Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Aum Murugan sets apart 25% of his salary to society

When M. Murugan (51) starts from his house in the morning, his wife Umaa Murugan gives him two packets of food every day. For the past 24 years, before taking his lunch for the day, Murugan ensures that one poor person is also fed. Murugan, popularly known as Aum Murugan, is presently working in Southern Railway and spends one-fourth of his salary for the social cause, with the full support of his family members.  

Through 7 centres of Aum Education Seva Trust, he provides vocational training to nearly 3000 poor people annually free of cost in the neighbouring districts of Chennai.  Besides, every year he conducts 100 eye camps and health camps with the help of Sankara Nethrayala covering 40 villages and 10,000 beneficiaries annually.  Since 2004, he has done more than 700 such camps, which benefitted more than 50,000 poor people.  Besides his personal contribution of his salary, he also gets the support from friends and well wishers. 

In the past four years, he has also distributed 40,000 CDs/DVDs free of cost to various Government Schools, to enable the secondary and senior secondary children  to learn the subjects on visual and animation techniques.

Born in a very poor family in Kanyakumari District, he lost his father before his first birthday. His mother Amaravathy struggled hard to bring up her two sons and one daughter, by undertaking various household jobs.    Murugan, being the youngest, came to Chennai at the age of 13 along with his mother.  His elder brother Sivathanu helped him to complete his degree.  “My mother and my brother are the sources of my inspiration.  Poverty in my early age and the support given by my mother and my brother made me realise my duty to pay back to the society.  In the first month of my joining Indian Railways in 1982, I decided to set apart 25% of my salary every month for the society”, says Aum Murugan with tears rolling in his cheek.  

Though  he had to go for employment after his first degree at the age of 18 to look after his family, his thirst for higher education did not stop.  He completed M Phil, 5 PG degrees, and 5 PG Diplomas from the traditional Universities through correspondence course. Currently, he is pursuing MA in Social Work, from Tamilnadu Government’s TNOU.  

He married Umaa in 1988 and she added value to his service to the society.  She looks after the vocational training to the poor people and health camps, when Aum Murugan is in office.  Their 2 children also support them in all the activities.

“In the next three years, God willing, through Seva Centres, we want to  provide vocational training to 5000 poor people free of cost and make them employable.”, Umaa Murugan added.

Aum Murugan can be contacted at 9444815958 or aumest@gmail.com.  Their website www.aumeducation.org 

Source: Sep 2012 isssue of National ezine PreSense

Elango turns Kuthambakkam village as a model village

Mahatma Gandhi said that India lived in villages.  He wanted the villages to be developed.  While everybody talks on every platform, nobody takes the serious initiative.   Here is the story of R Elango, a Dalit leader turning his village into a Model village in India.

R Elango, born and brought up in Kuthambakkam village, in the adjoining district of Chennai City was involved in the social work right from his childhood.  After completing his B.Tech in Anna University, he joined Oil India and shifted to CSIR as a Scientist.  His village Kuthambakkam with 7 hamlets and with more than 50% of Dalit population was always facing caste clashes. Due to illicit liquor trade, the poor villagers were losing money, health and family relations.  

He was inspired by the idea of the then PM Rajiv Gandhi, who promoted the idea of ‘Panchayat Raj’ to give full freedom to village Panchayat. Later in 1992, Narasimha Rao Government passed the 73rd Amendment in the Parliament to implement Panchayat Raj in the entire country.  The first elections were held in 1996 for Panchayats, based on the new Act. 

Since nobody was willing to contest election to become the President of the Kuthambakkam village, he resigned his Government job to contest the elections.  

In the 1996 Panchayat election, he was elected by the villagers with a three-fourth majority to become the first President of the village under the new Act.  Panchayat Raj Act gave powers to the villagers for self governance.  He started implementing word by word the guidelines given in  the Act.
He visited many model villages across the country and developed a model for his village.  He brought peace between the warring casts.  The illicit liquor was totally eradicated through persuasion.  He brought transparency in the village administration.  The first Gram Sabha was constituted as per the Act with full powers.  

