Tag Archives: Samarasta

Social Equality is a Matter of Conviction for Us – Dr. Mohanji Bhagwat

RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat with his call for ‘One Temple, One Cremation Ground and One Water-body’ for all in a non-discriminatory way has provided a new action programme for social equality and harmony. Many outside the RSS circles are also appreciating the initiative. The third Sarsanghachalak of RSS, Shri Balasaheb Deoras provided momentum to the social thrust to this reformist thinking, which now Shri Mohan Bhagwat is carrying forward. On the sidelines of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Organiser Editor Prafulla Ketkar and Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar spoke to him on Balasaheb Deoras, his contribution to Samrasata and the way ahead. Excerpts:

 Since 1925 itself, Samrasata has been in the basic nature of RSS. Later, Balasaheb Deoras was a great inspiration in this endeavour. How do you look at his contribution?

The organisation of Hindu society is impossible without Samrasata (social harmony). Therefore, non-discriminatory approach is mandatory for unifying the Hindu society and this has been there in the RSS since its inception. However, the strength of RSS has increased over a period of time. In the RSS, Samrasata has been in practice since its formation. But when Balasaheb took over as the Sarsanghachalak, the atmosphere in the society started becoming conducive for listening to what RSS says, to think over it and to experiment over it, at least to some extent.  Today, the influence of RSS is much higher, then it was not that great, but it was just a beginning. This egalitarian approach of RSS was necessary for the society as well. Therefore, after assuming the responsibility of Sarsanghachalak, Balasaheb unequivocally declared about the ‘social thrust’ as the main objective of the organisation. To make the meaning of this clear to the Swayamsevaks and also to the society at large, Balasaheb deliberately prepared for months together and delivered his famous address in the Vasant Vyakhyanmala (a lecture series organised at Pune  on May 8,1974). The practice was prevalent within the Sangh but the thought process behind this was made clear to the Swayamsevaks through that address and a message was delivered to the larger society as well.

What was the impact of this insistence on Samrasata by Sangh on the society?

Sangh’s belief in Hindutva is a well-known fact. What would be the Sangh’s approach towards the caste system that is predictably associated with the term ‘Hindu’? There were well-intended people in the society who believed that this organisation must be in support of the caste system or caste-based discrimination. Then, this issue was publicly discussed about the Sangh. This perception was there and there were many people who used this to unfairly target the RSS. But when Balasaheb categorically said that the ‘untouchability should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’, these discussions immediately came to an end. With this, Swayamesevaks also garnered courage to present their position in the society. The Samrasata was there in practice but common Swayamsevaks were not aware about the ideological edifice of those actions. Balasaheb’s speech unfolded all this, the thinking and the corresponding steps, clear for the Swayamsevaks. They also became more confident about their position in the society. The suspicion of the genuine people in the society was removed with this clear position. This facilitated many things. There are many instances where RSS Swayamsevaks stood by the victims of discrimination when many in the society were not ready to take a clear position.

After the historical speech of Balasaheb Deoras at Vasant Vyakhyanmala which new dimensions were added to the Sangh work?

Naturally, many new dimensions were added with the beginning of work with the society. The churning started about what are the problems of these groups who are victims of social discrimination, what do they think and what are the remedies to bridge the huge gap that has emerged in the society. In the same process initiative of Samajik Samrasata Manch was started. Special efforts were made to establish contact with different social groups and bring them to RSS Shakha activity; especially the social groups that were psychologically uncomfortable in calling themselves as Hindus due to discriminatory practices were focussed on. Resultantly, the strength of Hindu organisation was added to the larger struggle for self-respect by various groups.

What measures would you suggest to eradicate the social discrimination?

The first and foremost remedy is a continuous process in which we should learn to completely reject all kinds of discriminations in our personal, family, professional and social behaviour. We will have to change our habits for that. For instance, there are many proverbs that are still in usage. Many a times we use it not to demean certain communities but it hurts the people who are the victims of discrimination. We will have to consciously get rid of such usages and habits. Sometimes, though we are mentally and morally convinced about principle of equality, some of our habits do not allow us to act accordingly. We will have to change such habits. Whether we have really discarded the discriminatory practices and inculcated the egalitarian values will be tested again and again, particularly, by our own people with whom we want to connect with for building a non-discriminatory and harmonious society. Even in our normal behaviour such values will have to be nurtured. For instance, I went to somebody’s place. I am not thirsty, still water was offered and I did not have water, this action of mine can also  create doubt about my intent of not having water, even though I did not mean anything. Shri Guruji once set an excellent example through his action. A Swayamsevak invited Shri Guruji for a cup of tea. He used to stay in a small hut, in a condition of absolute poverty. When Guruji went there, couple of karyakartas accompanied him. The place was so small that one could see his mother preparing tea while sitting on a chair near door. The utensils were not clean; there was no tea strainer; the tea was strained with a cloth that was also not very clean. When the tea was offered, someone said I don’t have tea, the other said I had a lot of tea since morning. Guruji happily had tea. While returning, the accompanying karyakartas asked, how could you have that tea? Shri Guruji replied, you were observing the tea, I was drinking his love and affection. Such conscious but obvious efforts are needed. The society needs love and respect. So our behaviour should be to protect the self-respect of all. We have to get habitual to this.

