Initiatives for Social Harmony

This page attempts to documents some of the Initiatives for Social harmony shared by readers and sourced by the Arise Bharat team.

  • Former conservancy workers ecstatic about mingling with seers

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/now-a-holy-dip-for-these-conservancy-workers/article4391613.ece

Around 100 women — formerly engaged in manual scavenging — on Thursday took a dip in the holy Sangam and later joined seers in performing rituals at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela.

The women, from Rajasthan’s Alwar and Tonk districts, walked in procession to the Sangam with around 150 priests and seers, before dining with them at anakhara.

Rama Devi, 60, who was liberated in 2008 after having been engaged in manual scavenging for around 50 years, said she had a feeling of salvation after receiving blessings from the seers. “Our minds were forced to believe that God made us like this, do this work [manual scavenging]. We are hopeful that things will change. It’s like we have gotmuktiafter this. We never thought this was possible.”

The youngest of the lot, 19-year-old Tulsi, was overjoyed after a dip. “Not even in my dreams had I imagined that we would get an opportunity like this one day. I would often look at all boys and girls going to school and wonder why I was not doing the same. But this was something we never expected.”

Tulsi travelled to Allahabad from Tonk with her mother Sampat, who hopes to get her daughter married, but in an area where manual scavenging is not practised. “I was so much in awe at the way the priests behaved with us and respected us,” said Sampat, who now stitches clothes for a living.

Sulabh International, a social service organisation that rehabilitates manual scavengers, facilitated the event in organisation with Swami Anand Giri of Bagambari Gaddi.

After providing these women with educational and vocational training, this was an effort to bring them back into mainstream society, said Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak. “The Sangam, as an epitome of equality, is where all castes and people can come together to break the chains of a tradition that has lasted ages,” he said.

Swami Anand Giri expressed the hope that the occasion would send a message to society for ending all forms of untouchability. Seers Mahamandaleshwar Gahanand Maharaj of Anandi Akhara, Maharaj Gajanand Maharaj and Jagdishwarji of Niranjani Akhara were present.

Later in the day, the women visited the variousakharasand performed rituals at the Bade Hanuman Temple, located under Akbar’s Fort.

  • Madara Seer and Pejawar Swami inspire Social Harmony

http://samvada.org/2010/news/madara-swamijis-padayatra-in-brahmins-locality

  • Pejawar Swami undertakes Padayatra in the slums of Hyderabad ( Bhagyanagar).

On 26th of August, 2011 Pujya Swami Vishweshwar Teertha of Pejawar Mutt undertook a padayatra in the slums of Fathenagar, Hyderabad and addressed the public at Shivalayam and at the community hall. He interacted with local dwellers in Dr. Ambedkar Jagajeevan Ram colony. On 30th August his padayatra covered Chandraiah huts area of Madannapeta. He visited some of the houses and lit lamps in puja gruha. His padayatra and meeting were conducted as usual despite pouring rain. People heard his message even in pouring rain. The local people gave him a warm welcome. This programme was organised by local Samajika Samarastha Manch.

  • RSS Swayamsevaks put an end to the centuries old habit of refusing temple entry to Munda vanavasis.

This happened in August 2005 at village Padampur in Keonjhar district of Orissa, Bharat. The swayamsevaks celebrated Raksha Bandhan inside the local Shiva temple. 15 families of Munda vanavasis had come there on the invitation of RSS. 50 swayamsevaks attended the function and tied the holy Rakhi (a symbol of brotherhood) on the wrists of all the Munda brothers and sisters present there. The Keonjhar district Sanghachalak of RSS Shri. Jogesh Nath Sahoo led the Munda families into the temple where the temple priest conducted pooja and helped all to have darshan of the deity. Based on a report in UTKAL SAMBAD, (October 2005), a monthly bulletin in English from Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

  • No Child is an orphan at Bal Mandir

At Bal Mandir, an orphanage run by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (in Andhra Pradesh, Bharat), no child is an orphan; every child has the initials `SV’ added to its name. For example, `S.V.Ramudu’. Incidentally, SV stands for Lord Sri Venkateswara of Tirupati. Shri. Mukteswara Rao, Joint Collector of Hyderabad, shared this heartening information with senior Samskrita Bharati functionaries at Hyderabad  (formerly known as Bhagyanagaram) on March 17, 2007. He was present at the inaugural of the two day `Akhil Bharatiya Upavesanam’ (annual all Bharat meet) of Samskrita Bharati. He reminisced how how 400 chidren of Harijan community once recited Samskrit shlokas soulfully at the altar of Tirupati Venkateswara. He described the work of Samskrita Bharati in taking Samskritam – “that is a unifying force” – to all sections of society as an “extremely great service”. As part of of its growth in all the 32 provinces of Bharat, Samskrita Bharati recorded a phenomenal 350 % increase in the number of Shibhirams (10 day spoken Samskritam course). These 12,500 Shibhirams were conducted during the Shri. Guruji Centenary Year (February 2006 – February 2007), as per the provincial reports. Remarkable was the visit of Shri. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, to one of those Shibhirams in Akola, Vidharbha province (Maharashtra, Bharat). Prakashji was “greatly impressed by the work of Samskrita Bharati”, the Vidarbha karyakartha said. Nearly 700 of these Shibhirams were held in Harijan localities, according to Samskrita Bharati. (As told to Team PANCHAAMRITAM).

