Dharmadhikari’s public service has resulted in such a huge crowd: Shah | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Dharmadhikari’s public service has resulted in such a huge crowd: Shah

ByG. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Apr 17, 2023 01:11 AM IST

Speaking at the programme, Amit Shah said, “People are sitting here in 42 degrees as far as I can see. It is the public service of Dharmadhikari sans any expectation that has resulted in such a huge crowd. Only respect and devotion can make this possible, and it can only come from the sacrifice, submission and service of Appasaheb

Navi Mumbai: Over 20 lakh followers of preacher-social worker 77-year-old Dattatreya Narayan Dharmadhikari, popularly known as Appasaheb Dharmadhikari, came from all over Maharashtra and the rest of the country to witness the presentation of Maharashtra’s highest civilian award, the Maharashtra Bhushan 2022, to him on Sunday.

Navi Mumbai, India - April 16, 2023:Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis conferred Maharashtra Bhushan to Dr. Appasaheb Dharmaadhikari at Corporate Park , Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, India, on Sunday, April 16, 2023. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)
Navi Mumbai, India - April 16, 2023:Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis conferred Maharashtra Bhushan to Dr. Appasaheb Dharmaadhikari at Corporate Park , Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, India, on Sunday, April 16, 2023. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)

The award was presented by Union minister Amit Shah in the presence of chief minister Eknath Shinde, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and a host of state ministers. The programme was held at the 206-acre Corporate Park in Kharghar. The award comprises a medal, a citation and 25 lakh, which Appasaheb donated to the chief minister’s relief fund.

The followers sat patiently in sweltering heat for hours for the award ceremony that began shortly after 11 am. Several had been around from the previous evening.

Speaking at the programme, Amit Shah said, “People are sitting here in 42 degrees as far as I can see. It is the public service of Dharmadhikari sans any expectation that has resulted in such a huge crowd. Only respect and devotion can make this possible, and it can only come from the sacrifice, submission and service of Appasaheb.” Shah added that he had seen families “blessed with money, bravery and education” but had never seen the social service that was visible in the three generations of Dharmadhikaris, with Nanasaheb, Appasaheb and his son Sachin.

Shah asked the audience to applaud the state government for honouring Appasaheb. Further pushing the point, he said that Devendra Fadnavis, as CM, had recommended the Padmashree award for Appasaheb, and it was the BJP-Shiv Sena government which started the Maharashtra Bhushan award in 1995. “Sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have got it, and now for the first time, a father and son have both been conferred the award,” he said.

The Union home minister held forth on Chhatrapati Shivaji and other greats of the state who had given it “patriotism, spirituality and social service” like no one else. “Our Upanishad says that people should be taught by actions, as speech, religion and mantras are short-lived but actions stay,” he said. “Appasaheb has taught crores of people to work for one another and inspired them through his actions. Appasaheb has helped when the country has needed it most.”

Thanking the state government and Shah for taking the time out for the event, Appasaheb said, “This award is huge, but it is for the work done by us all and hence our entire family of Shri Sadasya get credit for it. Nanasaheb started the work from the rural areas, as he wanted the people there to first imbibe good values and culture. We have never advertised and do not want publicity.”

Appasaheb went on to declare that humanity was the biggest religion and people needed to observe it in their hearts. “Nanasaheb did a lot of good work, and I shall work till the last breath of my life,” he said. “My son Sachin will carry the legacy forward.”

Earlier Eknath Shinde, himself a follower of Appasaheb, started his speech with ‘Jai Sadguru’, and stated that he was there not as CM but as Shri Sadasya, a member of the ‘family’. “Not one person has left despite the heat, due to Appasaheb’s blessings,” he said. “People have been arriving for the last two days for the love of Appasaheb, which is his power and magic. I too have benefited from him when tragedy struck my family. Spiritual power is more powerful than political or administrative power, and Appasaheb is the inspiration here.”

Shinde said that the senior Dharmadhikari’s award ceremony had brought in a record crowd, which found a place in The Limca Book of Records. “Today, that record has been broken, which could only have been done by Shri Sadasyas,” he said. “I see God in Appasaheb.”

Deputy CM Fadnavis praised the record gathering, saying, “There are seven wonders of the world but every time I come for a pratishthan programme, I see the eighth wonder in the record crowds that come with an unmatched discipline. You do not see one piece of garbage after the programme.”

Added Fadnavis, “Lord Sri Krishna said in the Gita that money does not make a person rich—true wealth is in values, and this richness is in the Dharamdhikari family, which I believe is the wealthiest family in the world. You are carrying forward Nanasaheb’s legacy, and hence no one can be wealthier than you.”

Adding that it was a “pleasant coincidence” that Appasaheb was getting the award in Nanasaheb’s birth centenary year, Fadnavis said the Dharmadhikaris were given the title during Shivaji Maharaj’s time. “It was for their work of religious awakening and they have been at it for eight generations,” he said.

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