Secondly, many issues arise in public life, like inter-caste marriages. Those issues also face opposition. We insist that Swayamsevaks should stand in favour of such reformative measures. Generally, it happens and it should happen. If you take a survey, you will find more Swayamsevaks with inter-caste marriages than anybody else. We observe that in our personal interactions. Two messages were sent to the couple involved in the first public inter-caste marriage in Maharashtra, one was that of Dr Ambedkar and the other was by Shri Guruji. In his congratulatory message, Shri Guruji wrote that not because of physical attraction but to register a protest against the caste system, you are tying this knot through an inter-caste marriage, I support this marriage and convey my best wishes. This message was conveyed to the Swayamsevaks also.

Sangh Swayamsevaks should take such public position, without getting carried away by momentary public sentiments or self-arrogance. It is necessary that Swayamsevaks take a lead role while keeping the social unity, integrity and harmony in mind to sincerely and fearlessly carry out that role.

What are the major obstacles in the path of Samrasata?

As I said earlier, the biggest hurdle is our habits and mindset. We have been practising certain things for more than two thousand years, in which Adharma is followed in the name of Dharma. If we can’t desist our fascination for old things then by breaking it, we have to stand by truth and justice, as Balasaheb clearly said – ‘it should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’.

The issue of discrimination crops up in the form of injustice incurred by ancient Brahminical system. When our ancestors are discussed as selfish and arrogant, the first obvious reaction is to defend our forefathers. The person is actually referring to the inhuman treatment of discrimination, which he has been facing for thousands of years. Take it as his genuine anger and support his stand on equality. If your ancestors and ancient traditions are great, then they are not going to belittle by anyone’s accusations. If there is an injustice, we have to oppose it. Once a Sangh Karyakarta was asked in a programme that you revere Prabhu Shri Ram as an icon of Hindus, do you also support his slaying of Shambuka? This is a tricky question for a Hindu. It creates the dilemma of denouncing Prabhu Ram or supporting the killing of Shambuka. The RSS Karyakarta replied in a very brave and intelligent manner. He said, first of all I should congratulate you as somebody who has sent you to ask this question and you have come well prepared. Through this question you have accepted that someone with name of Ram existed in our history. This is a great thing. Now whether Ram really killed Shambuka, this is a debatable issue as many believe that this whole chapter is added in Uttar-Ramayana (later part). The Ram we worship only killed the unjust and devil king. Slaying of Shambuka is not a matter of respect for us with reference to Prabhu Ram and if it is ever proved that Ram was responsible for the killing of Shambuka, we will denounce that. This kind of clear position we should be able to take. This does not amount to the insult of our forefathers. Savarkarji used to say, do not blame the ancestors for wrong things but denounce the wrong doings of forefathers respectfully. This is very easy to say but very difficult to practise as it gives a feeling of diffidence. In such practical issues, even if our self-interest is hampered we should stand for the just and righteous cause. In this process, we many a times have to face the social reaction. We have to learn how to manage that and how to respect that. We should strive to garner enough courage to deal with such situations.

Another aspect is, we have to accept that due to the discrimination of thousands of years, there would be anger, sometimes even hatred and still we should continue to strive for building bridges. We should remain confident that after exhaling the anger, the hatred will subside. Simultaneously, there are forces who are interested in vitiating the atmosphere. This conspiracy is going on. We have to deal with them as well. Therefore, with love and care, we have to raise people in each and every community who stand for unity, integrity and harmony. This is the need of the hour and also a continuous process.

As you said, nurturing Samrasata is a continuous process. What would be the role of different sections of the society in this process?

