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My World of Thoughts
- Book 1

K S Venkataraman

Brought out by
Dynamic Youth Online Magazine

My World of Thoughts – Book 1 (2009)

K S Venkataraman
Associate Editor
Dynamic Youth Online Magazine

For further details contact

Dynamic Youth Online Magazine
6/15, Natesan Street,
T Nagar
Chennai – INDIA
Ph: 91 44 24348150
Fax: 91 44 24332511

Just a Minute…

I hail from Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. Having born
in a poor Brahmin family and lost my father early in life,
I could not even think of college education. Thanks to
my mother’s strenuous labor, I could finish my high
school education.

I have washed bottles, cleaned the floor and done all
sorts of menial jobs to carry on in life. The
Sivagurunathan free Library of Kumbakonam helped me
study the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi, Vinobaji, Mu.
Varadarajanar, Akilan and a number of good authors,
who cared for the youngsters. Mahatma Gandhi’s book
‘Manavarukku’ (To Students – published in Tamil) was
the first major book I studied in life. Vinobaji’s
‘Gitaipperuraikal’ (Lecturers on Gita – published in
Tamil) introduced the Bhagavad Gita to me early in life.

In 1960, my career started in revenue department of
Government of Tamil Nadu. By God’s Grace, Many of the
officers with whom I worked, were sources of inspiration
for me. What I had lost by not going to college was more
than compensated by them. It is a long list but I should
mention the names of Mr. S Parthasarathy IAS and Mr.
D Gangappa IAS.

In 1971 I joined the Board of Revenue, Madras and I had
opportunity to continue my university studies also. In
1974 Mr. Badrinath, IAS took me for his research and
publishing projects and soon Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi,
IAS took me as his assistant editor. Thus my career took
a positive turn to research and publishing.

Poverty in early stages of life taught me to respect
work. The great men whose writings I respect so much
in life have enabled me not to lose equanimity, balance
and fair play in thinking.

I am just a simple thinker. My life for nearly seven
decades on our mother planet has convinced me about
the ways of God, His Grace, His guidance, the value of
good thoughts, truthfulness and also the need for
sharing them with a longing for universal harmony and
global peace.

If the great men who came in my life had not shared
their thoughts by their writings and in person, the very
same poverty in childhood could have turned me to
wrong paths. Instead of being a writer and editor, today
I could have been even a criminal! In other words, the
criminals are human beings like us, who failed to get
their thinking process refined by men of God and noble
men scholars.

The humankind evolves only by sharing thoughts from
generation to generation. Every man stands on the
shoulders of his predecessors. It is our duty to be
thankful to God and good men through whom He
reaches us; and to share our thoughts with goodwill and
affection with our posterity.

I am convinced in the spiritual obligation of realizing
that the credit for all our good actions truly belongs to
God; the responsibility for all our bad actions remains
with us, because due to ignorance, we happen to do
them not adhering to His ways. And this responsibility
reaches us as our karma. Good and truthful actions
performed in a spirit of dedication to God alone can
liberate us. All other actions are definitely shackles
bringing us repeatedly to this world, thus keeping us
away from Him.

It is not that I am going to write on many philosophical
and serious topics. There are many light subjects of
temporal relevance.

I do not ask you to accept it all. But if there is
something relevant and useful, kindly don’t carelessly
ignore it; maybe it could really help you, sometimes
more than what you imagine. This is my own experience.

Mostly these are the essays I wrote for our Dynamic
Youth Online Magazine.

God willing, there may be other volumes in this
proposed series. Let me begin with sharing my thoughts
with all of you with best of intentions…

K S Venkataraman
December 13, 2009

Table of Contents


A Bharatanatyam Recital: By V Bhuvaneswari
Body Art
Cuba Musical Fest
Pop Art
Sand Art Forms
Vilnius 2009
Wei Wei

Save Polar Bears
Save Water
World Water Day 2009-12-13

Cholera Outbreak in Zimbabwe
Food Security in China
Dr Mathew L Thakur
Anti-tobacco measures in Asian countries

Redefine HRD

International Women’s Day 2009

Deliver Kamban to Posterity: Sivakumar

A Bharatanatya Recital - By V Bhuvaneswari

Bharatanatyam is a very ancient dance art form of India. The scientific analysis
of human emotions and efficient means of expression of them form an amazing
foundation for Bharatanatyam.

The beginning of the contemporary form of Bharatanatyam may be traced to the
late 18th century onwards. In Bharata, Bha refers to the Bhava, ra refers to raga
and ta refers to tala.

The origin of Bharatanatya is the Natya Shastra composed by the sage Bharata
Munivar. The sanctity attached to this may be understood from the fact that
Natya Shastra is respected as the fifth Veda. Its relevance to the Hindu religion
and philosophy is so deep. The Carnatic Music may have developed from this.

The Bharatanatya is considered so sacred and divine that it is always dedicated
to God. In olden days it was learnt and performed by a special class of women
known as Devadasis (the servants of the Devas or divine beings). Devadasis
were respected as the custodians of this divine art and as a matter of fact they
were also experts in the art of music. The performance of Devadasis was usually
in the temples. Even now we may see a number of Bharata Natyam postures
known as karanas in the sculptures available in Indian temples.

Karana is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘doing’. The most important karanas are 108.
Though only about 50 karanas have been transmitted through guru-sishya
parampara, the famous gurus Adyar Lakshman (Kalakshetra school) and Sheela
Unnikrishnan (Mangudi school) have tried to reconstruct all of them with great
success. In the interpretation of the ancient texts and sculptures, there are
several variations.

Padma Subrahmanyam, another famous exponent of Bharatanatyam has given
her interpretations of karanas based on a detailed study of shastras and
sculptures, notably those available in Chidambaram Nataraja temple. She has
explained specific leg, hip, body and arm movements and also the hasta mudras.
Some difference of opinion is of course there about her interpretations and she
chose to name her style as Bharatanrityam (instead of Bharatanatyam).

The Hindu religious literature contains many references to celestial dancers
known as apsaras. Sodasa Upacharas are the 64 ways in which respect is shown
to the Deity worshiped. Bharatanatya is one of them offered to the Deity to
please Him. The Supreme Being in many of His or Her forms is worshipped as a
dancer. Nataraja, Kalinga nartana Krishna and Kali are noted among such divine

From the medieval period some degeneration of this art did occur. The
Devadasis who were once respected as the servants of God had to face difficult
times, when some people failed to understand the greatness of the art of
Bharatanatya and its performers. Fortunately during the times of Maratha King

Saraboji II (1798 – 1832), eminent scholars like Chinnayya, Ponniah,
Sivanandam and Vadivelu of the Thanjavur Court reestablished the greatness of
the art. Their descendants came to be known as Nattuvanars or Bharatanatya
gurus in Thanjavur area.

Among the great people, who also contributed much to restore the greatness of
Bharatanatyam and the social status of the Bharatanatyam dancers, Krishna Iyer
deserves a special place. Rukmini Devi Arundale, who founded Kalakshetra
school in Chennai, improved what is known as Pandanallur style of
Bharatanatyam. She spread the message of Bharatanatyam in the English
speaking countries.

The universality of Bharatanatya art has been appreciated in modern times. This
art has transcended even religious limitations.

A full-fledged Bharatanatya performance may take even three hours. There are
some common features of Bharatanatya recitals. The dancer enters the stage,
worships the Lord, her Guru, the stage in which she is going to dance and the
people in whose presence she is going to dance. She worships the Five Elements
of Nature and usually the performance begins with a hymn or sloka in praise of
Ganapathi or any other form of God. This is followed by:

Alarippu – This is a presentation of the Tala punctuated by simple syllables. It
is also an invocation to the gods. .
Jatiswaram – This is abstract dance displaying the versatility of the dancer in
footwork and graceful body movements.
Shabdam - The dancing is accompanied by a hymn, usually devotion being the
central theme.
Varnam – This is the longest item and the central to the program. This is easily
the highly demanding part of the performance for the dancer. One or more
episodes are interlinked with this, providing much scope for the dancer to tell a
story by complex and sensible body movements.
Padam – Here again mostly devotion and love for God is highlighted using good
Thillana – This is the usual concluding item using good legwork and attractive
poses. With exhilarating poetical support, the dancer would display graceful and
fast movements.

In addition to these, items like Kautuvam, Koothu, Slokam, Swarajathi and Krithi
are added depending on the nature of audience and availability of time.
Here is an account of an excellent Bharatanatya recital.

V Bhuvaneswari, the disciple of the famous Bharatanatya guru Sudha
Vijaykumar of Chennai gave a brilliant performance on Saturday, November 22,
2008 at R K Swami Auditorium, Chennai in the esteemed presence of Prof. C V

The recital revealed the great involvement of V Bhuvaneswari in the art. She
brought out all the technical niceties with relevant emotional display in a very
impressive manner. Deservingly, she received appreciation from the
knowledgeable audience for graceful movements including fine legwork and also
for strict adherence to the Bharatanatya tradition.

The program included the following items.

