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Minutes of The Annual General Meetings – FY 2019/20

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BHAGNARI PANCHAYAT TRUST

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

29th August 2021

MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING FOR THE YEAR 2019-20 HELD ON 24.11.2019 AT 11.00 A.M.

Attended by:

  • Members of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat and
  • Trustees of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust –Naresh Nasta, Lalit Jham and Niranjan Gehani

As there was no quorum at 11.00 a.m. the meeting started at 11.30 a.m. with the members present at the meeting forming the quorum.

Due the current circumstances created by the ongoing pandemic, this Annual General Meeting for the year 2019-20 could not be held in the year 2020. The delay was duly intimated to the Charity Commissioner earlier in the year. As per the current protocols the meeting could not be held in-person and was held on Zoom. The co-operation of the members in this regard was appreciated.The Annual General Meeting for the year 2020-21 is planned to held before the end of this year.

Ramesh Poplay, Vice President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat, started the meeting with the permission of Trustees and senior members of the community and brought the house to order.

He thanked Pranitt Popley for providing Zoom license with unlimited meeting time.

A minute’s silence was observed to pay homage to the members of the community who had expired since the last meeting.

The following agenda points were presented to the General Body by Naresh Nasta:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24.11.2019

The minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated to the members. There were no queries on the same. As proposed by the Trustees the minutes of the previous AGM held on 24.11.2019 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of the Trust for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

There were no queries on the accounts for 2019-20. As proposed by the Trustees, the accounts for period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

Naresh Nasta stated that Dipesh J Mehta and Company have served us well during the past and as such he proposed their name for appointment as the auditors of the Trust for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the General Body and Dipesh J Mehta and Company were appointed auditors of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

  • 4. Review the report of the Trust’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

Naresh Nasta read out the activities of the Trust during the year 2019-20. The notable activities were the completion of sale deed of Deolali property at the Registrar’s office in Nashik in compliance of the court order dated 28.11.2019 issued by Joint Charity Commissioner, Mumbai. Following this order, the Trust has now commenced charitable activities, which were hitherto on hold due to the court case. A12 certification has been obtained to enable us to avail tax exemption on our charitable expenditure. Application for 80G certification will be made, to enable donors to avail tax deduction facility.

  • 5. Elect Managing Trustee and Treasurer of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust

Due to the sad demise of our Managing Trustee Shri Sunder Kanar, it was necessary to appoint his replacement. Nomination to this post, as well as to the post of Treasurer, were invited on 16.7.2021. As on the deadline receiving the nominations, i.e. 17.8.2021, the following nominations were received at the Trust’s office:

Managing Trustee – Naresh Nasta

Treasurer – Ramesh Poplay

As only one nomination each was received for the above two posts:

– Naresh Nasta was elected unopposed to the post of Managing Trustee

– Ramesh Poplay was elected unopposed to the post of Treasurer

The Managing Trustee, Naresh Nasta, as per the powers vested in him by the constitution of the Trust, appointed the following Trustees, besides the Managing Trustee (Naresh Nasta) and Treasurer (Ramesh Poplay):

Lalit Jham, Lachmandas Gehi, Arjun Wadhare, Laxman Jham, Satish Nasta and Niranjan Nasta

The yeoman services rendered by the former Managing Trustee, Late Shri Sunder Kanar were appreciated. His contribution to the Trust was immensely valuable and it was due to his efforts that the Trust was able to commence charitable tasks.

Services of the outgoing Trustees Shri Niranjan Gehani and Shri Hari Nasta were also appreciated. The Trust will continue to look upon their guidance in future.

  • 6. Any other business

Naresh Nasta informed the General Body members that Shri Lalchand Kamwani had filed a writ petition Bombay High Court through his Power of Attorney Shri Arun Ugale, challenging the order of Joint Charity Commissioner Mumbai, dated 28.10.2019, with regard to our Deolali property. The same is listed for hearing on 30.8.2021. Bhagnari Panchayat Trust will be represented in the court by Adv Rajesh Gehani

There being no further points for discussions, the meeting ended at 12 noon.

Naresh Nasta

Managing Trustee

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BHAGNARI WELFARE SOCIETY

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

(Registration No. F3197)

29th August 2021

MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING FOR THE YEAR 2019-20 HELD ON 24.11.2019 AT 12.00 NOON

Attended by:

  • Members of Bhagnari Welfare Society and
  • Managing Committee Members – Ramesh Poplay, Arjun Wadhare, Laxman Jham, Lachmandas Gehi, Satish Nasta, Naresh Nasta, Lalit Jham, Niranjan Nasta and Co-opted Members – Vishnu Nasta and Subash Bhagnari

Due the current circumstances created by the ongoing pandemic, this Annual General Meeting for the year 2019-20 could not be held in the year 2020. The delay was duly intimated to the Charity Commissioner earlier in the year. As per the current protocols the meeting could not be held in-person and was held on Zoom. The co-operation of the members in this regard was appreciated. The Annual General Meeting for the year 2020-21 is planned to be held before the end of this year.

Ramesh Poplay started the meeting with the permission of senior members of the community and brought the house to order.

The following agenda points were discussed and finalised:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24.11.2019

The minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated to the members. There were no queries on the same. As proposed by the managing committee the minutes of the previous AGM held on 24.11.2019 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of the Society for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

There were no queries on the accounts for 2019-20. As proposed by the managing committee, the accounts for period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

Ramesh Poplay stated that Nanda and Company have served us well during the past and as such he proposed their name for appointment as the auditors of the Society for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the General Body and Nanda and Company were appointed auditors of Bhagnari Welfare Society for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

  • 4. Review the report of the Society’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

Ramesh Poplay read out the activities of the Society during the year 2019-20 and thanked all the donors for their support and contribution.

