Birth centenary celebration of Balasaheb Deshpande
BALASAHEB DESHPANDE WAS A SAMAJ SHILPI
“Balasaheb Deshpande was a Samaj Shilpi, who not only served the Vanvasis, but also united them with complete honesty and integrity. He brought many nationalist and dedicated Vanvasi leaders like Hipson Roy, Anderson Mawari, NC Zeliang, Workle Dindopugh, etc to the Kalyan Ashram fold,” said RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattetreya Hosabale, while speaking at a function organised in Pune on January 19 to celebrate birth centenary of Kalyan Ashram founder Balasaheb Deshpande.
Kalyan Ashram vice president Shri Kripa Prasad Singh, noted businessman Shri Krishan Kumar Goel, Shri Fatehchandra Ranka, national award winner Smt Thamatai Pawar, Balasaheb Deshpande’s daughter Shobha Ghate, Kalyan Ashram State president Dr Mali and dignitaries like Dr Ramesh Kawadia, Shri Khichare, Shri Bapu Ghatpande and Shri Pandurang Bhandkar were also present on the occasion.
Shri Dattatreya further said that on the invitation of Deshpandeji, Rani Maa Gaidinlu attended the Kalyan Ashram’s first Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Sammelan in Bhilai as chief guest. She was so much impressed with the Kalyan Ashram’s work that she became a part and parcel of it. She then helped in starting the Kalyan Ashram work in the remote areas of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman Nicobar islands.
ANOTHER FUNCTION IN SATNA
The birth centenary of Kalyan Ashram founder Balasaheb Deshpande was held at Satna Stadium also. Noted saint Mahamandaleshwar Swami Akhileshwara-nanda was the chief guest. Tribal Welfare Minister in Government of Madhya Pradesh Shri Gyan Singh Gond, vice president of Kalyan Ashram Shri Kripa Prasad Singh, Prant Sanghachalak Shri Shankar Prasad and Swami Manglanandaji from Prayag were also present on the occasion. Swami Akhileshwarananda described Balasaheb Deshpande as a visionary, thinker and ideologue who bridged the gap between the Vanvasis and the rest of the society. Shri Gyan Singh Gaur applauded the Kalyan Ashram work.
Shri Kripa Prasad Singh called upon the workers to expand the work in all 374 districts of the country. He appealed to the young graduates, post graduates, doctors and engineers to donate time for the cause. He said Kalyan Ashram runs a total of 16,221 projects across the country. He pointed out that the Kalyan Ashram activists planted 14,97,600 saplings from June 15 to September 15, 2013 and the pictures and message of Swami Viveknanda were taken to 42 lakh houses.
UTTARAKHAND REHABILITATION PROJECT:
A PROGRESS REPORT
Rehabilitation project in Uttarakhand was launched on the auspicious occasion of Sankranti festival on 14thJan 2014 by inaugurating the Computer training class at Ukhimath, Rudraprayag district. This activity is sort of a prelude to the project of “empowering community to organize and manage sustainable entrepreneurship models through agriculture”. The computer training centre, as expected, is attracting good number of youth from various surrounding villages and these contacts are being developed to reach out to some of the neighbouring villages. This centre has been sponsored by Sewa USA.
The activity in the first fortnight after the inauguration has been a bit slow because of the climatic conditions, being extreme cold on one hand while on the other it rained occasionally, retarding the pace of activity.
However, the initial preparatory activity is proceeding and the project team of SI is mapping out the areas and villages that are in bad need of empowerment through agriculture. Following are the villages which have been listed and are being contacted-
Most of these villages have not been approached by any organization or NGO for rehabilitation except for some of the abovementioned villages in the Agastyamuni Block wherein Care India is carrying on the house construction activity for the villagers.
The team could establish contact in 3 villages till 31st January and other villages are being contacted.
On the other front, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, the primary agricultural guidance centre for Rudraprayag district, has been contacted through G. B. Pant University for Agricultural Technology. Scientists from this University would be guiding and assisting the agriculture related activity including training and orientation of the farmers in the district.
Efforts for opening another computer training centre were also done and the search for hiring a suitable venue was carried out in Phata village as well as Chandrapuri village. This centre will be supported by Sewa Australia.
