(By Alex Michael Binoy and Arti Chouhan)
The Tambdi Jogeshwari Mandal, one of the five ‘Manache’ Ganpatis of Pune, is famous for its social events during the Ganapati Festival. This year, one of the social activities being organised by the mandal is for the disabled Indian soldiers.
“We are in talks with officials of the Southern Command to check whether we can make arrangements to bring disabled soldiers on the float (open truck) on the last day of immersion procession (visarjan). It will create awareness among residents about the men who have sacrificed so much for the safety of the nation,” said Saurabh Dhadphale, a member of the mandal.
Another event being organised by the mandal is a physiotherapy camp in collaboration with Sancheti Institute on September 19 between 2 pm and 5 pm. “The camp is open for all people, but our focus is on senior citizens. There will be five to 10 stations on the mandal’s premises where people can visit and get medical advice,” said Dhadphale.
The mandal, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Pune-Sinhagad Road, is also distributing eye-drops to police personnel, who are assigned on outdoor duty during the festival. “These personnel are working for 13-14 hours continuously and come in contact with dust particles and gulaal (colour powder)… So, we have decided to distribute eye-drops to police personnel,” said Dhadphale.
He also spoke about the space constraint faced by the mandal and how all its social activities are limited to during the time of Ganpati. “We don’t have a temple of Ganpati. Therefore, we cannot organise events throughout the year. We focus on the 15 days before and after the Ganesh festival and the 10 days of the festival. We try to do a lot of activities in that period,” said Dhadphale.
Other activities that the mandal has been actively taking part include providing education to children of sex workers and conducting regular health check-up camps for sex workers. On August 11, the mandal had felicitated lesser known social workers with the Grama Devata award. “This award will give them recognition and provide more help in their work,” said Dhadphale.