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Operation Clean Up

The bricks came a tumbling. And the concrete made a rumbling. Leaving behind a huge mound of debris.And a huge crowd of human beings. With tears in their eyes.Their houses had been destroyed before them.Jagmohan, the Minister for Urban Development was in action. He was cleaning up the city, he said. The people were sent to Narela, a far...

Conquering without Seeing

July 8: Yahya Sapatwala is a determined young man. Recently, he and his friends climbed the Beas Kund mountain in Manali, which is 12,000 feet (3,636 metres) high. And he did it without seeing. Yes, Yahya is blind.But that has never stopped Yahya from doing what he wants. A college teacher in Surat town in the western state of...

Robbing the Rich for Rain

July 8: Life becomes difficult when it does not rain. Farmers try all sorts of things to make the rain gods happy. Some get frogs married, others perform 'pujas' or worship. But, the Bhil tribals of Mewar, Rajasthan, are different. They plunder or rob the houses of traders, most of whom happen to be Jains, says a report in...

The School that Built Many Lives

July 8: Picture a world far removed from today's life. No roads, nor any means of transport. Where going to school means crossing three knee-deep streams on foot.Kalpana Naroti used to do just that to reach her school, the Lok Biradari Post Basic Ashram Shala. Her efforts paid off. She is this year's topper in the Senior Secondary Certificate...

Orphanage for Elephants

July 15: Five baby elephants were very sad. They were being returned to the forest. In fact, they broke into tears. But why were they sad to return home?Because they had fallen in love with the orphanage they were staying in before they were returned to the forest. The men who had taken care of them were sad too....

The Lake and the Birds

Where: Himachal Pradesh, IndiaMarch 8, 2001: The picturesque Pong Dam lake region in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh, is losing its lustre. A great deal of its charm has lain in the fact that it is north India's largest refuge for migrating birds escaping harsh winters abroad. But not for long, if recent trends are any indication.A low...

The Fearless Doctor

Where: Jolo Island, PhilippinesJuly 1, 2000: She has dared to go where most of us wouldn't. She went inside the jungles of southern Philippines where an armed group of people was holding 21 people, as hostages. Her purpose was to treat the kidnapped hostages, mostly foreigners.She has made eight trips to the camp since June 10, says a recent...

Orissa Police’s Feathered Force is Dying

July 1: The news is that a mysterious disease has killed 35 valuable members of the Orissa's police service. They are all pigeons.The first of the deaths took place in March in Puri district. Twenty-four more pigeons died soon after, in Cuttack district. They experienced long drowsy spells before dying. The veterinary doctors who examined them said that the...

Old PCs Save Precious Lives

Where: Chicago, USAJuly 1, 2000: Computers and Internet connections are not for the rich alone. Even the poor should be able to use it, says Zina Munoz. Zina works as a nurse in Chicago.But Zina is not merely a nurse. She is also one of the people behind an Internet revolution in half a dozen countries across the world.The...

A Tale of Two Wonders

Where: USA and IndiaJune 24, 2000: In the first week of June, Indian newspapers wrote about two very different kinds of success stories. Both involved youngsters -- one 12 year old and another teenaged boy. One was in the United States, the other was in Madurai (Tamil Nadu), India. But both proved that their success had very little to...

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