Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembering Mahakavi Bharathi on his 128th birthday

Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi's (Dec 11, 1882 - Sep 11, 1921) 128th birthday was celebrated on 11th December 2009 by his admirers.  Bharathi is considered as one of the National poets, for his exemplary contribution to the freedom movement.  Around 1906, he was writing poems which kindled the freedom thoughts of the people.  Then British Government banned his poems and he moved to Pondicherry, then French Territory to avoid being arrested.  Later in 1918, he was arrested by British and he was put in prison. Because of  his prison life, his health got deteriorated and finally he passed away at is 39th age.  
Even 30 to 40 years prior to the Indian Independence, he visualised Free India and wrote poems accordingly.  Sadly, at the time of cremation after his death, only 14 people accompanied him in his last journey.  People started realising his greateness only after his death.  The State Government has now acquired the house at Triplicane, where he lived and converted into a memorial.  The Government will complete its duty by garlanding his statue at Marina Beach by one of the Ministers on his birthday.  
Even at Chennai, many did not remember him on his 128th birthday. Only few of the admireres of Bharathi organised some small small events.  Nallore Vattam (Kodambakkam 2020), a partner organisation of Action 2020 Team organised a procession and a meeting on 11th December.  Around 100 people, including children participated and remembered him. Action 2020 congratulates Mr Murugan and Mr Prabhakar who took the initiative in remembering the great National Poet.  

Every year, Nallore Vattam celebrates the birth anniversary of this great Poet.  While they were preparing for the celebrations, some people enquired them whether they were preparing to celebrate the birth day of Rajanikanth (film actor) which fell on the next day or that of the film director Bharati.  The youngmen who were organising this event, were all taken by suprise whether that was the treatment given to a person who gave his life for the Nation.
It is sad that the people have forgotten the 'real hero' and remember only the 'screen hero'

Saturday, December 12, 2009

T R Bhat, a visionary and pro-active Trade Union leader

T R Bhat. Corporation Bank Officers Organisation, CBOOPodUniversal Edition 94

When we think of a Public Sector Trade Unions, particularly from the Banking industry, the image is of strikes, delay, casual attitude towards customers. The Public Sector Banks are actually at the cross roads today.
On one side, many of the trade Unions in the banking sector focus only on their monetary benefits without looking at customer service. This negative approach only helps to drive the customers closer to Private Sector Banks for better service.
Also, on the other side, it is murmured that some of the Chairmen of the Indian PSU Banks try to please their political bosses allegedly by adopting unethical practices, to secure ‘plum posts’ for their post retirement era. Trade Unions also shut their eyes on such practices in their own interests.
Unfortunately, we cannot afford to ignore the concept of Trade Unions in India. If they mind, they can play a more positive role in the Nation building.
Very few trade union leaders have emerged with some vision and enthusiasm transcending the boundaries of employees’ monetary benefits.
In 1981, Corporation Bank Officers Organisation (CBOO) organized their Annual General Body meeting at Mangalore. That was the time, when all the Trade Unions were crippled due to Emergency in India and the Managements were exploiting the employees. One lean young man in the last row who came to watch the Union meeting for the first time, emerged and talked to the audience in a highly matured and in a simple manner without usual ‘trade union style’. His way of communication attracted all the hundreds of members present there. Immediately in a single voice, they made him General Secretary of CBOO to lead the Officers of the Bank, particularly when the Trade Union movement was facing a lot of challenges. The young visitor was surprised and started his new journey as a ‘Trade Union leader’. When he entered the Union Meeting hall, he never expected that he would be leading the Bank Officers for the rest of his service in the Bank.
That young man of 1981 is Mr T Ramachandra Bhat, popularly known in Indian Banking circle as T R Bhat, presently the Chairman of CBOO. Eventually, before long, he rose to the level of Joint General Secretary of All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), the official and non-political Trade Union of the Bank supervisory staff with more than 2.50 lakh members. AIBOC is the world’s largest Trade Union body of the Supervisory staff in any industry. He is retiring from Corporation Bank on the last day of December 2009, after nearly three decades of his leadership.
His simplicity, his deep knowledge on banking, his honesty have earned him a great name as ‘UnPurchasable leader’. Presently, he is leading around 4500 bank officers in his bank, besides other bank officers. Throughout his stint as a Trade Union leader, he has been following values and ethics personally and promoting them amongst the members of CBOO.
Before demanding ‘transparency in administration’ from his Bank management, he started practicing it in his own Union. While the attitude of many of the political and trade union leaders seems to be to hide their omissions and commissions from their followers, Mr Bhat was open to admit any fault of his. That made him a credible and trusted leader amongst his banking colleagues in India.
In 2002, when Mr Bhat took some decisions as a leader, persuaded his office-bearers to engage an independent agency to study the perception of the members of the Union across the country. The Agency submitted a confidential report to him detailing the areas, where he went wrong. To everybody’s surprise, the entire report was circulated verbatim amongst the members of the Union. Even his critics appreciated him for his transparency. While none of the Managements will dare to ever circulate a critical review fearing Image loss, as a trade union leader, he was transparent with his members and enhanced his image.
He visualized the trends ahead of time and started preparing his members for the changes, as a Trade Union leader. There were occasions, while other Trade Unions used to oppose some measures of the Government or Bank Managements, as a loner he would support those measures, leading to criticisms. He was thinking pro actively for the benefit of the Institution and to the Society.
While all the bank employees, were resisting computerization in 1980s, he was motivating his Bank Management to go for computerization. Though, at that period, it was seen differently, later, the reality was Corporation Bank became pioneer in technology which enabled better customer service. While all the Trade Unions opposed ‘VRS’ scheme by Banks, he demanded VRS to be implemented in his bank, to give way for new generation. In the long run, such pro-active measures brought benefit to the system.
He set up an Education and Training Wing in his Union, to train his members to the changing realities of the system. While all the Trade Unions used to invite politicians for their Annual General Meetings, he developed a policy of inviting only Nationally eminent scholars to share their views with their members.
For the first time in any Trade Union movement in India, he introduced the concept of ‘CSR’ in his Union, by creating a Trust known as ‘Swasti’ to help the poor and downtrodden in different parts of the country. Since the Bank branches are situated across the country and their members are well connected with the society, they can reach out to the poor personally with a better understanding. Such ‘out of the box’ activities of the Union made the members understand the society well to offer a better customer service.
For the past 28 years, he has been editing a monthly newsletter titled ‘Officers Voice’. The newsletter is circulated among the members and various bank and government authorities. Because the contents are rich and informative, many of the top Management executives and policy makers are regular readers of this newsletter.
Even today, you can walk into any branch of Corporation Bank and enquire about Mr T R Bhat with any of the officers. They all hold him in high esteem almost unanimously.
As a Trade Union leader, he believed the development of good HR practices would improve the morale and quality of customer service. For the first time in India, by any Trade Union, he engaged in 2006, a reputed independent agency to study the HR aspects of Officers of Corporation Bank. Though this exercise was to have been done by the Management, the Union took the initiative. He shared the copy with all his members and also with the then Chairman of the Bank. The report went into cold storage apparently.
Even at National level, he has silently played a positive role. During 2004, Reserve Bank wanted to amend Banking Regulation Act. Under the initiative of Mr Bhat, AIBOC set up an Independent Commission on ‘Banking and Financial Policy’ under the Chairmanship of Former Finance Secretary Mr S P Shukla and few other renowned banking and economic experts. Though the Government did not accept the report officially, the input was helpful to them in understanding the situation.
I had a freewheeling conversation with him over phone to understand his views after nearly three decades of his role in the Trade Union. When I asked him, what was his greatest disappointment at the time of his leaving the Bank, he answered, “We are not able to change the mindset of the Corporation Bank Management, in spite of all our pro-active and positive approach. When we, as a trade union, have changed according to times, the old mindset of management still continues. Officers are not considered as partners in the development and not taken into confidence while framing the HR and business policies. Though, as a Trade Union, we are transparent, the Management is lacking in transparency’.
The Bank officers have organized a felicitation function for Mr Bhat during the last week of Dec 09 at Mangalore. While, one of the past chairmen is participating, unfortunately, the present Management does not find it worthy an event associate itself, even as a gesture of goodwill and to honour him for his pro-active and positive contributions to the Banking industry.
Managements use high sounding jargons on HR and IR. When it comes to reality, they yield only to violence and blackmailing. It is sad they do not understand the language of simplicity, honesty and pro-active visionary approach of Trade Unions. Only because of such poor HR policy of such Banks ‘blackmailers’ are encouraged and ‘visionaries’ suffer in silence without space.
Mr T R Bhat can be reached at
The podcast interview may be listened by clicking 'play' button in the following flash player. The audio streaming will be smooth, in broadband connections. If you find the streaming is not smooth, you may right click this link and save the link/target to your desktop and download in mp3 format.


