Monthly Archives: November 2010

And Quiet Flows the Filth


I am more a back-room worker. I am not much of an activist when it comes to urban environmental issues though I  give voluntary technical support to causes of tribal, rural & marginalised populations. The only time I tried to raise a voice some years back was when sewage and Industrial effluents flowing around my home affected my children’s health.

A TV channel helped with the citizen journalist show ( linked here) and miraculously the problem disappeared for a few months. The TV channel also happened to get a huge advertising contract from one of the suspect industries named in the show immediately after they raised the issue. After a while the problem started again.

The Municipal Commissioner as well as his staff keep saying “These people build houses there because the land is cheap. what can we do?” implying that the Municipality cannot protect residential areas where the land is cheap.  Well the Commissioner and his department approve the development and collect taxes in cheap areas as well. Sadly this problem still threatens my house and I had to vacate my only home and have moved to a rented flat. And the filth continues to flow…


Memories of my Mother Tara


My Mother Tara was the daughter of Shri. T. Krishnaswamy a freedom fighter and Smt. Sarada. She was born in Madras and grew up in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. She was a teacher of Hindustani classical music and Hindi language. She married C.L.Rajaratnam (a trade union leader in the banking industry and an employee of State Bank of India) and lived in Madras since then. She died in 2009 after prolonged illness at the age of 75. She was given her name “Tara” by Shri.C.Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) whose own grand-daughter was given the same name . Her father (my granddad) went to jail along with Rajaji and was known to have taught Hindi to Rajaji.

The first 4 photographs in this blog post are from the early 1950’s probably related to the first Central Social Welfare Board  in India of which my grandfather Shri T.Krishnaswmy was a member . Tara Swamy as my mother was known, worked as her father’s personal secretary and interacted with many national leaders such as Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh. Smt.Indira Gandhi and other well-known leaders of the nation.

I had the privilege of serving my mother, taking care of her when she was invalid and bedridden for the last 2-3 years of her life. I worked all those years from her bedside (Thanks to Internet) and letting other family members care for her only when I made short trips to meet clients or communities I was working with.

Karma Yoga : How it influences me

Originally posted on a blog by Gunasekar C Rajaratnam on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 at 02:13

I was a young man studying near Delhi (India) when a relative in Delhi fell sick. I went to Sir Gangaram hospital to take care of him in the nights. One day, the Prime Minister of India was shot dead, and there were riots all over the city. The same night the relative I was looking after, died. I could not leave the hospital or take the body home, because of curfew and riots. Many riot victims were brought to the hospital with ears cut, hair pulled out of the scalp and other injuries. It was a nightmare. The hospital was running short of staff. I had free time because my patient had died. I pitched in and helped as many people as I could without eating or sleeping. One old man had been watching me for some days since I started coming to the hospital. I like helping anyone not just the patient I was caring for. The old man called me aside and asked me if I knew what a karma yogi is. I said ‘no’. He said “you are a true Karma Yogi”.

That influenced me a lot and the two words Karma and Yoga kept ringing in my head. Much later, I came across a tiny little publication of RK mutt with Swami Vivekananda’s speeches on karma yoga- about 36 pages. I read these pages often even today. After that I bought the entire collected works of Swami Vivekananda , but did not read anything else fully. Nothing impressed me more than karma yoga. That old man had set me on a course for life.

Every time I read those pages I come across a new insight. I learned that physical work to help others is only one way of practising Karma Yoga. I learned the importance of non-attachment while doing work and many other insights.

I have a long way to go in my learning and actual practice of Karma yoga as interpreted by Swami Vivekananda.

If anyone is interested I can mail a copy of the book in case you are not able to find it or if it is out of print.

Free support to New Ventures in India


The World Bank ranks India among the toughest places to start and run a business.

I can make it easier for you if you wish to reach out to the second largest market in the world.

Do get in touch to see what I can do for you. As long as it does not involve much work for me I would not even expect any returns for the service nor ask the question “what is in it for me?”

Get back down to earth


I have been online for over 20 years. I have always been only a user of this revolutionary technology. I have great dreams that this technology would one day help change the lives of millions of people in my country many of whom lack access to basic needs.

I have been slowly collecting bits and pieces of technology that can help people on ground. I have all along resisted the temptation to start a venture in cyber space alone.

I believe that any online technology that operates just in cyberspace and does not have feet planted firmly on ground is not useful (to my objectives). Without on ground infrastructure and linkages the benefits of this wonderful technology will not reach the millions I am really concerned about.

I am now searching for interested individuals who would love to get back to terra firma and collaborate with me on making a small contribution to mankind. No I am not seeking volunteers for a non-profit effort. Let us do something that will enable a million others while we earn our living.

Specifics? No I do not have a secret sauce or seedlings for money trees. Just believe that a collaborative application of minds and hard work can achieve anything.

If you have a different dream than I have but wish to do something in India, you are most welcome to take my help in getting started. Starting and running a venture/company/ organisation in India can be tough for the uninitiated. Understanding the markets (I prefer to understand communities of people instead of markets though I am a market researcher) is also an area where I can be of use.  I would love to share what I have with anyone to help them get started.

Support for People living with HIV


People Living with HIV need a lot more than what is being provided to them by National and International Care and Support programmes.

Currently I provide voluntary support to individuals, groups and networks of people with HIV and plan the following training programmes for them:
1. Effective Support Group Facilitation
2. Transactional Analysis
3. Network Leadership (for Women )

I have been working on HIV related issues since 1991 and have implemented some of the earliest behavioural research and program design in India on the subject. I do not represent any non-profit or NGO but prefer to work as an individual. I welcome anyone to partner with me to help such people