• 1). Stream lined Vatavaran Rhizome has champions dedicated to 2 model Projects & 2 service providers. It also has 1 educational, 2 earthy and 1 humanitarian Sparks that would become champions as and when they come up with some activity which has active participants beyond their own organization.

  • 2). Some sparks have been taken off from Vatavaran Rhizome due to their zero performance/ no inclination to change/ non cooperation with fellow Sparks.

A. Two Model Projects

1. Kaya Kelp SAC

Revitalization Project


    SAC is a slum adjacent to the biggest open drain near ITO New Delhi. A project – Kaya Kelp - SAC /revitalization was conceived in April 2022 and launched in June 2022 to Create a model Basti that can breplicated for better community living. This is an experiment . . . to build a model of Ideal.
    Its has 4 wings:

    (i) Basic living conditions

    • a). Beautification

    • An artist Dipto is helping all the villagers to draw and paint on the walls all around the village.

    • b). Greenification

    • Waste plastic bottles are up cycled into hanging planters .Every house is hanging such planters outside there house.

    • c). Plastic Management

    • Plastic management by hanging Broken plastic items, cling film, Carry bags, tubes etc. in a plastic bag and hanging it from a nail outside the door to be sold in bulk

    • d). Empowering residents to get civil works like sanitation, water, electricity, paving the roads and covering or maintenance of the biggest open drain of Delhi running along SAC by spreading knowledge about Government Policies, laws, RTI etc.

    (ii) Psychological Aspects

    • Yoga and Mindfulness
    • Trauma healing
    • Cognitive Behavior Therapy

    (iii) Health & Wellness

    • Personal Hygiene
    • Nutrition and deficiencies
    • Kitchen skills improvement and community kitchen

    (iv) Employment & skill development Workshops

    • Entrepreneurship
    • Work at home opportunities
    • English & computer training
    • Manufacturing and selling, other professional training

  • Project Leader
    Dr. Anjila Gugnani

    She is Director Family Support Services Project of ASHI (oldest volunteer organization working for betterment of family , empowerment of women and education of children ). She is a doctorate in psychology from University of Delhi. Retired as Associate professor in December 2011 after teaching psychology and education related papers for 34 years. Established the department of elementary education in 2004 and headed the same till 2011. Was honorary principal of Vocational training college for 14 years from 1984 to 1998? Worked on projects related to Women development, drug abuse prevention for many years as convener and counselor. She has Participated/presented papers at various national and international seminars/conferences. She has worked as consultant with the Teach India project of The Times of India for a couple of years, conducted workshop on Adolescent issues with middle and high school students of various schools of Delhi. Music is Dr Guarani’s passion since childhood especially light vocal music. She sings for her self and has shared it with a larger audience through solo performances at prestigious venues. For her performing arts and art in any form are stimulating, exciting and a great medium of expression. Her hobbies are reading, and watching meaningful films. Empathy and compassion made her involve in social service. She enjoys travelling and learning more by meeting people and exploring the environment.

  • Advisor
    Adittee Garg

    She is a versatile sculptor, a giving friend and a compassionate soul. Her work is adorning Rashtrapati Bhawan, Art galleries, five star hotels, private villas, public spaces, and Kartarpur’s 4.2 kilometer long, shared, inter faith, inter country spiritual corridor with 13 life size sculptures of Sikh Icons. Adittee is a hopeless romantic and dreamer. As a child her passion was to watch potters create, Family environs made her do masters in Business Administration but her mind was always revolving around forms and colors, Endowed with incredible imagination and magic in her fingers. She works in three dimensions, to shape marble, bronze, wood, and other materials into incredible sculptures from a small coffee table sized rock cut emotions to larger than life sculptures, molded bronze each of her creations has a unique language. Her journey as a sculptor taught her the nature of humans, and she also found herself closer to nature in the wild. Her art gets its power from day-to-day life, which is also why it has the capacity to move and influence people. When she realized that polluting sculpting materials were gaining an edge over natural ones, she became an activist and began popularizing natural sculpting materials instead. She prefers natural materials that are not mined and have been using old recycled and reclaimed metals and materials. She is popularizing sculpting for personality enrichment and economic growth.

  • Advisor
    Niloy Roy

    He is a multi disciplinary practitioner of art and literature and one of the few young directors to be acknowledged by the European Union for his understanding of society and portraying sensitivity through theatre. Niloy Roy has secured distinctive grades among critics as well as audiences in general, as a poet, playwright, director and actor. With more than fifty plays to his credit as a playwright and many more as an actor as well as director, his training in the art can be traced back to some of the finest teachers of drama. He has been undoubtedly termed as a prodigy in contemporary Indian theatre by the critics as one of the very rare playwrights and directors to work with excellence in Bengali, Hindi as well as English at such an early age. People's Theatre Group has entered its 16th year in 2022, shelving out some of the best and most innovative theatrical experience to audiences across the country. His collection of poems has been published as books, namely, 'Sahamat', 'Pablo the Empty Wooden Chairs' and 'Love in Burgundy Socks’. His forthcoming book is 'The Sensory Process of Acting'. He holds the position of Director – Theatre and Development at Inter-Disciplinary Council of Dramatic Arts, New Delhi and looks after the advanced theatre initiatives along with sustainable development of artists on behalf of the organization.

  • Advisor
    Dipto Narayan Chattopadhyay

    West Bengal is a land of creative expressions which has produced men of artistic excellence and creative genius. Dipto Narayan Chattopadhyay is an exponent of that land.A highly decorated artist both nationally and internationally. Dipto has proved his artistic merit all over the globe. His brushstrokes convey a different dialect of vivacious imaginations. He is perfectly at home in realistic works where he exhibits exceptional skills of a perfectionist verging on photo-realism. When he turns to fantasy or abstract themes he lets his imagination run wild and pushes surrealism to a new level. Dipto’s mixed media creations are exclusive in the sense that he adds the third dimension to two-dimension by creating a relief on the surface, like brickwork. Presently a research scholar with “Raja Mansingh Tomar University” Gwalior, Dipto has done masters in Fine Arts with distinction from ‘Jiwaji University’ Gwalior and bachelors in Visual Arts from ‘Rabindra Bharati University’ Kolkata. He has experienced the art arena as an artist, curator, critic and most importantly above all as an astounding humanist. He has worked selflessly for the Save Child Fund of Ramkrishna Mission for seven years, inspired and curated an exhibition involving the Tihar Jail. Dipto’s illustrations are in the translated version [Romanian] of Ignited Minds authored by H.E.Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam and his paintings adorn H.E.Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam’s personal collection.

2. Kapi Kanan Project

    Kapi Kanan an integrated model with cultural values and scientific temper is a blue print of a monkey forest at Ayodhya. In the temple city of Ayodhya, monkeys are revered but no special place has ever been created for them till date. Kapi Kanan could be this place. It would not only improve man-animal relationships, create sustainable jobs, a healthy ecosystem but also save school children, patients and shoppers from scratches, bites, raids and aggression of monkeys from Jawahar Navodaya Vidalaya, monkey infested dispensary and other important areas where monkeys were not present initially. For efficient, transparent and smooth start and functioning of Kapi Kanan a core team of Adminstrative staff, forest officials, veterinarians, representatives of residents, and primatologists, would work in five areas.