An amount of Rs.3 Lacs has been donated to Suryatanaya Sewa Samiti, Uttarkashi for relief activity, part of Uttarakhand relief and rehabilitation project.
Survey for construction of two school buildings in two towns have been carried out in association with Vidya Bharati. Both the schools were totally washed out to the extent that the ground also was washed away. In both the places Vidya Bharati has acquired plots for the construction of the building and Sewa International will build the class room complex. Sewa UK has committed to construct the school building in one of the towns while we are searching for a donor for funding the construction of the other.
Preparation for buying a Mobile Medical van was also carried out during the fortnight and fund for buying the Medical van have been disbursed to UDAPSS. The Medical Van would be operated by newly established Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission, Dehradun and will cover quite a good number of villages which do not have primary medical facilities available. This Medical unit has been sponsored by Sewa CanadaInternational.
MAKING BODY DONATION A MOVEMENT
At the time when lakhs of people die every year in the country in want of organ transplant, one million wait for cornea transplantation and about 30 to 35 young medical professionals are forced to study on one cadaver only, senior advocate of Delhi Shri Alok Kumar has taken a step to change this scenario. Through Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, he has so far provided 83 human bodies and 365 pair eyes to different Government Medical Colleges of Delhi. With the help of like-minded people and organisations he has now pledged to wipeout the entire waiting list for cornea transplantation in Delhi within 3 years.
DO you know around five lakh people die in our country every year because of non-availability of organs and two lakh of them die of liver disease only? Equally, about 50,000 die from heart disease and out of 1.5 lakh people waiting for kidney transplantation hardly 5,000 get one. Not only this about one million people suffer from corneal blindness and await transplantation. The reality is that just 0.08 persons Per Million Population (PMP) donate organs in our country. This is an incredibly insignificant number as compared to the organ donation statistics around the world. There is one more fact. Four medical students need a cadaver to complete their studies, but today 30 to 35 students have to study on one cadaver only.
On the other hand the countries like USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, etc have seen the organ donations double per million population averaging between 10-30 PMP. Other countries like Singapore, Belgium and Spain have seen the rate of donations double averaging between 20-40 PMP. This all indicate to the speed that we have to move for body or organ donation. In such a situation the efforts of Shri Alok Kumar seem to be making a big impact in the lives of both, those who are waiting for organ transplantation and the young medicos who need cadavers for understanding the human body for advancing science.
“The seed of this initiative basically germinated during 1974-75 when I was a Sangh Pracharak in Amritsar. I frequently visited the Medical College there. The very first exhibit in the anatomy museum there was of a retired Head of the Department, who had written in his ‘will’ that ‘all my life I have been teaching my students on other persons’ bodies. Now, I wish that after my death my body is donated to this place’. I wrote to Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was then in Kanpur Medical College, about the wonderful idea of body donation. He wrote me back enthusiastically endorsing the idea. Later, the Emergency was imposed and we both were engaged in other things,” recalls Alokji while sharing his experience on February 10, 2014 in Delhi.
In 1994, when the Transplantation of the Human Organs Act was passed, Alokji and some of his friends decided to donate their bodies. They did it by registering their wills with the Sub Registrar. “My wife was in the court as a witness. On that day I had a wonderful experience. Sub Registrar was sitting on his seat. He called my name and I walked five-six steps towards him. In those steps I, in my mind, visualised as if I am dead. I saw my dead body and the friends, family members assembled there. Some of them were weeping, sobbing and some were satisfied that now they could work in politics free of me. And then I visualised a medical college van coming and taking my body away. The will was registered. Next morning as I just sat out, the meaning of it unfolded before me. I saw my dead body being taken away. But I am not the body. I am different form. Who am I? And then the answer came to me Main shuddha, buddha mukta atma hoon. I am not the body I am spirit and soul,” Alokji added.
Alokji believes that body donation is a spiritual work. He shared one more interesting experience: “When Yamuna inundated, I was assigned for the relief work that year. Naturally, it kept everybody busy 24 hours. I caught some infection in my eyes and they swelled. Everyday my father would ask me to go to a doctor and every day I would tell him that I have no time. One day he said, Alok! ‘you have donated your eyes’? I said, ‘off course’. ‘They have to be given for transplantation’? I said, ‘Yes’. Is it not that you are a mere trustee of your eyes now? ‘Yes’. ‘Is it not your duty to keep them good and usable’? That was the second idea that I got. In fact, we are just trustees of our bodies.”
