Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rename Kedgaon railway station after Pandita Ramabai

‘Rename Kedgaon station after Pandita Ramabai’
CAMIL PARKHE | Monday, 10 April 2017 AT 01:54 PM IST
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Pimpri:  Lauding the contribution made by scholar and social activist Pandita Ramabai in various fields, author Anupama Ujgare here on Wednesday made a plea for renaming Kedgaon railway station after this great personality.

Ujgare was speaking at a function organised by Samkyukta Khrist Seva Mahasangh on the occasion of 95th death anniversary of Pandita Ramabai.  Church of North India’s Pune diocese Bishop Sharad Gaikwad presided over the function.

Ujgare said that Pandita Ramabai pioneered in various fields including social reforms for young widows and destitute women, women’s education and health and translation of the Bible from original Hebrew language into Marathi.

Pandita Ramabai had taken a stance against several prevalent social customs and was one of the few women delegates attending the session of the Indian National Congress held at the end of the 19th Century, she said.

Ujgare regretted that Pandita Ramabai’s pioneering contribution in various fields was ignored by many leaders and also historians as this great personality had converted to Christianity.

Samkyukta Khrist Seva Mahasangh leader pastor Rajesh Kelkar also spoke. Dr Amit Tribhuvan compered the programme.

About Pandita Ramabai


Pandita Ramabai (23 April 1858 – 5 April 1922) was a social reformer, a champion for the emancipation of women, and a pioneer in education. She revolted against many prevalent social evils and customs.  She was accorded the title of Pandita in Kolkata.

She participated in the freedom movement and was one of the 10 women delegates of the Indian National Congress session held in Mumbai in 1889
Ramabai  went to Britain  in 1883 where she embraced Christianity. From Britain she traveled to United States of America to attend the graduation of the first female Indian doctor, Anandibai Joshi (1886–88). Her books The High-Caste Hindu Woman was dedicated to Dr. Anandibai Joshi, who died in February 1887, less than six months after becoming a doctor.

In 1896 during a severe famine Ramabai sheltered thousands of outcast children, child widows, orphans, and other destitute women at her home in Kedgaon. She knew seven languages and also translated the Bible into Marathi language from the original Hebrew and Greek. She is the only woman to translated the Bible from these original languages to other language.

Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission at Kedgaon provides housing, education, vocational training, and medical services to the needy  including widows, orphans, and the blind.
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Comments
George Pattery - Monday, 10 April 2017 AT 04:33 PM IST
Pandita Ramabai deserves this honour for her intelligence, literary talent and religious commitment. I fully endorse the proposal. Dr. George Pattery
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J.m.pithekar, s.j. - Monday, 10 April 2017 AT 03:02 PM IST
Every courageous suggestion , given so much prejudice n even persecution. Hope the group will peruse the matter.

Sharad Shankarrao Rotkar Nice idea Camil. Wouldn't it be better if a school is built to educate children in a remote village.
Sharad Shankarrao Rotkar It should be named after her and children in this school can be trained in various technical trades like welding, carpentry, electronics etc.

Sharad Shankarrao Rotkar Let Kedgaon be Kedgaon. Why not start such a school in Kedgaon?
Camil Parkhe Yes,,,Good suggestion...
Diago Almeida We only want to change names of places educational institutions can be started in her name
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Camil Parkhe Pandita Ramabai deserves this honour for her intelligence, literary talent and religious commitment. I fully endorse the proposal. Dr. George Pattery
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Monday, December 12, 2016

Abe Faria Niropya December 2017 Marathi article

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Abe Faria scientific hypnosis Marathi Niropya article



Sunday, November 20, 2016

The interesting history of big fat Indian weddings!

The interesting history of big fat Indian weddings!
CAMIL PARKHE | Sunday, 20 November 2016 AT 01:52 PM IST      
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While the country is speaking about nothing but the demonetisation of high-value currency and most people are struggling to get enough cash from the banks, one individual was seen reportedly spending close to Rs 500 crore on his daughter’s wedding in Karnataka last week. Many questions were raised about how an individual can do this while the entire country is strapped for cash. This has brought the focus on big fat Indian weddings and the cash spent on weddings in India.