    According to Experienced Dr Ekwal Imam :
    Monkeys are part of our biodiversity and play their own ecological role. The present method of non management would worsen the man-monkey relationship, which may hamper conservation problems for other primate species also.No doubt monkey problems must be solved on an urgent basis, but the methods adopted must be scientific and undertaken by trained primatologists.Translocation of monkeys from the problem areas is a scientific method of rehabilitating monkeys according to the guidelines of IUCN. Translocation provides immediate relief from the monkey problem. In the last 20 years Dr. Ekwal Imam has been involved in primate research, management and FOUR successful translocations. Starting in 1997, SIX HUNDRED problems creating monkeys were translocated from Vrindaban (Mathura), Forty monkeys from Delhi Zoo, more than hundred from University Campus (AMU, Aligarh, to the social forest of Aligarh District. UP) and a large number from Gurgaon Air Force Station to the forest of Firozpur Jhirka, Haryana. So far no one has reported any complaint regarding our way of management. Considering his expertise in this field, he offers services of ‘PRIMATE PROCESSION’, his organization and his services to solve monkey problems in Ayodhya, a Petition signed by local people to Chief Conservator of Forest, Permission from CCF to rehabilitate monkeys in identified potential areas (forest) that may sustain the newly released monkeys,Permission of local forest department (DFO) for the same purpose, Permission of local administration (District Magistrate) Permission of Police Department and request for providing security while implementing the project, Involvement of local bodies/ Municipality/ NGO for conducting public hearing to create awareness and get their support.

    A rough budget of Rupees three lakhs
    (a)for Hiring of Primatologist, supporting staff and trapping/releasing gadgets (cages, etc) to implement the project
    (b) Preliminary survey of the area to estimate the monkey population and study the severity of problem area wise
    (c) Identification of some forest areas which are potential enough to support the newly translocated monkeys
    (d) After translocation. Monitoring of the population to know their current status.

    The five areas where primatologists would work in are :
    • Studying and marking the area to be evolved (As suggested by Dr. Ekwal Imam)
    • Studying & mapping the monkey groups. (As suggested by Dr. Ekwal Imam)
    • Fencing
    • Extensive plantation
    • Supervision

    i) Monkey Proof Fence
    Primatologists, forest officials and local administration would work together and design the following fence that monkeys would not be able to climb. For fencing the materials needed are wooden planks, PVC sheeting, iron angles and mesh wire.

    1. Measure the circumference of the area and divide it by five. That’s the number of posts needed.
    2. Make posts. For each post take one six-meter long plank and two one and a half meter planks, cut the edges of long plank blunt and the edges of shorter planks at a slant on one side, nail the two shorter planks on the upper side of the long plank at an angle of 45 degrees. Fix two iron angles, the upper one meter below the top and the lower one a meter below and parallel to the upper one. When ready the upper end of the upper shorter plank would be ½ to ¾ of a meter higher than the longer plank because of the angle at which it is.
    3. Fix posts. Each post must be five-meter above the ground and one-meter below the ground.
    4. Weld mesh wire netting to the iron angles on outer side of the posts.
    5. Fix PVC sheeting on the inner side of shorter wooden planks. PVC sheeting must be soft, transparent and about one and half meter wide and in one piece without any joints anywhere. It would hang loose from the planks.

    Monkey proof fence

    ii) Plantation
    Greening must improve soil condition, biodiversity, micro climate, eco balance, conserve water and not introduce undesirable pests. The tree species must belong to that area (as they would have high establishment rate), have a good root system, a moderate growth rate, and good recovery from damage. It would encompass plantation of monkey friendly trees, shrubs, under growth, wild vegetables and local grasses. The litter from different canopies would lead to reduction in pH, electric conductivity and increase in Organic Carbon, Potassium, Phosphorus, humus depositions and mineralization in general. Recommended trees are wild mango, toot, raj Jamun , guava, wild almonds, amaltas, amla, arjun, ashok bael, bahera, bakain, barna, bistendu, bur, banyan, chamrod, dahu, dhoy, dhak, gamhar, gondi, goolar, Hingot, imli, jungle jalebi, Kachnar, kaim, katha, karanch, kamani, khirni, kimu, kosam, kop, mahua, maggar, neem, nandan, peepul, pilkhan, padam, pilu, papri, rubber tree, semal, shisham, siris, sinduri, sonjna. Shrubs are ber, berries, bansa, bitter Aloe, Akh, chidya ki juti, chirchetta, gulabo, godni , hulhul , indrajali, jojhru, jawasa, jayee, katheri, kareel, kher, kankova, kheea, karpuravalli, lalphool, motha, mehndi, nagad bavdi ronpheri , phool mata , peepli, seedha siz, teel, toot,typha , tulsi. Wild vegetables like jangli torai, ghobi, saem , goji, Ghokru, karonda, lasoda, kokum, piyazee, chota sama , ghia-bato, sarph gandh, shanti ka sag. Local grasses like Lolium and others. Herbs like karanja, kuth ,nirgundi , kal-jeera, japakusum, nimbuka Precautions to be taken during plantation(i) plant young trees and not of saplings (ii) treat young shoots with natural repellents to deter animals from approaching them (iii) protect young trees by tree guards (iv) undertake trench and batch plantation instead of individual plants to save labor and water utilization(v) use bio- manure to enrich the soil and If the area has an inherent problem of termites attacking the trees extensive replacement of topsoil with organic manure mixed with 'Neem Ki Khali’ would work (vii) dig water holes, make mud bunds and trenches along the natural slopes for rainwater harvesting and to provide a ready source of drinking water for the monkeys ( viii) foraging enrichment, oversee the health of green and brown areas and establish an optimal bio diversity by increasing the population of earthworms, insects including butterflies, bugs, millipedes, solitary wasps, toads ground nesting birds, chicks, ducks, falcons, dogs, weasels other mammals.

    iii) Supervision
    Constitute a work force, create a world class tourist attraction where all can enjoy the monkey behaviour. A place which creates sustainable jobs, where visitors are trained to have a peaceful coexistence with humans. Work force which would prevent any wrong steps during shifting, transporting and releasing of monkeys. As it could lead to the breaking of the monkey groups, dispersing them and leading to menace. Work force would create among the people awareness programs on monkey behaviour and the do and don’ts of living and dealing with monkeys. Look into or manage solid wastes including plastics to stop monkeys feeding on waste produced by humans.

    Ayodhya team
    • Sh. Vishal Singh - Provincial Civil Service Officer
    • Sh. Santanu/ Sitannshu Pandey - Deputy Conservator of Forests
    • Sh Abhishek Singh - People’s representative

    Primate Procession representatives
    • Dr Ekwal Imam - Implementing Director
    • Dr. D C Jain - Advisor
    • Sh Mohit Aggarwal - Advisor
    • Dr Rodney Johnson - Advisor
    • Sh. Priyank Eshu Parihar - Member

  • Coordinator
    Manjula Jhunjhunwala

    Manjula stands apart, always ready to learn, innovate, change, expand, help others and create replicable models of closed loop system. Her closed loop system starts at her farm, where its waste becomes the raw material for her paper mill making bio-degradable crockery and cutlery . Wastes from paper mill are converted into raw materials for ash bricks and bonding material. Together both are used for making houses for the needy. The third waste from the paper mills is Resin used by students learning sculpting. Her purpose built primary school children are actively involved in developmentally appropriate hands on activities. Manjula’s work in Ayodhya/ Faizabad can be replicated by innumerable wealthy concerns of the country. At present she is working for creation of Kapi Kanan.

