Transforming Dervan

Shree Digambardas Maharaj didn’t want that the surroundings of Shree Kshetra Dervan should be known merely for their architectural or structural importance without any separate identity of their own. He wanted them to be the Centers providing a helping hand to the lowest amongst the down trodden, engaged in the task of rehabilitating them, instilling in their minds the importance of following the, path of devotion and elevating them to the state of human beings at least.

It was from this place that the flow of co-operation and succour started reaching the villagers belonging to Dervan and then to the villagers of the surrounding areas. Initially, the priority was for the fulfillment of the basic needs viz. food, clothing and shelter. ‘Work for anyone who is ready to work’ – a novel scheme envisaged by Shree Maharaj, – provided employment guarantee to every one living here, with just and cash return for the work done. With this view in mind, the work of construction of the places of public need was undertaken. First, the temples of Lord Shiva and a goddess were constructed. Similarly, other buildings housing Sub – Post office, Talathi Office, Police Outpost etc. were constructed. Since 1970, doctors from Chiplun visit this place twice a week. A permanent, resident doctor too has been provided, who is paid for providing free medical aid round the clock.

The trust also supplies potable water through tankers till the onset of monsoon. Such tanker provides water, free of cost, to the hamlets of Dervan, Sawarde, Hadkani, Kudap, Kondmala, Aagwe and their surrounding areas. Such is the scarcity of water that the villagers are totally dependent upon the water supplied by the tanker and the water obtained from the borewells and wells provided by the Trust. Cash assistance has been provided by the trust to many wells constructed in this area. The construction work for the well at Buddhawadi, Dervan had started, yet for paucity of funds, it had to be stopped. The villagers who felt utterly weak and helpless approached Shree Maharaj to seek help. They were sure of receiving concrete assistance from Shree Maharaj. On hearing their request, Shree Maharaj im -medially visited the Buddhawadi. After making a, survey of the work, he provided the needed financial assistance and got the work of the construction of the well done. The residents of this area were so much overwhelmed by this gesture that they expressed their feeling of gratitude through a letter sent to Shree Maharaj. In their letter dated 7th June, 1982, they state, ‘It was in your form that our Lord Buddha stood behind us.’

The incidents of thatched roofs catching fire by some spark would be quite common during the summer days. To eliminate such possibility, the Trust has supplied hundreds of Manglore tiles free of cost to the poor families. Till this date more than six hundred families belonging to Derwan, Kudap, Harkani, Sawarde, Kosbi, Mundhe, Phurus, Durgwadi, Talsan, Kuthare, Aagwe, Egaon, Egaon Pakhadi, Talawade, Nandgaon, Kushiwade Kher-Shet, Duhiwali, Palwan, Monaki, Kalambat, Kalamboshi, Kondmala, Kokare, Chiplun Shankarwadi etc. have been benefited.

To enable children develop interest in learning and to avoid the possibility of children stopping going to school because of poverty, the Trust every year distributes, free of cost, notebooks, satchels, rain-coats, uniforms etc. Students belonging to std.. from 4th to 10th and securing the first three positions in their annual examinations (of areas like Dervan, Kudap, Sawarde, Phurus, Nivali, Taisar etc.) receive monthly scholarships from the trust.

The Aanganwadi (Kinder garden) building at Derwan was built by the trust in 1992. The institution was also provided toys worth Rs. 15,000/-. The trust also got repaired the Pre-Primary school building at Derwan. Two new rooms were added to the school premises, a roof was constructed, compound wall provided and sanitary blocks were provided to the children learning there. A container for potable water, scientific instruments, books etc. were also provided. For the performance of school programmes a concrete platform was got constructed. Thus the trust provided a new look to the school and the C. E. O – an administrative officer- was so much impressed by all this (when he visited the school) that he willingly gave the ‘best’ remark to the school. Assistance of similar type has also been provided to schools of areas like Talsar, Kasarwade, Khotwadi, (Sawarde) etc. To protect the ,children from the dampness of the floor, the trust also got laid stone tiles upon the floor.