Shlokam Revathi raga Mishra Chapu tala Abhinaya Darpanam
Padam Abhogi raga Adi tala Yarukkum adangada
Varnam Kalyani raga Adi tala Padame charan
Padam Ragamalikai Khanda Chapu tala Chinnanchiru kiliye
Sindu Senchurutti Adi tala
Tirupavai Kundalavarali Adi tala Male Manivanna

Guru and Orchestra
G Ganesh (Mridangam), Sudha Vijaykumar (Guru performing
Nattuvangam), V Venugopal (Vocal), Bhagyalakshmi (Flute), M S
Kannan ( Violin)

A pose from the Kavadi Sindhu

Kausalya describing the tiny feet of Shri Rama. From the
Varanam ‘Paadame charan adinden’

‘Chinan chiru Kiliye’ – Mom admiring her daughter

Sabari the devotee eagerly looking for the arrival of Lord Rama

Theermanam – Slokha ‘Angikam Bhuvanam’

Sri Andal extolling the benevolent qualities of Lord Sri Krishna


Body Art

Introduction: Art is human endeavor to showcase qualities and emotions. Many
are its forms. Countless are its methods. It seeks to perpetuate its subject and
succeeds to a great extent. It also seeks to flash something and challenges
human faculty to retain it in memory.

Art relishes equally movement and stillness. It rises and reaches heights; falls
and ebbs with a purpose. Art changes and also causes changes.

Body Art refers to decoration of body by several methods. It aims to beautify,
convey ideas and express emotions. Thus, even wearing dresses is a form of
body art. The dress of a soldier conveys his strength, readiness to fight and his
discipline. A dancer dresses to improve her beauty, manifest grace and heighten
expression. Body Art relates to meddling with body in order to portray beauty,
strength, desire, anger and so on. It speaks a language of its own. It can be
inviting, suggesting, alarming, frightening, tempting or even driving others
away. It can establish identity or rather hide it.

Various methods are used in Body Art, depending on the objective, the duration
of the effect, environment and nature of the body. The methods chosen to bring
about decorations for a short period have to be different from those used for
creating lasting or permanent effects.

There is no culture in the world that has not used Body Art in some form or
other. Some might have employed gruesome forms; some others may have
chosen gentle and pleasant forms. Some might have opted for life-time effects;
some others may have chosen passing or transitory effects. But the use of Body
Art has not been discarded by any.

Some of the forms of Body Art have been painful also; yet they have been
adopted with great tolerance. They have been selected for purposes like making
oneself attractive, fearsome or even ugly!

Painting: This is the most common method in Body Art. This method is chosen
for temporary effects. Having a bearing on the occasion or event various designs
are painted on the body. These designs are easy to remove and the person can
acquire his or her original form easily. From time immemorial aboriginal
communities have painted their bodies.

Not only creativity but necessities dictated by environments have also played a
role in their Body Art. Expression of religious feelings and other needs of
communication have also guided them in using Body Art. In dances painting
different parts of body has been used to create better effect. The importance of
Earth and the respect the aborigines had for the Earth have led them to decorate
themselves with coal, ochre etc. They used this with the belief of awakening
spirits and natural forces. This added meaning to their rituals, at least according
to them.

Painting the body with the crushed leaves of henna plant or its essence has been
in practice in India for long. Especially in North India, mehandi is integral with
weddings. This practice has spread in southern states also. The application of
mehandi is considered auspicious. Very delicate patterns and beautiful drawings
have been developed in application of mehandi. Such paintings using henna
plant has been very common in Africa and the Middle East also. In some parts of
the world such patterns are used to get protection from evil or to improve luck
and fertility.

Brilliant acrylics and oils are used to create lustrous shine in Body Art. Glittering
paints are largely used in make-up for many forms of dance, like Kathakkali of

It is not rare to see an actor painting his or her whole body in a color, in order to
bring some Gods believed to be of a given color before the eyes of the audience.
Lord Krishna is blue colored God; Goddess Meenakshi and Maha Vishnu are
green colored. It is a common sight in India to see men painting their whole
body in yellow with black stripes performing ‘tiger-dance’.

Piercing: Next to painting, ‘piercing’ is the widespread form of Body Art.

In many cultures, piercing ears and noses is very common. Various jewels are
used to decorate the body.

Scarification: This has resorted to in spite of the pain involved. It may be
associated with a ritual. To facilitate permanent identity or to publicize one’s
courage, status or achievement scars are made on chosen parts of the body.
This qualifies as a form of art because of the effort involved and designs used.

Tattooing: This is also a very common form of Body Art. For the people
choosing the designs, they have a lot of meaning. As a mark of respect or
affinity tattoos are considered ideal.

A lover proudly flaunting a tattoo of his lady’s name or form on his chest or arm
or any other chosen area does so only after enduring severe pain. In modern
times, this form of Body Art has become very handy for political fanatics.

Shaping: This form of Body Art is resorted to, for altering or maintaining a
given silhouette of the body. The actual shape of the body or a part of it is
shaped as desired by the methods like tight-lacing. In some cases, this calls for
prolonged efforts, beginning very early in life. Ladies of some communities
prefer to have large, hanging ear lobes. They don’t mind undergoing years of
torturous experiences for attaining large earlobes that could be adorned with
sizeable and heavy earrings, marking status and dignity.
The girl-babies are ‘caught young’ in some countries and their feet are subjected
to prolonged ‘treatments’ to ensure shapely feet when they are grown up!

Enormous efforts like tight-belting, corseting, girdling etc. are taken to shape
waists to suit the given cultural and aesthetic expectations. Radical alterations of
shapes of parts of body achieved by such methods are amazing – to say the

Artificial constriction of waist by tight-lacing is a rigorous method, usually
continuing for six months or more and involves rearrangement of internal organs
and body fat by constant wearing of corset. There are reported cases in which a
gentleman had made his waist to measure a mere 42.5 centimeters; and a lady
had reduced her waist size to 33 centimeters!


Cuba Musical Fest

The uniqueness of the Havana International Jazz
Festival is that the participants are not paid for
their performances, and visitors to the program
also finance their own trips. As such, this
international event is only comparable with the
Thyagaraja Annual Festival at Thiruvaiyaru in
Tamil Nadu (India) when the great musicians
assemble on their own to pay respects to the
great Guru Saint Thyagaraja.

The Havana International Jazz Festival, known also as Cuba jazz Festival has
become a famous, almost an annual affair from 1978 onwards. In 1978, Bobby
Carcasses and many famous Cuban Jazz musicians gave a Jazz concert at the
Casa de la Cultura de Plaza in downtown Havana. This concert in this open-air
venue was the origin of the Havana International Jazz Festival. The first concert
in 1978 was a grand success; this encouraged another Jazz Festival next year.
The noted Pianist Chucho Valdes participated in this. The growth of this annual
program was marked by the regular participation of the famous artists like Dizzy
Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Haden, Roy Hargrove, Jack DeJohnette, Danilo
Perez and many others.

In 1996 Chucho Valdes became artistic director of the Havana International Jazz
Plaza Festival and president of the Organizing Committee with Alexis Vazquez
Aguilera as the vice president. The festival has since expanded to include all the
main concert halls in downtown Havana, not to mention impromptu street jam
sessions along the Malecon.

The 25th Annual Havana Jazz Festival was held from February 12 to 15, 2009.
As announced by the Vice president of organizing committee Alexis Vazquez
earlier the musicians from Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Bermudas, among
others participated in the global musical fest, Feb 12-15.

The event had been organized in 11 localities, including the Cuban capital as well
as in the Matanzas provincial capital of Varadero.

The program for 2009 has been something very special due to the participation
of the musicians from 20 countries, including Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among the 2009 performing artists were Chucho Valdes, Michael Legrand, Mayra
Caridad Valdes, Bobby Carcases, Bellita & Jazztumbata, Cesar Lopez & the

Habana Ensemble, Francia, Maraca & Otra Vision, Roberto Carcases, Javier Salva
& Temperamento, Diakara, Ernan Lopez-Nussa Trio, Peruchin, Elmer Ferrer,
Jorge Reyes, Pasaje Abierto, Gala Mayor, Rembert Duarte, Cubajazz, Lazaro
Morua, Las Canelas, Conga Latina, Lazaro Valdez & Son Jazz, Chispa &
Complices, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Rogelio Napoles, Yasek Manzano, Harold
Lopez Nussa, Tamara Castaneda, Alejandro Vargas & Oriental Cuartel, Sexto
Sentido, Rolando Luna, Roberto Martinez, Alfredo Rodriguez, Luis Monge &
Swing en 4, Guido Lucarelli & Negras Musas, Mauricio Torres, Jump4joy, Daniel
Martina, Ernesto Jodos, Sergio Monroy, Lex Estet, Darwin Silva Trio, Jazz Tunkul,
Gaspare Di Lieto, George Haslam with many more Cuban and International


Pop Art

Cubism and Pop Art represent valuable innovations developed in 20th century.
They arose departing from the earlier ‘accepted styles’. The Cubists wanted
to improve the art of Post-Impressionist artists, whom they described as
‘too tame and limited’. Pop Artists revolted against the Abstract
Expressionists, whom they considered pretentious. Pop Art took within its
fold the life’s material realities or the popular culture; hence `pop’. The
beneficiaries were ordinary people who got their visual pleasure from
television, magazines, or comic books.

