Saturday, November 22, 2008

Latest Photo of the School for Mentally Challenged Children at Igatpuri

The lastest photograph of the School for mentally challenged children at Igatpuri of the PPSSM is uploaded for the benefit of donors.

I do hope the project is supported by one and all!

For more details about PPSSM, log into their website

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Take Care!

Take Care!
By Gopinath Mavinkurve

It happened on 7th of April this year in Mumbai. On my way to office, I got into an auto-rickshaw. The rattling ride would not allow me to read. Having no better pastime than to see the lovely faces of girls riding pillion on 2-wheelers, my pleasant journey had lots to offer - lovely, cheerful, full of life faces, chatting away with their man riding on two-wheelers. I soaked in the lively, refreshing faces. They made up for the lack of refreshing breeze, which comes but rarely in a slow moving, congested traffic of this maximum city. A blast of polluted smoke spewed by heavy vehicles that could choke us is all that we can expect.

On 7th of April, the much-publicised ‘No Honking Day’ was being observed in Mumbai. The hoardings were put up on several of the newly erected bus stops, urging drivers to hold back their urge to honk their way to their destination. I was looking forward to a peaceful, tranquil day on the way to office. Easy on my ears and nerves, one would guess if not the respiratory track. But that was not to be… the honking continued unabated. My auto-rickshaw steered through the maze of countless two-wheelers, each one trying to get past the other. Our rickshaw moved slowly. Several vehicles had stopped ahead of us and some were moving very slowly near the Flyover on the Western Express Highway.

People had rushed to the spot about 10 metres ahead of us. I just peeped out and then I saw it… A woman lying in the middle of the road! What had hit her? Why weren’t anyone helping her to the hospital? I got the answer as we moved ahead… The ghastly accident had killed her on the spot. Her brain had spilled out! I had seen such a signt for the first time - blood rushed inside me, as if not knowing where to flow. My stomach churned as though it wanted to throw up. I could not speak or think. I never wanted to see this ghastly accident on the road! I took a few deep breaths and momentarily closed my eyes for a silent Prayer for the departed soul. I could never take that .. never wanted to see it.

Never did it ever occur to me that those lovely faces I was seeing before were without a helmet! Or that the beautiful pillion riders were unsafe and vulnerable. When I looked out again, I could now see the vulnerable bare head. The non-descript features of the pillion rider told me that she was not being cared for...and an accident waiting to happen. I am sure the two-wheeler riders have their eyes on the road, as they should. Not seeing what I was seeing now. He has worn his helmet…so he is safe. Is that all he cares about - All that matters? What about his beloved pillion rider behind? The same very person, who had so caringly insisted that you wear your helmet. For whom, your safety was paramount and without whom, one would have found ways to deal with the ‘keepers of law’ but perhaps not, in your view, ‘savers of life’, the traffic policeman.

When I ruminate about this incident, it comes to my mind, that occasional pillion riders, whether males or females frequently throw caution to the winds in the same way. “It wont happen to me”, one would think, unmindful of the dangers lurking on the road ahead. A syndrome prevalent today and responsible for several lives lost in road accidents lately. It is strange how we possess such lackadaisical attitude, even when it comes to our own lives! Rarely do we see the pillion rider wear a protective helmet, be it male or female.

For the several readers riding the pillion even today, may the good sense of safety prevail!! Save your own life, wear your helmets!!! Riders too!
Take Care! Not just my usual way to sign off - I mean it.

In public interest on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims observed the world over on the third Sunday of November each year.

A Brief History of this Observation Day

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was started by RoadPeace in 1993. Since then it has been observed and promoted worldwide by several NGOs, including the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) and its associated organizations.
On 26 October 2005, the United Nations endorsed it as a global day to be observed every third Sunday in November each year.

A guide for World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims published
This will be a major advocacy day for road traffic injury prevention and WHO and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration encourage governments and NGOs around the world to commemorate this day. WHO, FEVR and RoadPeace have jointly developed a book, World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims: a guide for organizers, to provide practical guidance to people or groups on how to plan and organize events on this day. The book gives a brief history of the day, offers suggestions on how to plan the day and provides examples of specific activities that can be organized. We encourage all those concerned with road traffic crashes and their consequences to use this guide to organize annual events in different parts of the world to ensure that the advocacy opportunity of this day is fully realized.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An Appeal from a Charitable Trust

Punyatma Prabhakar Sharma Seva Mandal (PPSSM)

About the Charitable Trust

The Punyatma Prabhakar Sharma Seva Mandal (PPSSM) is a charitable trust founded in 1986 by Smt. Rukmabai Tallur, a staunch Gandhian, who led an austere life wearing only Khadi all her life. ‘Rukmakka’, as she was fondly called, began teaching in Seva Sadan in 1932 and later set up the Bambai Hindi Prachar Sabha to propagate the use of Hindi. In memory of her brother a patriot, social worker and follower of Gandhiji and Vinoba Bhave, she continued her Brother’s noble work by setting up PPSSM, after his self-immolation in protest against the Emergency declared in 1976.

The Noble Work being carried out by the Charitable Trust

With the support of one and all, the trust began working on various projects for the uplifting of the poor in rural and tribal population in state of Maharashtra. The work has made a difference to the lives of more than a million people living in areas deprived of basic educational, healthcare and self-help programmes.

Under an adoption scheme, started by Rukmakka, nearly 500 students are being educated at various centres, where students are imparted employment oriented trades along with their studies, with a view to be self-sufficient as they grow into adulthood.

