India’s Medicine Baba Takes Prescription Medicine from the Rich, Gives It to the Poor

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Omkarnath, a retired blood-bank technician from New Delhi, is a modern-day medical Robin Hood. For the past three years, the 79-year-old has been collecting unused prescription drugs from the wealthy and distributing them among the less fortunate. His efforts have earned him the nickname ‘Medicine Baba’.

‘Baba’ is a term used in India to describe a wise, elderly man. New Delhi’s very own Medicine Baba walks over seven kilometers each day, combing the city and stopping at almost every door, asking for unused medicines. He’s also set up dozens of collection boxes in private clinics around the city, where people can make donations. According to Omkarnath, “Every bungalow in Delhi has extra medicines, but they are throwing them in their dustbins.” But the best neighborhoods, he insists, are the middle-class and lower middle-class ones. “One morning, I got a strip of anti-cancer medication worth 35,000 rupees ($545),” he recalled.

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How the “Waterman of India” Revived Five Rivers and Brought Back Water to Over 1,000 Villages

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Rajendra Singh is considered a hero in the state of Rajasthan, in India, for single handedly reviving five rivers that had been dried up for decades. His exceptional work and dedication have earned him the nickname ‘Waterman of India’.

Singh, who studied Ayurvedic medicine at college, had always dreamed of becoming a farmer. So when he moved to Rajasthan’s Alwar district after graduating in 1985, he was interested in healing not just his people, but also the semi-arid region’s ailing ecosystem.

Singh noticed that the district’s population was dwindling – most villagers had left their homes after the local Arvari River had dried up in the ’40s, and the only people who remained were either too old or too poor to move elsewhere. Singh, driven by a strong desire to help the villagers, took on the task of bringing water back to those lands.

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Indian Millionaire Gives Up His Fortune to Become a Humble Monk

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Indian businessman Bhanwarlal Raghunath Doshi made headlines last weekend for publicly renouncing his wealth to become a monk. The ‘plastics king’ of Delhi gave up his 600-crore ($100 million) business empire during a ceremony on Sunday, becoming the 108th disciple of Jain guru Shri Gunratna Surishwarji Maharaj.

Doshi’s decision wasn’t an impulsive one: Jain lectures have been drawing him to spirituality since 1982. But his family – his wife, two sons, and a daughter – were always reluctant to let him go. They finally relented last year, allowing Doshi to fulfil his long-time dream of becoming a monk. His initiation into monkhood took place in an extravagant ceremony at Ahmedabad Education Society, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Bhanwarlal Raghunath Doshi

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Alleged Pakistani Spy Pigeon Arrested in India

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In a puzzling turn of events, Indian authorities have arrested a pigeon on the suspicion of spying for the Pakistani government.

The dubious bird is believed to have landed on the terrace of a barber’s home in the village of Manwal, four kilometers away from the India-Pakistan border. The barber’s 14-year-old son noticed an Urdu message printed on its feathers that read: ‘Tehsil Shakargarh, district Narowal’, along with a series of numbers. The boy immediately turned the pigeon over to the police, asking them to investigate its appearance.

Intrigued by the message and by a wire-like object found on its body, officers rushed the bird to a veterinary hospital in the town of Pathankot for inspection. X-Ray reports did not reveal anything abnormal, but the police said that they plan to detain the bird until they find out more. They do have a hunch that the digits in the message may be a telephone number in Pakistan’s Narowal district and the tension was further intensified by the fact that the bird made an appearance during a top-secret inter-state security conference in India. So the bird was listed in police records as a “suspected spy”.

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The Water Wives of India Live Only to Fetch Water for Their Families

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Men in drought-stricken Indian villages often take a second or even a third wife whose sole purpose is only to bring water to the family. They make several long trips to distant water sources every single day, carrying large vats of water on their heads.