The podcast interview may be listened from the following sites also:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Forgotten centenary of legendary statesman C Subramanian (CS)

C Subramanian (CS) Architect of Indian Green Revolution
Many of the youngsters in early 30s may not be knowing about Shri C Subramaniam, popularly known as CS. Shri CS was one of the celebrated Statesmen of India, who piloted the first Green Revolution in India in 1960s. During early 1960s, India was facing a great food shortage and CS was then the Food and Agriculture Minister. He brought together National and International Agricultural scientists and developed new seeds. He managed all the opposition then and introduced systematically a revolution in Agricultural sector. Within two years, his efforts yieleded great results and the production increased substantially. That saved the country from famine.
As a shy politician, he never took the credit to himself. Though, he was the architect of first Green Revolution in India, many others in the team got the Awards and rewards, which he was seeing during life time silently.
In his early days, CS was mentored by the great Rajaji, who was the first Governor General of India after Independence, in his professional and political career. CS was one of the freedom fighters and he spent more than 18 months in prison.
When he was the education minister in Tamilnadu under Shri Kamaraj, immediately after Independence, he brought lot of reforms in education and that was later adopted by other States.
Thereafter, he served three Prime Ministers viz. Jawaharlal Nehru, Lalbahadur Sastri and Indira Gandhi in the Central Government. He handled very sensitive Ministries like Heavy Industries, Mines, Science & Technollgy, Finance and Agriculture. He made mark in all the Ministries he served. If India can boast of many achievements in those ministries today, it was because of the seeds sown by CS in those days. He was a great administrator and a task master.
Though, he was practically holding the second position next to Prime Minister in those days for more than two decades, he never exposed his family to the public life or exploited to his personal advantage.
Government of India recognised his services to the Nation, belatedly and honoured him with the coveted Bharat Ratna Award in 1998, two years before his death. He passed away in 2000 at his 90th age. Even before his death, he created National Agro Foundation, to take the country towards second green revolution.
Now this is the cenetenary year of CS. Very sadly, neither the Tamilnadu State Government nor the Central Government have remembered him, to pay homage to this visionary Statesman, who was only a 'Karma Yogi' without expecting any publicity.
Now his admirers have started celebrating his centenary to pay respect to this Great son of India.