In mid 1950s Pop Art emerged as a Visual Art Movement. Very shortly it spread
in the United States also.

Lawrence Alloway was a leading member of a body of persons interested in arts,
known as Independent Group in United Kingdom. The Independent Group was
active in 1950s and early 1960s. He was an art critic and curator in United
States in 1960s. He was a prolific writer also. He used the term Mass Popular Art
in the mid-1950s. Later on, he revised the term as Pop Art to indicate that art
has a basis in the popular culture of its day and takes from it a faith in the power
of images. But Lawrence Alloway defined it as mass culture and a legitimate art

We may say that Pop Art is a major art movement of the 20th cenutry. It marked
a departure from the earlier Abstract Expressionism and heralded the growth of
art in the fields of Advertisement and Comic literature. Like Pop Music, Pop Art is
also a sort of assertion of the lower segments of art, till then frowned upon as
matters of bad taste. It has also paved the way for post-modern art.

Pop Art stands for, perhaps, an inevitable trend in art; because, it has grown in
several countries like United States, Spain, Japan and so on, independent of the
British influence.

A few leading names in Pop Art are: Richard Hamilton (British), Andy Warhol
(American), Roy Lichtenstein (American), Claes Oldenburg (American), Jasper
Johns (American), Marco Livingstone (American) and Robert Rauschenberg

John Haberle’s One Dollar Bill

Just What Is It That Makes Today’s
Homes So Different, So Appealing?

- This is one of the earliest works to
be considered pop art.

Drowning Girl (1963).
On display at the Museum of Modern Art,
New York.

Still Life
by Tom Wesselmann


Sand Art Forms

Generally, Sand Art refers to the creation of images, pictures, or designs in a
bottle or even boxed glass frames made from different colors of sand. These
images, pictures, and designs are all done using a simple funnel. It calls for
much skill, patience, creativity, and a steady hand to produce sand images full of

The images created using sand on seashores and riverbeds can also be very
impressive. It is very difficult to maintain them for long. If the sand becomes dry
the image would be easily disturbed by air. Even a light drizzling can spoil the
work within minutes. But we see these works of art in many places, created with
expertise undeterred by its transient nature.


In India Sand Art is believed to have originated in Orissa and from there it has
spread to all parts of the country. The Orissan myths speak of this.

Sri Ganesha



Shiva (side pose)

Although not historically proved, there is an interesting story in the Orissan
myths regarding the origin of sand sculpture like follows:-

Poet Balaram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayan was a great devotee of Lord
Jagannath. Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot
of Lord Jagannath to offer his prayer. Since he was not allowed by the priests of
the chariot to climb it and also insulted by them, with a great frustration and
humiliation he came to the beach and carved the statues of Lord Jagannath,
Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the Golden sand. Then there he started
worshipping these statues. His devotion was so strong and deep that the original
statues vanished from the chariot and appeared at that place where Balaram
Das was worshipping.

Although the above stanza has no solid historical support, but it is evident that
from the period of Balaram Das, the people of Puri have been acquainted with
the carving of sculpture on sand. The period of Balaram das as mentioned in
history was fourteenth century A.D. Hence sand sculpturing in Puri is not a new
phenomenon, but it is at least seven hundred years old.

Sometimes, colored sand is used in the model of Luilang in China. Nowadays
sand sculptures are created in India in large sizes and complex forms.

World Peace: Mahatma Gandhi with three monkeys
The Indian Sand Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik is famous all over the world. His
talent and involvement in this form of art is great. He has a passion to create

various lively forms in sand. He has traveled many countries like London,
France, Scotland, China, Holand, Singapore, Denmark and Italy. He is also
appreciated by many for his attractive sand sculptures. He has become an
international artist.

In the World Master's Sand Sculpture Championship held at Italy in July 2001 he
represented India and got 3rd prize as first Indian. The Golden Sand Art
Institute, which is an open air institute in Puri Beach behind Mayfair Hotel, was
started in the year 1995. Around 50 students are taking training in this institute
including tourists. Tourists can take basic 7-10 days familiarization course.
Beautiful gallery on the beach can be observed in the beach in the evenings.

Shri Sudarshan Pattnaik met the President, Dr. A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam on August 22, 1005 at Rashtrapati
Bhavan and presented a photograph of his prize
winning entry at the 3rd International Sand Sculpture
Competition 2005 in Berlin.

The entry won a prize competing against entries from around the world. The 20
foot high sand sculpture called, "World Peace", features Mahatma Gandhi and
the three famous monkeys who teach not to see evil, hear evil or speak evil.


Vilnius 2009

On 12 March 2009, Vilnius Museum of Applied Art opened the
international art exhibition of both European capitals of culture 2009,
Vilnius and Linz, “Longing for Nature. European Landscapes”.

Vilnius, on the Baltic Sea coast, is the capital of Lithuania (one of the three Baltic
States – the others being Estonia and Latvia) from 1323. It was founded in the
10th century. Teutonic Knights destroyed this city in 1377 but it was rebuilt and
developed. In 1795 it became part of Russia and flourished as a great center of
Jewish learning. During the World Wars the Germans caused severe damage to
this city. In this city alone the Jewish population was 80000 in 1941 and the
Germans brought it down to 6000 in 1945! In 1991 it became capital of the
independent nation Lithuania.

Lithuania’s short coastline is fringed with sand dunes and pine forests. It is
famous for amber. Amber is the fossilized sap of the pine trees. It is used to
make jewelries in shades of orange, deep gold and yellow. Two thirds of the
world’s amber goods are produced in Baltic States.

Vilnius is an important industrial center. It has a number of historic buildings
showcasing Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. Vilnius is
referred to as European Capital of Culture.

The ‘Midumi’ regarded as the ‘wine of Northern and Eastern Europe’ is part of
ancient Lithuanian culture. This drink, produced for thousands of years, has been

the favorite drink of the rulers and peasants alike; and continues to be so even

International Fine Art Exhibition:
Longing for Nature - European Landscapes

Date: 12 March - 17 May
Venue: Museum of Applied Art of Lithuanian Art Museum, Arsenalo St. 3 A,
Upper Austrian State Museum, Lithuanian Art Museum, Museumstraße 14, Linz,
Promoter: Lithuanian Art Museum
Partner: State Museum of Austria, Upper Austrian State Museum
Curators: Dr. Lotharas Schultesas, Laima Bialopetravičienė

On 12 March 2009, Vilnius Museum of Applied Art opened the international art
exhibition of both European capitals of culture 2009, Vilnius and Linz, ‘Longing
for Nature. European Landscapes’. It displays unique European landscapes by
138 famous artists from Adriatic to North Sea and from the British Isles to the
Caucasus Mountains. Visitors to the exhibition will see over two hundred
landscapes of the 16th-20th centuries.

The leading institutions of Vilnius and Linz preserving culture and art heritage
are the Upper Austrian State Museum and the National Art Museum of Lithuania
have combined their efforts in implementing a joint project – the international
fine art exhibition “Longing for Nature. European Landscapes”. The exhibition will
disclose the diversity of the European landscapes in different aspects: cultural
traditions, diversities in the structure of geographical landscape, chronological
and stylistic development of the landscape genre, originality and role of artists’
creation in the context of European history of art in the major regions of the Old
Continent – Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central European
countries. Painted landscapes of the 16-20th centuries feature characteristic
landscapes and locations from the Adriatic to the North Sea, from the British
Isles to Hungarian plains.

Within the framework of the
public places humanization
programme aimed at
contemporary interpretation of
the city's open space, on Vilnius
Neris embankment between
Mindaugo Bridge and Green
Bridge next to the Energy
Museum, construction of the
sculpture by Vladas Urbanavičius
"Embankment Arch" was

Apart from revealing the diversity of geographical and geomorphologic aspects
of European landscapes, the majority of these landscapes have a significant
aesthetic, tourist, archaeological, historical and cultural value. The exhibition
contains 250 exhibits. Most of them were selected from the collections of
Lithuanian Art Museum and Upper Austrian State Museum, which are involved in
the implementation of the project. The valuable collection will be deposited to
the exhibition by the National Art Museum of Čiurlionis, some exhibits will be
provided by National Warsaw Museum, Latvian National Art Museum, Estonian
Art Museum KUMU, “Ateneum” Art Museum of Finnish National Gallery, “Lentos”
Museum of Modern Art of Linz, “Neue Galerie” Grace, Šiauliai “Aušra” Museum,
Alka Museum of Samogitians and other institutions preserving the heritage of
the fine arts.

‘Icy Baroque’ reveals itself
through the display of ice
sculptures on the streets of
the city.

Within the framework of
the public places
humanization programme
aimed at contemporary
interpretation of the city’s
open space, the work by
Mindaugas Navakas “Two-
storey” was built on the
bank of Vilnius Neris River
next to the White Bridge.

On the occasion of this exhibition representational albums-catalogues will be
published in the Lithuanian, German and English languages and the educative
program will be implemented for children, pupils and academic youth as well as
adults and individuals with special needs.


