‘Fast’ aid on bikes
In a joint venture between Pune Regional Transport Office and various biker groups in the city, around 25 bikes had turned into mobile ambulances. They were even provided with sirens and a complete first aid kit in case of an emergency.
“I belong to the Roadshakers biker group which consist of Royal Enfield Bullet owners. We were roped in by the RTO in the awareness program about road safety called Street Sense. There are other groups involved too,” said Girish Jalan, who is also an interior designer.
“There are about 25-30 people from various biker clubs spread across the routes from where the warkaris will pass. We have final year medical students accompanying us who help people in need,” said Abhishek Pandey, also an IT professional.
“There were many people who were feeling pain in their knees, many who had fever. So the doctors gave them medicines,” said Jalan. “In some cases, warkaris were feeling dizzy, so we took them to the nearest ambulance, where they were treated,” said Jalan.
Farmer suicides and those left behind
The message read clear; Please don’t repeat the mistake committed by our fathers.
The placard was held by two students studying in Adhartirth Adharaashram, in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, which was opened for children of farmers who have committed suicide due to debt in Vidharba region or due to the recent hailstorm which destroyed their crops. Adhartirth Adharaashram is an NGO, which is engaged in providing children who are orphans with adequate meals, education, yoga and health training, training in religious literature and Veda, says their website.
“I have been in this school since the past three years. We want to spread the message against suicides,” said 13-year-old Lalita Pawar who belongs to Dhule. Savita, who is also 13 and belongs to Nanded, said, “My siblings are also studying in the same school. My mother lives alone in the village and works at our farm.”
This is the fourth year that the students from this school have taken out a dindi. “There are 25 girls and the same number of boys in the dindi. But at the school, there are around 300 boys and girls from the age group of 3 to 17,” said Tryambakrao Gaikwad, who runs the NGO. “The main reason for us taking out a dindi is that majority of the warkaris are farmers and it is they who commit suicide. The youngest child participating in the dindi is only 4 years old and his father committed suicide in Beed district this year. We want to show the people that by committing suicide, they escape, but the life of their little children becomes horrible. Hence we are appealing to the farmers never to commit suicide,” added Gaikwad.
Gaikwad also said that the government had promised a school, long back, but is yet to work on it. “The students walk 5 km to go to the nearest school. These children have already gone through much pain. The government must wake up to their plight and provide them with a school,” said Gaikwad, adding that the NGO runs on donations.
Pandharpur-bound, on wheelchair
Balasaheb Vaman Kalbhor cannot use both his legs and can only partially use his left hand. But that has not deterred him from participating in the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur. “I travel to Pandharpur every year with the other warkaris, on this wheelchair. This wheelchair has never failed to take me to the lord,” said Balasaheb whose pilgrimage starts from Loni Kalbhor.
“I have a small shop where I sell vegetables and fruits in my village. I travel to Pandharpur alone every year. But never have I felt any discomfort. The entire mood is so religious and jovial that it feels really good,” added Balasaheb.
The IT crowd in the dindi
This year around 375 IT professionals were involved in the IT dindi that traveled from Alandi to the city, today. “There are around 70 women and the remaining are men. The youngest member was 8 years old and the oldest was around 70 years old,” said Nitin Phatak, coordinator of the IT dindi.
There were a lot of first timers in the dindi too. “This is the first time I am coming for dindi. I came to know about it from my colleagues and applied online. The entire pilgrimage is very well organised,” said Nitin Shinde, an IT professional.
Moreshwar Solkar, also an IT professional has been partaking in the pilgrimage for the past three years. “This is the 8th time, they have taken out an IT dindi. Every year they have a message and this year, it is about safety. They also donate the money collected for various social activities, like, for tree plantation, adivasi schools,” said Solkar.
The money collected last year was given to an NGO working for the education of children of Pardhi community, said Phatak. “The money was to help in building toilets for those children. We also give money for providing meals, medicines and other daily use items to the warkaris. This year, together with our financial team we will decide where to utilise the money,” said Phatak.