Call of Duty

Call of Duty

The Ashadi Ekadeshi yatra is one of the oldest and perhaps the single largest annual processions in the world. Also called the Wari procession, it starts at Alandi and culminates with the darshan of Lord Vithal Rukmini in Pandharpur on the Ashadhi Ekadashi day. The procession covers a distance of about 250 km with hundreds of thousands of devotees walking barefoot through the hilly path. The procession tests the endurance of the participants who march towards Pandharpur for 21 days. This year the procession began on June 20 and will reach Pandharpur on July 10, 2003.

21 days and 250 km on foot is not an easy task. Various kinds of hurdles can be expected, medical problems being the most likely of them. Fortunately for the devotees, social organisations like the Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch, a trust from Thane, reach out to assist them in their excursion.

20 km after crossing the Ghats, when the procession reaches a place called Saswad, a team of about 22 selfless individuals from Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch greets them. The team, which includes seven city doctors and 10 para-medicos, conduct a free medical camp which begins at 9 am and wind up at 6 pm. The procession spends about two days at Saswad and the noble volunteers from Thane examine and treat close to 3,000 patients. Most of the complaints are due to over-exertion, exhaustion, dehydration and so on. Minor injuries are also not uncommon.

Come July 5, 2003, and a busload of medicines, equipment, doctors and volunteers will once again pack off for Pandharpur. This time they will hold camps at various spots across the path and spend four days treating devotees to ensure that their journey is hassle-free and enjoyable.

Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch is a Thane-based trust that comprises of city doctors who are socially inclined with a desire to help the underprivileged. Registered with Charity Commissioner in 1994 under the trust act, the trust depends entirely on donations from individuals, institutions and certain pharmaceutical companies.

Though provision of health care facilities to the deprived and underprivileged happens to be the main thrust of the trust, it also undertakes synergistic activities like organising seminars and lectures on health and hygiene, drug awareness, prohibition and the like. It undertakes distribution of free books and uniforms to the Adivasi school children. Last year, it organised a medical camp for auto-rickshaw drivers at Thane Station.

One really commendable activity of the trust is the way they have medically adopted a remote village called Devbandh in Mokhada Taluka in Thane District. Surrounded by forest and hills, this secluded area has hardly any basic facilities to speak of, leave alone medical provisions. Every second Sunday of the month, a team of doctors and other volunteers from the trust, visit the village, carrying with them medicines and equipment that are needed for therapy. They examine and treat anywhere between 300 to 400 hundred patients and also provide them free-of-cost medicine.

"He who requires urging to do a noble act will never accomplish it," said Kahlil Gibran. NGOs like Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch do not require any urging – they engage in noble deeds voluntarily.

Infusing Discipline and Courage
The Jidnyasa Trust has been organising an annual "Military Training Programme" in the city for the last nine years. Held under the guidance of Major (Retd.) Subhash Gawand the programme is open to students of class XI, VII and VIII. The purpose of the training is to inculcate the highest sense of discipline among its participants. It also aids improving general behaviour, develops stamina & achieves overall growth of young students.

One of the objectives of this training is to prepare its students for the competitive entrance tests such as National Defence Academy (NDA). Students will be trained in Military Parade, Air-Rifle shooting, Self-defence, Mountaineering, First-Aid, Civil-Defence and Aero-Modelling. Important skills such as Group discussions & Public speaking are also on the agenda.

This year, the training is being organised in association with P.E. Society’s English School and training sessions will be held in the school premises.

The minimum weight of applicants should be 30 kg while they should be at least 135 cm tall. The training sessions will be held on every Sunday morning 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. from 29th June 2003 to March 2004.
Readers may contact Maj. (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, Trustee of Jidnyasa Turst, Thane, at P. E. Society’s English School, Mithbunder Road, Thane (E) between 7.00 a.m. on Sunday from 6 July 2003.

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