Wednesday, January 28, 2015

अधर्मी मी!

अधर्मी मी!
भर सकाळी जाग येताना तुझीच आठवण
दिवस भर राहून राहून सदा ती तुझीच आठवण
काही ही करत असलो तरी सदा मनात तूच तू
रात्री शिणून पाठ टेकली तरी मनात तूच तू
फक्त एकदा झोप लागली की मात्र ती पाठ
सोडते बहुतेक काही काळा पुरती तरी
नाही तर सतत चिकटलेली सावली सारखी
तुझी ही आठवण!
आणि तुला आठवण्या साठी पुजा अर्चा
करतात काही, तासन तास रोज
म्हणतात श्लोक आणि रत्या
आणि मग जातात विसरून तुला दिवसभर
कधी खास दिवशी नेवैद्य तुला दाखवतात
आणि मग मारतात ताव स्वतःच त्या पाक्वांनांवर
कधी तरी मेले उपास ही करतात तुला
खुश करण्यासाठी, पण हादडतात दिवसभर
निरनिराळे जिन्नस,
आणि हे सगळे मला म्हणतात
असा कसा रे तू देव न मानणारा
पुजा व्रतवैकल्य न करणारा अधर्मी!
आता एकदा त्यानच्या या थोतांडांना
प्रसन्न हो आणि सत्य त्यांना कधी
तरी हे दाखव राजा की माझा अधर्म
खरच किती खरा आहे,
हवे तर यासाठी करतो एक दिवस
मी ही उपास प्रस्सन करायला तुला!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Long Live the Common Man!

Long Live the Common Man!
With the demise of R K Laxman and actually even earlier when he could no more create his daily creation a part of all us were dying slowly. Yesterday marked the end.
There must be very few people who read TOI or other regional language papers of BC group who did not look at his cartoon first as soon as the paper was delivered. For most of us that was the headline which summed up the events of the previous day! It was the best editorial comment really!
Our generation the one born within 10-15 years after the independence is very lucky as we saw some of the stalwarts produced by India, in many diverse fields as politics, music, sports, journalism and R K Laxman! I many times pity today’s generation for there are no more icons and idols for them like we had. It is not craving for good old days or nostalgia. It is true that their preferences and tastes are different and they look upon some as their idols but most of those idols do not fit in our perception of idols.
Laxman made us laugh but more than that he represented us, he made us think and reflect on what was happening around us in a way that was simple in its form and touched a nerve every day. He was the originator of the Am Adami concept through his common man who never spoke but observed, sometime rejoiced and mostly suffered silently. This common man never became the angry young man ever. He succumbed to fate and stoically endured it with a wry smile or a frown but mostly with a bewildered expression of utter helplessness.
I saw Laxman in 1977 when I went for an interview at TOI office in Mumbai. I obviously did not get the job because I was naïve thinking that I had it me to be an outstanding journalist! But my life was made because I saw the Man. I had no guts to go to him and speak to him. Year later that is last year I gathered the courage to go and see him at his residence but by then he was unable to speak! I was happy to hold his hand and pay my respects, and silently thank him. His gracious wife spoke to me very kindly and insisted that I must have a cup of tea.
Laxman is gone but the Common Man is immortal. He the creator is no more but the creation will remain. Every day I wonder what he would have said about the happenings that are going on around us. How would he have drawn Modi, Kejriwal and many others will never be known but we can probably visualize it in our minds.
Laxman showed no malice. He made fun of the most powerful in the land and they too had a laugh with all of us. At times he even complimented many in his own way.
Another genius had left us leaving behind a treasure that is ours to appreciate and learn from. If we can learn just one thing from this- the art of laughing at oneself we would have paid the best homage to this him!
Rest in Peace and draw caricatures of Gods in heaven and make them laugh, because human being are making life miserable for Gods by making atrocious demands day in day out. He will now provide relief to Gods!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let’s wed Make in India to Swaccha Bharat!

