stimulator to relieve constipation.

[caption id="attachment_75526" align="alignnone" width="1200"]wooden3 A toilet used in the 1930s.[/caption] In India, public toilets were constructed only in 1940, but were soon rendered unusable because of lack of maintenance. The courtyard outside the museum exhibit models of toilets developed by Sulabh International that are used across India today, as the country wages a battle against open defecation. The museum is open every day, except on national holidays, from 10:30 am to 5 pm during winter (Nov 1 to Mar 30) and from 10 am to 5 pm in summer (Apr 1 to Oct 30).

And if you can’t make it in person, you can always take the virtual tour.

[caption id="attachment_75519" align="alignnone" width="1200"]ornamental3 The model of a porcelain toilet with a lion pedestal.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75521" align="alignnone" width="1200"]porta-potti Porta Potti, a mobile toilet used during camping[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75520" align="alignnone" width="1200"]ornamental4 Replica of a floral porcelain toilet[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75525" align="alignnone" width="1200"]wooden Replica of a European wooden toilet[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75534" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Toilet Etiquettes from the Manu Smriti and Vishnupuran[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75512" align="alignnone" width="1200"] An incinolet electric toilet used by U.S. Naval forces in submarines.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75514" align="alignnone" width="1200"]jokes Cartoons on display at the Toilet Museum[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75516" align="alignnone" width="1200"]museum-wall A wall in the Toilet Museum displaying information about toilets in ancient societies[/caption] [caption id="attachment_75515" align="alignnone" width="1200"]museum-entry The courtyard of the Toilet Museum.[/caption]

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

( Source: Sulabh, Posted: Nov 20, 2016)
Samvad, the Tribal Conclave Begins

Themed Tribal Health Systems, Samvaad, the tribal conclave to be held from November 15 to 19th at Sonari in Jamshedpur India. It will draw around 250 traditional healers, who would participate in panel discussions.

( Source: moneycontrol.com, Posted: Nov 16, 2016)
Inclusion Summit for the Disabled

India Inclusion Summit to happen this week in Bengaluru is an inspirational platform that brings awareness and drives action on ground towards inclusion of people with disabilities at Corporates, Schools, Policy making bodies, NGOs and Parent Associations.

( Source: indiainclusionsummit.com, Posted: Nov 16, 2016)
Urban Heritage and Ownership

the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme looks for three critical components: one, a grand site, second, an urban situation in which the community can benefit, and three, ecological considerations or green space.

( Source: CivilSocietyOnline, Posted: Nov 16, 2016)
Taking on the Timber Mafia

Kalawati Devi Rawat, an iliterate woman put her village Chamoli in Uttarakhand on the path of progress and inspired her fellow village women to dream big.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Nov 16, 2016)
Mangoosteen Village

Pariyaram, a little known village near Chalakudy town in Kerala is famous for Mangosteen, an exotic fruit.

( Source: CivilSocietyOnline, Posted: Nov 9, 2016)
Honesty Shops

St. Clarets Higher Secondary School in Madurai has come up with a unique way to help its students learn all about honesty by running Honesty Shops.

( Source: BetterIndia, Posted: Nov 8, 2016)
Tourism and Ecological Stakes in Andamans

The Ministry of Tourism has reportedly formed a panel to probe the scope of allowing high-value tourism in uninhabited islands.

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Nov 7, 2016)
Global Wildlife Population Down by 58%

The report indicates that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012.

( Source: OneWorld, Posted: Nov 7, 2016)
Women Who Beat Their Own Drums

The band of women from Musahar community in Bihar have been performing at weddings, ceremonies and festivals to great acclaim.

( Source: LiveMint, Posted: Nov 2, 2016)
Drought in Western Ghats?

Rainfall in the Western Ghats has been steadily declining, triggering fears of a drought in one of the most water-rich regions

( Source: DownToEarth, Posted: Nov 2, 2016)
Turning Jackfruit Profitable

Vasanth Nayak, a progressive farmer from Byrampalli village of Udupi, with the help of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, has taken innovative steps towards adding value to Jackfruit by making pappads and chips.

( Source: The Wire, Posted: Nov 2, 2016)
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