Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Am After Happy News Nowadays And I Got Them, Thanks To Our Media, For Once!

When we open the newspaper in the morning, we come across mostly negative news. They seem to be juicy news and the media highlights them. Now, for the past one week I seem to read positive news often. Let me highlight a couple of them here!

The first one is about a small village called ' Nagar' The name sounds funny, but the villagers were so impressed by this company, who helped them get clean drinking water for them, that they changed 'Shiv Nagar' (North India, 3 hrs. from Delhi)to ' Nagar'!, being an online couponing company that recently raised $12 million and has the lead over Groupon in India and in the local e-commerce space. So what gives? This isn't exactly the first time anything like this has happened (mostly for cheap publicity scoring reasons), but the story behind it I think, is, unique and worth sharing.

Snapdeal has adoped a remote village in India and enabled clean drinking water facilities for its people by installing manual pumps. To show their gratitude, the village's residents have decided to rename their village to Nagar, actually taking the company by surprise. CEO, Kunal Bahl says, ' A person mentioned that his family lives near a cluster of villages where the locals have to walk over a kilometer every day and stand in the line just for clean water'. So Bahl figured they should explore if they could easily and and cost-effectively solve their problem. He says further...

'We honestly did something very simple - didn't even cost that much...installed 15 hand pumps, which now enable clean water within a distance of 50 meters for all the residents of the village. We must have spent a total of $5000 on getting this and the really coll part about this is, that these 15 hand pumps will give clean water to the villagers for the next 15-20 years!

This statement of Mr.Bahl is more interesting: 'Ours is a fast growing, yet relatively still-to-get there company with just 500 people. There are 640,000 companies incorporated in India, many many of them much much larger than ours. Assuming even 10% have the resources to do anything (and $5000 isn't really a lot), we can solve water problems for 64,000 villages and millions of people in India.

IBN Live says about Bahl: The irony is that none of this might have happened had Bahl's H1B visa had not expired. The special visas granted to skilled workers are good only for six years. Bahl graduated from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After his visa ran out, he packed his bags and went home to Delhi. In February, 2010, he launched with his partner, Rohit Bansal. The company became India's foremost online retailer, selling 10,000 products a day.

We need more people who think like Mr.Bahl. The Govt. should take a leaf from people like Bahl and stop throwing freebies to the citizens instead of taking solid concrete steps for improving the quality of life of people, esp. in our villages.

The next news I read says, 'A Visually impaired person takes over as Principal'!

The Hindu says, 'K.M. Prabhu, on Monday morning took charge as the Principal of Chikkanna Govt. College, Tiruppur (Tamilnadu)!'

The twist in the news is, he is the first visually impaired person to do so in the state. Dr. Prabhu, 55, an English Language Teaching expert, had retinitis pigmentosa and his vision deteriorated during his school years. He completely lot sight by the time he finished school. Undeterred, he went on to qualify in English literature from Madras Christian College with flying colours and then to complete his Ph.D.

He served in Govt.Arts College, Nandanam, for many years before he was deputed to BPS College, Haryana, to set up language labs for students. He created six such labs and says he also managed to get the students to converse fluently in English within six months.

"I would like to thank society at large. Every time we open a newspaper and see reports of corruption, violence and death, we seem to get a feeling that everything is wrong with the society. But I am a symbol of the benevolence of society. But for society, I would not have been what I am today," Dr. Prabhu says.

Very rarely we come across positive people like Dr.Prabhu, who is the perfect example for 'positive thinking'!

Now, comes the last interesting news, no it should not be the last, I feel. Here, the Hindu's headline is, 'NO PLUSH SCHOOL FOR THIS COLLECTOR'S DAUGHTER!'

Erode (Tamilnadu) Collector, R.Anandkumar set an example to others as he admitted his daughter in the government school, the title for the above picture says!

Mr. Anandkumar, the first citizen of the district, accompanied the six-year-old Gopika to the Panchayat Union Primary School at Kumarankuttai on Wednesday morning and told the teachers that he wanted to admit his daughter in Std.II. Like anyother children, Gopika cried for sometime and then blended with the routine of her class, it seems.

Now, I really admire his guts. When Erode has got many good reputed schools, he has joined his daughter in a Panchayat School. Only time will tell if this is a right decision.

The positive thing is, this might compel the Govt. to improve the infrastructure and the quality of the teachers. I had written a post earlier about Govt. Schools here. Now, they are improving but still they might need years to implement their plans completely.

Anyway, I was happy writing this post with all happy positive news...what do you say?!

Edited to add: I added the first picture, a day later!


Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

I admire the people and the steps they have taken.. and as you say if more people do it .. things will change.

This is the biggest problem MORE PEOPLE.. majority of people dont get together..

nothing changes till a mass majority get togethr .. and thats what weneed to do.. BE TOGETHEr.. once majority of nation wakes up then nothing , not even the WORST CORRUPT leaders can stop the change..

but this is indeed a happy post , people are taking steps excellent maybe seeing them others will join in ...