  • 5. Any other business

The members were informed that the Society has applied for FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) registration in May 2019. Following this all the documents sought by Ministry of Home Affairs, including the opening of account with State Bank of India, New Delhi (where all foreign contributions should be received), have been submitted to them. Their permission is expected in a few months, following which contributions can also be received from non-Indians in any currency.

There being no further points for discussions, the meeting ended at 12.30 p.m.

Ramesh Poplay

Chairman

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SHREE BHAGNARI PANCHAYAT

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

29th August 2021

MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING FOR THE YEAR 2019-20 HELD ON 24.11.2019 AT 12.30 P.M.

Attended by:

  • Members of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat and
  • Managing Committee Members – Lachmandas Gehi, Ramesh Poplay, Arjun Wadhare, Laxman Jham, Satish Nasta, Naresh Nasta, Lalit Jham, Niranjan Nasta and Co-opted Members – Vishnu Nasta and Subash Bhagnari

Due the current circumstances created by the ongoing pandemic, this Annual General Meeting for the year 2019-20 could not be held in the year 2020. The delay was duly intimated to the Charity Commissioner earlier in the year. As per the current protocols the meeting could not be held in-person and was held on Zoom. The co-operation of the members in this regard was appreciated. The Annual General Meeting for the year 2020-21 is planned to be held before the end of this year.

Ramesh Poplay started the meeting with the permission of senior members of the community and brought the house to order.

The following agenda points were discussed and finalised:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24.11.2019

The minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated to the members. There were no queries on the same. As proposed by the managing committee the minutes of the previous AGM held on 24.11.2019 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of Panchayat for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

There were no queries on the accounts for 2019-20. As proposed by the managing committee, the accounts for period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020 were passed unanimously by the General Body

  • 3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

Ramesh Poplay stated that Nanda and Company have served us well during the past and as such he proposed their name for appointment as the auditors of the Society for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the General Body and Nanda and Company were appointed auditors of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021

  • 4. Review the report of Panchayat’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020

Ramesh Poplay read out the report of Panchayat’s activities and thanked all the donors and the organisers of various events for their support. 

  • 5. Elect President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat

Nominations to the post of President were invited on 16.7.2021. As at the deadline of receiving the nominations, i.e. 17.8.2021, only the nomination of Shri Lachmandas Gehi was received at Panchayat’s office:

As only one nomination was received Shri Lachmandas Gehi was elected unopposed to the post of President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat

Lachmandas Gehi thanked the members for re-electing him as the President of Panchayat and nominated the following committee members to the Managing Committee:

Ramesh Poplay (Vice President), Arjun Wadhare (Secretary), Laxman Jham (Treasurer), Lalit Jham, Satish Nasta, Naresh Nasta, Arjan Lal and Niranjan Nasta and Co-opted Members Vishnu Nasta and Subash Bhagnari

It was noted that Shri Lachmandas Gehi has now become the second longest serving President of Panchayat (14 years) after Late Shri Takandas H Kataria, who was President for 35 years.

Lachmandas Gehi also thanked the managing committee members, who have helped him in the smooth execution of his duties. He appreciated the help and guidance received from our ex-President of Panchayat Shri Niranjan Nasta, ex-Chairman of Bhagnari Welfare Society Shri Hari Nasta and our Advocate Rajesh Gehani.

Niranjan Gehani congratulated Lachmandas Gehi and said that he is always available for any help or guidance required by Panchayat. He expressed happiness that the community members had faith in him due which he had served as the President of Panchayat, Chairman of Welfare Society and Chairman of Bhag Co-operative Society.

  • 6. Any other business

As the digital requirements of Panchayat have increased significantly, Lokesh Budhrani was appointed as the Technical Advisor of Panchayat. He has already been supporting Panchayat in such tasks, e.g. the launch of the community website ebhagnaris.in.

A vote of thanks was passed for the managing committee members and the members of the committee.

There being no further points for discussions, the meeting ended at 1 p.m.

Lachmandas Gehi

President

Shri Lachmandas Gehi is re-elected as President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat

Shri Lachmandas Ganshamdas Gehi was re-elected as President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat at the recently held Annual General Meeting of Panchayat. Our hearty congratulations to Mukhi Lachu Gehi, who has now been leading us for the past 14 years. This is the second longest tenure by any President of Panchayat. Late Shri Takandas H Kataria was President of the community for 35 years from 1931 to 1966.

We wish a long and healthy life to Lachu Gehi, as he is popularly known and are sure that he will continue to lead us with the same zest and zeal as he has done so far.

Upon his re-election, Lachu Gehi thanked the members of the community for the love and faith bestowed in him and attributed the smooth running of Panchayat affairs to his managing committee members. He re-nominated all of them in the managing committee for the next term.

He also appreciated ex-President of Panchayat Shri Niranjan Gehani, ex-Chairman of Welfare Society Shri Hari Nasta and Adv Rajesh Gehani for their help and guidance during his tenure as the President of the community.

Please join us in congratulating Lachu Gehi and his managing committee members upon their re-election.

