While the city celebrated Raksha Bandhan with great gusto, Southern Command saw celebrations of a very special kind. A thousand Pune women dressed in their festive best to tie Rakhis on the wrists of our brave soldiers. Hosted at Milkha Singh Stadium on the morning of August 7, the event was organized by city-based NGO, Dhruv Foundation and Dhruv Defence Motivation Center.
Rupali Saikhedkar, founder at Dhruv Foundation speaks of the event that saw 700 soldiers in attendance. “My husband, Subodh Saikhedkar co-founded the NGO to work with soldiers routinely. We celebrate several festivals with the soldiers each year.
“We sought to celebrate Raksha Bandhan in gratitude of the soldiers who are our real-life Rakshaks.” Incidentally, 2017 marks the second installment of this event. The first was celebrated last year and made a record in the Limca Book of Records.
Addressed by Major General Prithi Singh of Dakshin Maharashtra Sub-area, the function saw scores of civilians as well as higher authorities of Southern Command in attendance. “It is a privilege and proud moment for us to tie the Raksha sutra and pray for the long life of our soldiers,” says a volunteer. “I joined in the celebrations last year too,” she beams.
“We arranged 12 buses, 100 kgs of ghee laddoos, 3000 Rakhis and identity cards among other things,” Rupali says of the celebration. “On a seasonal holiday, having 10 people volunteer can be a challenge. However, 1000 women have set aside their own celebrations today for their Rakshak brothers,” she adds proudly.
Ask Rupali how they reached out to women and she admits social media has been a huge aid. “We have women from all sectors here today, be it house wives, teachers, doctors or IT professionals to school students and colleges girls. In fact, we even have some Anganwadi Mahilas and Nuns here with us in addition to fellow social workers from city NGOs.
“I must say, the Army is supporting me a lot,” she continues. “They’ve been very forthcoming with writing permissions for the celebration and have also gone out of their way to arrange refreshments for the women.
The Business Development Manager turned philanthropist reveals that it was once her passion to join the Army Forces. “Since I couldn’t do so, my husband and I now guide students and other aspirants to joining the forces,” Saikhedkar explains adding, “Celebrations like these are a must, for they allow us to express our gratitude to our nation’s soldiers.”
Indeed, it is a great way to enhance the relations between civilians and our Defence Forces.
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