An interesting corollary was given by Pt Deendayalji. He said, if you have to pull out someone from a pit, then it is not sufficient that he is ready to come out of it by raising his hands and lifting his foot, the person who is outside the pit also has to bend down. This process has started. The hesitance of bending down from above should go away.  We should strive hard to extend our hand to the best possible extent for helping others. Secondly, we need to be calm in thinking, communication and action. Balasaheb in his speech said that untouchability and injustice is clearly visible. Ultimately, we are one society, so it is our responsibility to maintain harmony in it. We cannot persist with the conflict of perpetrators of untouchability and victims of untouchability. If we do not want to widen the rift, if we want peace and harmony, then both the sides should get rid of abusive language. One section has to realise that the anger of thousands of years is being expressed and therefore not to react with similar anger is needed. The other side should learn to tone down the language while expressing their anger for reducing the social strife and gap. We can articulate injustice in a respectful way. The leaders also use discretion for ending all kinds of injustice.  A system should be developed in such a way that no one with intent of injustice can rise again. This all should be done with the objective of unifying the society. The system should have inbuilt provisions to maintain the egalitarian system, new suggestions should be accepted. By assimilating everyone in this process, if we start exhibiting this in our action, without waiting for others, then this objective would be attained earlier and faster.

What are the future plans of RSS in this process of social transformation?

The fundamental plan of Sangh is to assimilate all through sincere actions. Whatever may be the external situation, people of all sections of the society should be friendly to each other. As people from same social groups become friends,  their families  get connected, natural interactions begin and family level affection develops,  this has to happen across the sections. Wherever such actions are taken, genuine efforts for equality should be  made, we should support and strengthen  them, and try making them  successful and victorious. This is our work. The victims of injustice should get  justice at the earliest. The practice of equality is imitated all over and there should be cordial dialogue in this direction. Therefore, undertaking surveys, talking to people on these issues, and convincing people on the same, are the new initiatives taken. Many new measures can come up in this process.

Recently you gave  a call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body. What kind of response you are getting from the leaders of various sects and religions?

Almost, all responses  are positive. The principle behind this call got cent per cent  acceptance. But those who do not understand Sangh or oppose it for the sake of it would  comment  why now or would say it is  too late. So the call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body was not opposed per se but a question mark was certainly put on the intention behind this. Or else they said it is merely a sloganeering. The issue was not directly opposed by anyone. On the other hand, a large section of society rejoiced at the call . The victims of discrimination certainly saw a ray of hope.

There is an incident behind this call. Before my Vijayadashmi speech in which I gave this all, I went to Palamuru in Telangana, where many Swayamsevaks are there from the so-called backward sections of the society. I was the Sarkaryavah then. A so-called Dalit leader with Left leanings was sharing the  stage  with me. I spoke first and then he addressed the gathering. I was supposed to speak on Samajik Samarasta (Social Harmony), which I did. After that he publicly accepted that I thought RSS to be a caste-ridden organisation but what I am seeing here is Sangh is full of our own people and some of them are full-timers. I just listened to the RSS General Secretary, and could not believe that the Sangh could publicly take such a stand. He asked whether this is a genuine position of RSS. After his speech, in an informal discussion, I assured him that this is what Sangh believes in. It is a matter of conviction for us. He was surprised with that. After that we remained in touch. He interacted regularly with the local level office bearers, sometimes even communicated with them. In one of such discussion, I said the issue of temple, crematorium and waterbody should go first in the society as these are the issues of day-to-day experience. He said, you will not say this publicly. I said, I am going to say this, you attend the Vijayadashmi function to listen to this. He actually visited Nagpur to see whether I actually took  this position or not. Now he himself speaks among his community leaders about this position of Sangh. He advises them not to keep RSS people away. Such kind of leadership, not embroiled in political interests and still really represent the so-called Dalits, would certainly be happy about such initiatives. They would be positive about  Sangh. The message will be conveyed to the whole nation.

How far politically favourable atmosphere helps in furthering this cause of Samrasta?

Politically favourable atmosphere can be helpful only in one sense, if people in politics decide to do so. Wherever people in favour of social equality are in power, there they ensure the strict implementation of the Constitutional and other legal provisions pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Even if the government ensures the timely allocation of funds and appointing the right person for the right job, that itself would be a big job.   Fifty percent of systemic issues would be resolved by this. These provisions are already there, we just have to implement them in right spirit. We believe that wherever Swayamesevaks are in government positions, they should focus on this aspect. We can only insist on this and we are doing this sincerely.

What can be the role models for creating Samaras (harmonious) and integral society? What can be the inspiration for the same?

The real inspiration is in our culture itself – truth, compassion, purity and austerity are four pillars of Dharma. What is the Truth? The truth is our biggest conviction that the same eternal principle exists in everyone and everyone is the manifestation of that. Nobody is big or small, ours or aliens. All are ours. The obvious corollary of this is to be compassionate to all. Dharma, means the principles that hold the society, it starts with the two principles, all are mine and I am there in others. Therefore there should not be any degeneration in the system. This compassion comes from the feeling of affinity. If such person is pure, without any self-interest, then he would surely dedicate his life to the public good. Such a life would take him to the path of Dharma.