Life is hard in dry villages, like Denganmal, 150 km from Mumbai. Husbands are busy farming and tending to the animals, while the women do house chores and raise the children. However, someone still needs to bring water from sources often several kilometers away, for about 8 months out of a year, when there is no rainfall in the area. That’s why having two or even three wives is not at all uncommon in these parts. The men only have children with their first wives, while the other’s sole purpose is to provide water for the family, in exchange for a roof over their heads and the social status of wife. They are paaniwaali bais, water wives.

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Walking Advertising Billboard Tattoos His Body with Logos of His Favorite Brands, for Free

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If you think about it, logos are works of art too – they’re clever, well designed and come in a variety of colors. But are they appealing enough to tattoo on to your body? Well, for 23-year-old Indian tattoo artist Jason George, they are. The self-confessed ‘human billboard’, sports hundreds of tattooed logos of international companies that have impacted his life in some way.

“I know it seems insane but these tattoos are my way of giving thanks to the brands that have made an impact on my life,” said Jason, a college-dropout and founder of 21 Tattoo Studio in Mumbai. The logos inked all over his body include those of his favorite TV channel, mobile phone networks, fast food chains, and social networking sites. “All the logos that you will find on my body have a special place in my heart. They are related to my life in some way and I have memories and stories attached to these brands.”

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Indian Librarian Has Been Donating Every Penny Earned to Charity for 35 Years

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Meet Kalyanasundaram, an Indian librarian with a heart of gold. During his 35 years of service, he donated almost all the money he earned to orphanages and children’s welfare funds. Now that he is retired, Kalyanasundaram donates his entire pension to those who need it more than he. Although he has no material possessions to his name, he considers himself one of the richest people in the world.

The 73-year-old retiree, from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, started to think about helping the poor and underprivileged at a very young age. He lost his father at the age of one, and his mother struggled to raise him all by herself. As he grew older, his shrill, high-pitched voice troubled him to such an extent that he became depressed and suicidal. But his life turned around when he met a local motivational writer, who told him, “Don’t bother about how you speak. Strive to make others speak well about you.”

Kalyanasundaram took the advice seriously, and decided to dedicate his life to the service of others. The humble man insists that the reason he started helping people was to make himself happy.

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Indian Man Is on a Quest to Date 365 Women This Year

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Most people are desperate to find ‘the one’, but this Indian man is quite the opposite. He wants date one woman… per day! He’s on a quest to go out on 365 dates this year, and has already been on 110 so far.

Although his goal might make him sound like a Casanova, Sunder Ramu’s intentions are actually quite different. It appears that he took up challenge simply as a way to meet more people. And he even has a rule – the women have to take him out and pay for the meal, or choose to cook it themselves. “I was getting too comfortable being alone, which scared me,” the fashion photographer from Chennai explained. “I decided that I was going to explore life and meet more and more people. Going to the club feels fake, and so I thought of going out on dates.”

In fact, most of the dates aren’t even romantic in nature. They’re more about having a good time and making new friends. Through his unique quest, he’s spent time with women of all ages and from different walks of life, and he’s had a wealth of experiences so far.

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Indian Village Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl Child is Born

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While a vast majority of Indians continue to prefer sons, a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan has its own unique tradition of celebrating their daughters. Since 2006, the residents of Piplantri village, in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, have been planting a whopping 111 trees to celebrate the birth of a girl!

Given that an average of 60 girls are born each year, the villagers have managed to plant over 250,000 trees so far – including varieties like Neem, Indian Rosewood, and Mango. The community of 8,000 residents is also dedicated to making sure that the trees survive and attain fruition as the girls grow up.

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Indians Take Exam Cheating to New Heights by Scaling School Walls to Help Friends and Relatives

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Cheating at exams is an age-old phenomenon, but the practice literally scaled new heights last week in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. News reports showed how parents and relatives of 10th-grade students climbing the walls of a school building to hand cheat sheets to the students taking their year-end exams inside!

Photographs and videos of the stupefying event went viral in India, even as police officers stood watching helplessly. Some videos also showed inspectors slapping young students as they pulled out cheat sheets from under their tables. It seems that several students were able to smuggle textbooks and notes into the exam centers despite tight security.

