Amrita University illuminating rural India via renewable resources

Last September, in her birthday address, Amma pointed out that India is suffering from a split personality–success when it comes to technological advancement and failure in terms of poverty, illiteracy, health sanitation and crimes against women. “A split personality is never a sign of sound health,” Amma said. “If we want to see India become powerful and healthy again, we need to merge these two faces into one beautiful face… If we can bring our collective knowledge, compassion and talent together, it will not be so long before we see India rising and thriving with peace, harmony and prosperity.” {news}

For Amma, actions are at least as important as words. As Chancellor of Amrita University, she has fostered the institution’s robust, highly acclaimed research and development with a laser-like focus on humanitarian goals and deployment in the field. Under Amma’s guidance, the university is a trailblazer in the humanitarian application of emerging technologies.

In just one of many examples, staff and students of Amrita University, along with members of Amrita Self Reliant Villages (AmritaSeRVe) worked with residents of Komalikudi, one of the 101 villages adopted by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM), to identify key challenges that needed to be addressed. Approximately one third of India’s 600,000 villages do not have access to electricity. Komalikudi, a tribal settlement in Kerala well-known for its abundant natural resources, is one such village. After assessing the requirements of the village, a plan was implemented to provide electricity to the village from available hydro resources.

The team designed, developed, and installed a distribution and transmission network which included: a check dam, a network of pipes, a 5KW micro hydro generator, an underground transmission line, and a power house. This initiative of the University helped students to apply theoretical knowledge to address and solve real world challenges faced by rural communities in India. In the process, they greatly improved the lives of the people of Komalikudi and themselves underwent a life-changing experience of service-oriented innovation. The experience awakened love and compassion in their hearts as they worked together to find creative solutions to the problems of the villagers, harnessing the power of the available resources to make targeted improvements in the infrastructure of the village.

In Komalikudi, the new micro hydro generator, constructed near the perennial water stream, currently provides 24/7 electricity. Each home has four connection points with 3 lighting points and a plug point. Villagers currently use energy efficient 7 watt LED bulbs for energy conservation.

A vocational skills trainer in Komalikudi, Mrs. Shobana, said, “Earlier we had to stop our work by 5 p.m. as there was no light in the room. Now we have electricity so we can work at night. We are so grateful to Amma and her children for the help.” Echoing her sentiments, Mrs. Vellamma, a volunteer at the village’s Anganwadi said, “Now we have lights in the room so students can study at night – many thanks to Amma. We are so grateful to Amma for the support.”

In addition to access to electricity, the Amrita team designed and installed a water distribution system in the village which includes a bore well with a pump and two overhead water tanks connected to each cluster of homes through pipes. The entire water distribution framework is currently powered by the micro hydro generator. The villagers now have access to potable water throughout the year which has helped their lives to improve greatly {news}, particularly seen in the areas of sanitation and education. Access to sanitation facilities also increases the overall health of the village and encourages children and adults to adhere to better hygiene practices, greatly improving public health outcomes.

The details of the mini Hydro project in Komalikudi village
PopulationHousesPipe L&HTransmission LengthNetworkMembersLabour hours
3509082×30 M1000 M320 M498.500 +






Amrita University ranked among the top 200 universities in BRICS

Amrita University has been ranked among the top 200 universities in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries by reputed international ranking organization QS (Quacquarelli Symonds). Amrita is ranked ahead of many well known established universities.


QS has been bringing out the World University Rankings, which is regarded as one of the most influential and coveted university rankings in the world. QS was developed to track the relative progress of leading universities in BRICS countries. This ranking is based on eight key performance indicators relating to global reputation, employability, internationalization, faculty quality and research output & impact.

read more about the University www.amrita.edu


We are able to dream and dream big

Five young survivors of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake who have been receiving Embracing the World scholarships since then wrote a letter to Amma after graduating from high school this summer. They wrote:

“Dear Amma,
We would like to thank you for allowing us to graduate, because without your financial support this journey might not have been possible, because our country’s social and political situation sometimes doesn’t give us the chance to have dreams, but with this great support we are able to dream and dream big. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to complete our journey, we guarantee you it will not be in vain.