Members of Managing Committee:

Ramesh Issardas Poplay – Vice President

Arjun Hemandas Wadhare – Secretary

Laxman Tirathdas Jham – Treasurer

Satish Parsram Nasta – Member

Naresh Vishindas Nasta – Member

Lalit Tirathdas Jham – Member

Niranjan Newandram Nasta – Member

Arjan Kanayalal Lal – Member

Vishnu Newandram Nasta – Co-opted Member

Subash Jamnadas Bhagnari – Co-opted Member

Notice of Annual General Meetings – 29.8.2021

BHAGNARI PANCHAYAT TRUST

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

16th July 2021

Notice of Annual General Body Meeting of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust for the year 2019-20

Annual General Body meeting of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust for the year 2019-20 will be held on Sunday 29th August 2021 at 12.00 noon. If there is no quorum till 12.30 p.m., then the meeting will be convened with the members who are present at that time.

The AGM could not be held in 4Q2020 due to the prevailing pandemic. This was duly intimated to Assistant Charity Commissioner, Mumbai Region.

Venue: If the state government’s Covid 19 related rules permit, then the meeting will be held in Shree Bhagnari Panchayat Hall. Alternatively, the meeting will be held on Zoom.

Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24th November 2019
  2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of the Trust for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021
  4. Review the report of the Trust’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  5. Elect Managing Trustee and Treasurer of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust
  6. Any other business (see note below)

Note: If any member wishes to raise any query on the accounts or discuss any other matter during the AGM, the same should be notified at Trust’s office latest by Tuesday 24th August 2021.

Nomination forms for the elections to the posts of Managing Trustee and Treasurer of Bhagnari Panchayat Trust are available in the Trust’s office between 11 a.m. and 12 Noon on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The last date for filling the nominations is Tuesday 17th August 2021. The last date for withdrawing the nomination is Friday 21st Friday 2021.

Please follow all Covid 19 related protocols and stay safe. Wishing you a happy festive season ahead.

Naresh Nasta

Treasurer

Managing Trustees:

Niranjan Gehani and Lalit Jham

Ramesh Poplay and Rajesh Gehani – Co-opted members

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BHAGNARI WELFARE SOCIETY

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

16th July 2021

Notice of Annual General Body Meeting of Bhagnari Welfare Society for the year 2019-20

Annual General Body meeting of Bhagnari Welfare Society for the year 2019-20 will be held on Sunday 29th August 2021 at 1.00 p.m. If there is no quorum till 1.30 p.m., then the meeting will be convened with the members who are present at that time.

The AGM could not be held in 4Q2020 due to the prevailing pandemic. This was duly intimated to Assistant Charity Commissioner, Mumbai Region.

Venue: If the state government’s Covid 19 related rules permit, then the meeting will be held in Shree Bhagnari Panchayat Hall. Alternatively, the meeting will be held on Zoom.

Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24th November 2019
  2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of the society for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021
  4. Review the report of the society’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  5. Any other business (see note below)

Note: If any member wishes to raise any query on the accounts or discuss any other matter during the AGM, the same should be notified at society’s office latest by Tuesday 24th August 2021.

Please follow all Covid 19 related protocols and stay safe. Wishing you a happy festive season ahead.

Ramesh Poplay

Chairman

Managing Committee:

Arjan Wadhare – Secretary

Laxman Jham – Treasurer

Lachmandas Gehi, Arjan K Lal, Satish Nasta, Naresh Nasta, Lalit Jham and Niranjan Nasta – Members

Vishnu Nasta and Subash Bhagnari – Co-opted members

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SHREE BHAGNARI PANCHAYAT

F BLDG, KATARIA COLONY, 233, V S MARG, MAHIM, MUMBAI – 400016

16th July 2021

Notice of Annual General Body Meeting of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat for the year 2019-20

Annual General Body meeting of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat for the year 2019-20 will be held on Sunday 29th August 2021 at 11.00 a.m. If there is no quorum till 11.30 a.m., then the meeting will be convened with the members who are present at that time.

The AGM could not be held in 4Q2020 due to the prevailing pandemic. This was duly intimated to Assistant Charity Commissioner, Mumbai Region.

Venue: If the state government’s Covid 19 related rules permit, then the meeting will be held in Shree Bhagnari Panchayat Hall. Alternatively, the meeting will be held on Zoom.

Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Pass the minutes of the last meeting held on 24th November 2019
  2. Review and pass the auditor’s report and the accounts of Panchayat for the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  3. Appoint auditors for the period 1.4.2020 / 31.3.2021
  4. Review the report of the Panchayat’s activities during the period 1.4.2019 / 31.3.2020
  5. Elect President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat
  6. Any other business (see note below)

Note: If any member wishes to raise any query on the accounts or discuss any other matter during the AGM, the same should be notified at Panchayat office latest by Tuesday 24th August 2021.

Nomination forms for the election to the post of President of Shree Bhagnari Panchayat are available in the Panchayat office between 11 a.m. and 12 Noon on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The last date for filling the nominations is Tuesday 17th August 2021. The last date for withdrawing the nomination is Friday 21st Friday 2021.

Please follow all Covid 19 related protocols and stay safe. Wishing you a happy festive season ahead.

Lachmandas Gehi

President

Managing Committee:

Ramesh Poplay – Vice President, Arjan Wadhare – Secretary, Laxman Jham – Treasurer

Arjan K Lal, Satish Nasta, Naresh Nasta, Lalit Jham and Niranjan Nasta – Members

Vishnu Nasta and Subash Bhagnari – Co-opted members

Deepa Laji Bhagnari recalls her mothers

Last year I wrote an article on Mother’s Day….but this year I just didn’t even think about it.  Sometimes circumstances make you go into a shell..and you sort of lose contact with the world..you are just in your space trying to sort out all your thoughts..emotions and feelings.

