Sewa volunteers swung into the rescue and relief work just 3 hours after the devastating earthquake on April 25 and started distributing drinking water, rice, Chevda, snacks and tarpaulins as an immediate relief in many places of Nepal.They were the first responders in many districts like Bhaktapur to help find survivors. They also worked in tandem with Nepalese govt. rescue team in helping them in clearing dead bodies and providing immediate medical help including baby delivery(see story on following page). A team of Doctors from Arogya Bharati, National Medicos Organization & many other groups, joined the rescue/relief with medicines and medical kits that have saved many lives.
The relief material were distributed in all of the 12 worst affected districts of Nepal, with over 90% buildings destroyed in some cases.The volunteers tried to reach far flung villages in some of these districts which are located at high altitudes like 10000+ feet to provide relief material to the people in distress. There had been a demand for Tarpaulins for protecting the families from rain/wind/sun and foodstuff like rice, yellow/black gram, biscuits, milk powder etc, which were distributed by Sewa volunteers through supplies received by air/road/rail routes. HSS led organizations successfully deployed more than 1600 local volunteers for the rescue & relief operations and reached more than 300 villages/560 wards in those districts.
The deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks had created a great sense of panic in the residents of the affected regions. Hundreds of thousands of houses were destroyed or left unviable, creating huge demand for tarpaulins/tents for immediate shelter. Sewa volunteers worked incessantly to arrange for shelters of the affected people, even in the most remote regions of Nepal. Some times, they had to face people's ire when they ran short of tents/tarpaulins, but sewa volunteers through the trust that they generated among local people, were always able to convince and ensure shelter for all. With the impending monsoons, there was a need for a temporary shelter which can withstand heavy rains. For that, Sewa organizations are working with Nepal govt. for a working mechanism in order to provide zinc/tin sheets and other materials for temporary shelter.
Stories that inspire….
Bharat — Reason to Smile
I met a team of 8 Doctors representing Arogya Bharati, Haryana state who had an experience to share. The bus carrying these Doctors was headed towards Jalbire, a village close to China border. However, the bus came to a halt due to a landslide. The doctors with the kits of medicines decided to walk rest of the distance to Jalbire, only to find that there was an emergency case awaiting them. A pregnant lady was undergoing labour pains and there was no one to attend. The local Doctor at Public Health Center had directed the lady to Kathmandu hospital as being a complicated case. The Team of Doctors swung into action and operated the lady inside the ambulance itself to deliver a baby boy successfully. The new born was named "Bharat" in consultation with the family and father of the boy. It proved to be a moment of joy for the whole village and a time to celebrate amidst devastation.
Sugreeva — The Inspiring Hero
Handling dead bodies is the last act that anyone would like to do, but when there are hundreds of dead bodies to be handled during the calamity, no one would dare to touch. It was the similar story for couple of days at the Teaching Hospital mortuary. Police personnel deployed there preferred to look the other way as the bodies arrived. Yet, a young man stood constantly through the week after terrible earthquake, handling every dead body arriving, embalming as many as one can, packing them with sheets, helping the relatives of the dead to identify their near & dear who had died, or whatever came his way. The hospital doctors and staff were so impressed that they even offered to employ him which he simply declined. He received an award from Hospital due to his extraordinary service.The trauma of handling dead bodies is enormous and yet this young man never complained, no murmur, just performing his duty without expectation of name, fame, money, absolutely nothing. His dedication to the cause is unique, and makes him a true “Karmayogee”. When a journalist inquired where he received the training in handling dead bodies or embalming them, he responded that he had never done this job earlier. This was the first time he performed this. He is an activist like many others and is presently a full timer for Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Bihar. He might have handled close to 250 bodies in total within a week, a sort of records. This young man is Sugreeva, a true hero.
Trust begets Trust
Natives of Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote district resorted to public agitation on the road. The protest stopped the traffic on the road for hours. The villagers had not received any relief material for almost 9 days after the earthquake.A group of volunteers who were travelling along the route and had to stop, met the protestors and calmed them down with a promise that they would be back with relief within 24 hours.The villagers were delighted to find the group back in village next day morning with relief material. A pracharak of HSS, Teerthraj Khanal, led this group and distributed the material. The district Superintendent of Police Sobodh Ghimire applauded the efforts by talking to Teerthraj on phone and guided him to more such places.One of the beneficiaries in Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote was a widow with 9 children who had to take shelter beneath a Banyan tree. All 10 of them lived with little food for almost 9 days. The lady and her kids returned to village after some persuasion and receiving the relief material.
