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Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings
21 March 2017 - The Ganges river, considered sacred by more than 1 billion Indians, has become the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as people. A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand ordered on Monday (20 March) that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, be accorded the status of living human entities. ... The court in the Himalayan resort town of Nainital appointed three officials to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the rivers and their tributaries. It ordered that a management board be established within three months. (more)

Grandmother of the jungle: This Kerala tribal woman can prepare 500 medicines from memory
8 March 2017 - She lives in a small hut with a palm leaves roof in a tribal settlement, deep in the forest of Kallar in Thiruvananthapuram district. Lakshmikutty, a 75-year-old tribal woman is a poet, poison healer, and teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy. All her knowledge on herbal treatment, she says, was passed on from her mother. 'I can prepare about 500 medicinal treatments from memory. Till now I have not forgotten them. But people come here for poison treatment mainly snake or insect bites,' she says. ...The Kerala Forest Department has decided to compile a book based on her expertise. Lakshmikutty also gives lectures on natural medicine at various institutions across the southern states. She has won numerous awards ... with the latest coming from the Indian Biodiversity Congress in 2016. (more)

'When I meet God, I must be able to sign my name': India's school for older women
7 March 2017 - A Maharashtra village is giving women denied childhood education a chance to finally catch up on schooling, in a country where female illiteracy is high. Aged 65, Gangubai is learning to read for the first time. She is one of 28 women in the village of Phangne in Maharashtra, western India, who have started attending the aajibaichi shala, the 'school for grandmothers'. Every day, between 2pm and 4pm, the aajis, or grandmothers, of Phangne meet in a colourful bamboo hut, uniformed in pink saris and holding schoolbags. For the aajis, the school is a last chance to learn to read and write. 'I go to school with joy,' says Gangubai. (more)

Women's mosque goes solar in India clean energy push
6 March 2017 - Set up 20 years ago in a remote corner of Lucknow, Ambar Mosque is known for promoting women's rights and putting up visitors to a nearby hospital. Now the female-led faith centre - where women pray alongside men - is installing solar panels to set an example of clean energy in Uttar Pradesh, a state lagging behind its targets. At 1kW, the system generates a fraction the electricity of the coal plants that dominate India's power mix. But it is expected to meet three quarters of the mosque's modest lighting and cooling needs - and its founder hopes to inspire others. (more)

Indian sungazers keep up family tradition for four generations
22 February 2017 - In the early morning darkness, Devendran P. walks up a hill to a solar observatory in India's southern hill town of Kodaikanal, trudging the same path his father and grandfather walked in a century-old family tradition of studying the sun. ... The observatory run by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics has a key role in providing a continuous stream of data on the sun and its influence on Earth and surrounding space, said R. Ramesh, a professor at the institute. 'Some of the discoveries made, based on data obtained in the Kodaikanal observatory, are so fundamental to solar physics that they vastly improved techniques used at observatories even today,' Ramesh said. (more)

Latest record-low bids underscore solar's vast commercial viability: IEEFA India
11 February 2017 - The record low bids for solar power projects in India may not be a threat to the sector after all. According to a report by Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), these bids are not only commercially viable, they are replicable and sustainable as well. 'This trend is not occurring in a policy vacuum. India's new draft National Electricity Plan, released in December, calls for a fivefold expansion to 258 Gigawatt of renewable capacity by 2027, an expansion that would reduce thermal power capacity share to 43 per cent of India's total from 66 per cent today,' the report said. It added that the solar-auction results mean this target just got substantially easier and more cost effective to implement. 'Costs per unit of power to purchase are tumbling, and - of critical importance - it can now be shown that these prices are not only commercially viable but are likely to be beaten again in 2018, and again in 2019 as total solar costs continue to decline globally at a rate of 10 percent annually,' IEEFA said. (more)