As they say sometimes there are phases in our lives that are good and bad…one just has to learn to cope up with it and move on saying this too shall pass.  Because life can show you many shades and one just has to accept it. As it is said “Que Sera Sera..the future is not ours to see..Que Sera Sera” So hopefully all will be well.

What can I write about Mother’s Day…last year I wrote about it feeling thankful that at least my mom was there for me..though my other two mothers Sita Bhagnari and Isho Chhodha had left for their heavenly abode. They had already left a void in my life..as I was too close to both of them.  But still I took consolation in the fact that though my mother was bed ridden she was still there to welcome me with a beautiful smile..eyes full of tears and a warm hug. This year she was even more frail..because of Covid I had come to Mumbai after a year and I had missed her terribly..but though she was happy to see me..she was very vague about the fact that I was meeting her after a year. I had a foreboding then that somehow this would be possibly the last trip where she would welcome me with a hug..and I was right, as soon in my presence..there she went up to be with my father and her dear ones. May her soul rest in peace and I am sure she is happy to be up there and has no more to suffer all the problems that old age had ravaged her with.  

As I had said last year, I feel every day is Mother’s Day..as mothers are wanted by each and every one of us, at each step that we take..from our childhood to our old age we all want our mother’s presence in our lives..as she is the one who is always there for us guiding us..pushing us to do our best in life..soothing our fears..helping us in every way she can. A mother is someone who never takes a single holiday from parenthood..she is, you can say on duty 24/7. 

It is said that Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing..so true..a mother has to put up with so much where her children are concerned..but she still does it all unselfishly and her love for her children makes her endure through it all. Not all children are good..there are so many who are selfish..so many who do not value their mother’s love and sacrifices..but still she will never grumble..never tell the child, all that she has done for him or her..because all that comes so naturally to her. God has just created Mothers because He can’t be with us physically down on earth, so he created a Mother who showers us with love..care and devotion. Hope everyone realises the value of a mother.

It is said that mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.  A mother is a walking miracle..and personally I think a mother is God’s greatest creation. Can you imagine your life without your mother?  I don’t think I can..I am happy that I had my mother with me for so many years..there are so many who lose their mothers at a young age..if you were to ask them how they felt..then one would understand how lucky we all are to have our mothers with us.

So all who have mothers – just value them..pamper them..love and hug them…and just be a companion and a friend to them because as they grow older it is only love and companionship they look for. Old age can be very lonely..so try and spend some time with them as that is the only thing they look forward to. I am so happy that whenever I was in Mumbai, every evening by 4.30 pm I would go to my mom’s house..just sit on the bed even though she would be sleeping..for as soon as she woke up and saw me, her eyes would light up and there would be a radiant smile on her face..and that smile used to warm my heart..it is said that a mother’s hug stays with you long after..so true I can still feel her warm hug.  

I am glad I have spent quality time with all my three mothers..and the memories I have collected of all three of them and our time spent together is sufficient to last me a lifetime. Thanks to all three of them for guiding me at each step when I faltered..loving me unconditionally..comforting me when I was tensed and worried..being always there for me even when I didn’t ask..because all mothers have a built in antenna where their children are concerned..you don’t have to ask..they just know.  As I said God created a mother so she can take His place here on earth.

So happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers..hope you all are valued and loved by your children and you also value your mother.

The Grim Effects Of Covid 19

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The Covid 19 Pandemic has been a real nightmare for each and everyone in the Universe…nobody is untouched by it. Never have we witnessed so much upheaval in our lives as in these trying times. Millions have lost their lives…millions have lost their jobs…and innumerable people face the fear of losing their jobs. The crisis is universal. Farmers face a problem in selling their produce as there is lack of transportation…daily wage workers are in a dilemma how to earn their daily bread…there is malnutrition and starvation…indeed a sorry plight.

When I drive thru the streets of Dubai, I see so many familiar shops…all shut…eating joints which were once bustling with activity are now shut down. There is a street in Karama which has all furniture stores…they sell durable and handmade reasonably priced furniture. Yesterday I got a shock when I saw one entire building which must be having at least 10 to 12 shops, all shut down…the street was dark and looked eerie and forlorn I felt so bad not to see the lights of those shops and the smiling faces of the salesmen luring everyone to buy their furniture. I can imagine how many must have lost their jobs…and must be facing trying times now…really very depressing. I personally know so many people who are going through a rough time as they have lost their job and wondering if they will even get another even if it means less pay. We can only pray for this to end as soon as possible.

Besides loss of income people are also going through mental health problems…as this grim environment has instilled so many fears in so many people. People are taking psychiatric help and counselling…taking anti-depressants. Depression is not easy to face and many are more vulnerable to it. We can only just pray for all of them.

I have often heard many adults grumbling…complaining, whining and generally feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with their lives now. Well, I can say for myself also that sometimes I feel low and depressed because of lack of contact with near and dear ones, friends, etc. We humans are all social animals…we love to interact with people…be surrounded by our loved ones and peers…which unfortunately we are bereft of it all now. We do see our loved ones through Zoom videocalls, etc., but the human touch is missing…and that brings sadness.

But we know we have to take all this in our stride. But who is the most affected by this. They are two different categories of people. The first are the old disabled adults who are left in Ashrams or Old Age Homes for some reason or the other. I remember recently when I was in Chennai, I visited one such Ashram and spoke to some ladies living there. Some were happy and had accepted their situation with a smile…even making excuses for why their children were forced to leave them there…but there was one lady who had tears in her eyes…she told me that her children sent money dutifully for her upkeep there but rarely visited her. She missed that…really one felt so sorry for her…when during good times the children rarely visited them…now with this pandemic they all are just left on their own…and so they think of each other as family. But I am sure none of them must be complaining…as they have just accepted their situation.

