Vandaneeya Mousiji's life story is an inspiring tale- a sage of warrior, who battled against every odd to emerge as a victor.
Mousiji was born on 6th July 1905 in Nagpur. She was named 'Kamal' i.e. lotus flower.
As a child Kamal was adored by every one. She loved going to the temples with her auntie popularly known as `Dai'. The bhajans, stories, and the Hindu rituals to which Kamal was exposed at the temples, left an indelible impression on her mind and heart.
Kamal was eager to go to school. She was admitted to `mission school' which was the only girl's school situated near her residence. Kamal noticed that what she was being taught in school was contrary to what she was taught by her parents and `Dai'. Yet she tried to get adjusted for the sake of learning.
All the girls were expected to keep their eyes closed during prayer time. Kamal was curious whether the teacher also practiced what she preached. So she opened her eyes. The teacher asked angrily " Kamal why are your eyes open?" Kamal replied in a calm and cool voice-" aren't you also expected to keep your eyes closed?" As a result she had to receive a tight slap from her teacher.
Another remarkable incident, clearly indicated Kamal's leadership qualities and the power of oration which could influence the people.
Kamal enjoyed playing with dolls as much and she enjoyed boyish games. She often arranged marriage of the dolls along with her other friends. One day the marriage celebrations took place as usual and the feast began. At that moment Kamal was called at home for some work. In her absence an argument started among the kids and the marriage game turned into a battle-field. On her return, Kamal glanced at the pandemonium and commanded everyone to be calm in the powerful voice. She said -'look here, let us forget our small fights. No one is either inferior or superior. Each person has his own importance, and thus let us not indulge in small disputes'. All her friends were mesmerized by Kamal's speech. They all started to play together again.
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As Kamal entered her teens, she blossomed into an exquisite beauty. The beauty was not confined to mere looks but she had a glow of goodness and a wealth of virtues. Kamal's father had little to offer in the way of dowry. So she firmly decided to marry a person who would never ask for dowry.
As per her terms Kamal was married to Purushottam Rao. She was now called Lakshmi bai Kelkar. Purushottam Rao already had two daughters from his first wife who was dead.
Lakshmi treated and cared for these girls and was more than a mother to them. She herself had six sons.
Vatsala Lakshmi's younger daughter was interested in Education. But there were no schools at ` Wardha' the place where she lived then. She searched for dedicated teachers and arranged their accommodation in her own house. Her intention was to educate not just her daughter but numerous other such girls. Thus Lakshmi's untiring efforts resulted in laying the foundation of the first girl's school at Wardha.
It was the start of the work, which later knit the country into a joint Samiti family.
One day, Manohar, her eldest son asked her. " Ma, please give me money. I want to buy a dand"[a wooden stick used in fighting. Her other two sons also echoed after him. Later Lakshmi learnt from her sons about the shakha of R.S.S. [Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh]. She noticed a very remarkable change in her sons, who were more disciplined, patriotic and obedient.
She then thought thus- " it is essential to create in the heart of every woman, the pride of ancient glorious Hindu culture.
With the guidance and support from Param Poojya Dr. Hedgewar, Sar Sanghachalak of R.S.S, Lakshmi Bai Kelkar started Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the largest and the only Hindu women organisation.
It was started on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami 25th October 1936. A large number of girls and ladies gathered under one roof to learn more about Hindutva. Everyone was called a Sevika.
Lakshmi Bai an affectionate and warm person became guide confidant and a role model for the Sevikas. All the Sevikas began called her `Mousiji' who was like a mother to them.
She became the most revered figure, due to her selfless service and devotion. Thus Lakshmi Bai was popularly and respectfully addressed as- Vandaneeya Mousiji.
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