Archive for February, 2018

February 21, 2018

Let there be light this International Book Giving Day


“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

Eating, shopping, exercising and what not, times have changed the ways we do most of our daily activities. The role of books in our lives remains undiminished, nevertheless. A trustworthy guide and a fun companion, books can play a myriad of parts in an individual’s life. Besides building minds, they are the shapers of the society.

In order to make sure that no child is deprived of the nourishment of reading, 14th February is celebrated worldwide as the International Book Giving Day. The aim was to have the written word reach out to even those who are not fortunate enough to access them. A symbolic day, it’s a great occasion to promote the necessity of books in one’s life.

Although it’s celebrated just one day, the season of books lasts all year long. With the right amount of push and encouragement, the healthy habit of reading can be garnered in a child. Most of us consider textbooks as the only books apt for children. The fact, however, is that the more one reads, the more one learns and grows.

When it comes to inculcating the enthusiasm for books in children, some of us get bogged down by their fleeting attention spans. The code is to not force a book on a child. From what theory and practice have taught us, children learn faster when they are constantly exposed to something. The idea is to raise children in a space surrounded by books. Plus, the more they see their parents or grown ups read, the more their intrigue will be piqued. The key, therefore, is to lead by example and steady exposure to books.

Another important aspect of the day lies in advocating the access to books. In our country, a child who has never got to lay his/her hands on a book isn’t a rarity. The spirit of International Book Giving Day is incomplete without attempting to make books universal. Therefore, let’s participate in this grand cause with full enthusiasm and make someone’s life rich with books and learning.

February 19, 2018

Indian Women in Science: 6 Inspirational Trailblazers

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“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made… It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Every year, we celebrate 11th February as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, declared by the United Nations General Assembly in order to encourage females to step into the field. As we’re prepping up to celebrate the occasion in its full glory this year, let’s take a look at some of India’s trailblazing women in science who have made a mark in history with their technological prowess.

Kalpana Chawla

No list dealing with women in science is ever complete without this inspiring astronaut. Hailing from the small town of Karnal, her journey from Punjab Engineering College to NASA is beyond impressive. She became an astronaut candidate in 1994 and got the opportunity to fly into space for the first time in 1997. Struck by a mishap on her second voyage to space in 2003, Kalpana Chawla lived and died doing what she became known for all over the world.

A. Lalitha

Married and widowed at the age of 15, the hurdles in A. Lalitha’s way to success were notable. But none of them could stop her from applying to CEG, an essentially male-dominated institution back in 1939, and enrolling herself as CEG’s first-ever female student. Her passion for electrical engineering gave her premier roles in major projects like the Bhakra Nangal Dam and associated her with the work on its electrical generators. Her contributions in the electrical engineering domain remain remarkable till this day.

Tessy Thomas

Celebrated as the ‘Missile Woman of India’, Tessy Thomas was the first woman to spearhead an Indian missile project. A pivotal part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), she played a key role in the making of Agni-V, a long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile. Including the DRDO Scientist of the Year in 2008, Tessy Thomas has received multiple prestigious awards for her groundbreaking role in India’s missile development programme.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Named among Time magazine’s ‘100 most influential people in the world’, Forbes magazine’s ‘100 Most Powerful Women’, and the recipient of several other accolades, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw continues to inspire us with her thought leadership. A prominent global figure in the field of research, innovation & healthcare, she is a leading self-made woman who has broken the glass ceiling and acts as the role model for millions of men and women alike.

Dr. Kamala Sohonie

The first Indian woman to secure a PhD in a scientific discipline, it wasn’t exactly a path of roses for Kamala Sohonie to pursue her calling in the conservative colonial India. Although she received premium mentorship from the Nobel laureate CV Raman at IISc, her time there was not free from sexual bias & discrimination. Nevertheless, she fought against all odds, completed her MSc degree with distinction and bagged a research scholarship at Cambridge University. A recipient of the Rashtrapati Award, Dr. Kamala Sohonie is still commemorated for her contributions in biochemistry.

