wishes its readers and well wishers a happy and prosperous Deepawali.
SEWA DAY 2015: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF VOLUNTEERING CELEBRATED ACROSS USA
The Indian-American and Hindu-American communities between September 11 and October 4 celebrated “Sewa Day” – a day of pure service - with a variety of community service projects at over 20 locations across the USA. Hundreds of volunteers from Sewa International US and partner organizations including professional bodies, associations, linguistic, temple, spiritual, social and cultural organizations came together for a day of community service and worked on a variety of projects to make a difference in their communities. Sewa Day was also celebrated in UK, Canada, Australia, Guyana, and Sri Lanka.
Projects were organized based on three guiding principles: 1. Serve to relieve hardship to humanity, 2. Bring a little joy to the needy, and 3. Increase environmental awareness. Youth and children enthusiastically participated as volunteers too.
At Boston, MA, volunteers cooked dinner for 200 people at the Cor Unum Meal Center - a nonprofit that provides nutritious meals in a safe environment to needy families. In Charlotte, NC, volunteers removed roadside trash and debris as part of the county’s adopt-a-city street program, and also cleaned up the local temple.
Volunteers in Cleveland, OH, Sewa cleaned up the Weiss Field Metro Park. In Columbus, OH, volunteers organized group games and a cultural program for the Bhutanese refugee community, and, distributed school bags and food.
In Philadelphia, PA, volunteers participated in a food drive and helped manage parking at a local festival. Volunteers in Delaware cleaned their neighborhood temple including shrine upkeep, maintaining the parking lot, washing windows and collecting garbage.
In the Detroit Metro area, MI, volunteers performed weeding, mulching, landscaping, repair, and restoration work at the Bharatiya Temple in Troy. In the DC area, volunteers provided food for residents at Cornerstone Shelter in Reston.
Three Sewa Day events were held in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, TX. Youth volunteers helped out at Frisco with a community organization devoted to local service projects, with acts of love and socialization with a sisterhood of moms. A free medical camp was organized for the Bhutanese refugee families in Dallas in which three doctors and 16 volunteers participated and over 40 patients benefited. Sewa volunteers also served at Plano City's cultural exchange program showcasing Japanese art and culture.
In Houston, TX, 50 volunteers picked up trash and debris from Galveston beach as part of the Texas adopt-a-beach initiative. In San Antonio, TX, volunteers vacuumed, cleaned doors and windows, and washed the blinds at their local mandir.
In Denver, CO, volunteers cleaned up the Brighton temple hall, yard, kitchen and deities. Volunteers from Portland, OR and Seattle, WA cleaned up trails and vegetation and participated in upkeep and preservation activity at the Vedanta Society’s spiritual retreat.
In one of three events in Bay Area, CA, over 35 volunteers worked three hours at Ed Levin Park Milpitas to collect more than 25 bags of garbage comprising of soda cans, bottles, litter, plastic cups, and paper cups. Mr. Jose Esteves, the Mayor of Milpitas, inaugurated the event and delivered a motivating opening speech. Volunteers from San Ramon packed and distributed vegetarian food to the homeless at People’s Park in Berkeley, CA. In Cupertino, volunteers cleaned up the Calabazas Park.
Volunteers in Irvine, CA cleaned up Corona Beach at Corona Del Mar as part of the statewid
e California Coastal Cleanup Day initiative. In San Diego, CA, 85 volunteers contributed 170 service hours and cleaned over 15,000 pounds of plums and potatoes to be distributed to families facing hunger throughout San Diego County, thus providing the equivalent work of 19 full time staff.
NOT CARING FOR THEMSELVES, THEY CARED FOR OTHERS
In the morning of September 12 when people in Petlawad under Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh were still trying to wake-up, a blast rocked a godown near a bus stand. Even before the people could understand something, another blast turned the nearby shops and house into rubbles scattering human bodies and blood everywhere. The swayamsevaks at Shagun Garden in Bamniyan Road had reached the house of a swayamsevak after morning Shakha and they had just picked up the tea cups, they heard a more powerful blast. They ran out and saw a big dust storm. They rushed towards the spot. When the dust cleared they saw scattered dead bodies and also some injured people crying. Within minutes about 50 more swayamsevaks rushed to the spot and joined the rescue operation. Swayamsevaks started sending injured to the hospital on motorcycles of the passers-by. But seeing the number of injured high, they arranged for four wheelers from the colony and sent the injured to hospital in the shortest possible duration. Since some people were buried in the rubbles, they called JCB machines and tractors and started finding out the injured. Some teams were also sent to hospital. They started identifying dead bodies and consoling their family members. Some tried to control the spectators. They also donated blood at the hospital and arranged woods and other required materials for cremation. 12 swayamsevaks were also killed in the blast which claimed 88 lives.