Thank you for sharing ..


Sandhya said...

Bikram: Mr.Bahl, after studying in such prestigious University is ready to work in a village, though in his own company, tries to do something for the people of the village. He doesn't seem to hesitate to mingle with the local people. Really, an admirable person, he is!

As he says, the 'well-to-do' companies can adopt some villages and do this type of work.

Yes, I like to do this type of happy posts, Bikram!

R. Ramesh said...

biks said it well...good post boss..

Swaram said...

Awesome Sandhya! Loved reading them all. Thanks for sharing :)

Roshmi Sinha said...

Sandhyaji, good intentions on behalf of anyone, corporates included, is not enough. There are too many vested interests to throw a spanner in the works. In namma B'luru we even have the 'valve mafia' consisting of paid employees of the govt. water dept.

KParthasarathi said...

These are elevating stories that you have chosen to mention in your post.But there are innumerable such young men and women who toil hard silently for enriching the society without being lured by riches and fame.The media should identify them and make their work visible especially for motivating others to follow suit.
Thank you for highlighting the three instances.

Kavita Saharia said...

These are such awe inspiring stories .Makes one little hopeful for a better future of our otherwise corrupted country.India is ready for the change and i completely agree with what Bikram said .
Thanks a lot Sandhya for sharing these happy stories.Feels great.

Destination Infinity said...

A collector joining his kid in a Govt run school is encouraging... Hopefully other Govt officials would get some inspiration from his action and follow suit...

Destination Infinity

Saritha said...

I felt happy when i read that the collector admitted his daughter in municipal school,how many of us will have that idea or the guts to join our kids in the schools run by govt,i would not have done that.

Snap deal is a news to me,i know about there online buying portal but i never heard of the good work they are doing it,thanks for sharing this sandhya.....

Sandhya said...

Ramesh: Yes, Bikram said it rightly!

Swaram: Thank you, Swaram!

Roshmi Sinha: Apart from all the obstacles, somewhere some good work is going on, Roshmi! I feel happy reading about it, if not participating in it. As you say, it is not easy to do anything here.

KParthasarathy: Once in a while the media is doing it and we should be happy about it, Sir! These instances will stay in a corner of our mind and one day, we might also try to do something for others who need help in some way.

Thank you, Partha Sir!

Kavita: Yes,Kavita, what Bikram says is very right. We have got an example here, Anna Hazare. We need somebody to motivate us and we might follow suit!

Bahl like people are working without expecting anything in return, that is great!

Destination Infinity: As Saritha said, I won't have guts to send my children to a Govt. School, D.I. He has! Great man, he is!

Varunavi: Even I wouldn't have done that, Saritha! The child is too small to feel the difference and the mother also is great to send her child here. It is not that upper class children should not go to these schools, but the entire atmosphere for the small child will be different, from language, cleanliness etc. What will the relatives and friends say...we are in a society with so many obstacles. How will the girl feel, after she grows up? Will she be happy about this school? So many questions. news is first time news for me and a good one!

Deepa said...

Hi Sandhya. These are feel good stories indeed. Just wanted to make a few points. One of the commentators has said that nothing changes unless a mass majority gets together. While people coming together for a cause is certainly a good thing, and probably holds good for really macro issues,I think there are two things we should note. The first is that small changes can be made by ordinary people. I do believe in this. If every person takes a small steps, the cumulative effect would be one giant step! Second is that we all want to see change happen over night. Some said this is the age of instant gratification. But society doesn't change that fast. An example I always take: My Pati studied till std 3, my mom completed high school and I hold a PG degree. It took 3 generations for women's education to reach this stage in my family alone.

Another point I wanted to make is about the whole idea of 'adopting' a village. I think the idea is rather paternalistic. Somehow Indian's always want a Messiah to deliver them from their problems. I think there is more dignity if we use the term 'partner' - it denotes respect and equality for each others knowledge, experience and resources.

Sandhya said...

Deepa: People like Anna Hazaare who has got respect for what he is, is doing something admirable, Deepa. Yes, we need a messiah to lead us, which is not wrong. The person should be like Anna who has already done many good things for his village and so gained respect. I don't count Baba Ramdev (yes, he is a good yoga guru, period!)into this category.

Many of our villages suffer from severe power shortage and the locals are trying to supplement it with gober gas etc. But people who have got clout from the city helps them, the comfort in their life will be ten fold, don't you think so. And nothing can be done without the support of the locals. A person like Bahl is sitting with the locals and discussing about the steps that can be taken to help to improve the water problem in the village. This will in no way, help improve his business, isn't it? Somewhere somebody is taking steps to help them, maybe it is a slow step, but still a step ahead.

Thank you, Deepa.

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