  •  Andhra Pradesh Police Rises to The Occasion

Lanka Tejashree, 11, is the daughter of Lanka Bapi Reddy, a Central Committee member of the Maoist outfit in Andhra Pradesh, Bharat. Recently, her aged grandmother told Warangal Police that Tejashree would have to discontinue her education, as there was no one to care for her in the family. On the occasion of Children’s Day (November 14, 2006) Andhra Pradesh Police announced that it would adopt the terrorist’s daughter and meet the expenses of pursuing her studies. Smt. Saumya Mishra, the SP, handed over a cheque for Rs. 40,000 to the relevant educational institution.  (From DINAMALAR, November 15. 2006).

  • Dr.M.Rama Jois Nagar – A Tribute To the Great Man

A residential locality of primarily Scheduled castes, Maralurdinne, in the outskirts of  Tumkur, Karnataka, Bharat has been named “Dr M. Rama Jois Nagar”. Dr Jois is a former judge of the Supreme Court and a former governor. He is a Swayamsevak of RSS. In 1982, land was allotted to the district dalit employees’association to construct houses. However, the formal allotment letter was not issued. The matter went to the high court and after nine years in 1992, the court ordered that the Harijans are entitled to the land and the allotment letter should be issued forthwith. During this fight in the high court, Dr Jois helped the Harijans by assigning the task to his juniors. Some persons filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court order. Dr Jois argued on behalf of the association in the apex court. Finally, the apex court upheld the order of the high court. The Harijans got the allotment letter in August 2006. It was an epic battle lasting 14 years. During this testing period, Harijans feel, none of the leaders belonging to their community helped them. “It was Dr Jois who stood by us like an elder brother and gave us moral support. We remain indebted to him for the rest of our lives. Not only that. Generations to come will be grateful to him. That is why we have named our locality after Dr Jois,” said Chikkanna, secretary of the association. Shri. Thammaiah, president of the association, said, “We have braved stiff opposition from our community leaders for naming the residential locality after Dr. Jois. But we do not care.” Based on a report by Shri. S.A. Hemanth Kumar in THE ASIAN AGE of January 2, 2007

  • Samudaya Pongal

On Pongal (Makara Sankranti) day, an enthralling experience awaited the hundreds of casual labourers hailing from other states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal and working at the expansion project of the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL), Kagithapuram near Karur, Tamilnadu, Bharat. It was when the workers enthusiastically participated at the “Samudaya Pongal” got up especially for them. In a bid to go beyond the mere implementation of the order on public institutions celebrating Pongal, the TNPL Managing Director, Shri.   V. Murthy, hit upon the idea to provide the workers a glimpse into Tamil ethos, best reflected in the celebration of Pongal. The festivities helped Tamil workers celebrate Pongal, even as it forged a special bond among all workers. Around 1,500 workers and others participated in the festivities. Commodities essential for cooking pongal such as rice, dhal, jaggery as also earthen pots plates, stainless steel buckets, sugar cane pods, turmeric plants were given away to 100 families to celebrate pongal in the traditional manner. Women cooked sweet pongal and offered that to Sun god. The labourers from other states savoured the delicious pongal. As a Pongal gift, the TNPL dedicated a toilet and bathroom building, with 24- hour running water facility, for the benefit of the casual labourers employed in the expansion project. Based on a report in THE HINDU,Jan 17, 2007

  • IIT Chennai and Villages tie up to Organize Social festival

SAARANG was the name of a 5 day social festival at the sprawling IIT Chennai campus recently. The canteen at the venue was run by a group of ladies from Natham, a hamlet flanking the Chennai-Kolkata national highway falling in the Cholavaram block of Thiruvallur district, Tamilnadu, Bharat. How did this IIT “village ladies tie up materialize? “This is part of our project to develop the village we chose economically and scientifically. We found 15 Women Self Help Groups active in Natham and selected the Kanniamman and Ellaiamman groups. We try to help these”, says Natanasabapathy, an IITian. Yes, six ladies of Natham got employment on those 5 days. They could earn a profit of Rs. 4,500 as well. At present, the IITians are involved in training village ladies of the two SHGs in earthworm culturing, a profitable as well as eco friendly vocation.  Of the over 6 lakh SHGs in Bharat, the groups affiliated to Seva Bharati are successful in inculcating patriotism and concern for society and thus has brought about social cohesion among the members in addition to freeing them from debt. Based on a report by Shri. M.Nagamani in the SHG special number of VIJAYABHARATAM, January 19, 2007. Idea: Smt. Vasantha

