Dipa Karmakar: The flat footed gymnast

By Juliana Pasker

 

Dipa was born with flat feet – not a good physical sign for a gymnast.

She was born in Tripura, one of the poorest states in India. 

But what she lacked in facilities and how life turned out to be, she made up for in sheer determination and grit. Standing at just 4 feet 11 inches, the 23-year-old, pocket-sized gymnast is a powerhouse dynamo. 

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Dipa Karmakar, born 9 August 1993 is an artistic gymnast, who represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is the first bengali as well as Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics, and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years. She attained 4th position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics event of Rio Olympics 2016 with an overall score of 15.066. She is recipient of Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India.

Karmakar, hailing from Agartala in Tripura started practicing gymnastics when she was 6 years old and has been coached by Soma Nandi & Bisweshwar Nandi since. She was flat-footed, and that was the first thing her lifetime coach Biswaswar Nandi noticed when she came to train with him. If caught early, flat feet can be fixed by increasing the curve of the feet.

Flat feet are an inherent disadvantage for gymnasts. It affects their jumps and landings, and her coach and Dipa worked really hard to fix it.

Because she trained in Tripura, her training grounds would occasionally get flooded.

Add to it the difficulty in getting funds for training and maintaining top-notch health without any recognition whatsoever. It is worthwhile remembering that Dipa was almost unknown in India until she qualified for Olympics. 

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Karmakar is one of the only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova, which is regarded as the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Gymnastics Championships and finished fifth at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, both firsts for our country.

SUNIL CHHETRI- 4TH highest active international scorer

By Juliana Pasker

 

Sunil Chhetri is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Indian club Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team. He is both the most-capped player, and all-time top goalscorer for the India national team, with 54 goals in 94 appearances. He is also the current captain of the national team. 

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Sunil Chhetri became the fourth highest goal scorer for their nation among active players. With the 54th goal in his bucket against the Kyrgyz Republic, Sunil Chhetri surpassed England’s star player Wayne Rooney.

It also seats him fourth from the top among the active scorers in the highest international goalscorers’ list. He is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo (73 in 139 matches), Lionel Messi in (58 in 118 matches) and American Clint Dempsey (56 in 134 matches) in the overall tally. Ronaldo, Messi and Dempsey chalk up a 0.49, 0.42 and 0.45 strike rate while Chhetri’s more efficient boots bring him a 0.57 goal to match ratio.

There are only three players ahead of him – Neymar Junior (0.68, Brazil), Ali Ashfaq (0.68, Maldives) and Edin Dzeko (0.63, Bosnia) – when it comes to scoring rate.

Needless to say, he is the country’s highest international goal scorer, having overtaken Bhaichung Bhutia’s 43 scalps back in 2013. It is only a matter of time that Chhetri, who is six short of a century of appearances for his country will edge past Bhutia’s 109 India caps as well. 

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He has expressed his desire to participate in the 2019 Asian Cup to be held in the UAE, should his country qualify.

Chhetri’s goal against Kyrgyzstan in Bangalore not only helped India win the crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifier in Bangalore but also increased his greatness quotient for the cricket-crazy country. This comes as another encouraging news for Indian football. Under coach Stephen Constantine, India have rapidly improved their FIFA rankings to stand in the top 100 for the first time in 21 years.

Center for Learning and Social Responsibility: Education Above Social Class

By Juliana Pasker

 

In life, the odds are against you if you’re from a village or an urban slum, if you haven’t been to an English-medium school, and if your parents don’t have a high school education. Less than 3% of the engineering and business school intake is from rural schools.  Poonam Gupta defied all odds and made it to IIT Kharagpur in 2012 and is now the CEO and co founder of Alive Home Technologies to revolutionise the smart home space in India. 

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Alive Home Technologies is an IoT based startup system. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. 

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Poonam Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Alive Home Technologies.

Her family lives in Delhi’s Geeta Colony, six individuals sharing a solitary room. Gupta studied at the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, a school for talented students run by the Delhi government. Her family didn’t trust she could crack the JEE, and neighbors disclosed to them she ought to simply get married. Be that as it may, Poonam made it to IIT Kharagpur in 2012, on account of the time, and instructions and training she found at the Center for Learning and Social Responsibility (CSRL) Super 30 in Delhi.

