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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Edition1: Jeevanjyot school and about false role models


This week we had opportunity to have events at jeevanjyot school for mentally handicapped children. It was indeed a learning curve for us. The person behind the show undoubtedly deserved to be the first in our series to honor heroes within us.
It was the year 1980. The parents of a few mentally-challenged children came together to start a special school, and Meena Inamdar took the initiative to found the Jeevan Jyot Mandal, under which the Tarate Mukta Shala was established on Karve road. After Kamayani, this was the second school for mentally-challenged children in Pune and today has over 150 special children attending it. Recently honoured with the prestigious Baya Karve award from the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha, Inamdar's contribution to the field of teaching mentally-challenged children has been enormous. Her grit in sustaining herself and other like-minded parents' ambitions is evident. "Initially, I had to struggle to acquire land and funds for the school. But the will power and enthusiasm of the other parents involved helped us achieve the objective of providing a facility, which would in turn help in the development of special children," says Inamdar. She trained herself as a special educator at Kamayani in order to groom her mentally challenged daughter, Sujata, at home. Initially, the Tarate school started as a series of classes for special children in an open plot of land on Karve Road, which housed a lone mango tree. Later, some cupboards, donated by well-wishers, began to occupy space around the children. At present, students in the age group of 4 to 18 and above are taught academics and given vocational training at the Tarate school. Ujwala Kulkarni, a former special educator of the school and parent of two mentally-challenged children who have been studying there, actively crusades for the well-being of the students. "Now, we can impart dance and music training to these children, besides grooming them academically. These creative activities are important to make them happy and sustain the joy they experience on the way," says Kulkarni. From candle-making, embroidery and sewing to chalk and garland-making, the students learn it all. "We also house mentally challenged individuals who are above 45 years of age," says Inamdar. In 1994, Jeevan Jyot set up a residential hostel for special children, which now houses 40 boys and girls.
Grooming the parents of such children has also been an integral part of Inamdar's work. Hence, there is a special counselling centre for parents at the school to address their grievances. "Some parents do not readily accept their children if they are born mentally-challenged. I try to highlight the similarities between normal kids and those who are mentally challenged. Both are equally inquisitive, sharp, have strong creative instincts and are willing to learn," she says. Sunanda Karange, a vocational trainer at the school, whose 30-year-old mentally-challenged daughter studies there, agrees with Inamdar. "My daughter learned to speak when she was seven years old. But, now, she loves to engross herself in vocational activities at school and also loves to do household chores. On the whole, parents have become more sensitive to such children," says Karange, who teaches crafts and embroidery.
And even though society remains inimical when faced with the mentally-challenged, Inamdar has always chosen to face reality with equanimity. "I am not bitter about people's reaction to these children, nor do I expect anything from society. The fact is that these children can only be brought up with abundant love and patience. More importantly, parents have to make a lifetime of investment money-wise, because these children have to be constantly taken care of," says Inamdar. "Do not pass on the responsibility of these special children to the next generation, because it is not fair," she says. "Parents have to find alternatives that can help nurture their children better." Besides the Tarate school and the hostel, Jeevan Jyot will be coming up with a residential school-cum-vocational training facility known as Jeevan Ashray, on a three-acre plot of land at village Daravali, some 22 km from Pune, within the next six to seven months. "We will start with 25 students," says Inamdar as her crusade begins a new chapter.

Half Boiled Eggs (false role models)

Surpised by the title? Cityblog does not allow devnagari as i would have written a phrase called as 'ardhya halkundane pivale' . If you literrally translate it, it would mean people turned yellow owing to half a stick of turmeric. It refers to that breed of people who are overrated by others for very mediocre achivements. Please note that, i believe that no one has any judgemental rights about anyone else's achievements and failures. But point to be noted mylord is that some people getting undue credit for unworthy achievements and glorified by media/public/society/friends/colleagues/family and self.Start with those goons called as politicians whose hoardings occupy our landscape and we see those horrifying faces being termed as upcoming leaders across political spectrums. what have they done? apart from hooliganism, being at forefront at some functions, crime, corruption so on.. Most of them are second generation politicians whose claim to fame is his surname. and they come in bunches. one can atleast understand elected representatives starting with corporators , mlas and mps , but the faces seem to come from nowhere.. Its my ambition one day that on one of my birthday i will put up a huge cutout of mine and putting encircled photos of Sonia, Advani, sharad pawar, Seniormost Thakre, Raj Thakrey, Mayawati, (have i left anyone across political spectrum atleast here in Pune). Noone will have any reason to object.Next comes those half celebrities on page3's and channels. Having featured in a half role for one of the umpteem soaps running on umpteen channels make them page3 and reality show regulars. Eg i dont know half the gang at big boss or 8 out of 10 jodis in nach baliye...IPL has opened up this cult status for local cricketers who were left with wilderness of Ranji circuit. So you will now find more IPL starts in media glare.Sania Mirza getting brand endorsements for winning one grandslam match 2 years back.Software engineers who fail at basic oops concept interview questions commanding X+ 2 L as paypacket . (X= no of yrs of exp). The BPO executives demanding perks for wiling away time on facebook, orkut...An IT evangelist attending page3 parties, an IT babu claiming to have brain behind supercomputer, Some bullshit novelist (international) asking for kashmir independance, average masala film lyricist, average secular film director having opinion on almost everything...Self proclaimed authors writing and publishing books for most ordinary or borrowed experiences and insights. (thats includes yours truly as well but blogs is for my own sake, its for reader to find its merit)List goes on an on:Time to salute real heroesBaba Aamtes of world, Abhay Bungs of world doing wonderful work in remotest areas, swaminathans of world, FC Kohlis of world who made Indian IT big, Narayanmurthys of world who positioned indian IT , Sam manekshaws, sam pitrodas, jawans and other police/military doing their duties amongst hardships , non corrupt officials doing duties honestly amidst corruptions, even politicians who contributed like rajeev gandhi for technology, Vajpayee/thackrey for roads, PV narshinarao/manmohan for Economy, profs at IITs /scientists who shy away from market riches for the cause of research out of choice, first gen entrepreuners trying to fight odds , volunteers doing traffic wardening, social servants doing honest and unpublicized efforts for various causes, our round tables building schools without much publicity, its for each of those who do their job honestly and with professional integrity to excel..Need a media to value them. maybe some of them of above list have got their dues, but its time to appreciate each of above list and maybe ones i have missed. I feel that by doing this and glorifying these people, we can create role models and thus can spread virtues more effectively in younger generation. With these common good traits, society will improve.It will do much better to stop glorifying these half boiled eggs...

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