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Dr Deepa Padhi and her TOS team continue their multi-faceted campaign in Odisha, India to stop violence against women.  In Deepa’s latest report, we read of a new initiative to give self-defence training to young girls at the Adruta Children’s Home. In spite of their impressive concentration on gender issues, the TOS group has continued their many other activities and commitments. In October, they welcomed special guests, International TOS President Tim Boyd and his wife Lily and in November Ms Ananya Sri Ram Rajan from the TOS-USA. Read of these joy-filled visits and enjoy the many photos.


Dr Deepa Padhi

Dr Deepa Padhi, Vice-President of the Theosophical Order of Service Odisha region and President of the TOS Mahabharat group, begins her report for the period October 2014 to February 2015 with an account of a visit to Bhubaneswar, Odisha Region by Theosophical Society International President and ex-officio President of the TOS, Mr Tim Boyd, and his wife, Mrs Lily Boyd.


Their first day was a busy one that included visits to the Day Care Centre for underprivileged senior citizens run by TOS Mahabharat group and Mission Ashra, a home for mentally ill, destitute women and their children. At the Senior Day Care Centre the President and Mrs Boyd distributed clothes and other items as Diwali gifts. They planted fruit-bearing trees on the premises of Mission Ashra and presented a slide and basketball kit to the children on behalf of the Mahabharat Group. As parents themselves, the President and Mrs Boyd enjoyed meeting the children and spending a little time playing with them.


The President and his wife, Lily, visiting Dibashraya Day Care Centre for senior citizens in October 2014.

The President and Dr Deepa Padhi distributing Diwali gifts to the seniors at the Day Care Centre.

Tim and Lily Boyd planting fruit-bearing trees at Mission Ashra while Deepa and others look on.

Mrs Lily Boyd, with the President, holds one of the youngest
children living at Mission Ashra.

Children of Mission Ashra enjoying their new slide and the President playing basketball with some of the boys. Show them how it’s done, Tim!

Providing a home for mentally ill and destitute women is an important service. After visiting the mission the following month, Ananya Rajan commented, “As many are aware, women are considered basically a commodity in many parts of the world and while India progresses economically, socially it still has a lot of work to do. The mentally ill, especially women, are treated worse than an abused and neglected animal. They are often left to fend for themselves, thrown out of their homes, and are sexually preyed upon by men. Just as in the US [and the rest of the Western world], mental illness has its own stigma in India, but the risks are greater. The value of a life in an overpopulated country that is surrounded by constant poverty is lessened. There is no shock factor. One of the greatest tragedies we must change through our work in the TOS is humanity’s lack of compassion for the suffering of others. . . Through generous donations of the TOS in Bhubaneswar and other types of fund raising, the women at Mission Ashra now have a facility that provides comprehensive care, mentally, emotionally, socially and medically in a safe and caring environment.” To know more about Mission Ashra, visit this link.


The next day, TOS Mahabharat group hosted the Regional Conference on the theme, Transformation Through Service.  Tim, Lily and Dr Ashok Kumar Das, the Vice-Chancellor, Utkal University, were the Principal Guests. Prof. R. K. Mishra chaired a symposium organised on the theme. Speakers were Prof. Aditya Mohanty and Prof. Sahadeb Patro.  Short speeches were given by Mr D. N. Padhi, Mr G. C. Nanda and Mr Jagadananda on the topic Youth and World Peace. A large number of university students attended the conference. Tim and Lily spent some time with the students answering questions during the interactive session.


Dr Aditya Mohanty, Professor of Philosophy and a member advisor, Dr Deepa Padhi, VP TOS Odisha Region, Dr Ashok Kumar Das, Vice-Chancellor, Utkal University, Mr Tim Boyd, President Theosophical Society, Mrs Lily Boyd and Mr R. C. Pattanaik, Regional Secretary of Odisha Region, at the inaugural session of the Odisha Regional Conference in October 2014.


A postgraduate student of Utkal University asking President Tim Boyd a question during the interactive session.

President Boyd cutting his birthday cake.


