History of Sansthan Shradhanjali

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1994 - 1995

The history of the Sansthan began with a small idea in the mind of a small time businessman, an ordinary citizen of Allahabad but nevertheless a highly educated and well-read person who went by the name Shyam Sunder Saraf. Shri Saraf, who had been suffering from various chronic ailments and depression for 17 years, came by a book “Your Health in Your Hands” by Dr. Devendra Vora, a leading authority on reflexology (a branch of acupressure) in India. The book seemed to Shri Saraf a solution to not only all his incurable ailments but to that of thousands of other sufferers like him.

Shri Saraf decided to go to Mumbai and meet with Dr. Devendra Vora. That fateful day happened to be the day of 24 Oct 1994. Shri Saraf invited Dr. Vora to come to Allahabad and impart acupressure knowledge to the citizens of the city as also treat desirous patients. Little did Shri Saraf know at that time that he was destined to be a catalyst for a mass movement in the service of humanity.

Having invited Dr. Vora over, Shri Saraf set about organizing the impending event. But first and foremost, was the task of motivating and rallying people to attend training pertaining to a therapy about which little was known and which had no takers. The task proved more arduous than what this modest trader had imagined, what with his limited resources and organizational inexperience.

But as the saying goes, God always favours the bold hearted. Shri Saraf soon found a soul mate in a fellow businessman, Shri Mata Prasad Khemka, a man known for his tremendous organizational acumen. But, the task was still daunting for just two men and a platform was needed. Shri Marwari Agrawal Charitable Society, Allahabad came forward to provide this platform. Soon, many likeminded people joined in to lend a helping hand.  Shri Siya Pratap Singh, a nature cure and yoga specialist, alone motivated around 100 people to attend the training.   

Dr. Devendra Vora arrived at Allahabad on 4 Jan 1995 and inaugurated the acupressure (reflexology) training camp organized under the aegis of Shri Marwari Agrawal Charitable Society at the local Jhankar cinema/meeting hall. The lamp of acupressure was lit in the presence of distinguished luminaries of the city which included the mayor Shri Ravi Bhushan Wadhawan, ex mayor Shri Shyam Charan Gupt, retired justice of Allahabad high court Shri Prem Shankar Gupt, founder director of  “Viklang Kendra” Padmshri Dr. J. B. Banerji, president of Allahabad Traders Association Shri Prem Chand Gupt, renowned acupressure expert and social worker of Kolkata Shri Banarasi Lal Patodia, Sant Gyanendra Ji of “Kabir Panth’, pillars of Allahabad Marwari Society Shri Ram Jiwan Chaudhary and Shri Ram Bilas Chaudhary and over 300 leading lights of the city.

Dr. Devendra Vora lighting the ceremonial lamp at the inaugural acupressure training camp at Allahabad 4 Jan 95. Justice P. S. Gupt looks on
Shri Shyam Sundar Saraf welcoming Dr. Devendra Vora at the inaugural training camp

Shri Ram Jiwan Chaudhary presenting memento to Dr. Devendra Vora on behalf of all trainees at the inaugural training camp

The training proper was conducted from 5 to 7 Jan 1995 and attended by 292 trainees. Dr. Devendra Vora explained that ‘your health is literally in your own hands’, in that the reflexology treatment consists of application of pressure with the thumb or a finger on 38 special points located on the hands and which can miraculously cure practically all acute and chronic ailments at no cost at all and without any side effects. All the trainees received the training very well.

A treatment camp was organized at the local Marwari Dharmshala on conclusion of training on 8 Jan 95. Dr. Vora, helped by a group of the recent trainees, gave benefit of his treatment to over 800 patients who had trudged all the way to the camp in spite of heavy down pour that day. Such became the instant popularity and success of this new therapy amongst the people of the city.