INAUGURATION OF 5TH COMPUTER CENTRE OF SEWA INTERNATIONAL IN UTTARAKHAND
On 27th May, 2015, the fifth branch of Sewa Path was inaugurated by C S Chauhan, the Deputy collector of Rudraprayag at Shri A P B Government P G College. Sewa Path (with 10 PCs right now) in association with the College aims at providing computer training to B.Ed and other students on a very nominal charge. Initially, the Centre has facilities in basic courses. However, advance courses and job oriented courses are on prospective agenda.The Deputy Collector in his inaugural address lauded the efforts of Sewa Path and College and encouraged the students to get maximum benefits of this facility. The Principal of the College, Shri P S Jangwan, who was instrumental in opening of this Centre advised the students to get benefit of the facility. Shri Devendra Padiyar deliberated upon activities and efforts of Sewa International, Uttarakhand in Rudraprayag and Chamoly districts in the aftermath of Uttarakhand flood. Shri Prahlad Pushpwan presented Sewa’s memento to the Deputy Collector on behalf of the Organization.
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE : RSB TO JOIN HANDS IN REHABILITATION
Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB), which is coordinating the relief operation in Nepal on behalf of various like-minded organisations of Bharat after the devastating earthquake of April 25, has decided to join hands with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) in rehabilitation of the victims in Nepal. Though 12 districts are the worst hit, presently the rehabilitation work will be taken up in six districts only. This work would be done with the help of various like-minded organisations in India.“Since the rainy season is to begin in Nepal within one and a half months, the immediate challenge is to provide shelter to the victims who are forced to live in open. Keeping it in view we have decided to provide tin shades to the victims in six districts. As the people already have wood and stones to be used as pillars in houses, the tin shades will provide a roof over their head. This work is going to begin shortly,” said Shri Shyam Parande, International Coordinator of the Sewa International, while talking to Organiser in New Delhi on May 19. He said the help in rehabilitation would depend upon the resources that they collect from the donors. “If we get more help the number of the districts to be covered may increase,” Shri Parande added.Shri Parande pointed out that the rehabilitation plan has been devised in two phases. Under the first phase, the tin shades would be provided and under the second phase some school buildings and community centres would be built. He said the Sewa International in association with some local organisations in Nepal would also help in making arrangements for education, because most of the school buildings have collapsed.Shri Parande who was in Nepal for a week after the earthquake said more than 1,600 swayamsevaks of the HSS and other organisations were pressed into relief activity across the affected districts of Nepal. The other organisations which worked with the HSS in Nepal include the Jan Kalyan Pratishthan Nepal, Pashupati Shiksha Samiti, Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad Nepal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Nepal, Janjati Kalyan Parishad Nepal and Sewa International Nepal.Rashtriya Sewa Bharati president Shri Surya Prakash Tonk also briefed the mediapersons about the help extended by the organisation in Nepal. He pointed out that over 15,000 people are feared to have died in Nepal and loss of property is still uncalculated. It is indeed painful for a country with two crore population to bear the brunt of such a magnitude. He said Bharat and Nepal share millennia old cultural, historical and social relationship and it is quite natural for Bharat to extend a timely helping hand in toughest moment of Nepal. People across all states of Bharat, rising to the occasion, collected relief material to be handed over to Rashtriya Sewa Bharati on massive scale. He said till May 19 relief material weighing more than 200 metric tonnes was dispatched and 30 tons more was to be dispatched.He said many temples, mutts and the heritage buildings of archaeological importance have also been destroyed in different parts of Nepal including Kathmandu. Some buildings include Patan Krishna Mandir, Patan Darbar Square, Basantpur Hanuman Dhoka Darbar Square, Bhaktapur Darbar Square, Taleju Mandir. The loss of historical and culturally important Bhimsen Dharahara nine-storey tower is probably the worst loss. Twelve districts of Nepal including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhading, Kabhrepalanchok, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dolakha, Gorakha, Ramechhap, Sindhupalchok and Lamjung have been the worst hit. In some of the districts, 90 per cent houses have been destroyed.Meanwhile the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh also thanked the people of Bharat for rising to the occasion and sending relief material on massive scale through the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati, which delivered the material on time and continues to send even now.
SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN THE PREMISES OF HISTORIC VIRABHADRESHWARA TEMPLE
RSS swayamsevaks cleaned the premises of historic Sri Virabhadreshwara Temple near Maaranagere in Tiptur of Tumakuru District on May 17 as a part of the Sewa Sanghik. The initiative of the swayamsevaks was appreciated by one and all. In the photo the swayamsevaks are seen cleaning the premises.
SEWA BHARATI TRAINING CAMP IN CHENNAI
Sewa Bharati’s annual 10-day training camp began in Chennai on May 9 with 94 trainees. DAV School Principal Smt Geeta inaugurated the camp by lighting the ‘kuthuvilakku’. Smt Kalpana is the Vargadhikari. Shri Duraishankar, president of Sewa Bharati, Uttar Tamil Nadu and other Sewa Pramukhs were also present at the function.
VIDYA BHARATI SCHOOLS IN ODISHA EXCEL AGAIN
Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir schools run by Sikhya Vikash Samiti affiliated to Vidya Bharati, continued to perform exceptionally well in Metric Examination in Odisha. A total of 13,939 students from Saraswati Shishu Mandir schools appeared in the Board Examination 2015. Vidya Bharati schools recorded pass percentage (99.57) is much higher than the overall pass percentage in the State—82 per cent.
