The last Krishnapaksha ekadashi, that fell on 31st May 2008, was not a day of fasting... instead it marked the beginning of sumptuous mid day meals for several school children of schools in and around Mangalore, thanks to ISKON's (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) "Akshayapatra" and MRPL.
The previous night's showers had brought relief and the air was cool at the 5th Block, Kattipalla DK Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary "Krishna Palemar School" grounds. A colourful pandal seated several smiling children and teachers, members of the media, dignitaries from local administration and MRPL.
Shri S K Kadri, who has now retired from the post of DGM (P&HR), who had been the chief architect of this "mid-day meal scheme in partnership with ISKON" emceed the formal inaugural function. Shri R Rajamani, MD, MRPL inaugurated the scheme by lighting the lamp even as soulful music filled the air.
Post the inauguration Shri R. Rajamani, spoke of our corporate social responsibility programme "Samrakshan" and the gamut of activities it is doing silently in the area of health, education, community welfare, rural education etc. Speaking about the mid-day meal scheme he said the MRPL will coordinate with ISKON to provide mid-day meal facility to 2,400 students of nine schools, in and around MRPL. This will be extended to another 2,500 children of 10 schools in the second phase, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, His Grace Dharma Krishna Das, Member of Akshaya Patra Foundation of ISKON said that nearly 8.5 lakh students get the benefit of Iskon's mid-day meal programme in six States in the country. He termed the mid-day meal programme as a true public-private partnership in reducing the school drop-out rate in rural areas. He pointed out that spiritual bankruptcy is a major issue that is resulting in hunger and other disturbances in and around the world and when one serves the community one serves God.
Once the formal stage function was over, Shri Rajamani flagged off the "meal van" that would ferry the nutritious food prepared at the ISKON kitchen, to the schools. To begin with the scheme will be operational at Cheleiru and Kattipalla Govt Schools.
Then the dignitaries, including Shri Rajamani stood behind the food table and served piping-hot food to the children of the schoolâ€“a picture of dignity and magnanimity...totally capturing the spirit of "Samrakshan".
The function which was organised by MRPL, ISKON & the D K Zilla Panchayat was simple, yet memorable and was graced by Shri Sucharitha Shetty, President D K Zilla Panchayat, P Basheer Ahmed, Corporator-Ward III, Smt Dayawati, Zilla Panchayat Education Officer (Akshara Dasoha), Shri Lakshminarayana, GGM (HR), MRPL, Shri Karunya Sagara Dasa, Manager Ops (ISKON), Smt B C Prameela, HM, Shri Ramesh, GM (QC), MRPL, Shri P A Jose, DGM (P&A), Shri Ramanan & Shri Raman Bhat from MRPL.
Shri Yathiraj Salian and Shri Shrisha who have now taken the mantle from Shri Kadri were full of "Samrakshan" as they energetically attended to all gathered there.