Then come children…they are like flowers…just like flowers blossom with care…the same goes with children…they need a healthy environment to thrive and be happy. Unfortunately, this pandemic has really made them face the grim realities of life at a tender…impressionable age. The schools are shut…classrooms are empty. The playgrounds and swings all look lost and forlorn…waiting for the screams…the laughter…the giggling…the non-stop chatter of the children. Teachers go to empty classrooms and teach online…I am sure they must be most affected not seeing the smiling faces of the inquisitive…curious and smiling faces of the children. Children don’t attend school…intermingle with their friends…talk non-stop in their school bus or share their breakfast and lunch-boxes…go for play dates…sleep overs. They are deprived of all of this, which we have always taken for granted. Now they have play dates and sleep overs on Zoom, but they are still happy…contented. We adults need to learn a lesson from them. Hope they can blot out these unpleasant memories forever and only remember the good times.

I remember the saying “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Well, this saying always appealed to me, but today I feel that the present is a harsh reality…the future uncertain…but our past memories of our good old times are the most pleasant things to remember now…somehow one always remembers the good times and we blot out the trying times that we all must have faced in the past. And hopefully in future our this present also will be a closed chapter in our memory box.

Now the vaccine is being given to us…everyone should take it as soon as possible…we in Dubai have already taken our two doses and feel a sense of security…hope Mumbai also starts giving them to the general public soon, so that all our loved ones are safe and we can soon meet them. We meanwhile have to learn acceptance of the situation we are faced with and only hope that we have learnt our lesson. We now know that in future we have to take care of our environment and not tamper with nature…we should also not take our freedom for granted…we have now realised what it is to be confined within the four walls of our homes…sometimes I wonder how our freedom fighters sacrificed their all for the people and were confined to jails…my salute to them…Mahatma Gandhi…Bhagat Singh…Nelson Mandela…and so many others. Really when we think of them our home should not seem like a jail…but our safe haven. 😊

So stay safe and just be happy…the worst has passed…we are soon going to enter into a new normal…hopefully very soon.

Thanks to you all – We complete 1 year today

Just over a year ago an idea was conceived by Shakuntala Jodhun, who expressed a strong desire to have a Bhagnari Newsletter. The thought gave birth to ebhagnaris.in. Our hustling and bustling baby is one year today. The success of this website is mainly due to the viewership it attracts from Bhagnari Community. A big thank you to all the community members – a year ago when the site was launched on 26th January, we could not have imagined the following statistics:

– 50 Articles

– 25 Video uploads

– 40 community members contributed the above articles and videos

– 16000 views on the website

These articles and videos are linked to Bhagnari Community group on Facebook, where they have already garnered:

– 1500+ Comments

– 2500+ Likes

All the above would not have been possible without the team who quietly work in the background to give you this robust website and are always on the look-out for informative and exciting content:

Aditi Achpalia, Amrita Dudeja, Amrita Mehta, Anupama Lulla, Bhumika Nasta, Jayesh Kataria, Karishma Talreja Budhdev, Lokesh Budhrani, Ramesh Poplay, Saahil Mehta, Siddharth Kataria, Trisha Mehta.

The website team were supported with contributions from the following, who are being awarded a Certificate of Appreciation form the President of the community Shri Lachmandas Gehi:

Amrit Mehta & Family, Anita Mehta, Anita Mehta & Family, Bharti Bhagnari, Charanjeet Chanderpal Gehi, Deepa (Laji) Bhagnari, Dhairya Gehani, Geeta Kanar, Hiren Wadhare, Lachmandas Gehi, Mansha Mehta, Mohini Gehani & Family, Neha Alreja, Nikhil Nasta, Niranjan Gehani & Family, Prakash Gehani, Rishika Nasta, Rohit Digra, Sanjay Dhingra, Shivani Kataria, Sneh Gehi, Subash Kataria, Vidhi Kamra, Vinod Gehi.

Mitri – this new initiative was added recently, once again at the request of Shakuntala. It aims to bring Bhagnari couples together into a blissful matrimony. The initiative is fronted by Shakuntala Jodhun, Manju Dudeja and Mansha Mehta. This team’s efforts are also being recognised with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Bhagnari Community’s YouTube channel has become a popular repository for videos made by the members of the community. We thank Amrita Mehta for initiating this idea and giving it shape.

Friends, all the above would not have been possible without financial support from Jayesh Kataria, who pays the annual charges to run the website. A huge applause for him!!

Just in case you are not aware, it is important to let you know that besides the regular new posts, the website has several other interesting pages:

– History of community before the partition https://ebhagnaris.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BHAGNARIS-History-PDF-1.pdf

– History of the community after the partition https://ebhagnaris.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/History-of-panchayat-immediately-after-partition-1.pdf

– From Bhagnari Kitchen https://ebhagnaris.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/From-Bhagnari-Kitchen.compressed.pdf

– Bhagnari Dictionary https://ebhagnaris.in/the-bhagnari-dictionary/

– List of blood donors https://ebhagnaris.in/list-of-blood-donors/

– Panchayat registration form https://ebhagnaris.in/membership-registration/

– Mitri Registration form https://ebhagnaris.in/the-bhagnari-mitri/

Friends, let us not rest on our past laurels. We must strive to double the statistics next year!!

Remembering Late Shri Sobhraj Tirathdas Gehi – 1904 – 1996

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Shri Sobhraj was son of Tirathdas Gehi and had seven brothers and one sister. They all lived in a large house in Bhagnari Pada in Karachi.

