Indian Man who moved a mountain!

Dashrath Manjhi tore

GAHLOR GHATI (GAYA): Over four decades ago, a frail, landless farmer got hold of a chisel and a hammer and decided to change the face of his village nestled in the rocky hills of Gaya. Dashrath Manjhi tore open a 300-feet-high hill to create a one-km passage.

Manjhi knew it would he easier to move a mountain than an apathetic government. He knew writing to the powers-that-be would only leave the hill tied in red tape. Instead, Manjhi, then in his early 20s, took up a chisel and hammered at the rocks for 22 years.

This feat, part of local folklore now, stemmed from Manjhi’s love for his wife. For, when she slipped off the rocks while getting food for him as he worked in a field beyond the hill and broke her ankle, it became a burning passion to tame the formidable hills that virtually cut his village off from civilisation.

And he completed the Herculean task — creating a short-cut which reduced a long and arduous journey from his village Gahlor Ghati to Wazirganj to a walkable distance.

Manjhi hasn’t forgotten the public ridicule when he began hammering at the hill. “They called me a pagal but that steeled my resolve,” he says.

Even his wife and parents were against this “adventure,” especially when he sold his goats to buy a chisel, a hammer and rope. But, by then, Manjhi was a man possessed. He shifted his hut close to the hill so he could work all day and night, chipping away, little by little. “I did not even bother to eat,” he says.

With most of the cultivable land and shops across the hill, villagers had to cross it many times a day, braving dangers.

It was after 10 years that people began to notice a change in the shape of the hill. Instead of a defiant rockface, the hill seemed to have a depression in the middle. Climbing it became a little easier. “All those who had called me mad began to quietly watch me work. Some even chipped in,” he recollects.

In 1982, twenty-two years after he had started out, Manjhi walked through a clear flat passage — about 16-feet wide — to the other side of the hill. But his victory was tinged with sadness. His wife, who inspired him to take on this task, was not by his side. “She died of illness. We could not take her to a hospital on time,” says Manjhi.

But, the villagers were there. They got him sweets, fruits and all that they could afford. Says Ram Avatar Yadav of Bhitra village: “We grew up hearing stories of the man who wants to move a mountain. Today, it’s a reality and a boon for me.”

But, his family members are sore. “He hasn’t done anything for us. We are still struggling to make ends meet,” says his daughter Laongi Devi. But, Manjhi wouldn’t agree. “My hard work should benefit thousands,” he says.

This hand-carved passage through the hill remains the only sustainable change the village has ever chanced upon. Tubewells were installed, but they ran dry. Electric poles were put up, but the cables never came. And a five-acre plot given by former CM Lalu Prasad to Manjhi for a hospital still lies barren.

Septuagenarian Manjhi hasn’t given up. “I met CM Nitish Kumar recently. He has promised to develop the passage so that even a car can pass and will connect my village to Gaya. And, he told me that I will lay the foundation stone,” he says.

Two girls blown up by callous Taliban saved by hero !

TWO little Afghan girls horrifically injured by a Taliban bomb have been saved by the determination and skill of a group of caring British soldiers and medics. Three-year-old Kamila and pal Wasila, six, nearly died after accidentally triggering an improvised explosive device (IED) as they played outside their home in Musa Qala, Helmand Province.Kamila took the brunt of the blast, suffering severe head injuries, while Wasila’s stomach was ripped open by molten shrapnel causing liver damage.Kamila’s horrified father was on the scene in seconds and scooped up the girls and took them to Musa Qala District Centre, certain that coalition troops there would help. But the injuries were so severe that they alerted a four-man British Medical Emergency Response Team, staffed by doctors and nurses, which raced to help in a Chinook chopper.The girls were then flown to a hospital at Kandahar Airbase.Kamila was placed in an intensive care unit where doctors feared the worst. The blast had paralysed her on her entire left side and brain damage left her unable to express emotion.But the tender care of a British neurosurgeon, who had volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, along with his Canadian and American colleagues changed that.After weeks of treatment Kamila and Wasila recovered. Doctors were even able to help Kamila show her emotions again – and she got back her cheeky grin.

Dog saves 11-year-old B.C. boy from cougar attack!