Super 30 is an initiative started in Patna in 2002, it picks 30 smart students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and strenuously trains them for the joint entrance exams (JEE Main and Advanced) to IIT and other engineering schools. The original Super 30 has split into two; the school run by Anand Kumar continues to work out of one site in Patna, and posts record victories. Meanwhile, the branch under retired IPS officer Abhayanand has sprouted many others, like the Rahmani Super 30 meant for Muslim students. It has also partnered with public sector units across the country under the canopy of the Centre for Social Responsibility and Learning (CSRL). There’s a GAIL Super 30 in Kanpur, a Petronet Super 40 in Kashmir, a Railtel Akanksha Super 30 in Uttarakhand. Now, with 13 centres across the country, it has helped 550 students make it to various IITs, central and state engineering institutes in the last seven years, says CSRL director S K Shahi.

The majority of these students are a first in their families. None of them have the home condition, schools and educational cost, or even recreation that middle class students underestimate. Aside from a determined few, a large portion of them didn’t dream of IIT. But once they get in, they motivate others around them to do likewise. 

 

If education is to convey genuine change, as opposed to only recreate social hierarchy, these endeavors are indispensable. Also, a more diverse classroom improves learning, for everybody.

PARADISE GONE WRONG

By Aspriha Mandal

 

Imagine going on a vacation to unwind and get away from life, to cool down a bit and then finding yourself in middle of chaotic state turmoil, can certainly change everything. Being stuck in a picturesque place can be certainly good but not when it’s on boil. 

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West Bengals northern town Darjeeling which is famous for its tea and toy train is in sate of turmoil. In the recent past the situation in the hill station has been favourable for the tourism industry especially since 2013 – with the Morcha refraining from calling flash strikes and long shutdowns. 10,000 to 15,000 tourist stuck there compelled to State Government to call in  the Army  when the clash between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters with police went out of hand

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Paramilitary forces deployed on the streets of Darjeeling. Picture Courtesy : HT

However since 111th morning life was returning to normalcy in West Bengal’s troubled Darjeeling hills as no fresh violence was reported on Sunday, but uncertainty prevailed as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called an indefinite shutdown from Monday.

Many tourists, who were stuck in the picturesque tourist town, reached Kolkata on Sunday heaving a sigh of relief after tense few days in the hills.

The West Bengal government has arranged buses to ferry the tourists free of cost from Sealdah station of Kolkata to their homes.

However this experience will remain the most bitter and fearful  memorable vacation for those who found themselves in that unforeseen and unfortunate turn events. Many tourists were forced to take the streets when all the hotels went for a bandh.Once again humanity proved that even in the middle of violence there is bit of humanity left when the locals helped them by providing food to those stranded.

Representatives of the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association said they would try their best to help tourists with the support of the administration.

After the Morcha’s call, tourists began making hurried arrangements for returning home, either by rail or road or air. Lines outside ATMs lengthened for the tourist.

However people are only hoping for things to calm down and Darjeeling becomes like before. A town where memories are created out of emotions and beauty .

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WHY IS IT RUNNING AWAY FROM RE-EVALUATION?

By Aspriha Mandal

 

It is no surprise that CBSE has made it to the Nationl News head lines once again. After delaying the results by a week because 0of the moderation row ,it has some new and not-so pleasant suprises in store for its students-this year,CBSE will not allow any rechecking of answer sheets

Following petitions from the 18 students, the Orissa high court on June 7 had asked the CBSE to re-evaluate their answer sheets and inform them about their result by Saturday.

But the way CBSE went about executing the HC’s order left the students rattled. While the order was delivered on Wednesday, it was only on Friday evening when the students started getting phone calls from officials in CBSE’s Bhubaneswar office, who asked them to check their emails and inform the Board about 10 answers from each paper they wanted reevaluated. The deadline for this was 11.59 pm on Friday and some students got barely a couple of hours to finish the exercise. The emails sent to the students included photocopies of their answer sheets and a form in which they had to specify the answers they wanted to be re-examined.

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Initially some students thought the calls were hoax, but their nightmare started once they opened their mails..

They were required to download the form, scan and then upload the same and send it to the CBSE office. With most cyber cafes shut, students could reach the CBSE office only on Saturday morning to physically submit their documents. The board authorities did accept the forms, but by then many parents were a nervous wreck by then.

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After all it was a matter concerning the future of the students which is not something one should tamper with in a casual way.

It also created problems for those who were out of state at that point of time  and had to rush back immediately .

CBSE is certanly denying the rights of the student ,the board is certain to be percieved as more undemocratic by children .The high satkes nature of 12th standard marks makes all the more harsh for students.

Ritesh Agarwal : The man behind Oyo Rooms

By Juliana Pasker
A college dropout, who once needed to sit for a engineering exam, Ritesh today heads among the most important start-up by a man who never studied past school.