Inside India's first department of happiness
30 January 2017 - A village in India's Madhya Pradesh state was recently the venue for a government-sponsored programme to ''spread cheer and happiness''. . . . The fun and games were part of a week-long Happiness Festival in India's second largest state, home to more than 70 million people. They also provided a glimpse of the rollout of the country's first state-promoted project to ''to put a smile on every face''. . . . ''We are trying to get people out of homes, come together, and be happy. The aim is to forget the worries of life and enjoy together,'' said Shobhit Tripathi, a senior village council functionary. At the heart of this project is the newly-formed Department of Happiness - the first of its kind in India - helmed by the state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The yoga-loving three-term 57-year-old leader of the ruling BJP believes the ''state can help in ensuring the mental well being of its people''. A newly formed State Institute of Happiness [is] tasked with the responsibility of ''developing tools of happiness'' and creating an ''ecosystem that would enable people to realise their own potential of inner well being''. The department also plans to run some 70 programmes and develop a Happiness Index for the state. (more)

India shows it's serious about solar with giant power plant
26 January 2017 - It took 8,500 men working two shifts every day for six months -- and three shifts for two months -- to finish, ahead of schedule, the Adani Group's giant solar power plant in southern India. The vast, 10 sq km project in Ramanathapuram, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's largest solar power station in a single location, according to the company. (more)

India: Delegation in city of Indore to promote use of solar energy
22 January 2017 - A delegation comprising around 60 solar energy enthusiasts who visited the city [of Indore] over the weekend, said an international level symposium may soon be hosted in Indore. The delegation studied the practical utilities and workings of solar energy plants at Barli Institute here Sunday and at Sanawadia village on Saturday. They came to the city as an extended part of an international conference held in Goraj Gujarat over the past week. [This would have been the 6th Solar Cookers International World Conference held 16-22 January, 2017.] (more)

India: Solar energy to power Sambalpur University with 245 Kilowatt plant
22 January 2017 - The Sambalpur University has planned to set up a 245 KW solar power project on its premises in its bid to move towards harnessing eco-friendly sources of energy. M Muthukumar, the registrar of the university, said: 'The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), under the central ministry of power, will provide the fund for the solar energy project as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).' (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Maharishi University of Management: Dr. Robert Schneider gives keynote at India conference
15 March 2017 - India continues to show interest in Maharishi University of Management's science-based approach to traditional systems of prevention-oriented health-care. Most recently Dr Robert Schneider, dean of Maharishi College of Perfect Health, was invited to deliver the keynote address at an international conference of the World Association of Vedic Studies. He described how Maharishi AyurVeda programmes may slow or reverse ageing in Western and Indian populations. His audience included scholars, officials, and leaders who are integrating Vedic science and technologies into modern society. (more)

India: International Maharishi AyurVeda Foundation participates in 7th World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo
31 January 2017 - The International Maharishi AyurVeda Foundation (IMAVF) participated with three presentations at the 7th World Ayurveda Congress, which was held last month in Kolkata, India. Over 3,500 delegates, mainly from various Asian countries, participated in the Congress. About 150,000 visitors came to the accompanying Arogya Expo, a trade show of many companies and institutions offering products and services in the field of Ayurveda. IMAVF was also present at the Arogya Expo, at the booth of Maharishi AyurVeda Products India, with an exhibition for the next International Ayurveda Congress, to be held in London, 1-2 April 2017. (more)

India: Alliance of Women Scientists and Scholars holds annual conference in Rishikesh
10 December 2016 - The Alliance of Women Scientists and Scholars for a Better World is holding its annual conference this year in India. The conference began yesterday and continues through 12 December at Mahila Dhyan Vidya Peeth, Tapovan, Rishikesh. The theme of the conference is Meeting Point of all Religions: Atma, the Self, the Source, Course, and Goal of Life. Speakers include eminent leaders representing the fields of physics, medicine, physiology and health, including the perspective of Ayurveda, the traditional Vedic science of health care; education; and music. The conference programme also features senior educators and administrators of institutions offering Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Science and Technology of Consciousness. (more)

Computer scientist changing lives of young people in rural India
19 September 2016 - Promila Bahadur has trained over 2000 individuals, including children, youth, women, and the elderly, to use computers in Uttar Pradesh, where she has been honored by the government for her work. Last year she joined the computer science faculty at Maharishi University of Management, while keeping daily contact with the organization she runs in India, the Guru Institute of Information Technology. Her next plan is to establish a computer education hub among a cluster of six Indian villages. The hub would also provide other services including banking, insurance, and pharmacy. 'If one day some of our students get the chance to study at MUM, this would be, in fact, a dream come true for me,' said Promila. (more)

