May to 20 May, India.
Continuing the crusade 200 years ago by Lord Swaminarayan against
the vices of society, Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the sadhus have
been perenially inspiring people to give up addictions. This summer
a special campaign was organized by the Children's Forum
through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. From 1 May to
20 May, 10,000 members of the BAPS Children's Forum embarked upon
a 20-day de-addiction campaign in Gujarat and other cities. The
scorching summer heat and the challenges of personal contact did
not deter them from setting out to redeem smokers and addicts
from the vice-grip of addictions.
Facts and Figures
In only 20 -days children volunteers
had accomplished a tremendous feat in personal contact during
NB: The number of people who have given
up addictions during cultural program and anti-addiction exhibition
are not available.
- Total boys and girls: 10,000
- Number of people contacted: 882,000
- Number of people who have given
from 882,000 contacts: 312,000
- Combined total savings of 312,000
people: Rs. 2,500,000 per day
- Cultural program seen by: 800,000
- Anti-addiction exhibition seen
11,000 people die everyday of smoking related diseases
in the world.
This growing scourge of smoking is also destroying the moral and
social fabric of society. Pramukh Swami Maharaj says, "It is
a purchased misery." To stem the habit, in whatever little
way, the BAPS National Children's Forum launched a de-addiction
campaign in Mumbai, Calcutta and major cities of Gujarat. The 20-day
programme, inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, was launched on 1
May. In all, 10,000 children in 2,500 groups from the ages of 9
- 14, with four children and one leader to a group, utilised their
vacation period in weaning people from the vices of smoking, drinking,
pan-chewing, snuff taking and drugs. The anti-addiction campaign
included: (1) A personal one to one approach, (2) Cultural Program
and Drama presentation, (3) Anti-addiction rally and (4) Poster
exhibition. Their personal visits to homes, railway stations, offices,
hospitals, diamond workshops and hut communities have evoked an
array of interesting responses and experiences.
To face the challenges
of the mission they were trained at all local centers, armed with
logical explanations and answers. The boys and girls donned in white
clothes, carried a shoulder bag containing pictorial booklets and
an all-in one murti. Each day they campaigned from 9.00 a.m. to
11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. They politely approached
people saying, "We belong to the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha and have been inspired by Pramukh
Swami Maharaj to help people give up addictions. Do you have any
addictions?" When a person took an oath, details of his habits
and address were noted. After 15 days, a 5-day period was reserved
for a follow-up programme. The persons concerned were contacted
and an enquiry made about their pledges.
An emotionally and practically effective drama called, "Kafan'
was performed by youth and child volunteers in more than 1000 villages
of Gujarat. 800,000 people saw the program and many had vowed to
From the small villages to the mega cities of Gujarat and Maharashtra
anti-addiction rallies made their mark on the general masses. More
than 2000 children participated in a colorful, spirited rally on
the main streets of Mumbai.
||To pay tribute
to the efforts of children, the Governor of Gujarat, H.E. Sundersinh
Bhandari, honored the BAPS with a certificate of appreciation during
a public function at the Gujarat Cancer Research Society in Amdavad.
the campaign has enriched children with confidence, presentation
skills and a spirit of service to society. The de-addiction program
is now focussed on schools. Members of the Children's Forum have
already started visiting schools to inspire teenagers to stay away
or give up gutka and smoking.