Karachi

Collective leadership – the jargon is a creation of the corporate world to create space for a group of people to work together towards a shared goal.

Yet, it’s a man amongst men who can alone weave the success.

The major achievements are made single-handedly, for that we had the real leader who shared the success with his men Friday.

These bedrocks are hidden down under. We see the glittering edifice because of them. Yes, the bedrock in the case of our community, sharing the success of Late Shri Takandas H Kataria was Late Shri Sobhraj T Gehi. He shared a telepathic bond with Mukhi Saheb; there was no other who could understand the next in the mind of his leader but him.

Such people’s actions during the peaceful times are never noticed and for the longest time they are not realized by us.  

Shri Sobhraj T. Gehi was with Mukhi Saheb as his dream realizer since the earliest days of Bhagnari Panchayat, 1930 onwards. He was the Honorary Joint Secretary, and worked closely with Late Shri Takandas H Kataria, the President of the Bhagnari Panchayat.

The tenacity, hard work and the results can only be achieved by a super focused, no nonsense man in the circumstances which our community faced during the days of post partition in the year 1948.

It would be interesting to mention that Bhagnaris were optimistic of remaining in Karachi for life; it was only when the situation worsened during the end of 1947 that a call had to be taken to move out of the newly formed Pakistan.

The community moved from Karachi to Bombay in 1948 and not in 1947 as many of us perceive. 

In   the midst of destructive and frenzied sentiments, few saviors stood firm to get the community members safely to Bombay by sea.

It was their sheer grit and determination that made this possible. What a struggle it must have been!

One has to pause here to imagine that how all the formalities with two warring Governments must have been done. How the peoples count and transfer was managed and after landing in Bombay how all of them would have come together once again.

Yes, all paper-work and liaisoning with the  government authorities was done  by Late Shri Sobhraj T Gehi. He was at the helm of affairs, alongwith the President, Late Shri Takandas H Kataria. He played a pivotal role at that time. He was also instrumental in disposing off Panchayat properties in Karachi, alongside the President, who worked tirelessly to complete the matters before migration.

Our family would like to thank Shri Ramesh Poplay for reproducing the documents on the community website ebhagnaris.in (Letters from Karachi) and Shri Prakash Gehani for carefully preserving the file that was handed over to him by our grandfather, Shri Sobhraj T Gehi. We remember him showing us the file with copies of the documents and the telegram that was sent to the then Home Minister and the Prime Minister for rescuing Bhagnaris from the then prevailing destructive atmosphere in Karachi.
(Publication of Letters from Karachi)

Bombay

After partition, millions of families were landless and homeless. A salute to the spirit of the older generation, who endured those difficult times with tremendous fortitude, settled in a new land and rebuild their lives with their resilience, hardwork and integrity.

After coming to Bombay, Baba (as he was addressed by us) lived with his family (his wife, Krishna and three children) in a railway owned chawl at Khar (East), adjoining the tracks near the railway station.

His daughter, Nirmala recalls that it was a small one room kitchen tenement. The distinct memory she has is of water being delivered to each house in the baithi chawl, by a porter who carried a long stick on his shoulder, and to each side of the stick were water cans. It must have been a very basic settlement with basic facilities. At that time, his elder son, Jethanand was 15 years old, his younger son, Sunder was 10 years old and his daughterNirmala was 5 years of age.

 In Bombay, Baba worked as a typist in a few places; that was his humble beginning in a strange land. He multi tasked, doubling up as an administrative and communications person. His skills were valued since he had good organizational ability, a good command over English and a flair for writing. Relocating to a new place, must have been very challenging. We do not know much about the process, but believe that a strong community network, must have been a catalyst, in enabling each other to set up, and move on.

 He was recognized for his expertise; his advice and help were sought after by members of the community. He was generous with sharing ideas, drafting official letters and lending such support to anyone who approached him.

As he worked, he also dedicated a lot of time to Panchayat work. These were formative years, when the idea of a place for Bhagnaris in Bombay was being envisaged by Mukhi Saheb.  Perhaps, at that time Panchayat members met on a fixed day, at a fixed place, since everyone was scattered in the city. That is how the community may have held itself together and kept the activities going, till Kataria Colony was built. After numerous discussions and debates in Panchayat meetings, Shri Sobhraj T Gehi, once he resolved, executed each project with utmost efficiency.

Post migration, after 3 or 4 years of staying at Khar (East), the family moved to Gehi Mansion at Mahim, and later to Kataria Colony, when ‘A’ Building was constructed.

Starting out from Khar (East) and moving to Kataria colony, was like a dream come true.

Kataria Colony was the dream, that the leaders had worked towards relentlessly, since migration in 1948 and after 10 years, the dream was translated to reality. Kataria Colony was not just a physical space, it held deep sentiments of the members’ longing to restore the feeling of solidarity and a continuity of the sense of identity and belonging, that all had experienced before partition. The community leaders had held together in the face of all odds, worked passionately, to realize the cherished dream of a Bhagnari Pada in Mumbai; reminiscent of their lost homeland.

Baba revered Mukhi Saheb, like all others did. They shared a very good rapport. Between them, it was a relation of mutual trust and respect.

 When ‘A’ building was in the process of being constructed, the members were contemplating a name for the society. He strongly advocated then that the colony should be named after the founder, Shri Takandas H Kataria. The members unanimously agreed; hence we have ‘Kataria Colony’.

