Maharashtra Mandal of Detroit(MMD) is a non-profit Organization was established in 1977 for convening Marathi speaking people from Maharashtra, India; who reside in the Detroit area. The goal of the organization is to foster vibrant Marathi cultural heritage. MMD provides a platform for its members to showcase their cultural talent that helps spread the values across the membership and others in metro Detroit area.
MMD has a special focus on promoting youth of our community. Its Youth committee is very active in promoting social activities including volunteering at various Detroit area organizations such as Gleaners, and Forgotten Harvest.
Since last few years MMD has promoted participation Detroit Freepress marathon, which helps promote a social cause as well as motivation through training sessions.
Today’s MMD is an action-oriented, engagement-focused organization that has worked hard to generate and sustain member interest by developing an ambitious financial model through sponsor-solicitation as well as revenue generation through quality programming. We have also created a stable and enthusiastic volunteer base.
During early 1970s, there were only a few Marathi families in Detroit area, such as Dr. Raj Patil, Dr. Vishwanath Sardesai, Mr. Bapu Gokhle and others. Dr. Raj Patil used to host the celebrity artists like Mr. Sudhir Phadake, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki. Mr. Bapu Gokhle used to hold a picnic in nearby Metro Park every year and the notification used to come through a newsletter named “दवंडी” (Dawandi). Mr. Sudhir Phadke was present at one of the picnics, and he was gracious enough to entertain us with a few of his songs! That was really a special treat.
During spring of 1977, drama troupe of “लेकुरे उदंड झाली” visited USA with Shrikant Moghe and Daya Dongre. Since there was no Marathi Mandal in our city, all 25 families decided to invite the artists and sponsor the event through monetary contribution in case of inadequate response. The play was a grand success with almost 150 नाटय रसिक in attendance. Following the successful event, most of us felt that we need Marathi Mandal organization to promote social and cultural events in Detroit area. After a few meetings with the group of Marathi families, Maharashtra Mandal of Detroit (MMD) was established in summer of 1977. The constitution and by-laws were established and Mr. Ashok Deshpande became the first president of MMD.
MMD started organizing major festivals like Padwa, Shree Ganesh Pooja and Diwali. Locally, Dr. Suresh Gadgil and Subhash Kelkar started directing Marathi plays (This tradition continues even today). Besides dramas, we started having Marathi music programs by prominent artists, such as by Mrs. Aarati Ankalikar, Mrs. Prabha Atre and Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande. As Marathi population grew and interest in MMD activities increased, children’s social and cultural activities were added in the annual celebration for Ganeshotsava.
A few key milestones of MMD since its creation are:
- MMD hosted the fourth North American Bruhan-Maharashtra Mandal (BMM) convention in 1989 at Athens High school in Troy under the leadership of Dr. Suresh Bilolikar. About 2,500 मराठी रसिक from all over USA attended the convention. Mr. V. P. Kale was a featured speaker, who entertained the audience with his “कथा कथन” (Katha Kathan).
- Marathi newsletter (hand written at that time) started in 1978. In 1991, the committee started printing newsletter “स्नेहबंध” (Snehabandha) using Marathi fonts.
- In 1996 a giant step was taken by registering MMD as a non-profit organization (501-c3) with the Internal Revenue Service.
- MMD celebrated its 25th year in 2001. A silver jubilee celebration was held by Mrs. Hema Rachmale and her team. Most of the past presidents were in attendance and their contributions were recognized.
- In 2002 MMD got its web site with “Mahamandal of Detroit” as domain. Subsequently web site has been improved and has made great strides in serving the community through providing access to information about the upcoming events, old and new newsletters.
- Suyog team (Mr. Prashant Damle, Mrs. Reema Lagoo, Mrs. Vandana Gupte) from India performed “प्रियतमा” (Priyatama) natak on a week-day at the Bharatiya Temple in 2003. There were about 300 मराठी प्रेक्षक. In June 2004, two Marathi plays were staged in Walled Lake Central High School. Dr. Shriram Lagoo and Fayyaz starred in “मित्र” (Mitra). The second play was “नकळत सारे घडले” (Nakalat Sare Ghadale) with Mr. Vikram Gokhale. In 2005 MMD organized “रुचीरंग” (Ruchirang) at the Ford Auditorium with indulgence in Marathi tradition by offering two Suyog plays along with full Marathi lunch with Malvani, Mumbaikar, Kolhapuri and Puneri meals. That was a grand success with almost 600 people in attendance!
- In 2008, MMD started a new series called “रसिका तुझ्याचसाठी” to recognize and showcase hidden talent in our local community.
- In 2017, MMD hosted its’ second BMM convention in Grand Rapids, Mi under the leadership of Anjali Anturkar. About 3700 attended this convention with huge profit in BMM history. Mr. Parrikar was the chief guest.
- In 2019, MMD started new series called “आरोग्यम् धनसंपदा” to promote health awareness. We arrange Yogathon, Walkathon & health lectures under this series.
There has been tremendous response from the community for so many activities over last three decades. During these years a large number of volunteers have worked tirelessly to make each and every program a great success. Hats off to them all for working hard for this noble cause!
The community is growing in numbers in and around Detroit metro area. MMD is continuously improving variety and quality of its activities to reach more people. It is “आपले मंडळ”– our own Mandal. Let us all put our heart and soul into its activities so that MMD can help organize major social-cultural programs and host artists of national repute.
Today, MMD has over 370 member families and number of 1000 members and organizes around 15-20 programs during the year. Our annual budget has grown every year in the past five years and strategically MMD has balanced its revenue sources with focus on membership revenue growth, generating sponsorship funds, and growing gate money through popular and quality programming.
Team work has been a consistent strength of MMD. The growth in the number of committee members is not accidental. Each successive year, the number of committee members has increased from about 30 to 90 members enabling us to execute many big and small events that utilize and enrich member’s skills and interests. Most importantly many past presidents come back in the committee and continue to serve as volunteer. Here is the list of the past presidents so far:
- Ashok Deshpande: 1977
- Vishwanath Sardesai: 1978
- Prabhakar Kulkarni: 1979
- Shrikant Jalukar: 1980
- Manohar Sardeshpande: 1981
- Pradeep Bhansod: 1982
- Arvind Padgaonkar: 1983
- Mona Sashital: 1984
- Jayant Ekbote: 1985
- Avhal Kshisagar: 1986
- Meena Date: 1987
- Shrikant Khandekar: 1988
- Arun Wakade: 1989
- Shailaja Phatak: 1990
- Shekhar Chitnis: 1991
- Dr. Anant Bhogaonkar: 1992
- Milind Sohoni: 1993
- Sushil Pinjarkar: 1994
- Vijayalakshmi Karnik : 1995
- Nandu Kamat: 1996
- Anuradha Gupte: 1997
- Aruna Kacholia: 1998
- Vasanti Burde: 1999
- Kanchan Akolkar: 2000
- Hema Rachmale: 2001
- Ruta Desai: 2002
- Manoj Visai: 2003
- Dr. Anant Bhogaonkar: 2004
- Deepak Kulkarni: 2005
- Meena Subhedar: 2006
- Harshad Annigiri: 2007
- Anil Arkatkar: 2008
- Sunil Kelkar: 2009
- Anjali Vale: 2010
- Abhijeet Bhusari: 2011
- Anjali Anturkar: 2012
- Kiran Ingle: 2013
- Shardul Athlye: 2014
- Satish Dongre: 2015
- Tushar Samant: 2016
- Tushar Samant / Anagha Huparikar: 2017
- Anagha Huparikar: 2018
- Bharati Mehendale: 2019
- Manjiri Joshi: 2020