Wei Wei

Her voice heralded the fabulous Olympics Games in
Beijing on August 2008. Again her voice echoed in
Bird’s Nest of Beijing on August 24, 2008 to say
farewell to all those who had assembled there from all
parts of the world. Her voice became an inner
experience by itself for all those who heard her sing. By
her song she enthused all to ‘give dreams the wings to
fly’. The voice belonged to Wei Wei, the famous pop
singer, song writer and actress, now living in Sweden.

Wei Wei
She was born in Hohhot of Inner Mongolia. Her successful career as a Chinese
pop singer continues and would continue for ever. She has been recognized as
the greatest Chinese singer of modern times.

Wei Wei is praised as the China’s Whitney Houston, China’s Madonna and
China’s Celine and so on. Media never becomes tired of praising her. It is very
much understandable, when we know that 200 million cassettes and CDs of her
music have been sold in China alone.

She sings in Mandarin and English. Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals in
Beijing remarked that his record breaking achievement of winning eight gold
medals at the single Games was nothing when compared to learning Mandarin!
Maybe he said this jocularly but there is also an element of truth in it.

When an internet survey was conducted as to who should sing the theme song in
Beijing Olympics, Wei Wei got the highest number of votes. From 1993 onwards
Wei Wei has been the cultural ambassador of China at all Olympic events.

In September 2006 Wei Wei's song "I Want to Fly" (the Mandarin version of
"Where We Are") was selected as the Official Song for the 2008 Olympic Sailing
City of Qingdao by the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Sailing Committee
(Qingdao) of Beijing For the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

Her success story began in 1986, when she won the National Young Singers
contest on Chinese television. The next year, China sent a representative to an
international pop competition for the first time: The 24th Sopot International

Song Festival in Poland. She won the competition, and the "Miss Photo-category”
as well, which brought her even more attention.

Four years later, she was chosen to perform at the 11th Asian Games in Beijing,
and sang a duet with Spanish singer Julio Iglesias at the 1993 East Asian Games
in Shanghai.

Wei Wei’s record of achievement in the field of music is too vast to be narrated
in a single essay. In her the western influence is marked. But the mix she
presents has tremendous flavor of originality. Wei Wei is definitely a gift of God
to the humankind.


Save Polar Bears

Polar bear is an impressive member of animal
kingdom. The name Polar Bear generally refers
to the white semi-aquatic bear (Ursus
maritimus) found in entire Arctic regions. Their
black nose, mouth and eyes provide a rich
contrast with its white fur.

They seem to enjoy their stay on drifting oceanic ice floes. They are very swift;
often their size can mislead us. They are also noted for their wanderlust. They
are excellent swimmers. In pursuing their game stealthily, they are very
efficient. Their main item of food is seal. Fish, birds, seaweed, grass etc., are
their food-supplements. Polar bears don't drink water. Their requirements of
water are met by the animals that they eat.

Polar bear grows about 6’ tall and 8’ long. A well grown-up animal may weigh
even more than 700 kg. They are the largest among the members of bear
family. Normally it is shy and runs away at the sight of men; but if cornered or
confronted, they can be dangerous.

The average polar bear today weighs about 15 percent less than was the case 20
years ago, Canadian experts say. The reason is ‘environmental challenges’!

The environmental group WWF has warned on March 11, 2009 that the Polar
Bears are like to become extinct soon if quick steps are not taken to combat
climate change. Geoff York, WWF polar bear expert has said, "No sea ice
equates no polar bears. It's really that simple."

The WWF has insisted the Arctic countries had a special obligation to spearhead
efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Rasmus Hansson, the head of WWF Norway has said, "People have caused the
problem, people have to fix it… Speaking about polar bears without addressing
climate change is like discussing cod without wanting to speak about the sea."

There is a conservation agreement of 1973 signed by the countries like Canada,
Denmark (with Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States. More than
three decades after the signing of the agreement, however, the climate change
has emerged as the main threat to polar bears.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) and the International Union for Conservation
of Nature are in agreement that at present there about 20-25,000 polar bears

roam the Arctic region; and that two thirds of them could disappear within the
next 50 years due to global warming, according to recent estimates from the US
Geological Survey (USGS) and the International Union for Conservation of

Climate change is not the only thing threatening the polar bears; they are also
increasingly exposed to toxic substances like PCB that flow into the region on the
back of ocean and atmospheric currents, breaking down the mammals' immune
systems and reproductive capabilities.

There is a more alarming view that the Arctic sea ice, the abode of polar bears
could completely disappear during the summer months by 2020!

WWF also warns that the problems facing polar bears today serve as an indicator
for how the ecosystem is being affected, something that will eventually have
serious implications for humans as well.

What happens to Polar Bears today, may not take long to happen to humankind.
On March 19, 2009 the five countries that ring the Arctic, viz. Canada, Denmark
(with Greenland), Norway, Russia and the United States declared climate change
the single greatest threat to polar bears, calling for urgent action to curb global

The conservation agreement of 1973 had not foreseen Climate Change as the
main threat to polar bears. Now the arctic partner countries have issued a joint
declaration. The Arctic partners have agreed "that impacts of climate change and
the continued and increasing loss and fragmentation of sea ice... constitutes the
most important threat to polar bear conservation." They have also recognized
“the urgent need for an effective global response that will address the challenges
of climate change." The declaration says, inter alia, "The parties agreed that
long-term conservation of polar bears depends upon successful mitigation of
climate change."

Though the statement is not legally binding, environmentalists and scientists
have welcomed it, saying that they hoped it would send a clear message to the
international community ahead of talks to be held in Copenhagen in December
on a new global pact on climate change to replace the Kyoto accord.

Geoff York, WWF polar bear expert has said, "It's a success. The parties took
significant steps in the right direction and the responsibility now lies with
governments to take action in order to reduce their emissions."

The Arctic states have met only twice since 1981. Now they have agreed in
Tromsoe to meet more frequently. They are now set to meet in Canada in 2011
and in Russia two years later.

Though hunting polar bears was banned in 1973, the Arctic’s indigenous peoples
are exempt because of ancestral traditions. Indigenous people in the region are
issued with only limited hunting permits, but the bear is also a favored target of
rich adventure tourists in Canada, where sports hunting is legal; and of poachers
in Russia, where a white fur coat can cost several thousand dollars. So, more
attention has to be given to this aspect also if the polar bears should survive.


Save Water

The world's population, currently more than 6.5 billion, is
expected to rise to nine billion by mid-century, placing
further massive demands on water supplies that are
already under strain.

Water comes to the world from the sky as a gift of Mother Nature; there is a
natural cycle for its purification. Normally, pure water should also be available
free of cost to all, like air. But we have become abnormal long time back! Pure
air has become rare; the freshwater has already become unavailable to many
people in the world; the danger is spreading!

There were times just two decades ago, while walking in countryside, if felt
thirsty, we used to take handful of water from the flowing rivers and drink it
directly to quench our thirst; as much of it as we needed; also used to splash it
happily on face and feel fresh and strong. The limpid water had a magical power
in it to drive away one’s tiredness and refresh physically and mentally. We used
to tell ourselves, “The flowing water is always pure and fresh.” People would
take water from the rivers in pots to their homes and use it for drinking and
cooking without any hesitation. There was no fear of throat infection or cold!
There was no inkling of germs! Will those days ever return? Leave alone
countryside, wherever we go, these days we have got to worry about the
cleanliness of water.

I know this kind of nostalgia is of no use. A number of large scale industries
have come up to pollute the water. The population has increased and the
pressure on land and water has gone up many times. Deforestation goes on
increasing. Use of chemicals in agriculture spoils the nature of soil. There were
shrubs and herbs on the mountainsides to filter and enrich the flowing water;
they are no longer there. Industrial wastes and other dirty deposits have
converted sacred rivers worse than public drains! All these and the use of
plastics are destroying the aquatic creatures that were cleansing the water in
their own way.

The thoughtlessness and greediness of the humankind strike at the root of all
important natural resources and also natural systems; evidenced by so many
natural disasters, disorderly changes in seasons and faulty natural rhythms and

cycles. The quantum of water in the Earth and its purification are taken care of
by natural cycle. The reckless behavior of the humankind does violence to the
natural order and cycle thereby causing enormous risks to the posterity in the
long run.

The Fifth World Water Forum, Istanbul (March16 -22, 2009)

The Fifth World Water Forum launched on March 16, 2009 in Istanbul appealed
for a worldwide campaign to save the precious stuff of life called ‘water’. This
was a seven day affair and addressed the ever-worsening crisis of ‘lack of
freshwater supply’ in the world.

This forum meets once in three years to study the problems of growing water
scarcity, the conflicts among the countries over rivers, lakes and aquifers and
the measures needed to improve provision of clean water to the humankind and
also the relevant problems in sanitation.

UN-Water had organized a pavilion at the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul,
Turkey. 23 UN-Water members participated in the pavilion and had exhibits
displaying publications, posters, audio-visual presentations and other materials.
The UN-Water pavilion included a meeting room. This enabled the UN-Water
members to host meetings dealing with many aspects of water resources and
management in the pavilion, during the Forum.