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Ritesh Agarwal

Agarwal comes from Bissamcuttack, a small town south of Odisha, a region known to teem with Naxalite activity.
He even sold sim cards to survive; perplexed his well off family would end his entrepreneurial dreams and summon him back home to Odisha in the event that they was aware of his battles. He did enroll for the University of London’s International Programme provided by the Indian School of Business and Finance, Delhi – “to keep my parents happy.” But most of his time went into attending entrepreneurship events and traveling to research his business idea.
His education came from something else: the Thiel fellowship for under-20 entrepreneurs. It was started by PayPal founder Peter Thiel for young businesspeople.
Ritesh started his entrepreneurial journey when he was 17 years old. He dropped out of college and launched his first start‐up Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd. in the year 2012. Oravel was designed as a platform to enable listing and booking of budget accommodation. Being an avid traveler, he soon realized that the budget hospitality sector lacked predictability. Therefore, he pivoted Oravel to OYO Rooms in 2013 with the key proposition of offering affordable and standardized accommodation.download.png
Ritesh Agarwal is one of the youngest millionaire from India’s blasting startup group. He is the founder and CEO of OYO(On Your Own) Rooms, a system of budget hotels and accomodation alternatives. OYO rooms is the nation’s biggest budget hotel network with around 50,000 rooms in 500 inns all over India. Oyo doesn’t possess hotels, rather, it ties up with specific hotels and gets a few rooms to be offered out to individuals who need to benefit OYO administrations. It focuses on standardizing the hotels in the non-branded hospitality sector. Oyo rooms is an extremely effective venture as it has figured out how to unravel the issue of reasonableness, cleanliness and accessibility of budget hotels over all Level I and Level II cities in the nation.

Apart from an entrepreneur, he is an author, a coder and a great orator. At a young age, his book- A complete Encyclopaedia of top 100 engineering colleges, was published and soon became a best seller. Agarwal started coding at the tender age of 8 and at the age of 16, he got a chance to be one of the 240 students who were a part of an Asian camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He was the youngest speaker in the panel of Think EDU panel,2014 and is a constant at VCCircle events.

 

Chitrangada open shelter

By Karen Chung

Chitrangada was established in 2012 as a 24*7 open shelter by a much older society, Soul(since 1985). It aims at protecting and emancipating the socially neglected girl child, arming them to not only enter the mainstream society seamlessly but also contribute to it in the future.

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The children with their coordinator,Ms.Saha

They currently house 22 girls aged between 7-15 years. An interview with one of the caretakers, Miss Saha gives us a closer view into the problems they face.

Even after being government approved, they aren’t necessarily government supported. Miss Saha says they’ve been struggling due to negligence from the Government and the last time they received funds was over a year ago.

Due to lack of funds, she spends her personal savings which isn’t enough to fully support the needs of the 22 girls. She says she often loans from the market vendors and cannot afford buying meat or milk for the younger girls.

To take better care of them, she requested Government help through an NGO forum but the letter was never passed along.
Hence any contribution is much sought.

“Giving has never made anyone poor.”

For further information or donations please feel free to get in touch with the following:

Arabinda Basu : Mob:+ 91-9836121760
Email – arabindabasu123@gmail.com

Prabal Sarkar: +91-9433429247

Sumedha Basu: +91-9811708709
Email – enabasu@gmail.com

Pratham – where learning comes first

By Karen Chung

 

Established in 1995 to provide education to children in the slums of Mumbai, Pratham has grown both in scope and geographical coverage. It now operates in 23 Indian states with a staggering reach of over 4.5 million.

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Their logo
Pratham means ‘first’ in Sanskrit. True to its name, it is the first major organization to achieve lasting, wide-scale success in India’s educational landscape.IMG-20170608-WA0006
It’s motto lies in providing high quality, low cost and replicable interventions that can be easily adopted by similar organizations to address gaps in the education system.

A focus on innovation, their strategies reconfigure teaching methodologies, break down traditional tactics, and challenge the current rote learning mechanisms in schools.

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Children acknowledging donation of books by Pratham

To know more, visit their official site:

It’s a dog’s life!

By Deepshikha De

 

Anushka Dasgupta and Avantika Simone Sen started an organization called ’It’s a dog’s life’ in October 2013, it’s an NGO that helps our four legged friends, especially those who have no home and no one to take care of them. Here is what I discovered on a tete-a-tate with Anushka, given below is the interview conducted.

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Founders, Avantika Simone Sen (left) and Anushka Dasgupta

Question: What lead you to start this organization?

Anushka: We started this organization back in 2013 when a lot of stray puppies surfaced in our locality in Tangra. We could barely take care of our initial litter of 6! Once 20+ dogs were added to that figure, we had to figure out a more ingenuous way of raising funds. So we created a Facebook page called ’It’s a Dog’s Life’ and that was how IADL was born.