Anushka Sharma, the Indian movie star who works hard and meditates twice a day
15 September 2015 - Anushka Sharma is living the dream of many young women in India. After a brief modeling career, she has firmly established herself as one of the top actresses in Bollywood. For an additional boost to her body and mind, Anushka also practises the Transcendental Meditation technique. 'Meditation works wonders for me when it comes to beating stress,' the actress says. 'I meditate twice a day . . . . It has a calming effect which translates into better health.' (more)

Historic Vedic India conference talks available for online viewing
25 March 2015 - Videos of the main talks from the historic three-day International Conference to Re-Establish Ideal Vedic India, which was held 20-22 February in New Delhi and featured many leading Indian and international scientists and Vedic scholars, are now being made available online. Now 'people everywhere can learn of the scientific foundations and reality of Veda and the practical programmes to create an ideal India and a peaceful, prosperous world,' said Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management in the USA. Dr Morris led a delegation of distinguished MUM faculty and trustees who participated in the conference. (more)

Faculty of Maharishi University of Management address Delhi conference to re-establish Vedic India
14 March 2015 - Last month Maharishi University of Management President Dr Bevan Morris and nine faculty members and trustees participated in and helped to organize a historic conference to re-enliven the Vedic tradition in India. The International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India, held 20-22 February in New Delhi, was notable for bringing together government ministers, leaders of Indian spiritual organizations, and leaders of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's worldwide organizations. (more)

International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India: 20-22 February, New Delhi
19 February 2015 - Under the joint auspices of the Foundation for Vedic India and Maharishi Veda Vyas Pratishthan, a historic first International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India is being held in New Delhi from 20 to 22 February. The purpose of the conference is to re-enliven interest in Veda on the basis of the scientific reality that the application of Veda can benefit every area of human life and endeavour. The conference is gathering some of the most distinguished intellectuals, scientists, and scholars from India and around the world on one platform to present the Vedas in a scientific light and truly make India a great lighthouse of peace for the world. (more)

India: Consciousness-Based Education students win Times Science Quiz
31 January 2015 - The Times of India reported recently from Chennai that the Times Science Quiz was won by students of Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools. Over 1,000 students from 120 schools across Chennai took part in the quiz, held last week. The largest chain of privately owned public schools in India, Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools offer Consciousness-Based Education in 118 cities across 16 states. (more)

India: Celebrating the Festival of Light
3 November 2013 - Today, 3 November, Deepavali--the Festival of Light--is being celebrated throughout India. In millions of homes candles are lit and set afloat on rivers, and Vedic Pandits across the country perform an ancient Vedic recitation to restore balance in nature. The significance of this day was explained by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Deepavali thirty-three years ago, on 7 November 1980, during an historic address near Delhi for this occasion, which is traditionally celebrated in autumn. Maharishi said that the Pandits' recitations are the mechanics of enlivening that aspect of natural law 'which will leave no poverty, no drawbacks, and no weaknesses in the world consciousness. Every country will enjoy affluence, prosperity, invincibility.' This year in 2013 Deepavali falls on 3 November. (more)


Flops
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Foreign GMO seed firms rally behind Monsanto in Indian alliance
26 August 2016 - Major international seed companies in India formed an alliance on Friday, seeking the support of their peers after a flurry of regulatory steps in recent months by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Executives from companies including the local businesses of Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont Pioneer, and Syngenta announced the alliance in a crowded Press Club of India conference room. India is Monsanto's biggest market outside the Americas. Monsanto objected to a government proposal that would force it to share its technology with local seed companies. It has also taken the government to court over a cut in the royalty it gets from seed companies for licensing use of its patented technology. The New Delhi press conference was a show of solidarity with Monsanto... on Friday its India head, Shilpa Divekar Nirula, said there was a need to align Modi's goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022 with what firms like Monsanto can offer. (more)

Desertification eating into agricultural land in India, satellite images show
18 August 2016 - More than a quarter of India's land is turning to desert and the rate of degradation of agricultural areas is increasing, according to new analysis of satellite images. A report from the Indian Space Research Organization says land degradation -- broadly defined as loss of productivity -- is estimated at 96 million hectares, or nearly 30 percent of Indian land. (more)

