As we inch closer to Diwali, we illuminate our homes with bright, beautiful lights. Without the twinklers we use to adorn our homes, the celebrations of the festival of lights would be incomplete. The connections that help light up our homes are an important part of the festivities. This is why Group Legrand India, as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, is conducting a...
The state government of Assam said that it will confer renowned industrialist Ratan Tata with the 'Asom Bhaibav' award, the highest civilian state award for his contribution to cancer care facilities in the state. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, announced the award in Delhi on the occasion of Assam Divas on Thursday, December 2.
"Delighted to announce that the Government of Assam has decided to confer its highest civilian award, Asom Baibhav, to Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Trusts, for his exceptional contribution towards furthering cancer care in Assam," the CM tweeted.
Cancer Care Network Of 19 Facilities
In 2018, the state government and Tata Trusts laid the foundation stone for a comprehensive cancer care network of 19 facilities. The operation was estimated to become functional by 2019. It was initiated to ensure that no citizen of Assam has to travel more than a few hours to get proper cancer care treatments. Out of the 19 facilities, 12 were established on premises of Government Medical College, ensuring an affordable treatment, News18 reported.
The Assam government has health care among the top priorities. When the foundation was laid, Sarma was appointed as the State Health Minister, and the state government was led by the current Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways and Minister of AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal.
Other schemes like State Cancer Institute, Atal Amrit Abhiyan, and free diagnostics at district hospitals had already been in the works. The Tata push to the cancer care facilities helped the government utilize these schemes by providing a solid platform. Similar to the initiative taken for Assam, Tata proposed plans for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha.
The project in Assam was a joint effort of Tata Trusts and the now Sarma-led government. The total corpus for the three-tier project – L1: State Level Hospitals, L2: State-level medical colleges, L3: District level hospitals – was Rs 2,200 crore, equally divided among the two parties.
The awards that precede Asom Bhaibhav are Asom Saurav, followed by Asom Gaurav.
Padma Shri awardee Jagdish Lal Ahuja was famously called 'Langar Baba' in Chandigarh for serving free food to thousands of underprivileged people every day for the past thirty years. The 86-year-old, who served meals to the underprivileged outside the PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in sector 32, lost his battle against cancer on 30 November 2021. Ahuja was chosen for the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2020 for his service to the needy and the underprivileged. He was a messiah in the eyes of disadvantaged patients, their attendants, and other poor children in the city for serving them with dal, roti, chawal, sabzi, halwa and bananas for decades.
His Mission To Continue Till His Last Breath
The Indian Express wrote that Ahuja had once shared that his mission was never to let anyone sleep hungry because he had experienced what starvation felt like. He had said, "I do this out of love; when I see them eat after a long day at the hospital and smile, it gives me more satisfaction than anything else in the world. I am fortunate that in my lifetime, I was given a chance to serve others, and my only hope is that this seva should continue even after I am gone. Further, he had added that he hoped that city's people and administration would carry on with this selfless task.
Moved To India During Partition
Ahuja suffered several odds and financial issues but never stopped feeding langar to the needy. He had to briefly for the lack of funds but resumed his service to society, even if it required him to sell off seven of his properties. Ahuja was merely 12 when he had to shift to Patiala from Peshawar in Pakistan during the partition. He had moved to Chandigarh in 1956 and began by selling fruits on a cart in the city and went on to build his business. The journey began after he served food to the underprivileged children outside his shop on his son's birthday and later became a calling for the Octogenarian. His last wish was that the langar continued to be served, despite his death.
Renu Kapoor, 64, is a chartered accountant by profession and a changemaker by choice. Her long-running digital campaign #DignityInDeath culminated in a victory this week after the Maharashtra Government issued a work order that effectively gives the green light for a new morgue and autopsy centre at St. George's Hospital in Mumbai.
She started the petition in April 2018, a year after seeing the poor state of the morgue and autopsy centre at the hospital, which is a heritage site. Kapoor reached out to more than 98,000 people and garnered their support for her campaign.
What Motivated Kapoor To Begin The Petition?
"In April 2017, I had gone to the morgue at St. George's where my driver, Manoj's body, was being kept after he died from septicemia. I cannot forget the sight of a sweeper in a torn blood-stained vest, wielding a surgical instrument while standing over a corpse. Bodies were stacked like carcasses in a butcher's shop. I couldn't erase that ghastly image from my memory. That incident is what drove me to start this campaign in the first place. I hope the Government of India will amend the provisions of the centuries-old Criminal Procedural Act so that it specifies that only qualified doctors are authorised to conduct post-mortems," Kapoor said.