Question: Are these puppies all stray dogs?

Anushka: All the animals we take care of are stray dogs/pups and sometimes stray cats, if and when they need help.

Question: How many puppies are under your organization?

Anushka: As of now we regularly take care of around 30 dogs and over the past 4 years, we’ve vaccinated, sterilised and provided medical care to approximately 400 + dogs.

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It’s a Dog’s life also provides medical care to stray dogs

Question: Do you pick up any stray puppy?

Anushka: We don’t have a shelter so we try to provide medical care on the streets itself, we try not to bring these animals home unless absolutely necessary. If they’re very unwell, seriously injured, need surgery/proper medicinal care then we send them to Love and Care Hospital for Animals in Behala and cover the cost for the same.

Question: Are these puppies allowed to be adopted?

Anushka: Yes, we actively encourage adopting stray puppies and kittens, we’ve gotten 5-8 cats adopted in the past, and a few pups as well.

Question: How do you raise funds?

Anushka: We raise our funds through the Facebook page, people inbox us and we collect their donations. We also have a donation box at Thek café in Ruby.

Question: How many breeds of puppies do you have? Do you name them, can you give some examples please?

Anushka: We are breed blind, we take care of any dog in need of help. We have quite a mixture of names. For example-Neckpiece, Nameless, Shiba, Kelo, Brownie, Jimmy, Chhutki, etc.

Question: What food is given to the dogs?

Anushka: The food we give to our regular dogs is rice and chicken.

Question: What about sick puppies? Do you contact vets regularly?

Anushka: For sick puppies, we usually treat them with our medicinal experience if we can. Otherwise we call a vet and then follow his/her instructions. If sustained medical care is required, the dog is sent to the hospital.

Question: What plans for the future?

Answer: In the near future we plan to raise funds for sterilising more dogs on CIT road and near Sudder road and also for vaccinating more strays against Rabies this year.

Dogs are man’s best friend. They will never betray you and will always be faithful to you, no matter what. If you want to help these beautiful, loyal four legged bundles of joy, please follow Anushka Das on her FaceBook Page ’It’s a Dog’s life.’
Here is the link to her page:
 https://www.facebook.com/pg/dogredeemers/photos/?ref=page_internal

 

Policy: Planet First

By Dipti Jha

On June 1, 2017 the President of the United States of America Donald Trump, announced the that the U.S.A would conclude all participation in the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that was signed between China, Germany, India, Japan and 190 other countries which had also included the United States of America up until the 1st of this month. The President also stated that he was still open to negotiating for “a better deal.”

President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement has caused much international outrage with France, Germany and Italy stating in unequivocal terms that “the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.maxresdefault

Following his decision to exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Donald Trump has been on the receiving end of much critique from both American leaders and the regular American citizens as well. Elon Musk,the founder of Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX, who also served on a number of advisory councils for CEO’s at the White House, proclaimed his decision of “departing presidential councils.” He added, “Climate Change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.” Following the same line of protest, Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, said “as a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the Paris Agreement withdrawal.”

The reaction from the regular American citizens with regard to the President’s decision has also been incendiary, and people in New York City came out in large numbers for an organised Climate March vowing to honour America’s role in the Paris Agreement, despite the President’s decision.Screenshot (15)

While President Trump may deem the United States’ withdrawal beneficial for the American fossil fuel industry, he cannot remain deluded about the fact that this withdrawal threatens to isolate America so far as global coalition is concerned as other world leaders have made it very clear that they remain committed to their respective parts in the Paris Agreement. However, the USA’s decision will have dire global impact.

For one, it will cause an obvious slowdown in the fight against global warming and climate change; public health will be affected as a result of a dearth in clean energy resources. This will invariably fuel global exasperation and resentment against the United States’ decision.

Moreover, the President’s decision potentially jeopardizes the American economy for, by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, America is sending out a clear message to clean energy companies that they should locate their business elsewhere.

Other world leaders however, have chosen not to remain oblivious to the reality that is climate change and are trying to economically leverage and explore their domestic markets for clean energy resources. India has committed to selling only electric cars by 2030 while China and Europe are already vying for leadership role on clean energy.

In a world, where we are trying to fight global warming and climate change every day, in a world where we need to step up for our planet, and compensate for the immense destruction we’ve already caused to it, no nation, no leader, can dodge their moral responsibility by adopting a ‘my nation first’ policy. And if they do, other nations, other leaders must realise the more significant and proportionate role they have to fulfill and adopt a ‘my planet first’ policy by all means.