Marriages of the rich and powerful are matter of envy for the common people and they are also a matter much talked about. One of such marriages in Maharashtra took place at Akluj in Solapur district four decades ago but it is an event referred to even today when there is a talk of lavish marriage ceremonies of the rich. Cooperative and sugar baron Shankarrao Mohite Patil had hosted a grand celebration in the early 1970s on the occasion of his eldest son Vijaysinh (later deputy chief minister of Maharashtra). The marriage ceremony which lasted for a few days was attended by thousands of villagers from Solapur district, earning the nickname Sahasrabhojane Mohite Patil (one who fed thousands of people).

Prior to the marriage, Shankarrao Mohite Patil had visited several villages in Solapur district to invite the local people for the marriage and since it was impossible for him to meet each villager’s family in person, he applied the red tila (vermilion) on the boards of the respective village panchayat. The villagers too treated this an invitation that they could not turn down and attended the marriage and the subsequent reception enthusiastically. As the lavish marriage celebration took place in Maharashtra other parts of the country was hit by drought. So then prime minister Indira Gandhi had questioned Shankarrao Mohite Patil about the propriety of holding such a lavish celebration. The cooperative baron who had a large following in his district had then replied, “But madam, how could I not invite these people for my son’s marriage when I myself had attended almost all major functions in the families of my supporters?”

After the negative publicity attracted by the Akluj marriage, the politicians and others in Maharashtra have avoided turning the marriage ceremonies in their family into an extravaganza affair.

The marriage of Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, held in Baramati in early 1991 was an example in this regard. Although the marriage was attended by the then prime minister Chandra Shekhar, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and other political veterans, those who attended the wedding still recall how the ceremony was devoid of any pomp and show or obscene exhibition of wealth.

In Indian history, the marriage of Indira and Feroze Gandhi which took place just a few months before the 1942 Quit India movement cited an example of simplicity. The couple had worn khadi clothes and also a garland made of sandalwood and khadi. The ‘first family in Indian politics’ has kept this tradition of simplicity in marriage to this date.

The marriage of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981 was billed as the ‘marriage of the century’. More than a year before the royal wedding, the event had hogged the limelight in newspaper columns and other media and the UK had attracted a large number of tourists during those days. The souvenirs of the royal wedding were sold in large numbers at that time. It is an altogether a different matter that the much talked about the royal romance and the subsequent wedding ceremony later ended in a formal separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The recent marriage ceremony which attracted negative publicity and widespread criticism was the one hosted by NCP leader Bhaskar Jadhav at Chiplun in Konkan region in 2013. The NCP Chief Sharad Pawar had then publicly chastised Jadhav for the obscene show of wealth when the State was reeling under severe drought situation.

The recent marriage of the daughter of former Karnataka minister and BJP leader G Janardhan Reddy at Bengaluru is estimated to have cost Rs 100 crore. The marriage was attended by over 50,000 and a large number VVIPs belonging to all political parties.

It may be said that there is nothing wrong with rich people spending money on various events as long as the spent money is legal. The extravaganza nonetheless does raise a question mark over the need and propriety of hosting the event in such a manner. Even those VVIPs who attend such an event either as an obligation or protocol do endorse such filthy show of wealth and prosperity. The public figures at least should avoid endorsing it. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gender discrimination at places of worship, a legacy!

Gender discrimination at places of worship, a legacy!
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Sunday, 10 April 2016 AT 11:08 AM IST
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The entry of women at Shani Temple’s sanctum sanctorum has been covered by national media and is being viewed as a historic event. 

The 300-year-old tradition of not allowing women at this place has been broken. But it is not just Shani temple or Hindu temples where this tradition of restricting women is practised. This really is a legacy issue. At dozens of places, it has been followed and then at some it has gradually changed.