The Sikhya Vikash Samiti organised a felicitation programme in Bhubaneswar to honour the students, who secured highest marks in the exam. On this occasion, Dr Banchhanidhi Panda, president of the Samiti said the holistic and value based curriculum, an edifying atmosphere, strong teacher-student relationship and strict monitoring system are the main reasons for the success of the Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir schools.
MASS MARRIAGE BY KALYAN ASHRAM
It was a wedding ceremony with a difference. The wedding of the couples who were already living as husbands and wives were solemnised at this ceremony. There are many reasons why they did not officially tied the knot till now, the poverty and social backwardness are the prominent reason. The wedding ceremony was organised at Birsa Shishu Shiksha Kendra, Salbari compound in Siliguri on May 10 by the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Uttar Bang Prant. Kalyan Ashram national president Shri Jagdev Ram Oraon highlighted the necessity and sacredness of wedding in the social system. A total of 101 pairs got married following Hindu rituals by performing yajna. Every pair was gifted with some items needed in the daily life. Local MP Shri SS Ahluwalia inaugurated three insurance schemes of Central Government.
TRANSFORMATION THROUGH SEWA
Sadanai Sangamam, a conclave of sevavritis, was organised by the Sewa Bharati at Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district on April 17. A total of 5,150 sewa workers, including 4,850 women and 300 men involved in various sewa activities attended the Sangamam.
Addressing the gathering, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath said the swayamsevaks today serve the society in the field of education, health, culture, social harmony, village development, etc. Out of 1,52,000 sewa projects carried out across the country, around 10,400 projects are being run in Tamil Nadu alone. “Through sewa we could see a rise in education, culture, economy, self-esteem and morality of socially backward people,” he said.
Swami Vivekananda’s thought of ‘Nar Sewa, Narayana Sewa’ is practically visible in the country today. Kanyakumari district has 1,940 villages and a total of 6,597 sewa projects are run in 1,550 villages of the district. Applauding these sewa activities, Shri Hiremath appealed to the workers to reach all the nook and corners of the district in coming days. Shri Vellimalai Swami Pujya Saidanyananda gave a call to check conversions. Shri Balachandran from Moogambigai Medical College, Dakshin Kshetra Sewa Pramukh Shri Padmakumar, Rashtriya Sewa Bharati organising secretary Shri Sundarlakshman, Sewa Bharati State president Shri Ramanhathan, BJP State joint organising secretary Shri Kesava Vinayakam, Prant Pracharak Shri Senthilkumar, Shri TS Vaikundam and Shri Kamaraj were also present on the occasion.
HOSTELS IN BORDER AREAS OF UTTARAKHAND
Uttarakhand Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayati Samiti has decided to set-up a series of hostels in border districts of the State. Bhoomipujan for such a hostel was performed in Kedardhar on April 9. Similar hostels are to be set up in Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag districts, which are near China borders. The hostels will be opened in different phases. These hostels will act as a catalyst of change in the border areas. They will help in rural development work and also putting a check on migration. RSS Kshetra Pracharak Shri Alokji, president of Uttarakhand Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti Shri Dinesh Gupta and many other important personalities were present on the occasion. The work on building the hostels has already begun in Naitvar Belt, Purola, Dharchula and Tons Valley.Apart from hostels, health centres, work on local development and social reforms would also be taken up. RSS Prant Pracharak Dr Harish Rautela said the youth staying in the hostels would act as sentinel of the nation. He said since migration is high in border areas, the hostels would keep a watch on the activities there.
Yesterday (12/05), we went for a relief package distribution to Palathi village (near Chinese border) in Sindhupalchok district. We picked the relief materials like blankets, tarpaulins, biscuits/cookies from our storage point at Barahbisse and reached Palathi village ground, which is an open area with loose soil flanked by mud hill, at around 12:30 pm. We were pleasantly surprised to see local Member of Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mohan Bahadur Basnet also present at the venue to help with the distribution process. Distribution process was started and going on fine.
THEN THE EARTH STARTED SHAKING
At 12:56, while we were busy distributing the relief material and talking to the local villagers to understand the current situation Earth shook violently with a damning sound. We could see the earth splitting with fissures appearing on the loose soil. There was considerable hue and cry as many of them were reliving 04/25 all over gain but we along with the whole village who had come to collect the relief materials, were very lucky to survive as we were on an open ground. There were a couple of people who were standing on the edge of the overlooking hill who slipped due to the triggered landslide but were rescued with minimal injuries due to prompt response of CDRT team from US who along with our volunteers pulled the people out and saved their lives, bringing smiles all across.
This was quite a horrific experience for everyone as we were reminded again of the nature's fury and our precarious position confronting it.
