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Saturday, April 25, 2009
CHENNAI: Nearly 25,000 senior citizens in the city suffer from various
degrees of dementia, according to a survey conducted by Dignity
Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. A major chunk of those
with dementia face negligence in families and society, the
Foundation's Director (Chennai Chapter) K.Radhakrishnan said.
Referring to the survey, he said there was an immediate need to
address the geriatric problems of the people. "We have been conducting
periodical surveys by seeking help from various agencies. We have
found that the care-givers find it difficult to nurse dementia
patients, with no systematic treatment modalities available for them."
The Foundation has started a dementia day care centre at Vishranti
Compound, A.V.M.Rajeshwari Gardens, 4/227 M.G.R.Salai, Palavakkam,
The centre houses a physician, clinical psychologist, two professional
social workers and trained nursing attendants. It provides
psychotherapy, dietician-prescribed food, memory gym for mental
stimulation and opportunity for social interaction. The activities
will slow down the process of the degenerative disease,
There is a bus facility to pick up and drop the patients every day
from their houses. The day care centre runs from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For details, contact: 24493165 or 24495979. Families and care-givers
of dementia patients can contact social wokers Joby Jose and Mary Rose
Thomas of the centre.
VISAKHAPATNAM: A chartered engineer, promoter of fine arts and social worker S. Gopala Sastry has registered for his third Ph.D. at the age of 87 years. Dr. Sastry, secretary of Visakha Music and Dance Academy which runs the Kalabharathi auditorium, took his first Ph.D. from California University in 1980 in literature and fine arts. On April 21 he submitted to Andhra University thesis for his second Ph.D., on "development of a green model for conceptualisation of infrastructural requirement in respect of the water regime in an expanding urban scenario". He registered for the Ph.D. in February 2006 and was given five years to submit his thesis. But prepared and submitted the thesis in three years. While submitting the thesis, he registered himself for his third Ph.D. with the topic "climate change in the globe".
The Hindu : Andhra Pradesh / Visakhapatnam News : Third Ph.D. at eighty seven! (25 April 2009)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
BEGIN THE BEGIN
Inner and outer space
By Wg Cmdr Gorowala
I am reachable on 040-27110279
I was in my teens, class twelve, 1945, when I read H G Well's 'TIME MACHINE'. That is when I got the first hint to the meaning of the concept of 'ISNESS', the very meaning of the word 'is'. In this the reasoning starts with the basic idea of imagining that an object, say, a table 'T', is. For 'T' to be, that is to exist, it has to be specified as to where, in which room, which part or corner of the room. To visualize it in its reality, one will have to know its size, shape, design, colour, the material it is made of and may be the texture of its finish. And when all these details can be specified, the existence of 'T' is probably still not fully covered because we do not yet know as to how long has that table existed and how long will it occupy space in its present shape and form. May be it was crafted by the carpenter only a day earlier, or for all you know, it is one of the antique pieces discovered in Mohanjodaro, belonging to the Paleolithic age, five thousand years earlier?
In short, if 'T' 'is', then its dimensions in space as well as in time are the primary requisites which need specification. Its appearance, feel, touch, shape, smell and various sub-aspects of these qualities may need detailed description. To develop this idea further, let us examine our incident of watching a sun-rise on a clear morning: we see the top of the sun's disc emerging above the horizon, say, at 0620 hrs and we declare this as the 'sun-rise –time'. But is that the real time at which the sun occupied the space where we observed it? The answer to that query is a clear no, because in fact the sun had occupied that spot in space eight minutes earlier, light having taken that much time to travel from the sun to our eye on earth. Our view of the sun-rise is in fact that of an 'apparent sun-rise'/ 'delayed sun-rise'. Similarly, our watching a planet or star or any heavenly body, is an act of viewing an image of the body, as it existed a few hours, months or years earlier, depending on the distance of the object under observation. For instance when we see our brightest planet Venus in the western sky in the evening then what we are seeing is the planet as it was say, fifteen minutes ago. Suppose a sailor at sea spots the North Star in the sky on a particular night at 9 PM to compute his position, then is he observing the actual position of the star at 9 PM on that date? No, he is in fact observing the image of the star as it appears to him on that particular date and time, the light that impinges on his eye, forming the star image, had in fact commenced its journey many years ago.
There are two prima facie axioms that we can arrive at this stage of our argument, firstly, that when we are observing an object, we in fact are only observing its image which has formed on the retina of our eye(s) and secondly, that there is a time gap between the two moments, that when light is received at the retina of the eye and the moment when that ray of light commenced its journey from the object under observation. In relation to terrestrial objects, this gap can be a mere nano-second, whereas in the case of heavenly objects it may range from a couple of seconds (our moon) to the farthest observable objects, new-born galaxies during the 'big-bang', which are more than 13.7 billion light-years away. Images of these first galaxies that our cosmologists have recently managed to photograph through the Hubble Space Telescope, have achieved this extra-ordinary act by gathering and focusing the infinitesimally small quantity of light onto their photographic films, that light which emanated from those initial galaxies of our universe, 13.7 billion years ago.
