AGNI TRUST – activities
AGNI TRUST (Awakenend Group for National Integration) was a voluntary organisation founded by the renowned writers Ms. Sivasankari and Mr. Maalan in the year 1986. They were supported ably by three more Trustees, Ms. Brinda Jayaraman, Ms. Bhavani Rajagopalan and Ms. Lalitha Venkatesh. AGNI believed in the betterment of the society through individual awakening. In this connection AGNI organised many meetings, workshops, seminars to create awareness regarding various aspects of the society and to inculcate positive thinking, right values and patriotism.
PROJECT – BHARAT DHARSHAN: In the year 1986, twenty extraordinary students were hand-picked from various schools of Tamil Nadu, were taken on a tour to New Delhi and were made to take a pledge at Rajghat that they will strive to become better citizens and human beings in future.
PROJECT – BRIDGES: To bring better understanding between two opposite sections of people, a series of programmes called BRIDGES was organised, wherein government officials and school Principals were invited to answer public’s questions through face-to-face programmes.
PROJECT – KAVIRATHRI: ‘A Day of Literature’ inviting top writers, poets and journalists from all the four southern states of India to read their works to the audience in their respective languages and thus building up a fellowship among people of various states, irrespective of their language differences, was organized twice.
PROJECT – SCRIPT WRITING WORKSHOP: Mr. M. T. Vasudevan Nair, an outstanding writer, director and editor was invited to conduct a day long script writing course for selected participants.
PROJECT – SPOT THE TALENT: As its contribution to quality literature, AGNI organised a story competition in collaboration with a literary magazine called ‘KANAIYAZHI’ and gave away Rs.5000/- as Awards to ten writers. A similar story competition was organised again in 1994 jointly with another literary magazine ‘SUBHAMANGALA’ and 10 cash prizes worth Rs.13,000/- were given.
PROJECT – ANBU (Awareness Needed for Betterment of Underprivileged): In India women are discriminated from birth. To de-condition the minds of people from this attitude and to give the woman her due place in the society AGNI produced four television spots with famous film stars and an audio tape with the help of Global Hunger Project in India. They were telecast and broadcast frequently and the cinema houses were requested to show the spots for a year.
PROJECT – LET US SAY NO TO DRUGS: AGNI launched a campaign titled ‘Let Us Say No to Drugs’ in December 1987, under which a 22 minute video film in Tamil titled ‘Ore Oru Tharam’ (meaning Just Once) was produced. Renowned film producers A.V.M. Productions, Chennai, made 100 prints of the same and the Rotary International Dt. 323 helped in taking this film to 1,00,000 children in Tamil Nadu.
A signature campaign was organized, in which more than 50,000 signatures were collected from people of Tamil Nadu asking for stringent punishment to drug pushers and peddlers, and the petition was handed over to the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, which contributed to the amendment of the law.
PROJECT – SURVEY ON LEVEL OF ADDICTION: On a request from the Welfare Department of the Government of India, a survey on the level of addiction among slum dwellers in the three major cities namely, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad was conducted. With the able co-operation of ‘ADAPT’, the Rehabilitation Centre of Apollo Hospitals, this survey was carried out successfully. It was a shocking revelation that 57% of the slum dwellers at Chennai – mostly industrial workers and daily labourers – were alcoholics.
PROJECT – TELEVISION SPOTS: AGNI produced four television spots featuring three cricket captains, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Srikkanth, carrying the message ‘Let Us Say No to Drugs’ with the help of Indian Bank. These spots were telecast by the National and Regional television networks.
PROJECT – SEEDING: AGNI has also conducted various Awareness and Seeding Programmes throughout Tamil Nadu. People from different walks of life are selected and coached with the details of Drug-addiction, Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation. They are the ‘Seeds’ who will in turn, sprout and spread the message in their regions, thus creating an awareness among as many people as possible. On a request from the National Institute of Social Defence, Government of India, AGNI conducted a week long intense Training Programme on Drug and Alcohol Awareness for selected 33 people from all over the state.
PROJECT – ALCOHOLISM-A TREATABLE DISEASE: This survey necessitated launching of a massive awareness campaign amongst industrial labourers and slum-dwellers against alcohol. In January 1990 AGNI ventured on a macro-level programme sponsored by INDIAN BANK. A videotape on the story of an alcoholic was released and a copy of it was given to every industrial house for the benefit of their labourers and motivating lectures were also given.
PROJECT – AGNI’S TASK FORCE: With a view to form AGNI’s task force in counselling, it organised a special crash course on Intensive counselling of drug and alcohol addicts in February 1992 at T.T.K. Hospital. Members of the task force counsel the patients in the Rajaji Centre for De-addiction and also visit slums, factories and educational institutions to conduct awareness programmes.
