Posts filed under ‘Inspiring Stories’

Poet Sanjaya Mishra of Kantabanjhi, Balangir pens the tale of migration and poverty

Following is a report from the Telegraph:

Balangir, Oct. 26 (Report by SUDEEP KUMAR GURU): Young poet Sanjaya Mishra has chosen poetry as the medium to depict the poverty, pathos and hunger of Balangir.

Mishra’s series of poems titled “Urmila” is a major work in this connection. In this series, Urmila, the wife of Laxman, talks about the different aspects of poverty in Balangir.

The poet says that he has taken the character of Urmila as a symbol of the hunger in the district. “In the Ramayana, Laxman, along with Rama and Sita go to the forest leaving behind Urmila to look after the old Dasaratha and Kausalya. Similarly, many hungry people in present day Balangir migrate to other states for work leaving behind the numerous Urmilas to look after the old and ailing family members. I have tried to highlight the burning issue of poverty in this part of country through these legendary characters in my poems,” said Mishra, who has so far penned more than 100 poems in the “Urmila” series and some of them have already been published in different magazines.

In his poems, Mishra focuses mostly on the deprivation, poverty, distress, migration and the other socio-cultural problems and pathos of the people of the migrant community. Crop failure, failure of entitlement and other dimensions of rural poverty forms an integral part of his poems. What drove Mishra to write about these people of the lesser god?

“I live in Kantabanjhi, which is the epicentre of migration in Balangir. I have seen the suffering of the people from close quarters. I want to serve them through my poems. I intend to give a voice to the voiceless,” he said.

Mishra has been writing poems in both Oriya and Sambalpuri language for the last two decades. His Sambalpuri poetry collection Maraguda published in the year 2006 won appreciation. The title of the book, which means lost civilisation, talks about the flora, fauna, folk tradition, culture, local beliefs and customs, folk gods and goddess in a lively manner. His piece on Hirakud dam in the same collection has been widely acclaimed.

The poet has done extensive research on folk ballad of western Orissa. Santosh Rath of the Oriya department of Jawahar College of Patnagarh describes Sanjaya as an excellent poet.

“His collection of ballads from different parts of western Orissa and its analysis is a rare work,” Rath said. Mishra is now attached with the department of Oriya in Jawahar College of Patnagarh in the capacity of a research scholar supported by UGC.

He has been selected for the travel grant fellowship by the Kendra Sahitya Academy and also selected for the SAARC poetry festival for his literary excellence.

His publications include Agantuka (1999), Bhangi Padiba Agaru (2006) and Dhasa(2010).

October 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

ZeeTV saregamapa singing superstar contest; Please vote for Sniti Mishra

Following is some information about Sniti Mishra from

Sniti Mishra is a classical singer, She has her own style of singing. In mega audition of Zee Saregamapa Sniti Mishra sang Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna in her own way, completely different from the filmy track and this impressed judges of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar. During Mega audition Sniti Mishra got the positive result instantly from Sajid. A little training can make Sniti Mishra one of the tough contestant of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010.

Sniti Mishra belongs to a small place in Orissa, Bolangir district, classical touch in the singing of Sniti Mishra is always appealing. Shy look, feel full expression but talented skill and confident singing gave Sniti Mishra a place in top 18 contestant of Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010

Here is how to vote for Sniti Mishra:

To vote Sniti Mishra,  SMS Sniti to 57575 or Call: 1862424757506

Also, here you can vote online:

October 20, 2010 at 8:04 am 19 comments

Meet Nilamadhab Panda film maker and director from Sonepur, western Orissa;Nila Madhab Panda’s I AM KALAM wins two international awards

Following is a report from

Debutant filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda’s I AM KALAM has won the Best Feature Film Award at the Lucas International Film Festival in Germany. It has also won the Don Quixote Prize of the International Federation of Ciné-Clubs (FICC) awards.

Set in Rajasthan, I AM KALAM relates the story of Chhotu’s hunger for education, something which he cannot aspire to have because of his family’s poverty-stricken status.

Through an engaging, entertaining and fast-paced narrative, the film takes the viewer to the world of Chhotu, who at one point starts referring himself as Kalam after watching ex-president APJ Kalam speak about how he got his education fighting several odds on TV,.

