Help pours in for Sahana Kumari after Ek Aur Prayaas’ campaign


Sahana Kumari, a little-known high jumper and the 14th Indian athlete to qualify for the London Olympics was finding it difficult to source funds to take her coach along. Some concerned citizens, through Ek Aur Prayaas, a socio-political platform spread the word and were able to garner support for Sahana.


A victorious 7-day campaign woke up the Karnataka government to support Shahana Kumari as well as 11 other athletes from the state who will represent India at the London Olympics. How did it happen? Ek Aur Prayaas (a socio-political platform), started by Jaymin Panchal and Anil Kohli was approached by concerned citizens such as Vikram Bondal and his father Mahesh Bondal to support Sahana Kumari and other athletes.  Project “High Jump to Olympics” was envisaged to raise funds for the purpose.

She is India’s current national record holder with 1.92 meters and one of our medal hopes for the London Olympics. But she stands a chance only if she has the right training and mental support right until the does her final jump. Unfortunately, when it comes to anything other than cricket, funds are a serious problem.

India’s medal tally in the history of the Olympic games, every since we first participated in 1900 is a meager 17 medals—eight gold, four silver and five bronze. Except the last Olympics, when India Abhinav Bindra brought home India’s first gold medal, it has always been the same story – public outrage and screaming headlines lamenting the poor performance of our sportspersons, lack of training and infrastructure and criticism of sports bodies dominated by politicians. But nothing ever changes.  

The Indian Olympics Association’s (IOA) preparation  for the London Olympics was no much different. The IOA is sending a 148 strong contingent approved by the sports ministry; but only 81 of these are athletes and there are 35 coaches; the rest are government officials.

Our high-jump champion, Sahana Kumari, a resident of Kotekar village in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka is a clerk with the South Western Railway.

And although she is a national record holder and is being trained by Russian coach Nikitin Evgeny, a world-renowned trainer, there weren’t enough funds to meet the expenses of her coach going along to London or meet several other costs. The Indian Olympics Association (IOA), tied down in redtape would not pay for Nikitin Evgeny since he is not a part of the official Indian contingent. The total cost involved was estimated at Rs7-Rs8 lakh, of which around Rs3 lakh would cover the coach’s traveling expense while the rest would cover her training, equipment and miscellaneous expenses. 

Ek Aur Prayaas decided to raise funds by using social media to advantage. It posted information about Sahana Kumari’s predicament on its website with details of the bank account where contributions could be sent. It then used Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. The team then watch the effort with apprehension and excitement. However, financial contributions began to trickle in and well wishers also helped spread the message by sharing and re-tweeting it.

Soon Zee News noticed the effort and did a story on Sahana Kumari’s plight. Professor ND Agarwal, who watch the show stepped forward and offered to pay the coach’s expenses. Later Mumbai Mirror also wrote about the effort as did

Ek Aur Prayaas also contacted influencers who in turn spoke to government officials. Finally, the effort paid off and the Karnataka government took notice of the relentless efforts. It then sprang a happy surprise by announcing Rs5 lakh to each of the 12 athletes from Karnataka who will represent India at the London Olympics. Ek Aur Prayaas has not decided that its objective is more than met and the fund raising campaign has been closed. The group believes that it is not enough to felicitate winners, it is more important to facilitate the participation of athletes, so that they gain experience, become role models and inspire youngsters to look at sports and athletics as a serious career option.

They are also jubilant at being able to use social media successfully to reach more people and create enough pressure to pressure to the relevant authorities to wake up and make the right decisions.

Ek Aur Prayaas’ drive to financially assist Sahana Kumari has another benefit – it has created a nice support group to cheer this champion athlete at the London Olympics among people who knew nothing about her until just a week ago.

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HC asks Maharashtra government to pay pension to retired professor

The state government had denied pension to the professor as during his service tenure, CPF was deducted from his salary instead of GPF

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked Maharashtra government to pay pension forthwith to Dr Dilip Sadashiv Joag, retired professor of Pune University, under the pension scheme, reports PTI.
The direction was given by a division bench on 16th July on a petition filed by the professor urging for pension.
Joag was appointed on 14 August 1980 as a lecturer on temporary basis and thereafter on 16 March 1985 he was appointed as a lecturer on permanent basis. He was given promotion as a reader on 29 May 1989. After retirement, he was denied pension payable under Pension & Gratuity Scheme.
He was informed that during the service tenure, contributory provident fund (CPF) was deducted from his salary instead of gratuity pension fund (GPF), as per the GR dated 21 July 1983 and 26 April 1993.
Petitioner's counsel Chandana Salgaokar submitted that Joag had never given the option for Gratuity Pension Fund as at the time of his appointment he was communicated that he would be governed by Pension-cum-Gratuity Scheme.
She drew the attention of the court to the letter of appointment of the petitioner dated 16 March 1985, and also to another letter dated 29 May 1989 further appointing him to the post of Reader in Physics, wherein it was mentioned that he would be governed by Maharashtra Civil Service (Pension) Rules 1982, including the Family Pension Scheme of 1964.
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Rajesh Khanna, the first superstar of Hindi films, is no more

Rajesh Khanna, whose romantic persona in songs like “Mere sapno ki raani”, “O mere dil ke chain” and “Roop tera mastana” made many a young woman’s heart skip a beat, was Hindi film world's first actor to attain superstar status

Mumbai: Bollywood’s original superstar Rajesh Khanna, who charmed his way into the hearts of millions of swooning women in the 1960s and 70s, died on Wednesday, reports PTI.