  • Advisor
    Dr Rodney Johnson

    Full Bright Fellow-Anthropology & Archaeology. Rodney is researcher a par excellence, can conceptualize a field research, innovate the data sheet, mentor the team and analyze he data using latest techniques. He has worked in India, Nepal, Silver Springs and Florida Keys USA. He undertook the first ever long term field research on mother-infant relationships in any Asian non human primate, maternal care in relation to population growth, postpartum mating behaviour, endocrinology, ecological constrains on the development of Infant independence in rhesus.

  • Advisor
    Mohit Aggarwal

    Founder and CEO of a well known, highly respected Asian Adventures a travel management company known for Conservation Travel, Wildlife Tour Packages. Its tour allows you to cycle, nature walk the most fascinating destinations in South-East Asia. Mohit started Asia Adventures to bring school children closer to nature. In due course of time the concept became wider and better. Asia adventure has over 100 programs from city excursion, cultural tours, Adventure expeditions, to his favorites making people fall in love with nature.

  • Advisor
    Priyankeshu Parihar

    Priyank is a highly educated, well read, non judgmental film maker, music composer, website developer, digital marketing manager and a volunteer with Bhavya Trust- working to transform slums, Ananya Trust- learning space for under privileged children, and Teach for India.-working to eliminate educational inequality in India. Priyank has been a recipient of ‘the teacher of the year award 2019 by Inner wheel Club Ajmer, a guest speaker for social work at renouned school Pathways at Gurgaon. His film ‘Joy Exchange’ was screened at Auroville. As an advisor to Boond se Sagar he is helping the group in Internet marketing, film production, blogging, alternative education and raising the level of awareness about environment, health and minimalistic living.

B. Two Service Provider Sparks

1. Clean team service providers

  • Decentralized solid waste management was started in 1992/93. It was a revolutionary concept and a hit among the residents, office goers, bazars, educational institutes, army installations and where not. Within five years it had expanded to Vatavaran providing service to atleast 2.5 lakh delhities. In 1999 all schemes were handed over to respective beneficieries who changed their names and activities according to their areas needs. however Vasant Kunj schemes carried on their services directly under the brand name Vatavaran. For years over 80 waste collectors (semi literate or illiterate, living in shanties of Rangpuri Pahari, Mahipalpur, Kusumpur Pahari, Kishen Garh and Mehrauli) served 4000 middle-income households and 4 local markets. When Vatavaran evolved to Rhizome these waste collectors formed their own organization- The Clean Team. They decided the logo, the colors, the uniforms and the tag line (Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan forward in an honest way). Their mission is upkeep of the colony they work in. Fifty-four of them collect door-to-door garbage (90% segregated & 10 % mixed), bio compost it, collect recyclables, sweep colony roads, mop stairs and keep the area clean. Rest 26 keep 800 offices, 200 restaurants, shops and 60 washrooms of three floored 4 local markets neat and tidy.
    Thus at present Vasant Kunj has three categories of Sectors:
    (i) Clean Teams along with the Resident Welfare Organizations are responsible for the upkeep of the Sector,
    (ii) Individuals have full responsibility of the Clean Team and the upkeep of their Sector,
    (iii) Resident Welfare Organizations have full responsibility of the upkeep of the sector on the guide lines of Clean Team and Vatavaran Rhizome.
    The Advisors of Vatavaran Rhizome are happy with this evolution as the jobs and other benefits for members of the Clean Team are secure and community involvement is increasing.

    Coordinator : Raj Kumar (971100517)

    Muneesh kumar (8368892924)

    Rakesh Mohan (8448140398)

  • Advisor
    Ms. Kadambri Rana

    Kadambari Rana is Director at Kailash Foundation. The mission of Kailash Foundation is social change through education. Kadambri an independent, holistic educationist columnist, teacher, and an educational blogger. Readers visit her blog, and find value in the content. As an Education Consultant and blogger with a command on Early Childhood Development, School Readiness, Parent Awareness, Learning Needs, Home Schooling, Learning Atmosphere her writings Kadambri has established herself as an ‘out of the box’ educationist. Her blogs Why educating women is more important than we realize, Creating a positive influence On the teacher-student relationship and help bridge the trust deficit that has been created by long school closures and Why we need a flexible education delivery system. She is a strong proponent of bringing knowledge revolution. Children need to go to school to learn things in an age appropriate social gathering, learning independently and learning in a group, as both are important. She believes in bringing living hood experiences in education system, resolving the flaws than shut down institutions. She reminds every one that as recently as 1000 years ago India was an education leader with world class universities, attracting students from around the world and admissions were tough.

  • Advisor
    Amina Talwar

    Residents like Ameena Talwar are the gems of the society, role modelBrand Ambassador of SDMC South Zone, for Swacch Survekshan. She provides support, guidance, information or any help related to any concerns of Cleanliness,Waste segregation at source, Home composting , Community composting, Plastic awareness, Collection Initiatives and 3RS(Recycle, Reuse, Reduce ) in association with SDMC, SSIL, and ITC Wow. Amina Talwar’s hard work has led to getting her sector in Vasant Kunj a Certified Zero Waste Status.

2. Canine Pawsitives service providers

  • One thing common in this group of compassionate people including the renowned journalist Bala Chandran and Ashita, a college student is their love for mongrels - so deep that they call them their children. For years they have been feeding, playing and looking after the stray dogs of their area. As a Spark they carry on doing what they were doing and more. They help their mongrels cope with the vagaries of nature, get them checked, treated, sterilized, exchange stories and ways of increasing their kind for the benefit of the dogs and humans alike and make it safer for elderly and children to be around them. They put up information about stray dog behaviour and their body language on their website to increase societal compassion towards strays. They help residents adopt mongrels as pets. The Canine Pawsites is thus a forum where one can learn about some of the care givers to strays of their area and their way of working. The forum provides information to the beginners about co-existence with strays. It is also a forum where uninitiated can get the services like training on data collection, finding homes and correcting irregular behaviors of some of the colony dogs and residents.

  • Advisor
    Mrs J Kundu

    Jyoti is a founding member of VEER -Vistas of Educational and Empowering Resources(VEER) a confluence of many valuable superlatives. Designating support, solidarity and sharing to the communities that have not only witnessed but endured the brutalities of terrorism like Kashmiri Pandits that faced ethnic cleansing in their own homeland. Jyoti’s second interest is creating a replicable model of canine Pawsitives. He is a leader who knows how to rebuild and re-grow a community by building strong networks, giving feedback, and identifying residents who would volunteer their services to improve the lives of stray dogs of their locality. Under Jyoti's leadership residents (of any one community of his choice) would work on creating a replicable model when stray dogs become community dogs. A list of volunteers would would give their time and resources for welfare of the strays of their area. Record age and sex ratio, spatial distribution and health conditions of the strays of the locality. Get the animals neutered and sick treated. Make dog lovers adopt strays instead of wrongly bred Huskies. Intervene against excessive barking, beating, stone pelting and deprival of amenities to the mongrels of their area Train a team of children of the colony to become caretakers of stray dogs as they must be friends already. Create awareness about the latest laws related to colony dogs. Recommend the veterinary doctors of the area to the residents. Generate funds for emergency services related to strays.