In addition to its political dimension, this Conference had involved the companies
involving in the multi-billion water industry.

Climate Change will spoil water and reduce its availability

Loic Fauchon, the President of the World Water Council, pointed out that the
humankind is alive because of water and it is, therefore, very important to stop
waste and abuse of water. He has said, "We are responsible; responsible for the
aggressions perpetrated against water, responsible for the current climate
changes which come on top of the global changes, responsible for the tensions
which reduce the availability of freshwater masses so indispensable to the
survival of humanity…At this very time in the history of water, we are faced with
a major challenge to use more water resources but at the same time to protect,
enhance the value of and even reuse these waters."

The world's population, currently more than 6.5 billion, is expected to rise to
nine billion by mid-century, placing further massive demands on water supplies
that are already under strain.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects
that the number of people living under severe water stress would rise to 3.9
billion by 2030, amounting to nearly half the world's population. Most of these
will live in China and South Asia.

These figures have been arrived at without taking into account the impacts of
climate change! Global warming has already adversely affected weather
patterns, changing the time and place where rain and snow fall. Nobody has any
correct idea about the havoc to living beings in the world that would be caused
because of all these. It is beyond measure!

Today decent sanitation is beyond reach for about 2.5 billion people. This simply
defies the relevant target of the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

In the opinion of Hydrologists, the crisis is rooted in excessive irrigation, leakage
of urban water supplies, pollution of river water and unbridled extraction of
water from nearly every type of source.

The Water Forum began with a mini-summit of a small number of heads of state
and government, invited by host Turkey. It concludes with a large ministerial
gathering aimed at crafting guidelines for smarter management of water and
resolution of water conflicts.

Urgent need for organization

Mark Smith from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has
said, "In many regions, water scarcity and pollution are increasingly putting
human wellbeing at risk. We have to organize ourselves to use water in a more
sustainable manner. We need systems for governing water based on a balance
of policy and good water law."

The UN Third World Water Development Report

The United Nations Third World Water Development Report presented in this
forum has revealed many startling facts. This report has been prepared by joint
effort of the 26 UN agencies and entities which make up UN-Water, working in
partnership with governments, international organizations, non-governmental
organizations and other stakeholders, coordinated by the World Water
Assessment Program (WWAP).

The Report has pointed out that the annual expenditure to build and maintain
water supply systems, sanitation and irrigation would be between 92.4 billion
and 148 billion dollars.

China and developed countries in Asia alone would face financial needs of 38.2-
51.4 billion dollars each year.

Gerhard Payen is an adviser on water to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
and President of The International Federation of Private Water Operators -
association that connects international organizations with private sector
providers of water and sanitation services. He views that the U.N. report is an
important wake up call to the world.

Gerhard Payen has said, "The reality today is that water scarcity is increasing in
many parts of the world because of increasing usage and also partly due to
climate change. This is a reality. So easy water [i.e., easily accessible drinking
water] is over. So in the future, we will have to manage water more carefully.
There are potential conflicts. So if the governments don't care that conflicts will
emerge, this is at local regional and international level. This is a collective
responsibility; all of us have a role to play. We have to realize we are so
numerous on this planet. Easy water is over."

The Report has described the Middle East as particularly vulnerable in this
respect; particularly between Israel and its neighbors, because of dwindling
water supplies. Turkey, the host of the World Water Forum, has offered a
solution that could help ease those tensions. The Turkish government is
proposing to sell water to Israel from its eastern Mediterranean coast.

Dogan Altinbilek, the former head of the Turkey's General Directorate of State
Hydraulic Works, is one of the architects of the plan. He has said, "This is the
most water-short area in the world. I have a stack of books at home on the
topic of the water wars in the Middle East… There at least a dozen authors who
mention that if there will be a war in the Middle East, it will be because of
water. We [i.e., Turkey] will make a profit, but not a large amount [from selling
and transporting water]. It is a resource that is really in short supply and we
are going to make available."

The project is still in the planning stages with discussions over security, logistics
and cost under way with Israel. However, some experts have raised
environmental concerns over the plan. The commercialization of water and the
role of the private sector is a major issue at the forum.

Protests against privatization of water

Outside the World Water Forum, hundreds of protesters demonstrated against
what they call the "privatization" of water. Critics of the Forum accuse it of

being too closely associated with business interests. An alternative forum set up
by dozens of non-governmental organizations is likely to open in Istanbul later
this week.

Mark Hayes of Corporate Accountability International views that water
privatization offers no solution to the world's water problems. He has said,
"Right now, if you look at how water policy has played out over the past 10 or
15 years, these private companies working closely with the World Bank, working
closely even with some parts of the U.N., have really dictated the agenda… And
the result has been privatization fiascos in Latin America, Southeast Asia and
Africa as well as the growing trend toward commoditization of water, where
there is a huge explosive growth in the bottled water market. So they have had
their chance - privatization can solve this problem. And it's pretty clear, even
from their own sources, that it is not a panacea."

Role for private, public sectors in finding solution

The role of the private sector in helping to deal with the growing challenges of
conserving and delivering safe water to the world's population is another key
issue at the forum.

Gerhard Payen of The International Federation of Private Water Operators
views that there is a role for both the private and public sectors and that
pragmatism should triumph over ideology. He has said, "Today there is a divide
between 3.5 billion people who have access to tap water and the other three
billion who have no access to tap water - either at home or in the immediate
vicinity… There is a big divide in the world between those who benefit from the
public water service and those who don't benefit from it. In the past 15 years,
the private sector has provided access to water to 25 million people or more. So
the issue today is: When do we want that all people get safe and reliable access
to water? This is the main issue. For those people, the most important thing is
access to water."

Coming soon: 'Sustainable water' certification

A couple of years from now, beer, cola, rice, breakfast cereal, cotton T-shirts
and many other goods may come with a new logo: a label which says the water
used to make this product came from a sustainable source.

The scheme, unveiled at the World Water Forum in Istanbul on March 17, 2009
seeks to make a "Water Stewardship" tag as successful as Forest Stewardship
Certification, a fast-growing system that combats illegal or unsustainable

Michael Spencer, Director of the Water Stewardship Initiative of Australia, has
said, "That there is a crisis in water is a given, and that we need to address it is
a given. That's why there's so much momentum behind developing a global

The idea of water certification would have been considered bizarre only a few
years ago. Water has been traditionally viewed as a resource that, because it
tumbles out of the sky and is recycled by nature, is as free as the air we
breathe. But water stress or droughts now grip highly-populated countries in a
swathe from Morocco to China, and the breadbaskets of Australia and the United
States are often dangerously parched.

Some rivers, exhausted by overuse, now dry up before they reach the sea and
ancient aquifers are being wound down at massive rates, un-replenished by
rainwater. Irresponsible irrigation and pollution are major problems. As a result,
perception of water has undergone a change.

Spencer has stressed that water is seen more and more as a resource that has
to be valued and carefully managed, rather than a substance that because it is
free or cheap can be abused or wasted

Workshop for Journalists

In support of the International Decade for Action
“Water for Life’ 2005-2015 (UNO-IDFA), the
United Nations Office co-organized a journalist
workshop in connection with the 5th World Water
Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, from 16th to 22nd of
March 2009. The workshop was designed to
provide experienced international journalists with
a unique opportunity for learning, working and
networking on health, sanitation and water issues,
the most critical issues of the 21st century. The
workshop, entitled: “Health, Dignity and
Development. Investigating the Global Sanitation
and Water Crises” provided the link to poverty and development, human rights,
environment, food, peace building, migration, governance and other issues being
addressed simultaneously at the 5th World Water Forum.
Incidental opportunity for inter-governmental interaction

The World Water Forum also offers a week-long venue for government
representatives. These meetings are being held behind closed doors, away from
the main venue.

The Outcome of World Water Forum

The seven-day activities of the World Water Forum concluded on March 22,
2009. More than 100 participant-countries pledged to strive for clean water and
sanitation for billions in need and fight drought and flood. The biggest ever
international conference on the freshwater crisis faced by the world ended with
the issue of a declaration.

The declaration issued by the World Water Forum after the conclusion of a three-
day ministerial meeting, received a mixed response. The activists condemned
the whole Conference as a ‘trade show’. Some countries described it as ‘flawed’.
The declaration said, "The world is facing rapid and unprecedented global
changes, including population growth, migration, urbanization, climate change,
desertification, drought, degradation and land use, economic and diet changes."
It contained a set of non-binding recommendations, including greater
cooperation to ease disputes over water, measures to address floods and water
scarcity, better management of resources and curbing pollution of rivers, lakes
and aquifers.

Some countries wanted to enhance the statement insisting to recognize access
to safe drinking water and sanitation as ‘a basic human right’ rather than a
‘basic human need’ which was the final text. They were blocked by Brazil, Egypt
and the United States.

A separate statement was issued by around 20 dissenting countries including
Bangladesh, South Africa and Spain. They spelt out their position after the
conclusion of the conference. It is worth mentioning that many countries led by
Latin America have already included assess to water as a right in their

Global Youth should become involved

The United National Organization provides leadership; and tries to create a
general awareness. But it is doubtful if the strong negative trend developed all
over the world could be changed by such formal conferences. Using
‘development of Science and Technology’ as a stalking horse, governments are
competing with one another in their arms race and other projects endangering
the humankind. Instead of coming together with a global outlook, the peoples of
the world are getting divided, thanks to the narrow minded politicians, who are

spoiling moral value systems everywhere. All these contribute to the abuse of
natural resources including air and water.

