Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pune techies walk wari for a cause


PUNE: Nearly three lakh devotees converged at Pune yesterday afternoon to take part in the annual procession to Pandharpur. Called the Wari, this journey is a pilgrimage that lasts nearly a month with participants covering nearly 250 kms (from Alandi to Pandharpur) on foot.

Pune marks day two of their journey, and today is their first break before they continue. Besides providing shelter to these pilgrims (at Nana Peth and Bhavani Peth) several Puneites also join the journey from here. Among these, is a group of over 1,300 IT professionals, who will be accompanying the Wari till Saswad. But it's not only out of faith that these denizens take part in this journey. Called the IT Dindee, this group walks the distance for a cause every year.

"This year our theme is ‘Jai Jawan’, and volunteers will take up various activities around this theme throughout the year, till the next Wari," says Sameer Kulkarni, one of the group coordinators.

As part of their theme, the volunteers have sent sweets to soldiers at the country's borders and also visited the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre in Khadki, to meet the soldiers there. "The theme was decided just before the Wari began and we'll be organising meetings during the journey to decide on our course of action based on this year's theme," Sameer adds.

Besides their annual themes, for the last two years, IT Dindee has also been focusing on Nirmal Wari or a clean Wari. This involves spreading the message of cleanliness among participants, most of whom are villagers. This year, when the Wari halts at Lonand village, a group of IT volunteers will spread awareness in the village through speeches, devotional songs and on-ground activities.

They will be joined by the Pune chapter of Vijnana Bharati, a national organisation working in the field of science, who participate in the Wari every year. One of the 1,300 IT professionals participating this year, Ajay Bhavsar says, "This year, we have practiced playing instruments and singing bhajans and gavalans, through which we will be spreading our message, he added.

“We will also be cooking and distributing food to the pilgrims along the journey and will be carrying medical kits as well." The funds for the food, medicine and other expenses during the journey is contributed by the volunteers who are from IT companies in Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Mumbai, Bhavsar said.


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