Around 1997, when Nanaji Deshmukh expressed the wish to register him for body donation that the Dadhichi Dehdan Samiti came into existence. Alokji recalls: “When I was doing the documentation for Nanaji’s will, he said he is a Pracharak and remains on tours, what if death came outside Delhi. I said that will be the God’s will, as we cannot operate outside Delhi. Nanaji was very anxious on my answer. He thought for some time and called for cheque book. He made a cheque of Rs 11,000 in our favour and said ‘I am paying you the expenses. Now wherever I die, you have to arrange for bringing my body to Delhi and give to the AIIMS. This is how Nanaji became the Samiti’s first body donor. Later, when Nanaji left his body at Chitrakoot, it was brought to Delhi and donated to the AIIMS.” Other prominent body donors include two former MLAs, Bodhraji and DK Jain, and former BMS national president Rajkrishna Bhakt.
The Samiti accepts the pledge for body or organ donation only in a prescribed form having signatures either of a close family member or the person of the donor’s choice. It also asks the donor to donate at least a sum of Rs 150. “Like 16 samskars in our culture, we have made body donation also a samskar. Every year we hold a festival of body donors, in which the donors come with their witnesses. We executive their will and give them identity card and certificate. The event prominently has four presentations—one by a person who has donated the body in his family that year, second the person who pledges for body donation, third a top person from spiritual field, and four a top person from medical field. The whole exercise firms up an understanding in the donor and his family that this donation is a pious obligation,” Alokji adds.
So far, 83 whole bodies have been donated to Maulana Azad Medical College, AIIMS, Nehru Homeopathy College, University College of Medical Sciences, Hamdard Medical College, etc. The eyes were prominently donated to Gurunanak Eye Centre. “We have resolved that within three years we would wipe out the waiting list for eye transplantation in Delhi. The RSS Delhi Prant has also decided to take it as a common endeavour with us,” he points out.
The initiative has received the blessings of many big personalities like RSS Sanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat who attended a function in Patna. Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara, on 80 birth anniversary of her guru, decided to gift 80 pledge forms for body donation. But the number of forms that were actually given was 126. Around 3,500 people including VHP patron Ashok Singhal, senior leader Acharya Giriraj Kishor, former Dy CM of Bihar Sushil Modi are now registered with the Samiti for body donation.
When asked how the bodies are collected after death, Alokji says: “When the death takes place all that the family members have to do is to call our helpline number. The entire subsequent arrangements are made by us, which include coordinating with the family, arranging a vehicle to collect the eyes or body ensuring that the body is delivered to a medical college in time.”
Changing the mindset is the biggest challenge in such cases. Replying the queries of some mediapersons, who asked how one would get salvation if the body is not cremated, Didi Maa said Shastras prescribe methods for it. One can do his pindadaan in his lifetime. If somebody does it and his body is not cremated then non-cremation is not an abstraction to body donation. “Former RSS chief Rajju Bhaiya once pointed out that the Ayurveda has proper methods of studying the human body. It even provides for the instruments by which it is cut and the way it is to be studied. It shows that body donation has been a long practice in our country,” points out Alokji.
The Samiti works in the National Capital Region only. Some people in Patna, Pune and Mumbai have formed separate units. “It is the work which needs timely action. If the eyes are not taken within four hours they become useless. Equally, if the other organs are not taken in time they cannot be transplanted. That is why we cannot operate outside Delhi,” concluded Alokji. When we see the human organ rackets flourishing in different parts of the country, this initiative shows the way.
