Remembering Martyrs

Remembering Martyrs

Thane’s Hanuman Vyayamshala, a sports association, has been in existence for more than 75 years. Every year since August 1943, the institute has been commemorating the Quit India Movement in honour of the freedom fighters.

63 years ago, in the month of August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi launched the "Quit India" Movement. He issued the famous "Do or Die" call from a large meeting ground in Mumbai, which is now called the August Kranti Maidan. Indians were to wage one last struggle to achieve independence, or die in that attempt. Although Gandhiji himself advocated non-violence, the Quit India movement was followed, by large-scale violence at railway stations, telegraph offices, government buildings, and other emblems and institutions of colonial rule.

Like every year, this year too, the past and present students and instructors of Hanuman Vyayamshala gathered in the hall on August 09, each carrying a candle and a few flowers. They draw a map of Thane with chalk, illuminate the outline with candles and fill the inside with flowers. They then paid a tribute to the martyrs and freedom fighters by remembering their sacrifices. Each year, a social activist or a freedom fighter is called upon to share his thoughts. This year, more than 50 students and former students attended the function as 85-year old Madhu Nashikkar, a freedom fighter who participated in the Quit India Movement, was invited to speak about the days of British rule in India. Nashikkar, whose grand daughter is the member of the sports club, is the president of Sane Guruji Katha Mala, an organisation that teaches underprivileged rural areas children who cannot afford to attend school. In the past, social activists and freedom fighters such as Mrinal Gore, Datta Tamhane, Sarlatai Kulkarni, Kaveritai Patil and many more have attended this commemoration event.

Occasions like these and the Independence Day, which is also celebrated at the Vyayamshala with vigour since 1947, serve to remind us that the freedom we enjoy today is a gift from those extraordinary individuals who endangered and even gave up their lives to rid our country of foreign rule. It may be a good time to commit to memory what Mahatma Gandhi preached and practised in his lifetime: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Special Celebration
19 years ago, on August 01, 1985, the underprivileged special children from Thane and surrounding areas got a gift from the Thane Municipal Corporation in the form of Jidd School. The uniqueness of Jidd School is that it primarily caters to the children of the lower socio-economic strata. When the then TMC commissioner Govind Swarup founded the school in 1985, it was meant only for physically impaired children. In August 2001, the school opened its doors to the mentally retarded children. In three years, the school’s mentally challenged section trains more students than its physically impaired section.

The school started on August 05, 1985 and this year, the school celebrated the day with a small function organised by Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills. The students and teachers played many games and won prizes. There were stage performances too.  

The chief guest was Thane’s Mayor Sharada Raut. Incidentally, August 05 also happens to be Raut’s birthday. So there was a double cause for celebration. So happy was Raut sharing her joy with these special children that she declared, "Whether or not I remain the mayor of Thane, I will always celebrate my birthday with these children."   She cut her birthday cake amongst applause from the special children after the customary aarti and bouquet presentation. Snacks and cake was later distributed among the eager and excited children. Raut also praised Shyamashree Bhonsle, Principal of Jidd School for her dedication and efforts to run the school.

The School not only educates and trains the students, but also provides free food, transportation, healthcare and playing facilities. Then there is a computer room, a rehabilitation room and special garden for disabled children. Come August 15, and the school will get a new division – a pre-vocational centre. This new division will open up new vistas for the special children. We’ll fill you on this new centre next week, after it will be formally inaugurated tomorrow.

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