Naming himself as Kalam has more than a symbolic meaning for Chhotu (a name thrust upon him by people at the Dhaba, who, like most of us, care two hoots for the identity of little kids working at eateries, shops and other establishments, and insensitively calling all of them as ‘Chhotu’, (the small one).

Chhotu’s life takes an unexpected turn as he befriends Prince Ranvijay, whose father, an erstwhile “king” of a princely state, is running a heritage hotel at his ancestral palace across the street, where Chhotu goes to deliver tea to the guests. What follows forms the crux of the film.

A sensitive film on the plight of the underprivileged, the film is also about how the privileged class can play a role in the uplift of the less-privileged millions. 

Panda, who has made over 60 short films, documentaries and television drama for Doordarshan, the BBC, Discovery Channel, NGC and private producers across the globe, says, “I believe in telling stories that have a universal appeal and a sense of purpose to the art that I create. I believe that the more local you get, the more global your access will be; and so here is one such local story.”

In all my films, I have explored the people’s basic needs and problem of the marginalized. I find such stories purposeful and exciting. I am also interested in making cinema for children and family; a genre that is much neglected in world cinema and more specifically in Asia.”

The film’s cast that has Delhi slum boy Harsh Mayar in the title also includes veteran actor Gulshan Grover (as Bhati the dhaba owner), child actor Hussan Saad of DELHI 6 fame (as Prince Ranvijay), French actress Beatrice Ordeix, FTII-trained Pitobash Tripathy and Meena Mir.

October 9, 2010 at 8:01 am 5 comments

Director and filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda of Sonepur district wins global award for “I Am Kalam”

Following report is from the

It is a wonder how life’s seemingly mundane experiences spur profound milestones in the journey to self-discovery. Filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda would certainly have a lot to say on that. The 37-year-old’s I Am Kalam is well on its way for an exclusive screening at the world’s biggest children festival  — The National School Film Week, London — on October 14.

Already riding on strong promise, the film, produced by Smile Foundation, has managed to bag the best feature film award and the Don Quixote Prize of the International Cine Club Federation at the Lucas Film Festival, Frankfurt Germany. “I come from one of India’s poorest regions, a remote village in Orissa’s Sonepur district. I know about daily struggle. But I also know what aspiration is. It’s a story of struggle that I have faced in my childhood,” says Panda. “I’m an eternal positivist. There is so much of negativity today, be it climate change or corruption. But I look at the spirit that instills fighting instincts against overwhelming odds,” he adds.

Strong on the social message of the need for education, the film is a celebration of struggle, aspiration and success. It also has a strong take on child labour, the exploitative Indian system and the thoughtless individual.

The cast includes Harsh Mayar, a 10-year-old boy from a Delhi slum, actor Gulshan Grover and French actor Beatrice. The film was inspired by Panda’s encounter with a young boy ten years back which has been superimposed with the life and character of former president APJ Kalam. Kalam’s quintessential thesis has been his firm belief that every individual in life is endowed with special qualities or a unique ‘fire’, and that the purpose of one’s life is to develop these attributes or ‘to give wings to this fire.’

The child protagonist in the film, Chhotu, works as an errand boy in a roadside dhaba. His name is suggestive of a generic identity for all child workers where no one gives a damn about them. He recognises his life’s purpose when he’s asked: “What is your real name?” He realises that he wants a real name with a character, unlike the countless faceless Chhotus. He needs a hero and finds his answer on TV — APJ Kalam, a man who scaled the pinnacle of achievement, an individual who financed his school fees by selling newspapers.

I Am Kalam had its world premiere at the Marche du Section of the Cannes film festival this year. Having produced and directed over 65 documentaries, shorts and films across the globe, Panda is a promise among India’s emerging generation of young filmmakers. His contemporary storytelling methods offer a skillful and visually striking edge to social themes.

Following report is from (Kalam continues to inspire, now on reel):

Balangir, Sept. 19: Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s “early life and vision” has been captured on reel to convey the message of education to the deprived millions in India.

The film I am Kalam is already going places and has won the best feature film award and the Don Quixote Prize at the Lucas International Film Festival in Germany.