CS, though was a great Statesman, also had a great love for Carnatic Music and dance. During his life time, he also founded Ragalaya Trust to encourage Traditional Music and dance. Ragalaya Trust oragnised an event on 5th December 2009 at Music Academy, Chennai.
Dr K S Subramanian, former senior bureaucrat who worked with CS recalled an incident in Tamilnadu Assembly. In 1950s, CS was the leader of the Congress in Assembly. At that time, Sri C N Annadurai, noted Dravidian leader was the leader of the opposition. One of the Congress Members was passing some remarks on Sri Annadurai in the Assembly with some unwanted words. CS was in his chamber listening to the proceedings which used to be broadcast through audio systems. On hearing the remarks of his own member, CS entered into the Assembly and requested his collegue to withdraw the remarks made by him, as Srii Annadurai was one of the senior leaders. The Congress member refused to oblige. Immediately, CS stood up and apologised to the opposition leader for the remarks made by his congress colleague and also requested the Speaker to expunge those remarks from the Assembly proceedings. Dr K S Subramanian was recalling as to how CS was giving utmost respect to the dignity of the Democratic Institutions and values of the profession. (Our youngsters may not believe this type of statesmanship were there during those time, because of current happenings in our Parliament)
Dr Padma Subramanian, the noted dancer recalled how CS was deeply interested in Music and dance and how he used to reveiw even the Music concerts. Probably, his passion for Music was one of the reasons for his success in his political life.
Later Smt Alarmel Valli and Smt Urmila Satyanarayanan, great doyens of Bharata Nayam paid homage to CS through their dance performance. They also shared their experiences with CS as to how he was passionate about dance and music.
It is gratifying to note that even if the Governments do not remember him, people remember him for his contribution to the Nation. Probably, if CS had exhibited himself as a man belonging to a particular caste or religion, the present day rulers might have planned lot of events. CS kept himself above such small barriers and maintained himself only as 'Indian'.
A Statesman is never a vote catcher and not a priority for rulers.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Americans admire Dr Abdul Kalam as “renaissance man”

Former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam visited State of Alabama during the last week of October 2009. This visit was coordinated by the law firm Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, and Mr. S.S. Rajsekar, managing trustee of the National Agro Foundation. Mr S S Rajsekar is an active member of India Vision online group and also patron of Action 2020 team.
Please watch the photographs taken during that visit and also read the report published by The Hindu.

ALABAMA: The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, urged non-resident Indians to be good citizens and to contribute to the success of their new home.
He was addressing a gathering on October 27 at a reception hosted in Birmingham by one of the organisers of his visit to the State of Alabama, law firm Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, and S.S. Rajsekar, managing trustee of the National Agro Foundation.
Mr. Kalam praised the firm and the University of Alabama (UA) System for all the work being done to build relationships with India.
William Slaughter, founder of the law firm, called Mr. Kalam a “renaissance man.”
The visit brought over a dozen businessmen from India to Alabama to explore business avenues.
Later, Mr. Kalam visited the university at Birmingham and the campus at Huntsville, which is the birthplace of the American space programme.
“This is truly a remarkable event in the history of our university. Not only is Mr. Kalam a former Head of State, but he is the father of India’s vibrant and productive space programme, a scientist, and a visionary,” said David Williams, president of UA, Huntsville.
At the university, Mr. Kalam went round research laboratories, and interacted with the faculty and students. “Huntsville is well-known for its space research,” Mr. Kalam said, adding he was impressed with the research focus of the Huntsville community, and was looking forward to further scientific and educational relationships being built between the communities at the university and those in India.
Mr. Kalam’s tour included the University’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR). Scientists and students from the centre, including many scientists from India working at the university, presented works ranging from the study of interactions between solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, to the most powerful explosions in the universe, known as gamma-ray bursts, each of which releases more energy in a few seconds than the Sun will emit in its entire lifetime.
At the SERVIR laboratory at UA Huntsville, Mr. Kalam met researchers and discussed efforts to shorten the response time to fires in Central America, improve the fishing industry of El Salvador, track West Nile Virus in Africa, and to monitor deforestation in Guatemala and Mexico.
“I have a vision of India where each of our 20,00,00,000 children plants five trees,” noted Mr. Kalam. “In this way, we would be able to plant a billion trees in India, to help preserve our land, improve our climate, and make our environment more sustainable. A project such as SERVIR would serve as a tremendous resource to help track our progress to this goal.
The SERVIR programme, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the United States Agency for International Development, integrates satellite observations, ground-based data, and forecast models to monitor and forecast environmental changes, and to improve response to natural disasters.
At the NASA Center, Mr. Kalam met the leadership responsible for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, named after Indian astrophysicist Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, and now in its 10th year of observations.
Courtesy: The Hindu Report

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dr Abdul Kalam's motivating speech to India Vision members - Part 1

On 7th October 2009, former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam met 70 representatives from 30 constituent organisations of Action 2020 Team or online India Vision Group at Chennai. Dr Kalam spent nearly two hours with the members sharing his views. At the end of his 30 minute speech, all the members were highly motivated with positive energy. Thereafter he spent his time taking questions from the members and guiding them for Nation building.
Though only 15 minutes was available at the end of the session for taking his autograph and interaction, when all the members left the venue, had a feeling as if they had personally conversed with him for 5 to 10 minutes. This type of mystical experience can happen only with few great spiritual leaders. That is the power of his communication excellence.
We are pleased to release the motivating speech delivered by Dr Abdul Kalam as Part 1. We will be releasing the other interactions separately.
Photo slideshow : Please see the slide show of photographs taken during the occasion. The photographs can be downloaded from this link:

