• 1 man. 1 rupee. 1 check dam

    By Kavita Kanan Chandra
         
    Y! Editor’s note: Anil Joshi, an Ayurveda doctor in Fatehgarh village in Madhya Pradesh- collected one rupee each from one lakh people and constructed a check dam across a local seasonal river called Somli. Going on to repeat it across eleven locations, he is now a full-time water conservationist. With a dream to build 100 such check dams in nearby villages, constantly experiencing drought conditions.One premise of the green economy (World Environment Day 2012 theme) is social inclusion and here is an economically inventive version of that possibility, where the initiative remains human.

    The story of  Re 1 and a dam ‘doctor’
     
    In Fatehgarh, a check dam, constructed in 2010, permanently altered the face of this  village – from a drought stricken - a well-irrigated one. And in that little dash sits this unsung story.

    Anil Joshi, (39) with wife and two daughters. He went on to sell his wife’s jewellery? Why? Read on.Anil Joshi had a clinic here since 1994 and knew most of the gaonwallahs. “Some of my patients were farmers who obtained 100-200 quintals of food

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  • Strife to Stride: Pune’s Eco Moves

    By Rina Mukherji

    Editor's note: In the Yahoo voices on the World Environment Day theme of 2012 - Green Economy, hear the sound of green solutions coming from municipal corners of our big cities and towns. Where the term ECO travels seamlessly between its economic and ecological meaning. Dr.Rina Mukherji, a senior environmental journalist tracks Pune's green strides that tie up India's biggest bane — garbage, with a greener local economy too. (This series is in partnership with FEJI, Federation of Environmental Journalists of India).

    Pune's green strides

    Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat —three states with more than 40 per cent of their population in urban areas are likely to turn into full blown urban majority states by 2021. India's urban population across tier 2 and tier 3 towns is on its way to matching the predictions of The Census Commissioner and the Registrar General of India .In 2001 285 million were urbanites; in 2012 - 360 million. Meanwhile, infrastructural problems like

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  • Greening India

    By Mahazareen Dastur

    Editor's note:In the Yahoo voices on the World Environment Day theme of 2012 - the Green Economy, first up, a conversation with eco-think tanks on what a green economy actually means. The UNEP suggests, it's an economy which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Mahazareen Dastur, a Mumbai based environmental researcher-writer probes further on what this could mean for India. This series is in partnership with FEJI (Federation of Environmental Journalists of India)

    Imagine a world where human well-being, social equity and protection of our natural environment are the primary considerations for making business decisions. Sounds too utopian? Not if you go by what some of today's foremost environmental think-tanks call the Green Economy. Environmental circles are buzzing with the term, much like the well-bandied sustainability. But what exactly does it mean? To understand it, we need to first look at India's track record in economic terms.

    The GDP

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  • Be it UPA, BJP or any other acronym at the Centre, petrol prices will again head northwards. We can only feel helpless in the face of recurring and economy-driven price fluctuations.  Seeking measures to improve fuel economy is the only way to combat rising fuel prices. Do not disregard these simple guidelines; each little step can really start adding up to significant savings to your budget.

    Do Fuel Quality/Types/Additives Help Mileage?

    Petrol pump attendants often try to convince you to go for 'Speed petrol' or 'X-tra Mile diesel'. But this need not necessarily help improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency. Always use the grade recommended for the vehicle by the manufacturer. Higher octane fuel may not only be a waste of money but may harm the vehicle, as well. However sticking to one brand of fuel is always good for the engine. Know more about Octane Ratings

    Keep the Windows Closed

    Driving with your windows open considerably reduces mileage, far more than keeping the AC on

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  • XUV 5oo on a racetrack? Like any of you, I too had that skeptical smile on my face when Mahindra invited me to drive their hot-selling SUV on the Buddh International Circuit. Well, testing an SUV on the track, fair enough. But intentionally taking them on track for fun could be just the most absurd thing. With these two feelings to contend with, I reached the circuit in the wee hours of the 'XUV 5oo Torque Day'.

    I could hear the distant sound of tyre squeal while paying attention to the safety rules of the Circuit. That reminded me of the fact that the XUV uses a race-bred suspension system tuned by Lotus, a world renowned name in motorsport. That was confidence-boosting enough; I put on the helmet and walked into the third car in the convoy of ten XUVs, sandwiched between a pace car and a sweep car. Abiding by the pit-lane speed limit of 15 kmph, I hit the track and followed the pace car for a lap to get to know the circuit.

    Having completed the introductory lap, the cars were slowed

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  • The phone rang and it was my mother. "The SMS isn't going through. I don't know what is wrong. You try sending the SMS a couple times and go to their website also", she ordered me across the phone while at her home a thousand kilometres away.