Picture from left: Christian Vendryes wants to study computer science and obtain a Master’s in video game programming. Barbara Ademar wants to study Civil Engineering. Quenjunie Paul and Neph Louis both want to study Medicine. Christopher Desilus wants to study Business Administration.

Once again thank you for everything from the bottom of our hearts!”

8 Aug 2015


Five new technologies and one very old one that will save the world

The United Nations has been focusing intently on the use of technology to solve global problems and drive development that’s both affordable and sustainable.

Amrita University itself is a lesson in innovation. It was founded not by scientists and scholars but by one of India’s most influential humanitarians and spiritual leaders, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, who serves as Chancellor of Amrita University and believes that integration of the latest technologies with spiritual principles is the right way forward.


Amma gave the keynote address at the recent UNAI conference, stressing for the participants the Amrita University’s core tenet: progress that is driven by compassion and understanding for all people.

Amrita University has committed itself to the development of technologies to address these very concrete needs, without forgetting that human happiness and well-being also has a spiritual dimension.  Amrita have been joined in this mission by scientists and technologists from top institutions around the world, including Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, EPFL, Monash, Twente, and the National University of Singapore.

Amrita and our fellow researchers presented a few of these solutions-in-progress to over 700 representatives from 93 international universities at a conference on Technology for Sustainable Development that Amrita co-hosted with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) program, a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the UN to advance sustainable development.



Health and Medicine — The problem of increasing antibiotic resistance is a concern for people everywhere. We’re developing nanotechnology materials that can serve as a new type of antibiotic materials that will overcome resistance. We’re also developing more effective and nanotech-enabled vaccines and nano-therapeutics for diseases of the immune system, such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes; new and less toxic nanomedicines for combatting drug resistance in cancer. We have shown the potential of a light-based diagnostic tool for early detection of oral cancer that can save countless lives.

Clean Water — Hundreds of millions of people globally have limited access to clean water. Amrita’s research teams are using nano-textiles to create low-cost and effective filters that can remove disease-causing bacteria, parasites and viruses.

Energy Storage – Many communities in India have little or no connection to an electric grid, but existing battery technologies have limitations of weight, cost, and storage. Nano-based solid-state thin-film energy-storage systems that our researchers are developing are capable of providing battery life of ten years or more and better storage capacity. The potential applications for better battery technology are exciting even for people with ready access to the grid.

Haptics & Robotics

Education — The science of haptics is the science of touch and perception, using vibrations and other forces to simulate what it feels like to handle a tool or manipulate objects. Amrita and its fellow researchers are using haptic technology to address the need for effective and affordable training in construction and other hands-on vocational skills that men and women in developing communities need.

Sensors and Wireless Communications

• Disaster Management – Natural disasters have caused an estimated $1.7 trillion in damage and killed more than a million people, just since the year 2000. One of India’s biggest concerns is landslides, so Amrita scientists have developed a novel Deep Earth Probe that can sense when landslides are imminent and then send out warnings so people who live in high-risk areas can move to safer ground.

Traditional Medicine

• People have been practicing traditional medicine for thousands of years, notably in places such as China and India, and many of the herbal and nature-derived treatments are as effective or better than modern synthetic medicines. We are studying very carefully the mechanisms of action of these traditional medications and creating a new database that will help in bringing the curative aspects of these traditional medicines to the people. A good example is our demonstration of a traditional remedy for diabetic wound-healing made from the outer shell of the cashew nut that can potentially save many limbs from amputation due to incurable diabetic wounds.