C.Educational Sparks

Blue Bells International

  • Bluebells International school founded by an all rounder lady with a vision - ‘Students First’ is a platform for children - our future citizens to unfold their potentials, makes them think, imagine, empathies and create the wonderful imagery of their minds. It is a proud recipient of The Green School Award by AL Gore in 2019.As a Spark it is a leader in hand made paper recycling. Its first of its kind approach is to save the earth through handmade paper route.Its three prong approach is to make students use hand made paper, help as many as possible schools to have handmade paper making units and helping students become entrepreneurs for recycled paper by innovating constantly in making paper and its products,capacity building and marketing.

  • Advisor
    Katja Polc

    Katja is a country girl from Slovenia who chose India to be her second home where she taught under privileged youth, promoted sustainable action and lifestyle. She followed her passion and did her Masters of sustainable development and specialized Global education and Education for sustainable development.Currently engaged with LEAD India, she is working on water conservation project in private and government schools. This out of the box girl is ready to do, think and perform in new ways. Her professional and informal learning’s have helped her live a conservationist, naturalist and outwardly simple but inwardly rich life.

D.Earthy Sparks

1. Mati Meet Center for Reforms

    A democratic learning centre set up in village Agar, Alwar District to motivate, provide support, counsel and educate. The going has not been easy but hard work is paying off and the informal education for rural development, solve real life problems, generate employment is working well. The children are not only well versed with world but better off than their contemporaries in urban settings due to their earthy knowledge. The women of the area with long colourful gungats have been trained in stitching and are self- sustaining. Residents of this village do not need to migrate to cities because of the improved family income,constant support and children developing strong foundation.

  • Coordinator
    Kaaluram Gurjar

    Kaluram heads a democratic learning centre set up in village Agar, Alwar District to motivate, provide support, counsel and educate. The going has not been easy but hard work is paying off and the informal education for rural development, solve real life problems, generate employment is working well. The children are not only well versed with world but better off than their contemporaries in urban settings due to their earthy knowledge. The women of the area with long colourful gungats have been trained in stitching and are self- sustaining. Residents of this village do not need to migrate to cities because of the improved family income,constant support and children developing strong foundation.

  • Advisor
    Gautam Khandelwal

    A crusader against poverty and inequality started his career in 1997 with the consulting major Arthur Andersen in their Tax & Regulatory Division. While he was a Chartered Accountant and an MBA, 3 years at Andersen made him realize that his calling lay elsewhere. He quit Andersen. Next 7 years he taught where he realized that conventional education, was ‘forced education’ with hardly any space for children to explore their own interests and passions. He quit mainstream urban schools. He joined Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) as he wanted to work with the poor, with rural communities. He did Rural Management Course and learnt more about life in villages. In 2017 he set up his first learning centre in Agar- a remote village in Alwar District of Rajasthan. Next he started work on women’s livelihoods and healthcare and plans to launch food processing. Side by side he is experimenting with ‘up cycling’ plastics. At present he works in 5 villages with a goal to eliminate poverty, inequality, prevent all migration from rural areas and to strengthen the bond of community, which he realized was dying a slow death.

2. Boond se Sagar


    A group of women artisans from remote villages of Haryana though uneducated have a determination to become enterpreneurs. They create products from the rags and dori/twine and earn. They are eliminating poverty via creativity, strengthen village economy, build life long relationships, create awareness on issues like COVID-19 and vaccination, menstrual cups, segregation of waste, elimination of single use plastics, host events, convert as many women as possible into empowered citizens and create a replicable model for development by innovating products that are earth friendly, bio-degradable and income generating.

  • Advisor
    Surjit Singh

    A fantastic childhood in Nairobi with great parents,strong family bonds, good schools, good friends the family was followed by moving out in 1963.Life restarted from scratch. His jobs ranged from loading-unloading iron bars to ticketing agent. He carried on following his mother’s guiding principles ( be in time, work hard, alert mind ,learn, have a positive body language, passionate heart, and grateful mind ) Then he started his own aviation company in Canada.His outstanding awards have been Mother Teresa Humanitarian Award,being called a gift from his motherland India to Canada and honoured with Excellence Award Philanthropic Activities. Surjit specializes in – non-working swimming pools to sick & dying units.

E. Humaitarian Spark


    Arpan Started in 1993 this diagnostic and development centre is for children with multiple or intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, attention deficit, hyperactivity, Down syndrome & Autism to help with cognitive, motor speech stimulation, play, sensory integration, physiotherapy, vocational rehabilitation & computer literacy. This trans-disciplinary approach helps in language, educational, social & vocational development & makes these special children self-reliant. It creates awareness about prevention, early identification, interventions, testing of learning disability, aptitude& scholastic backwardness, undertakes individual and group counseling, rural development, training students in psychology, human development, community sciences & social work for capacity building and resource mobilization. Their awareness programs on ‘Greener Life’ are leaving an impact on the people of Baroda

  • Coordinator
    Rashmi Kackar

    She is a co-founder and trustee of Arpan. She is a professional counseller.She has been teaching in colleges of Delhi and MS University of Baroda. She has been a life skill trainer for young adults and corporates.

  • Managing Trustee
    Ms. Tinoo Chawla

    She has been involved with Arpan since its inception. A well-known philanthropist . She is actively involved with NGOs of high magnitude like United Way (Trustee),SOCLEEN (Secretary), Hari Om Seva Trust (Trustee),Baroda Citizen Council (Former Chairperson) to name a few.

  • Managing Trustee
    Mr. Nimish Makadia

    Hailing from the family known for its Philanthropic work.A conservator of heritage structures by profession, a popular figure in the field of sports, well known in the society for his philanthropy and helpful nature. He has been a part of team Arpan since more than a decade.

  • Administrator
    Ms. Meera Singh

    She is an educator by profession . She is a member of rotary club executed numerous successful projects in the field of social work and community welfare. She joined arpan as the administrator since almost close to an year now.

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Be a Eco Tourist !!

Vatavaran’s Public Awareness Campaign

All of us have a right to experience the tranquility and natural ambience of places where no man made sounds pierce the ears, where the air is still fresh, water is still clear, and garbage dumps have not overpowered the natural smells of the seas, the mountains, the pines or the wild flowers. Yet, with this right comes the responsibility of ensuring the safeguard of that environment and the rights of the wild life of that area.

Point Claimer in Tamil Nadu with gulls on the shores, the handsome brown and white kites overhead, egrets on the water edge and flamingoes flapping their wings revealing pink and orange feathers underneath, would be a dream holiday of most of us.

The riot of colour created on the mountains by Rhododendrons at Singba sanctuary in Sikkim is an experience all would like to have. Who would not like to see, the Red Panda in its natural habitat of bamboo forests of Singlala National Park some 50 km from Darjeeling.

