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SEWAJYOTI'S SOCIAL COMMITMENTS: GLIMPSES OF OUR ACTIVITIES IN RAJASTHAN AND UTTAR PRADESH
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COMMUNAL HARMONY

The spirit of tolerance and assimilation are the hallmarks of Indian civilization, and Shekhawati is no exception to this. Baba Ramdev festival is a shining example of how different communities find common ground here as they come together and celebrate in each other’s presence. In this land, such examples can be found in abundance; however there are elements who occasionally try to disturb the internal peace which is an intrinsic part of our social fabric. Never has the question of communal harmony and social integration raised such a wide range of emotions as today.  Considering this, Sewajyoti attaches utmost importance to the promotion of communal harmony and a sense of brotherhood among communities.

Sewajyoti regularly conducts events, congregations and meet ups to celebrate festivals of different communities with an active involvement of their members. On one hand, it celebrates Diwali and on the other Id-ul-fitra. Needless to say, people from all religions and castes take part in these programmes and further strengthen the bond of brotherhood that traditionally exists between them. Such occasions often take emotional turns with people hugging and congratulating each other. While Muslims, Sikhs and Christians take part in Diwali celebrations, Hindus come to attend Id festival with their Muslim brothers. On the occasion of Holi, people from diverse background gather to enjoy the festival of colours while during the month of Ramzan Hindus rush to congratulate Muslims attending Sewajyoti’s Iftar parties.

    

With these celebrations, Sewajyoti tries to re-emphasize the glorious tradition of togetherness, mutual respect, tolerance and regard for other religions that are in existence in India for ages. 

Simple opportunities to sit together and discuss, respect each other’s sentiments and religious traditions, and understand other communities’ viewpoints makes a lot of difference in preservation of our Ganga Jamuni Culture.

Apart from religious festivals, Sewajyoti also celebrates important events such as Independence Day, Republic Day, Women’s Day, AIDS day, Disabled Day and Girl Child Day.

Celebrations also take place on the birth anniversary of Late Sh. Radheshyam R Morarka, whose life and selfless contributions to the society have been the inspiration behind our organization. Similarly, his death anniversary is also celebrated when we take a resolve to selflessly work in the service of the society and the country.

RURAL SPORTING EVENTS

During your childhood days you must have played a few games which kept you engaged and engrossed with your young friends. Traditonal games such as Satolia, Gilli-danda, Ghota-dari, Poshampa etc. are today vanishing from our social canvas. Modern day kids who are more interested in television, computer games and music players are losing out on such experiences which had earlier been an inseparable and natural part of a child’s growing process. Children should sure be encouraged to play cricket, football, badminton, tennis and hockey, but in the process we should not forget our age old traditional sports. Being part of our larger cultural and social canvas, they need to be preserved, and Sewajyoti is working in this direction.

One must remember that not all leisure activities are the purview of the elite, and there are sporting events created by those who live in smaller towns and villages that are related to pastoral activities. The people create their sporting activities as they go along. In rural areas, competitive events are more usually held during religious or social fairs. These can include camel races, or bullock races. Visitors may ask for demonstrations and then join in such local sporting events as kho-kho and gulli-danda, team events played in virtually all the lanes and streets of Rajasthan. In addition, there are races involving the carriages that animals may be used to pull as a part of their daily activity schedule.

     

We try to popularize them by organizing sporting activities for rural adults, women and kids. Such events have generated enormous interest among the local people and media for being so simple and interesting. 

Sewajyoti organizes rural sports competitions during Shekhawati Handicrafts and Tourism Festival. Sports such as Matka Daud, Matka Fod, Gilli Danda,Rrounder Balla, Hardara and Lunkyar attract large number of people. Prizes are distributed to the winners by Sewajyoti. We also organize rural sports such as camel race, horse race and Jugad race.

The process started in 2005 with organization of a district level rural sports competition in the memory of Late Sh. Radheshyam Ji Morarka. Winners and runners up were presented with shields and cups. Winners of individual events received cash rewards. Since then, the event is being organized on an annual basis. Many lively traditional sports that people had forgotten are now coming to the fore. Sewajyoti feels that many more such competitions should be organized in different parts of the country to preserve an important part of our cultural heritage.

