Mahapex returns to Pune after six years with stamps, covers and drones

Mahapex is set to return to Pune after six years, as reported by HT. It will be held from 20 to 22 January 2018 at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch. This is a state level philatelic exhibition for Maharashtra and Goa.

“This year the exhibition will see a demonstration of drone technology. In this first demo a mail will be transported from Ganesh Kala Krida Manch to Swargate post office. A Segway will be used to demonstrate the movement of mail by air and land,” Ganesh Sawaleshwarkar, post master general, informed at a press conference.

340 frames of 95 stamp collectors will be displayed. 60 frames from international award winning exhibits will also be showcased. Simultaneously, competitions like stamp designing, letter writing, elocution and a quiz will be held for school students during this event.  “This will ensure that students show keen interest philately. It is a way to promote it as a fascinating hobby,” Sawaleshwarkar said.

Special covers of various sites of Maharashtra will be released.  These include Cavansite mineral near Wagholi, Kandhar fort at Nanded, Gateway of India and Marine drive from Mumbai, Directorate of postal accounts in Nagpur, Vidarba tiger and Irwin Bridge in Sangli.

The event aims to increase the interest in philately that has been declining. Some areas in Mumbai continue to promote it through merchandising stamp t-shirts and mugs.

Sources: Hindustan Times, TOI

Of devotion, faith and supreme glory: Changing face of Palkhi

Amidst a cacophony that echoed devotion and faith, the Palkhi for Sant Tukaram Maharaj and Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj  finally reached its sacred destination- Pandharpur. Starting its journey from Alandi in the holy month of Jyeshtha (June), Palkhi or Dindi procession is one of the most anticipated events of the city that reflects traditional Maharashtrian culture.

This 22-day-old event saw the Warkaris (devotees and volunteers who conduct and participate) commence this event on the auspicious day of Ashadi Ekadashi, and chant, sing and dance their way to glory and eternal bliss to appease and worship the lord Vithoba in the olden colonies of Pune.

With the advent of technology, the city also saw seventh Facebook Dindi- a new-age virtual dindi that propagates social messages. This year’s dindi spread awareness about woman empowerment as opposed to last year’s water conservation.

However, this year, the Palkhi came with a difference. Warkaris  went that extra mile to spread joy for the physically handicapped devotees. For the first time in history, Pune witnessed a one-of-a-kind ‘Apanganchi Dindi’ meaning ‘Dindi for the disabled’.

Brainchild of Deepak Dhoble, a 21-year-old partially blind orphan from Pargaon village of Ambegaon region, this dindi covered the Alandi-Pandharpur path for the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi. Even in the past, Deepak had undertaken varied initiatives to promote the well-being of physically handicapped people in his village. This intriguing concept quickly garnered attention and on a short notice, Deepak received positive responses from nearly 50 enthusiastic physically handicapped individuals from the state.

“I regularly walk the annual Palakhi since my childhood. When I was very young, given my own condition, I had observed that there is no separate dindi for the physically and mentally challenged, either in the Sant Tukaram or Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi processions.” he says.

He also stated that when he would express the beauty of the event to his handicapped friends, he would notice their grief and longing to participate. That, somewhere, inspired him to carve out this plan.

The palanquin procession saw several disabled people enthusiastically participate in the event. Narayan Rao Wagh, a polio-affected man from Akurdi shares, “As soon as I came to know about the event on whatsapp, I was overjoyed. The word spread quickly and many of my disabled friends followed suit.”

Anandibai Viratkar from Daund got emotional while thanking Deepak for organising this event. “ I cannot thank him for starting this Wari. Not only the chants and devotion moved our disabled community, but it spread a sense of fraternity among us.

Social media was an instrumental tool in executing this plan, and consequently he received numerous calls from across the state. He received responses from Pune, Ahmednagar and Washim for the dindi on June 22, 2017. Overwhelmed by this response, he decided to expand the idea and further promote the plan.

The head priest and treasurer of the Alandi Sansthan said that this is for the first time, the divyang community is included in this holy procession. The devotees are optimistic that in future, ‘social dindis’ will certainly spread awareness about the prevalent issues, especially for the downtrodden and disabled class.

The essence of celebrating any festival is to inculcate a sense of spreading happiness and joy. That’s what a palkhi does. It gives a whole new meaning to divinity and strives to eradicate the ills of the society.

Image Source: Indian Express

Young stars shine at dhol-tasha pathaks

PC: Ashmak Maity
PC: Ashmak Maity

The stage at Krushna Sundar lawns near Kothrud was decorated to befit the magnificence and sheer vibrancy of the dhol-tasha pathaks that were to come in for a competition on September 10th and 11th this week. The 2 day competition whose grand finale happened at Shaniwar Wada on September 13th witnessed over 40 pathaks competing with their original compositions and raging dhol beats, emanating immense energy in the grounds.

The high point of the event however, was not only the magnanimity of it but also the presence of children as young as 5 years performing the dhol, some of them involved in playing the tasha, blending beautifully with the much apparent elder members in their respective troupes.

“We have members as young as 3 years to players who are 40 year old in the pathak. Everybody who is here is passionate about the festival and about the dhol. Age is never a barrier. This medium and space is open and accessible for all,” said Deepali, a senior performer at the Sahyadri Garjana pathak.

With audience members enjoying in tune with the rhythm of the dhol and applauding the young stars, the children have an insight into the history of Ganesh utsav and its meanings in Maharashtra.  Atharva, a class 4 student playing with Veda Brahma pathak joined the group this year. “I heard about the pathak from a friend and the history of the festival is rich and interesting. Lokmanya Gangadhar Tilak started the festival for the first time in Pune to bring all Indians together in the fight against the Britishers. Playing the dhol is my passion and after a long day at school, this is my relaxing time,” he concluded confidently.

In the midst of groups that have a few children, the Shivatandav pathak is a bal pathak, a group comprising only of children. “We formed the group because of the interest shown by young kids and their desire to play the dhol. This festival is about getting everybody together and slowly things have changed with respect to who can play the dhol,” said Kunal Bhat, the instructor for Shivatandav pathak.

Inviting bappa morya with festive beats is not a space for traditional well settled pathaks anymore, as new entrants into the system have been changing dynamics and opportunities for others.