  • Seva Bharati, Bhopal comes to the aid of Poor pregnant Women

Smt Bharti Suryavanshi belongs to a Harijan family living in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Bharat. She is the wife of a liquor shop assistant. She is pregnant. Smt Amita Jain, hailing from a well to do family in the town, has begun to take care of Bharti, taking her to the doctor every month, arranging nutritious food for her. More importantly, she conducts the traditional “goad bharayi “ ceremony to express happiness of the community on the arrival of  the expected child. Seva Bharati workers introduced Bharti to Amita, who has decided to provide motherly care till the child is born. 21 poor pregnant women from the socially backward sections in the town have been thus provided willing ‘mothers’ to each of them by Seva Bharati, Bhopal. As told to Team PANCHAAMRITAM by a Seva Bharati worker of Bhopal.

  • An Oath to Ensure No Child Goes Without Schooling

An MBBS doctor once reported that she was running a school in a village. A doctor running a school? Yes! In a small village off Solapur in Maharashtra (Bharat), Dr. Sanjeevani Kelkar found children of poor workers whiling away all day long by the roadside. She decided to serve them. She collected the parents of all those children and took their permission to teach useful things to the children. Bathed the kids, taught them songs; told them stories. By and by, she began a pre school for them. Over the years, it grew into a primary and later a high school, with a student strength of 400. No child in the village without schooling. Alongside, the kind doctor organised the women of the village and helped them avail bank loans that could help them earn additional income. About 60 villages in the vicinity sought the doctor´s services to change for better. Dr.Sanjeevani Kelkar was honoured by Savitribai Dhule Puraskar (Maharashtra Govt.) in 1996.

  • Converting Their Home into an Orphanage

Jascinth (46) of Palayamkottai is a science teacher at Usborne Memorial Middle School at Palayamkottai. She is nurturing 14 orphan and semi-orphan (either father or mother dead) girls for the last two years with her meager earnings. Two years ago, she met one of her students, Bala Keerthika., an eighth standard student of the school. She had been abandoned after the death of her only blood relation – her father. Jascinth took Bala to her house.  “After I took Bala with me, a few orphan students in my school approached me to take care of them. “When my house became insufficient to accommodate them, I decided to rent a house for the purpose. But as rent will be an added expenditure, I converted my father’s house at Palayamkottai into an orphanage. At present, there are 14 girls in the orphanage between the age 5 and 14 and all are doing their schooling in Palayamkottai. Initially, girls were unable to concentrate in their studies since they could not come out of the trauma of losing their loved ones, said Jascinth. “These girls get all freedom. I take them to exhibitions and outings during holidays. For each child, I need to spend at least Rs 500 every month,” she says. Jascinth´s first child at the orphanage, Bala Keerthika, says, “I feel at home. We call her (Jascinth) mother and her husband father. She teaches us, sings with us and plays with us. She has given us the chance to dream. From THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS (August 23, 2008) Idea: Shri Raghuramji

  • Distributes Tankers of Water Free of Cost

14. Shri A.K. Palaniappan, resident of Pappampatti, near Pappireddippatti, Dharmapuri district, Tamilnadu, distributes water free of cost. In tanker loads, to be precise. This agriculturist owns a few trucks. In his plot of agricultural land, there are a few wells. On a daily basis, Palaniappan gets his tankers filled with water. They fan out to adjoining villages suffering from water scarcity. The villages that benefit by his thoughtful endeavour are Puduppati, Mookaratipatti, Irulappati, A-Pallippati and Adhikarappatti. Palaniappan’s trucks make four trips a day at his cost. With the entire Tamilnadu state declared as drought hit, this is not simply a good news for those few villages. It is a life saving service that they recieve. – Based on a Dinamani (Tamil daily) report of April 13, 2003

  • Ramdas Baba and Tarangini Maa

An unlikely duo of a Sant and housewife has been doing for the temple city of Bhubaneshwar what the civic authorities have failed to do for years adopt cows that are abandoned after they have outlived their usefulness.The goshala of Ramdas Baba, a nonagenarian Naga Sadhu turned Sant and Tarangini Maa, a 65 year old housewife who donated her property to support the Baba’s cause, does not believe in ridding the city of these stray animals. Instead, love for the animals is their calling in life – providing food, shelter and medicines are only manifestations of this devotion. 36 years back, Ramdas Baba saved a batch of cows from traders who were taking them to a slaughter house. As he roamed the holy city without any worldly possessions, he used to herd stray cows and bring them to a Kali temple enclosure. Soon, a sizeable number of cows were under his care. The Baba says that it was by a divine call that he took to this service. By and by, he became famous in the city and help came.The Baba had another vision. He was instructed by God to look for his true mother who would help him in the mission. That led him to Tarangini Maa who donated a half-acre stretch of land with a pond and orchard. Here the cows now roam around freely without any fear of a butcher’s knife. Based on a report by Purabi Das in the ˜Making A Difference column in OUTLOOK of – June 4, 2001

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