ANKITA PANDEY VALLIKAPPEN
HE India of Danny Boyle’s
Slumdog Millionaire is as much
a reality as the glitzy world of a
Karan Johar film. Despite 66 years of
independence, liberalisation efforts
and economic growth, the largest de-
mocracy in the world remains an une-
Many young children in India still
don’t go to school. The country still
has one of the largest populations of
people living in slums. The number is
close to 95 million. Recent govern-
ment reports say India’s housing re-
quirements exceed over 30 million.
In such an environment, initiatives
like Pratham, the largest non-govern-
mental organisation in India, which
provides quality education to under-
privileged children, and Habitat for
Humanity which builds homes for the
poor, go a long way in alleviating some
of the problems faced by the country’s
most disadvantaged. Here’s their story.
Dr Madhav Chavan’s aspirations were
simple. He wanted to be a good chemis-
try teacher. After getting his PhD from
Ohio State University, he returned to
India in 1983 to teach university stu-
dents in Mumbai. But a conversation in
1989 with the late Mr Anil Bordia, then
secretary of education in the Indian gov-
ernment, changed his life forever.
Dr Chavan, 58, tells
: “I wrote
about social revolution in those days.
Mr Bordia challenged me by saying
that half the people I wrote for couldn’t
even read it. He said, ‘Why do you
CONTINUED ON PAGE
One provides shelter, the other education
– a tale of two NGOs in India
HOME & HOPE
delivered to your doorstep at $24 a year. Call 6319-1800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org View us at
T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
APRIL 12, 2013
MICA (P) 042/11/2012
HELPS IN KOMAL’S
CUP IS BACK
SHINING IN IPL
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
FOR SOME PLAYERS
Building a better future... the children at community classes held by Pratham.
Record CPR training in Delhi
PRESIDENT of Heart Care
Foundation of India Dr K.K.
Aggarwal (below) created a world
record by training 11,459 people in
cardio pulmonary resuscitation
(CPR) in a single day, on April 7 in
New Delhi. The event took place
on World Health Day. Dr Aggarwal
said 18 lakh people die before
reaching the hospital in India,
adding that almost 12 lakh people
can be saved, if even 1 per cent of
the country learns CPR.
Marriage bureau for elderly
MUMBAI’S first match-making
bureau for the elderly was
launched on April 11, reported the
Hindustan Times. It is called Silver
Innings Matrimonial &
Companionship and open to all
over the age of 50 with an annual
subscription fee of Rs1,200. The
idea of the bureau came after a
highly successful speed-dating
event for senior citizens organised
in the city recently.
No Indian unis in top 25
ONLY three Indian educational
institutes have made it to the list
of top 100 Asian universities, by
the Times Higher Education, a
London-based magazine. And
there are no Indian universities in
the top 25. The highest ranked
Indian institute is the Indian
Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
(30th), followed closely by IIT
Mumbai (joint 33rd) while IIT
Roorkee takes up the 56th place.
University of Tokyo tops the list.
And National University of
Singapore is ranked 2nd.
Paintings create uproar
KOLKATA-BASED artist Eleena
Banik had to remove two of her
paintings depicting Hindu
goddesses in the nude after
protests by the Hindu Janjagruti
Samiti. The paintings were part of
her exhibition at the Jehangir Art
Gallery in Mumbai. Ms Banik had
painted Goddess Kali without the
garland of skulls and Goddess
Durga wearing a fig leaf-like cover
of strawberries. The art gallery also
asked her to remove the paintings.
50,000 teachers on strike
IN THE north Indian state of
Uttarakhand, over 50,000 teachers
have gone on an indefinite strike,
reported the Times of India. The
strike has affected work in more
than 3,000 government
intermediate colleges. The teachers
are demanding extending pension
for 800 lecturers and an increase in
BEST bans loud talk, music
TALKING loudly on mobile phones
and blaring music has been
banned on all Bombay Electric
Supply and Transport (BEST) service
buses in Mumbai. Commuters
flouting the norms will be warned
and then forced to alight. The rule
will be applicable on all the 4,157
buses in the BEST fleet which daily
ferry lakhs of commuters all over
Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and
Raigad districts. It serves more than
45 lakh commuters every day.
Kingfisher’s revival plan
KINGFISHER Airlines submitted a
revival plan to India’s civil aviation
regulator on April 10 to seek
approval to restart the airline. “We
have given a complete plan, which
includes our schedule that we plan
to operate, the aircraft we plan to
operate and the number of people
we have. The entire plan has been
shared,” Kingfisher Airlines CEO
Sanjay Aggarwal told the media.
According to him, the company
plans to initially start operations
with funding coming in from the
parent United Breweries Group,
with a total fleet of seven aircraft.