Pune witnessed a Satyagraha in 1929 to seek opening of the historic Parvati temple to the untouchables. The temple trustees had then maintained that it was a private temple and therefore untouchables will not be allowed to enter. One of the leaders of the Satyagraha was Congress leader Narhar Vishnu Gadgil. Socialist leader SM Joshi was also one of the participants. During the Satyagraha, the temple gates were closed and stone pelting also took place, injuring some Satyagrahis seriously.

A couple of years earlier, there was also a satyagraha to seek opening of the Chaudar Tank at Mahad in Konkan to the untouchables. The struggle for opening the famous Kalaram temple in Nashik to the untouchables had also continued for some years. The Vitthal temple at Pandharpur was thrown open to untouchables only when Gandhian leader and writer Pandurang Sadashiv alias Sane Guruji resorted to a fast unto death in May 1947 seeking to open the temple to members of all castes.

The resistance to open religious shrines to all communities was however not confined to Hinduism alone. In southern states of India, people belonging to various high castes as well as the untouchables embraced Christianity in the 17th and 18th century. Retaining the castes rigidity even after the conversions, these regions had separate churches and also separate burial grounds for the high castes and the Dalit Christians - a practice which was connived by the Church hierarchy until a century earlier.

The present controversy over the opening of the Shani Shingnapur temple to women is only the latest movement on ending gender and other kinds of discrimination at religious shrines. There are some outdated or barbaric traditions in all religions, which need to change in keeping with the prevalent modern times.

Unfortunately, whenever someone or a group demands reforms in religious practices, they are accused of being anti-religion, heretic, iconoclast or even atheists. This is what exactly happened when a German Catholic priest Martin Luther revolted against the Church’s practices in the 16th century and later became the father of Protestant reformation in the church. All religions - be it Hinduism, Christianity or Islam or any other religion - have to keep pace with the contemporary period to fulfil the inspirations of their community members and accommodate the needed changes and reforms in religious practices.

Throughout the ages, the human civilization has been male dominated and even the God is most often conceived as a male identity. Naturally all religions have several traditions and practices which are gender discriminatory. The right to preside over religious services or to conduct rites for various ceremonies like christening, final rites etc are to this date prerogatives of the males alone.

This is despite the fact that there are no theological or scriptural grounds to defend the existing gender discrimination in religious hierarchy or practises. It will take a long time before there is a change in this situation. The society and leaders of all religions need to ensure that the needed religious reforms are introduced to make these religions relevant to all sections of the faithful.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Over six decades after Independence, just 12 pc women in Parliament!

Over six decades after Independence, just 12 pc women in Parliament!
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Monday, 7 March 2016 AT 09:54 PM IST
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Women power: PM Narendra Modi greets delegates after the valedictory session of the National Conference of Women Legislators

