In a city consumed with the very idea of making money, here’s a story of selflessness.
The Aarey Bhumiputra Govinda Pathak, comprising 600-700 members from 27 poor hamlets of Goregaon Aarey Milk Colony, donate their entire prize money towards the upliftment of the neglected tribal children of the area.
Ashok Khandve, a member of the group, said, “Our prize money helps children studying in balwadis. We distribute toys, books, conduct minor repair work on the Balwadi structure, paint the frayed walls and pay their electricity bills.”
“We had been looking for a way to collect money to improve the tribals’ lives. The state government has always neglected us. So, last year, we formed a Govinda team,” Khandve said.
This year, too, they intend to make a tidy sum for the children. They started practising at Kelti Pada two months ago. Khandve said, “Every evening we gather at a spot and practise building human pyramids. Some members join us after their regular jobs. Many work in private firms for a daily wage of Rs 100 - Rs 200.
“Our tribal youth are stronger than city boys. In 2009, our first year, our members broke the handi with seven tiers. This year, we are aiming for eight tiers. If possible, we will also try nine. Other groups took 30 years to perfect the nine-tier pyramid,” Khandve added.
Gamnpat Rawte (30), a member of the group and a resident of Kamacha pada, walks five kilometres to the practice area at Keltipada every day and reaches home past midnight.
Nine-year-old Pradeep Gudade, a Class 4 student of SRP Camp Municipal School, is part of the top tier. The fearless little boy proudly said, “I am not at all scared of heights.”