Cheating is apparently common in rural areas of the state, where the competition is fierce and opportunities are few. Just last month, dozens of 12th-grade students were expelled and parents detained in cases of cheating. But the sight of parents risking their life and limb to help their kids has truly shocked the nation.

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7-Year-Old Wonder Kid Nicknamed “Google” Knows Pretty Much Everything

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Seven-year-old Kautilya Pandit is what you would call a walking, talking encyclopedia, with the capacity to absorb information ranging from geography to biology and current affairs. He also dabbles in economic statistics, politics and pretty much any other subject you can think of. Within three months, the little kid managed to memorize information about 213 countries, their population, GDP, source of income, currency, religion, culture and heritage.

Kautilya, a resident of Kohand Village in Haryana, India, is now a national celebrity – he regularly travels to schools across India, answering live questions from other kids, on stage. In one of his latest appearances, he was asked unusual questions like the total surface area of Vatican City, the GDP of the UK and more. He was able to answer them all with ease.

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Shani Shingnapur – India’s Village without Doors

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Believe it or not, there’s a village in India where none of the 300-odd buildings – homes, educational institutions, and even banks – have doors. Cash is stored in unlocked containers, as are valuable pieces of gold jewellery.

Even most of the public toilets in Shani Shingnapur village square have no doors. “For reasons of privacy and following requests by women, we recently agreed to put a thin curtain near the entrance, but not doors because that would go against our belief,” said village shopkeeper Parmeshwar Mane.

Some villagers do put up loose door panels against their door frames, but this is done only at night, to keep out wild animals and stray dogs. The only problem with the lack of doors is that there’s nothing to knock on to announce your arrival. But the villagers have a solution for this, too. “Just shout out and somebody will come to the door,’’ one of the villagers, Rani, explained.

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Indian Man Finally Gets Fired after Skipping Work for 24 Years

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An employee of India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been found guilty of ‘wilful absence of duty’ – believe it or not – for the past 24 years! Assistant executive engineer A.K. Verma went off sick from work one morning in 1990, and he simply never returned.

“He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the department told the media last Thursday. Verma is said to have joined the CPWD in 1980, and risen to the rank of executive engineer in 1990.

Although he came under investigation in 1992, he was only fired this month. Formal proceedings to dismiss him did not start until 2007, and it took seven more years for the department to actually reach a decision to sack him. Ultimately, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu ordered his dismissal, in order to ‘streamline the functioning of the CPWD and to ensure accountability’.

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This Guy Has Been Driving Backwards for the Last 11 Years

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Indian taxi driver Harpreet Dev is well-known in his hometown of Bhatinda, Punjab, for his amazing reverse driving skills. The 30-year-old has been driving his cab in reverse for the past 11 years. Harpreet is so used to it now that he says he doesn’t trust himself to drive forwards anymore! He even has a special government license that allows him to drive backwards in any state in the northern part of India.

Harpreet’s passion for reverse driving started in 2003, when his faithful Fiat Padmini  got stuck in reverse gear late one night. “I was outside the city, I had no money, so I thought of driving the car backwards until Bhatinda,” he said. “Then I drove backwards and later on I gained confidence.”

That’s when he realised that he was really on to something, so the next morning he painted the words ‘Back Gear Champion’ on the side of the car and redesigned its gearbox to have four reverse gears and only one forward.

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Hundreds of Indians Fast to Death Every Year in Ancient Santhara Ritual

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Fasting is a common religious practice in several cultures across the world, but few are as hardcore as ‘Santhara’. The exacting ritual is a part of Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world, and it involves participants making an oath to stop eating until they literally die of starvation. According to the Jains, this is a surefire way to purge oneself of bad karma and achieve ‘Moksha’ – liberation from the worldly cycle of death and reincarnation.

Every year, hundreds of Jains across India take up the onerous oath – some are monks, others are ordinary people. Interestingly, over 60 percent of the participants are female, and it is believed that women are more strong-willed than men. The practice is more popular with Jains who are ill or dying, but healthy people are also known to participate.

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