INTEGRAL HUMANISM IS PRACTICAL MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT
A marvelous oil painting of Nanaji Deshmukh, made by leading painter Sardar RM Singh, was inaugurated by Haryana Governor Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki in Delhi on October 11. The occasion was 99th birth anniversary of Nanaji. A seminar on Integral Humanism and Self Reliance was also organised on the occasion.
Speaking at the seminar Swadeshi ideologue Shri P Murlidhar Rao expressed concern that Bharat, the country blessed with the largest quantity of fertile land in the world, imports foodgrains and pulses for several years. “Bharat is the largest consumer of pulses. If we continue to import them our self-dependency and self-reliance will be endangered. Therefore, it is direly needed that Bharat increases the production of pulses. Similar is the condition with the edible oils. If we have to materialise the thinking of Deendayalji and strengthen our self-reliance we will have to give priority to the small scale industries. We can learn much from the experiments conducted in Chitrakoot by Nanaji,” he said.
Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki stressed the need to utilise the birth centenaries of Deendayalji and Nanaji for educating the masses for self-reliance. He said Integral Humanism is not an alternative thinking; it is an eternal view for the benefit of the humanity. He called Nanaji as a leader, statesman and founder. That is why he is Rashtrarishi. He materialised the views of Deendayalji and showed the world that it is a practical model of development.
3 – DAY ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF VANAVASI KALYAN ASHRAM HELD IN NAGPUR
Began on October 2nd, the 3-day annual national conference of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram concluded on 4th October 2015 at Dr. Hedgewar Smarak Samiti Premises, Reshimbag in Nagpur.
Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra inaugurated the valedictory ceremony.
On October 4th, the concluding session was attended by Union Ministers of State Sudarshan Bhagat and Hansraj Ahir, Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS Suhasrao Hiremath, President of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Jagdeoram Uraon,, Dr. Kanna Madavi, Industrialist Ashok Goyal, Vice-Presidents of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Nilima Patte and Shri. Kripaprasad Singh and Dr. Sharadchandji Salphale.
The guests were welcomed amidst the enthusiastic dance performance by the artists from the tribal community. The programme proceeded with the lamp lighting ceremony accompanied with a prayer that was sung by the people from Arunachal Pradesh. Vishnukantji, Rastriya Sanyukta Mahamantri, introduced the dignitaries to the audience.
Addressing the gathering Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis praised the work being done by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which has been working for 63 years among the tribal people. He said that the millennium development goal is incomplete without the sustainable development and that is perfectly portrayed by the tribal people, where they live in harmony with the nature and conserve it at the same time. When evil powers were busy breaking the society, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram was in the forefront to reestablish the faith of the tribal people in their own land. He also stated that Maharshtra Govt. has initiated various social upliftment schemes for the Janjati community.
He also remembered the struggle of tribal freedom fighters and remembered the freedom fighter Babarao Shermake, from Chandrapur district of Vidarbha region, who at the young age fought against the British. The Govt. has also started the work of Ashramshala, which will provide the opportunity of education in the region’s ranked one schools to the 25000 children from the Janjati communities. They will also start the work of providing hygienic food to the vanvasi kids under Akshay Patra Yojana, so that the medical parameters in the kids will start to get better. He also stated that, the Govt. has strong committment for the development of tribal community and bringing them into the mainstream development using skills development projects.
Shri. Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State said that he being a student of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s Chhatravas felt that it was a proud moment for him to be present amongst the people who are working with a vision for the betterment of the tribal people. The people gathered on the occasion from various parts of the country gave the feeling that a small version of India is seated in front of me. He praised Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for their contribution in making the Janjati community able and self-sufficient reaching out to them in the interior regions of the country. He applauded the work which is being done through various hostels of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for the education of children of tribal community. He even said that we need to get tribal community in the mainstream development as early as possible and Govt. is trying its best to fulfill the requirements. He thanked Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for giving him an opportunity to interact with the people and share his experiences.
