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Guns everywhere

Where: The southern state of Virginia, United States April 19, 2007: April 16 began like any other at Virginia Tech college. Some hours later, it turned into the most violent day that any American college had seen so far. A student armed with two guns went on a shooting spree, killing 32 people. The gunman's bullets just did not...

Chained Inmates of an Asylum burnt to Death

August 8: In a gruesome tragedy, 26 mentally challenged persons were burnt to death in Yerwadi, Tamil Nadu. When the fire broke out, the patients, who were chained to posts, in a makeshift asylum, were unable to escape. Eleven of the patients were women. Taking serious note of the fire, the Supreme Court issued notices to the central and the...

No Begging for Merit

May 25: When Nagarathna, a beggar girl from Mysore, was preparing for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Class X) examinations, she had to beg to buy books and study under street lights. She passed the exams with flying colours and the Indian Express newspaper published her success story. After the story appeared in the paper, Nagarathna has been receiving innumerable...

The Story of Dussehra

Dussehra, also called Vijayadashmi (or Bijoya in Bengal), is the culmination of the nine-day Navaratri celebrations. It is a festival that marks the killing of Ravana, his son Meghanatha and brother Kumbhakarna, by Rama. It is seen as the vistory of good over evil The Ramayana The epic Ramayana, describes the story of Rama. Rama was the exiled prince of...

Riding into a Promising Future

October 28: In Gujarat last year, thousands of girls who passed out of primary school, were given unique gifts by the Gujarat government: bicycles to ride to secondary schools. The gifts are not meant to reward the girls for passing their examinations. They are recognised as the only way for these girls to pursue higher education in secondary school, usually...

Rediscovering a Smoke-less Diwali

Think of Diwali and firecrackers start exploding in the mind - that is how strong the association of crackers is with the festival of lights. Legend has it that on Diwali, the sound of firecrackers resounds through the universe, announcing the homecoming of Lord Rama after a long period of exile. Another legend says that people began exploding crackers to...

Francoise’s Dolls

"I did not see the face of my child: I passed into unconsciousness after her birth. My neighbours told me she was beautiful. My mother and the nurse buried her alive. I did not even hear her cry." A doll depicts a girl child and the words alongside it, movingly tells the tale of a new mother's anguish at the...

Instrument with a Human Tone

A family of musicians in the city of Mysore, in Karnataka, has a unique family heirloom -- a beautiful 300-year-old veena. The veena is India's most ancient Indian stringed instrument. The veena is a poly chord instrument, that is, it is made of several strings. Each string produces a certain tone, which other strings cannot duplicate. Melody is produced when...

Double it up!

Woman and cauldron: Double it up! - A story for kids
Raju and Savitri lived in Tanjore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Raju worked in the rice fields of a local landlord or zamindar for six months a year. In turn, he received four sacks of rice as salary. He would then sell three of them in the local market and keep one sack for himself for food. At the...

Deepavali: Festival of Lights

Deepavali - or Diwali - as is commonly uttered - literally means rows of lamps. These lamps light up houses all over the country, but for different reasons. In West Bengal, it is time to worship Kali, the goddess with the fearsome strength, and in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh it is time to remember Dhanvantari, the divine physician. To some,...

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