Therefore, Dharma, the four principles that hold our society is the crux of our culture. All our religious texts, whether, Bhagwadgeeta, Shri Bhagwat Puran, Shiv Puran or the message of Tathagat Bhagwan Buddha, convey us the same thing. All our Bharatiya traditions, may be having different paths, may be having differences on primacy of matter or spirit but their instructions for our actual behaviour are the same. It is not there only in a written form. Thousands of Saintly people actually led that life. This is not only true with the ancient Saints but with modern monks. Swamy Vivekananda celebrated the festival of feeding labourers working in the Varahanagar Muth. Service to man is service to God was the message he conveyed to all. To experience the pain of being an untouchable, Gadage Baba, a modern Saint in Maharashtra used to go to roadside water well and ask for drinking water. He used to fetch water himself on the instruction of the farmer. When suddenly he use to ask about his caste and he would not tell his caste and experience the literal lashes. Dr Ambedkar himself did that many a times. So we have such lives to follow even in modern times that made great sacrifices for the cause of social harmony. This is a great inspiration in itself. This is my society and my nation is the biggest inspiration one can have. If my own people are living in a despicable condition then what is the use of my name and fame. If I travel around the world, then the issue of caste-based discrimination would be a matter of shame and not pride. Devotion towards society, nation and culture is a significant force which we should create amongst all.

Inherent Unity in diversity is the biggest strength of the Hindu society. Why there is a competition to create divisions in it?

The main reason of such divisions is forgetting the nature of one’s true self. Once I consider a section of my society as enemy, then to protect my own interest I would oppose you at any cost. There are examples of inviting even enemies of the nation for protecting selfish interests. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar during the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, warned against the same. He categorically said that no foreigner could win over Bharat on his own strength. We lost because of our divisions and some people betrayed our own nation. This has been part of our history, which should not be repeated.

Therefore, we have to revive the basic principles of unity. There are many forces which are working to widen this gulf of divisions for self-interests. Instead of fighting against such forces time and again, it is better we strengthen our unifying tendencies and act accordingly.

You travel throughout the nation; you have been reiterating this subject of Samrasata time and again. How do you see the end-result of this?

See, insisting on Samrasta and inspiring the actions based on this in all aspects is necessary and we are trying to do the same. I am sure, one day this would bear the fruits and whole society will accept this. The divisive tendencies are counting their days. There are few people who are making necessary corrections and trying to follow the path of Samrasta. The larger section of society generally follow the trend. We have to strengthen the voice of righteousness, the society will follow it. Babasaheb used to say that numerous efforts are being made to create a discrimination-free, egalitarian and exploitation-free society. Many people have sacrificed their lives. I sincerely feel that we will get the cumulative result of all those efforts and soon we will have a  discrimination-free society.

Courtesy: Organiser

Historic Temple Entry of Scheduled Castes in Jakkuva village, Vizianagaram

Entry of Scheduled Castes ( referred as Dalits ) into Ram Mandir in Jakkuva village

Unveiling Statues of Gautam Buddha, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule & Dr. Ambedkar who worked for “Social Equality”  – Saamaajika Samarasata Vedika 

DSC_0047.JPGIn Vizianagaram district there is a remote village named Jakkuva in Mentada Mandal. On 3rd May 2014, Scheduled castes ( known as Dalits ) were not allowed into a recently renovated Sri Ram Mandir. On this incident, ‘Saamajika Samarasata Vedika’ (SSV) formed a committee to investigate the truth. The committee visited the village on 29th May 2014 and a detailed report of the investigation was submitted to the representatives of the Government. Vedika also performed a Dharna in front of the District Collectors Office on 23rd June 2014 against the Government delayed action and demanded justice to Dalit victims. During the course of last two years, the Vedika supported the SC’s for the cause and ensured Dalits get the just benefits from the Government. The north Andhra districts Samarasata Sammelan, with the help of the villagers and the local TDP, BJP and YSRC party leaders, have ensured the entry of the Dalits into the Ram Temple.

dsc_0123They also unveiled grand Statues of the stalwarts that supported the ‘Social Equality’ cause – Gautama Buddha, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Jyoti Bapule and Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar followed by a public meeting.