PROJECT – THAMIZHUKKUM AMUDENRU PER: To enable the literature-lovers enjoy the glory of Tamil literature, three subsequent lectures by doyens of literature, Kalaignar Mu. Karunanidhi on ‘Literature of Sanga Period’, Mr. Kumari Anandan on ‘Literature of the Middle Period’ and Mr. Valampuri John on ‘Contemporary Literature’ were arranged in July 1994. The response for this programme was over-whelming.
PROJECT – RAJAJI CENTRE FOR DE-ADDICTION: While conducting the Awareness programmes in the slums, AGNI felt the dire need for a de-addiction centre for the economically weaker section of the society. And AGNI was instrumental in starting ‘Rajaji Centre for De-Addiction’ in the Voluntary health Services Hospital at Taramani in Chennai on 14.11.1991, which was entirely sponsored INDIAN BANK.
PROJECT – AGNI AKSHARA AWARDS: In 1993 ten Tamil writers were selected by AGNI to receive the AKSHARA AWARDS, in appreciation of their significant contributions towards the development of Tamil literature. The award consisted of a citation and an icon of Goddess Saraswathi. A unique feature about these functions was that for each meeting a literary figure from another state was invited to talk about the contemporary literature of the particular language he belonged to. From the year 1995 the AKSHARA awards were given to two writers every year, one for the Tamil writer who has made a worthy contribution to Tamil literature and the other for the best book of the year. The awards carried a cash prize of Rs. 5,000/-
PROJECT – LEAP (Leadership Education Action Programme): With a view to channelise the potentials of the youth in the proper way, AGNI had a very effective training programme ‘Leadership Education Action Programme’ which was launched for 50 teenagers in Mayiladuthurai in February 1995. Keeping the wholistic development of the participants in mind, interesting workshops on leadership training, problem solving skills, positive thinking and effective communication were designed in consultation with experts. By the end of the programme there was excellent response from the youth who are sure to emerge as better human beings and committed citizens of India.
PROJECT – MEET THE PERSON: AGNI organised a Press Meet on 7th May 1998 to meet the Writer/Activist Ms. Mahasveta Devi, an awardee of the most coveted Magsaysay award and the prestigious Bharatiya Jnanpith.
PROJECT – CHILDREN’S DAY CELEBRATIONS: AGNI celebrated the ‘Children’s Day’, in commemoration with the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on 18.11.1998 at Kamaraj Memorial Hall. The film ‘Vande Mataram’ by BharatBala Productions was screened, and three eminent personalities – cricketer Mr. K. Srikkanth, Mr. S. Sankararaman of Amar Seva Sangam and Ms. Sivasankari spoke on ‘Patriotism’, ‘Positive Thinking’ and on ‘National Integration’, respectively. The function was presided over by Shri G.K. Moopanar, President – Tamil Maanila Congress. The highlight of the function was Shri Moopanar’s magnanimous donation of 300 copies of the Tamil edition of the book ‘Knit India through Literature – Volume I – the SOUTH’ written by Ms. Sivasankari.
PROJECT – Release of the book ‘KNIT INDIA THROUGH LITERATURE’: As part of its literary activities, and aiming at promoting the awareness on national integration, AGNI released the four volumes of the prestigious project of Ms. Sivasankari, ‘Knit India Through Literature’. The first volume ‘The SOUTH’ released in January 1998, contains the literary works of the four southern Indian languages. Subsequently, the second volume ‘The EAST’, containing the literary works of the five eastern Indian languages, was released in September 2000 at Calcutta; the third volume ‘The WEST’, containing the literary works of the four western Indian languages, was released in May 2004; and the fourth and final volume, ‘the NORTH’, containing the literary works of the five northern Indian languages, was released in May 2009 in New Delhi.
SIVASANKARI CHANDRASEKARAN CHARITIES – activities
Educational Support: Financial help was given to various organizations like Agaram Foundation, Suddhananda Vidyalaya, Avvai Home, Sevalaya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Educational Society, Thanjavur Kalyanasundaram High School, Pilani Birla Institute of Technology, Chennai Sarada Vidyalaya School, Justice Basheer Ahmed Women’s College, etc. Apart from this, financial support is also given to the needy students who excel in academics.
Medical Support: Funds are arranged in medical institutions like Sankara Nethralaya, Voluntary Health Services, etc. for providing free treatment to the needy patients. Dialysis units are sponsored for Tanker Foundation and Sree Matha Trust for giving free dialysis to the needy patients.
Special Ward: A special ward for women and children has been built in Public Health Centre Chennai, in the name of Sri Suryanarayanan of Suri & Co., father of Ms. Sivasankari.
Free Weddings: Weddings for 100 couples have been conducted free so far. Besides the expenses for the wedding ceremonies, items like the Mangalsutra in gold, saree & dhothi, household items including a cooker, gas stove and other utensils, etc were given to the couples, whose selection was carried out irrespective of their caste and creed.
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