Dr Abdul Kalam speech - wmv version - Please click to play the visuals and audio (29 minutes). The visual and audio streaming will be smooth in broadband connections. If the streaming is not smooth, you may right click this link and download the file in wmv format and play through windows media player (14 mb)

Dr Abdul Kalam speech - Audio version in mp3 format. Please click to play the audio version of his speech. The audio streaming will be smooth in broadband connections. If the streaming is not smooth, you may right click this link and download the file in mp3 format and play through any mp3 player (26 mb)

The speech may also be viewed/listened/downloaded from the following links also:
Blip TV

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Team Everest reaches children through stories!

Stories are the best medium of communication to reach young and old. In the early days, grandma stories from epics used to be popular. Now due to change of life style, our system is totally forgotten this age old proven concept. However story telling is an art by itself. Through good stories, we can plant good thoughts in the minds of the children.

In order to revive this concept, Team Everest, one of the partner organisations of Action 2020 Team under India Vision group released a book on 26th Sep 2009, in Tamil titled "Ilam Indiayavukku" (meaning 'To Young India'). This book is the initiative of Mr Kartheeban, Founder of Team Everest and his team. Team Everest has around 3000 members working in Cognizant Technology at different locations, connected only through intranet. They are supporting various education projects, identified through their members.

This book has 100 anecdotes (in the form of stories) compiled by 23 members of Team Everest, taken from the lives of great people like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Dr Abdul Kalam, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa and others. Every anecdote has been written in Tamil in a very interesting manner like a story, so that young school children get attracted to that. All the 23 authors are working in different projects of the company at different locations and in different countries. They have also not met each other earlier. They compiled the book using the email and chat and other technology tool.

I was also present during the launch function. Out of 23 authors, only few people could attend the function, as all others were in different parts of the country/world. Interestingly, even those authors who were present there met for the first time, though they were closely working together to compile this book. :)
The members of Team Everest operating in US, mobilised funds to the extent of Rs.70,000/- through some cricket tournament to print these books. Presently, they have printed 10,000 copies for distribution amongst school children. As a pilot project, they have already spoken to Chief Education Officer of Tiruvannamalai district. This book will be distributed free of cost to the Head Masters of nearly 500 schools coming under that district. Every day, one anecdote will be read to the students in every school during morning prayers. After few months, Team Everest will get feedback from the Head Masters and improve further.

Kizhakku Pathipagam, one of the leading publishers of Chennai helped them to print the books at cost.

The book is priced at Rs.25/. Whatever money earned out of the sales will be used for re-printing of this book for further distribution. Mr Kartheeban aims to print and distribute a minimum of 1 lakh copies.

Team Everest can be contacted at and Mr Kartheeban may be reached at 9940299062 (Chennai)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram - A place for 'patriotic pilgrimage'

On 15th Sep 2009, I had the opportunity of visiting Sabarmati Ashram, in the outskirts of Ahmadabad. Mahatma Gandhi lived in this Ashram from 1918 to 1930. Many major decisions relating to freedom movement were taken at this place in those time. Great people like Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Miraben lived in this Ashram. This Ashram is in the banks of river Sabarmati.

Mahatma Gandhi started his famous Dandi March, which is popularly known as Salt Satyagraha in 1930 only from this Ashram. Dandi March created great awareness amongst Indians against British Rule and more than 60,000 freedom fighters were arrested by then British Government. Dandi March was a mile stone in Indian freedom struggle, which forced British to quit India.
What a simple life Mahatma was living in this Ashram. The visitors room, his personal room, kitchen and guest room are all maintained in the same condition, as it was earlier. The huts where Vinobaji and Miraben were living were too simple. The Ashram had around 70 inmates when Gandhiji was there. They have displayed the rules governing the inmates in original. What a simple life they were living.
This Ashram was opened for public by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963. Lot of pictures and the materials used by Mahatma are displayed in galleries.
It was so exciting for me to sit and meditate in the place where Mahatma was living and set his foot. For anyone dreaming a great India by 2020, Sabarmati is a place for 'patriotic pilgrimage'.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Give more; Take more happiness - Dr Abdul Kalam's exclusive message to Indian youth

On 11th August 2009 morning 11.15 am, I got the SMS from Mr Ponraj, Advisor to Dr Abdul Kalam that Dr Kalam was on flight to Chennai and he would be at Chennai Airport for two hours, before he boarded the other flight. During his waiting time, he would like to meet at 1 pm, 5 to 10 youngsters of Action 2020 team, who were doing service to the society. It was a pleasant surprise for me. I was wondering how Dr Kalam was passionate about meeting youth, even during his small break.
Barely two hours left, I rang up to Balasubramanian (Kodambakkam 2020 project), Britto (Friedz for Life), Vinod (VTrust) and Natarajan (Dream India). They all jumped with joy to get the unexpected reward. Around 10 of us assembled at the Airport. Immediately, after his arrival, he called us to the VIP waiting lounge. He spent around 50 minutes of his time with our team. He discussed meticulously on the projects done by the partner groups of Action 2020 team. He also gave them suggestionsfor improvement.
Dr Abdul Kalam with Action 2020 Team at Chennai
At the end of 50 minutes, we requested him to give his message for the Indian Youth and he readily permitted us to record his message. In his message, he naratted one instance when he participated in the 101st birthday of Tumkur Shivakumar Swamiji. The birth day celebrations was attended by 5 lakh people. After all the people spoke, Swamiji spoke for 15 minutes without any difficulty, standing erect. This made Dr Abdul Kalam to wonder how Swamiji was maintaining such happiness even at the age of 101. Then he realised that Swamiji was running 220 educational institutions, benefitting more than one lakh children. In addition every day, he is feeding more than 15000 poor people. Dr Kalam realised since Swamiji was giving more, he was taking more happiness. In his exclusive messge, Dr Kalam advises the young people to 'give more and take more happiness'.
Please watch the pictures and listen to the message of Dr Abdul Kalam by clicking 'play' button in the flash player( 2 min). The video streaming will be smooth in broadband connections. If the streaming is not smooth, you may right click this link and save the link/target to your desktop in wmv format (1 mb) and play through windows media player.

