Who says Valentine's Day is to be celebrated only by the lovey-dovey lot? Valentine's Day is a day to express and feel love. Love comes in many shapes and forms, and it can be found in any place. Taking this theme forward, members of makeSomeoneSMILE (mS2) an NGO with branches across Northeast and India, decided to celebrate the day in a unique way. Being nature lovers, there could not have been a better time than Valentine’s week and place than Basistha Mandir, to show their love for mother nature. Hence, the members of makeSomeoneSMILE (mS2) an NGO with branches across Northeast and India, decided to take up the task of cleaning the Basistha Mandir premises on February 13, 2022.
It may sound a little bizarre that in February when the world celebrates love and relationship this write-up is talking about austerity and ashrams. But as they say, love comes in many shapes and forms, and it can be found in any place. Perhaps for the nature lovers there could not have been a better time than Valentine’s week and place than Basistha Mandir, to show their love for mother nature. Hence, the members of makeSomeoneSMILE (mS2) an NGO with branches across Northeast and India, decided to take up the task of cleaning the Basistha Mandir premises on February 13, 2022.
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Ashrama in Sanskrit means a stage in the life of a person. It is instructed in ancient Vedic scriptures that a person after enjoying the bliss of material life must proceed to the stage of austerity where they spend their time delving into spirituality and contemplating upon the meaning of life. With time such a place where people would go to learn about scriptures and talk about philosophy came to be known as an ashram. And it will not be an exaggeration if we mention that Guwahati is fortunate enough to be the place where one of the most ancient Ashrams of India is located. Basistha Ashram and its history date back to the Vedic age.
In the past few years, mS2 has been carrying out several events and drives to address the issues related to the environment, health, hygiene and human rights in Guwahati. It also organized mass distribution of masks and sanitiser among the vegetable vendors of Beltola market, Ullubari market and Rehabari market during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Similarly, the NGO has been working closely to offer help and support to the major old age homes and orphanages of the city.
Basistha Mandir cleaning drive aimed not only to clean the mandir premises and the adjoining river but also to educate people about the harmful effect of dumping polythene bags in the river. The huge pile of discarded plastic bags and polyethene that clogs the river path and pollutes it are often thrown there by devotees and visitors. The mS2 team members took it as an opportunity to interact with visitors and local shopkeepers in the mandir premises and guide them on how they could enjoy this pristine abode more responsibly.
The event was joined by several mS2 members of the Guwahati team along with many nature lovers who wished to contribute to this drive. The day ended with the mS2 team successfully extracting piles of dumped polythene bags, plastic bottles and wrappers from Basistha Riverbank and mandir premises.
makeSomeoneSMILE is a self-funded organization founded by, Priyankur Nandy of Shillong. The NGO has a team of 100 members actively working to address social issues in cities like Shillong, Guwahati, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore with one motto- to makeSomeoneSMILE.
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