Monday, August 25, 2008

Sewa Sandesh 110 : 8 August 2008

From the Editor’s Desk
North East region of Bharat is a crucible for the diversity if diversity is the mantra for Bharat. The vivid life with all its form that is present in those seven sisters in as many diverse ways has given naissance to as many ways possible and yet there are ample commonalities deep down.
However, the colonial powers and since then all the international powers have looked upon these states and its diversity as a weakness that can be exploited in every possible way. The Christian conversions on one hand, the demographic changes being forced by the Islamist infiltrators from the adjoining Bangladesh, the regular Chinese intrusions across the border, and the porous border with Myanmar, on the other, have all worked to the disadvantage of the native citizens of Bharat.
This is the area that probably needs the utmost attention of the governments as well as people across all the states of Bharat who feel for the integrity of the country and are in favour of preservation and advancement of the diversity.
Through this issue we have tried to focus on some of the activities in that part of Bharat which need everyone's support and that there are too many things happening over there. What we could get in this issue is just a drop in that gigantic effort.

Dhanvantri Sewa Yatra in the North-East Region Concludes.
National Medicos Organisation (NMO), Sewa Bharati, Purbanchal and Sewa International, Bharat jointly started a unique project "The Dhanvantri Sewa Yatra" to cater to the medical needs of the people living in the North-East region. Under the project, free healthcare camps were organised in the remotest vanvasi villages by the doctors and paramedical voluntary workers belonging to reputed medical colleges of the country.
This year two yatras were undertaken in the first week of May. The first yatra that began from Guwahati on May 3 had five teams of 10 doctors belonging to Benaras Hindu University. The team of Dr. Vijay Upadhyaya and Dr. Girish Mishra left for Halflong (NC Hills). The second team of Dr. Ankur Singh and Dr. Naba Gopal left for Nagaland.
The third team of Dr. Sarveshwar Yadav and Dr. Prashant left for Garo Hills (Meghalaya). The fourth team of Dr. Ram Kumar Aggrawal and Dr. Gopal Das Gupta left for Khasi Hills (Meghalaya) and the fifth team of Dr. Rajesh Chaturvedi and Dr. Anil Tripathi left for Lakhimpur.
All these five teams treated a total of 4,029 patients including 1,701 male and 2,328 female patients in 128 villages. All the teams returned Guwahati on May 9. The second yatra also began from Guwahati on May 3. this yatra consisted of 23 doctors belonging to Benaras Hindu University, Agra Medical College, Maulana Azad Medical College and Guru Teg Bahadur Medical College, New Delhi and one research
scholar from Swami Vivekananda Mission Hospital, Wayanad (Kerala). The doctors of this group were divided into 10 teams.
These teams treated a total of 8,985 patients including 3,962 males and 5,023 females. Patients from 294 villages visited 51 health camps organised by these teams in 15 districts. These teams returned Guwahati on May 10 and along with the doctors of the other yatra, they were accorded a warm welcome by the doctors of Guwahati Medical College and also the distinguished people of the city. The welcome meet was presided over by Dr. Narendra Nath Dutta, Director of Down-Town Hospital, Guwahati and Shri Jyoti Prakash Rajkhowa, former Chief Secretary of Assam Government, was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr. Krishan Gopal, Kshetra Pracharak of R.S.S. was the chief speaker. The doctors also narrated their experience with the villagers. Everybody appreciated the devotion of these guest doctors.

Sewa Bharati Meghalaya
An NGO Working for the Upliftment of the Tribal People
Sewa Bharati, Meghalaya is an NGo working for the welfare and upliftment of all the tribes for more than 12 years. It works in the field of education, health-care, sanskar and self-employment. By virtue of this it is encouraging and helping them to preserve socio-cultural values. Its moto is to strengthen national solidarity.


1. Schools: The organsiation provides financial assistance to schools
¨ Gurudachal Vidyapeeth Belbarory
¨ Jeebon Roy Memorial U.P. School, Phlangtyngor
2. Hostels: It has several hostels for school and college students.
Khasi Hills - Shilong
Jaintia Hills - Jowoi
Garo Hills - Tikrikilla
No. of Students: 30
Health Care: : Village Health Worker Project (Arogya Rakshak): The organisation has trained boys and girls from various villages as health workers. It provides them WHO recognized medicines.
Villages Health workers
Khasi 50 54
Jaintia 56 96
Garo 130 130
Patients per month: 4500
Mobile Dispensary: The organisation has two mobile dispensaries running in Khasi Jaintia Hills. It has many experienced doctors working in these dispensaries. They visit every village once a month.

The organisation also runs mobile dispensary in Garo Hills. This is run with the help of doctors from Dr. Hedgewar Hospital Sambhajinagar, Maharashtra.
Annual Beneficiaries:
Villages Camps Patients
Khasi 144 144 6000
Jaintia 120 120 4800
Garo 110 198 7200
Sanskar: Sanskar Kendras are run for children .
· By teaching traditional prayers it is helping them to preserve their rich heritage
· 15-days residential yoga training camps are conducted.
· There are 65 sanskar kendras all over Meghalaya.
Self-Employment: The organisation promotes handicraft made by local people and try to create good market for them in the rest of India. 12 villages and 150 families are covered so far.

· Training for tailoring is offered. After training sewing machine is donated to every trainee.
· The organisation has 25 Self-Help-Groups in Garo Hills.
· National Rural Employment Gurarantee Scheme (NREGS) is implemented in two districts of

Garo Hills by the name of Meghalaya Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The organisation is working as a partner NGO for implementing this scheme in 150 villages of West Garo Hills. National Integration: Activity: Bharat Mera Ghar Tour: It is a unique & novel activity for promoting national integration. Various respectable personalities of Meghalaya from different walks of life visit other part of country. During these tours they visit various tourist places, different NGOs and institutions working for social upliftment. They stay in swayamsevaks' families. Similary respectable personalities from rest of India visit Meghalaya.

This tour is a two-way education to know Motherland, Bharat through its people & culture and experience the feeling of oneness i.e. …. "Bharat Mera Ghar."

Lifestyle Diseases Bigger Threat Than AIDS
Nivedita Khandekar, Jul 7, 2008
LIFESTYLE DISEASES pose a greater threat to ordinary Indians than even HIV/AIDS, according to renowned cardiologist Dr R.R. Kasliwal. Quoting a Lancet report, he warned India would account for 60 per cent of the world's cardiovascular diseases by 2010. "Today, one-third of our population is obese. Children and adults, both in urban and rural areas, are increasingly becoming prone to lifestyle diseases," Dr Kasliwal told the audience. He was delivering the keynote address 'Lifestyle Diseases - An Indian Epidemic' at the second annual conference of the Medical Health Society with the theme 'Healthy Lifestyle at Workplace' here on Sunday. The mantra propagated by the Medical Fitness Society for a healthier you is ASAP - Awareness, Screening, Action and Prevention. Risk-factor modification can help, he emphasized and went on to explain various such factors. The expert pointed out that lifestyle modification should include regular check-ups and certain health parameters such as weight reduction, dietary prudence, regular exercise, ban on smoking and relaxation techniques. Earlier, Nisha Varma gave a lecture-demonstration on 'Stay Fit at Work'; Geetu Amarnani spoke on 'Anti-Oxidants and amp; Fibre Diet'; Uma Gupta espoused the cause of 'Healthy Diet at Workplace'. The discussion that followed threw up interesting suggestion/comments from participants like Dr Shekhar Sood, who said "medical practitioners should not push for pills as supplements rather encourage natural sources like fruits and vegetables". Dr Renu Anand asked "why not practice as we preach and initiate lifestyle change, like eating properly?" While eulogizing the "impact of positive thinking in fitness", Dr Aruna Broota suggested we train our minds in rational emotional approach while dealing with issues. Other speakers included Dr Vinayak Agarwal and Dr Taru Aggarwal. The Medical Fitness Society has doctors, fitness experts, nutritionists, trainers and media persons as its members.

Inspiring Personality
Jyotirao Govindrao Phule (April 11, 1927—November 28, 1827)

Jyotirao Govindrao Phule also known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule was an activist, thinker, social reformer and revolutionary from Maharashtra in the nineteenth century. His remarkable influence was apparent in fields like education, agriculture, caste system, women and widow upliftment and removal of untouchability. He is most known for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes. He, after educating his wife, opened the first school for girls in India in August 1848.
In September, 1873, Jyotirao, along with his followers, formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society for Seekers of Truth) with Jyotirao as its first president and treasurer. The main objective of the organisation was to liberate the Shudras and Ati-Shudras and to prevent their 'exploitation' by the Brahmins. For his fight to attain equal rights for peasants and the lower caste and his contribution to the field of education he is regarded as one of the most important figure in Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra.
Early Life: Jyotirao Govindrao Phule was born in Satara district of Maharastra in a family belonging to Mali caste, an inferior caste. His father, Govindrao, was a vegetable vendor, and his mother died when he was 9 months old. After completing his primary education, Jyotirao had to leave the school and help his father by working on the family's farm. He was married at the age of 12. His intelligence was recognised by a Muslim and a Christian neighbor, who persuaded his father to allow Jyotirao to attend the local Scottish Mission's High School, which he completed in 1847. The turning point in Jyotiba's life was in year 1848, when he was insulted by family members of his friend, a bridegroom for his participation in the marriage procession, an auspicious occasion. Jyotiba was suddenly facing the divide created by the caste system. Influenced by Thomas Paine, Phule developed a keen sense of social justice, becoming passionately critical of the Indian caste system. He argued that education of women and the lower castes was a vital priority in addressing social inequalities.
Satya Shodhak Samaj: On 24 September 1874, Jyotirao formed 'Satya Shodhak Samaj' (Society for Seekers of Truth) with himself as its first president and treasurer. The main objectives of the organisation were to liberate the Shudras and Ati Shudras and to prevent their 'exploitation' by the Brahmins. Through this SatyaShodhak Samaj, Jyotirao refused to regard the Vedas as sacrosanct. He opposed idolatry and denounced the chaturvarnya system (the caste system). Satya Shodhak Samaj propounded the spread of rational thinking and rejected the need for a Brahman priestly class as educational and religious leaders.
Pillars: When Phule established the SatyaShodhak Samaj, Savitribai became the head of the women's section which included ninety female members. Moreover, she worked tirelessly as a school teacher for lower-caste girls. Deenbandhu publication, the mouthpiece of the Satya Shodhak Samaj, played an important role in SatyaShodhak Samaj’s movement. After Jyotiba's death in 1890 his spirited followers went on spreading the movement to the remotest parts of Maharashtra. Shahu Maharaj, the ruler of Kolhapur princely state, gave a lot of financial and moral support to Satya Shodhak Samaj. In its new incarnation as non-brahmin party carried on the work of superstition removal vigorously.
Beliefs: Jyotiba firmly believed that if you want to create a new social system based on freedom, equality, brotherhood, human dignity, economic justice and value devoid of exploitation, you will have to overthrow the old, unequal and exploitative social system and the values on which it is based. He tore to pieces the misleading myths that were ruling over the minds of women, shudras and ati-shudras. He also led campaigns to remove the economic and social handicaps that breed blind
faith among women, shudras and ati-shudras. Phule believed in overthrowing the social system in which man has been deliberately made dependent on others, illiterate, ignorant and poor, with a view to exploiting him. To him blind faith eradication formed part of a broad socioeconomic transformation. This was his strategy for ending exploitation of human beings. Mere advice, education and alternative ways of living are not enough, unless the economic framework of exploitation comes to an end.
Merger into Congress Party: After Jyotiba's death in 1890, there was a period of lull, when the flame lit by Jyotiba waned. The SatyaShodhak Samaj movement was totally a social movement and nothing to do with the politics, but the members of Satya Shodhak Samaj dissolved SatyaShodhak Samaj and merged it with Congress party in 1930.
Mahatma Phule had a favourable opinion about the British Rule in India at least from the point of view of introducing modern notions of justice and equality in Indian society and taking India into the future. He was however a Hindu. His akhandas were based on the abhangs of Hindu saint Tukaram. He believed that his teachings were the same of the Bhakti (without the racism) His own hero was Chhatrapati Shivaji, whom he connected to backward-caste heritage.
He called Shivaji a "...destroyer of the Muslims". He believed that the Muslims were a degenerative force like the Brahmins. He was a subscriber to Maharishi Vithal Shinde's magazine, Dnyanodaya. Maharishi Shinde was a Harijan or "untouchable."
He believed that the true inhabitants of Bharat are the Astik. He also believed that the Brahmins were outsiders to Hinduism. This was also the view spoken by Keshavarao Jehde.
He did not like the castists of Tamil Nadu using Rama as a symbol of oppression of Aryan conquest.
Social Activism: He was assisted in his work by his wife, Savitribai Phule, and together they started the first school for girls in India in 1848, for which he was forced to leave his home. He initiated widow-remarriage and started a home for upper caste widows in 1854, as well as a home for new-born infants to prevent female infanticide. Phule tried to eliminate the stigma of social Untouchability surrounding the lower castes by opening his house and the use of his water-well to the members of the lower castes.
He formed Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society for Seekers of Truth) on September 24, 1873, a group whose main aim was to liberate the social Shudra and Untouchables from exploitation and oppression.
Phule was a member of Pune municipality from 1876 to 1882.
Connection with Women Activists
Some of India's first modern feminists were closely associated with Phule, including his wife Savitribai Phule; Pandita Ramabai, a Brahmin woman who made waves in the atmosphere of liberal reformism; Tarabai Shinde, the non-brahmin author of a fiery tract on gender inequality which was largely ignored at the time but has recently become well-known; and Muktabai, a fourteen-year-old pupil in Phule’s school, whose essay on the social oppression of the Mang and Mahar castes is also now justly famous.
Legacy: The Crawford Market in Mumbai is officially named after him.
Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth in Rahuri, Ahmednagar District, Maharastra.
Published Works: His famous published works are:
Shetkarayacha Aasud (Cultivator's Whipcord), July 1883
Ishara, October 1885
Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Poostak, April 1889
Brahmananche Kasab

The Ahimsa Way: By Smt. Usha Jeshudasan
Lakshmi, the girl who picks up my daily garbage told me how she had been beaten with a metal rod by an old man because she dared to ask for water on a hot day. She was very upset and cried angrily that day. It so happened that a few days later, as her cart was outside his home, the lady of the house had a stroke. The old man came out and called for help. He froze when he saw Lakshmi, as he was sure she would go away pretending not to have heard him. But Lakshami went in and got the woman back on her bed, cleaned her up and stayed with her till she was admitted to hospital. The man offered her a five hundred rupee note, but Lakshmi refused it. "I needed him to see my dignity, not my poverty.", she said. I wondered about her generosity and asked her about it. "Since I was a small girl, I have believed that we should not give back hurt to one who has hurt us and I try to live that way."
-- From Panchamitram139

"There are different modes of survival. But all are not equally honourable. For an individual as well as a society, there is a gulf between merely living and living worthily" -- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.


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