Translation as a Tool for Unity in the Pandharpur chi Wari Festival

28 March 2018, 12:35 PM
Pandharpur chi Wari


In Maharashtra, India, there is one huge festival called "Pandharpur chi Wari," which started in the year 1685. It is dedicated to Sant Tukaram Maharaj. People walk for more than 200 km, for 21 days, pushing a chariot from Dehu to Pandharpur. In this pilgrimage, almost 25 Lakhs people take part.I have been working with a team of some young enthusiasts since 2012 who have taken the initiative to telecast this event on Facebook and made it reach more than 1 crore people globally. They take pictures, live videos and drone shots and make it possible for the people who cannot be a part of this event in person to see it. They call it a virtual Dindi.

See the full Facebook documentary below.

Facebook Dindi - Ek Pravas | फेसबुक दिंडी - एक प्रवास | Official Documentary HD | 2017

People from different castes and religions take part in this event. This sub-sect of Hinduism follows the devotional path and teachings of Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta.

Swapnil More, who initiated this virtual event, is the successor of Sant Tukaram Maharaj, a great saint and religious poet to whom this grand tradition is dedicated.

Facebook Dindi is a platform to spread and sustain the tradition among the new generation by merging new technology and years-old traditions.

Pandharpur chi Wari

To make it a global event, the written content about Waei and Vaishnavism had to be translated into English. In the year 2012, I was blessed with an opportunity to do so. Marathi not being my first language, it was difficult at times to understand a few words. Also, I did not have a computer and a phone which could support Marathi fonts. I did a lot of writing on paper and typed the English content on a palm-sized smartphone. The hard work was all worth it when people blessed the team.

"I never realised that I am helping millions of non-Marathi people to understand about a religious realise that all the sects are like rivers which lead to the Ocean of Oneness."

Since 2012, every year, I have been translating all their Marathi content into English, be it their application content, website content, Facebook event, or some cover letters to the press. Last year, they made a documentary film about the Wari and the journey of Facebook Dindi. I got the chance to create subtitles for the same. I never realised that I am helping millions of non-Marathi people to understand about a religious festival and event, which not only helps sustain the culture of Maharashtra and Vaishnavism, but also is a platform to realise that all the sects are like rivers which lead to the Ocean of Oneness.

Pandharpur chi Wari

This team every year comes up with a social cause and donates 1rs per Facebook like and share to the cause. From water retention to women’s empowerment, the team has been working for such causes. This way, the team tries to balance religious and social responsibilities.

I hope this event will help in creating an awareness about this beautiful Vaishnava sect which emphasises Oneness and Universal Consciousness. Last year, when I shared the documentary with one of my friends who doesn't understand Marathi and had never heard about the Varkari sect, the friend told me after understanding about the event trough subtitles, "I never knew about such a grand tradition of Vaishnavism. I will definitely be a part of this pilgrimage next year."

Pandharpur chi Wari

I never realised that translation is such a powerful tool in creating a global community untill I read the URI poster. I thank Fredericia Helmiere (URI Multiregion Coordinator) for sharing it with us. I am so blessed that I was given the opportunity by the team to serve Lord Krishna and Sant Tukaram Maharaj, which resulted in an activity which is helping me contribute a tiny drop of service in creating global community.


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