You can also listen to the audio version of the message. If you want to download this audio in mp3 format, right click this link and save the link/target to your desktop.
This message can be listened from the following links:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A tiny tea stall is the hub for Kodambakkam 2020

Balasubramanian, Venkadesh, Vivekanandan and Murugan
When Dr Abdul Kalam gave the concept of India 2020 a decade back,  Mr M A Balasubramanian (now 59) started thinking of  'Why not Kodambakkam 2020?'. He has been running a small tea stall with the name 'Bharathi snacks'. Bharathi was a great National poet, who inspired many people for freedom struggle. Bharathi's poems were banned by the then British rule and he had to live in Pondicherry, which was then under French rule. Right from childhoold, Balasubramanian used to take part actively in social service and also promote the awareness about National leaders.

When I heard about 'Kodambakkam 2020', i could not resist the temptation of meeting him at his tiny tea stall on last Sunday. When you enter the small 10feet by 10 feet shop, you will find the pictures of National leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Abdul Kalam and great poets like Thiruvalluvar, Bharathiyar and spirtual leaders like Vallalar on the walls. 

Probably, many of the readers may know Kodambakkam as the Hollywood of Chennai, where many of the Indian movies are made. On the other side, this area is the locality of poor and lower middle class people. This tea stall is situation in this locality, catering to the lower middle class and poor people.

"Many young people visiting my tea stall, used to ask me about the National leaders. Some of them got inspired. In the year 2000, around 10 of us decided to start a movement to make Kodambakkam as the ideal place for living by 2020 and we named this initiative as 'Kodambakkam 2020' in line with India 2020. To achieve this vision, we formed an informal group called 'Nallore Vattam' (meaning forum for good people)" says Mr Balasubramanian.

Over the period of nine  years, this  initiative has grown effectively, with more than 1000 members (most of them youngsters). They have divided their activities into 26 categories like blood donation, environment, poor feeding, education, awareness for eye donation, yoga classes, etc. This organisation Nallore Vattam does not have any President, Treasurer, Secretary, etc, It is a flat organistion with Mr Balasubramanian and another young professional Venkatesh as convenors. They have one in-charge person for all the 26 activities. They have not been collecting any money from anybody for the past 9 years. All the activities are supported with the help of sponsors, who take care of the expenses directly.

The in-charge persons of the activities meet on every Sunday evening at 4 PM sharp for the past 9 years regularly, and discuss their activities. Some of the interesting initiatives done by this team:

1. Rapid Action Service : On the birthdays of Mahakavi Bharathiyar and Dr Abdul Kalam, 150 members assemble in one particular colony or area ay 7 AM and start their service like clearning the street, creating awareness on various issues like health care, envronment, etc. to the people, planting of trees, etc. They do this service till the evening. "Of course, we also inform the residents in advance about this Rapid Action Service and 50 percent of the residents join us in the activities. Our Rapid Action creates awareness amongst the residents to keep their area as a model area. So far, in the past three years, we have done in 9 places", says proudly Mr K Venkadesan, Convenor for Kodambakkam 2020 initiative. Mr Venkadesan is an MBA graduate working in a software company.

2. On 5th of every month, the volunteers collect 'one rupee' donation from various people, including schools and other organistions. The entire amount is donated to one of the orphanages or old age homes in their list. They get the receipt from these orphanages in the name of donor institutions. "Every month we collect around Rs.3000 to 4000/- like this from various schools and instittuions and help the orphanages. Through this service, the donors also get to know of thse orphanages and establish contacts directly with them for helping such activities", says Mr Vivekanandan, 12th standard student in the nearby Corporation School and who is also incharge of poor feeding.

3. Nallore Vattam has another initiative to bring together like minded organisations for working together. This initiative is known as "Third Sakthi" (first two being Government and politics and third one being the people sakthi). On the last Saturday of every month, representatives of various NGOs  meet together  regularly (for the past three years) and work out strategies for coordination. Nearly 100 such NGOs are in their network.

4. Besides, they also conduct regular free yoga classes, personality development classes for poor students. Mr Murugan, another young person is in charge of Yoga Centre.

If I start describing these 26 activities, it may take few more pages. I was highly impressed with the pictures taken by them during the various activities.  

"I am running the tea stall here. Many of my own customers are part of this noble initiative. They are all residents of this area. Defintiely, we will achieve Kodambakkam 2020, well ahead of our vision. This is our humble contribution to our Nation" says Mr Balasubramanian with a sense of satisfaction.

India Vision Group salutes Mr Balasubramanian and his team for the great initiative.  Like Kodambakkam 2020, every ward, village, town, district, state should have a vision and work towards this.  

