Friday, December 13, 2013

Sewa Sandesh
November 2013


Medical aid was provided to the victims of floods by Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti in association with the Sangh volunteers in remote village of Remuna, Nilgiri and Sadar blocks of Baleswar district. A total of 55 volunteers coordinated the health check up camps. The patients were provided medicines, necessary advice and precautions to be taken to avoid any ailment. The number of the beneficiaries of these health Camps included (under Remuna block) Haldia (144), Palsia (10), Makunda (21), Balipal (68), Pratpur (77), Raghunathpur (75), Ambikapur (52), Durgapur (50), (Nilgiri Block) Badhia (93), Gurakoili (78), Karanjia (28), Kathpal (35), Malad etc (133), Sulpat (101), Channua (199), Duburai (129), Gokulpur (79). (VSK, Odisha)


Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram organised a health camp for the people of Vanvasi villages of Dadra Nagar Haveli at Dudhani village on October 31. A total of 742 patients were examined at the camp and were provided suitable medicines. Shri Deepak Tipareji from Vadodara conducted the check-ups. The camp was inaugurated by Dr S Kumar of Selvasa. Prior to the camp a mass awareness campaign was conducted by a team of Arogya Rakshakas in remote villages requesting people take benefit of the camp. Dr Ganesh Varnekar, Dr Meenesh Kothari, Dr Manish Patel, Dr Sarita and Smt Heena Andher from Khanvel government hospital also joined the camp. Mahila Samiti of Selvasa had arranged medicines for the camp and for it they met many doctors and businessmen.            

Free cleft lip surgeries being carried out at the Dr. Hedgewar Hospital, Aurangabad, Maharashtra by a team of Northern Cleft Foundation UK, assisted by Sewa International Bharat                                                                                                         
Noted surgeon of Patna and social activist Dr Narendra Prasad has been elected new president of Arogya Bharati. The announcement to his election was made at the national executive meeting organised in Pathankote (Punjab) on October 20. He is founder trustee of Arogya Bharati and was working as national vice president.
Apart from Dr Narendra Prasad, Dr Raghvendra Kulkarni will be patron, Dr Sunil Ghate, working president, Dr Ramesh Gautam general secretary, Dr Ashok Kumar Varshneya organizing secretary, Dr Pravin Bhavsar and Dr Vijayalakshmi Deshmane vice presidents, Dr Tatyal joint secretary, Dr Madhusudan Deshpande treasurer, Shri Bhaskar Kulkarni, Dr Yogesh Chandra Mishra. Dr Amar Bahadur Ghakore, Vaidya Vijay Kulkarni, Dr Surendra Reddy and Dr Brijnarayan Singh, all members.
A total of 150 delegates from 26 Prants attended the national executive meeting. There were different sessions on healthy life style, publicity of indigenous medicines, Suryanamaskar, yoga etc. Healthy village is the pet project of Arogya Bharati and the work is going on in more than 250 villages of the country.

Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram organised a Vanvasi women convention in Bastar to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Kalyan Ashram runs Rani Durgawati girls hostel for the last 30 years at Bhanpuri in Bastar, where the function was actually organised. The hostel houses 35 Vanvasi girls. Phoolkumari, incharge of the hostel, played a key role in mobilising Vanvasi women for the convention.
Kalyan Ashram vice president Shri Kripa Prasad Singh apprised the women of the message of Swami Vivekananda. He prominently discussed the role and importance of women in the Sanatan society and also the contribution to family and nation development. Smt Priya Mochaki and Smt Krishna Baghel of Mahila Panchayat also spoke on the occasion. The discussion was also held on women education, forest preservation and protection of girl child at the convention. Such a function was organised in Bastar after a long gap.  

Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Parishad rehabilitates over one lakh nomads in Maharashtra
A person can be black, white, fat, thin or even physically challenged by birth, but not a criminal at all. It may not happen anywhere in the world, but happens in India. Though the British-enacted Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 was abolished way back in 1952, the police in many states still treat many nomadic communities criminal by birth. The life for Pardhis in Maharashtra has been the same since generations. Anywhere a crime is committed, the police come to Pardhi locality and take some Pardhis dragging like animals. Shri Girish Prabhune of Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Parishad stood against this inhuman practice in 1991 and played a key role in changing the mindset of police and rest of the society. He also rehabilitated over one lakh Pardhis by helping them getting ration cards, enrolling in voters list or getting education. It is the result of Shri Prabhune’s efforts that hundreds of Pardhis are now doing respectable jobs in the state.
Imagine, one sets up a small shop with his life’s savings, and is suddenly thrown into a police lock-up merely on suspicion. What would one do in that situation—probably would think of running away from the scene and lose everything. This is what was the routine life of Pardhis and many other nomadic communities in Maharashtra till one decade back. The reason these communities were branded as ‘habitual criminals’, in spite of their first-rate contribution to the society throughout history with their artisan and fighting skills. With the system out to haunt them rather than help, they were perpetually forced to lead a life of begging and crime. Since they had no home or land to call their own and their parents or family members may be in a lock-up, the children remained deprived of education.
The people of 22 nomadic communities in Maharashtra (about one crore population today) have been living the similar horrorific life since 1871 when the British Government notified them as ‘habitual criminals’. Though the Act was abolished in 1952, the public and administrative mindset continued to treat them ‘criminal’. If one wants to visualise the inhuman atrocities on these people he/she must read Paradhi, a Marathi book by Shri Girish Prabhune, who is sharing their sorrows and happiness and colliding with the authorities for their rights.
Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Parishad (BVVP) took up the challenge of transforming the lives of the nomadic communities in 1991. First a Yamgarwadi (hostel) was started in Sholapur district in 1993, where today about 400 students excel in education. Later, the similar work began in Anasarwada in Latur, Chinchwad in Pune and at some other places, where around 4,000 students from nomadic tribes are studying. “The biggest achievement of all the activities is that the social mindset towards the nomadic communities has changed and a kind of self-confidence and a glorious feeling has developed among these people towards their past associated with Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Prithivraj Chauhan,” says Shri Girish Prabhune adding that these people also played a key role in the battles against invaders like Mahmud Ghazni and Alauddin Khilji for defending the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. The presence of Vagadis (Pardhis) in about 40 villages near Somnath Temple proves it. But since the day they were branded as ‘criminals’ by British government they were pushed out from the mainstream and their entire social and family structure collapsed.
After 22 years sustained efforts by the BVVP, the media has now stopped mentioning the entire Pardhi community as criminals. Rather their plight is given extensive coverage today. The mentality of police personnel and officers too has changed to the extent that some policemen near Pune have started rehabilitating the nomadic communities. The credit for this amazing change also goes to Shri Girish Prabhune who during the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government in 1990s persuaded the government to issue clear instructions to remove the list of criminal tribes installed in all police stations. It was only then the process of counting them in census, enrolling in voters’ lists and making their ration cards began. Till now over one lakh ration cards have been issued to them.
Since their regular source of earning from forest produce is becoming harder everyday and talents like singing, street plays, acrobatics, etc are also dying slowly, the only option left is to educate them, imbibe their children with good values and train them for the challenges of new life. This work has perfectly been done by Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Parishad. “Many of the girls studying in our hostels are now working as nurses, police officer, constable, etc in different parts of the State. Many boys are also working as constables and advocates and over 50 are working as government employees. There are two professors, while some are working as writers, teachers also,” adds Shri Prabhune. The Parishad has started another unique project, Punrutthan Samarasata Gurukulam, for reshaping their traditional skills at Chinchwad in 2006. “It is well known fact that Godolia Lohars are expert in iron work, Wadars have expertise in stone carving, some are expert in forest herbs and Otaris have marvelous knowledge in casting. Therefore, a special curriculum from 1st to 12th standard has been designed to teach them Ayurveda, technology, farming, Govigyan, art, culture, dance, singing, music, science and four languages—Marathi, Sanskrit, Hindi and English right from 1st standard. About 200 Pardhi students and 100 from other nomadic communities like Wadar, Kekadi, Gadia Lohar, Ghishadi, Laman are being imparted education there. This project has earned laurels from one and all.