Everything that is introduced as a good innovation falls into the hands of
commercialists and becomes another process of exploitation of common men.
We continue to pollute air and water without any thought of the future; we
introduce dangerous weapons capable of destroying millions of people, just to
remain one step ahead of our neighbor; governments have no time to look after
their primary obligations like maintaining law and order or providing education
but are eager to spend billions of dollars in space research.

The water business has already become a multi-billion dollar affair and if the
freshwater becomes scarce it is well and good for it. The present generation has
not only failed to stop the crises; but they are also worsening it. Unless radical
changes are effected in the system of governing all over the world, these
problems are likely to go out of our hands. The Global Youth have to study and
understand fully the problems with which the present day world is struggling;
they should understand that the root causes of corruption and inefficiency
prevent effectively solution of major problems.


World Water Day, 2009

The United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED)
held in 1992 recommended an
International Day to celebrate freshwater.
Accordingly the United Nations General
Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as
the first World Water Day.

From 1993 onwards, World Water Day is held every year on 22 March as a
means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for
the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. The
theme for World Water Day, 2009 has been "Shared Water - Shared
Opportunities". Special focus has been placed on trans-boundary waters.

Nurturing the opportunities for cooperation in trans-boundary water
management can help build mutual respect, understanding and trust among
countries and promote peace, security and sustainable economic growth.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
leads the activities of the World Water Day 2009 with the support of United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The objective of celebration of such world days is to create and develop a
common awareness among the peoples and their governments. It is not just a
one-day-affair. If preservation of water is one part of it, sharing it with a sense
of goodwill is also equally important. As several important water resources
transcend the man-made political boundaries, the scope for conflicts revolving
around the quantum of share and nature of usage of water among the

Obviously some of the major international conflicts on sharing water from their
common resources could not be solved unless a change takes place in the basic
attitude of the people. The major resources of water are all the gifts of Mother
Nature to the humankind; they form part of global wealth and no section of the
humankind should try to prevent their usage in such a way as to benefit the
maximum number of people in the region. The schemes that would ensure this

should be taken up in a cooperative manner by the countries concerned.
Wherever there is a need and justification, the United Nations Organization
should be empowered to internationalize the water resources to ensure rational
usage, in the larger interests of the humankind.


Cholera Outbreak in Zimbabwe

Cholera patients wait for treatment at
Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare, 26 Nov

There has been a serious outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe. So far more than
400 persons have died of the disease. These death figures relate to the deaths
occurred in hospitals. The deaths taking place in remote villages should be many
times more than this!

The problem is more than what the local health officials could manage.
Zimbabwe has already appealed for international aid to tackle the problem. As
the disease spreads, the neighboring countries like South Africa, Mozambique
and Botswana also face the risk.

South African Health Minister Barbara Hogan has said, “Given the scale of the
outbreak, the weakened health system in Zimbabwe and the extended cross
border movement of people it was agreed that all aspects of our interventions
needed to be scaled up and a renewed sense of urgency to deal with this
outbreak is needed at all levels." She has added that a major focus should be to
help repair sanitation plants and provide clean water in Zimbabwe. According to
the United Nations, there has been occurrence of nearly 9,000 cases of cholera
in Zimbabwe; the water-borne disease had spread due to collapsing health and
sanitation systems.

The Zimbabwe is already facing a number of problems in many fronts. The
economic decline has become worse due to shortages of basic goods. Very high
inflation and unemployment have grown as big challenges. Skilled workers have
already left the country in large numbers. About half of the population i.e. about

5 million persons need food assistance. The position may worsen in the coming

There is political stalemate in the country as the country’s three major political
parties are at loggerheads. National Unity is in danger. All these have prevented
concerted steps being taken to control cholera in Zimbabwe.

The acuteness of the situation may be understood by the following facts.
— Zimbabwe’s hospital system has virtually shut down after walkouts by staff
over wages, working conditions and a lack of supplies
— Life expectancy has dropped from 60 years for both sexes to 37 years for men
and 34 for women in the past decade
— In April the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said that the
country’s health system was “crippled by dilapidated infrastructure, drug
shortages, equipment breakdowns, brain drain and costs of healthcare
skyrocketing beyond the reach of the majority of Zimbabweans”
— Last week Zimbabwe’s only medical school closed. It said that it could not
function under the prevailing conditions
— Harare's two main state hospitals have shut down maternity services


Benedict Cassen Prize, 2008
Dr Mathew L Thakur

Benedict Cassen Prize

Benedict Cassen Prize is given by the Education and Research Foundation of the
Society of Nuclear Medicine in honor of Benedict Cassen, whose invention of the
rectilinear radioisotope scanner - the first instrument capable of making an
image of a body organ in a patient - -- marked the beginning of the
development of clinical nuclear medicine.

This prize, regarded as ‘Noble Prize of Nuclear Medicine’, is managed by donation
by the estate of Mary Wylie Cassen. This is a biennial award.

The Prize is given in recognition of a significant achievement in nuclear medicine
science and is to be awarded to living scientist, or physician-scientist, whose
work has led to a major advance in basic or clinical nuclear medicine science.
The prize consists of $25,000 if a single individual is selected, but may be
increased in exceptional circumstances if the Prize is shared by more than one

Dr Mathew L Thakur

The Benedict Cassen Prize for 2008 has been awarded to an Indian American Dr
Mathew L Thakur, wins nuclear medicine's 'Nobel prize'.

Dr Thakur became interested in nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceuticals even
when he was an undergraduate at Bombay University. His sustained interest on
the subject has yielded great results benefiting millions of patients all over the

He is now professor of radiology and radiation oncology/nuclear medicine at the
Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Centre at the university.
Dr Thakur is a pioneer in molecular imaging, an emerging technique that helps
detect disease at the molecular or cellular level in the human body and thus
helps develop personalised medicine.

The Society of Nuclear Medicine has noted that Thakur has focused on
developing and evaluating radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and

therapy. He has produced and isolated many medically useful radionuclides and
has been instrumental in the preparation of several novel radiopharmaceuticals,
noted the society in its press release.

Radionuclides or radiopharmaceuticals, also called tracers, are drugs with small
amount of radioactive material that are administered to patients, and the
radiation emitted detected or photographed. In most cases, it enables physicians
to quickly diagnose conditions like cancer, heart disease, thyroid disorders and
bone fractures. Sometimes, this compound is also used to treat the condition.

In his career of more than 35 years, Dr Thakur has developed widely used
radiopharmaceuticals leading to higher diagnostic accuracy. He holds a number
of patents and his ongoing research projects focus on finding DNA patches to
detect breast and prostate cancers at early stages.


Anti-tobacco measures in Asian countries

The measures already taken against the use of tobacco have proved to be very
insignificant when viewed in the light of the seriousness of the problem. This is
so in all parts of the world, including the ‘developed’ countries. The position is
worse in the Asian countries. The half-hearted steps are used only to create and
preserve a wrong complacency among the people.

News have arrived that the South and Southeast Asian countries have promised
to promote policies to combat use of tobacco. If you remember that more than
one million lives are lost in this region every year due to use of tobacco, it is
difficult to help wondering what the rulers of these countries have been doing all

The recent part of the ongoing drama is that the health ministers of 11 South
and Southeast Asian countries have promised the World Health Organization to
promote policies to combat the use of tobacco.

In this region, according to the WHO, tobacco industry seeks to attract 500
million young people between the ages of 10 and 24 to become first-time
tobacco users. Smokers may be giving up cigarettes for other forms of tobacco,
such as cigars and roll-your-own brands. Khalil Rahman, WHO regional
Coordinator for Tobacco Control, has said that the health ministers had made a
political commitment to support policies that will help cut the use of tobacco. He
has added, "We have this very good news, good political support from all
countries in the region, they are committed to tobacco control, despite the fact
that even in the government, there is some opposition, but as a whole
government is committed to tobacco control."

This is the outcome of a four day conference of the health ministers in New Delhi
that ended on concluded September 11, 2008.

In response to the request of the World Health Organization to enact legislation
to enforce smoke-free environments in indoor public places including offices,
restaurants and bars, India has promised to enact such legislation shortly.
Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said that from October 2
onwards, it would become illegal to smoke in all public places in the country.

The evil effects of tobacco are well known. This is not a recent discovery. For
decades the governments know that millions of people are dying due to tobacco

use in all parts of the world. They are also endangering the life of other people.
The sluggish manner in which governments are dealing with the problem of
tobacco use is not only a direct reflection on their ‘efficiency’ but also a solid
proof of lack of their moral commitment.

Passing laws alone does not serve any purpose. The World Health Organization
has rightly insisted on strict enforcement. The WHO has also asked for
enforcement of a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising. The WHO has also
urged local governments to raise taxes on tobacco products.

