Saturday, January 5, 2013

Talasari, Thane: New Building of Godavari-Shamrao Parulekar College inaugurated

B A Rajput

On December 27, 2012, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Leader of the Party in Parliament, Sitaram Yechury, inaugurated the three-storeyed new building of the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar (GSP) Senior and Junior College of Arts, Science and Commerce in the predominently Adivasi area of Talasari in Thane district. The inaugural programme also commemorated two other happy events.

The first was the completion of the golden jubilee year of the Adivasi Pragati Mandal (APM), the educational institution founded by Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar in 1961 in the presence of two stalwarts of the progressive movement in Maharashtra – Balraj Sahni and Acharya P K Atre – for the express purpose of the spread of education amongst the then largely illiterate Adivasi population. The second was the completion of the platinum jubilee (75th) year of the founder president of the Adivasi Pragati Mandal, Lahanu Shidva Kom, veteran leader of the CPI(M), ex-MP and also ex-MLA.

Three months ago on October 10, Sitaram Yechury had inaugurated the new spacious office of the CPI(M) Thane district committee at Talasari, called the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhavan. The foundation stone for this new office had been laid two years ago by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar. The Party state committee meeting held there three months ago had culminated in a massive 50,000-strong districtwide rally.

The inaugural programme on December 27 marked the culmination of a three-day student cultural festival from December 24-26. In this festival, the Adivasi students of the schools, junior colleges and senior college run by the APM presented various cultural items in which they displayed their talents. The annual issue of the college magazine called ‘Godavari’, which had a number of good articles and poems written by the students themselves, was released at the function by Sitaram Yechury.   

Apart from the senior and junior college at Talasari, the APM runs schools and hostels for Adivasi students in villages like Udhva, Vasa, Kochai and Vevji in Talasari tehsil and Ashagad in Dahanu tehsil. It also runs two junior colleges in Udhva and Ashagad respectively. The total student strength in all the APM-run institutions is 8000, and the total staff strength is 200. Over 90 per cent of the students in these schools, hostels and colleges are Adivasis, and many of them are first generation learners.

Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar senior college is affiliated to Mumbai University and it also runs a centre for the Yashwantrao Chavan Open University. Apart from the three main streams of Arts, Science and Commerce, the college runs special courses ranging from modern computer science to traditional Warli Adivasi painting. Many other social and constructive activities include mass marriages to save expenses, eradication of superstitions, water conservation, cleanliness campaigns, women’s empowerment, health camps, educational improvement and so on. The GSP college has won a number of awards and prizes at the university and inter-collegiate levels.

At the inaugural function, Sitaram Yechury warmly felicitated Lahanu Kom and the entire team of the Adivasi Pragati Mandal for the great efforts and the progress that they had made in providing education to the tribals who had always been deprived of it. He said that in the country as a whole, with the drive towards privatisation and commercialisation, education was being sold to the highest bidder. While on the one hand, Indian youth with its intelligence and hard work was excelling in computer software in the most competitive places like the Silicon Valley, the youth in India were facing the grim prospect of unemployment. Due to government’s wrong policies, the great potential of our country was not being realised. He denounced the heinous attacks on women as seen in the gruesome Delhi gang-rape case. Finally, he called upon the students to retain and deepen their sensitivity, and to always stand firmly on the side of truth and justice, come what may.

The elegant function was presided over by CPI(M) MLA Rajaram Ozare, and it was addressed by CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale, Secretary of the Rayat Shikshan Sanstha Dr Arvind Burungale, veteran leaders Lahanu Kom and L B Dhangar, secretary of the APM B V Mangat and Principal of the GSP College B A Rajput. Students, staff and well-wishers attended in large numbers.             

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