Saharan in Himachal Pradesh, 177 kms from Simla has a setting that only the gods could have created. It is the base for Himachal Pradesh finest treks. Far below the valley tumbles river Sutlej. Across lie the snow-covered peaks of Shri Khand. Fields, orchards, small villages, thick forests and fast-flowing streams and presence of Bhimakali temple, would be a paradise for any one getting away from the humdrum of the city life.

Lakshdeep group of islands surrounded by coral reefs, with deep coconut jungles, crystal clear sea and virgin beaches where turtles come to lay eggs on full moon nights is a sight that should be experienced by all. We have 75 National Parks and 421 Sanctuaries covering 140,675.46 Sq.Km. area (about 4.2%) of the total geographic area. Whether it is Manas Sanctuaries of India and Bhutan, Bharat Pur in Rajasthan, Gir National Park of Gujarat, Dhudwa National Park of Uttar Pradesh, Sultanpuri of Haryana or Asola Bhatti Sanctuary of Delhi we have to conserve and respect all life forms and their habitat by being eco-tourist. Here are some suggestions:

Fetch a brief on the ecological characteristics of the region you wish to visit along with do’s and don’ts of viewing wildlife either from your tour operator or tourism department.

Stay at lodges or camps which are designed to harmonize with existing environment. Check that the place you stay in has its own soak ways and septic tanks, so that the sewage and wastewater is not let loose in the open, but to prevent any contamination the soak way and septic tank must not be with in 10m of the water supply system.

To view wildlife prefer ‘hides’ then game drives. All biodegrables must be deposited in a pit dug for this purpose. The pit should be protected so that animals do not fall into the pit. Use phosphate free detergents and see to it that all laundry water passes through the soak way. Bring back all the recyclables if you take packed food stuff along or buy from there.

Use only those battery cells which have long life and are rechargeable thus would not be discarded during travels. Never create noise, air, and water or soil pollution and stop others from doing that. If at the end of your stay, your respect for other life forms has increased then you have become a eco-tourist.


Kaya Kelp SAC/ Sanjay Amar Colony Revitalization Project

Vatavaran Rhizome’s essence of creating ‘rippling effects’ has started actualizing. Sparks from five un-connected fields have spontaneously come together to create a model of ‘intercepting challenges’ and ‘Kaya Kelp SAC’/ Sanjay Amar Colony Revitalization Project has been planned.

     Jai Kasturba

Photo Courtesy : Harijan Sewak Sangh
77 years ago on 22nd February Mahatma Gandhi’s wife completed her journey on earth. Harijan Sewa Saagh at Kingsway Camp Delhi organized a memorial event. While some people were offering flower petals on her portrait Dr. Sita Bhambri said that Baa was against that ritual. I also learnt that she was not a modest wife, as I had believed earlier. She had a mind of her own. Sometimes she was critical of Gandhi. However she followed the path shown by him diligently, not because he was her husband but because she was convinced of the path shown by him to the nation. Kasturba managed the upkeep of the Ashram including the welfare of its inhabitants and visitors. I got to see the quarter in the Ashram where Gandhi and Kasturba stayed from 1030 to 1940 as and when they were in Delhi. A very modest house. It was colonial, double story with an open veranda with symmetrical architecture, multi paned windows, plastered yellow with greenery around. One time Gandhi asked Kasturba if she would also call him Mahatma like every one else? She looked at him for some time, smiled and walked away.

Dr. Iqbal Malik

(Vatavaran Rhizome)

     Story of Determination
    Vipin Dagore

An exemplary who has carved his own path of success with the power to imagine and the willpower to stay determined.

Sixteen years back Vipin joined Vatavaran NGO as an office boy . Soon his sincerity towards his work, sharp mind and his sponge-like ability to grasp became apparent. Knowing his potential, Vatavaran NGO invested to raise his work abilities . First,he was enrolled in an English speaking course and then in computer learning. As he continuously improved his abilities he was promoted. He was the Project officer when Vatavaran NGO was being transitioned to Vatavaran Rhizome.

Vipin spent the next ten years of his life in creating wealth but he never forgot what he had learnt and now he has returned to the Vatavaran Rhizome family. He would be happy to help people associated with Vatavaran Rhizome both in creating wealth, starting something new, managing it and making it self sustaining .

Written By :
Mahima Bobin

(Volunteer at Vatavaran Rhizome)

         Billu - The Watch Dog

My Billu would not talk. But he was a great listener. He would respond to each word with his eyes. His waving ears were an assurance that he was with you all through. If no one ever heard you, Billu would, with great enthusiasm. Billu was a rare combination of a son and a soldier. He was lovable and obedient and he was always on the guard. Billu’s mother was a wanderer -a stray one, yet she became a recluse in the last few years of her life. She would often follow my father from a bakery where she used to be stationed all day. Popularly known as Haseena, this short trip from bakery to the gate was among her major movements during the day. Every day while my father left for his office and returned home in the evening, Haseena was like a dutiful wife walking just two paces behind him. In return, she was fed nicely and looked after well. In spite of all that affection, Haseena never entered the main gate of the house. She was very selective in her choice as far as her affection was concerned. And she showered all her affection on my father. I have heard that dogs have good sense judgment. In her judgment, she was correct as none of us was too fond of dogs. We would not care much except for my mother who was extremely humane at heart. One day Haseena died leaving behind three little puppies. All three puppies tried their best to wake up their mother. But, she did not wake up. So they latched on to her in the hope that she would feed them sooner or later. But nothing could reduce their hunger. In the night, someone removed her body leaving the puppies in the lurch. A few days later, daddy came to know that Haseena lay dead somewhere. And her puppies became what she was—wanderers. When daddy looked for the puppies, he found them distraught—barely able to walk. This was a huge pain for these beauties to bear. Daddy arranged for their milk and shelter. But, nothing could ease their pain and discomfort. They behaved like adult men and women who could not eat or sleep in times of trouble. How could it be tackled? The puppies grew restless day by day. Then daddy did something. He got the body located and arranged for her burial in the presence of her puppies. Since it was just the beginning of winter, Haseena’s body had not decomposed even after few days. They watched the whole episode wagging their tiny tails and continuously smelling her body. The puppies grew restless when the first snowfall hit their bodies. It started snowing while her grave was being dug. It must have been a very strange experience for these puppies. As daddy moved from there, these puppies followed him without any hesitation. At home, a small shelter was prepared for all three, complete with care and comfort, in the courtyard. Interestingly, they returned to normalcy once they were inside the shelter. Next morning, it was still misty outside and visibility was almost zero. My daddy left for our ancestral temple nearby. Once he was through with his prayers he came out. He found his shoes missing. He switched on his torch. To his astonishment, one of the puppies was very authoritatively sitting on one and holding the other shoe in his mouth. Once the torch focused on him, he moved aside offering the shoe to daddy. Next he followed daddy back home and very happily parked himself on the cushy doormat outside his room. Curiosity made daddy come in and out of the room to check if it was still there. Yes, he lay there all curled up with an occasional movement of his tiny tail. It was only 5 am and daddy fed him a sumptuous breakfast. Daddy was amazed with the kind of love he was getting from this little creature. He ordered that door of his room to be left open till the time this puppy was around. Hours passed by but this puppy would not move an inch. Daddy got ready for his office. As he was about to leave, this little puppy stood up and started scampering around him as if he would not let him go. This was strange, but he would not budge. Suddenly, daddy realized that he had not worn his tie. So he wore an elegant tie and proceeded to leave. But, surprisingly the puppy did not cause any further hindrances. He walked behind daddy covering exactly the same distance that his mother used to do. He stopped near the bakery. Then he came back and slept on the doormat. In the evening, the puppy left for the bakery and waited there till he saw daddy. Like his mother, he followed my daddy back home. Late in the evening, daddy looked at him as he lay on the oval shaped doormat all curled up. Daddy sat back in his room and penned a poem. This is how Billu was born! Billu was brown with black patches. His eyes were like those of lions and starry . He grew up into a big dog. Soon, he was daddy’s constant companion. Wherever daddy went, he would follow. He grew emotional. He developed understanding like humans. The entire family grew fond of him. Billu protected and pleased everyone. He was a new member of the family. He would want to play with them in snow. Snow fighting was his cherished sport. He would guard the house and would always be found standing on the right side of the entrance to the house. Main gate became a scary path for most of the visitors. He would easily identify miscreants. He became a terror for unwanted elements. Nobody would dare to come near the gate. He became very popular in the entire locality. Billu was a powerful protector for each and every family member. Even the neighborhood felt safer due to his presence. Billu was raised with love and without any expectation. Perhaps, this is what fuelled his passion to serve his master with so much of dedication. Billu had the ability to nab culprits. It was his natural instinct, he was not trained to do that. This quality became a curse for mischief mongers. He was being targeted by many but managed to save himself time and again. Billu grew into a brave soldier, discharging his duty against all odds. Then one fateful evening, somebody fed him a needle in a fresh bun. When his master arrived, he could barely recognize the sound of his steps and could smell his fragrance. He rose and tried to limp behind him but he couldn’t. Daddy was shocked and did everything to save him but it was too late. He breathed with ease one last time at the gate and never responded to anyone or anything again.