Angel -The Golden Retriever

A golden retriever fended off a potentially deadly cougar attack when the animal began approaching a boy in a small town in British Columbia.On Sunday, as the dog recovered from a vicious fight with the cougar, Austin Forman, 11, recounted his dog’s bravery.Forman said that he was collecting firewood in his family’s backyard in the community of Boston Bar, about 200 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, when he spotted the cougar in the woods nearby.”I was really scared,” he said. “At first I didn’t know that it was a cougar … But as soon as it went under the light, I saw that it was a cougar and I knew at that moment that I had to go inside.”The cougar then lunged at the young boy, but the dog, named Angel, leapt to protect her master.”The dog obviously knew something was up because she ran towards me at just the right time and the cougar ended up getting her instead,” said Austin.Angel and the cougar fought in the family’s yard, with the cougar clenching the dog’s head in its jaws.When Mother Sherri Forman heard the dog whining and making unusual noises, she knew something was up.”We knew that cougar was killing our dog,” she said, adding that the family quickly called 911 for help.In less than a minute, RCMP Const. Chad Gravelle arrived to scene and found the dog locked in a vicious struggle.”I could see that the cougar had the dog in its mouth, like around the dog’s mouth,” he said.Gravelle then fired a round at the cougar’s hindquarters and scored a direct hit, killing the wild animal.Jay Forman, Austin’s Dad, described the dog as a smart puppy that is only 18 months old.”She’s very smart — just incredible,” he said. “She’s still a pup. It is truly amazing that she jumped in front of that cat to save the boy’s life.”Meanwhile, the dog is recovering and is expected to pull through after a visit with a vet on Monday. Date: Sun. Jan. 3 2010 11:02 PM ET

Man who survived two atomic bombs dies aged 93!

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

He was an impassioned and articulate man, a respected teacher, beloved father and grandfather — but none of these explain the unique distinction of Tsutomu Yamaguchi (left), who has died in Nagasaki aged 93.He was the victim of a fate so callous that it almost raises a smile: he was one of a small number of people to fall victim to both atomic bombs dropped on Japan.On August 6, 1945, he was about to leave the city of Hiroshima, where he had been working, when the first bomb exploded, killing 140,000 people. Injured, he fled to his home — Nagasaki, 180 miles to the west. There, on August 9, the second bomb exploded.”I think it is a miracle,” he said on the 60th anniversary of the bombings in 2005. “But having been granted this miracle it is my responsibility to pass on the truth to the world.”In 1945, he was 29 and working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. His three-month secondment to a shipyard in Hiroshima was due to end on August 6, when the American B29 bomber ‘Enola Gay’ dropped a 13-kilotonne uranium atomic bomb.He and two colleagues staggered through the ruins where the dead and dying lay all around. They reached the station and boarded the train for Nagasaki. Reporting to work at the shipyard on August 9, his story of a single bomb destroying an entire city was met with incredulity.Then the second bomb landed. The next thing he remembered was waking to hear cheering at the broadcast by Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s surrender.

Girl survived tribe’s custom of live baby burial!

Hakani

(Pic on the left) Hakani, who lived in the forest for three years after being abandoned, aged two, by her tribe. She was adopted by Marcia and Edson Suzuki

