BODALI SEVA MANDAL UK : SECRETARY’S REPORT , SAMMELAN 9TH SEPTEMBER 2011
First of all I would like to thank you all for coming to the Sammelan today and also for showing us your support as you have done so in the past and I hope will continue to do so in the years to come.
‘Bodali Seva Mandal’ – so what does the word ‘Seva’ actually mean? Broadly speaking it means ‘selfless service for the betterment of others’. But Seva has a different meaning to every individual. Most of us here in the UK are very fortunate that, on the whole we are able to have relatively comfortable lives and sometimes we become complacent about the problems and difficulties faced every day by many people around the world and our village of Bodali is no exception to this fact.
For this reason, I do believe that as a ‘Seva Mandal’ we must not loose sight of the fact that one of our roles both as individuals and as a larger community is that of helping and supporting the people in our Gam and hopefully making some difference to their daily lives, however small it may be.
During the three Committee meetings that we have had in the last year we discussed various environmental and social issues that affect the Gam. My own skills in Gujarati are limited, so I was very fortunate to have the help of Arvinbhai, our Assistant Secretary who made many calls and wrote numerous letters in Gujarati to various members in Bodali, including an official letter he wrote on our behalf to the Gam Surpunch in support of our Gamvasi’s own petition opposing the removal of soil and sand from the river Purna.
The letter written by the Bodali Gamvasi’s together with the petition was handed in person by 40 people to the District Collector in Navsari, who deals with environmental issues. A copy of this letter is attached on our display board today.
I have so far had ……. signatures returned to me in the post, not counting the ones that I have been given today, and ….. signatures have been done online via our website from as far afield as the USA and India itself. I hope you will all sign the sheets that are being passed around today if you have not done so already and we sincerely thank you for the numerous messages of support that you have given us.
The committee also decided, at Gam’s request, to help some of the youngsters in our Gam by providing music equipment and Harmoniums for the Bhagan Mandali and also volleyball equipment to occupy them in the evenings. (Rather than getting involved in anti-social activities such as alcohol abuse which we all know has disastrous consequences not only for the individuals concerned but also for their own families).
We did not really expect any of the youngsters from our Gam to reply to us, so in July of this year, we were pleasantly rewarded by a very positive email from a young man thanking us for helping them. It is responses like these which gives one hope. Clearly this young man is grateful that we, in the UK, are showing some interest in their problems and welfare.
I therefore believe that it is even more important for us to keep all communications channels open between ourselves and those who are prepared to listen to us in the Gam.
It is not just with Bodali Gam youngsters that we would like to have improved relations with but also with all of you, especially the young people who have made so much effort in attending today. We now have an up and running website, so please do let us know what interests you about our Gam, your views and opinions on current issues relating to the Gam or anything else that you would like us to consider. Constructive input will be most appreciated.
Thank you once again for all your support and I hope you enjoy the day.