Jyoti Koul

(VEER : Spark of Rhizome)

     Some Facts about
    our feathered friends

Photo Courtesy : Barnali Ganguly
These days every bird is nesting. so if you see the nest, please do not go near it at all and don't look at it directly. If you wish to observe it, please do it subtly. Remember predators like crows and hawks are watching your movement and when you enter their territory they get more cautious. Do not let them know you've found a nest

Mohit Aggarwal

(Asian Adventures India)

     Report of first Meet
    Vatavaran Rhizome

Agar is a village in Rajasthan situated at a distance of 26 kilometres from Sariska Tiger Reserve. The name of this little known place will raise no eyebrows until you delve deeper… This village is characterised by clean and fresh air, simple lifestyles and homes which serve as economic units. These homes are either connected to the farms, or to the export-oriented markets[1] (mediated by middlemen). The people greet you warmly as you step out casually into the streets. You are served with the warmth of the people who invite you to their daughter's weddings. They serve you uncountable cups of tea/milk/buttermilk, welcome you into their homes, offer you whatever you like of theirs. And despite their vast expanse of valuable indigenous knowledge, they remain humble. The night sky shines brighter here, and it has an observation centre close by for observation.
In many ways, this village is a marvel. It has built dams and embankments, schools for both girls and boys, washrooms inside homes, and provisions for both electricity and water pipelines. Some may even argue that it is no longer a village, because of the stage of development it has reached. But it is truly off the beaten path, away from the city's evils. These dams and embankments have been built by a large amount of collective social work of the villagers themselves, with little government help. Being a characteristically arid region, the preservation of water is essential for the water to last for the rest of the year. It rains for only two-three months annually and sometimes lesser. These structures help in improving the groundwater table, so that water can later be drawn out through wells and bore wells. In the absence of these structures, the rainwater would have simply run off the surface and not retained for future usage. The objective of survival is what made the residents of Agar conscious of the need for water-preservation.
The barren hills have been turned green by the efforts of the people. Masti ki Pathshala contributes to this effort with the help of its school children who make seed bombs[3] and throw them from the top of the hill in all directions. Importance is given to the variety of seed sown, concerning the temperature, soil type, climate and benefits of the seed variety. Involving school-going children in this project sensitises the youth to the needs of the environment and brings them closer to nature.
It was in this remarkable village that Vatavaran Rhizome held its first meeting of all its Sparks. All the Sparks which were present introduced themselves and the different avenues of social upliftment in which each one engages. The approach to life which was adopted was holistic. The stars of the sky become your blanket while your back rests upon the cot. There was a collective effort in all the essential tasks- filling up water, cooking food, washing utensils and others. The harmony among all those attending the meet was astounding.
Masti ki Pathshala's interactions with the children are in a very innovative and engaging manner. The school is a centre focussed on imparting practical education based on alternative learning. The entire process is so unusual for the children that they yearn to come to Masti ki Pathshala even after school hours. They all have their own ways of engaging with materials around them, and no one dictates what is (or, is not) to be done. With the help of personalised learning for the children, the broader aim of this organisation is to prevent rural to urban migration. This will be achieved by creating avenues within the village itself, so the people will not have to migrate to the cities for opportunities of work. In this respect, the organisation also aims to provide vocational training to the children in their own fields of interest.
There are struggles in the village, as economic opportunities are still scarce. Women skilled in weaving carpets are unable to reap the full benefits of this labour-intensive work, as the middlemen take away a large part of the profits. A peek into the intensity of hard work: one square inch of the carpet takes two hours to weave. And as someone put it, just watching the process humbles you, and it testifies to values of patience, perseverance and hard work.
The other struggles are related to aspects of social and gender equality which seem to a long way ahead. Even when women earn and contribute to their family's incomes, they are deprived of an equal share of dignity. It is indeed heartening to see girls going to schools. But saddening to know that many of them are either engaged or married, and higher education is still rare among females. Menstrual hygiene and related issues are topics on which knowledge is scarcely imparted. Due to these and many other reasons Agar has a long way ahead for itself, towards sustainable development in not just economic but also social spheres. Masti ki Pathshala has begun work for the development of this region.
The path is rough, but the end will be rewarding.

Written By :
Mahima Bobin

(Volunteer at Vatavaran Rhizome)

Be Aware of Holi Colors !


Almost all colors available during Holi are concoctions of chemicals thus toxic, allergic and carcinogenic. Any one can come up with natural and attractive soft, and good for skin colors. All that is needed is a visit to a forest,a garden and a kitchen to collect leaves, seeds, bark of trees, flowers, fruits and peels.

The 6 steps to make your own colors are:
  • Dry the color source in shade.
  • Powder the dried material coarsely.
  • Soak the powder in water for 30 minutes.
  • Boil this water for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Cool it, filter it and keep it till you want to use it.
  • Dry the residue in shade. Powder it finely and this becomes the dry holi color, ready to be used.

