Unlike the other villages in coastal districts, the Penamakuru village of Thotlavalluru Mandal in Krishna district has its own unique way of celebrating Sankranti. Bharatha Yuvajana Sangham, a youth welfare organisation who has been conducting games for the last two decades, prevents illegal activities such as gambling and cock fights and diverts the attention of youngsters to games and cultural events during the season.

And like every year, this year the organisation is leaving no stone unturned in conducting the ‘30th Annual Sports Meet’ at Penamakuru Village from January 13 to 16. Speaking on the initiative taken by them, Bharat Yuvajana Sangham member Morla Raghava Siva Kumar said “Few years ago, many youngsters and children got themselves indulged in illegal activities like cockfights and rummy during Sankranti.

In 1980, former sarpanch of the village, M Nageswara Rao, came up an idea of organising sports and cultural meet in the village to protect the authenticity of the festival and its tradition while preventing illegal activities. Welcoming the initiative, educated youth working in various corporate firms from the village started a youth welfare organisation-Bharat Yuvajana Sangham during 1980’s.

We have also utilized the social networking site Facebook to upload the activities of the organisation which attracted many youth from various villages to take part in the annual sports meet.” Timoti, an HR executive in Hyderabad and president of the organisation said “We are successful in changing the mindset of the youngsters and not letting them indulge in illegal activities.

An oath taking ceremony will be conducted for the students and youngsters not to take part in or encourage gambling and cockfights during Sankranti. It will be a cheerful festival for my family and for all who stays in Penamakuru. For every Sankranti, my friends and relatives come down to the village to participate in games and cultural programmes. We will continue the trend in the village forever,’’ he said.