– Dr. Shantikumar V Nair


We want to bring glory to our village: Dagara girls

25 Mar, Amdavad, Gujarat – Bharata Yatra 2015

During the public programme in Amdavad, in Amma’s presence, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Smt. Anandiben Patel, handed over certificates of encouragement to eight young women, acknowledging their completion of the 10th standard exams conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

The recognition is notable since it marks the successful continuation of Amma’s humanitarian work in Gujarat. The Dagara village in Bhuj, where the girls are from, is one of three villages rebuilt by Ashram after the devastating earthquake in 2001 {news}. Ever since, the community has been receiving Amma’s continuous support for its overall development.

Recently, Dagara became one of 40 villages in 20 states to participate in an educational scheme of Amrita University which uses tablet-based education to tutor both children and adults . Previously, the village school only went up to 8th grade, but with the new computer-based education, students can now remain in the village and complete their studies up to 10th grade, allowing them to pursue a profession that will further support their families and aid in the development of the community. Up until recently, because of safety concerns, parents would not allow their daughters to leave the village for higher studies beyond 8th grade.

Meera, one of the graduates and mother to a two-year old child, enrolled in the programme after a gap of eight years from school. She had been eager to take up her studies again to attain a BEd (Bachelor of Education) Teachers Certificate. Meera said, “I want to be a teacher so that I can reach out to those who are deprived and help them move ahead in life.”

Shanti, another graduate, had resumed studies after a gap of two years. She now wants to become a nurse and serve in her community. The successful completion of the 10th standard will help her reach that goal.

The girls said, “We have classes every day from 2pm to 7 pm, with no holidays. We love to study and don’t feel bored at all . All our families are farmers. It is our dream to bring glory to our village by introducing new professions. Thank you Amma, for helping us achieve that goal.”

Present at the function was also Veji Ben, the Maths, English, and Science teacher for the students. She herself became the first girl in Dagara to complete a +2 (pre-university) degree, staying at her uncle’s house in the next village to attend the university there. Now she is proud to congratulate the first batch of female students from her own village who would otherwise not have had the same opportunity she had. “Most of the students want to take up arts. For science they will need a lab and other facilities,” says Veji Ben.

The girls presented a Kutch dance dressed in traditional costumes for Amma.

After they had spent the whole night at the venue with Amma, the girls remarked, “We had known about Amma since she rebuilt our village. But now that we see her we don’t want to leave her presence, we want to live with her.”

This is just one of many stories of how Amma’s sustained humanitarian outreach transforms entire communities and empowers a new generation to uplift not only their own families, but society as a whole.

– Sundar

2015 kozhikode eLiteracy

eLiteracy & health awareness for tribal children

3 March, Kozhikode, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2015

During Kozhikode program, Amma distributed Amrita University’s certificates to 17 tribal children from Attapadi for completing the eLiteracy & Health Awareness course. The tablet computers were taken to their doorsteps and classes timed after their working hours.


The tutor Aneesh is an alumni of Amma’s Parapally School.

Amrita CREATE is training 1000 tribal children and adults in Kerala. Tablet computers are used to teach Computer Concepts, health awareness, social awareness and value education. Selected student ambassadors help raise health and social awareness in the entire village and school. The beneficiaries include tribal students in schools and from Mahila Shikshan Kendras, where tribal girls are brought in for equivalent education. It also includes girls from the Nirbhaya Hostel, who have been saved from trafficking and molestation.


– Sundar


Diabetes and Eye at Amrita Institute

10 Dec 2014, Kochi

In view of World Diabetes Day, the Departments of Endocrinology and Ophthalmology at Amrita Hospital in association with IMA KOCHI and Cochin Ophthalmic Club held a cycle rally to improve awareness among the public concerning Diabetes and its complications. It was part of a month long program with the theme “Diabetes and Eye” organized by Amrita Hospital.


About 300 people, including students, athletes, doctors, and the general public, took part in the rally. Decorated with blue balloons – the colour of Diabetic day theme – the 300 cycled and marched ahead chanting slogans against the disease.

Dr. Gopal Pillai, the head of ophthalmology at Amrita Hospital, cycled from IMA house to the Kaloor International Stadium to initiate the fight against diabetes. He spoke on the importance of lifestyle, regular check ups, and exercise, and highlighted the need for controlling ones blood sugar and stress.