Based on these two axioms, we can conclude that we see all objects only as and where they were, in the past. In short what we see are only ghosts. For example, the Pole Star observed by the sailor, in fact, might not have been in existence at the time of observation, it may have been swallowed/ destroyed by a black-hole, a fact which we may come to know only years hence.
Then what 'is Then, What 'Is' and what 'is Not?
In the light of the above we can clearly state that complex sensual data casts an image on our individual minds. Reception of these images as well as their presentation to the person (individual) are bound to be different in each case as potential for receptivity, selectivity, quality and past experience differ from person to person. Thus same scene has varied effect on different individuals. We can hence surmise that the world that we experience, the world of phenomena, has only a relative existence. To examine this idea in more detail, we must study our experience of the world under two different states of awareness, the wakeful state and the dream state.
During our waking hours, when we are not day-dreaming, sense data is received from the environment, from sources out-side the person. Where as during dream state, data is received from the sub-conscious mind within. In either case instantaneous assessment of all data is automatically done. Sequencing and selection of connected data brought into action during waking state has its habitual, cultivated relationship to our waking world. On the other hand dream-world pertains to another frame-work of the same space with a differently oriented time frame. However, due to certain predominant influences in the past, this data gets shuffled and recast on the screen of dream-consciousness, creating a separate sub-world. However, our dream-world, during its time of existence, imparts to the dreamer a similar sense of reality which the person has of the wakeful- world during his waking part of life. Probably, the only difference between these two states of awareness is the comparative longevity of our wakeful state, thereby influencing our waking -state memory more deeply, leaving markedly stronger influence on the mind..
This brings us back to the question of 'is' and 'is not'. Our experience of the world as long as we are awake, gives us the impression that every thing that is happening around us is real, if I get hurt I feel the pain. If there is soft soothing music being played it will create pleasing moods, noise on the other hand will create annoyance and irritation.. During a dream, happenings create similar effects. These two frame-works of space-time can therefore be taken as two different/separate modes of our awareness in which our experience depends on sensual data fed to our minds, our awareness. We must also note that quality and degree of receptivity of the sense data by the same mind varies from time to time. Focus of the mind on the subject under view is the primary controlling factor on which receptivity and absorption of the sensual data depends. Focus in essence depends on the interest that the individual concerned has in the subject, which invariably is a product of past experience and its recorded memory. That which is in the pleasant file, the mind hankers after and loves to re-create. In the maze of this hankering after old memories, the mind loses touch with reality, with what 'is' and gets stuck to what is not – mere memories of the past, or else, starts imagining things and situations to a non-existent future.
And when we call a halt to all that is happening, say, like stopping the time-clock and examining things around with a view to assess all that has happened since we were last mindful of things, we would certainly realize that a lot of water has flown under the bridge. By and large, such occasions arise after long gaps, as during the constant run of our routine we are reluctant to stop and look back; it happens only when we are forced to do so by an unhappy or adverse circumstance that breaks the routine. Such retrospective breaks are essential for a healthy progressive life as they majorly contribute to making life purposeful, giving it direction, focus and meaning. This being a vast subject and beyond the scope of the present study, we will leave it out of our discussion.
Coming back to 'that' which 'is', I suppose we can say that, 'it' must 'be' in all possible phases of existence only then 'it is'; it must 'be' in all frame-works of space-time-continuum, a state which is bound to include complex mixes of 'Being' in all possible frame-works of space-time. In the multi-dimensional creation around us, of which we humans are capable of experiencing only an infinitesimally small portion through our sensual perception, it is not possible for us to get even a fleeting glimpse of the 'Multi Dimensional Being'. To achieve a level of awareness beyond our customary three dimensional state of mind, we have to find ways and means which can enable us to transcend our minds, entering into an awareness which is limitless, has no bounds and is beyond the confines of time it self. The way to get on to a path which leads to this state of awareness is said to be very simple. Those who are in that state of awareness tell us that our natural state of awareness is, in fact, that very boundless, infinite state. We, by our own default and indulgence in our desires, with our own actions and thinking have covered it, making it subject to the bounds of space and time. This cover of our desires on our original, pure, limitless nature is a cover of our own ignorance. Removal of this cover is all that is needed to make us aware of 'All That IS'. We have not to achieve any thing new. All that is needed is shedding of our ignorance that we are not 'pure', not 'complete', not 'limitless, boundless, infinite'. The means to achieve the capability of this act of getting rid of our ignorance, in fact, are built-in within each one of us. It is said that all that is necessary to activate this force which commences the process of shedding the ignorance, is primarily a burning desire within the individual to throw off this shroud. Those who have travelled this path, proclaim that the intensity of this desire is required to be so strong and persistent that no other thought or desire must enter the mind of the seeker, it needs to be an all consuming desire, only then it becomes capable of taking effect and that too when 'krupa' of the 'Ultimate Isness' descends on the seeker. The grace, 'krupa' remains absolutely unqualified as well as independent of any time frame, at the same time, it is never denied to a true, sincere seeker.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Dr P Vyasamoorthy
Because of Ambedkar, today I lost Rs 45. I went to HDFC bank to close an FD, spending money on Auto. I learnt to my dismay that it is a Holiday on account of Ambedkar Jayanthi. Even a full page advertisement in Today's newspapers did not raise a doubt in me. There is no correlation between cause and effect.
