ABOUT 20 minutes by road from Puri, in Orissa, lies a village called Raghurajpur, surrounded by thick groves of coconut palm trees. All the houses in the village run parallel to the banks of the Bhargabi river. This village is India’s only village where everybody is an artist. It is home to more than 300 artisans who practice various traditional art forms coming over generations. These artists live in each of the 100 or so painted, yet modest, houses that face one another. The lane is entirely occupied by the series of temples dedicated to local deities.
The chitrakars(painters) from Raghurajpur is famous for their brightly colored mythological stories about Lord Jagannath and other deities. It’s the most significant contribution of India’s cultural heritage is the Pattachitra painting. The famous painting Pattachitra comprises of two words- patta(canvas) and Chitra(picture), is a spectacular art form that Raghurajpur have for us. These paintings are made over a piece of cloth known as patta or dried palm leaf. It was originated in the 12th century. According to an artist, Pattachitras belong to the tradition of temple paintings which were used as decorative artefacts to adorn the sanctum sanctorum of temples. He further added that some artists, who are into mass production for commercial purposes, also employ stencils but that doesn’t affect the quality of work. These paintings are supposed to be painted with natural colours.
Today, in addition to patachitra, Raghurajpur can claim to produce some of the most beautiful works in palm-leaf painting and etching, wood carving, papier-mache sculptures and stone carving.
Poor children living in slum areas are rarely seen by anyone. These economically poor class are unfortunate enough to have two meals a day. It would be totally unfair to think of studying in this worst situation. Such poor children are encouraged to study and join the Indian Air Force by martyr’s squadron leader Shishir Tiwari’s family. On his son’s first death anniversary, he took the responsibility of giving a new direction to the society. Last year, on 6th October martyr Shishir’s family selected about 100 slum children living in the Yamuna Khaddar area of Delhi. Now, they are being taught in English medium.
Squadron leader Shishir Tiwari of Indian Air Force was carrying some important stuff from a helicopter for the soldiers who were on duty at China border on 6th October 2017. In the middle of the journey, his helicopter got crashed and Shishir Tiwari martyred. His family resides at Amba Residency Society in Indirapuram. His father, Sharad Tiwari has opened a trust named, “Martyr Squadron Leader Shishir Tiwari Charitable Trust” under which these children are given free education.
Along with the studies, the trust also focuses on extracurricular activities of children and gives regular training in dance, painting and yoga to develop them in a wider way. “Studying all the time will make the children bore. So, it’s necessary for them to engage in other activities along with their studies”, said Sharad Tiwari. These children are also provided by copy, pen and other essentials needed for their studies. Their well-wishers and relatives are also helping them in this good work.
“ I am ready to serve the country and for this, I am preparing to join the Air Force. My relatives are also accompanying me in this great work”, said Prakriti Tiwari, wife of Martyr Shishir Tiwari. Sharad Tiwari himself has served the country while working in the Air Force. He feels proud that his son is martyred while serving the country. He wants these slum children to go to the army and serve the country. For this, they are working to increase the morale of the children.
Dhenkanal, a district which is nearly 80kms away from Bhubaneswar is surrounded by beautiful wild lives and forests but the residents of Dhenkanal is facing numerous problems including open garbage bins, coverless manholes, lack of sanitation, etc. Flies and mosquitoes are providing with some ambient humming every day due to which people are suffering from dengue. Besides, the water clogging near the main vegetable market is also a concern.
People eating fruits and vegetables of this place are falling ill. When people head out, they are bound to be affected by the uncleanliness around them and fall ill, especially the vendors and grocers. “We don’t have a proper drainage system. It was the recent rains that have made us realise our plight after a public works department channel full of sewage overflowed and the water has entered our shops”, the shopkeeper said.” “Proper drainage system comes under the jurisdiction of municipality and PWD. They have already asked the municipality chairperson to solve the issues and construct a new drain. However, it will take some time depending on the allotment of funds and nature of work”, says sub-collector.
Rakesh Satpathy, at his ‘free school for poor’ Cuttack, Odisha is imparting education to many children in the slum areas of Cuttack. He has rented a house in college square at Cuttack where he teaches these children every single day, for last 16 years. His pedagogy also involves paintings, drawings and many artistic skills that can help them to earn their livelihood so that they can be engaged and self-reliant. He was barely 20 years old when he started teaching to these slum kids. The sight of poor and illiterate kids, begging and choosing odd jobs for survival, being the victims of child labour and child abuse has made him come up with a thought of imparting free knowledge to those innocents across Cuttack.
His father had a government job but in 1992, due to some changes in the policies of the government, his job changed to the private sector. This job change led to several financial problems in the family. His salary was reduced to half. Rakesh was very keen to study science but due to lack of money, he chose to study arts in his graduation days. He used to go to coaching classes but was asked to leave the classes as he was unable to pay the fees. In order to get some money, he started working as a gardener in one of the nurseries. Since then, he wanted to do something for those kids who get deprived of the education.
After completing his education, he joined the Cambridge School as a part of his project named- “Social Service Project”. As a part of this project, he developed his idea of teaching to slum kids. Once, he saw a girl working at a restaurant who was very much interested in studies but due to several issues she was unable to go to school and study. Rakesh helped the girl to study commerce and become a Chartered Accountant. After this, he made a thought of opening a coaching centre for the slum kids where he will teach them without any disturbance. Now it has been 16 years since the coaching centre “Sambhavna” has started. He managed the funds by giving half of his salary for the schooling of these slum kids. This small initiative has grown up now. The faculty members from Ravenshaw University also visits the coaching centre and imparts free education.
According to him, “His ultimate goal is to impart free education everywhere so that nobody gets deprived of it. Knowledge is earned when you share it with others”. He has also worked as a social worker in orphanages, old age homes, etc. As hard work never goes in vain, Rakesh is getting a tremendous response from the people of the slums. Many of them are now willing to educate and send their children to study rather than employing them for odd jobs. Many have gained profit from his teaching. His aim is to revolutionize education for as many poor children as he can.
A 17-year-old girl Shivangi Pathak from Haryana made India Proud after achieving another milestone in her life. She has added another feather to her cap by scaling Africa’s highest peak, “Mount Kilimanjaro”. Completing her mountain journey from the Marangu route in just three days, she lifted an Indian flag at the top of Africa’s highest point & tallest free-standing mountain in the world that stands at an imposing 5,895m.
Inspired from Arunima Sinha, the first Indian amputee to climb Mt. Everest, Pathak has a very special message for everyone i.e. “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” which she wants to share with every individual of the country to make them aware that nothing is impossible and women can overcome every obstacle easily to achieve their goals.
With a view to sensitize and inspire women, She further says “Women can achieve anything if they desire. There is nothing that Indian Women can’t do. They are not the liability but they are the future of the country. Don’t stop on what you achieved but fight for more”.
Titled with “The eagle of Mountain”, she is also the youngest Indian to scale the world highest peak “ Mount Everest” from Nepal side. Haryana has been blatant for its skewed sex ratio and patriarchal mindset and so Shivangi wanted to blur this picture and make her hometown, Hisar & Haryana, a famous place all over the world. She has also conquered Stok Khangri, a 6,053-metre peak in Ladakh.
I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
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