    Mother dearest was talking about 'Satyamev Jayate' and the SMS that Aamir Khan, the show's host, had asked all viewers to send. The text messages will apparently help back his request to the Rajasthan government to set up a fast track court, so that doctors who were caught practicing female foeticide are brought to justice.

    With the first episode of 'Satymev Jayate' telecast, the verdict is out and it's divided. The nation was waiting with bated breath for Aamir Khan's foray into television.  You couldn't miss the show even if you wanted to; such was the promotional blitz before its debut. Aamir's carefully cleared up face looked down at you dauntingly from virtually every billboard and the show's musical jingle never lost an opportunity to ring Read More »from Satyamev Jayate = India's Oprah
  • Bengalis take pride in three names -- Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray and now Sourav Ganguly -- and these are the ones who often come to the Bhodralok's rescue when they're cornered in pseudo-intellectual debate.

    My dad, being a proud Bengali, wanted his sons to absorb as much of Tagore and Ray, but as luck would have it none of his sons showed much interest in them.

    However, being a subservient son has its own perils and the price I had to pay was life-threatening for, as a ten-year-old kid, I was asked to watch Pather Panchali with my dad repeatedly lecturing that the masterpiece was not about poverty, but human bonds. I could not relate to what he was saying; the film had no fights, no dhishoom-dhishoom, no songs and tough to interpret for a juvenile brain.

    I cursed my dad that day for making me sit through the movie and despite being told that it was not about a bunch of hapless souls, all I could fathom was black and white images of hunger and suffering. This experience of

    Read More »from A ‘Ray’ of light in post colonial darkness
  • Visitors to Van Wilks' home in deep South Austin, Texas, are arrested by the sign "Welcome to Guitarland." In a state teeming with A-list guitarists, that sign packs quite a statement. And Wilks' claim to that heavyweight list is more than justified. None less than another distinguished Texan, ZZTop's acclaimed guitarist Billy Gibbons, tipped his hat to Wilks' electrifying talent. In Texas, where Wilks is reputed as a player of uncommon depth, he has been voted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. He also took home two Austin Music Awards at SXSW 2009 and was voted Best Electric Guitarist and Best Acoustic Guitarist, a rare double win, in The Austin Chronicle's annual Music Poll.

    Van Wilks has performed with Willie Nelson on the Geezinslaw Brothers' The Eclectic Horseman and with Eric Johnson on the Texas Christmas Collection. "I don't have any choice, playing guitar is a natural extension of my soul," muses Wilks ahead of his first-ever concert in India.

    Van Wilks Band is one of the

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  • IRCTC Bookings : The Daily Circus

    On 28th March, I reached Mumbai from New Delhi (via Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata and Jaipur). I was supposed to reach Bangalore from Bhubaneshwar around March 15. The reason for my cross-country railway marathon? Trying to, or rather having the vast courage to, book my railway tickets online from IRCTC. If you are an agent making a living from overcharging tourists, stop reading NOW. And if you don't want to read this long, heart-rending post, a few quick bites before you go away:

    • 6,111 agents have been blacklisted by IRCTC
    • Of them, 4,310 were using multiple user IDs
    • 1,005 have been claiming fraudulent TDRs
    • 2 super-thug agents from Mumbai have been banned by the Railway Ministry
    • Problems related to IRCTC are discussed daily on Consumer Forum sites, Grahak Seva, Cleartrip Forum, National Consumer Complaint Forum, apart from loads of blogs
    • A friend Tweeted, 'Rajnikanth is faster than Intel Processors, but IRCTC can hang Rajnikanth'

    I had gone to Orissa on

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  • Damayanti Sen is not Inspector Vijay. Unlike the muscled, trigger happy super cops who always triumph in the end of a satisfying Bollywood movie, the story of this IPS officer is not so rosy. Her mistake was to persist on the track of the culprits and crack a high profile gang rape case. Her reward is a transfer to a low profile position.

    Damayanti’s reaction on her transfer order. Photo by Anandabazar Patrika. More on http://bengali.yahoo.com

    Damayanti has a Masters Degree in Economics. She entered the IPS in 1996, and in 2009, became the first woman ever to grace the post of Deputy Commissioner, Detective Department, Kolkata. She was Joint Commissioner in February 2012, when a woman was gang raped in Park Street, Kolkata. One of the suspects involved was related to a Congress leader.

    The case got some negative publicity right at the beginning as the local police station did not cooperate with the victim, delaying the process of lodging as FIR. Next there was a confusion over identifying the criminals. It didn't help when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee publicly claimed that the case
    Read More »from Mamata Transfers Supercop to Police Training School

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