It is a Hindu ritual to anoint the idol of Lord Shiva with milk during the month of Shravan (July–Aug). On the four Mondays during this holy month, devotees flock to Shiva temples with packets of milk seeking his blessings and abundance.
The Rotaractors of RAC Bhavnagar Royal, D 3060, began a drive to sensitise worshippers to satiate the hunger needs of the less-privileged too. “We began this initiative three years ago. Beyond the religious sentiments we were pained to see so much milk going down the drain. Even half the quantity being used for the Abhishekam can feed so many children and mothers. After all, serving mankind is serving God, we’ve always been told,” says Club Secretary Dharmesh Patel. Thus was born Project Abhishekam.
The Rotaractors visit temples early in the morning and gently coax devotees to part with some of the milk to feed the poor. “We went about saying — 2 chamachi dudha chadhavi baki milk garib balako mate aapo. (Just give two spoons of milk to the Shivling, and give the rest to us to feed the poor). We are happy that many people responded.”
Last year the team was able to collect 300 litres of milk and this year 120 litres, says the secretary.
At the end of each collection, the members boiled the milk and distributed it among the needy in various locations.
“Our idea is not to just collect milk. We want to sensitise people not to waste milk as there are people around us — children, pregnant women — who cannot afford a glass of tea, leave alone milk,” he says.