Kerala reels under heat
THE mercury has been soaring in
Kerala with the maximum
temperature touching 41 deg C in
Palakkad district, close to its
highest ever recorded temperature
of 41.7 degrees in 1987. The
blistering heat has created almost
a crisis situation in Kerala, as the
state depends, for most of its
water requirements, on dams
where water level is fast receding.
In recent days, half a dozen cases
of sunstroke have been reported in
Navy man first Indian to sail around the world solo
PRESIDENT of India Pranab
Mukherjee has honoured Indian
Navy’s Lt-Cdr Abhilash Tomy,
who became the first Indian to
circumnavigate the globe, solo
and non-stop, over a 150-day
voyage, on April 6 in Mumbai.
Lt-Cdr Abhilash, who is from
Kerala, started his journey on
his boat INSV Mahadei from
Mumbai on Nov 1, 2012 and
returned to the city on March 31
this year. He is the first Indian,
second Asian and the 79th sailor
in the world to complete such a
April 12, 2013
SILKAIR understands that your flight
is not just a means to get you to
your destination, it is also the start
of your holiday.
Thus, your pampering SilkAir
onboard experience starts with the
quality inflight service provided by
its cabin crew.
The multilingual staff offers
warm and friendly service in a
relaxing manner – so you’ll unwind
even before you reach your
Once you have settled into your
seat, the crew will be on hand to
welcome you with a refreshing
drink and reading material.
They will advise you on your
onward connections, assist you with
questions about your arrival, or
answer queries you have about
SilkAir and its destinations.
It also takes special care of
children onboard and will readily
accommodate passenger requests.
SilkAir flies to
every week! For
more details and
to book your
SilkAir is also on
Cebu – 7 times a week
Phuket – 5 times daily
Langkawi – 5 times a week
Popular with water sports enthusiasts,
Cebu’s 167 islets and islands are lined
with idyllic beaches and clear waters.
You can go diving, wakeboarding,
sailing or even ride on a banana boat.
Says SilkAir’s manager
(Philippines) Ramachandran Menon:
“Cebu beaches and resorts are
obviously one of the favourite travel
destinations for a fabulous family
“From Cebu, hop to the many
islands nearby. Bohol is popular for its
chocolate hills, Tarsier and Moalboal
for pristine beaches, and Malapascua
for diving and to see the famous
“Indian food is everywhere.
“The grand street parade during
Sinulog – a fiesta celebration – is a
Malapascua has some of the richest
marine life in the Philippines. And if
you take an island-hopping tour there,
you’ll probably visit Carnaza. Its
secluded beach offers activities such as
kite surfing, snorkelling and camping.
Also not to be missed: Olango, a
popular site for migratory birds from
as far as Siberia.
Think of Phuket, and Patong
immediately comes to mind. Phuket’s most
developed beach offers bargain shopping and
various leisure, sporting and recreational pursuits.
Among the many daytime activities are
windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing, swimming and
Patong is also well known for its vibrant
nightlife, among which seafood restaurants feature
prominently. There are several discos and bars.
You can also choose to go island hopping.
Phuket’s surrounding islands are easily accessible
by boat. Phang Nga Bay is known for its majestic
limestone cliffs and Coral Island is a must for
serious snorkellers out to see banner fish, butterfly
fish, parrot fish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
Says SilkAir’s manager (Thailand) Wan
Weiyang: “Affectionately known as the Pearl of
the Andaman, Phuket is blessed with pristine
beaches. Phi Phi Island and Patong are home to the
best-known beaches in Phuket. For those who
prefer some quiet time, head north to Naiyang or
Have a splashing
White sandy beaches, glistening clear waters and fun-filled
activities – you’ll find all these in Cebu, Phuket and Langkawi. Just
book a flight with SilkAir and it will take you there!
Feel at home
in the air
So much to do...
Whether it’s water
or parasailing, the
beaches of (from
top) Cebu, Phuket
(left) offer so
From its sandy bays to sweeping coastlines,
Langkawi’s beaches are loved by locals,
sunbathers and travellers from across the world.
Soar above the turquoise waters by going
parasailing, or kayak, jet ski or snorkel to
discover the stunning sea life the island offers.
Many of the resorts in Langkawi are set on
private beach fronts, but you can also head to
Pantai Cenang, the liveliest beach on the island.
This main strip is also home to a range of spas
specialising in different massage techniques.
For an awe-inspiring experience, check out the
Langkawi Skybridge. Clinging to a 700m-high
mountain ridge, the 125m, curved, pedestrian
bridge offers stunning views of the Andaman Sea.
To get to the Skybridge, you’ll have to take a
cable car to the top of Gunung Mat Chinchang.
Or go on a day trip to the Pulau Payar Marine
Park, which is made up of four tiny islands that
are highly recommended for scuba divers and
snorkellers. There you’ll find an abundance of fish
and an array of vibrant-coloured corals.
April 12, 2013
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