Rahman has stated that governments hesitate doing this, fearing loss of revenue
due to a drop in sale of tobacco products. He has pointed out. “If you increase
tax, you can earn more revenue from tobacco industry, and at the same time
you can reduce consumption, and if consumption is reduced, you get less
diseases and you spend less to treat those diseases."

In this region - Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand - have imposed high taxes of
up to 80 percent on tobacco products.

Let us remember that South Asian and South East Asian region accounts for
nearly one quarter of the five million deaths that take place worldwide every
year due to use of tobacco.

But such steps are not all enough. Unmindful of the financial implications the use
of tobacco should be banned by all governments of the world.

The basic question is whether an ‘industry’ that kills five million persons
every year in the world should be allowed to continue at all.


Redefine HRD as
Human Relations Development

Managing man-power

If we want to do something, we need the time, money and manpower for it.
Without organizing these three, we cannot do anything.

The time is an infinite flow. Here we refer to a given length of time necessary to
complete a work. When we want to organize and manage a project, we calculate
the time needed for it. Suppose a bridge has to be constructed. Based on
experience and availability of other resources, we estimate the time it would
take, say, two years. Based on our calculations, we recruit say, a hundred
persons. Each person works eight hours daily. Management of time of the
individuals and that of the project are inter-related. The time factor becomes
part of the human factor.

The money is a transformation of human energy over a period. Management of
money is thus a specialization of man-power management.

The idea is not to belittle the significance of management of time and money or
to refute their claims as distinct specialties. My intention here is to analyze the
scope for the improvement of the definition of HRD.

There are also thinkers in this field, who classify the factors of organization as
physical resources, financial resources, information and knowledge resources,
and human resources.

Evolution of HRD

There was a time when the importance of human factor was not recognized. The
factors of Time and Money were considered very important. The organizational
managers, referred to human beings just as `hands' needed to finish a work.

From the times of slavery, we have come a long way. After several
improvements, it became `Personnel Management' and then has attained the
present form `Human Resource Development'.

Still, the definition of the management of the human factor in the organizational
scheme of things has not become perfect.

It is true that now by Human Resource Development we mean the proper
management of the human factor. We do recognize the needs of development of
human being and corresponding obligations of the organization. However, we
still commit the mistake of equating the human factor to other factors like time
and money.

Present definition of HRD is: Human Resource Development is helping
employees develop their skills, knowledge, and abilities. It does include
providing opportunities for training, career development, improvement
of standard of living and so on.

All aspects of Human Resource Development focus on developing a more
efficient workforce, capable of serving the organization and the customer in a
better manner.
William R. Tracey defines human resources, "The people that staff and operate
an organization"; as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an
Human Resource Development includes the organizational function that deals
with the human beings and matters like compensation, hiring, performance
management, and training. Each person in the organization is a Human
Don McIntosh differentiates Human Resource Management (HRM) and Human
Resource Development (HRD). He concludes, "In practical terms, the core
practice of HRD consists of two major areas of activity: training and
development, and organizational development."

It is a matter of general acceptance that the goal of HRD is improvement of the
performance of the organization by maximizing the efficiency and performance
of people. That is, HRD represents efforts to develop knowledge and skills,
actions and standards, motivation, incentives, attitudes and work environment
of human factor in an organization.

Need for Change in understanding HRD

Firstly, there seems to be no need or possibility for improving the term Human.
We have eliminated the indignity attached to the workers and restored the
dignity by having adopted this word `Human'.

Secondly, the term Development also perfectly suits. The term Development
ensures that the human factor is not to be slighted. It has to be valued,
preserved and improved.

There cannot be two opinions that the focus is on the project completion and so
on organizational efficiency. If the term Development is linked with
organizational development and secondarily, with individual (human)
development as a means for it, it is understandable. The human development

here can be designed and drawn only on the larger canvas of organizational

Thirdly, when we analyze the term Resource, we see a lacuna. Other factors, like
money and machines are capital resources. The Oxford Dictionary describes the
word `Resource', "an expedient or device; the means available to achieve an
end; a stock or supply that can be drawn on; available assets" and so on.

A resource is something material, capable of being improved but without
volition. A human being is much more than that.

It is true that a human being can also be improved. For this, the cooperation of
the human being is important. Teachers improve students, only by interacting
with them. Not by chiseling or polishing them in the workshop.

For an individual, his or her ability to sing or dance may be a resource. That
ability or talent is the individual's resource and only by his own efforts, he can
improve them or spoil them. In an organizational context also, this is very

The organization influences the human being first and then his resources. If the
organization takes efforts to improve the employee's resources, it cannot do so
on its own, without the involvement and cooperation of the employee. Such
involvement and cooperation could be gained only by improved relations with
him or her.

While other resources do not admit of any possibility of interaction or
relationship, human beings are influenced only by that; and not by anything
When we use the word `Resource' it sounds somewhat impersonal and distant.
We need a word that would indicate closeness, friendliness and mutual well
As such, it should be Human Relations Development and not Human Resources
Development. The acronym remains the same. However, for the HRD
practitioners, such a revised perspective would mean a lot. It would go a long
way in strengthening unity among the people working in the organization.

A new definition of HRD

I have attempted to draw a revised definition of HRD as follows for kind
appraisal by our learned brethren in the great field of HRD.

Human Relations Development (HRD) is systematic understanding of
the physical and mental conditions of employee(s), including their
potentials. It includes helping them develop their skills, knowledge, and
abilities by bringing about better relations with them and by enabling
them to take advantage of suitable opportunities for training, career
development, improvement of standard of living and so on, in
consonance with the organizational objectives.

K S Venkataraman is the associate editor of Dynamic Youth online magazine. He
could be reached through e-mail:

Some of the Responses

A practical approach the HR Management: Every organization large or small
should identify the existing skills and knowledge of their employees and identify
the areas improvements required for imparting them training and make them
perform better for the organization goal. It is important the means used in
achieving this training, that is where the relations matters. So in true sense, it
becomes Human Relations Management or Development whatsoever.

M.S.Lalkumar, Head/VP/GM-HR, Gulf Consolidated Contractors


Nice article, Sir!
Ravi Shanker Vardhiparthi

• Group: Human Resources Professionals Worldwide
• Subject: New comment (1) on "Redefine HRD: Human Relations
Good article. It's important for us to drill down to the meaning of the names we
attach to things on a regular basis and question whether they signify what we
want them to.

Posted by Anna DeBattiste


• Group: H.R. Professionals
• Subject: New comment (2) on "Redefine HRD"

The present turbulent time and the redefined analyzed meaning of 'HRD' appears
to be appropriate for today's time and it will continue to evolve with the passage
of time and understanding of 'human being' as such. Since evolution of
community /society, it is the wants and desire on which business or avocation
has come up so it is dynamic with the changing time and knowledge of 'Human
Being' of a community. It is thought provoking very good article and needs
changing processes for implementation of this idea.

Thanks & regards
Prakash Tripathi

Posted by Prakash Tripathi

International Women’s Day

Women’s Day Rally in Iran

That country and that nation which do not respect women have never become
great, nor will ever be in future.
Swami Vivekananda

Good and Bad together!

The ancient Indian society gave a very high place to its women. There have been
women rishis like Maitreyi and Gargi, who have blessed the humankind with
their discoveries and mantras. Many women scholars have decorated renowned
vidwat sabhas.

The religious path Saktam declares that the Absolute Reality is in fact Parasakti,
a female form. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "In India the mother is the
center of the family and our highest ideal. She is to us the representative of
God, as God is the mother of the universe. It was a female sage who first found
the unity of God, and laid down this doctrine in one of the first hymns of the
Vedas. Our God is both personal and absolute; the absolute is male, the
personal, female. And thus it comes that we now say: ’The first manifestation of
God is the hand that rocks the cradle’."

But then, neither India nor any other part of the world can claim perfection in its
dealings with women. The subjugation of women has been a reality and the
history is full of accounts of seriously condemnable treatment of women by the
people in general. The blemishes like concremation (practice of sati) have
marred the prestige of Indian way of life. It is surprising but true that along with
noble attitude towards Motherhood exists a base criminal behavior towards
women. Referring to this anomaly, Swami Vivekananda said, “It is very difficult

to understand why in this country [India] so much difference is made between
men and women, whereas the Vedanta declares that one and the same
conscious Self is present in all beings. You always criticize the women, but say
what have you done for their uplift? Writing down Smritis etc., and binding them
by hard rules, the men have turned the women into manufacturing machines! If
you do not raise the women, who are living embodiment of the Divine Mother,
don’t think that you have any other way to rise.”

World cannot improve leaving women behind

Many great leaders have unequivocally declared that if women are not treated
with proper respect, that society cannot escape from downfall. Swami
Vivekananda said, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the
condition of women is improved."

At the global level the condition of women has to improve quite a lot. Though
women constitute more than 50% of the population, their share in political and
economic fields has been very low. It is good news that according to the Inter-
Parliamentary Union (IPU) statistics, from 1945 to 1995 the percentage of
women MPs worldwide has increased four-fold. But still, they lag behind
considerably in developing countries, especially in aboriginal tribes.

Atrocities galore!