Since he brought transparency in the administration, many of the contractors and the Government officials did not like his way of functioning.  On some flimsy grounds, he was suspended in 1998 by the then Collector.  As the  Collector read out the charges before the Gram Sabha, the entire village stood by Mr Elango, rejected the charges completely.  he was reinstated by the Government as the President.  After this incident, the Government realised his potential.

In 2000, for the first time in India, he built 50 twin houses in a single colony called ‘Samathuvapuram’ (Place for equality).  In every twin house, one dalit and one non dalit  lived.  This scheme was later adopted by the Tamilnadu Government and extended to the entire State. 

During the first five years, he made a lot of transformation in the village, including creating  opportunities for employment generation and education.  In  2001 Panchayat election, he was elected unopposed by the villagers. During his second term, he completed all the unfinished works and placed his village in the Indian map as a Model village.

He made the systems to work well and improved the economy of his village.  Now in 2006 and 2011 elections, he encouraged others to become the President.  Till date, his system continues.

Elango feels that though India has around 2.70 lakh Panchayats covering around 6 lakh villages, there are only 100 to 200 model villages like Kuthambakkam.  In order to train the Panchayat leaders to function properly, he started a ‘Panchayat Academy’.  Through this Academy, he has networked over 700 Panchayat Presidents.  By 2016, he wants to help 200 villages to become model villages and to train 1000 aspiring Panchayat leaders.  

Though people in and around his village respect him, he is not interested to join any political party and to contest for Assembly or Parliament elections.  “I will move only horizontally to develop villages”, says Elango proudly. 

Mr Elango can be reached at panchayat@yahoo.com

Source: August 2012 issue of National ezine PreSense

‘Mugavari’ Ramesh supports 150 students

After passing the graduation with a Gold Medal, Ramesh hailing from a poor family of Arathi Agraharam village of Salem District joined the articleship for Chartered Accountancy.  In 2002, when he admitted his elder sister for some serious illness at Chennai General Hospital, the indifferent and arrogant attitude of the doctors led to the death of his sister.  That incident sparked in his mind to get a few doctors from his village to serve the poor people with humaneness. 
When he returned to his village, one poor girl Kasthuri with high marks had secured admission in a medical college. As she did not have  enough money, she could not pursue her medical course.  Ramesh and his family members started collecting money from various sponsors and helped her to join and  complete the course.  After practising for two years, Kasthuri is now studying MS.

On hearing the news that Ramesh helped Kasturi, many other poor students with high marks started approaching him for support.  He got sponsorship from various donors.  In the process, he was under confusion whether to pursue his Chartered Accountancy or to help the poor students.  At the advice of another poor student Vetrivel, he chose to help the poor students for higher studies, sacrificing his Chartered Accountancy studies. Incidentally, Vetrivel is now an IAS aspirant.

The journey was tough.  He wanted to ensure all the poor students from his village got  higher education.  The financial support from Mr Saidai Duraiswamy (presently the Mayor of Chennai Corporation) and an industrialist Mr R Krishnamurthy (MD of Suryan Pharma) helped many poor students to pursue higher education in various institutions. Later many other sponsors also supported this initiative. 

Nearly 150 students are pursuing degree and post graduate courses in various professional and technical institutions.  A few of them are pursuing PhD also.  33 students are now preparing for IAS and other Civil Services.   Ramesh has arranged sponsorship for preparation of Civil Service Examinations too.  A month ago, one of the students, Bhoopathy Raja was  selected for Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and he will be joining  duty soon.

Ramesh  started Mugavari Foundation with some of his village friends as Trustees to take care of this activity. ‘Mugavari’ in Tamil means ‘address’.  Through this Foundation, Ramesh wants to give an identity to all poor students with higher Qualification.  Out of 150 students, 60 are from his small village.  The others are from the neighbouring villages.  

More than 30 male students are living under a single roof, the accommodation provided by Mayor Mr Saidai Duraiswamy.  All the beneficiary students have pledged to support poor students in the same way, after they get into employment.  “My aim is to make nearly 100 IAS and allied civil service officers, to serve the nation with commitment”, says Mr ‘Mugavari’ Ramesh with beaming confidence.  

and they can be reached through mail mugavariramesh@gmail.com 

Source: May 2012 issue of National Ezine PreSense

Dr Chandra Gupta has completed 600 plus free dental camps

Dr Chandra Gupta (35), when he was studying in a Dental College, Bangalore went to a tribal village for training.  As a student, he was pained to see how the poor people did not care for their dental hygiene.  That prompted him to spend the weekends with the school children promoting the dental hygiene, even after his setting up private practice.  He has also motivated some of his like minded doctors to do this service free of cost.

