Interview with Jillian Haslam on her inspiring journey from Adversity to Success

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Interview with Jillian Haslam on her inspiring journey from Adversity to Success

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”  ― Haruki Murakami

The story of Jillian Haslam is that of a woman who has faced and overcome adversity and has risen above the despairing circumstances that destiny had willed her, to emerge stronger and transform her own life and that of her family. Incredibly unique and inspiring is her journey from the slums of Kolkata to being a motivational speaker, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and a celebrity author. 

 

Born to British parents who decided to stay on in India after Independence, Jillian grew up in abject poverty living under a flight of stairs and then in the slums of Khidirpur in Kolkata. Living in poverty would have never been easy; the problems faced by the Haslam family were further compounded by the prejudice that people harboured on account of their different looks, colour and language.

At the age of 17, Jillian left Kolkata for Delhi.  After working in the Delhi for a few years, she got selected by the Bank of America, where her projects for corporate charity earned her accolades and eventually a passage to England, where she now lives with her husband and two of her sisters.

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Sarojini Naidu – The Poetess and Freedom Fighter of India

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

 

The Coromandel Fishers

Rise brothers rise; the waking skies pray to the morning light.
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide for we are the Kings of the sea

No longer delay, let us hasten our way in the track of the sea gull’s call,
The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all.
What though we toss at the fall of the sea where the hand of the sea-god dares
He who holds the storm by the hair, will hide in his breast our lives.

Sweet is the shade of the coconut glade, and the scent of the mango grove,
And sweet are the sands at the full of the moon with the sound of the voices we love;
But sweeter, O brothers, the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;
Row brothers row to the edge of the verge, where the sky mates with the sea.

 

Many of you, who have studied in different parts of India may recall having read this poem in school. This poem was included in my English syllabus too. The poetess is none other than Sarojini Naidu, one of the greatest poets of India, whose 138th birth anniversary is being celebrated today as the National Women’s Day.

SarojiniNaidu

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Haldhar Nag – The People’s Poet

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

 

Haldhar Nag PadmaShree

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On 28 March 2016, the President of India Pranab Mukherjee bestowed Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of of India upon Haldhar Nag.

Born on 31 March, 1950 in a poor family of Ghess village, situated in Bargarh District, Odisha, Haldhar Nag had no formal schooling. The demise of his father when he was just ten forced him to to drop out from the school. Haldhar took up a job of a dishwasher in a local sweet shop. He later worked as a cook of the local High School for 16 years. When a number of schools came up in the area he opened a small shop of stationery articles and eatables for the school students by arranging a bank loan of 1000 Rupees.

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Women who won the Nobel Peace Prize

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Women who won the Nobel Peace Prize

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Today as the world celebrates Woman’s Day, here is a tribute to the 16 women laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize from 1905 -t0 2015, to commemorate their contribution towards humanity and peace. Life was not exactly a bed of roses for most of them, some of them were even looked down upon in their own country but how they dealt with the insurmountable difficulties made the world proud of these Nobel women.

Malala Yusufzai

Malala, NobelPeace Prize2014
Malala Yusufzai

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ~ Malala Yusufzai

Born in 12 July 1997, Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yusufzai  is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, to date. After having suffered an attack on her life by Taliban gunmen in 2012, she has continued her struggle and become a leading advocate of girls’ rights.

She was 17 years old in 2014, when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

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6 Inspirational Quotes on Nation Building

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6 Inspirational Quotes on Nation Building

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Today as India celebrates its 67th Republic Day, the country honors the bravery of its martyrs and soldiers in the Republic Day Parade. For the first time in the history of  India’s Republic day Parade, a foreign (French) contingent has marched down Rajpath on this occasion. With the theme of women empowerment gaining traction, an all-women stunt contingent has performed during the event.

 

Here are  some quotes on Nation Building to capture the spirit of Republic Day. I was nominated  by Shweta M of BODHI  – an awesome spiritual blog interspersed with esoteric/ metaphysical concepts.

Nation_Quote

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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The Age of Peace – Championing the cause of peace

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The Age of Peace – Championing the cause of peace

By Somali K Chakrabarti

What lures young people into terrorism? Can anything be done to prevent people from indulging in violence? Is it ever possible to establish peace in society?

I am sure, such questions must have risen an umpteen number of times in your mind whenever you would have heard or read about violent terrorist attacks. Such attacks are mostly  orchestrated by people who are brainwashed by radical organizations to carry out the acts of terror. The indoctrination, and involvement of youth in terrorism is a highly alarming trend that seems to have caught up all over the world from Nigeria, to Kenya, to Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Paris, and lately Pathankot.

The rising threat of terrorism leaves a common thread of concern across the world.

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Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar – A great Indian reformer

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

 

India, in the 19th century, witnessed the peak of Britain’s colonial era, with the administration of the country shifting from the East India Company to the British Empire in the mid-19th century. This was also the period in which the many reform movements were initiated in an attempt to clear the web of archaic traditions and practices trapping the society.

Born in this age was Ishwarchandra Bandyopadhyay, a crusader of change in the Indian society. A polymath, scholar, social reformer, writer, philosopher and philanthropist, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance that had begun with Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

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Meerabai – The 16th century saint poetess of India

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Meera Bhajan

I have always enjoyed listening to this beautiful, mystical bhajan, dedicated to Lord Krishna, which invariably soothes the soul and removes the effects of discord or disharmony.

The bhajan was composed by Meerabai, one of the greatest Women saints, philosopher and poetess in India. A proponent of the Bhakti movement, Meerabai defied social convention in order to embrace her love for the divine Krishna. She chose a spiritual path for herself, and pursued it with courage and resolve, in spite of stiff opposition and insurmountable obstruction posed by the orthodox society.

On the occasion of Janamasthami (the birth of Lord Krishna), here’s a look into the life of Meerabai, whose name is synonymous with devotion and love.

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Rani of Jhansi – The 19th century warrior queen

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Rani Jhansi poem

The extract from the poem ‘Jhansi Ki Rani‘ by Subhadrakumari Chauhan, is an ode to the valiant queen of Jhansi, who had challenged the British to defend her Kingdom and became a leading figure in India’s First War of Independence against the British rule.

Here’s a look into the life of the brave queen, a legendary figure  in India’s history, whose name is synonymous with patriotism and heroism.

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10 Inspiring Quotes by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

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On 27th July, 2015, India’s former president Dr Kalam passed away after he collapsed on the stage during a lecture at IIM , Shillong, Meghalaya.

Born in a humble background on 15th of October, in the year 1931, in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu,  APJ Abdul Kalam joined Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist after studying Aerospace engineering at Madras Institute of Technology.  He came to be known as the ‘Missile Man of India‘, for his involvement in the development of ballistic missiles and served as the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and was appointed as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the DRDO.

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