Let’s wed Make in India to Swaccha Bharat!
It is given that make in India cannot succeed just by inviting manufacturing companies across the globe to produce in India. We cannot be trying to woo these people just by offering low cost labor that is not efficient and properly educated or trained. This is not IT. In spite of growth in IT over the last 25 years Indian companies have woefully fallen short of emerging out of the scenario of writing software for the world. We have not been able to scale up the value chain at all. And that is a worrying factor.
“Make in India’ must logically lead to “Made in India” becoming a reality. For this we will have to invest large amounts of money first in education and make research worthwhile career option. We have to invest in infrastructure required for research. We just do not seem to have that as of now. There has to be a major change in attitude of our young generation to embrace the hard and often thankless task of research and innovation.
So let’s look at what we have and where we can make an immediate impact and difference.
The government is rightly emphasizing on use of clean energy and is talking big about solar energy. Let’s harness this by making it mandatory that all households will have solar water heaters installed. For poor households these can be provided one time free of cost. Poor must also be given a solar cooker free of cost. Once this is achieved we will have less demand for kerosene and firewood as well as electricity to an extent. Maharashtra government has talked about an ambitious plan of powering agricultural pump sets by solar power. All this if properly implemented will lead to Swaccha Bharat.
Secondly we 1.25 billion people generate a lot of organic waste. This waste has to be looked at as huge supply of free raw material. This must be converted in fertilizers and power. Smaller treatment plants for sewerage and bio waste must be installed in all cities and all villages as well. Farmers can get rich organic fertilizers at low cost reducing their dependence on costly chemical ones. This will also help the ambitious plan of cleaning the rivers of our country.
Energy utilization is most inefficient in most SMEs and SSIs as well as in agriculture. This must be looked at. The tendency of Jugad in this area must be punished. Industry that invests in reducing the use of power must be rewarded after strict third party audits. This will help these industries reduce costs as well. Households also waste a lot of power. They must switch over to energy saving devices. I believe a lot of electricity can thus be saved and manufacturing costs can be brought down.
We must lay pipelines to supply cooking gas to homes on a massive scale. We will do away with transportation costs of bulky cylinders and save fuel costs.
We must strengthen public transport in all cities. This will help many industries immediately. It will have a huge impact on reduction in pollution levels in cities and will also bring down fuel demand. Oil prices won’t remain low in all times to come!
Let’s on this Republican Day pledge to at least treat the organic garbage in our societies ourselves and make a contribution to this cause. All of us who can afford must also install solar water heaters and also those of us get enough sunlight buy a solar cooker as well!
Happy Republic Day! Let’s together do something small that will help India big!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sankalpla- God’s own Angel!

Sankalpla- God’s own Angel!

At 26 her life as a professional had just begun with great promise. But her goodness was so powerful that even the Gods wanted her to be with them for good and summoned her. She went; fully trusting them without a backward glance. She can charm even the Gods and has the capability to spread happiness and a smile even in the Hell!
Our dear Sankal is no more with us physically but will always be there in spirit. We are lucky we had her with us till now! As Madhavi says she was a child born to be nice. She was so loving and charming that it is no surprise that her going away has shocked and numbed all who knew her.
It was a short life but it has a lesson for us all. Be kind and affectionate, spread happiness wherever you go. Be good to all at all times. She is a tough act to follow but we all must try to follow her footsteps. Even if can take a few steps on the path she walked on we will become better human beings!
People who always stay in the hearts of all whom they know well never really go away. Sankal is surely one such person.
Let us have the courage to celebrate her short but sweet life that has impacted all of us so positively.
There is no need to pray for her. We have to say a big Thank you for having had her with us! After all she is the God’s own Angel and they cannot stay apart for long. She has gone back to her rightful place!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

मनाच खरच काही सांगता येत नाही!

नाच खरच काही सांगता येत नाही!
नाच खरच काही सांगता येत नाही
दुःखाला सामोर जाताना डोळे कधी
पाणावत ही नाहीत आणि मग
आपणच त्या वर लिहलेले काही
परत वाचताना डोळ्याला पाणी
आल्या शिवाय राहत नाही!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

दिलीपची आई!