PPSSM supports other charitable organizations such as Viklang Swavalamban Kendra in Chandrapur, which teaches Typewriting and Computer Centres for the Handicapped, by helping the physically handicapped with cycles to be mobile so that they can benefit from the Kendra’s facilities.

PPSSM supports a library, Jnanaganga Vachanalaya in Ambhora village, Chandrapur. The library, which benefits 12000 literate farmers has gained Government recognition and has been nominated for an award.

PPSSM also assists in making available teaching aids, furniture, school uniforms, notebooks, mid-day meals, an prizes for excellence in sports, etc. PPSSM reaches out to more sections of the needy by working with seven institutions working for special children.

Besides the patrons who have supported the Trust ever since its inception, the teaching staff and all support staff who has been serving the Trust have played a key role in the functioning of the Trust by imparting educational and vocational job-oriented training to the beneficiaries of the program, which are primarily rural and tribal children and youth in Alandi, Chandrapur and Igatpuri and several such villages in the interiors of our country.

New Project - A Boarding School for the Mentally Challenged named "Anusuyatmaja Matimand Nivasa Vidyalaya"

When Rukmakka completed 100 years of her selfless, austere, dedicated life on 8th January 2005, she was presented by many of her well-wishers. She immediately committed the cash gifts she received to her dream project – to build a Boarding School for the mentally challenged Adivasi students in Igatpuri. A school was opened in October 2006 at a temporary place offered by a well –wishers, until a proper Boarding School was built for the purpose.

The best tribute to Rukmakka would be to continue the good work she has left for the Trustees of PPSSM to bring to reality – The Boarding School to be named “Anusuyatmaja Matimand Nivasa Vidyalaya”, on a plot procured by “Ghatandevi Shikshan Prasarak Mandal”. The cost of the project is Rs. 85 Lakhs. The Trust wishes to complete the project by December 2008.

The Trust has appealed for donations, which may be sent by cheque in favour of
“Punyatma Prabhakar Sharma Seva Mandal”
to the following address –

Mrs. Shitala Pandit, Managing Trustee, PPSSM,
9/11 – 12, Saraswat Colony,
Santacruz (West),
Mumbai 400 054, India.
Tel: 91-22-26601837

Donations are eligible for rebate under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961
Donations can be made in INR, USD, GBP or EUR

An Individual Embedded Name Plaque will be put up at the entrance for generous donations for certain facilities of the School as follows :-

Rs 50,000 – For each of the Classrooms (14 in all)
Rs. 1,50,000 – For the Worship area
Rs. 2,00,000 - For Kitchen, Dining or Workshop areas
Rs. 3,00,000 - For Dormitory or Hall

You may contribute in your personal capacity or can recommend your organization to support the cause as a Corporate Social Responsibility, as many organizations have committed to the uplifting of the under-privileged in our society. Your kind gesture would go a long way in the fulfilling of Late Rukmakka’s last wishes. We do hope the good work continues to bring happiness in our lives.

The image of the Building under Construction at Igatpuri

Sources: The Kanara Saraswat Magazine,June 2008 Issue and the PPSSM Appeal Brochure.

For more details about PPSSM, log into their website

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Abhi-Now Story!

By Gopinath Mavinkurve

Newspapers and TV Report don’t seem to stop talking about the latest sporting sensation that has won the hearts of all Indians. He deserves the limelight and the celebrations are understandable. After all, we have waited so long, that we did not even remember we were waiting when it happened!

Suddenly it was raining money for the calm and composed Abhinav Bindra from all state governments and corporates! He certainly deserves it. It is only hoped that this kind of money would pour for building facilities for aspiring sports persons so that he need not turn to his parents for building world-class facilities in his backyard!

Abhinav’s own blog tells the story behind his success.

A few extracts to note are reproduced below:-

“In fact, I do not have a life beyond the confines of the 10m range. I have had a range built in my own home to cut down any possibility of distraction and to be able to practise my sport whenever the fancy strikes me. It all did pay off, didn't it?”

“I would like to reiterate that everyone who represents India at the Olympic Games has put in years of toil and sweat. I ask the Indian people to support our athletes more. It is fine to celebrate our achievements but it is just as important to keep up the backing when we are not on top of our game.

How apt! The same very people who celebrate today would whip up a sporting star if he fails to match his fans' expectations! Did you notice how the media quickly labelled Roger Federer "Federror"?

“The joy that the nation feels at my win is humbling. I just wish that this is repeated more and more often.With our depth of talent and expanse of people I firmly believe India can be a world-class sporting power. What we need are precise systems. I will try to do my bit at grooming the next generation. I would like to appeal to each Indian to also do their bit in prodding us out of sporting complacency.

Read the Indian Express article, By Harcharan Singh, titled "A Lost Opportunity". How we fail to nurture rising stars struggling to follow their dreams and only wake up after the star begins to shine bright, albeit without our love and care.

Abhinav’s story is of dedication, passion, commitment and hard work. And we are celebrating his success! There are many more stories we have yet to learn about - of passion, commitment and dedicated service in all walks of life. Lost in the crowd. Not even looking for a gesture of thankfulness from society – let alone wanting to be in the limelight.

My new blog “Small Steps Along The Way” will attempt to post stories of dedicated, committed and passionate citizen and their work in their chosen fields – not restricted to sports. The blog will report good news, positive developments and appreciate the efforts behind such ventures. I will also invite fellow bloggers to share inspirational stories in their region which i will feature in my blog.

Abhinav Bindra’s achievement, among other encouraging developments prompted me to take my first step on this path. Just like the Gold Medal was the first

“When should I begin?”, I asked my self.
Abhi, Now!” was the obvious answer!