One experiences a rare kind of bonhomie when women Members of Parliament belonging to various political parties come together. This was noticed when these women members came together last week as a part of the national conference of women legislators. And as has been the case with all other such meets in the past, this convention too has once again brought the issue of women’s quota in Parliament to the fore. President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari have stressed on the need for all political parties to arrive at a consensus to pass the long pending Bill on Women’s Reservation for Parliament and state legislature seats.
Incidentally, Maharashtra was one of the first states in the country in early 1990s to implement the provision of 33% seats for women in local self-government bodies. This revolutionary provision was implemented when Sharad Pawar was the State chief minister. The first elections for civic bodies with the 33% quota for women were held in Kolhapur Municipal Corporation. I remember camping in Kolhapur along with representatives of various dailies to cover this one of the first such elections in the country. There were many apprehensions whether this experiment will ever be successful in achieving its avowed aim of politically empowering women or whether the men in the families will continue to rule by proxy despite the rule on women’s quota.
Three decades have passed since 33% quota for women in local self-government bodies came into the force. A few years ago, the women’s quota was enhanced to 50%, providing representation to a large number of women in decision making at the local civic bodies. India perhaps may be the first country in the world to reserve 50 per cent seats for women in local self-government bodies. However even six decades after Independence, the percentage of women in Parliament has remained less than 12%. Comparatively, Pakistan and Bangladesh have higher representation in their national assemblies.
Unfortunately the issue of providing quota for women in Parliament and state assemblies has been pending in the Lok Sabha for many years although the same Bill has already been passed in the Rajya Sabha. In the previous House, the issue of the women’s quota in its given form was mainly opposed by the Socialist leaders namely Mulayam Singh Yadav, and others while both the UPA government and the then main opposition party BJP both competed with each other in paying lip sympathy for the woman’s quota.
Now with the change of guard at the Centre, the roles in the Lok Sabha have been reversed. This is also for the first time in three decades that the ruling party at the Centre enjoys a simple majority. Surprisingly there has been a deafening silence on the issue of providing for women’s quota in Parliament and state assemblies since the change of power at the Centre. Neither the ruling NDA coalition nor the Opposition parties have ever raised this issue either in the House or outside.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari have now raised the issue of women’s quota. The ongoing debate on JNU, nationalism, sedition and intolerance in the country is likely to  continue for a longer period. The ruling and opposition parties will earn the kudos of women, the country’s nearly half population, if they arrive at a consensus to provide some percentage of reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures.
The political parties have already wasted many years on this issue. Now they need to muster the political will and work to ensure that the next general elections will be held to have an adequate number of women lawmakers in both Houses of Parliament.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

All minorities must be taken along

All minorities must be taken along
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Saturday, 5 March 2016 AT 07:42 PM IST
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Narendra Modi-led BJP came to power in May 2014 and the party won the distinction of forming the government on its own for the first time after a long gap of 30 years. It was Rajiv Gandhi of the Congress who had won a two-third majority in Lok Sabha in 1984 and formed the government.

The present BJP government also has a dubious distinction. Since Independence, it is the first ruling party at the Centre which does not have a single Muslim member among its 282 Lok Sabha members! That is why the party was forced to induct the party’s
Muslim Rajya Sabha members, Najma Heptullah and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi into the Union ministry to make it as all inclusive. This was indeed laudatory on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In Maharashtra, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has however not shown this political maturity. For the first time since Maharashtra came into existence in 1960, there is no minority representative in the state ministry. In the past when the Shiv Sena-BJP government came to power in 1995, Sabir Shaikh, an MLA from Junnar, was inducted as Cabinet minister. But this time, neither the BJP nor the Shiv Sena found it necessary to induct any minority leader into the State ministry. The State ruling group has once again shown its scant respect for the country’s secular principles when it has excluded any member of the minority community in the State ministry. In keeping with this policy, now the government has also excluded any members of the Muslim community from the list of veteran national leaders, personalities whose birth and death anniversaries are to be commemorated by the government organisations and academic institutions. Incidentally, the Muslims comprise 10-12 per cent of the State population.

The BJP came to power when its Prime Ministerial candidate made good governance and development as his main election plank. To be fair, it must be noted that even after assuming power as the prime minister, Modi has in his various speeches and actions has adhered to these promises. In Maharashtra, however the BJP has initiated many moves creating insecurity in the minds of the minority communities. In fact, after coming to power, both the BJP and Shiv Sena should have made endeavours to win confidence of all sections of society in order to broaden their vote bank and thus consolidate their power to win long-term political benefits.

It has been proved that there are limitations on a party winning even a simple majority in Lok Sabha on the Hindutva plank and therefore an all-inclusive agenda, appealing to cross-sections of the electorate is needed for any political party to come to power at the Centre. As Hindutva organisations, BJP and Shiv Sena may have their own agenda toward the minorities but as the ruling group and the governing agency, they need to follow the Raj Dharma and work in the interests of all sections of the state’s population.

Instead of targeting the minorities, both parties in the ruling group need to woo the minorities into their own respective political camps. That will be a politically mature move and will pay them rich political dividends in the long term.