Babies born into some Indian tribes in the Amazon are being buried alive, a practice that is being covered up by the Brazilian authorities out of respect for tribal culture.The tradition is based on beliefs that babies with any sort of physical defect have no souls and that others, such as twins or triplets, are also “cursed”.Infanticide has claimed the lives of dozens of babies each year, say campaigners fighting to end the practice.Babies who are girls, who have some disability or who have unmarried mothers are all in danger of an early death in a shallow grave in the rainforest. Others are suffocated with leaves, poisoned or simply abandoned in the jungle.According to Dr Marcos Pelegrini, a doctor working in the Yanomami Tribe Health Care District, 98 children were killed by their mothers in 2004 alone.Campaigners say that the true figure is obscured by officials who often record cases of infanticide as simple malnutrition. At the same time, family anguish over infanticide has led to many adult tribal members committing suicide.Attempts to change tribal attitudes and counter official indifference are being led by a Brazilian couple, Marcia and Edson Suzuki. They have worked with one tribe, the Suruwaha, for 20 years.Mr Suzuki, the founder of a campaign group called Atini – Voice for Life – said: “We are fighting against doctors and anthropologists who say we must not interfere with the culture of the people.”Such attitudes are exemplified by Dr Erwin Frank, an anthropology professor at the Federal University of Roraima State in the Amazon. Speaking of the tribes, he said: “This is their way of life and we should not judge them on the basis of our values. The difference between the cultures should be respected.”Like other tribes, the Suruwahá considers that if a child has any deformity or disability, it does not have a soul and so – as an animal – should be killed.Some tribes also believe it is a curse to give birth to more than one baby at a time. In the Suruwahá tribe, a pregnant girl will walk into the jungle by herself to give birth.She then cuts the baby’s umbilical cord, buries the placenta and returns to the village with her child.Sometimes the woman will simply leave the child in the jungle to die if it is a girl or if she is not married.The Suzukis recounted the harrowing story of one girl, Hakani, who they saved from death and adopted.Born in 1995, Hakani – which means Smile – was still unable to walk or talk by the age of two, prompting tribal leaders to conclude she had no soul and to order her parents to kill her.They committed suicide – eating a poison root – rather than obey the order. Hakani’s 15-year-old brother was then told he had to kill her. He dug a hole to bury her next to the village hut, which is where the tribe usually buries animals, and hit her over the head with a machete to knock her out.However, she woke up as she was being placed in the hole and the boy found he could not go through with the killing. Hakani’s grandfather then shot her with an arrow. He was so upset he tried to commit suicide, too.But Hakani survived, although her wound became infected and she was left to live like an animal in the forest for three years.At the age of five she was very undersized, still unable to walk and abused by other Indians. She survived only because a brother smuggled food to her.The Suzukis begged Funasa, the Brazilian government’s health department, to let them take Hakani out of the tribe to get medical help.”Funasa could not help because their official view is to respect the culture of the people and let the children die. If we took Hakani out we could be sued,” said Mrs Suzuki.Warned that they could be responsible for the child’s death, Funasa eventually relented. Under the Suzukis’ care, Hakani was walking and talking within a year. While she suffers from hypothryoidism – an underactivity of the thryroid gland which affects brain development – she is able to attend a mainstream school.Brazilian politicians are currently debating a Bill to outlaw infanticide. It is known as Muwaji’s Law, named after a Suruwahá woman who refused to bury alive her own baby.

Dr. Reddy’s wonder drug for diabetes!

Dr Reddy's

 Dr. Reddy’s labs (DRL) has been working hard on its vision to move beyond Generic.Balaglitazone is result of this vision.Positive test results indicate a move in the right direction.If things fall in place DRL is looking at a revenue stream of 2 – 3 billion in the 1st 5 years of launch.Currently the Anti Diabetic market is stagnated with old molecules.  Patients have to some extent become immune or respond less to the current drugs on offer a new drug us always welcomed.

Burj Khalifa tower-The tallest building in the world

Burj Khalifa tower

The tallest building in the world has opened in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on 3rd Jan 2010.  But the 828-meter tower formerly known as the Burj Dubai has been renamed the Burj Khalifa, to honor the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi, who gave Dubai $10 billion last month to help repay its debts.

Not only does the Burj Khalifa have more usable floors than any other skyscraper ever built, but it also has the world’s highest observation deck on the 124th floor and the highest swimming pool on the 76th.

The building is so tall that it is ten degrees Celsius cooler at the top than at the base.

Villagers build own railway station!

For 25 years, residents of Tajnagar village near Gurgaon lobbied for a railway station in their village. When their demand was not met, the  villagers decided to take matters in their own hands — they pooled in Rs 21 lakh and built a railway station on their own.

On Tuesday 5th Jan 2009 , the result of their efforts — perhaps the first railway station in the country on which the Railways didn’t have to spend a single penny — will start operations.

 “We have hired a vehicle to spread the message that the station is getting functional. It’s no less than a festival for us and we are organizing a puja at the station. All passengers will get prasad,” said an elated villager, adding that the station will benefit people from other villagers as well.

 It all started about two years back, when the panchayat passed a resolution saying that since the Railways was not able to build a station for them, they would do it themselves. And with their own money. Soon, an 11-member ‘gram seva samiti’ was constituted and it started collecting money from villagers.

 “Most of the 3,000-plus people living in the village are agriculturists. But such was the burning desire to have a station in the village, everybody contributed according to their capacity. Ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 75,000 they donated money for the station and we started construction in January, 2008,” said Ranjeet Singh, former village sarpanch.