Produced by the Smile Foundation and Eleeanora Images Private Limited, the film had its world premiere at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival last May and will now be screened at the prestigious London Children Film Festival and Asia Pacific Screen Award. Few, however, know that Nila Madhab Panda, co-producer and director of the film, hails from a non-descript village in Sonepur district.

Set in Rajasthan, the film is the story of Chhotu alias Kalam, who cannot aspire for education because of his family’s poverty-stricken status. Through an entertaining and fast-paced narrative, the film takes the viewer to the world of Chhotu, who at one point starts referring to himself as Kalam after watching the missile man speak on television about how he got his education fighting several odds.

Panda said: “Naming himself Kalam has more than a symbolic meaning for Chhotu, a name thrust upon him by customers at the dhaba who, like most of us, insensitively calling all of them ‘Chhotu’ or the small one.”

Chhotu’s life takes an unexpected turn as he befriends Prince Ranvijay. His father, an erstwhile “king” of a princely state, runs a heritage hotel at his ancestral palace across the street, where Chhotu goes to deliver tea to the guests.

The kids bond big time and Chhotu starts getting his education informally, courtesy Ranvijay’s old books and interaction with costumers.

The film strikes a chord with the viewers thanks to the heart-touching acting by Delhi slum boy Harsh Mayar. Mayar as Chhotu represents, in a way, millions of other kids who could become Kalams but for the unfortunate circumstances they find themselves in.

Panda said, “The film is a story of struggle that I have faced and observed since my own childhood. The film celebrates the spirit of survival against overwhelming odds.” Panda’s father Aditya Prasad said: “I am proud that my son never studied in famous schools and colleges but has managed to achieve what many would be dreaming of. After completing his college studies, he asked me for Rs 2,000 to go to Delhi. And there he has carved a niche for himself.” 

October 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm 5 comments

Sniti Mishra of Balangir shines at Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa

September 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Boys of poor families make Balangir proud: Rickshawpuller’s son wins singles title in state-level badminton championship

Following news is from The Telegraph:

Balangir, Sept. 20: Fighting against all odds, two young boys made Balangir proud by winning titles in the state open badminton championship in Talcher on Sunday.

Abhimanyu Bagarty (12), son of a rickshawpuller in Balangir, won the singles title in the boys’ mini (under-13) category while Surendra Nepal (14), son of a daily labourer won the men’s singles title in the sub-junior category.

Surendra also won the men’s doubles title with Chandan Mishra in the sub-junior category, while Abhimanyu teamed with Swarup Ranjan Guru to emerge as runners up in the boy’s mini double category.

Two others — Bikrant Jani who emerged as the runner up in the boy’s mini singles category and Arabinda Sahu, who was adjudged the best emerging player of the tournament — also hailed from Balangir.

Abhimanyu said that he used to play badminton in the streets when Susanta Pradhan of the District Badminton Association (DBA) picked him up after noticing his talent.

“I was very young when I developed a passion for games. I used to play badminton with my friends in the streets of our locality. We used bundle of polythene carrybags as shuttle and a flat piece of wood as racket. Susanta dada used to watch me. One day he took me to the DBA office and formally admitted me there,” he said.

Abhimanyu’s father, a rickshawpuller in the town, said that he was exulted at his son’s achievements. “I knew that he was fond of sports. Since I am a poor ricksha puller, it was not possible for me to meet his requirements. But, I also never knew that my son possessed such talent. I hope that he will do even better in the years to come,” he said.

The success story of Surendra Nepal is similar. Son of a daily labourer in an aluminium factory, he never thought that he would play in any state-level tournament. He was picked up by Rajiv Sahu of the DBA who noticed him playing badminton in the streets of the town.

“I never thought that I would play in such a tournament and win title. It is like a dream come true for me,” he said.

“There are many kids in our association who are from very poor families. We try to help them by providing them with playing equipment, tracksuits and shoes. We are very happy that our efforts have paid well as two boys who came from such poor backgrounds have won titles. This is the beginning. We will ensure that they go on to win tournaments at higher levels,” said Suru Matari, secretary of the DBA.

September 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Chittaranjan Dhangda Majhi of Bhawanipatna gets civil service

Following story is from TOI:

BALANGIR: Another youth from Orissa’s Kalahandi district has made it to the coveted civil services proving the point that backwardness of the area is no deterrent to the aspiring.

