A blessing for brides
In India, marriage—a union of two souls and an occasion to be celebrated by both families—unfortunately, becomes a cause of stress and tension due to the expenses involved, which are usually borne by the girl’s family. This custom originated in earlier times; since the girl did not inherit the father’s property, dowry was given to her, as her share of her parent’s property, in marriage. However, this practice continues, although it is not relevant today.
People have been known to mortgage their property, sell their land, or take heavy loans just to send a girl away to another home. This is unfortunately quite common in India, but most of us turn a blind eye to this malaise. Thankfully, there are some who are different, like Mr Hombarde, who teach us not to ignore the wrongs but do something about it.
Mr Shyam Babarao Hambarde, a lawyer from Navi Mumbai, was shocked when he saw a man commit suicide because he could not formalise his daughter’s marriage due to his economic condition. He could not sleep because of this and made up his mind to do something to help such people. He contacted friends and started a mission to save underprivileged girls and their parents from falling prey to the stress of such marriages. He began an NGO called Dr Patodekar NGO (https://www.drpatodekarngo.org/) for helping the poor. Their work includes performing poor girls’ marriages. They firmly believe that no girl should be treated as a burden simply due to her marriage expenses.
He believes all who donate to his NGO incur good karma by helping a person perform his daughter’s marriage. His NGO is into many other initiatives like education and women’s empowerment, and continues to do its best in all areas. We certainly can take a leaf out of his book to help others, for a daughter is to be revered and loved and never made to feel like a burden.
Village with a rosy future
When there is so much discussion on women being treated poorly, it is wonderful to hear of a remarkable village called Gulabi Gaon in Nashik.
Jitendra Gawali, a primary school teacher who was posted in Bhintghar village in Nashik district, Maharashtra, transformed it into a place empowering all, beginning with the girls. One thing led to another, resulting in Popat Kaka, a mechanical engineer turned social worker, devoting his life to the upliftment of the village after his retirement. He is currently looking after the work started by the Jankalyan Samiti of this village. He has a goshala looking after 10 cows, where many school and college students are encouraged to do internships. With the support of others, Popate Kaka is now making shampoos and body creams by using plants, seeds, and natural resources. He also makes phenyl using herbs and gomutra (cow’s urine).
Additionally, Popat Kaka tackled the water shortage in the area. The government had provided the village with wells but they were insufficient. So Popat Kaka, with the support of others, began deepening and broadening the existing wells to use them for harvesting rainwater and making sure that water was available throughout the year. Those wells are full of water now. He did this to help people carry out farming twice or thrice a year and not migrate to cities. In this way, they could focus on developing the villages instead of migrating to cities, staying in slums, and increasing the burden on the cities.
To promote women empowerment, houses are painted pink. All the girls go to school. They have also adopted organic farming, and the village is kept very clean. Everything is a success as everyone is involved. There is still a lot that is happening in many areas. Currently, the villagers need a small business centre where their youth can open shops like salons, beauty parlours, laundries, mobile repair centres, stationery marts, and so on. To help in these areas, they are being supported by the Child Help Foundation. To help or reach out, please contact Meena Lokhande at email@example.com or call 9819410818.
Yoga with Shobha
Shobha Rana, a holistic wellness and mindfulness coach, introduced an app called ‘Yoga with Shobha,’ which is an integrating platform for people who genuinely want to learn yoga and its principles. This mindfulness-infused lifestyle app brings the best of the teachers in the yoga space, who conduct enriching live sessions and masterclasses on topics like asanas and healing yoga postures, digestive health, PCOD, back pain, anxiety management, and breathwork by providing yogic solutions. Shobha’s aim is to give away simple, easy-to-use tools to people, which can help them navigate their way through real-life challenges and help them overcome a state of inertia which holds them back from taking the right action despite having all the knowledge.
Shobha Rana, a software engineer by qualification, turned into a contemporary yogini after she felt inclined towards reading extensively on yoga, spirituality, ayurveda, and the Bhagavad Gita. She got into the space of holistic wellness for fitness, but it did not quench her thirst for seeking the truth and deeper answers; hence, she did not just stop at physical fitness. She calls yoga her foundation, and all her work is rooted in the ancient science and wisdom of yoga, spirituality, and mysticism. To study it even more deeply, she did a master’s course in Yoga and Science of Living.
Today, Shobha enriches many people’s lives with life skills that are effective for all seven parameters of health: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, and environmental. As an impactful orator, she has spoken on multiple forums and panels about creating awareness about one’s overall health and well-being needs. She leads many group sessions and workshops with corporates and for people from all walks of life. Her audiences usually fall in the 25–45 age bracket. In her sessions, she talks about subjects like dealing with major physical health issues, creating joy in life, stress management, not being stuck in life, emotional detox, handling rejection well, success mantras, holistic health solutions, women entrepreneurship, identifying purpose, setting goals, and building sustainable healthy habits.
Every day, Shobha Rana aspires to help people create more holistic and fulfilling lives. Through her efficient programmes, she has managed to coach over 5000 people in the past few years.
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