After moving to Kataria Colony, he rented a small shop at Chakla street, the hosiery market in Mumbai. At that time, he was engaged in doing correspondence work for many reputed firms, situated in the hosiery market. His sons, started trading in hosiery goods in the shop, and later, they were successful in getting agencies from reputed hosiery manufacturers in Salem, Tamil Nadu.

After few years, Baba purchased a shop from Shri Gobindram H Chhada. While his sons, undertook the responsibility of the hosiery shop, Baba focused on the communications aspect, correspondence with the manufacturers in South India, which had grown beyond Salem and moved to Tirupur. With his guidance and blessings, his sons took charge, and after a few years of being active in the shop, Baba withdrew from the shop, but continued working at home, overseeing the agencies work, the communications, banking and investments work.

Later, he continued his commitment as the Honorary Joint Secretary with Late Shri Harkishindas D Gehani, who became President of Bhagnari Panchayat after Shri Takandas H Kataria.

He spent a lot of time reading philosophical books, particularly pertaining to Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu Scriptures. He was very active in organising the week-long Gita Jayanti celebrations that took place at Kataria Colony for many years.

He was a man of integrity, a disciplinarian, and a true karma yogi. He would wake up before dawn, and in his deep voice do the Omkar and mantra chanting. He  practiced Yogasana and also did Shirshasana (Headstand Yoga Pose).

His simple and disciplined lifestyle is the reason why he was so fit, until the last. He was alert and active until a few weeks before he passed away. He continued to have a sharp memory.

Anyone who knew him would tell, that he was so precise, so meticulous, that he left no scope for any non-clarity whatsoever. And he was forthright; he always voiced his opinion in Panchayat and Society meetings loud and clear.

Baba breathed his last on 31st March 1996, when he was 92 years, leaving behind fond memories, much love and a family bond.

We are filled with gratitude to have him as a member of the Bhagnari Community and have a lot to learn from his life.

(The family and close associates of Late Shri Sobhraj T Gehi have contributed towards this write-up)

The latest mode of communication by Deepa (Laji) Bhagnari

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What is communication basically? It is said that there are three ways to communicate..first is verbal communication, in which you listen to a person to understand their meaning…then there is written communication, in which you read their meaning and last is non-verbal communication in which you observe a person and try to understand the meaning.

Verbal communication is when two people or more meet…interact and talk to each other…sometimes laugh…or get angry and infuriated and voice it…or sometimes there are literal verbal fights…but you have the freedom to express yourself…but that is only possible when people meet…now with this pandemic on, there are lesser meetings…so no laughter…no arguments…no animated conversations…you can say the famous Sholay film dialogue here .”Itna Sanaata kyun hai Bhai”?  Really a sad time for everyone.  But what can one do?  We all have to be patient to meet and again have our moments of pleasure…this pandemic has taught us how important meeting your loved ones and friends is…because we humans need social contact. We love to interact.

Now let’s talk about our past…the beautiful days gone by…when at school we were taught to write our first alphabets and from there we progressed to writing essays and answers to questions. I remember what it is to put pen to paper…in fact I was always appreciated by all my teachers for my handwriting…and I am sure during my exams I scored some extra points just for my neat and legible writing.😊…but today it is just the reverse…I just can’t write…my handwriting has gone from bad to worse…well not that I wanted it to be that way but as they say practice makes perfection…where do people write nowadays…everyone is just tapping the keyboards on their computers…laptops…iPads and mobiles. Sad but true…

When I got engaged to Moti…he was settled in Dubai…so after our engagement he would write lovely romantic letters to me every week…which I would eagerly wait for…well we were young and romance is always an integral part of our lives at that age…then after I got married I too went to Dubai where I eagerly waited for my mom’s and my mother in law’s letters updating me all about our beloved families and giving us all the colony news…during those days very few had their own post boxes so we would collect so many people’s letters from our P. O. Box every week and then since my house was centrally located I was never short of people coming on the pretext of collecting their letters…killing time having chai and some snacks and sometimes staying over for dinner too.😃. Well those times were different when there was so much apna-pan that you welcomed everyone with a smile and a warm hug…now we rarely visit people uninvited…people are same but lifestyles have changed with growing families and responsibilities…I guess that is the case everywhere…but really miss the warmth of those days. So, in a way we all communicated through letters as we trunk-called our near and dear ones on special occasions only…but I think those handwritten letters were our lifeline. In fact I still have preserved so many letters of those years gone by and when I read them I always have a smile on my lips and tears in my eyes. I realise now that penned words show more depth of feelings and emotions than a type-written message. Strange but true!!

Besides letters I would read a lot…novels…magazines….journals…as I loved reading…it would take me to another land where I used to be so embroiled in the make believe world of books that I actually felt I was a part of them…and at that time they were all painstakingly handwritten by all the famous authors…isn’t that fascinating…it was their hard labour of love for writing which brought characters to life for us ..no wonder the books of yore were so earnest and appealing to the readers.  Then of course they were sent for printing and publishing. So written words made such an impact in our lives.

Today the scenario is completely changed…writing is a thing of the past…well students do write but even now all that will be gradually replaced by just tapping away on the laptops. Now you send a message via WhatsApp…Facebook…Instagram, etc. and usually you get answers via emojis…either hearts…thumbs-up signs…Namaste signs…GIFs or sometimes you know the message has been read by two blue tick marks…which now you know one can avoid even that. Where is the warmth and emotion in these emojis? They have no soul…it’s absolutely baseless…but we still all like a herd mentality do it…you feel – well the opposite party shows no response so well I too will just pass on a heart emoji showing my appreciation…and sometimes even without reading the message. So communication is becoming lesser and lesser .But I think this tough time where the entire humanity is facing this catastrophe and has come to a standstill has taught us a grave lesson…that how much we love our near and dear ones and our friends and colleagues…how we are all longing to be in touch with each other…to see each other and verbally communicate. I hope that this should also make us realise that instead of wishing someone on their birthdays by sending messages, is not sufficient…one can just pick up the phone and call that person and see the happiness you give that person…as they say nothing can replace just a few words of love and appreciation…not a zillion emojis. So next time just let us all do it…Life is too short…let us leave behind beautiful memories and on the pathway of our life collect beautiful memories.