Three years ago, Satyabrata Bhoi from Kalahandi district, bagged the 160 position making it to the IPS. He is now posted as SP in Angul district. This year, it is the turn of Chittaranjan Dhangda Majhi of Bhawanipatna, who secured 667 rank.

It was Chittaranjan’s third attempt. On earlier occasions, the final interview had proved to be his stumbling block. His subjects were economics and political science. “Patience and determination is the first requisite to get through the civil services. It is no big deal. I think anyone can make it if he has patience,” said Chittaranjan.

His parents being teacher, Chittaranjan learned discipline in study early in life. He completed his schooling and intermediate education in Bhawanipatna and then studied at the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT). He passed out in 2002. Then he went to Delhi for civil services preparation. “I opted for this service because I have seen my home district reeling under poverty. I have also seen how much difference IAS officers can make by serving the poor,” said Chittaranjan.

May 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm 4 comments

How Punjab peon’s daughter cracked civil services exam

Following is a report by IANS published

Morinda (Punjab), May 10 (IANS) Sheer hard work and inspiration from an old TV serial have helped Sandeep Kaur, a peon’s daughter, crack the tough civil services exam. And, as she says, she couldn’t have done it without the rock solid support of her extended family.

Sandeep, 29, daughter of Ranjit Singh, a peon in the revenue department here, has given Punjab reasons to feel proud by attaining the 138rd rank in the open merit list of the All India Civil Services Examination.

She is from the Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved category and hopes to better her rank in the reserved category list, which is yet to be declared.

‘I am proud to be a peon’s daughter and I want my father to complete his service with full dignity. I owe my success to my parents and god. Despite meagre resources, my father provided the best facilities to me,’ Sandeep told IANS.

‘I was very motivated after seeing the serial ‘Udaan’, the tale of a lower middle class girl who became an Indian Police Service officer.’

Morinda town is around 35 km from state capital Chandigarh.

While recounting her difficult days, Sandeep, a civil engineer, said: ‘After completing my engineering, I first wanted to do a job to become economically independent before starting preparations for IAS. But for two continuous years, I did not find any job, as there were very few opportunities for girls in the civil engineering sector.

‘There was nobody to guide me and we did not have enough money to pay the hefty fees of coaching classes. Therefore, I made the first two attempts (2005 and 2006) without taking any formal coaching,’ she pointed out.

Thereafter, her father took a bank loan to fund the cost of coaching institutes. She took coaching at Chandigarh, Patiala and New Delhi.

Despite her engineering background, she meticulously chose the subjects of sociology and Punjabi literature. In 2007, she missed the main exam by a whisker. She got 933 marks whereas the cut-off was 936.

‘My extended family also supported me during the preparations. Every day at 4 a.m. my cousin went to Kharar town (around 10 km from here), to bring a copy of Hindu newspaper as we did not get it here.

‘I have given preference to the Punjab cadre. I would certainly work against female foeticide and for the uplift of girls in the state,’ said Sandeep.

Since the declaration of results last week, Sandeep’s house has been abuzz with mediapersons. Her family members are upbeat.

‘We are from a small town of Punjab with very few resources but still my daughter has successfully cleared one of the most difficult exams of the country. The whole town is proud of her and I cannot express my feelings in words,’ a proud Amarjit Kaur, Sandeep’s mother, told IANS.

‘I wanted her to become an IAS officer since she was in Class 8 and now she has fulfilled my dream. It was certainly not an easy path and it was a journey full of disappointments and countless hiccups. But her strong determination helped her sail all the way,’ she said.

Gurpreet Singh, Sandeep’s brother who is studying law, told IANS: ‘This time Sandeep was desperate to clear the exam as last time she had missed it by just three marks. During the prelims she studied for 18 hours and for the mains she increased it to over 20 hours. She had actually forgotten to sleep in pursuit of her dream.

‘But my sister is still the same person. Reporters of many channels are coming to our house to interview her but she is very shy and afraid of facing the camera.’ he said.

Gurpreet now wants to crack the exam himself. ‘I will also start preparing for this exam under my sister’s guidance.’

May 10, 2010 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

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