Prez goes on spiritual voyage

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Pune, Oct 11 (UNI) A day after launching Maharashtra's Rs 600 crore plan for empowerment of three million women in the next three years, President Pratibha Patil today went on a spiritual voyage, visiting temples and addressing congregations with message of peace and harmony which she said, '' the world and India need the most in present times.'' Besides paying obesiance at temples in the memory of saints Gianeshwar and Tukaram, she released a video cassettee on the life and times of 14th century saint Tukaram who is reverred in Maharashtra for his message of ''never give up'' despite the destitution.

Bapusaheb More, a descendent of Sant Tukaram, said spreading the message of the 'Sant', in fact, could help curb suicides by farmers in Vidharabha region of the state - the native place of the President.

He said Sant Tukaram went through extreme poverty, lost members of family in famine and failed in whatever business he undertook, yet he carried on, with the spirit of never giving up in life.

The VCD on the life and times of Sant Tukaram, developed by India's supercomputer man Dr Vijay Bhatkar, contains 4,200 'dohas' (stanzas), authored by the 'Sant'. Dr Bhatkar had built Param-10,000 computer at Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), here, when the country was denied high computing technology.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh announced Rs 15 lakh subsidy for the cassette, which will be sold to people at lesser rates.

The Chief Minister said the temple town of Dehu, located in the outskirts of this cultural capital of Maharashtra, was being developed as a pilgrimage centre at a cost of Rs 434 crore, adding that he would take disciples of the Sant Tukaram into confidence during the course of its development.

Thousands of pilgrims undertake hundreds of kilometres of pilgrimage from Dehu to Pandurpur, where the temple, in the memory of the Sant, was consecrated. Among them are Kanawarias of Rajasthan, who take the arduous journey on foot, from holy Ganga to their native state.

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