69-year-old Khanna, who shot to superstardom with the 1969 hit ‘Aradhana’ opposite Sharmila Tagore, passed away at his home, two days after being discharged from Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. He had been ailing since April.


Though a romantic hero, Khanna essayed a variety of roles with ease in his illustrious career spanning four decades. His portrayal as a cancer patient in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee-film ‘Anand’ (1971) in which he got the better of Amitabh Bachchan left many teary eyed.


Nicknamed ‘Kaka’ by his adoring fans, he is survived by estranged actress wife Dimple Kapadia and daughters Twinkle and Rinkie, all of whom were by his side when his end came.


Khanna’s family as also Lilavati Hospital authorities were tight-lipped about the nature of the actor’s illness.


“We cannot tell you about the nature of Khanna’s illness... Please get in touch with his family,” a spokesman for Lilavati who identified himself only as Dr Trivedi told PTI.


According to sources close to the family, the cremation will take place on Thursday.


Vijay, a close friend of Khanna who had been interacting with the media since his illness, said, “Kaka’s food intake had gone down over the last few days making him very weak.”


The news of Khanna’s death this afternoon spread like wildfire and hundreds of teary-eyed fans descended at his bungalow ‘Ashirwad’ in Bandra.


“My father-in-law is no more. He has gone to a nice and heavenly place. I am happy that he has gone there and hope that everyone will pray for him,” his actor son-in-law Akshay Kumar told waiting reporters and fans outside ‘Ashirwad’.


Several Bollywood celebrities including actors Rishi Kapoor, Prem Chopra and film maker Sahid Khan visited Khanna’s home to pay homage to the actor.


The veteran actor, who lived a secluded life of late, recently appeared for a film advertisement of a well known brand of fan, his face and eyes sunken. His reel fans were shocked to see him a pale shadow of his former self.


During his illustrious career Khanna gave 15 consecutive solo super-hits between 1969 and 1972 including “Aradhana”, “Haathi Mere Saathi”, “Anand” and “Amar Prem”.


Veteran actress Saira Banu, who missed a chance of working with Khanna during his stardom days, remembers the actor as a very ‘shy’ person.


“I was supposed to work with him in ‘Choti Bahu’ but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and found that he was very charming, humble and a shy person. May his soul rest in peace,” Ms Banu said.


His contemporary Manoj Kumar said he was planning to meet Khanna.


“I had called Dimple but she told me not to come as Rajesh Khanna was not in a position to talk... I miss him a lot and I have shared some of the best memories with him,” Mr Kumar said.


Filmmaker Subhash Ghai said, “He was the powerhouse of Hindi film industry. I met him on the sets of Aradhna, he had some kind of energy and you will be charged when he is around you. His name will be written in golden words.”


Producer-director Karan Johar said Khanna’s magic will live forever.


“The magic... the mannerism... the mania of Rajesh Khanna is inscribed in every archive of Indian cinema... forever... RIP SIR!!!” said Karan Johar.


Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said, “The epitome of superstardom is no more amongst us. There was none, there is none and there won't be any like you kakaji. You will be missed.”


Tusshar Kapoor tweeted, “Rajesh Khanna ji, our first superstar is no more! I worked with him in ‘Kyaa dil ne kaha” and learnt a lot just talking to him! May his soul RIP!”


Actress Neha Dhupia said, “RIP Rajesh khanna Saab ... U, ur stardom, ur magic will live forever!”


Shabana Azmi, who starred opposite Khanna in films such as “Amar Deep”, “Thodisi Bewafaii” and “Avtaar”, said, “He was the superstar like no other, did 10 films with him. Met him last at the Apsara awards. Pale shadow of himself but smile as winsome RIP Rajesh K.”


“Rajesh Khanna gave us a crash course in romance. He introduced us to a special twinkle in the eye that made us feel good about ourselves. RIP,” Anupam Kher wrote.


“Another of Hindi cinema’s giants passes, Rajesh Khanna.


Our sincere condolences to his family. We will miss him dearly,” Madhuri Dixit tweeted.


“Too young. Too early. Tragic. RIP Rajesh Khanna. A candle that burned brighter than any star for too short a time,” filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said.


“When we lose a loved one, something within us dies. Our generation loved Rajesh Khanna. Today a bit if us dies with this enigmatic star,” Mahesh Bhatt tweeted.


“Just heard the sad news, heartfelt condolences & prayers to the family to cope with this irreparable loss, RIP Rajesh Khanna, a Superstar always,” said Shilpa Shetty.


“Rip Rajesh Khanna,” said Sonam Kapoor.


“RIP to the 1st king of romance... Rajesh Khanna,” Shahid Kapoor posted on the micro-blogging site.


“Loss of a Superstar! Iconic Actor! RIP Rajesh Khanna!” Bipasha Basu posted.

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Rajkumar Singh

7 years ago

It is great loss to the film fraternity and his fans.

May his soul rest in peace!

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