Thursday, 7 May 2015

Salman Khan arrest, Abhijeet, Farah and pavement dwellers

Salman Khan convicted and sentenced to five years in prison!!!

Though the sentence is not yet executed, it is unbelievable news because -

- Salman is the King of Bollywood
- Heart throb of millions
- Founder of 'Being Human' an NGO
- Helped many people 
- Tooo larger than life to be sent to Jail

Once the result sunk in - one cannot but appreciate the Indian judicial system which finally caught up with the person.  One could also champion it as the triumph of the system and claim to reinforce the faith of the common man in the system.  One point though was missed out i.e compensation for the victims.  Hope that it gets addressed soon.

That said, it was rather unfortunate that Salman Khan got involved in this accident in which one life was lost and three injured.  That could have happened to anyone - we don't need to demonise him for that.  But where he faltered, is in the way he tried to avoid conviction.  That could be a result of natural human tendency or a result of bad advice by his advisors!! Had he owned up manfully and underwent a short sentence, he would have emerged a bigger and more popular man than he is now!!

There were also a few tweets by his fervent admirers Mr Abhijeet and Ms Farah which when summed up, mean that people should not be sleeping on the pavements.  Having watched their interactions on TV too, I was amazed at their insensitivity which almost seemed to imply that the people who slept on the road were the guilty persons!!!I switched off the TV in disgust.

While I was lying down to get to sleep, these discussions were still in my mind.  It is reported that about 5 lakh people live on the footpaths of Mumbai.  With the rich being so insensitive about these people (even likening them to dogs!!!) Who is going to ensure the safety of these people?!!!!  Many accidents have happened killing some of them in the last few years!! I was disturbed by several such thoughts 
---THEN I GOT TO A RATHER INTRIGUING QUESTION -

JUST WHO ARE THESE 5 LAKH PEOPLE SLEEPING ON THE FOOTPATHS?! That led to some doubts!!
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- ARE THEY WORKERS - IF YES, IS IT NOT THEIR CONTRACTOR'S LIABILITY TO PROVIDE THEM HOMES?!!
- WHY SLEEP ON FOOTPATHS IN POSH MUMBAI AREAS?  IF THEIR PLIGHT IS SO BAD THEN WHY CONTINUE IN MUMBAI?? WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER IN THEIR HOME TOWNS?

THESE ARE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS TO FIND ANSWERS!!!

Mr Abhijeet and Ms Farah may have started this discussion rather crudely, but it may still need to be taken forward to get to the root of this problem.  My heart is with the people who don't have a home and are sleeping on the footpath - but I want to know if they really don't have a choice??  

Either way, after a lot of thought, I tend to agree that footpaths are not meant for people to sleep or hawk.  It's time to do away with the word -'pavement dwellers' altogether and make alternate arrangements for them as precious lives are being lost in this manner !!.

Maybe it's time for a new movement - to free up the pavements (not just roads as in the Times of India initiative) and one may need to thank Mr Abhijeet and Ms Farah for starting this seemingly outrageous (at first sight) discussion.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Palam Kalyanasundaram

palam kalyanasundaram
It was simple message on whats app that i received about Mr Palam Kalyanasundaram.  The contents were rather intriguing and i did a quick search on the internet and I was amazed by the findings.

While everyone in today's world is amassing riches and material possessions, here is one man who donated all his salary to charity for decades.  I consider it an honour to be able to write about him.

He was born in August 1953 in Melakarivelamkulam, in Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu.  It is reported that as an undergraduate, he ran a children’s welfare organisation to help slum children.  He also donated his gold chain to the National Defence Fund during the Indo-China war (During this period, it was also reported that several farmers and peasants too gave up their valuable gold ornaments for the war effort - but that would be another post!!!). 

He later met the editor of a Tamil magazine called  Ananda Vikatan under the impression that publicity through the magazine would attract more donations. The editor was not convinced by his intentions and gave him 5 years to prove his sincerity.  By this time, Kalyanasundaram was employed in Kumarkurupara Arts College at Srivaikuntam and he began donating his salary to charity for the next five years. He did not stop even after 5 years and continued the same throughout his service.  It is reported that he even did odd jobs in addition for his own sustenance.  Post retirement too, he worked as a waiter in a hotel to be able to continue to donate to charity.

He continued his work silently but all that changed in 1990 when he gave a cheque of rs 1 lakh to the district collector for charity (which were  his arrears of salary).  Though he did not want any publicity, the collector publicised it and the accolades started to follow.

For his service to humanity, besides several other awards, he was awarded the Man of the Millenium award by the United States which carried a reward of 30 crores.  Needless to say, he donated it to various charities.  He was honoured by the United Nations as one of the most outstanding people of the 20th century. He was also given the  Life Time of Service Award from Rotary Club of India in 2011.

He is now running an an organisation called 'Paalam' which works as a link between donors and beneficiaries.  He has a sound vision about his charitable activities and we wish him all the very best in his endeavours.

His address (as obtained from internet) for any future contact is given below:- 

No 1, 4 th main road , kasthurba nagar , chennai - 600020 .
contact number : 044 - 24402524.
Palam Home address :
No 49, Kodambakkam salai Mettupalayam, West Mambalam, Chennai - 600033
Mobile : 09840218847



signing with one of his famous quotes
---------------------------------------------
"We cannot sustain ourselves, unless we contribute to the society in someway or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be some change.”  
– P. kalyanasundaram

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