It is to be noted that in order to keep the 22 notified tribes away from the mainstream society the British government, after 1871, had started creating their special settlements (open jails) from Karachi to Hyderabad. A total of 52 settlements were then created where they were housed along with their family members. The population of nomads in Marathwada (bordering Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh) is higher because the largest settlement was created in Sholapur district only with more than one lakh nomads.
The BVVP has prominently focused on Pardhis, because this community was the most neglected. Since because of roaming nature many boys and girls cannot study in regular schools, the BVVP took the school itself to them. With this thought a highly flexible schooling system was devised and now such schools are being run at many places.
The experiment by BVVP has set an example for rehabilitation of nomadic communities all over the country. As prisoners of traditions and neglected since generations, these brave people have suffered the most. It is the collective responsibility of all to help them live a dignified life.
Pu Darthawma a freedom fighter of Mizoram was felicitated on 31st October 2013 at Lunglei, Mizoram. Felicitation Program was jointly organized by ‘Heritage Foundation,” Guwahati’ and “Young Mizo Association”, Sub Hqr. Lunglei.
Pu Darthwma (92 years old) was felicitated for his contribution in the Indian freedom struggle. He was a war prisoner in the Second World War at Singapore. He joined Indian National Army ( Azad Hind Fauj) responding to clarion call of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Pu Darthawma fought bravely on the battle of Burma. He had bullet injury. Recognizing his valuable contribution Heritage Foundation honored him with a citation and suitable award.
Appreciating the role of Pu Darthawma Chief Guest of the function Pu  V Sapchhunga IAS, DC Lunglei said that , “ who ever sacrifices life for national cause is a National Hero for us. We are proud of him.” Shri Hurui Zeliang, Deputy Secretary of Naga Hoho was Guest of Honor expressed his happiness about the initiative taken by Heritage Foundation. He said, “We have to bring the people into lime light who worked for our country and society like Pu Darthawma. These stories are golden pages of our history.” A special song was composed on the life of Pu Darthawma by Pu Lalthengliana (Thankura) was presented on the occasion. Everybody appreciated the patriotic Mizo song.
Shri Jaleshwer Bramha, Chairman of Program in his speech expressed that the towering personality like Pu Darthawma will guide the youth in future also. He also expressed confidence that the youths of the country will come out with the solution to overcome the present problems due to self centered nature of the society. He conveyed his best wishes for healthy and happy life for Pu Darthawma. Major Gourav Bharadwaj of 28 Assam Raffles who attended the function as Guest of Honor expressed his opinion and said that the dedication and sacrifices of Mr. Darthwma will inspire the coming generation.
Accepting  the honor, Pu Darthawma expressed his gratitude towards the organizer for honoring him.  R Lal Biaktlunga son of Pu Darthawma expressed happiness on behalf of family members about the social appreciation of his father.
The other dignitaries present in the audience like Padmashree Mr. Lalthangfala Sailo President, Mizoram Academy of Letters Hqrs. Aizwal, Mr. Chhuanvawra Vice President, Mizoram Academy of Letters Hqrs. Aizwal and Mr. Lalthengliana (Thankura) a renowned artist were also honored on the occasion by offering different traditional articles.  Dr T K Sarma renowned ophthalmic surgeon, Shri Mahbir Prasad Mundhara from Guwahati were also present.   
Binod Kumar Jain, Secretary of Heritage Foundation expressed his confidence that the youths of the country will not forget the sacrifice of known and unknown freedom fighters. He thanked Young Mizo Association, Sub Hqr, Lunglei for extending all sort of cooperation. He also expressed special thanks to the learned audience present on the occasion.  Function was concluded with the National Antham followed by refreshment.

Sewa International USA successfully hosted laser documentary “Laser Light Magic” on the life of Swami Vivekananda at Columbus, which was very well received by audience including kids and teens. This also introduced the SEWA to the Columbus Community with a bang. Around 500 people witnessed the show in the Grand Capitol theatre at Riffe center in heart of Columbus downtown. Sewa got whole hearted support from Jain Temple, Gurudwara, other temples and also from cultural associations like Gujarati mandal, Maharastra Mandal, Malayalee Association etc. Many eminent personalities, Vedanta scholars also supported the event.
Colorado was severely affected by the devastating flood which started on Sep 11th and 12th. Colorado HSS and Sewa Team decided to help the people who were badly affected. They visitied evacuation centers and flood relief camps held in Silver Creek and Niwot High Schools and helped people to serve the food and their staying arrangements. They also visited Twin Peaks Mall (FEMA Flood relief center) Mountain View and 9th Ave area Houses to clean up thier basement, remove mud etc and spent around 10 to 12 days to serve the needy people.The efforts of HSS and Sewa teams were appreciated by those who were helped by them and others.

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