THE ART OF GIVING: A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR WAY
A rare combination of philanthropy, spirituality, revolutionary ideas and social entrepreneurial skills to provide space even for the man languishing in the lowest strata of the social order makes Achyuta Samanta a trend setter of different kind.Samanta, who had the feel of being poor without his father’s hand on his head since the age of four, strength of shouldering agonies causes by the untimely death of his father, never ever shied away from putting a brave face to console his widowed mother, while still bleeding deep inside his heart. Samantha withstood the vagaries of circumstances to rise tall enough to dwarf everyone rich and influential, not by material richness, but by ethical values of life.Setting up KIIT- a world class university all by himself with less than Rs. 5000 in his pocket is now history. It is no less a miracle to create an architectural marvel, spreading across 25 sq. kilometers of land in 20 wi-fi state-of-the art campuses, but it was not what he wanted to make. It was his experience that made him to think for millions of poverty-striken children. He dreamt of a world where poverty would not stand as an obstacle to one’s education. In his efforts, he created a slice of heaven on earth, christened it as Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), for fifteen thousand neglected and underprivileged tribal children living far away from civilized world, as he strongly believes: Poverty creates illeterary, literary removed poverty.Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) organised a mega guardian’s meet on Sunday February 2, 2014 with more than 50,000 parents and guardians of tribal students of the institution attending the meeting.Assembly of such large number of triabls representing 62 tribes and 1 primitive tribals communities from Odisha and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Assam, is one of its kind.While expressing gratitude to KIIT and KISS founder Achyuta Samantha for securing the future of their children by providing free education at par with top public schools, the parents also stressed the need for government support to better the institution that has more than 20,000 tribal children in its fold. A guardian committee is be formed to appeal to the government on problems faced by KISS.
BIHAR PRANT SEWA SANGAM IN PATNA
“SEWA is the supreme duty of a man. Majority of the people live for their individual needs, but those who are sensitive live for others too. Sewa is the manifestation of God,” said RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sewa Pramukh Shri Ajit Mahapatra. He was speaking at Bihar Prant’s first Sewa Sangam organised at Shakha Maidan of Patna on February 2. Around 300 sewa organisations of Bihar attended the Sewa Sangam.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB) joint secretary Shri Gurusharan Prasad said an atmosphere of untrust is generating all over the country and the sewa sector too is not untouched from it. There are about 50,000 registered sewa organisations and most of them are rendering valuable services. There is a dire need to strengthen coordination among them so that they can work more effectively.
Kshetra Pracharak Shri Swant Ranjan said sewa cannot be a business. He said the blind
alley of the western model has led to many misconceptions. Representatives of many service organisations including Shri Ashok Priyamvad from Vikas Bharati Siwan, Smt Jyoti from Jyoti Kalyan Kendra, Shri Sudama from Gram Vikas Manch, etc also shared their experiences. Uttar Poorva Kshetra Sanghachalak Shri Siddhinath, RSB organising secretary Shri Sunderlakshman, Smt Rama Popali of the RSB also spoke on the occasion.
Dadhichi Dehdan Samiti function in Delhi
TIME TO THINK BEYOND SELFISHNESS
“THERE is no better deed than donating the body organs. No religion can call such a holy act as sin. Instead of living for ourselves, we should live for others and it is time to think beyond the selfishness,” said founder of Vatsalya Gram Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara in Delhi on February 2. She was speaking at a function organised by Dadhichi Dehdan Samiti. Didi Maa also declared to donate her body organs after death.
Dr Meena Thakur, who donated the body of her husband after the last year’s event, said: “Don’t curse darkness, light a candle. Whenever, I think that my husband’s body organs have been useful to someone, I feel very proud. She said donation of body organ is the only way to make our soul eternal.” Divya Arya, editor of Jangyan said even after the life ends, we can continue to doing good works. She said Dadhichi Dehdan Samiti is a motivation for her.
Shri Alok Kumar, president of Dadhichi Dehdan Samiti said the only motive of the organisation is to create awareness among the people about body donation. He said in India due to the religious and old conception people don’t like to do such donations but they don’t know that through this process they will give life to somebody.
Shri Harsh Malhotra, general secretary of the Samiti said through the organisation, they have almost helped 1,000 people till date. Last year 74 people came forward to donate their body organs and they hope the number would increase every year. Prof MC Mishra, director of AIIMS, spoke about the benefits of body organs donation.
The Samiti is working for the cause of body donation for humanity in Delhi/ NCR for 24 years and till date it has provided 82 bodies to the Anatomy Departments of Government Medical Colleges in Delhi for research. The Samiti has also helped with donation of eyes to 338 persons and bones to one person for transplantation. Dr Vijay Anand Gupta and Dr Nityanand Agasthi were also present on the occasion.