Mr Balasubramanian may be reached over mobile 91 97910 05771 or through email at

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Professor who inspires hundreds of his students for social cause

Prof. E SrinivasanMany students who leave the Schools/Colleges remember their teachers for their great support towards academic achievement. But rarely, the students remember a professor, who motivated them towards helping the society, even after they leave the college.

When I heard about Friendz For Life (FFL) initiative by Pondicherry Engineering College, Pondicherry for inclusion in India Vision Group and Action 2020 Team, the alumni and the current students pointed their fingers only towards Prof. E Srinivasan, Professor of ECE in their College as their motivator. More than 500 Engineering graduates passed out of that college in the earlier years are in continuous contact with Prof. Srinivasan and help financially and otherwise various projects covering poor students of their own Alma-mater. Presently, Alumni not only help the students from their own Alma-Mater, but also the poor children outside.

Inspired by his motivation, the students of this PEC have developed an unique model of supporting the needy. While, the Alumni fund the projects, the current students of third and fourth year implement them meticulously. Even before they pass out of this College, they get the feel and joy of supporting the needy. The current students, when they pass out, join their seniors to fund the projects and their juniors implement the projects. This cycle goes on successfully for the past three years.

I could not resist the temptation of speaking to Prof. E Srinivasan. When I called him over his mobile, he was leaving his home to personally greet a poor boy who had completed 10th standard, out of the support by the Alumni of the College. How has he been motivating his students for social cause? What prompted him to do this?

Prof. ES joined the teaching profession in this College in 1987. He hails from a middle class rural family and as a student, he was observing the difficulties of various children in pursuing the education. That was in his back of his mind and waiting for an opportunity to burst. After an year of his joining the job, in 1988, one student by name Mohan whose mother was a house maid found difficulty in paying the examination fee of Rs.30/-. (Since PEC is a Govt. College, the fee structure used to be very nominal and even meritorious poor students used to join the college). Sensing this problem, he immediately paid Rs.30/- from his pocket and made him to sit for the examination. That was his turning point in his life. He proudly says, “Now Mohan is a Senior Officer in Government of India establishment and he also helps the other poor children in various form”.

After this incident, he wanted to help the poor students financially. Though these students were hailing from poor background, they were highly intelligent and used to be toppers in the classes. Prof. ES used to approach outsiders and his colleagues for collection of funds. “Many of them used to support; some of them used to ridicule and even irritate by rude behaviour. Many times, I have paid out of my own salary”, recalls Prof. ES. All such disappoints did not dampen Prof. ES. He was very firm on his mission.

Instead of depending on the outsiders, he thought of motivating his own students to help their needy juniors. “Student community in the Colleges is a fertile ground. At this stage, if we seed good thoughts, the students pick up fast and convert them into a banyan tree”, beamingly shares Prof. ES. His experiment started yielding results.

His students, after they get employment started getting in touch with him, because of his genuine intentions and shared the joy of helping the needy poor students of their Alma Mater. Now around 500 of his old students are in his network, supporting the poor students in one way or other. Now, they have also extended their wings to outside the college. They help the needy children, outside the purview of PEC.

Lakshmanan, hailing from a very poor family was supported by Prof.ES in 1997 to pursue his M.Tech at IIT, Chennai. Presently, he is employed in TCS and takes active role in his mission. Another Alumni Ananda Raj (1996 pass out), presently employed in an MNC in USA supports his mission with US $200 every month. “This contribution helps me to even commit some future projects”, says Prof. ES.

Hariharan(2004 batch PEC graduate) and Nunna Prasad (1996 PEC graduate) contribute regularly for the activities. In addition, a host of PEC alumni make significant contributions over longer intervals towards helping the needy students towards pursuing their educational aspirations. Many of them have even requested Prof. ES not to disclose their names.

2003 batch of Alumni have formed a group titled “Helping Hands” and they take active role in supporting the projects. 2006 batch students started ‘Friendz for Life’ (FFL), mentioned by me earlier.

“Now that many of my students have taken up the responsibility of managing the projects, I want to spend more time in identifying the projects and in motivating more students from our College. Normally 10 percent of the students are highly charged with social mind. With a small touch, they can be brought into our fold. Another 10 percent are fence sitters. If they are motivated, they will also join the brigade. I am proud that these students do not stop with sharing the money. They vibrate good energy in the places they work. This vibration is contagious. They motivate others too to help the society in their own style. My journey continues”, concludes Prof. ES in a humble tone.

India Vision 2020 Group and Action 2020 Team salute Prof. ES and the students for developing an unique model of service to the Nation.

Prof.ES Can be reached at

Friday, May 29, 2009

S S Rajsekar conferred 'Hon. Lt. Governor' of Alabama State in USA

When India was suffering from serious food shortage in early 1960s, Mr C Subramanian,(popularly known as CS), then Food Minister of Indian Government initiated the 'First Green Revolution' with the help of many Agricultural Scientists. His sustained efforts saved the country from great disaster. In view of this Mr C Subramanian is considered as the 'Father of Indian Green Revolution' and he was given the highest Indian Civilian Award 'Bharat Ratna' in 1998.

In the year 2000, when he turned 90, Mr CS founded 'National Agro Foundation' to initiate the Second Green Revolution. CS wanted to focus on "soil to market" in the Second Green Revolution. The first Green Revolution focussed on "seed to grain".