दिलीपची आई!
दिलीपची आई, माझ्या बहिणीची रंजनाची सासू.सासू कसली आमच्या आई एवढीच वा कदाचित थोडी जास्तीच तिची काळजी वाहणारी दुसरी आईच. तिच्यामुळेच तिच लग्ना नंतर झालेल शिक्षण, आणि मग नोकरी व्यवसाय. कधी मुलांची काळजी नव्हतीच कारण आई आणि माधुरी, माणिक, मीना होत्याच. आईंनी रंजनाच कौतुक आपल्या मुलींपेक्षा ही कणभर जास्तच केल एवढी वर्ष!
आज सकाळी फोन वाजला. आणि रंजना म्हणाली अरे आई गेल्या रात्री! क्षणभर हदरलोच. काय झाल विचारलं तर म्हणाली अॅसिडिटी झाली म्हणत होत्या आणि डोक दुखत होत. पण मग बेशुद्ध झाल्या, हॉस्पिटलमध्ये नेल खर पण सगळं संपलं होत. परवा पणतवाचा वाढदिवस झाला होता अतिशय आनंदात होत्या आणि आज हे. अण्णा ही असेच गेले तीन वर्षांपूर्वी. दोघांनीही कोणाला काही करायल लावलं नाही. त्यांचा तो स्वभावच नव्हता. इतरांसाठी करण्याचा त्यांना प्रचंड आनंद.
आम्हा सर्वांची एकच भावना; आई आपल्याला लाभलेली आणिक एक आईच होत्या. केव्हढा जिव्हाळा, केव्ह निखाल प्रेम करण्याची या बाईची क्षमता. त्यांच्याशी चांगलं न वागणार्‍यांवर ही या बाईच असेच प्रेम. परत अपेक्षा काही नाही. लोकांनी आपल्याकडे येत राहावं, आपण त्यांची मायेने चौकशी करावी आणि हौसेने आकंठ जेवू खाऊ घालव एवढीच अपेक्षा!
आईंच्या हाताला काय चव. काहीही केल तरी ते चांगलच! कारला, शेपू, दुधी भोपळा कधी न खाणारे सुद्धा आईंनी केलेले हे पदार्थ बर्‍याचदा आपण काय खातो आहोत हे न कळतं खात आणि सांगितल्यावर अचंब्यांनी मी हे खाल्लं? अस विचारत! मटण, चिकन, मासे करण्यात ही तेवढ्याच तरबेज. तिखटाची मनापासून आवड. स्वयपाकात तेल आणि तिखट,साल्यांची रेलचेल! पण हाताला स्वादच असा की ह्यातल काही नसत त्यांनी घाल तरी विलक्षण चव आलीच असती सगळ्या पदार्थांना!
फारस शिक्षण नाही, बरचस आयुष्य कष्टात गेलेलं पण सदा हसतमुख. चांगले दिवस आल्यावर ही तशाच साधी आणि सोज्वळ. लोकांच्या आनंदात ह्यांना केवढा तो आनंद. कोणाचं काही चांगलं झालेल कळाल की ह्यांचा चेहरा फुललेला! फार थोड्या माणसांना मी दुसर्‍याच्या आनंदानी स आनंदलेल बघितलं आहे मी.
अशा या विलक्षण बाईचा सहवास लाभला हे भाग्यच. किती तरी गोष्टी शिकलो आईन कडून नकळत. थोड फार चांगलं माणूस आपण बनतो अशा लोकानच्या सानिध्यात!
आज चार वर्षानी परत एकदा आई जाण्याचं दुख अनुभवलं मी आणि माझ्या अनेक मित्रांनी!
आईंच्या स्मृतिला प्रणाम!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Home for Women & Children Moneylife.

A Home for Women & Children
PROF ANIL AGASHE | 26/12/2014 12:09 PM | 

Swadhar works for the development of women and children and has outlived its founder, Meenakshi Apte

Swadhar is the brain child of two of Maharashtra’s best-known activists -- Meenakshi Apte and Mrinal Gore. On the advice of super cop Julio Ribeiro, the two formidable women began a series of women-oriented activities at Goregaon (a Mumbai suburb) in 1980. In 1983, they set up a counselling centre that continues to operate even today.

After her retirement from the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Meenakshi Apte moved to Pune. In 1995, she started Swadhar as a branch of the Mumbai NGO, with the help of Sulabha Joshi and Suchitra Date. Swadhar (Pune) decided to broaden its work to include children. The NGO was renamed Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women and Children) to reflect this new role. 

Swadhar’s vision is to help and empower women in distress and achieve healthy development of underprivileged children through education, guidance, training andcounselling, to ensure a reasonable quality of life. It started by counselling women going through a bad marriage or divorce; this was later expanded to cover all family disputes involving women. It conducts awareness programmes on domestic violence, women’s rights, the need to maintain important documents, health and hygiene, etc, once every month. It has other activities as well. 

Girls’ Education Support Programme: Many girls from low-income families are forced to leave school and are married off at the age of 15.  Swadhar supports the education of young girls so that they are not forced to drop out of school. If they are from outside Pune, Swadhar helps them with boarding and lodging in a hostel. Around 250 students are being supported under this programme, with a large contribution from an IT company. 

Phulora: This project is being run in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Corporation areas for underprivileged school dropouts and adolescent girls. They are taught vocational courses and given personality development training, through interactive activity, role-playing and essay writing. Swadhar’s effort has reduced school dropout rates and early marriages among girls. Phulora’s success has led to Swadhar getting requests from women to conduct the programme in other towns and villages. So far, Phulora has benefited 107 girls in Pune and over 1,219 in the Pimpri-Chinchwad belt.

Mohor is a 24-hour shelter home and educational centre for children of sex workers until they are four years old, after which they are shifted to hostels during the academic year and to Swadhar shelter during their holidays. Around 50 children are provided nutritious food and have their physical needs taken care of, but Swadhar is finding it difficult to raise resources for this effort. 

Ray of Hope is a programme designed for children with HIV/AIDs. Around 130 children under the age of 18 years have benefited from this endeavour. These children are provided a protein-rich diet and supplements, while discouraging them from starting ART (anti-retroviral treatment) due to its adverse side-effects. Most children under this programme are either orphans or have a single surviving parent. Children are monitored closely and are provided nutritious food in the hope that their immune system could be strengthened in order to avoid the dreadful disease. 

In March 2014, Meenakshi Apte passed away. However, the hard work since 1995 and the support of several corporate houses, foundations as well as grants have created an institution capable of surviving its founders. This excellent work needs all the support it can get in the form of volunteers for programmes and financial help to grow and sustain operations. Donations to Swadhar are eligible for tax exemption under Section 80G of Income-Tax Act.