Seventy MBBS students of Amrita Medical College also participated in novel flash mob at a mall comprising of slogans against diabetes.

A screening program was organized free of cost at the mall following the activities. Many people who came were unaware of ways to control their blood sugar and blood pressure, which the doctors said was an alarming trend.


Prof. Shanti Nair of Amrita receives India Nanosciences Award

On December 6th, at the Bangalore INDIA NANO 2014, Professor Shantikumar Nair, Dean of Research at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, was bestowed the C N R Rao India Nanoscience Award. The award is given to one scientist each year for outstanding contributions in nanotechnology research and development in India.


In a packed auditorium attended by the leaders in Nanotechnology in India, Prof. Nair accepted the award: “I do not see this award as an award to me personally, but an award to the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine. We are really a team there. We have medical doctors, physicists, chemists, materials scientists and molecular biologists, all outstanding faculties whose hard work and brilliance are also behind this award. On a personal note I would like to offer my infinite gratitude to my inspiration and guide, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, internationally renowned humanitarian leader, the founder of our institute, without whose Grace this institution would never have been established and without whose Grace I would not be standing here in front of you with the accomplishments that we are being today recognized for. Thank you.”

In the last eight years Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine has created a national and international impact with cutting-edge research in nanotechnology.



In 2006 the Centre was awarded a major grant from the nanomission of the Department of Science and Technology, the government of India, for research in “Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Research using Nano materials.” This award enabled the Centre to publish over 200 research publications in international journals, and incubated promising technologies that could be implemented in the biomedical field. In recognition of these innovations, the Centre was awarded a Thematic Unit of Excellence (TUE) Status, one of only ten in the country and the only one in the Biomedical area.

The Centre has also made a strong advances in the area of energy conversion and storage using nanomaterials.


Online Science Labs – OLabs – for school system in Andaman

22 November 2014

OLabs, Amrita University’s online virtual science labs for 9th-12th standards were launched in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands schools through a function and workshop held in Port Blair. The workshop was attended by 63 teachers from 45 schools who learned how to use the labs. OLabs are offered free of charge and have been recommended for use at all CBSE schools in India.


The arrival of OLabs created a lot of excitement as they can really help bridge the gap between well equipped urban schools and smaller, poorer rural schools. Many local schools, some of them quite remote, do not have a science lab and/or cannot afford experimental materials and chemicals. Furthermore, large class sizes preclude most of the students from doing the lab themselves or even seeing it properly demonstrated. OLabs allows students to repeat the experiment as many times as they wish and includes simulators, videos and animations, as well as theory and quiz. Local school officials jumped at the chance to include OLabs in their science curriculum.

The participating schools in the event were all given OLabs cds, as they lack connectivity. The cds will be updated periodically as more labs are added and will be made available through the Amrita Charitable Hospital located in Port Blair.

OLabs can be accessed through www.olabs.co.in.

olabs1 olabs2

Artistic and Sports training support for 49 children of Granollers

08 Oct, Granollers, Barcelona – Europe Yatra 2014

Last year during Amma’s visit to Granollers, Amma offered to sponsor children from underprivileged families through Embracing the World.

Granollers Mayor Josep Mayoral accepted the donation from Amma on behalf of “Friends of Children Granollers”, who used it to make sure 49 children received equal opportunities in basic, artistic and sports training.




This year the Mayor, accompanied by the Councillor for Social Services, María del Mar Sánchez and the official in charge of this project, Jordi Ponce, attended the donation ceremony which was held at the start of darshan in the afternoon of October 8 in Granollers, Barcelona to an audience of several thousand.

The donation will provide another year of aid for 50 local children who are unable to afford school transportation and cafeteria, medical care, or arts and sports activities. Mr. Mayoral expressed his gratitude to Embracing the World’s effort to help underprivileged children in his hometown.

– Tulasi