At the time of writing, we are still having aftershocks and we slept by saying prayers as we don't think there's anything else that can ensure safety of lives of the people here. Thanks all for your support and prayers to ensure the safety of the Nepalese people and volunteers here.
Sewa International appeals to the benevolent to be generous to provide succor to the Nepal Earthquake affected. Your timely contribution will save many and provide relief to thousands.
Sewa International Bharat, hereby, requests and appeals one and all to help and support the victims of the unprecedented earthquake next to that of 1934. The degree of the earthquake i.e. 7.9 is demonic in terms of its impact on the region encompassing Nepal, Northern districts of Bihar (those of Champaran region), Mithilanchal (districts Dharbhanga, Madhubani etc,), the district of Patna and the Division of Munger, (south of Ganges), which fall under seismic zone V. Further causalities are also reported from various districts of West Bengal and Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim.By the time this appeal is issued, the numbers are rising and from more areas. It is believed that the casualties might cross 10000, an irreparable loss.
Sewa International has resolved to serve the earthquake affected in Nepal as well as Bharat and join hands with other selfless organizations for serving effectively and timely.
The volunteers team on ground has already joined rescue operation and relief like providing drinking water, food packets, clothes, temporary shelter, life-saving medicines, etc.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES 2015 YUVA FOR SEWA SUMMER INTERNSHIP
Sewa International has launched its annual Yuva for Sewa (YFS), 8 to 10-week volunteer summer internship opportunity for college students to travel to Bharat to contribute their time to serve humanity. Since its inception in 2006, 52 YFS youth interns have volunteered their time for healthcare, education, environment, women's empowerment, rural development, and microfinance. Interns work with community NGOs to serve and engage in an empowering self-transformative experience to make an impact in their chosen field.
Thirteen RSS swayamsevaks at Shastri Nagar in Chennai on March 1 joined a seva activity of cleaning the Siddha Hospital campus. They segregated the waste into bio degradable and non bio-degradable ones. They heaped the bio-degradable waste around the trees and used ‘Ghana Jeevamritham’ spray on it for faster degradation. It was a highly satisfying experience for all.
LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE AND MOVE AHEAD
“Before doing any work, one should analyse what will be its impact on the society. Ekal has completed its 25 years and it’s time to analyse what we have done in all these years and how we have to move ahead on this path. Learn from the experience and move ahead,” said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while addressing the concluding ceremony of ‘Parinaam Kumbh’ organised at Golf Ground of Dhanbad to celebrate 25 years of Ekal Vidyalaya.
Shri Bhagwat appreciated the work being done by Ekal volunteers. He said it is the education system, which would lead the country to holistic development. He said Ekal Abhiyan is not just an educational initiative but it is a people’s movement for all round development of the Vanvasis living in remote villages.
The seed of Ekal Vidyalaya germinated at Ratanpur village under Tundi block of Dhanbad. From this village it spread all over the country and then in many countries of the world. Today it is India’s largest non-governmental education initiative, which provides education to children in rural areas. It works on the concept of ‘Ek Shikshak, Ek Vidyalaya’ (one teacher, one school). In Ekal schools local youth teach in regional languages using various methods like story-telling, folk dramas and songs. Apart from education, Ekal also imparts moral education, health care education and farming techniques.
VHP patron Shri Ashok Singhal while speaking at the function said once India was repository of education but today we lack a lot in this field. Ekal schools would prove to be Brahmastra in educaiton and can achieve what we have lost. “Through Ekal, we not only provide education but also try to make India of our dreams. Time has come to recognise our strength and return to the roots. We have to again make Bharat Vishwa Guru,” he said.
Founder of Vatsalya Gram Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara stressed the need to come together like a river for development for Bharat. “Children are the future of Bharat. Through Ekal we can secure their future by providing education and inculcating in them the moral and cultural values. There are many hurdles in the way but we have to overcome them to achieve our goal.” she said.
Global coordinator of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA Ramesh P Shah while talking to ‘Organiser’ said, “I have been associated with Ekal for the last 15 years and feeling blessed after being part of it. We have a five-point agenda Bal Shiksha, Swastha Shiksha, Gram Vikas Shiksha, Sanskar Shiksha and Jagran Shiksha.” He pointed out that they operate around 54,000 Ekal Schools in India, about 1500 in Nepal. Now Afghanistan has also contacted them to start Ekal Schools there.
Shri Shyamji Gupta spoke on the vision for next 25 years and said Dhanbad is like pilgrimage for Ekal karyakartas. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited Subhas Chandra and many more dignitaries also attended the function.
About 50,000 Ekal workers from all over India and also from overseas countries like USA, Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand and Germany attended the three day event.
The grand procession taken out on this occasion was joined by about 40,000 villagers including women. These people belonged to the villages of Ekal schools. The speakers energised the workers tracing the successful journey of the Ekal. The presentations by various workers highlighting heart touching experiences were highly inspiring.