After the demise of CS, Mr S S Rajsekar, his son, continued the initiative with the support of many eminent people. Many eminent Institutions and Scientists are associated with this initiative. Presently, Mr N Ravi, Editor, The Hindu, one of the leading English National dailies of India is the Chairman of the Trust. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam was the Chairman of the Governing Council, till he became the President of India. Presently, Mr R K Pauchauri, an Internationally renowned Economist is the Chairman of the Governing Council of National Agro Foundation.

Mr S S Rajsekar presently holds the charge of 'Managing Trustee'. In appreciation of the efforts done by National Agro Foundation, Mr Rajsekar was presented with a certificate appointing him as Honorary Lt Governor of the Alabama State by the Lt Governor of Alabama Jim Folsom in Montgomery last week (picture below) . During September 2009, Mr Rajsekar will be making presentation to the Commissioners of Agriculture of all the 50 States of USA.

Rajasekar receiving the certificate from Lt. Governor of Alabama State
India Vision Group and Action 2020 Team congratulates Mr Rajsekar for his coveted honour. This gesture will bring India and USA closer for Agriculture and Rural Development initiatives.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

UnSung Heroes - Bhumi Chennai, a group of young students and professionals

Bhumi Chennai volunteers
PodUniversal Edition 74

Prakash, Ayyappan and Vaishnavi
Bhumi Chennai, an organisation started by young students in 2006 is now undertaking few education and environment projects benefiting around 500 people. In an exclusive interview for PodUniversal, Prakash (President), Ayyappan (Treaurer) and Vaishnavi (Secretary General) explain their activities.
They can be contacted through their website

Please listen to their interview by clicking 'play' button in the flash player. (The audio streaming will be smooth in broad band connections. If the streaming is not smooth, please right click this link and save the mp3 format to your desktop and listen.

The audio may also be listened in the following link

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, former President of India exhorts voters to choose righteous candidatesPodUniversal Edition 68

India will be electing her 15th Lok Sabha shortly and the Election Commission has already initiated the election process. India is the world's largest democracy and this election will be the biggest election on the earth with the participation of 714 eligible voters.

India Vision 2020 Group, the popular online group of patriots has started the "Celebrate Democracy - Vote India" campaign. As part of the campaign, we got the exclusive audio message from former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. In his message, he says

"a great opportunity provided to us to elect the members who will be guiding the destiny of the nation for the next five years. The right to vote is a sacred right and an onerous responsibility that we owe to the motherland. The dawn of beautiful India is in our mind and then in our deeds. The deed for the day of the election for us is to cast our vote and be a proud contributor to the success of the spirit of democracy of the largest and dynamic democracy of all democracies. Dear friends, let us all go ahead and exercise our fundamental right to vote and elect the righteous candidate."

He has also set 5 Point Mission to the MPs who will be elected to the 15th Lok Sabha. Dr Kalam feels that we should give the MPs the task and then we need to evaluate their performance. He also wants a 'movement' should start for this.

Visual Podcast

Please listen to his interview by clicking 'play' button. (The streaming of audio and visuals will be smooth in broad band connections. If the streaming is not smooth, please download the file in wmv format and play through your windows media player) - 7 m 50 s

Audio Podcast

You may listen to the audio of Dr Abdul Kalam by clicking the 'play' button of the flash player. (If the streaming is not smooth, you may download the file in mp3 format and play in your mp3 player)

The podcasts may also be listened at

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Prof. M Ramadass - the only MP releasing his performance report annually to voters for appraisal

Prof. M Ramadass, Member of Parliament from Pondicherry along with his annual performance report
PodUniversal Edition 65

Normally, we have heard of teachers sending the progress reports of their students to the parents and also employees in Corporates submitting their performance appraisal to their employers. In politics, never we have heard that any politician submitting his performance report to his electors for appraisal. Prof. M Ramadass, (PMK party), Member of Parliament representing Pondicherry constituency in the 14th Lok Sabha has been submitting his performance report to his voters for the past five years annually.

Prof. Ramadass, an Economic Professor turned Member of Parliament for the first time has raised and asked 504 issues/questions in the 14th Lok Sabha. He has attended 96% of the Parliament sittings. He has used more than 100 percent of the MPLAD funds, drawing the excess from the unutilised funds left by his predecessor. He is rated as 5th for utilising MPLAD funds in the Lok Sabha. He is an ardent user of Parliament library, even during holidays.

In an exclusive interview for PodUniversal, he has shared his success story. and his views on how the members can utilise the opportunity to serve the people. Please listen to his interview by clicking 'play' button in the flash player below. (12 m 30 s)

(The streaming will be smooth in broadband connections. If the streaming of audio is not smooth, please download the audio in mp3 format and play in your mp3 player)

This podcast may also be listened from

To download - Right click this link and save to your desktop (11 mb)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shailendra Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) - A top performer in 14th Lok Sabha

Shailendra Kumar, Member of Parliament, UPWe have already written in these columns that there are four categories, under which the members are rated in the Lok Sabha for their performance. They are (1) asking questions during question hours, (2) raising issues of public importance under rule 377, (3) participation in debates, legislative business and budget discussions, and (4) regular attendance. PodUniversal is now featuring the top performers of 14th Lok Sabha under these four categories. We have already published few interviews earlier.

we are now featuring Mr Shailendra Kumar, a Samajwadi Party MP from Uttar Pradesh. Mr Shailendra Kumar has been rated as No 1 for participating more number of times in debates and legislative business. He has participated in 340 times. (The average for the Lok Sabha is 24 times per member and 57 members did not participate) He has served Uttar Pradesh Legislative assembly for two terms Lok Sabha for two terms, including the 14th Lok Sabha. He hails from a popular and well known political family of UP. I congratulated and interviewed him over mobile, while he was touring in his constituency. Please listen to his interview by clicking 'play' button. (8 m 35s)

The streaming of the audio will be smooth in broadband connections. If you the streaming is not smooth, you may download the audio in mp3 format and play in your player.

