Quotes from one of the greatest statesman ever to have lived……

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel “There is something unique in this soil, which despite many obstacles has always remained the abode of great souls”

“My only desire is that India should be a good producer and no one should be hungry, shedding tears for food in the country”

I am writing about my recent experience at Maher, a NGO in Pune, India. 

Maher was founded by Sister Lucy Kurien ( in the  in 1997 and in Marathi means Mother Home. Maher’s vision is “No matter who we are we walk together towards wholeness”. Maher rehabilitates underprivileged women and children and empowers them to become independent by inculcating them with skill sets and education to lead happy and respectful life. Maher started by Sister Lucy Kurien envisions a world of spiritualism where everyone in the centre is brought up according to their religious belief and develops love and compassion for all human beings and religion. Maher started from a small office in Pune and today has 190 employees with 28 homes for children with 850 inhabitants, 5 for women with 300 inhabitants and 1 for men with 21 inhabitants.

Maher has 24 projects catering to different social causes ranging from rehabilitation of mental and elderly women, provide shelter, love and education to orphans and unwed mothers, facilitate employment for youth and women in rural areas, and empower women through self help groups to train them on skill sets among other projects related to social causes.

I recently visited the main center in Pune on 15 August on India’s Independence Day and it was heartening to see inmates involved in sports and fun symbolizing a milieu of hope and positivism. In Maher children are trained in arts ranging from painting, classical music and dance apart from education and medical facilities while women are trained to become self reliant through stitching, knitting and other training programs to make them self employed and productive. I visited Vatsalyadham where I photographed a handicapped women stitching and knitting effortlessly with grace and elegance.

Maher has changed the lives of so many people for ever and we shall look at twoexception cases. Mangesh came to Maher as a homeless child along with his mother and two sisters and excelled in academics and sports. He topped graduation in Pune University and was facilitated by President of India. He also topped his college in MBA and was mentored by Director Mr. M S Pillai (a leading personality in education center in India; Mr MS Pillai was instrumental in making SCMHRD, Pune a leading business school in India and briefly was the Director of my Alma Mater SIBM, Pune. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kvhhkeQb18;Mangesh’s interview ).Both Mangesh and Padmani are in the photo below. Padmani had joined Maher when she was only 10 years and she taught deaf and dumb people and pursuing masters in social welfare.  There are many more examples where NGOs like Maher have transformed life of helpless people through exemplary and unselfish work.

It is people like Sister Lucy, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King,Mahatma Gandhi,M S Pillai,Rippan Kapur (founder of Cry), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bill Gates (separate article on Bill Gates coming up) and countless more volunteers who have inspired and spread equality and happiness in their own way by helping the society and are modern saints.

I remember words of John Kennedy who said ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. I think all of us can take the responsibility  especially Indians to help the underprivileged by at least dedicating one day in a month on social causes which could range from helping in a NGO, teaching underprivileged children or be involved in charity . Donating money for social causes is one of the most valuable virtues emphasized by all the spiritual saints and philosophers but more than donation is the quality time and experience which all of us can volunteer to change life of people around us. I remember Mahatma Gandhi had said “where there is love there is life”and as we look around us we see how miserable the world is and should ask how we can contribute to make it better…………..

A few years back during my lean patch, my experience in a blind school as a part time volunteer educated me to appreciate the advantages i had as compared to underprivileged and handicapped people. It made me understand that my moral responsibility is to share my advantages for the betterment of society. As we look deeper into ourselves, we will understand the essence of Lord Buddha’s words that miserly lies within. We spend most of our lives dissatisfied by comparing our achievements and lifestyle with others rather than living a wholesome and healthy life appreciating the potential within us.

Looking at the world and rise of fundamentalism in middle east i remember words of Morgan Freeman from the movie Ghost and Darkness  “Oscar Wilde had said its a beautiful world and worth fighting for ………..……………………………………I believe in the latter”