Chemical Holi Colors

If however you still prefer the colors from the market then please remember that all three categories –Pastes, Dry powders and Wet colors have health hazards. The most dangerous however are the pastes.Silver, Gold, Metallic, Green, Blue and Black pastes available in the market are all extremely dangerous. The cost varies from rupees 5 to rupees 50per tin containing 100 grams of the mixed paste.
The colorants are also available in small pouches which can be mixed in any type of oil or water depending upon weather it has to be used as a paste or wet color by the user. Cost of these pouches is from rupees 2 to rupees 10.
When you smear someone ared in pink, you actually daubed someone with Rhodamine B, if the color is violet or blue it actually is Methyl Violet, green is Malachite Green and yellow is Auramine. All these are prohibited under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The two components of Dry Powders are Base and the Colourant. Depending upon the quality of Holi Powder the base can be Asbestos Talc, Chalk or Cornstarch. All will adversely affect us.

Chemical and their health hazards
Colors Chemicals Effects
Black Engine oil + Lead Oxide Renal failure
Green Engine oil +Copper Sulphate Eye allergy, puffiness and temporary blindness
Silver Engine oil + Aluminium bromide Carcinogenic
Blue Engine oil + Perssian Blue Contract dermatitis
Red Engine oil + Mercury Sulphite Highly Toxic Skin cancer
In addition pure coal tar, discarded diesel oil and greese are also used as Holi rubs. To clear the skin of all these rubs keriosine oil is the most commonly used remover.

Re-kindle the Original Holi Spirit

A festival intended to commemorate the conventional historic triumph of good over evil has been transmutated over time, assisted by a strong element of mass-ignorance, ironically, to what seems to be the reciprocated dominance of evil (in the form of chaotically aggressive unruliness) over good (a happy, colorful yet peaceful celebration). The unobtrusive, incurrence, eye pleasing natural colors have been replaced by a multitude of toxic, carcinogenic-hazardous, eye-irritating (even to the point of blindness) chemical ‘colors’.

Make your own colors

Dry colors have two components. Base and Colorant. The natural bases can be made from the following:
Grounded Orange peels, Lemon Peels, Sandal Wood, Rose Water.
Natural colors can even be made at home without much toil and effort. Given below is a list of natural colors (along with their sources) and natural bases. We can thus make our own natural colors by mixing these colors with the bases.

Natural products and their Colors :
1. Saffron - Brilliant yellow
2. Turmeric - Yellow & Orange Brown
3. Henna - Orange Red
4. Manjistha - Rust Red
5. Katha - Brown
6. Beet Root - Magenta
7. Indigo - Rich Blue
8. Chlorophyll - Green

Here are the colors for people who do not understand science:
1. Mix a spoon of powdered haldi in a cup of flour (atta/besan/maida), talcum powder for yellow color, which is also great for your skin. Haldi powder can also be mixed in water to make a wet color.
2. Use henna/mehandi powder, separately or mixed with flour (as above).
3. Chopped pieces of Beet root soaked in water for a few hours give a wonderful magenta color.
4. Put tea or coffee in warm water. Let it cool and use.
5. Put flowers of Semul/ Tesu or Palas/ Dhak (tree which are common in India and bloom during March) in water and boil. Leave overnight to obtain a saffron color.
6. Mix lime (chuna which is put in leaves) with haldi powder to get a deep red color.
The above are just a few ways to make natural colors. Ask your parents and grandparents for more! Experiment with different seasonal flowers (like marigold, harshingar), fruits & vegetables (grapes, spinach, rind of pomegranate), leaves (eucalyptus) and explore the fascinating word of natural colors.

Vatavaran demands

A cottage industry be setup, generating harmless natural colors to replace the current toxin laden and thus aid an attempt to resurrect yet another rigor-mortified festival. The introduction of natural colors should be supplemented by a complete ban on the current colors in market, heavy in concentrations of Sudan Red, Metanil Yellow, Melachile Green and Salts of metals like lead, chromium, mercury, etc.

Gulal Aspiration: A Festival Hazard!

Bajaj Monika, MD Kumar Viredra,
MD Malik Iqbal, Ph.D. Arora Praveeen, MD Dubey N K,
From: The Department of Pediatrics, Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital,
Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi And
Vatavaran (NGO- Working on socio-environmental Issues)


The inhalation of noxious chemical substances and heavy metals is a known cause of chemical pneumonitis and acute as well as chronic lung injury. Occupational exposure is more often a cause for the same. However, significant exposure to chemical may occur due to accidental inhalation during domestic activities, hobbies, and festivals (1,2). We report here a case of accidental “gulal” aspiration during Holi festival.

Case Report

A previously well, six year old boy, presented with sudden onset of cough and respiratory distress following accidental aspiration of “gulal” during Holi festival. He was treated for one day at a nearby private hospital, before being referred to Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital, New Delhi.
On arrival, patient was conscious but excessively irritable and had marked respiratory distress. His heart rate was 140 beats per minute, respiratory rate 96 breaths per minute, with marked intercostals and subcostal recession, but there was no cyanosis. Blood pressure was 100/70 mm Hg. On auscultation of chest, air entry was markedly diminished with bilateral ronchi. Clinical examination of other system was unremarkable.
Investigations revealed hemoglobin – 13 gm/dl, TCL-24000cells/Cmm with 66% polymorphs, blood urea-59 mg/dl, serum creatinine – 0.5 mg/dl, serum Na+ - mEq/L, serum K+ -5.36 mEq/L. Chest X-ray revealed bilateral patchy pneumonitis especially involving right middle and lower zones. Arterial bloods gas analysis revealed pH- 7.365, pO2 58.2 pCO2 –49.6, HCO3-20.4, O2 saturation –88.7%.
Patient was treated symptomatically with humidified oxygen, intravenous fluids, and salbutamol and ipratropium bromide nebulisations. He was stared on I/V hydrocortisone (10 mg/Kg/day), crystalline penicillin (2 lac IL/Kg/day) and chloromycetin (100 mg/Kg/day) in divided doses. Due to clinical suspicion of supper-added infection, antibiotics were changed to I/V cerftriazone (100 mg/Kg/day) and netilmycin (7.5 mg/Kg/day) on day three. Special attention was given to chest physiotherapy, and 3% saline nebulisation was given to encourage expectoration and removal of aspirated substance from the repiratory tract.
On day four the patient developed subcutaneous emphysema over chest and neck. Repeat chest X-ray showed bilateral extensive pneumonitis and mediastinal emphysema (Figure-1). Patient however did not require any surgical intervention for the same.
Patient subsequently maintained arterial gas (pH-7.51, pO2-70.5, pCO2-36.4, HCO3-25.6, O2 saturation-94.4%)and improve steadily. He was discharged after two week of therapy. After stabilization of his respiratory distress, spirometric assessment of pulmonary function (PFT) revealed severe restricted pattern (FVC- 0.54L, 45.95% of predicted value; FEV1 0.54L, 52.5% of predicted; FEF25-75%-0.68L/sec, 52.32% of predicted). At one month follow up patient was asynptomatic, chest X-ray had normalized, spirometry revealed however continued to show a restrictive pattern, thought less in severity (FVC- 0.89L, FEV1- 0.89L, FEF25-75%- 1.21L/sec). Six month later spirometry revealed normalization of pulmonary function (FVC- 1.16L, FEV1- 1.04L, FEF25-75%- 1.45L/sec).