ENDEAVOUR FOR HARMONIOUS AND PROSPEROUS BHARAT
Our ancestors thought and acted for the welfare of entire universe. That is why our sages and seers, since centuries, have been praying: Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Maa Kashchid Dukhabhag-bhawet (let none be sick and deprived in the world). The essence of this prayer is that working for others’ happiness is the best way to be happy in the life.
We have a rich tradition of serving the needy with this feeling. The great saint of Gujarat, Narasi Mehta, called those who feel the sufferings of others as ‘Vaishnava Jan’. The concept of sin and holiness has also been defined accordingly. Sant Tulsidasji has also said, Parahit Saras Dharam Nahin Bhai, Parpeera Nahin Adhmahi.
Amma to inaugurate on April 4
The Sewa Sangam will be organised at Blue Saffire' & 'City Palace' Resort, GT Karnal Road, Alipur, NH1- Delhi) It is expected to witness the presence of more than 3,000 representatives from 700 sewa organisations. It will include more than 500 women workers. An exhibition highlighting the sewa activities of various organisations will also be organised. The Sangam will be inaugurated at 10 am on April 4 by Mata Amritinan damayi Devi. Noted industrialist of Meerut Shri Atul Gupta will be the chief guest. RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi will address the gathering at 5.00 pm the same day. On April 5, the Sangam will be addressed by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat and founder of Wipro Shri Azim Premji. The concluding ceremony on April 6 will be addressed by RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale. The exhibition will be inaugurated by Swami Rajrajeshwarashram on April 3.
This is basically the eternal truth. Our ancestors have taught us that sewa should be done with the feeling of duty and worship. Ramakrishna Paramhansa called it Shiv Bhaav Se Jeevsewa, while Swami Vivekananda saw the God in the sick and needy people. He used to say, “I serve God whom the people unknowingly call man.”
This is the reason lakhs of people in the country are serving the needy people recognising them as a form of ‘God’, and that too without wishing any publicity or honour in exchange. Many people are working individually or through some organisation.
Some families are also dedicated to the social cause. Unfortunately, the media today do not provide adequate space and attention to the work of such people or organisations. They give undue publicity to the bad practices or wrong activities undergoing in the society. If we sincerely study the society, we find that the number of good people is more than the bad people. Equally, the number of people who are working selflessly is more than the number of greedy and corrupt. Because the truth does not come out, the atmosphere of depression, despair, apathy and negativity seems to be dominating. It ultimately makes good people inactive. In such an atmosphere there is dire need to bring all the people engaged in service activities at one platform, help them understanding each other and exchange their experience. It will not only boost confidence of the society, but will also lead to right direction.
Therefore, strengthening the work of sewa so that there is harmony in the society and none is exploited is the prime objective of the Sewa Sangam. The Sewa Sangams organised in different parts of the country during the last three-four years have been organised with the same objective. More than 1,35,000 sewa projects are being carried out by 600 RSS inspired organisations in different parts of the country up to village level. There are many other organisations too which render yeoman services. All the sewa organisations are working for betterment of the society and also to make everyone happy.
This Sewa Sangam will prove to be a milestone in the journey of realising the objective of making all the deprived self-reliant, self-respected and full of nationalist feeling. It will be held under the aegis of Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB), an umbrella organisation of sewa organisations active from Prant to village level all over the country.
It is hoped that the three-day event will energise the workers and the feeling of sewa will get strengthened. The endeavour is that the sewa work is collectively expanded to the extent that nobody in urban or rural area is deprived and ultimately the country becomes harmonious and prosperous in the days to come.
On March 2, 2015, Shri Santhanam (55), a farmer from Sriperumbudur, had it all, from hopes to misery to euphoria, in a span of 10 hours. He misplaced a cloth bag with Rs 1.8 lakh cash meant for his daughter’s marriage. The bag had the cash and invitation cards in it; it had slipped from his hand and had fallen on the road. Minutes later, Shri Rambabu (60), living nearby, came to see off his grandchildren to school. He noticed the brown cloth bag on the road, in which he found bundles of currency The man took it to the Tambaram police station and handed it over to the police. Santhanam, who was not sure of where he had misplaced the bag, had approached the police station near his house. On receiving information from Tambaram police, Santhanam went to the Police Station; it was confirmed that he was the owner of the bag and the cash was handed over to him. Rambabu runs a fertiliser store at Padappai, near Tambaram.
