The lives of the children in Project Mala schools are so different to life
as we know it in the west. The story I relate to you today is about their
beliefs which is such a large part of the culture of the Indian children we support.
Mukesh Kumar is one of our children. His father was a drunkard and did not
care for his family. When Mukesh was in class 3, he prayed to Lord Shiva to
help his father mend his ways. Mukesh vowed that if his prayers were answered
he would take part in the Shrawan march each year.
Shrawan is one of the holiest months for Hindus. There
is a Hindu tradition that during Shrawan they should fetch water from the Ganga
(Ganges, the holiest river in India) and offer it in Shiva's temple. To do
this they have to take water from the river at Allahabad (which is the confluence
of the rivers Ganga and Jumna) and take it to Vishvanath Mandir, a great temple
of Lord Shiva in Varanasi - a distance of 130 km. They have to do this in
bare feet without stopping or resting.
This is such a major event in our area and the Government reserves one side of
the main GT road between Allahabad and Varanasi for them, which causes horrendous
Mukesh's prayers were answered and his father improved himself. Mukesh
has, therefore, been carrying out his promise to Lord Shia
for the last three years. This year Mukesh had company on the journey as he
was joined by ten other children from Project Mala schools.
Mukesh and friends on the journey