Dr. Devendra Vora addressing the trainees at the inaugural acupressure training camp at Allahabad: 5 – 7 Jan 95
Dr. Devendra Vora treating patients at Marwari  Dharmshala, Allahabad on conclusion of acupressure training – 8 Jan 95

Lighting the Lamp of Service

This was not the end of the story but only a beginning. Seven men and women of destiny who had undergone this training and who were inspired by divine intervention, got together and resolved to utilize their new found knowledge in the service of suffering mankind and provide free acupressure treatment to the needy and the ailing. It was decided that this free treatment would be provided every Sunday at the local Marwari Dharmshala at Allahabad.

 The first such free treatment camp was organized on 26 Mar 95 and inaugurated by the city magistrate Capt S. K. Dwivedi. About 12 patients availed benefit of this free camp. This was a red-letter day in the history of Acupressure Shodh, Prashikshan Evam Upchar Sansthan to be, whose seeds were sown on this day. It was a small step for the band of seven selfless and dedicated men and women but a giant leap for the beginning of a mass social movement in the service of mankind.

Shri Mata Prasad Khemka, Shri Shyam Sunder Saraf and Shri Siya Pratap Singh were naturally at the forefront of this treatment camp. Another selfless person Shri Jagdish Prasad Agrawal, who was serving Uttar Pradesh government as deputy commissioner of sales tax at that time, joined the group along with few other devoted men and women. Amongst the women, Ms. Suman Khemka stood out, being not only the most brilliant and zealous but the youngest amongst them. The elderly Shri Ram Bilas Chaudhary, a person dedicated to the cause of social service, took charge of all the administrative work amongst others.

Shri Mata Prasad Khemka, Prof. Hari Gopal Das and other therapists treating patients at Marwari Dharmshala

It soon became clear to all that these men and women were no ordinary persons but messengers of God. They were men and women of compassion, selflessness and steely resolve. One could see that Shri Khemka in particular was a man possessed, a man of virtue and righteousness, a man with a rare blend of organizational and management skills and with a scholarly frame of mind, a man of unbridled vision. Shri Khemka could see the potential of this practically no cost and wondrous acupressure therapy in alleviating the sufferings of millions of poor in this country. He was not satisfied with just helping out his fellow citizens of the city but thought big in terms of turning the therapy into a mass movement of service to the ailing wherever they were.

Shri J. P. Agrawal, another member of the team, proved to be an intellectual genius, an original thinker with a philosophical bent of mind. His scholarly aptitude was second to none. He seemed to be in communion with God and appeared to draw inspiration from Him for his path breaking researches in the field of alternative medicine that were to follow. Both Shri Khemka and Shri Agrawal were novices in the field at the time but were quick learners and set out to burn mid night oil, night after night, to study what ever books they could lay their hands on the subject. Soon both were to be acknowledged as the leading authority of acupressure in India. Shri Saraf was the founder of an idea but these two men were founders of a movement that went much beyond what Shri Saraf had conceived.

Ms. Suman Khemka, the youngest amongst all founding members, deserves special mention for her dedication to the cause of the suffering, her great enthusiasm and dynamism in promoting the newly founded organization. She picked up the nuances of acupressure therapy in rapid time to soon become an authority on the subject. She became Sansthan's Secretary (Treatment) and held this positionj till 1999. She was to later co author a number of books on acupressure which demonstrated her erudition. She was to also later prove her acumen as master of ceremonies at subsequent training programmes and conferences organized by the Sansthan.  

Wednesday Classes: The Learning Gateway

To improve the knowledge of acupressure related subjects and enhance self-confidence in treatment, a decision was taken in Aug 1995 to hold regular classes for all acupressure therapists on Wednesday evenings. This tradition has been continuing ever since. Shri Khemka and Shri J. P. Agrawal took upon themselves the mantle of imparting detailed knowledge of the subject to the other volunteer therapists. Both of them took great pains to carry out an in-depth study of the subject matter and put across the same in the most lucid manner. All the therapists were very greatly benefited by their teachings.