Shri. Suhasrao Hiremath, Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS, said that the work of preserving the values in the age of fast changing world is being done by the tribal community in a very effective manner. He also said that seeing the work of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, the youth of India will be inspired to in the very moment he begins to know them closely. He also made a point to mention that even when the tribal people were treated poorly they still have preserved the mainstream values and the culture in their own unique manner and are still doing so with the same enthusiasm.
Dr. Kanna Madavi, praised the work being done by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for the upliftment of the tribal people and even made it a point to mention what experiences he had in his life being a person from Janjati community. He further said that the society must stop unnecessarily sympathizing with the tribal people and treat them as one of them.
Mr. Ashok Goyal, eminent businessman on the occasion said that Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is doing the work of reinstalling the faith within the tribal community and praised the work that is being done by all the representatives. He stated that the work taken up is an Ishwariya Karya and whoever thought of the question as to how the future of the Janjati be improved must be bowed before. With such activities of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, social fabric will be strengthened.
In this three day conference 1469 males and 288 females representing 236 Akhil Janjati Bharat took active participation. A total of 1757 people across the country along with Andaman Nicobar and Nepal, were present for the event.
The ceremony started with the presidential speech of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s Shri. Jagdeoram Uraon. Ekal Geet was presented by Meeraji and Acchamaji on this occasion. The vote of thanks was given by the National Vice-President of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Smt. Nilima Patte and the event concluded with the national song, Vande Mataram.
LANDSLIDE RELIEF WORK IN SRILANKA
Landslide in Lillisland estate of central province of Srilanka occurred on September 25 claiming around 7 people dead. Many houses swept away by the forceful soil and rainwater. 20 families were evacuated from their houses. Now they are staying in common small building in a nearby estate. Around 50 other families are living with fear. Athourities alarmed them to move away from that place. Swayamsevaks in nearby estate rushed to the spot immediately after the landslide. They removed dead bodies in that heavy rainy time. They also distributed food meterials to the affected people.
The Fourth MedScapeIndia Award for Recognizing Excellence in Healthcare has been conferred on Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission on 17.10.2015 in Mumbai in a proud and grand programme. The award has been bestowed on the Mission in the category of Excellence In Rural Health. These awards were instituted in 2007 by Aryan Medical and Educational Trust to honor medical fraternity. The Trust is based in Mumbai, a non-profit charitable and Registered NGO pledged to make communities across urban and rural India self-dependent. The awards, are an initiative to recognize the heroism of those who have displayed courage and inspired many in their fight against disease and disability. The Mission President, Dr. P. Narayanan Nair, Secretary Adv. K.A. Asokan received the award on behalf of the Mission in Mumbai.
Many may not know that 15 lakh Indian soldiers fought in the World War I (1914-1918). Of them , 74,000 sacrificed their lives and 9,200 were honoured with gallantry awards. (Pradhan Mantri,Mann Ki Baat, April 25, 2015).
Over 30 lakh families have surrendered their LPG subsidy, and not just the rich. Most are from the lower middle and middle classes like retired teachers, pensioners. This is nothing but proof of that a silent revolution is on. (Pradhan Mantri, Mann Ki Baat, September 20, 2015).
Shri Bharat Gupta from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, posted this on mygov.orgwebsite: “Nowadays awareness of cleanliness is high among people, particularly the Railway users, thanks to Swatch Bharat campaign. Passengers look for a dust bin in compartment. If they do not find one, they keep all the waste heaped neatly in a corner. They don’t litter all over.” On reading this I was very happy. (Pradhan Mantri, Mann Ki Baat, October 3, 2014).
PM's mann ki baat leads to rise in khadi sales Barely 10 days since Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi urged people to buy khadi in his 'Mann ki Baat' address on radio, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place has witnessed a massive jump in sales. "There has been an 88% increase since the PM spoke about buying khadi on September 20," says Naresh Pal, deputy chief executive officer and manager at the store. The PM's call did strike a chord. "Our sales are booming owing to a younger crowd that wants to experiment, and keeping this in mind we have also brought about a change in our line of products. Earlier 30% of the products in the store were readymade but now this has been increased to 70%," says Pal.