However when you look at it in another way you would feel happy. I gave Rs 20 or so to two auto fellows when I went to the bank. Normally autos won't come for short distances. Today, being a holiday they were baiting for customers. To that extent it is social service, paying for auto when you needn't have. Money must change hands quickly in order that it becomes useful. Stagnant money in one's possession is like a mosquito breeding center. You always worry over protecting it, increasing it or even worry over spending it away. When money is in circulation there is health and smile everywhere.
Therefore let us not mind spending. Today a vendor of broomsticks came to our house. We bought some broomsticks. She then asked for some raw Rice for feeding her children. She appeared pathetic and genuine. My wife gave some rice as alms. Thereafter went on doubting whether the giving was worthwhile or whether we were cheated. The vendor did not ask for cooked food but for raw rice that she may cook and give her children. This gave a clue she could be genuine. Once some half a KG of rice is given away we are not going to be begging next day. No harm is done. We should simply forget about it either way.
About helping friends and relatives with money I am quick to oblige if it is a one time payment. Anything regular, say a monthly commitment, I am very wary of, even if the amount is small. I can not understand myself on this.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Dr P Vyasamoorthy
On 11th April, It took me an hour in the queue in Secunderabad HPO.
Task accomplished was just to handover Form 15H with respect to Senior
Citizens Savings Scheme Account. There were 12 persons ahead of me.
Despite computerization, things have not improved. The official in
charge at the counter had responsibility for updating of all types of
accounts (passbooks), dole out cash on quarterly and monthly payments
from POMIS / SCSC accounts. The counter was exclusively for Senior
citizens. In a matter that one hour she went out twice to get cash. In
the same branch on the same day I submitted my NSC 1987 Passbook for
closing the account. To get the cheque for the same I had to wait for
two hours. Can this ordeal be mitigated?
Yes, if the concerned authorities are interested. Tokens may be given
to people as and when they come. Customers can bide their time
elsewhere (say in comfortable chairs) until their turn arrives instead
of restlessly standing in the queue. The official in charge may
perform verification and delivery of cash, entry in passbook quickly.
Entry in the system (computer) may be done in batches when rush
subsides. For counting cash Currency Counting machines may be
installed. The hall can be well ventilated or air-conditioned so that
waiting guys do not feel the heat. A limitation on the number of
passbooks a person may come with may be stipulated. Or persons with
bulk requests (like agents) and persons with simpler tasks may be
bifurcated into different queues.
None of the above suggestions is anything profound or original. Just
plain common sense. I wonder why these government authorities lack it.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Senior Citizens and Present Elections in AP
(Dr P Vyasamoorthy with inputs from Sri RN Mital)
Senior citizens constitute more than 8% of Indian population. They also take pains to vote, unlike younger adults who are indifferent to their rights and responsibilities. They are one of worst neglected sections of our society. The problems faced by them like: Neglect, abuse, absence or reduction of financial resources, increased requirements of healthcare, absence of health insurance are not getting addressed. Groups like politicians, governmental agencies, NGOs, Children, Religious institutions and others only pay lip service to Elders issues and nothing concrete is happening. It is time that senior citizens unite together and press their demands. Politicians or the government will sit up and listen only when the numbers unite and become a formidable force.
During the last few months Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens Confederation (APSCCON) submitted to the Government four simple demands and met in this connection in a delegation, the Chief Minister twice, the concerned Ministers number of times and the related Bureaucrats umpteen number of times. The demands were very simple and would not have caused any heavy burden on the exchequer and were guided only by considerations of social justice, in spite of that we were ignored and only false promises were made. The demands were:
· All 65+ BPL Senior Citizens should be paid Old Age Pension through Post Offices or Banks Rs 400 per month pension as provided by the Government of India under IGNOAP Scheme.
· All APL families with their Senior Citizen members should be covered under Arogya Sri Health Insurance, if necessary on premium sharing basis.
· Eligible inmates of Old Age Homes should be covered under Arogya Sri Health Insurance & IGNOA Pension scheme. They should also be enrolled as voters on the spot in their Old Age Homes.
· Senior Citizens should be given 50% Concession in bus fares.
When nothing happened we started a Post Card campaign and around 10,000 cards were sent to the office of our Chief Minister from all over AP. Even this effort to draw their attention to our simple demands failed.
Therefore we finally decided to meet different political parties with a request to include our demands in their manifesto. Following parties were met, their reactions are mentioned against each
· Congress party – they expressed in ability to consider our request as their manifesto is prepared in Delhi.
· Praja Rajyam – contacted Mr Parkala who gave patient hearing and promised to do the needful.
· BJP – Met their State President, Mr. Dattatreya. His reaction was lukewarm. We met him along with a senior BJP functionary Mr. P.Narasimha Rao
· Loksatta – met Mr. Jayaprakashnarayan. He was very receptive, promised even more than what we asked. He has written also to APSCCON in this regard.
· Telugu Desam – met Mr. Vijay Rama Rao, ex Minister. He was very receptive, discussed in detail our demands and assured full support.