This program was envisioned by the Vedika of Vizianagaram district, based on the noble preaching of Sri Kavyakantha Vaasistha Ganapati Muni, a renowned exponent of ‘Social Equality’, whom Sri Ramana Maharshi believed as incarnation of Ganapati and called as Nayana (Father).
Under the leadership of Pujya Sri Srinivasananda Swamiji (Head of Noth Andhra Saadhu Parishad, Anananda Asramam, Srikakulam District), the people belonging to SC community of Jakkuva aloing with other villagers entered Sri Ram Mandir, chanting “Jai Sri Ram” slogdsc_0159ans in ecstasy as they queued up for the divine Darshan. Later, the statues of the Leaders who lived for ‘Social Equality’ cause, Gautama Buddha, Sri Mahatma Jyotibapule and Dr. Ambedkar were unveiled by Sri K. Shyam Prasad (Samarasata Vedika, Kshetra Convener), Pujya Sri Srinivasananda Swami, Sri Dusi Rama Krishna (R.S.S. Kshetra Karyavaha) and Sri Somu Veerraju (M.L.C). Due to ministerial meetings for the ongoing Krishna Pushkarams, Sri Pydikondala Maanikyala Rao (State Minister for Endowments) and Dr. Smt. Kimidi Mrunalini (State Minister for Rural Development, Housing & Sanitation) could not attend the function.

dsc_0080Sri Dulam Busi Raju (State President of SC/ST rights & welfare society) has presided over the program. Pujya Sri Srinivasananda Swami, Sri K. Shyam Prasad, Sri Somu Veeraragju and Sri Dusi Ramakrishna have addressed the gathering. The program also honoured Sri Subbarao and Jagan Mohan Reddy who funded the Statues and Sri Narendra Udayaar for having sculpted the Statues. The program was attended by over 75 people from various castes across eight villages around Jakkuva village. At the end of the program, along with Swamiji, all the leaders present there, went to have meals in the homes of families in the SC Colony. After the program, a meeting was organized for the office bearers of North Andhra, namely Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakha districts.

A brief of the lectures from the program

“Our Hindu Dharma is the oldest and also scientific. In our Dharma there is no high/low within the Varna or Kula (caste). There is no ‘Untouchability’. Along the medieval period, few of the selfish and powerful groups have created these differences and propagated untouchability in the name of caste. These were bad practises and are against the tenets of Hindu Dharma. These practices have to be eschewed and as a family we need to live together in unity. Only if we adapt to this way of life, Hindu Dharma and Bharat will be saved. We have stopped many such bad practices that came into our culture over the times. In the past there were Child Marriages; there used to be a ban on cruising over oceans; girl child was not allowed or encouraged for higher studies, etc. But no one practices Child Marriages now. Girls are being educated equally with boys in all the castes. For higher studies and jobs people are going to foreign lands. Women are now reaching the pinnacle in various fields of education and careers. In the recent Olympics, women have brought medals to our country and waves of tri-colour of Bharat was seen all over the Olympic stadium.

In ancient times we have not seen differences in the name of Varna or Kula. These have come into practice over the time. Swami Vivekananda said very clearly – Differences in the name of caste and untouchability should not be practiced; “Right to Gyana (wisdom), Right to take up any field for economic betterment, Equal opportunities for all, Respect to all – these are the attributes that Hindu Dharma desires in our society”. The same is the message from Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Jyoti Bapule and Dr. Ambedkar, said Sri Kavyakantha Vaasistha Ganapati Muni. Our duty is to follow this message in our daily life. In Varanasi and Srisailam, any person of any caste can perform Abhishekam to Lord Siva.  In Tirupati, Annavaram, Simhachalam… and many more main temples, there is entry for every caste including scheduled castes. In spite of this, our village and few of the nearby villages have restrictions on entry into the temples. This is not Hindu Dharma. This is bad practice. We need to learn from our past and respect every caste and allow entry of all castes into all temples. In 1927, Dr. Ambedkar has performed a Satyagraha for entry into Nasik Kalaram Temple. The priest at that time did not allow SC’s into the temple. In 1992, in the same temple premises, when ‘Samarasata Yatra’ was conducted, that same priest’s grandson Sudhir Maharaj participated and said “In those days my grandfather has restricted entry of SC’s. From this stage today, I seek pardon from all of you for his mistake”.

Saamajika Samarasata Vedika is working across Bharat for ‘Social Equality’. This is the fitting time to build ‘Social Equality’ and we all need to meticulously work together for ‘Social Equality’; this is the meaning of our ‘life’.

Vote of thanks was pronounced by Sri Srinivas, Vedika District Secretary.

Sri Hatakesh, Samarasata Vedika, North Andhra Districts Convenor

Source : VSK Telangana

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