That evening, the Annual Meet of Mahabharat Group was celebrated, again with Tim as the Chief Guest and Lily as the Special Guest and Prof. Aditya Mohanty acting as chair. The Besant Selfless Service Award was presented to Mr Gopimohan Patnaik for donating blood 127 times during his life. The Life Time Achievement Service Award was presented to Mrs Narmada Parhi for her service to society through the TOS and a most enjoyable cultural programme was performed by the children of the Adruta Children’s Home. As if this weren’t enough enjoyment for one evening, President Boyd was surprised with a birthday cake to the delight of all present.




On November 7, 2014, Ms Ananya Rajan, TOS Ambassador to India (a title informally given to her by Mr Birendra L. Bhattacharyya, the National Director of the TOS in India), visited Bhubaneswar and was the chief speaker at a workshop on Gender Equality organised by the Mahabharat group. She spoke on “A Possible Approach to Gender Equality”. The workshop, held at the Sai International School, was sponsored by TOS Canada. The Chief Guest was Mr S. C. Mishra, former Director General of Police. Thirty-six students of high school age actively took part in the afternoon part of the workshop. The students were divided into six groups and given a particular theme about gender inequality. Topics ranged from diffusing gender roles, gender roles past, present and future, the breaking down of stereotypes surrounding gender, and gender-based violence.




The group had to give some kind of presentation on the theme as well create a poster. In Ananya’s words, “As many know, Deepa has spearheaded a campaign in Bhubaneswar for women’s rights and gender equality. Aside from raising awareness about this issue, Deepa’s TOS/TS group has been doing tremendous work to help disadvantaged females in various capacities. The work being done by her small group of TOS ‘warriors’ is so admirable and deserves immense recognition. It was an honour to be welcomed and hosted by such a wonderful group of people.”


Gender Equality workshop presented in November 2014 was
sponsored by the TOS in Canada.


Ms Cynthia Rabe, Ms Ananya Rajan and students participating in the workshop.


The next day, Ananya also chaired a workshop cum retreat on Self-Healing, conducted by Ms Lipa Rath, author of Living Courageously, a book on overcoming the trauma of domestic abuse. Other speakers were Ms Cynthia Rabe, Prof. Aditya Mohanty and Sister Leena. Short presentations were given in the morning while the afternoon was devoted to more hands-on activities. Most of the participants were women of various ages, but young students who had a number of questions about healing and the energetic body also attended. The retreat on self-healing was provided to impart self-care methods to those (mainly women) who are often busy caretaking others. All 65 participants were awarded certificates at the end of the programme.


On December 24, a mega health check-up camp or clinic was organised in Mission Ashra which has 200 residents. Skin, eye and medical specialists, gynaecologists and dentists were deputed to perform the health check-ups for the camp. Mahabharat group donated 20,000 rupees (US$325) for the purchase of medicines.









On December 21, 25 teddies hand-knitted by the members of TOS Italy were distributed among the children of Shradhalaya orphanage at Cuttack.


Deepa Padhi’s granddaughter, Sasha, on the left holding a baby while the children play with their teddies.






Dr Deepa Padhi gave a speech on December 27, 2014 at the International Convention of the TS and TOS, held at Adyar. Her topic was “Gender Issues in a Changing World”. Her talk was very well received by those present, and was web-cast to theosophists around the world. In her talk, Dr Padhi told the audience some of what the TOS in the Odisha region has been doing to combat violence against women, the reasons for the campaign and the importance of recognising gender equality in the home, at work and in society in general.



Mahabharat group started its self-defence (karate) training programme for girls and women in Adruta Children’s Home on January 15, 2015. Adruta was started in 1998 by Prof. Aditya Mohanty and his graduate students and has grown by leaps and bounds.  Adruta Home’s care is now extended to over 400 children, boys and girls in various cities of Odisha. The home in Bhubaneswar is exclusively for girls.  Fifty of them participated in the self-defence programme and learned the art of karate to protect themselves. To read more about the Adruta Children’s Home, visit This training will next be given to the disabled girls in the deaf, dumb and blind school as girls who are hearing and visually impaired are soft targets for violence.


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