But alas I always used to love the saying “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”.  I wonder if that holds true now…as the pen is replaced by the keyboard. Not that progress is not welcomed but nostalgia of the old always makes you sad…but then one has to move forwards and as they say the old giveth way to the new…so be it. 

Diwali the Festival of Lights by Deepa (Laji) Bhagnari

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Since childhood I have heard of innumerable stories of the different festivals celebrated in our country ..our beautiful India.  I always used to wonder how one can have so many festivals…but then as I grew up I realised that festivals are just a means of unifying people and creating an atmosphere of goodwill and cheer amongst people. So in a way they stand for unification…which is really essential to the well being of our country.

We celebrate innumerable festivals…but none I think can compare to the Diwali Festival. It has been said that Diwali is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil… victory of light over darkness and  knowledge over ignorance.  Moreover according to legends it is said that this day marked the return of Ram..Sita..Laxman and Hanumanji back to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan the demon king.  So the people of Ayodhya were so overjoyed to welcome their beloved Rama that they decorated the full city with lights…each and every house was lit up to show their joy at his return. ..and from that day this special day was called Diwali….and it became a norm to light up every home on this particular day every year. 

It is also said that it was on this Diwali day that Goddess Laxmi got married to Lord Vishnu..and Goddess Laxmi symbolises wealth and prosperity…so on Diwali day people pray to Laxmi to bring in wealth and prosperity into their homes…and all Hindus open new account books on this auspicious day. So we can see why Diwali has so much significance in our lives.

Diwali has been named as the Festival Of Lights…people of all religions…all classes..rich or poor all participate in this festival with gusto..and according to their means…the poor may just light some Mitti  ka diyas in their houses and eat a good meal ..make some new clothes and as a bonus eat some Mithai..but nonetheless they are happy to be a part of the festival . Others decorate their houses with shimmering coloured lights…beautiful Rangolis ..diyas…lanterns.. .Fanoos in their balconies..and it all looks like a fairyland. 

It also becomes a time for shopping.. people buy new clothes..and ornaments… the bazaars are packed with customers all buying diyas ..clothes..silverware and gold and diamond ornaments.. Dhanteras is the day when people religiously go to the market to buy either gold..silver or even a small steel utensil as it is considered to be auspicious. But the atmosphere in these three four days of Diwali is electrifying and incomparable.. there is cheer and bonhomie everywhere.

It is also a time for bonding ..people go to each other’s houses exchange gifts…..meet and socialize.  There are huge parties hosted by the rich and..people all are dressed in their shimmering best. Ladies outdo each other by wearing their latest acquired gold and diamond jewellery ..indeed a beautiful sight to behold. 

This festival is not restricted to India..all the Hindus living all across the Globe celebrate it with the same verve and enthusiasm…Here in Dubai all the streets and houses are decorated with twinkling lights…the bazaars are packed with eager ..enthusiastic shoppers…it is a beautiful sight to behold. Specially in these tough times we need this light to remove the darkness from our hearts and minds. I know India is still reeling from the virus impact but still the enthusiasm has not diminished and though low key Diwali is still being celebrated. 

Our very own Bhagnari Community which is the most united community I would proudly say is hosting Diwali celebrations on Zoom under the guidance of the very capable Ramesh Poplay and his team..I am sure it will be a huge success and we will all enjoy it…so please all participate wherever you are as this is Bhagnaris bonding.

So wishing all a very happy Diwali…May the darkness end and we get the vaccine as soon as possible so that we can travel and meet our loved ones.  May our patience  be victorious over Corona  just like  good over evil.

(The picture is from famous Kandil Gali of Mahim – is there light at the end of the tunnel?)

A Bhagnari Diwali

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This is an Oral/Aural Hxstory Project centering three stories to document our unique Bhagnari song(s) sung during this auspicious time of year. Contributors featured in this archive include: Aarti Kaanchan Mehta (Madhu Makar), Pushpa Kishore Mehta and Ramesh Poplay. Ultimately, these stories show that one single ritual can contain multiplicities. Not all Bhagnaris celebrate Diwali and not all Bhagnaris who celebrate Diwali celebrate in this particular way. But of the ones who do, some Bhagnaris sing the first line of the song as “Dim Dim Diwali aayee” while some sing “Din Din Diwali aayee” while some sing “Ding Ding Diwali aayee” while some sing “Dum Dum Diwali aayee.” There also seemed to be unanimous agreement that the second line is “Balen bachon wali aayee” until Ramesh Poplay reached out to our long-lost ancestral relative, Omprakash, who resides in Bhag, Baluchistan. Omprakash recently informed Ramesh Poplay that Bhagnaris in Bhag do indeed sing this song today, and have over time, however their iteration of the song goes “Dim Dim Diwali hai / Balen bachon wali hai.” “Aayee” translates to “is coming” while “hai” translates to “is” which shows slight differences in temporality and certainty. The diverse performance of this ritualistic practice indicates that our traditions continue to be intertwined with threads of commonalities while also maintaining unique difference.

SHREE BHAGNARI PANCHAYAT

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