“There are a large number of people in the village who need to go to Gurgaon, Delhi and Rewari. There are students who go to colleges. Till now we had to either go to Hailimandi or Patli to catch a train. Both stations are 6km away from Tajnagar. We thought that when the railway line passes through the village, we should have a station here. We have been raising the demand since 1982, but the Railways told us that they do not have funds. So, finally we decided to craft our own destiny,” said Hukum Chand, a member of the committee.

 The villagers then asked the Railways if it would agree to stop a few trains at the station if they constructed a station with their own resources. To their surprise, the Railways agreed to make seven passenger trains (in both directions) halt at the station if it was built according to its specifications.

 “The Railways decided to make it a halt station because a number of people would benefit from it. Financially too, the idea looked viable,” said Anant Swaroop, Northern Railways spokesperson. He added that a station master and ticket collector had been appointed.

 The station, which took one year for completion, has two platforms. It has a kachcha platform, water and electricity, and a ticket counter. It would be inaugurated by Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjeet Singh. Villagers said as a skeleton station was ready now, they need the Railways’ help to make a concrete platform, a waiting room and an overhead shed.

‘Miracle': Mum, bub back from the dead

Mrs Hermanstorfer with Coltyn

A FATHER is claiming a Christmas miracle after his wife and newborn baby apparently came back from the dead.Mike Hermanstorfer told how his wife Tracy went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing in a US hospital delivery room on Christmas Eve.Doctors performed an emergency caesarean section to try to save the baby’s life but then had to give Mr Hermanstorfer the heartbreaking news that his son had not survived either.As the father held his son in his hands, he felt the boy begin to move.And at the same time Mrs Hermanstorfer, 33, began to breathe again.”My legs went out from under me,” her husband said. “I had everything in the world taken from me and then, suddenly, everything given to me. It was the hand of God.”Doctors at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said there was no logical explanation for the recovery of the mother or her baby.”She was dead,” maternal foetal medicine specialist Dr Stephanie Martin said. “She had no heartbeat, no breathing, no blood pressure. She was as grey as her sweat suit and there were no signs of life.”The baby was basically limp with a very slow heart rate. We did a thorough evaluation and can’t find anything that explains why this happened.”Mr Hermanstorfer said his wife had begun to feel sleepy as she was being prepared for the delivery.Doctors and nurses began CPR in an attempt to restart her heart. Mr Hermanstorfer recalls a doctor telling him: “We have been unable to revive her and we’re going to take your son out.”They began a caesarean section to remove the baby and did not use anaesthetic on the assumption that the mother was dead.Some of the medical team stayed with Mrs Hermanstorfer to continue efforts to resuscitate her, while others began massaging baby Coltyn.Mrs Hermanstorfer said she recalled nothing of the incident. She plans to tell Coltyn about his birth when he is old enough to understand: “I’ll tell him that he had a tough time coming into this world; that he’s my miracle baby.”

Bihar grew by 11.03%, next only to Gujarat!

NITISH KUMAR (Chief Minister-Bihar)

Bihar is India’s new miracle economy. In the five-year period between 2004-05 and 2008-09, Bihar’s GDP has grown by a stunning 11.03%, way beyond  the definition of 7% growth for a “miracle economy”.In this period, Bihar – traditionally a laggard state that actually saw a 5.15% negative growth in 2003-04 – is the second fastest growing state, just a shade behind Gujarat’s well-publicized growth of 11.05%.The latest CSO data gives out this dramatic story of Bihar on steroids. This high growth period also coincides with Nitish Kumar taking up the reins as chief minister from Lalu Yadav. It can, therefore, be said that good governance can work miracles for even the most backward of states. Not just Bihar, most of the traditionally backward states, including Orissa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, have done well in this period, indicating a more inclusive growth at an all-India level.There is no official data on poverty beyond 2004-05. So, the CSO data on the economic growth of the states, highlighting the fact that five of India’s most backward states have grown at a rate beyond 7%, provides pointers to some kind of poverty mitigation. Apart from Bihar, the growth rate of the other four are: Uttarakhand 9.31%, Orissa 8.74% and Jharkhand 8.45%. The all-India growth during this period was 8.49%.