Today Deshdoot is celebrating its 53rd Anniversary. Deshdoot has always maintained the rich tradition of honouring and unleashing the hidden talent of the common man on the strength of human values.
It was the idea of the legendary poet Kusumagraj to glorify such meritorious personalities. He had suggested that the Deshdoot media group should look out for individuals who are working for the betterment of society and honour them on the occasion of its anniversary. Deshdoot is happily fulfilling his dream.
This year too, the meritorious persons of the society will be honoured. All of them work out of the box in their respective fields and keep helping society. Lt Col (Retd) Manoj Kumar Sinha and veteran actor Shivaji Satam will be present as the chief guests for today's event. Renowned entrepreneur Hemant Rathi, senior journalist Suresh Bhatewara and senior professor Dr Medha Saykhedkar gladly shouldered the responsibility of selecting the meritorious persons.
Dinesh Pagi, Sports Teacher
Dinesh Pagi has been working as a sports teacher on a contract basis at Government Secondary Ashram School Dolhare (Surgana taluka). He provides training in kabaddi, kho kho, volleyball, handball, and other outdoor sports. He has trained several players throughout his coaching experience. Under his guidance, one player at the national level, seven at the state level, 15 players at the divisional level, and 34 players at the district and taluka level have bagged medals in several sports.
He gives training to school children every Sunday and has even started a sports training center for children of rural areas. He has also established Sevasagar Sports Arts and Cultural Board. Pagi also runs a free police pre-recruitment training centre where 50 students are undergoing training at present.
Nikita Kale, Sportsperson
Nikita Kale has proved that age and gender are no bars if one wishes to achieve anything in life. This 17-year-old has bagged a total of 38 medals in weightlifting competitions. A total of 22 gold, seven silver, and nine bronze medals represent Kale’s journey.
Chondhi village, 15 km from Manmad, is Kale’s native village. She started training in the sports field when she was six years old. She won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Australia in 2017. She is the first woman in the Nashik district to achieve this title.
Tanisha Kotecha, Sportsperson
Tanisha Kotecha is currently ranked first at the national level and 42 at the global level in the table tennis Under-19 group. She entered the game at the age of nine, i.e., in 2014 and started playing at Nashik Gymkhana. In her first attempt at the state-level table tennis championship, she won a silver medal in the Under-10 category. She has won several titles in team and individual championships held in Nanded, Thane, Goa, Nashik, Pune, Chandigarh, Barode, Sonipat, and Kerala.
She won a silver medal in the individual category in the under-15 championship held in Haryana in 2019 by the Table Tennis Federation of India. Kotecha also won a silver medal in the championship held in Kerala from August 14 to 19. She now aims to represent India in the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.
Khandu More and Sanjay Gunjal, Creative Teachers
Khandu More and Sanjay Gunjal are teachers in the Fagandar slum of Khamkheda village in Satana taluka. They are actively involved in encouraging students to achieve a higher rank in various competitions in the district. They constantly strive for 100 percent enrollment and attendance. Their students actively participated in the government’s polio eradication campaign. A library was opened in this school to inculcate reading habits among students.
A ‘book gift to library’ scheme has been launched on birthdays to collect books through public participation. Their school has participated internationally in the Design for Change initiative and has secured ninth rank in the country. Their school is the first school in state to provide air travel to children of tribal farm labourers. The duo has developed new methods of teaching. Students can read and write Marathi and English language with good number recognition as well. This victory is the result of their consistent efforts.
Keshav Gavit, Creative Teacher
He is a teacher in Hiwali School in Trimbakeshwar taluka. He attends school 365 days from 8 am to 8 pm to teach students. Before admission in the first grade, children already enjoy fluency in writing, reading and know the English spelling of some words. Currently, students of Class I learn tables up to 50 and students of the senior class up to 950.
All students write different subjects simultaneously with both hands. Every student in the school has acquired skills like welding, electricity, sewing, masonry, agriculture, etc. School students have drawn Warli paintings on the walls of the village. The school registered a 100 per cent pass percentage result in the scholarship examination.
Rajendra Bagwe, Industrialist-Mentor
Rajendra Bagwe established TLC, i.e., the Teaching Learning Community and this entrepreneurs’ platform has completed 17 years. The purpose of this community is to help Indian entrepreneurs succeed in their fields.
Bagwe started his work by helping a handful of friends find solutions to their business problems. However, the reach widened with time. Through this platform, TLC has guided more than 2000 small and medium-sized enterprises to date. Almost 1,000 members are working at the centre at present. It includes sectors such as manufacturing, IT, services, pharma, hospitals, trade, etc. This community believes in learning and teaching various business concepts to achieve results in leadership, strategy, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and social responsibility.
Viswajit More, Entrepreneur
Considering his farming field as karmabhoomi, he pursued farming to save his field. He established the farmer producer company and guided the farmers accordingly. He stated that if farmers do proper water planning and soil testing and some changes in cropping patterns, they will definitely bloom in the agriculture field.
A farmer cannot tell which land is his share. He doesn’t even have the details of his land. Therefore, More believes farmers need to plan water supply by knowing the quality of their soil in detail for better results. He says if young farmers turn to agriculture and cultivate through modern technology, then the agriculture business definitely has a future.
Madhav Barve, Agriculture- Jeevan misson
He hails from Kothura in Niphad taluka. He always believes in three things - never give up agriculture, never ask for a loan and not bring any borrowed item. His ancestral land was seven acres. He worked hard, and the field grew from seven acres to 60 acres! Various activities started such as organic farming, tree plantation, Madhav Forest, Nakshatravan, Mix food Garden, Saraswati Forest, etc.