The Podcast may also be listened from

To download in mp3 format - Right click this link and save to your desktop ( 7 mb)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A V Adsul (Maharashtra) - A top performer in 14th Lok Sabha

A V Adsul, Member of ParliamentMr Anandrao Vithoba Adsul (Shiv Sena) Member of 14th Lok Sabha from Buldhana (Maharashtra ) constituency has been rated as No 1 in asking questions in the Lok Sabha. He has asked 1260 questions during the entire Lok Sabha, while the average per member is only 167 questions. (78 Members never asked any question).

He was earlier the member of 11th and 13th Lok Sabha. He was elected to 14th Lok Sabha in 2004 for third term. He was also the Minister of State for Finance and Company affairs during the NDA Government, when Mr Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

In an exclusive interview with PodUniversal, (recorded over mobile around mid-night, while he was touring in his constituency), he shares his achievements and also explains as to how the Members of Parliament can make use of the opportunity available for helping the society.

Please listen to his interview by clicking 'play' button. 13 minutes (The streaming of audio will be smooth in broadband connections. If the audio is not smooth, you may download the audio in mp3 format, and play in your mp3 player)

The Podcast Interview may also be listened from the following link

To download - Right click this link and save to your desktop (11 MB)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

V K Thummar - A top performer in 14th Lok Sabha - Interview

V K Thummar, Member of ParliamentPodUniversal Edition 62

After the announcement of Geneal Elections 2009, we have started featuring the top perfomers in the Lok Sabha. In this edition, we are featuring Mr V K Thummar, another Member of Parliament from Gujarat.

Mr Virjibhai Thummar, Congress Member of Parliament from Amreli Constituency has stood second in the 14th Lok Sabha, for raising issues under Rule 377. He has also raised more than 500 questions in the Lok Sabha using the Question hours.

He was the member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly for two terms before entering into Lok Sabha. He was elected to Lok Sabha during 2004 for the first time. During his first term itself, he proved his performance.

Hailing from a farmer's family, he had always took up the farmers' issue in the Lok Sabha. On behalf of PodUniversal, we interviewed him over phone. If he is re-elected to the 15th Lok Sabha, he would like to achieve Number 1 position in the Lok Sabha under various categories of performance. PodUniversal congratulates him on his achievement and wishes him all the best in future.

Please listen to his podcast by clicking 'play' button (12 m 50 s) (The streaming will be smooth in broadband connections. If you find the streaming is not smooth, please download the audio in mp3 format and play through your mp3 player)

The podcast can also be listened from the following link

To download - Right click this link and save to your desktop

Saturday, March 7, 2009

S K Kharventhan - One of the top 5 performers in 14th Lok Sabha

S K Kharventhan, Member of Parliament, Palani constituencyPodUniversal Edition 61

In the closing session of 14th Lok Sabha, Hon'ble Speaker Mr Somnath Chatterjee expressed his serious concern over the poor performance of the members. He also shared that nearly 24% of Lok Sabha time was wasted in shouting. We also published a poodcast from Mr Era Chezhian last week in this issue, expressing our serious concern.

Now, the media has started analysing the performance of the Members of Parliament in 14th Lok Sabha. While, we blame the members for non performance, we thought, we should also appreciate good performers, who took their job seriously. We have decided to feature some of the top performers, who are the motivators for other Members.

14th Lok Sabha had 14 sessions during the tenure.

Mr S K Kharventhan, Member of Parliament (Congress) from Palani (Tamilnadu) Constituency has emerged as one of the top 5 performers in the 14th Lok Sabha (all 14 sessions combined) in the following areas:

1. Issues raised under Rule 377 : Members can raise important public issues under Rule 377 to draw the attention of the Government and the Public. Mr Kharventhan stood as No 1 in raising such issues. He has raised 377 issues. (Average is 6 issues per member - 176 members did not raise any issue)

2. Question hour is an important time for raising questions on public interest. The average questions raised by the members in the 14th Lok Sabha is 167 per member and 78 Members did not raise any questions. Mr Kharventhan has rasied 1200 questions and remains in the top 5 performers under this category.

3. Participation in debates: There is a general feeling that Members did not participate in the debates in connection with legislative business, bills, budgets, etc. The average for 14th Lok Sabha was 24 times per Member. 57 Members did not participate. Mr Kharventhan has participated in 187 times and remains 6th or 7th amongst the top performers.

4. Usage of library: He was using the Parliament Library extensively to prepare his notes on various debates.

5. MP funds: He has utilised 100% of the MP funds for welfare projects in his constituency and 99% of the projects have already been implemented.

He will be contesting the elections this time also, if his party permits. If he is re-elected, he wants to score No 1 position in all the above areas in the 15th Lok Sabha.

PodUniversal congratulates him for his top performance and wishes him all the best. Please listen to his interview recorded over phone on 6th March 2009. Please click to play. ( 9 Minutes) The streaming of the audio will be smooth in broad band connections. If your streaming is not smooth, you may download the mp3 format and play through your mp3 player.

This podcast can also be listened from the following link

Right click this link to download the audio in mp
3 and save to desktop.

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