In 2011, when Pune-based Swapnil More, the 11th descendent of Sant Tukaram, was working for an IT firm, he applied for leave to participate in the palkhi procession. However, the leave wasn’t sanctioned.
Left with no option, More launched Facebook Dindi the same year—a virtual event that gives live updates of the palkhi of Sant Tukaram Maharaj and Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj via Internet. From fetching 4,000 likes in its first year to 3.5 lakhs in 2015, the medium has grown in popularity owing to its content that aims to reach out to those who cannot participate in the procession due to various reasons—be it old age, physical challenges or being based out of Pune.
In its sixth year now, the team of Facebook Dindi has added another feature to their virtual event. With the support of Sant Tukaram Sansthan (Dehu) and Environmental Forum of India (EFI), Baramati, it aims to collect funds for water conservation wherein on every ‘join’ or ‘like’ the event fetches on Facebook, EFI would donate Re 1 to an NGO working for water conservation. So far, almost 20,000 users, who are called e-warkaris, have “joined” the virtual palkhi sohala.
- Undeterred, ‘dindis’ march on
- A centuries-old tradition and its deep significance for lakhs of devotees
- Pune: Amid steady drizzle and flower shower, ‘palkhis’ arrive in city
- Facebook Dindi, annual palkhi procession: A virtual walk for women’s issues this year
- Missed the wari? Take part in virtual dindi
- Dnyaneshwar & Sant Tukaram Palkhis to enter city tomorrow
“Many parts of of the state are suffering from drought. With the help of our e-warkari friends, we are taking efforts to do something to ease the drought situation. Since most people who participate in the palkhi procession are farmers, our volunteers, other than raising money, are also out on the field educating warkaris about ways of water conservation through talks, discussions and pamphlets,” says More.
“We wanted to do something for the farmers and hence approached Sunetratai Pawar of EFI, the organisation that works in tree plantation, health camps, events for students, rubble simplification, and so on. She agreed immediately and offered to support the cause,” More adds.
Other than More, the team includes Suraj Dighe, Amit Kulkarni, Mangesh More, Rahul Bulbule, Omkar Markale, Sumit Chavan and Amol Nimbalkar.
Armed with their laptops and cameras, the team covers the entire procession journey that lasts for almost a month, wherein they walk with the warkaris, click pictures, make videos of each and every route and upload them on Facebook Dindi at regular intervals.
“The aim of this virtual dindi has always been simple—to update those who are unable to participate in the palkhi. More than 1,000 of our followers are based out of India. At the same time, the users, especially youngsters who are majorly active on social media, get to know about our tradition and rituals,” More further says.