Smt Kanthimathi serves food to destitutes battling hunger, poverty and diseases - veg biryani and butter milk - on the dusty pavement opposite an oil store on East Masi Street Madurai (Tamilnadu, Bharat). Kanthimathi, the 64-year-old wife of an ailing tailor, who ran out of business a few years ago, goes on giving. It has become a daily routine for her for the last 12 years. Kanthimathi does not have the means to feed the poor. It was 12 winters ago when she spotted social worker Siva Anbanandan serving food to beggars, street urchins, mentally and physically challenged individuals, the poor and the abandoned. Siva Anbanandan was looking for a cook. Kanthimathi volunteered instantly. Since then, she hasn’t taken a day’s break. Even during illness she prepares the meal and ensures that it reaches the people on time. (She recalls with sadness how on the day Siva Anbanandan died a year ago – in 2013 - , he arranged for rice, sambar and curd. “I served the meal here before going to the cremation ground,” she says). Among the nearby shopkeepers, somebody buys the vegetables, somebody donates rice and oil. And it keeps flowing to meet each day’s requirement. Kanthimathi believes there is God’s hand in arranging the items uninterrupted for so many years. Says Kanthimathi, even passers-by stop to see what is happening and spontaneously donate sweets and fruits; even plates, tumblers and sitting mats.
You cannot find a single cigarette butt, plastic bag lying around in Mawlynnong (Meghalaya, Bharat), a small village 90 kms from Shillong. It was awarded the tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Pallavi Pasricha, a journalist, describes the village thus: “I reach here and I am stumped. Not only is this village spotless clean but it’s one of the prettiest ones I have seen in the country. I am greeted warmly and taken to the guest house, my home for the night. I walk on cobbled streets bordered with thatched Khasi huts and go past gardens that are full of colourful flowers. To keep the village clean there is a bamboo basket outside every house. After a 15-minute walk I’m face-to-face with one of the most spectacular natural bridges that’s made by twisting the roots of the gigantic trees. The roots make a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute. Another interesting thing the villagers have constructed here is the Sky View, an 85 feet high viewing tower that’s made of bamboo. When I reach on top I get stunning views of not just the village but Bangladesh on the other side. It’s simply gorgeous. I realise that it’s the simplicity and warmth of the people that makes Mawlynnong so special getting there.”
An NGO, My Home India (MHI), has successfully reunited 170 lost children who were abandoned in the city, with their families over the last one year. The NGO is now planning to expand its activities across the country. MHI was founded by Sunil Deodhar, who was formerly a full time RSS worker in North-East states. According to Deodhar, the NGO had searches for abandoned children in and around the city. We found that many children were willing to return to their families but could not do so because (they were unable to contact them). Most children were from Karnataka, UP and Bihar.(We have helped to reunite them with thier families). (So now) they are happily living with their families,” he said. The NGO has focused on children who either run away from their homes or are forcibly pushed into child labour in big cities. Deodhar, a former president of the BJP’s North-East cell, said that MHI has sought permission from Centre to spread their search for abandoned children to other states too. “Our duty does not end after a child is handed over to his parents. We also continuously monitor whether he is happy with the reunion,” he said. MHI also tackles issues of security, law and order, social, economical and emotionalalienation faced by the people of North-East states in other parts of the country.
Punsari village, barely 100 km from Ahmedabad (Gujarat, Bharat), could be a textbook case of development. Closed-circuit cameras, water purifying plants, air-conditioned schools, Wi-Fi, biometric machines - the village has it all. And all of it was done in a matter of eight years, at a cost of a mere Rs. 16 crore. The man behind the transformation is its young sarpanch: 31-year-old Himanshu Patel. A graduate from North Gujarat University, Patel had won the panchayat polls in 2006 at the age of 23. Back then, the village didn't even have proper roads, power or water. The panchayat funds were in deficit. Punsari’s turnaround happened when the village sold part of its land for plotted schemes. The money, deposited in government coffers, is used to fund the village’s welfare schemes. The results are obvious. Recently, a team from the Central ministries of rural and urban development had come to study the "Punsari model". But the young sarpanch is already onto his next projects - a unit producing electricity out of plastic waste and e-rickshaws for garbage collection. At the village school, the number has doubled from 300 students in 2006 to over 600. The classrooms are not just air-conditioned but also have computers and projectors."We have managed to attract more children," said teacher Narendra Jhala. Sarpanch Himanshu Patel says, “The main intention was that we should have an atmosphere of a village, but facilities like those in the city”. It’s just that the village has managed its accounts well and has made optimal use of government schemes.