Over one million people hit as floods worsen in India's tea region of Assam
26 July 2016 - More than 1.2 million people in northeast India have been hit by floods which have submerged hundreds of villages, inundated large swathes of farmland, and damaged roads, bridges, and telecommunications services, local authorities said on Tuesday, 26 July. Incessant monsoon rains in the tea and oil-rich state of Assam have forced the burgeoning Brahmaputra River and its tributaries to burst their banks -- affecting more than half of the region's 32 districts. The Brahmaputra, Assam's main river which is fed by Himalayan snow melt and monsoon rain, has been overflowing in many areas along its course. The fast-flowing waters have also breached embankments and eroded dykes, leaving some parts of national and state highways inaccessible and compounding efforts to rescue marooned villagers and distribute food aid. (more)

Crippling drought in central India leaves millions on brink
20 May 2016 - Some 400 farmers have killed themselves so far this year in the parched Marathwada region, a central Indian region devastated by two successive failed monsoons and a crippling drought. Home to about 19 million people, it is located in the otherwise prosperous Maharashtra state. And it's not alone in its sweltering misery. The dry wells, shriveled stubble of sugarcane fields, and withered fruit trees across the region reflect the suffering of hundreds of millions of Indians across at least a dozen other states that are under the grips of a severe drought. (more)

Wetland loss, development put Kashmir bird migration at risk
17 December 2015 - The cackle and cry of Kashmir's annual bird migration has long been a welcome ruckus for those living in the Indian-controlled Himalayan territory. It signals the summer's end, the coming snows, and the global importance of Kashmir's environment for species arriving from as far as northern Europe and Japan. But these days, wildlife experts say they have never seen so few birds -- and so few species -- feeding and breeding around the wetlands nestled between the region's mountain peaks and plateaus. A combination of climate change and haphazard urban development are to blame, scientists say. (more)

India's nuclear industry pours its wastes into a river of death and disease
14 December 2015 - Indian and Japanese scientists have found that Indian citizens living downstream from the country's enormous uranium mining and processing complex are routinely exposed to exceptionally high levels of radiation. The Indian government has either rebuffed or suppressed some of these findings, insisting that any illnesses are caused by poverty, not radiation. (more)

India: Dry spell wilts crops, stokes food inflation concerns
16 July 2015 - Farmers in India run the risk of planting too much, too fast in the current monsoon season as an unexpected dry spell starts to wilt crops across the country, raising fears of lower yields and surging food prices in a mostly impoverished nation. Food prices are a political hot potato in India, where more than a quarter of its population of 1.2 billion people live on a mere 74 cents or less per day. In fact, high food prices have already pushed the country's June consumer inflation to an eight-month high. That is why the ongoing dryness in central, western, and southern India -- key producing regions for cotton, soybean, corn, sugarcane, pulses, and rice -- is a big cause for worry. (more)

Deforestation drives worsening flooding in Kashmir
7 July 2015 - In April, scores of hillside homes in Fraswad and Shalnand villages in Jammu and Kashmir collapsed in a landslide amid heavy rains. Eighteen people died. Not long ago, those same sloping hills had been covered in forest. But illegal tree harvesting by timber smugglers denuded the area, making it ripe for conversion to homes, local people say. Despite substantial spending to protect its once-thick forests, Jammu and Kashmir is fast losing them to urban expansion, corruption, fires, and lack of planning. (more)

India: As many as 601 farmers have killed themselves In Maharashtra in last 3 months: report
19 April 2015 - A chilling humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Maharashtra, new government data shows. As many as 601 farmers, driven to desperation after crop damage due to unseasonal hailstorm and rains, have killed themselves in the last three months alone -- which amounts to almost seven farmer suicides a day, the Times of India reported. (more)

India: Unseasonal rain - 601 farmer suicides in Maharashra in just 3 months
19 April 2015 - As many as 601 farmers have killed themselves in Maharashtra in the three-month span between January and March this year. This works out to a chilling statistic of almost seven farmer suicides every day, according to the state government's own figures. In 2014, the state had reported 1,981 farmer suicides. In just three months this year, it has reached 30 per cent of that figure. The suicide rate had already started climbing with the onset of the drought last year. The unseasonal rain which impacted a wide expanse of crops and continues to pound the state has made things worse. (more)

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