Suman Sahai

A PhD-holder in Genetics from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Suman Sahai is known for advocating for the rights of the farming community. Through her research & advocacy organisation, the Gene Campaign, Dr. Sahai is rigorously involved in empowering the rural and tribal communities in India. Awarded with the Padma Shri Award, she continues to lead a distinguished career on issues pertaining to food, nutrition and livelihood.

Source: Ponty Chadha Foundation Website

February 16, 2018

What you must know this World Cancer Day

cancer dayThe World Cancer Day is observed globally every year on February 4 to unite the world and reflect on & raise awareness about cancer. Promoted under the theme for the year ‘We Can. I Can.’, this life-changing initiative is pivotal in making the world cancer-free.

An abnormal proliferation of cells, cancer can metastasize (spread) in multiple cases and become more difficult to be treated on. Rather than being a disease itself, it is a group of 100+ different diseases. And as opposed to what some may believe, cancer is not contagious.

If we look at the stats in India, it’s staggering that there are over 2.5 million cancer-affected, which is more than enough to stress on the need to make the nation aware about it. Also, about 3,95,400 people have died due to this fatal malady. The deeper we dive into the data, the more astounding it keeps getting. Hence, it’s of paramount importance to take necessary steps in order to curb it.

There are several types of cancers and preventive measures. Some major precautionary means might include regular physical exercise, diet control, a tobacco-free lifestyle, and so on. Although they can enable an individual to keep it at bay, only proper awareness on cancer can help us be cautious against it.

Therefore, this World Cancer Day, let’s pledge to adopt a healthy lifestyle and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from this predicament.


February 15, 2018

5 heartwarming stories from 2017 that restored our faith in humanity

With all the chaos in the world, we are constantly in search of some respite. 2018 has been a promising year so far. And while we gear up for what’s to come ahead, let’s have a throwback to 2017 and the moments that stirred our hearts and souls, reinstating our faith in humanity.

1. Woman raised over 1 crore for a homeless man who helped her

A young woman from New Jersey ran out of gas in Philadelphia when she was on her way home. The panicked woman lost all hope, but got a helping hand from a homeless man who brought her some gas with the last $20 he had. In return, the woman raised more than $160,000 (more than Rs 1 crore) to help the man, named Johnny Bobbitt Jr. Kate McClure.

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2. Rs. 25 lakhs raised for a cancer patient whose treatment had been stopped

A 25-year-old boy’s treatment had been terminated as he did not have the required amount for the same – Rs. 25 lakhs. However, he penned a heartwarming and emotional letter online along with the link of a fundraiser for his treatment, and the entire amount was donated by Netizens — in just 1 day!

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3. Girl who underwent a liver transplant surgery to save her father’s life

Pooja Bijarnia set an example for every child across India and beyond, as she donated her liver to her father, who had to get his liver transplanted. With over 14,000 shares on Dr. Rachit Bhushan’s Facebook post narrating Pooja’s story, the world was touched and awed by her selfless act.

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4. When Sikhs served Rooh Afza to fasting Muslims in Peshawar

Co-existence of religious communities has always been a struggle for us. But a touching post from Pakistan went viral, showing how the members of the Sikh community distributed snacks and refreshments to Muslims, who were fasting. An FB user shared pictures online, which read with the caption, “This is the true face of my Pakistan”.

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5. Scored 88% in CBSE Boards despite his disability

Even though he has 90% disability and is unable to use his limbs, the 17-year-old Tuhin Dey from West Midnapore district of West Bengal scored 88% in his Class X board exams. He wrote his exams by holding a pen in his mouth.

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Feel inspired and ready to take on the world? If these stories are not miracles in themselves, then we’re not sure what is! We hope that 2018 holds more promise, gratitude, love and selflessness that can help us be more humane.