The first Pracharika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Sindhutai Phatak, passed away in Nagpur on January 2. She was 89. She is survived by thousands of her well-wishers and a team of Samiti’s dedicated workers. As per her wishes, her eyes were donated to Madhav Netra Pedhi. RSS Sarsanghachalak, Shri K.S. Sudarshan and other senior Sangh and Samiti workers paid their last respects to her in Nagpur.
The Delhi unit of Rashtra Sevika Samiti will organise a condolence meeting in Delhi on January 16 at Sanatan Dharma Mandir, East Patel Nagar at 2.00 p.m.
For the last ten years, Sindhutai had been looking after different projects including the Vanvasi girls’ hostel, run by the Samiti in Nagpur. She was the elder sister of the late veteran Sangh leader, Dr Aabaji Thatte. Before becoming Pracharika of the Samiti, she was superintendent of Nari Niketan in Mumbai; but she took voluntary retirement from the job to spread the Samiti’s work in northern parts of the country.
Born on April 1, 1916 at Mallakapur in the Vidharbha region, Sindhutai was associated with the Samiti’s work since childhood. Wherever she went, she spread and guided the Samiti’s work. In 1958, she was assigned the job of laying the foundation for the Samiti in Punjab and Haryana region. It was after her extensive visits and various meetings with women that the first training camp (first year) of the Samiti was organised in Jalandhar in 1959. Later she organised a similar training camp in Delhi in 1960. She also took the Samiti’s work to Uttar Pradesh. She earned the fame as a compelling speaker.
Tributes by Sarsanghachalak
“Smt. Sindhutai Phatak, a veteran activist of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, passed away today at the ripe age of 89 years. At the time of her death she had the satisfaction of having led a successful life for the sake of the nation, especially in inculcating a spirit of dedication, patriotism and service among the womenfolk of our country. This satisfaction was writ large on her face even after death. Though a blow to her well-wishers, followers and near and dear ones, from her angle, however she had a successful life.
Her younger brother Dr Abajji Thatte, was the personal secretary, first to Shri Guruji for 33 years and then to Balasaheb Deoras for seven years after that and then as the Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh, he looked after the welfare of all our workers. The same spirit guided Sindhutai to take to Samiti work and under the guidance of its founder Vandaniya Maushi Kelkar, she worked continuously for 58 years and was responsible for the spread of Samiti work in northern Bharat. Felicitated by many awards, during the 1965 war she toured the entire border area right from Jodhpur to Jammu and Kashmir and inspired the women there to extend help to our soldiers. My respectful salutations to the departed soul.”
Pramilatai Munje is no more
As another major shock to Rashtra Sevika Samiti, former Akhil Bharatiya Karyavahika, Smt. Pramilatai Munje passed away in Pune on December 31. She was 90.
Smt. Munje got the Samskars of Hinduism from her father, Dr Paranjape whom Dr Hedgewar had handed over the responsibility of RSS Sarsanghachalak for some time before joining the Jangle Satyagrah. Her husband, advocate Mukundrao Munje was also a Sangh Pracharak. Smt. Munje became active in Sevika Samiti by the inspiration of Shri Guruji. Besides the Samiti’s work she was also associated with the J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai. She was also an excellent artist. The paintings installed in the Devi Ahilya Mandir of Nagpur are the living example of her art. Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Ushatai Chati has expressed deep condolence on her demise.
She spent most of the time touring Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. It was Sindhutai who started the first Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Jhandewalan in Delhi.
During the 1962 war, she encouraged the women to knit sweaters for soldiers deployed at the border. She used to distribute these to the soldiers, visiting railway stations. It was at that time that a group of women under her leadership took training in first-aid, fire fighting, etc. During the 1965 war also Sindhutai visited the border areas and passed very important information to the Foreign Ministry about the situation on the border areas. She also distributed meals and refreshment to the soldiers going to the border, besides playing a key role in solving problems of the people displaced due to war.
She submitted thousands of letters to the then Prime Minster Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri requesting him not to return the land occupied by the Indian army during the Tashkent Agreement. She also did similar service during the 1971 war. She encouraged women to participate in the satyagraha against the Emergency in 1975. She was honoured with various puraskars.
In her tributes Ushatai Chati, Pramukh Sanchalika of the Samiti said that a strong pillar of the Samiti demolished with her death. “We, all the Sevikas of the Samiti will continue to follow the ideals set by her in the working of the Samiti,” she said. In his tributes, BJP president L.K. Advani, said that with the demise of Sindhutai Phatak a chapter in social service, dedication and firm commitment had been closed. “She dedicated her whole life to the nation. Physical inability too did not stop her from working,” he said, in his message released in Delhi.
Deep condolence on her demise.