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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Schools, college students from Pune join the yearly pilgrimage

Apart from helping warkaris with food packets and cleaning up litter, the pilgrimage will see many student-initiated and student-driven activities

pune Updated: Jun 27, 2019 15:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Students from Orchid School, Baner interact with warkaris during the palkhi procession.
Students from Orchid School, Baner interact with warkaris during the palkhi procession.(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)
         

Many students of schools and colleges have joined the annual palkhi processions. Apart from helping warkaris with food packets and cleaning up litter, the pilgrimage will see many student-initiated and student-driven activities.

At least 100 students from Orchid School, Baner, participated as volunteers and offered snack packets to warkaris coming from Dehu at Khadki. The students were accompanied by their teacher and unit head Atreyi Saha. They also interacted with the warkaris.

Sameer Datar, a student of Class 8, said, “It is good to see so many people walking together. We asked warkaris about their pilgrimage, their place of stay and how long does it take to reach Pandharpur.”

For Bivjot Saini, he was watching a sea of people walking on the road for the first time. “The entire stretch was filled with people, and they were all clapping and singing abhangas (songs sung in praise of Lord Vitthal). We too sang with them. We gave them snacks. It is 3 pm, but the road is still filled with pilgrims,” said Saini.

To serve warkaris has been designed as a part of the school project for Class 7 students for the past five years. The students learn about warkaris, Lord Panduranga and the concept of wari. “We also invite an abhang exponent Shruti Vishwanath who teaches students a few abhangas. We teach students the importance of sanitation, and why the walk is important and its tradition,” said Saha.

At least 250 students of Goel Ganga International School (GGIS) took part in annual palkhi procession to sensitise and spread the message of cleaner, greener and healthier palkhi 2019. The students of Class 9 to Class 12 of the Pimpri-based school has been taking part in the pilgrimage for the past four years. It works closely with the municipal corporation and the sanitation department to sensitise the warkaris about maintaining cleanliness and hygiene during the journey.

The GGIS students joined the palkhi from Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd circle, picking up garbage, recording the procession for documentary film-making and continued towards Jain mandir where they offered seva at the shelters created for warkaris. They served the warkaris from daybreak till noon.

“We always take efforts to teach our students the Indian traditions in a practical way. These activities help them reach out to a local community and as youth of this nation do their bit for society,” said Bharti Bhagwani, principal, GG International School.

“The students and staff plan 15 days in advance to make this community outreach programme a success every year. We planned to record the procession as a documentary film this year,” said Sukhwinder Kaur and Dhruvi Bhatia, academic heads, GG International School.

Other schools hold their own version of wari within premises. Seva Sadan organise a special wari celebration for their students with disability. SPM English Medium school and VD Vaidya School also hold similar processions within the campus to explain the the warkari tradition.

College students also participate in the wari by volunteering at the 34 camps set up within the city to accommodate the pilgrims coming along with the palkhis on June 26 and 27.

“SP College is managing the accommodation and food facility of warkaris sponsored by Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU). It has provided 1,000 students each for each camp to look after the warkaris and serve them food. This is a part of the seva that these students will be offering to warkaris and paying obeisance to the palkhis,” said Dilip Sheth, principal, SP College.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 15:42 IST

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