Good thoughts and values can be inculcated upon the minds during the formative stages of learning. This can easily be achieved by helping students know by heart the excerpts from the literature dealing with the lives of the saints. In view of this, every year a competition in this connection is held on the occasion of Shree Sadguru Baba Maharaj birthday anniversary celebrations in the temple-shrine premises at Pune. Such competition, on the same occasion, is held at Dervan too. Students from nearby schools are encouraged to participate. The schools of every village are considered as a unit and prizes are given to the first three ranks. Other participants are also given consolation prizes. The response to such competitions is increasing every year.

The girls employed in the trust, or the daughter of the employees of the trust, get an assistance of Rs. 1,200/- each at the time of their marriage to enable them to purchase Mangalsutra. (The marriage string. It is a string with a bit of gold strung on it. The bride groom casts it at the time of the wedding around the neck of the bride, and she wears it until widowed). Besides this, additional financial assistance is also provided to the girls of such families in case they are too poor.

Those farmers who cannot afford to purchase cattle are provided cattle from the cattle belonging to the Trust. Even those amongst the poor, who want to purchase cattle from some other source are provided financial assistance.

The moneylenders of old times would lend amounts to the farmers to enable them to purchase black coarse blankets, but would collect in return double the amount lent. To avoid an exploitation of such sort, the Trust provide such blankets either free of cost or at reduced rates (depending upon the financial condition of the needy person) every year. Twice a year, on the occasion of celebrations the villagers are given free clothes. Children belonging to the poor families of Dervan receive free clothes from the Trust – like shirts, trousers or half-pants, skirts, blouses, frocks etc. Recently about 450 children have received assistance of such type. 5,000 women from nearby villages received sarees recently.

It was due to the efforts of the Trust that the benefits of the water-supply scheme reached the village of Dervan. The government machinery had for a long period deprived the villagers of Dervan from such benefits, under some pretexts. But the Trust took the initiative and got laid the pipeline by spending from its own funds. The Trust got constructed a well, at Kunbiwadi – an area of Dervan. The Trust also got built the main road in the Dervan Grampanchayat area and about two underground drains. A stream of water flowing under the bridge built by the Dervan Grampanchayat had endangered the houses on both sides of the stream. For the protection of such houses, the trust got built from its own financial resources, walls on both sides of the stream.

Four to five times a year, on the occasion of main festivals, edible oil and sugar is sold at rates less than the rates of ration shops. About 650 families always receive rice grown in the fields belonging to the Trust at reduced rates. The Trust follows the policy of giving priority to the weaker sections of the society, while providing the assistance of above mentioned types.

After receiving a request from the Dervan Grampanchayat, the Trust has got built a Park for the children of the village within an area of 3 1/2 acres. It was inaugurated on 18th December, 1994 and named “Shree Swami Samarth Udyan”. Here one can find swings, a see-saw section, a revolving turnstile like thing, a sliding and other playthings. At a cost of Rs. 2,00,000/- an artificial cascade has been built by taking advantage of the hill-slope nearby. The colourful lamps, adjusted nicely at various spots of the cascade and the flow of the stream, enhance the beauty of the whole scene. Besides plants of beautiful varieties one also finds in this park a temple of Adi Shankaracharya.

The Trust has provided financial assistance on a large scale scale for the renovation of the temples in the nearby areas. Vitthal Rakhumai, Shree Kedarbaji, Shree Manai, Lord Shiva etc. are the temples of the Dervan region which have been renovated to the maximum extent. Similarly, one temple of Lord Hanuman has been built nearby. Every month the priests offering worship to the village deities are provided one maund of unhusked rice and Rs. 125/- as an honorarium. Besides the things like lamp-oil, incense sticks, frank-incense etc. are also provided. The Trust has also renovated the age-old Dnyananath temple of Derwan. Financial assistance has been provided by the Trust for the repair work of temples like Vishwakarma temple and Lord Datta temple (Derwan), Lord Shiva temple (Bhile), Lord Datta temple (Talekote), Lord Hanuman temple (Durgwadi), Shree Vitthal Rakhumai temple (Sawarde) and Shree Kedarbabaji temple. Similarly the Lord Datta temple of Sawarde has been newly built. On the same lines funds have been provided the repair work of temples in villages like Nivali (Palvan), Kondmala, Kosabi, Pachad, Vahal etc.