According to the Red Cross more than half a million women die every year
because of complications connected with pregnancy and childbirth. They have
identified ten countries where this pathetic situation is very bad due to the
absence of health facilities, and armed conflicts. These countries include
Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Another despicable situation is the incidence of rape of women. Rape is not
merely a physical assault. It is a crime against the honor and self prestige of the
woman concerned. It reduces her to a subhuman condition and leaves her with
serious mental injuries and scars for the rest of her life. Rape is a crime that
cannot be thought of with any extenuating circumstance and is usually
committed with arrogance. According to the United Nations women become
victims of this cruelty in all parts of the world, especially in the territories like
eastern Congo; where for every rape reported 10 to 20 go unreported! There is
no mechanism to punish the offenders and the victims are forced to grin and
bear it.

Women’s Day: Themes

Realizing the importance of taking special steps to make gender equality a
reality all over the world, the German Socialist leader Clara Zetkin declared in
1910 at a conference in Copenhagen International Women’s Day as a day of
solidarity. This marked women’s fight for equal rights. The United Nations
recognized the Women’s Day in 1975, which was the International Women’s

The global themes adopted for the celebration of women’s days in the following
years were:

1996 Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
1997 Women at the Peace Table
1998 Women and Human Rights
1999 World Free of Violence against Women
2000 Women Uniting for Peace
2001 Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
2002 Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
2003 Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
2004 Women and HIV/AIDS
2005 Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
2006 Women in decision-making
2007 Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
2008 Investing in Women and Girls

The global theme for Women’s Day, 2009 as announced by the United Nations

Women and men united to end violence against women and girls

Women’s Day 2009

This year also the International Women’s Day was celebrated with much
enthusiasm. Pope Benedict XVI conveyed his blessings and said that he had
been reflecting on the condition of women and praying that they can live with
respect and dignity.

Marking the Women’s Day 2009, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
stressed that the world leaders should end violence against women in their
countries. He said, "Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in
any context, in any circumstances, by any political leader or by any
government…Violence against women is an abomination. I'd like to call it a crime
against humanity."

Afghanistan is a country where women have seen the worst and been treated
cruelly like slaves, without any scope for their development. Though some
improvement has taken place, still there is a long way to go. It was heartening
that even in Afghanistan the Women’s Day was celebrated and the President
Hamid Karzai addressed Afghan women at a gymnasium. Women attended the
function in large numbers.

In Liberia, on International Women’s Day, a
clarion call was given by an august assembly of
women, including two Heads of State, for
attaining ‘equal rights for half the world’s
population. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the
President of Liberia and Africa’s first female
head of state, welcomed the gathering of more
than 400 political and business leaders and
praised them, "You motivate us, you inspire us,
you encourage us to continue."

In Liberia, ravaged by military coup d’etat and
civil wars, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is able to rule
like a mother would manage her children. Quite
appropriately Tarja Holonen of Finland pointed
out, that women could heal war wounds. They
can play ‘a positive role in conflict resolution;
and reconciliation in post war is very vital. This country Liberia is a good
example of that’. Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean, originally a
Haitian refugee, fittingly asserted that women were the best guarantors of

Bangladeshi girls celebrate Women’s

The celebration of Women’s Day in many
countries with a lot of enthusiasm augurs well. We can say that a sort of

awakening is taking place. The present position of women is far from
satisfactory. Women aspiring to become leaders still face a number of hurdles on
their way. It has been estimated that women do two thirds of work in the world,
receiving only 10% of the world’s income! More than half of the world’s
population (women) own only 1% of land in this world! All these facts show that
there is a big gap between men and women, to the disadvantage of women. In
the matters of income, position, freedom, opportunities, and power, women are
deliberately pushed behind.

The awareness created on Women’s Day should last for ever and spur us to
remove the disparities and ensure justice to women. This is not just a
ceremonious celebration of a given day.

Let us all work together towards the noble objective of Gender Equality and
ensure fairness to the fair sex.


Deliver Kamban to Posterity: Sivakumar

The Ramayana is a rich epic full of
drama, emotions and characters. I
have been studying the 10569
verses for a year out of which I
chose 100 which summarized the
entire story up to the
Pattabhishekam. I wanted to make
it accessible for the next
generation and cultivate their
interest in it.

Veteran Actor: Sivakumar

Kamba Ramayanam is a Tamil epic. It was written by Kavichakravarthi Kamban
during the 9th century. Running to 10,368 verses of four lines each, it describes
the life of Lord Rama. The original work is in Sanskrit called Valmiki Ramayana.
About this great work, V V S Aiyar, in his work ‘Kamba Ramayanam: A Study in
English’ says:

It is not easy to convince the literary world at this late hour of the day that
there is, unsuspected by the greater part of it, a Tamil poet who is worthy to
take rank with the greatest names in literature. It is, however, my purpose in
this book to make an attempt to prove that in the Ramayana of Kamban the
world possesses an epic which can challenge comparison not merely with the
'Iliad' and the 'Aeneid', the 'Paradise Lost' and the 'Mahabharata', but with
its original itself, namely, the 'Ramayana' of Valmiki. This is not the language
of mere patriotic enthusiasm. It is an opinion that has grown slowly with the
years and after deep and careful study. And I hope to make the impartial
reader rise from the study of this monograph with a conviction of the truth of
my contention and with a desire to know more of the poet than what he will see
exhibited within the pages of this volume...I spoke of Valmiki's work as the
original of Kamban's Ramayana. But Kamban has not translated Valmiki. He has
merely taken the story immortalized by the Aryan sage and, though he has
followed it closely enough in all its details, has written an entirely original
poem. Bentley said of Pope's Iliad', 'It is a pretty poem, but you must not call
it Homer.' Of Kamban's Ramayana we should say reversing the language, it is
not Valmiki Ramayana, but it is a grander poem.

The Kamba Ramayanam is such a great literary work that it is an invaluable gem
in the cultural wealth of India.

The greatness of the Kamba Ramayana lies in its literary grandeur and rich
content. Its relevance transcends any time frame or geographical boundaries. It
is a global asset.

The veteran actor Sivakumar has studied the Kamba Ramayana in depth;
selected 100 verses to build a cogent narration and delivered a commentary on
those verses to the students of Erode-Thindal Vellalar Women’s College,
Coimbatore. The audience included, apart from 5000 students, many
researchers and Tamil scholars. The time taken by him for this was two hours
and five minutes! And he gave the lecture extemporaneously!

Explaining this noble effort, Sivakumar has said:

The Ramayana is a rich epic full of drama, emotions and characters. Kamban’s
Ramayana fascinated me with its beautiful poetry and rich vocabulary. I have
been studying the 10569 verses for a year out of which I chose 100 which
summarized the entire story up to the Pattabhishekam. I wanted to make it
accessible for the next generation and cultivate their interest in it.”

Sivakumar presented with modern connotations in simple language, highlighting
the relevance of the work and creating interest in the minds of young listeners.
He has already published a book ‘Kambhan en kadhalan’. According to
Sivakumar, the culture infused in our scriptures is very much alive in our day-to-
day life and the youth have to be made conscious of our rich heritage. His
message to the Youth is:

We were born in an era of inspirational leaders like Gandhi. The world was a
simpler place with a stress on high values in life. Today’s youth are intelligent,
sharp, sensitive and hard-working and have access to every type of
entertainment and technology. So temptations which can lead them astray have
also increased. In such a scenario, retaining virtue is getting more and more
difficult. An insight into our great epics will help in bringing back some of
these virtues and values into our lives. This is an attempt in that direction.

Sivakumar has been very practical in this effort. As a veteran actor and versatile
artist he is fully competent to accomplish this task. When it comes to personal
values, he is a model by himself. In fact while speaking in a college function, he
I have acted with 85 heroines and tied the holy knot more than 150 times. But
I live with only one wife. Had I wished, I could have loved at least 50 girls. I

did not have any vices when I was acting in films. You should also be virtuous
like me. You should love with wholeheartedness not for physical pleasures. You
should love for five years and marry with parent’s approval. Do not forget the
parents who struggled for you, when you get a job. English is necessary for
one’s life and job but at the same time don’t forget your mother tongue Tamil.
Don’t forget Tamil and love for your country when you go abroad.

The idea of selective presentation of the verses of the Kamba Ramayanam to our
youngsters is simply excellent. Sivakumar is a very talented artist; whatever he
does, we may be sure of perfection in it. He can definitely kindle interest in the
minds of our youth not only about the Kamba Ramayana but about the
greatness of Indian cultural heritage.

Actor Sivakumar richly deserves appreciation for his noble efforts to propagate
the ideas of the Kamba Ramayana among the students.


K S Venkataraman is Associate Editor, Dynamic Youth Online Magazine. His e-
Dynamic Youth is freely viewable in

About the Author

K S Venkataraman is a Master of Arts in Political Science. He has post graduate
diplomas in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, Book Publishing and
Technical Writing. He is a Yoga master with vast experience in Training and
Development. He lives in Chennai. Presently he is Associate Editor, Dynamic
Youth Online Magazine. He is actively engaged in research and publishing
activities, especially in the subjects related with Global Youth Development. He
may be reached through e-mail: