“DON’T harp on leading a successful life. Instead strive to lead a purposeful life,” appealed Swami Savitanand Maharaj of Surya Kanya Sadan Kutir, Gujarat, to students in particular and members of the society in general. He was addressing the valedictory session of the three-day silver jubilee celebration of Purvanchal Kanya Chhatravas of Devi Ahilya Smarak Samiti in Nagpur on December 25. Pramukh Sanchalika of the Samiti Shantakka Tai, Akhil Bharatiya SewaPramukh Sandhya Tipre and Deepshikha Patharkar shared the dais on the occasion. Former chiefs of the Samiti Ushatai Chati and Pramilatai Medhe were also present.
Swamiji explained that one who runs to win medals in Olympics can be said to have achieved success in one’s life, but his life cannot be said to be a purposeful life. On the other hand one who runs to wipe out tears from the eyes of the suffering masses leads a purposeful life. We should strive to lead such a purposeful life, he said. He further said in present times the highest form of worship is worship of the motherland. Deploring the present education system for undermining the importance of sanskars, he said lack of such sanskars or values is causing the turmoil in the society. To stop the further decay of social values we will have to strive hard to restore and protect our culture and religion, he said.
Shantakka Tai said the girls of the hostel who come from north-eastern region would illuminate their surroundings like an earthen lamp, which burns silently dispelling darkness around it. Citing examples of Swami Vivekananda and Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya, who involved the common people in the nation-building task, she said there is a need to recreate this feeling of oneness towards all sections of the society.
On this occasion, Mandira, who completed her education in this hostel and dedicated her life as a Pracharika of the Samiti, was felicitated at the hands of Swami Savitanand Maharaj. Sandmi Rangkhol, another genius of the hostel was also felicitated for her beautiful drawing skills.
Earlier, the three-day Silver Jubilee celebrations were inaugurated by Patron of the Vidya Bharati Shri Brahmadeo Sharma ‘Bhaiji’ and Shrimant Kalpana Raje Bhonsle of Nagpur’s royal family. Former Samiti chief Pramilatai Medhe and senior journalist Virag Pachpore were also present on the occasion.
Pramilatai Medhe said a sense of devotion and dedication towards Mother Bharat is invoked among the inmates of this hostel so that they become capable of removing the darkness that has set in our society. Shrimant Kalpana Raje Bhonsle also expressed her views on this occasion.
A colourful souvenir 'Asman chhune ki hai aas' containing views and experiences of the hostel inmates – past and present—was released at the hands of Shri Virag Pachpoore. He said the experiences narrated by these girls underlined how difficult the task is to work in the north-eastern region. The proceedings were compered by Kanyakumari, a former member of the hostel, who had come all the way from Manipur with her husband and three children.
FORESTS ARE SAFE ONLY BECAUSE OF VANVASIS
— Swami Satyamitrananda Giri
“THE Indian culture developed and flourished in forests only and not in the cities. The simple life of forest dwellers helped them live with complete harmony of the Nature. Even the Gods like Lord Ram and others lived with such people in the forests,” said noted saint and founder of Bharatmata Mandir, Haridwar, Swami Satyamitrananda Giri. He was speaking at a function organised in Udaipur on January 6. The function was organised by Rajasthan Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad. Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi Patrakarita University Prof Brijkishore Kuthiala was the chief guest.
Swami Satyamitrananda Giri further said environment cannot be protected without the Vanvasis, because they take as much only from the forests as they need. The modern society need to draw inspiration from these people. The people living in urban areas must live in the forest at least a year to enjoy the real life and also to see how the Vanvasis live there. He called upon the people of Rajasthan to contribute generously for the activities of the Kalyan Parishad.
Prof Kuthiala said the Vanvasis are very much part and parcel of the Hindu society. Shri JP Agrawal presided over the function.
A ROLE MODEL FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Ramabai, a lean and sprightly 34 year old, has never been the quiet sort. So when her neighbours at the Rokra hamlet were asked to choose a community health worker (CHW) called Mitanin (friend) in Chhattisgarh – they knew that Ramabai would be an ideal candidate. “We selected her because she could communicate well and interact with officials with ease, even though she has studied till Class 5," said Laxmibai, her Neighbour in Rokra village a forested 37-family hamlet in the coal-rich Manendragarh block of Korea district in northwest Chhattisgarh.
In the last five years that she has been a Mitanin, Ramabai, a Cherva Vanvasi, has managed to carve out a niche of her own. “There were many in the para (hamlet) who were afraid to get their children immunised,” said Rukmun Bai, another neighour. “But Ramabai would patiently, but firmly, explain its benefits to us. Now mothers go to her to ask about the dates for the next round of immunisation.
It’s also due to Ramabai’s interventions that more and more women of Rokra village are opting for hospital deliveries. The training give to her by the State Health Resource Centre (SHRC) enables her to detect cases of diarrhoea and malaria early and administer some basic medicines. “Very few children and people die these days of these two, thanks to her early intervention,” said Rukmun Bai, Mitanins like Ramabai is the ‘ last-mile connectivity’ between the state and the people. Earlier, an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) was the last link, Catering to nearly 5,000 people. Naturallly, it was impossible for an ANM to cover every hamlet daily and be around for emergencies. Mitanins, on the other hand, look after 400 people on an average and are available 24x7 since they stay in the hamlet. The National Rural Health Mission has another level of workers called ASHA, who are positioned between the ANMs and the Mitanins. In fact, the Mitanin proramme is a precursor of the ASHA programme.
“The main difference between this programme and other similar programmes is that it is voluntary and activist in nature. Mitanins are a representative of the local community rather than of the government,” explained Samir Garg, programme coordinator at the Raipur based SHRC that overlooks the project. “I knew there would be no salary. But people’s respect and the new things I can learn have made me carry on,” explained Ramabai. Who lost her husband very early into their marriage. People reach out to her whenever they need help. On an average, she spends two hours a day spreading the word about health initiatives of the state in her hamlet. CHWs like Mitanins understand the local socio-cultural milieu and customise the health messages. Ramabai has more than once gone beyond her duties as a health worker. A couple of years ago, she found that the primary schoolmaster was coming to the school drunk and siphoning off the rice meant for the mid-day meal scheme. “I called a meeting in Rokra and explained how the schoolmaster was harming our children and formed a team to gather evidence against him,” recounted Ramabai. “when our assumption was proved right, I wrote to the local administration, demanding his removal,” said Ramabai emphatically. After an inquiry, the schoolmaster was transferred. “To ensure that this is not repeated, Ramabai started an attendance system for the school and now when the teacher wants to take leave, he informs her,” said Sukhwanti, 36, who was earlier a mitanin herself, and is now a block trainer for the programme.
However, Ramabai’s biggest triumph came two years ago against the hardened forest mafia. Local people gather mahua seeds, tendu patta and amla from the forests and earn a living by selling them. But the contractors started cutting down fruit-bearing and young trees illegally. To stop them, was never an easy task since they have deep links within the local administration, police and politicians. But with the support of villagers Ramabai successfully fought against. A couple of months later, the Bilaspur High Court, which they had moved, ruled in their favour.
AN EFFORT TO MAKE COW REARING PROFITABLE
A meeting for promotion of research into Panchgavya and other cow products was organized in Raipur on December 10. The meeting discussed the setting of a research centre in Chhattisgarh and also connecting cow rearing with income generation. RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Chhattisgarh Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandary Shri Chandrasekhar Sahu, scholar Shri Phoolchand Jain and many other eminent scholars working on organic farming and the goushals attended the meeting.
Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram's Sixtieth Anniversary
TAKE UP VANVASI UPLIFT AS A PRIORITY
Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram celebrated its sixtieth aniversary by hosting a convention of more than 250 vanvasi communities from all over the country in Ujjain. The convention saw more than 2500 participants from various vanvasi cultures across India coming together and sharing their faiths, lifestyles, food, languages and knowledge systems with each other. The event offered a unique opportunity for their urban siblings to share what is usually not reachable in the hue and cry of the modern world.
The event got a formal start on the 24th of December, with the tribal welfare minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Vijay Shah delivering the inaugural address.
The second day of the convention was marked by traditional worship by various communities in the campus of the event. More than fifty vanvasi communities setup their traditional faith places in the campus and displayed their traditional practices in full ornamentation and fanfare. The convention saw a unique fusion of faiths with music, rituals, dances and traditional music resounding the premises.
The third day of the convention saw a large prcession of all the communities that walked through the important roads of Ujjain, creating an atmosphere of brotherhood and celebration with their hosts in the city of Lord Mahakaal. The closing ceremony was marked by the presence and address of Shri Mohan Rao Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh. In his address, he called upon the members of the convention as well as the large masses that gathered to hear him for dedication and sacrifices for a common cause of one country and for the protection of the vanvasi communities and their principles of peaceful coexistence. He also discussed in brief the contributions made by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and appreciated their tedious and relentless efforts in the welfare of vanvasi communities. In his address, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomed the vanvasis from all over the country to Madhya Pradesh and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the protection of the vanvasi communities in Madhya Pradesh. He staunchly warnedthose involved in forceful conversions against law and stated that immediate legal action would be taken against any such individual or organizations. He informed the gathering that his government has followed a policy of peaceful existence of vanvasi communities in their original habitat and in the process has issued almost one lac seventy five thousand land ownership documents to them in his tenure. Shri Brij Kishore Kuthiyala, the vice chancellor of Makhanlal National University for Journalism and Communication presented a research journal for inauguration based on a seminar on tribal cultures hosted by the university earlier, and highlighted the importance of its conclusions.
Food For Thought:-
In Hinduism a woman is looked after not because she is inferior or incapable but, on the contrary, because she is treasured. She is the pride and power of the society. Just as the crown jewels should not be left unguarded, neither should a woman be left unprotected. No extra burden of earning a living should be placed on women who already bear huge responsibilities in society: childbirth, child care, domestic well being and spiritual growth. She is the transmitter of culture to her children.