The dangers associated with aspiration of foreign material into the airway have been chronicled in medical literature for over 350 years and airways foreign bodies continue to be a problem frequently encounted by pediatric practitioners. Foreign body aspiration is most frequent in the 1-5 years age group, with 85% cases occurring in children less than three years of age.
Item frequently found in the environment of a child, such as nuts, shells, candies, grapes, pears, jewelry, small toys etc. are the ones that pose a risk for entering and occluding the airway. Aspiration of powder like substances expect for talcum powder and soot in burn injury, are less frequently encountered in children.
Gulal, a seemingly innocuous powder substance has been traditionally used, to smear over face during the festival of Holi, since ancient time. Environmental experts and doctors are only to aware of the hazards of these innocent looking colors, namely triggering of skin allergies, impairment of vision, precipitation of asthmatic attacks etc. this is for the first time, that we encountered a child with massive aspiration and restrictive pulmonary disease due to gulal.
In our case, the gulal could not be procured and no attempt had been made at bronchoscopic aspiration and of the material aspirated, in view of the extreme sickness of child and delay in arrival to our hospital after the incident. Chemical nature of the same is therefore difficult child to comment upon. However, one may hypothesize, that lung injury is caused both by the physical i.e. powdery, nature of the substance as well as heavy metals, chemicals and hydrocarbons that go into the preparation of these colors.
Powder like consistency of the gulal, result in it being drawn into distal airways almost instantly like in the case of any other powder and this probably causes acute respiratory distress, obstruction, atelecatesis, hyperinflation, and air-leak. With the help of a non-government organization (Vatavaran), chemical analysis of different sample of used during Holi was done. Summery of that is shown in table-1. It seems possible that the material aspirated by this child, had traces of lead and mercury. Review of literature revealed case report of mercury inhalation injury, which presented in similar manner with respiratory distress, Air-leak and restrictive lung disease (3).
We managed our patient symptomatically. Systematic steroids have been used but without definite role to reduce inflammatory process and fibrosis in chemical pneumonitis (4). They have of late proven to be of benefit in patients with mercury induced acute lung injury (4). In our patient, they may have benefited by reducing airways inflammation as well bronchospasm.
Air-lack can occur in cases of chemical pneumonitis especially those resulting from hydrocarbons aspiration or mercury vapor inhalation (5). Conservative management is advocated for the same, and patients usually improve, as was witnessed in our case too.


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To be a part of Vatavaran Rhizome take these pledges

  •  1) Walk all short distances.
  •  2) Cycle on the cycle tracks.
  •  3) Check car pollution and help everyone breathe clean air.
  •  4) Use wind energy at home and at work place.
  •  5) Use solar energy to save electricity.
  •  6) Plant trees and make the planet green.
  •  7) Gift saplings instead of cut flowers.
  •  8) Do rain water harvesting and save the soil.
  •  9) Check water taps to stop all leakages.
  • 10) Segregate waste and be a Solid Waste Manager.
  • 11) Replace plastics as plastics kill.
  • 12) Adopt colony dog a nurture, neuter and get them treated when sick


Act Now!

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Vatavaran Rhizome Meet

Lets be part of the Change

As suggested by National Geography lets all travel to ‘off the beaten path’ and rejuvenate.

Vatavaran Rhizome Meet this year is from 3rd to 5th March at ‘Vatsalaya’ (www.vatsalya.org) campus.

It is an NGO working on Environment, Employment and Education. It is located 199 kilometers from Gurugram, on Delhi – Jaipur road and is only 20 kilometers from Jaipur in a village called Achrol.

It was started as an orphanage but over time has ventured into multiple activities in various places of Rajasthan.

Their centers in Ajmer and Udaipur and a startup in solar power generation are commendable.

During our stay at Vatsalaya Campus we will be engaging in many of their voluntary activities in addition to our own detailed provisional program given below.

Chronology of our 2nd Meet

3rd March

  • 1) 11 am - Ceremonial Welcome
  • 2) 11.30 - Collective pledging of the 13 Vatavaran Rhizome undertakings.
  • 3) 12.00 - Introductions & Presentation by SAC team & discussion
  • 4) 1.30 - lunch
  • 5) 2.00 - Thinking and Mind Workshop
  • 6) 4.30 - tea
  • 7) 5.00 - Menstrual Hygiene Talk/ Street theatre/ musical evening
  • 8) Star gazing, Bonfire dinner

4th March

  • From 10 am onwards
    1) 360 Detox Workshop
  • 2) Naturopathy
  • 3) Healthy Diet Workshop
  • 4) Working Lunch
  • 5) Visit Organic Farm
  • 6) Rajasthani Dinner with folk music and dance

5 th March

  • From 10 am onwards
    1) Visit Jaipur Micro Wind Power Park ( could be on any day )
  • 2) Interactions with different Vatsalaya teams in charge of different activities
  • 3) ‘Thank you Meeting’ the Director of Vatsalaya
  • 4) Closing Oath taking ceremony of 13 pledges
  • 5) late lunch / snacks /etc
  • 6) Dispersal

The above plan is subject to change and final plan will shared by end of the week before 21st January.

We welcome your suggestions. Lets be part of the change. Lets add color and life to already impressive Vatsalaya. May our travel be safe and compassionate

Priyank & Iqbal

(Your Hosts)


Dr. Sita Bhambri !!

She is a rare mixture of strength and humility. Grew up with Mahatma Gandhi and is a true Gandian. She takes weekly classes at Delhi University on spinning charkha. She is an exponent of Indian Classical music and the lead singer of Vatavaran Rhizome website


Save Yourself !!

Lets save soil, water, air and us: from Plastic Pollution

Many times it has struck me that the plastic lobby has a mission. That is to replace everything natural from our lives. Their main target is upwardly mobile middle class. with plastics. There is a definite pattern to it. Before a new plastic product is to be launched there is a buzz and hype created around it. This not allures but also make the consumer think that whoever does not have it is a looser and not the 'happening ' person. The ban on plastic Carry bags has led to another cunningness of the plastic lobby. Instead of discardable free carry bags now the lobby has introduced bags made of plastic fibers and fabrics. Consumer has been lied that these are environmentally friendly bags? How may I ask? Are they compostable? Are they degradable? If earlier it were plastic bag in every hand now it is these bags. Earlier ones were free of cost while for these ignorant consumer pays. Why is it that plastic lobby representatives are constantly becoming richer but want more. When will they be satisfied? When the mother earth will get covered by their plastic products, every thing natural would be replaced by plastics. Mother earth, soil, water, air and kill every thing natural. I wonder how would they then save their highrise palaces? Plastic lobby is one of the few strongest in the world. Anyone looking for plastic scrap, plastic making machines, fellow sellers / buyers / suppliers anywhere in the world can only has to visit’ Global Plastic Industry Portal’ started by USA, Germany and other European countries, responsible for using most of the virgin plastic and discarding it. This and many other such portals can entice any one to join the business. The portals are extremely user friendly especially for the uneducated lot who gets into the business of illegal recycling. Plastic lobby confuses the masses as Tobacco lobby did. Both kill but no plastic product has any such declaration. The only way out is to out wit the plastic lobby. A plastic free India will definitely be healthier, happier and earth friendly. I can assure this as I grew in a plastic free India and know for sure that it was healthier, happier and earth friendly.

Dr. Iqbal Malik

(Vatavaran Rhizome)