Born in 1979 in Tumkur district of Karnataka, D K Ravi began his career in civil services as Assistant Commissioner in Gulbarga. He lived a simple life and gained people’s trust. He would go meet them at their homes, sit with them and have food with them irrespective of their status or caste. He worked extensively for marginalized communities and was accessible 24×7. He was transferred 28 times in his career span and collected Rs. 138 crore tax dues in just two weeks. Though he flawlessly performed his duties as an IAS officer, he was a much bigger a person who was doing everything possible to help the poor. He was running free coaching classes on Sundays for poor UPSC aspirants and had resolved to eat at one Dalit family’s home every week. It is said that he was under pressure from his department to slow down on investigations as a lot of big names were involved. It is also claimed that he had received many threat calls from the underworld. Recently he was found dead in his residence under mysterious circumstances. The country will surely miss such an outstanding officer but we hope to see many more Ravis coming up and taking on all the corruption is this country like he did. (Courtesy: Panchaamritam)
JAMMU & KASHMIR PEACE FOUNDATION IN COLLABORATION WITH SEWA INTERNATIONAL
Immediately after its 69th annual peace conference at Jammu, a one day peace mela was held at Kund village in Kulgam District, J&K. On this occasion a relief distribution function was organised for poor widows of rural areas. The chairman J & K Peace Foundation Fayaz Ahmed Bhat emphasized the need for promoting deeper understanding, communal harmony and brotherhood for establishing lasting peace which would pave the way for rapid all rounddevelopment and a bright future for the State. He urged upon the people to come forward in a big way to contribute achieving the said goal. He also assured that it will act as a front line organization to provide all necessary relief and rehabilitation facilities to the poor people. Prominent intellectuals and social workers from all sections of the society including Mosin Iqbal Gani, Ashok Sehghal, Habib Hiam, Major Sandeep Singh, Abdul Ahad Teli, Mohd Ibrahim, Abid Hussain, Mohd Abbas Khan were also present on the occasion.
The poor widows of the rural areas were provided relief materials. This relief mission will continue from place to place and village to village. J & K Peace Foundation has been playing a vital role in establishing peace in the state. In the flood rescué operations its volunteers saved lives of thousands of people. The organization will also work for permanent settlements of those whose houses have been washed away or permanently rendered non physical for residential use.
Three day workshop on Vision 2020 Document for STs by Kalyan Ashram and Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini
URGENT NEED FOR NATIONAL TRIBAL POLICY
Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodini jointly organised a three-day national workshop at Keshav Srishti from February 6 to 8. A total of 112 delegates from 12 states discussed various issues concerning the Vanvasis.
Dr JK Bajaj compiled the outcome of three-day discussion into four sections. The recommendations regarding natural resources and mining include formulation of a comprehensive national mining policy, effective efforts to curb illegal mining, safe closer of the mines after mining and sharing profit with the people affected or displaced due to mining.
About forest protection the workshop stressed the need to decide the community forest rights and suggested that this work should be undertaken in a mission mode. The plots granted to the Vanvasis under Forest Law should be recognised as revenue document. The workshop also stressed the need to formulate effective mechanism and schemes for processing of forest products, value addition and sale.
The recommendation regarding propagation of education include special campaign for women literacy, primary education in all Vanvasi areas in mother tongue, connecting education with skills development rather than connecting entire school education with skills development, arrangements for capacity building in higher and competitive exams, and arrangements for patent or protection of intellectual property of the technique, biodiversity and skills associated with the Vanvasis.
The recommendations about administrative reforms include creation of permanent secretariats for Tribal Administrative Councils (TAC) created in the states under Fifth Schedule; national campaign to make the Village Panchayats and completion of National Tribal Policy, which is under formulation for the last 15 years.
RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale said that while talking about employment generation for Vanvasis one should not forget that the topic is not connected with production and employment, rather it is the lifestyle of the Vanvasis and no activity should affect it in a negative way.
Presiding over the concluding ceremony Maharashtra Governor Shri C Vidyasagar Rao assured that he would work for the benefit of the Vanvasis. He said he has already created a special cell in his office for Vanvasi areas. Union Minister Jual Oram said the recommendations of the workshop would prove to be highly effective for the betterment of Vanvasis. He assured the gathering to bring the pending National Tribal Policy soon. He said the recommendations of the workshop would also be useful for the proposed policy.
Kalyan Ashram president Shri Jagdeoram Oraon said the Vanvasis are still following good values of life and it should be ensured that those values should not be lost in the race of
Prominent among those who participated in discussion included former member of Tribal Commission Shri Dilip Singh Bhuria, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Shri Arjun Munda, Minister of State Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Speaker of Jharkhand Assembly Shri Dinesh Oraon, Tribal Affairs Minister of Maharashtra Shri Vishnu Savra, Shri Ramesh Tavadkar from Goa, former IAS Shri JB Tubid etc. scholars from various educational institutions and research institutes were also present on the occasion.
Earlier on February 6, Shri Vishnukant unfolded the problems and challenges being faced by the Vanvasis. He said the policies formulated by the governments have proved partially beneficial for the people therefore formulation of a National Tribal Policy is the need of the hour for long term benefits for the Vanvasis. He expressed concern that despite recommendations by various Commissions constituted by the government work on the Tribal Policy has not been completed. He said land acquisition, displacement and rehabilitation, forest rights, Panchayat laws are the issues which need immediate attention.
SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN BUS STAND IN CHENNAI
Twelve swayamsevaks under the leadership of Vibhag Karyavah Shri Kalyan Babu and Nagar Karyavah Shri Prakash participated in the cleaning of bus stand area at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai as a part of the Sewa Sanghik activity on January 13. The general public too joined hands with the swayamsevaks in cleaning the area. It was decided to involve the local shopkeepers and retailers in keeping the place clean.