People Volunteered To Translate Petition
Her petition also got circulated in Gujarati and Marathi after fellow citizens volunteered to translate it. In the course of more than three years, Renu met numerous officials, including the medical superintendent of the hospital, the Collector of Mumbai, the Guardian Minister of Mumbai, the chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, and the head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Ministry of Health, Government of Maharashtra, among others.
Nida Hassan, the Country Director of Change.org, said, "Renu Kapoor is an inspiration to us all by showing us how any citizen with single-minded focus and resolve can use digital tools to raise their voice about something that matters to them and create the change they want to see. We at change.org are so proud of the way she has campaigned. It's all because of her efforts that her city will have a new morgue soon".
Since childhood, Reema Shaji aspired of studying in the United States and always shared her aspirations with her loved ones. But she belongs to a conservative society, she was always asked to get married and fulfill her aspirations with her husband's support.
A brave Shaji, however, decided not to follow the societal norm and achieve her goals on her own.
"My first goal is to become an independent woman," 20-year-old Shaji told The New Indian Express. She is gearing up to start the fifth semester of the computer science engineering degree at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana in January 2022.
Only 5 Students Selected From India
Shaji was among the luckiest five students to be selected for the US Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD). In this exchange program, a few students are selected from different courses to study one semester in a US-based college or the university on a scholarship basis.
Also, all the students will be provided with a free round trip from their home city to the US host college or university.
For this program, Shaji applied last January and had gone through all the selection procedures including the TOEFL exam and after clearing the interview she got selected. Students will be provided with all the necessary facilities, housing, food, and all other expenses will be covered under this scholarship. Including this, a small stipend also is provided to bear the living expenses in the US.
" After my father passed away. My mother is my inspiration and my supporter. She always inspires and teaches me to be independent . Now my this achievement will prove that I or any other lady should not wait for marriage to get her husband's support and then achieve their dreams. You can achieve it by yourself also," Shaji told TNIE.
She also shared her interview incident where she was asked that why they select her. In an answer, she replied "I will be an inspiration for other girls like me to follow their dreams at any cost. And when I will return I will also share my experience and knowledge with other students of my nation."
Reema belongs to an economically backward family, but this achievement proves that one's economic conditions never decide one's future. If you want then you can achieve anything . Shaji is expected to return in June after completing her fifth semester at the US university.
A judge from the Allahabad High Court decided to pitch in ₹15,000 admission fee for a Dalit student to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) BHU in Varanasi. Sanskriti Ranjan, got a 92.77 percentile and ranked 2,062 in the Scheduled Caste category. However, due to her family's financial condition being poor, she approached the court for assistance.
According to the Indian Express, Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh from the Lucknow bench volunteered to pay from his pocket. Along with this, he directed he asked the institute to keep a seat for the petitioner, even if there is no vacancy. The student and her father had requested the Joint Seat Allocation Authority to give some respite, but it was rejected.
Father's Ill Health Deepens Financial Crisis
Sanskriti Ranjan passed all her exams with flying colours. With her stellar academic record, she wanted to study at an IIT. "The petitioner was not able to pay a meagre amount of ₹15,000 for seat acceptance as her father had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, and he has been advised to go for a kidney transplant. He has to undergo dialysis twice a week to survive," the judge told NDTV. Further, he added that the exorbitant medical fees and COVID-19 made matters worse for the student.
Looking into this, the High Court decided to lend a helping hand. Judge Singh said, "A bright young Dalit girl student has come before this Court, seeking equity jurisdiction to enable her to pursue her dream of getting admitted in IIT; this Court on its own has volunteered to contribute ₹15,000 for allocation of the seat."
Singh was not the only one who stepped in to help her. After the judgment, several other advocates pitched in as well. "We are in a position to deposit her entire course fees, including her tuition and hostel fee," said Sarvesh Kumar Dubey, one of the lawyers who represented Ranjan.
A week ago, the apex court helped a Dalit boy from Ghaziabad get admission into IIT Bombay. He was unable to pay due to a technical glitch on the website. The apex court asked the institute if it should be allowed to finish the payment.