Sewa Sangam in Pune
Inculcating the feeling of self-reliance
“Providing different services to the needy, deprived, neglected and weaker sections of the society should not be the only aim of sewa activities. Along with ameliorating their material condition efforts should be made to inculcate and instill in them a strong feeling of self-pride and self-confidence,” observed Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, Sarkaryavah of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Pune on April 29.
Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi was addressing the valedictory function of the two-day Sewa Sangam organised by the Western Maharashtra unit of RSS Sewa Vibhag at the sprawling premises of New English School, Ramanbag in Pune.
A total of 345 activists from 86 voluntary organisations engaged in providing services to the society participated in the two-day event. An exhibition giving an idea of multifaceted activities of participating organisations was also held at the venue. The exhibition was inaugurated by Smt Parimal Choudhary, Executive president of Praj Foundation. Earlier the Sewa Sangam was formally inaugurated by Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi and Dr Ashok Kukade, Paschim Kshetra Sanghachalak.
Addressing a well attended gathering Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said the aim of all such attempts should be to ameliorate the material condition of the neglected, deprived and exploited sections of the society. But along with that they should be given a respectable social status by instilling in them self-pride and self-confidence.
Service to the needy people is not a new concept in Indian social milieu, he said adding that great sages like Ved Vyasa had declared the quintessence of all the Puranas was ‘helping people is a righteous act, while troubling them is a sin’ (Paropakaraya punyaya, papaya parpeednam). All the saints of India also proclaimed in similar language what Ved Vyasa had said. Therefore, it is wrong to say that the concept of social service came to India with the advent of Christian Missionaries, Shri Bhaiyaji said.
Stating that there are four categories of those who need to be served the RSS leader said that the financially weaker section which forms a larger chunk of the society constitutes the first category. Those who are known only by the type of works they perform fall in the second category. They are totally deprived of the social status and do not have any respectable position in the society. The third category is of those who are living a life of neglect, discrimination and exploitation because of the social, religious customs, and the fourth one is of those who live in forests, hills and jungles and are known as Vanvasi or Janjati.
“The problems of all these four categories are not the same. They are inseparable part of our society and it is our duty to bring joy, happiness in their life. We need to understand their problems and find our solutions to them,” Bhaiyaji said.
Any society can be said to be self-reliant and strong when no member of it requires any type of service. Our aim should be to create such a strong, vibrant society by alleviating the status of all those deprived, exploited, neglected sections of the society through our service activities, he said.
Referring to growing number of NGOs he said it has become necessary to have an organisation for conducting service activities and get it registered under an Act enacted by the British occupation government of India in 1860. This is ridiculous. This implies that there is a lack of faith and mutual understanding. But since we have accepted a system of governance we have to follow the Acts and Rules. But for providing service to the needy no institution or money-power is required. What is required is the attitude and bent of mind in the individuals.
Stating that dictums like ‘beggars have no choice’ are not acceptable to Hindu society, he said that our motive behind providing sewa to the needy is to derive a spiritual satisfaction and developing a bond of affinity with those needy people of our society. This viewpoint is absent in the concept of charity, he added.
Calling upon those organisations engaged in sewa activities the RSS general secretary said that we must strive to maintain quality in our activities and projects. But we should also take special efforts to inculcate some good sanskars in those who are being served. We must bring them at par with the other sections of the society. At the same time we should take pains to get support of the people living in the vicinity of our projects and invite them to participate in them. A feeling of oneness should be developed and strengthened through our activities, Shri Bhayyaji Joshi said.
Earlier Shri Anil Vyas made the introductory remarks. He said 86 organisations including 39 outside the Sangh circle participated in the two-day event. At present there are 1038 service projects being conducted in Western Maharashtra, which include 319 educational projects, 388 health care projects, 43 social and 288 self-reliance projects. Besides, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Arogya Bharati, Saksham, Samskrit Bharati, Bharat Vikas Parishad and Rashtra Sevika Samiti also run service projects in the region.
Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi also released Sewa Shidori a souvenir on this occasion. Kshetra Sanghachalak Dr Ashok Kukde, Paschim Maharashtra Sangha-chalak Shri Kacheshwar Shahane and Pune Mahanagar Sangha-chalak Shri Bapu Ghatpande also shared the dais.?