So far, he has conducted around 625 dental camps free of cost in various schools and colleges.  On an average, he conducts around 7 to 8 camps every month.  Till date, nearly 2 lakh people have been screened by him.  During the dental camps, he conducts a thorough dental screening, demonstrates correct brushing techniques, gives tips on dental hygiene.  If there are any sponsors, he also provides ‘dental health pack’. In these days, when many of the doctors want to spend every minute of their time for making money, Dr Gupta wants to spend his leisure time with the children.  While many NGOs and medical universities organise general health camps, dental camps are very rare.  

Dr Gupta can be reached at                     drguptadentalcare@yahoo.com 

J Prabhakar brought 700 plus small NGOs together

Mr J Prabhakar (58), an artist by profession started his social service by campaigning against the evils of ‘liquor’ in 1985.  He used to visit villages around Chennai then and campaign for values and ethics.  He even brought Anna Hazare in 1989 to some of the villages towards his mission.  At that time Anna Hazare was not popular in the nation and he was doing great service in the Ralegan Siddhi village at Maharashtra.     
One day in 2005, he got an idea of bringing together various unsung NGOs who were doing great service in various parts of Tamilnadu  under a single banner.  

On 2nd October 2005, he brought nearly 100 such small NGOs together under the banner ‘Ennangalin Sangamam’, meaning ‘Fusion of thoughts’. He also convenes a meeting of all the NGOs, every year on the first Sunday of  January.  Every year, he has been adding nearly 100 small NGOs in this movement.  So far, he has brought together more than 700 NGOs.

These NGOs are working in different areas like health, rural development, education, anti-liquor campaign, etc.  These NGOs are able to meet in small groups and get the support of each other.  Prabhakar also suggests suitable NGOs, if a particular donor wants to utilize his money for a specific cause. J Prabhakar can be reached at jp.sangamam@gmail.com 

source: www.prpoint.com/ezine/presense0612.pdf

Jagadeeswaran gave vision to 1000 blind persons

In 1985, While waiting in a saloon on a Sunday morning, Mr S B Jagadeeswaran of Coimbatore (now aged 58) was scanning the newspapers.  He was reading about  some of the Guinness  record achievers.  In the same page, he also read the story on the plight of blind people.  That triggered a spark in his mind and he realised the purpose of his life.   At He decided to help the blind people restore the vision and contribute  something for the benefit of the society.  From that day onwards, he started campaigning for ‘eye donation’.

Whenever he gets the information about the death of any person within  60 KM radius of Coimbatore, he rushes to the place immediately.  He talks to the important people in the family about the importance of ‘eye donation’.  In most of the cases, he convinces them and takes the permission to remove the eyes of the deceased person.

Immediately, he alerts the eye bank at Coimbatore and they remove the eyes of the deceased within six hours of the death.  Again, he visits the house on the 7th or 9th day as per their custom and hands over the certificate duly framed,  

Till date, he has managed to get 523 pairs of eyes from the deceased persons.  Because of this, 1046 blind persons have got the vision free of cost.  

It is not that every time, he gets the support of the family members of the deceased person.   He was also beaten up by some of the villagers and had to be hospitalized.  

On an average, he gets around 3 pairs of eyes every month.  He works as an ‘agent’ for a transport company.  With his meagre income, he also spends around Rs.750/- to Rs.1000/- every time, he visits the places whenever he hears about the death of any person.   Though all the service clubs honour  him, nobody supports him financially.  

Besides campaigning for eye donation, he also campaigns for ‘blood donation’.  So far, he has secured nearly 5000 units of blood.  He himself has donated blood 67 times.  His wife has also donated 30 times.  He loves the great leaders of India.  He has named one of his sons  ‘Subash Chandra Bose’ and next son  ‘Vivekananda’.

He can be reached at 9443263868 or through email anandh_vvv@yahoo.in 

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