WITH the objective of bringing Vanvasis and Nagarvasis closer the Gujarat Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad organised a Vanyatra from December 25 to 27. A total of 408 people from Junagarh, Ahmedabad, Disa, Palanpur, Danta, Idar, Dahod, Vadodara, Bharuch, Ankaleshwar, Surat, Navasari, Valsad, Vapi and Rajkot cities of the State stayed with 190 families of 36 Vanvasis villages in Banaskantha, Narmada, Tapi and Dang districts. The Vanyatris included farmers, traders, industrialists, doctors, advocates, teachers, professors, chartered accountants, etc. They joined the yatra with all their family members. National treasurer of the Kalyan Ashram Shri Arjundas Khatri also participated in the Vanyatra.
One urban family stayed with one Vanvasi family at night. They were extended warm welcome in all the villages. The Vanyatris reached the village in the evening, interacted with villagers, participated in group satsang, held discussions on various topics and after having meals stayed with different families. They left for their next destination after having breakfast in the morning next day. Each Vanvasi family had been informed in advance not to make any special preparation for the people and serve what they normally eat daily at their home.
“It was a touching experience. Now I realised that they are living healthier life than us. The real meaning of atithi devo bhavah was also understood here only,” said a Vanyatri. Another Vanyatri said the Vanvasis do not need mercy rather they need a feeling of brotherhood. During the yatra the Vanyatris also visited six hostels being run by Kalyan Ashram in Vanvasi areas and attended the annual functions at four hostels. They also visited pilgrimage places like Kayavarohan, Unaimata, Pandorimata and Shabridham.
The Vanyatris stressed the need to take some concrete steps for meeting the health needs of the Vanvasis. Apart from setting up cottage industries in the Vanvasi village, arrangements should also be made for marketing the products they make. There is a need to set-up Manav Mandirs (schools and hostels) in Vanvasi areas instead of building big temples in the cities. Some also suggested to organise similar yatras for Vanvasis in urban areas. All the Vanyatris pledged to contribute for the betterment of the Vanvasis. An industrialist proposed to give job in his factory to those 20 Vanvasi youths who return home i.e. back to Hinduism.
One hundred fourteen people pledged to connect at least one of their friends with the Kalyan Ashram work and 45 resolved to visit at least one Vanvasi family once a week. One hundred five of them resolved to collect financial help for the Vanvasis. A total of 79 of them pledged to join hands in the fund collection campaign.
The concluding ceremony of the Vanyatra was held at Ukai Girls Hostel. Addressing the gathering there Shri Arjundas Khatri said Vanvasis may be underprivileged but they are not poor. They have talent and have contributed a lot in the protection of the country. It is both the Vanvasis and the Nagarvasis who can jointly take this nation to the pinnacle of glory. Prior to it, Shri Jayantibhai Patel provided information about the activities of Gujarat Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad. After the function, all the Nagarvasis and Vanvasis had meals together.(FOC)