PROMOTING TRADITIONAL ART AND CULTURE

The campaign to preserve our cultural heritage is not just limited to Sewajyoti Handicrafts. It extends to the field of performing arts as well which involves folk singing, folk plays and dramas (khyal and nautanki etc.), puppetry, animal performances and the like. Sewajyoti has always been eager to help artists engaged in traditional performing arts in different ways. We not just participate in local festivals and fairs but support the performing artists. On some occasions Sewajyoti has come forward to sponsor such events and financially help artists who need such assistance.

During the Shekhawati Handicrafts and Tourism Fair, Sewajyoti has been sponsoring sporting and cultural activities. A few years ago, a cultural evening organized by Sewajyoti in cooperation with Shilp Gram drew large number of crowds. The programme enthralled every one and is still remembered fondly by the local people. A qawwali (a singing style) competition was the special attraction of the event in which scores of young and talented qawwals participated with great enthusiasm.

     

‘Kala Jatha’ is another important initiative taken by Sewajyoti which involves performing artists. These artists are involved in our awareness campaigns on issues of social and national importance. This allows them to make a contribution a good cause and also get a chance to perform before large number of crowds and show their talent. Street plays are an important part of the process and have been very effective in disseminating messages of social importance among the masses.

Competitions are organized to highlight traditional art forms involving housewives such as Mehandi, Rangoli and Mandana. Animal performances such as horse dance and camel dance are also very popular in the area. We encourage the owners of trained performing animals to show their skills during local festivals. All such activities see active participation of enthusiastic local crowds.

SEWAJYOTI HANDICRAFTS

In culturally ‘connected’ Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, festivities go on for the entire year. People of this are enthusiastic go-getters who like to enjoy celebrating their festivals and fairs with incredible fun and fervor. On such occasions programmes are organized involving local artists, singers, dancers and craftsmen which leave everyone impressed. Impact of Shekhawati’s rich cultural heritage can be seen everywhere; on the wall-paintings of its havelis, in the architecture of local buildings, in the mesmerizing designs of local bawadis (water tanks), in traditional clothing, in folk songs and folk dances. With the invasion of western culture and modern day life style, our age old heritage is getting ignored. Shekhawati is losing its sheen as the traditional hub of art, craft and culture.

Sewajyoti is deeply pained at the state of affairs and feels that we must preserve our rich cultural traditions and heritage. It has founded a separate organization ‘Sewajyoti Handicrafts’ to preserve and promote local art and culture. The organization has encouraged traditional craftsmen, artisans, artists, painters, sculptors, singers, dramatists, dancers and others who have in one way or the other contributed to keep these fascinating art forms alive. 

     

Based in Nawalgarh, Sewajyoti Handicrafts engaged with traditional artists, craftsmen and artisans and encouraged them to set up workshops to carry out their work in a traditional manner. An amount of Rs. 10 lakh was made available under the scheme to preserve and promote handicrafts. There were provided space, and were helped with equipment, marketing assistance, publicity and financial support. Products coming out of this project were sold through stalls put up by Sewajyoti Handicrafts during festivals and fairs such as the Shekhawati Handicrafts and Tourism Fair. Many such projects have been planned by the organization and are being implemented. 

Sewajyoti Handicrafts was established in March 2010 in Nawalgarh. Under the project, craftsmen are making lakh-products, Jari-booti, rakhi and other such things and are receiving our support at different stages, from sourcing of raw material to marketing. Under the project, Sewajyoti Handicrafts had involved 250 to 400 families who were also provided training by expert craftsmen.

SEWAJYOTI FACTFILE
  • Shri Radheshyam R Morarka Govt. Post Graduate College building was constructed in Jhunjhunu in a record time. It was dedicated to the people in 2006.

  • The college building was constructed by Sewajyoti at a cost of Rs. 2.45 crore.

  • Expansion of the college building took place in 2010 at a cost of Rs. 53 lacs.

  • Sh. Radheshyam Morarka Memorial Government Bus Terminal, Jhunjhunu was developed at a total cost of Rs. 1.05 crores.

  • The Bus terminal was inaugurated on April 21, 2011.

  •  Radheshyam Morarka Medical Institute (RMMI) was inaugurated in 2006. It is a modern 32 bed hospital equipped with state of the art technology.

  • As demand rose, capacity of RMMI had to be expanded, and four new cottage wards were added.

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