He initiated the plantation of 15,000 trees in Central Jail, Nashik. He is currently fulfilling his vow to plant 1,000 tamarind trees and devoting his whole life to agriculture and inspiring others.
Swanand Bedarkar, Literature
If standing on the podium strikes thought and language to the speaker, poetry clicks to the poet while on stage. For this to happen, the study of various subjects, independent musing on them and the blessings of goddess Sharda are important.
Swanand completed his education at Shree Shivaji English School in Deola. There was an opportunity to say a small verse or welcome song in the village programme. It was from there that the grip on rhetoric became stronger. He also begged to solve the financial problem of the family. Nashikites also know him as publisher, editor, writer and litterateur. He has written and published many books.
Amrapali Pagare, Special Achievement
Amrapali Pagare, a 15-year-old, who loved singing since childhood. However, due to the financial constraints at home, she was worried so as to how to pursue her hobby. She has not received any formal training in singing. Still, among 4500 contestants, she directly entered the Indian Idol contest.
She was also among the final 14 contestants. Currently, she studies in Class IX in New English School, Sawargaon in Yeola taluka. The Pagare family lives in a small village called Nandur. She developed her singing talent just by listening to music and singing on her mobile phone.
Dr Aruna Patil, Health
From 2003 to May 2022, Dr Patil was working as a medical officer in Nashik Zilla Parishad. Four talukas of the district, i.e., Peth, Surgana, Kalwan and Trimbakeshwar, were her working area. She provided medical services to remote areas of these talukas. Her work included regular check-ups of children in Anganwadi, examination of pregnant and lactating mothers, and home visits for moderately and severely malnourished children. She performed various responsibilities like deliveries in the government hospital, consultation for family planning surgery, and health check-ups of all students.
Rohit Jadhav, Social Worker
Rohit Jadhav is involved in fort conservation work for the past nine years. He conducts conservation campaigns at Salher, Mulher, and Chauler forts in Baglan taluka, and Bhamer and Pankheda forts in Khandesh region.
He searches for water ponds in the area, repairs them and cleans them. Due to his efforts, almost one lakh litres of water has been stored in these ponds over the years. For forest conservation, he planted 100 rare trees in Salher, Ijmane, and Pimpaldar areas. He even put in efforts to save rare species of wild animals by restricting poaching in various areas. His team also works to conserve the rare white eagles at Salher. He also discovered one of the ancient caves on the Sarthvaha route and renovated the Samadhis of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s childhood friend Suryaji Kakade and Shivram Naik at Salher fort.
Sanay Foundation, Social Organisation
In 2008, two friends, Dr Bhushan Surjuse and Nilesh Gaikwad, came up with an idea and established Sanay Foundation. They kick-started their work with one wada, and now, the number of wadas has reached 33. The foundation worked on various social issues like water, health, and education in Peth taluka and even adopted the hamlet Zari. They successfully implemented various projects. They constructed borewells and installed hand pumps for drinking water at Zari, Ambe, and Behedpada.
More than 120 toilets were constructed at various padas. Ten thousand mango and cashew trees, 2,500 wad, pimpal, tamarind, and shevga (drumstick) trees were planted to provide local employment to tribals and prevent migration. They also provided water filters and kitchen utensils to 41 needy families and gas connections in seven wadas at a subsidised rate.
Strawberry Self Help Women Group, Women Empowerment
Strawberry Self Help Women Group is a group from Borgaon, Surgana taluka. Sonalitai Bhalerao founded this group in the year 2018. She got strong support from the village’s women. The bank sanctioned a loan of Rs 2.80 lakh for the group. From that loan, the group started selling strawberries and producing and selling strawberry plants. Earlier, one had to go directly to Mahabaleshwar to buy strawberry plants.
As these plants are now available at the local level, this initiative has benefited the surrounding farmers. The group is progressing by repaying first loan with interest. The women of the group also have their own small businesses. These women go to the bank and complete transactions. Everyone has life insurance, and they get information about government schemes and take advantage of it. They also put forth their opinion by asking questions in the gram sabha.
Amol Jagle, Special Achievement
Amol Jagle is a contractual worker at MSEDCL. In July 2022, the power supply was cut in Rayanbe village of Igatpuri taluka. Due to continuous rain, rivers, tributaries and small streams were flooded. No one was willing to go to those two villages after witnessing the devastating flood. Even the villagers did not dare. However, Jagle did not stop. He performed his duty as he was firm to restore the power supply.
By swimming through the flood water, the electricity supply of those villages was finally restored. Jagle, who had gone to solve the electricity problem in Devle area last month, had to face a sudden accident. In this accident, one of his legs got permanently disabled. He says that he is trying to lead a happy life for the last constituent of society.
Vaibhav Bhogale, Environment, Wildlife
Vaibhav Bhogale has been working in field of wildlife rescue and conservation since 2010. Initially, he rescued reptiles and birds. After developing his love for wildlife conservation gradually, he completed the herpetology course. After being consistent in the rescue of animals and spreading awareness among citizens, he founded Eco Echo Foundation in 2015.
At present, he is working with the forest department and rescues a variety of species regularly, ranging from sparrows to leopards. He takes several workshops to guide citizens about human-wildlife conflict, snakebite treatment, and habitat conservation. Due to his exemplary performance and experience in the wildlife field, he was appointed as Honorary Wildlife Warden for the district by the Government of Maharashtra.
At present, if any wildlife is injured or in trouble at any location in the district, the foundation and forest department rescue it and release it back into its habitat post treatment.