IN UP, HINDU BOYS ENROL IN MADRASSA, MUSLIM BOYS IN SANGH-RUN SCHOOL
Breaking stereotypes, 11 Hindu children have enrolled in a madrassa while as many as 140 Muslim boys have joined a Sangh-run school. According to the principal of Madrassa Jameeatul Ansar, it is the parents' love for the Urdu language and literature which motivated them to put their children in the madrassa.
Meanwhile, about 140 children have been enrolled in Saraswati Vidya Mandir, a school run by RSS."As many as 140 Muslim boys have been enrolled in various classes of Saraswati Vidya Mandir Inter College," college Principal Jitendra Singh said. "The day starts for the students with suryanamaskar and singing of Vande Mataram besides vedic hymns," he said. Singh later said all the students take their lunch together.
SANGH VOLUNTEERS RUSHED IN FOR RESCUE OPERATION
Sethu Govindan, a Sangh volunteer and a software engineer of Bengaluru was on his way to meet his family relatives of Pandalam in Kerala. He was travelling in Ernakulam-bound Bengaluru City-Ernakulam Intercity Express on Friday morning.
Unfortunately, the train got derailed near Anekal, the outskirts of Bengaluru. 10 passengers were dead and hundreds injured in the accident.
Including Sethu Govindan, several passengers rushed in for rescue. Sethu informed local Sangh volunteers. They arrived on the spot within few minutes and joined their shoulders for the rescue operation. They also donated their blood for the injured.
BRINGING NAGARVASIS AND VANVASIS CLOSER
Every year vanvasi Kalyan Parishad Hyderabad organizes a two-day Nagarvasi-Vanyatra, which enables the urban dwellers to have firsthand experience of the service projects run by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. This year the Yatra was organized from January 17 to 18. A total of 64 persons from 26 families, including 20 children, joined the Vanyatra into the deep forests of Warnagal. Most of the families were from RSS IT Milans and Balagokulams run in Hyderabad.
Elders in Bekkinakeri village, 16km from Belagavi / Belgaum (Karnataka, Bharat) have found an innovative way to convince the importance of having toilets to the people practicing open defecation; that is saying 'good morning' to those heading towards answering nature's call at the wee hours. Elders comprising local gram panchayat body, anganwadi teachers and asha workers gather at the popular places of open defecation from 5.30 am to 8am and say 'good morning' to the people heading towards there. While returning after answering nature's call, they are convinced about benefits of having toilets in terms of health, safety of women and self-esteem. Earlier, the initiative became a joke in village but gradually it has started influencing the minds. Belagavi zilla panchayat observed 'Shouchalayakkagi Samara' (fight for toilets) programme. Bekkinakeri village conducted toilet awareness programme for 11 days. Jatha (procession) by the school students, door-to-door visit by the anganwadi teachers and asha workers were the part of programme. Families were warned with blocking government facilities if toilet is not constructed.
Sairam Bhat, 78, is a farmer by profession and an ayurveda physician by descent. Swami builds houses for the poor free of cost, provided they have at least five cents of land. He lives at Kilinjar in Kasargod district (Kerala, Bharat) Bhat’s journey in helping the poor started by cutting short another ‘important yatra’ in 1995. He had been setting aside money to go to Kashi on turning 58. That was when a poor labourer and his neighbour, whose shack was destroyed in a storm, came to him seeking help. He told him, “Son, I will build you a new house,” remembers a genial Bhat, sitting in his living room which doubles up as a clinic. He used the money saved up for Kashi yatra to build a house for Kuntynana. “After that I never felt the need to go to Kashi again,” he says. The word spread fast, and people started approaching him for houses. Since 1995, he has built 224 houses. Initially, he started with Rs 40,000 per house, and then he raised the budget to Rs 1.20 lakh. Bhat does not remember all his beneficiaries, but one name he recalls is Abdul Rahman, a daily wage labourer in Kunjar. “That’s because all other people came to me; in Rahman’s case, I went to him,” he says. Every room in Rahman’s shack leaked, and was shared by seven children. “Rahman’s was my 25th house,” he says.
Shri C Kannan, a teacher at Velliangadu government school near Karamadai (Tamilnadu, Bharat), chose to pay his respects to his hero, revolutionary poet Subramania Bharathi, on his birth anniversary by gifting the fountain pens to all the 750 students from classes VI to XII. For this he spent Rs 20,000. He has already provided students from economically weaker sections with two sets of uniforms. The science teacher says the gesture would also serve as an encouragement for the students who are in the middle of their half-yearly exams. Kannan says, “Sincerity and dedication from teachers motivate students to perform better. Inspiring children and moulding them into responsible citizens are part of the duty of every teacher.” R Palanisamy, headmaster of the school, said that though Kannan was appointed as a BT Assistant to handle science classes for students of classes VI to IX, out of interest, he used to take English and Mathematics classes. Kannan would make the learning process interesting for students by discussing general issues with them before getting into the text books. (Source: Panchaamritam)