Arya Samaj Houston Celebrates Republic Day, MLK Day of Service

BY ANJANA KALITA

HOUSTON: Arya Samaj Houston celebrated 70th Republic Day with great reverence on Sunday, 27th Jan 2019. The regular weekly Satsang heard the loftier Vedic ideas that build a strong nation. We were reminded that Arya Samaj was the strongest force to earn the country’s freedom with almost 80% of freedom fighters originating from it, the top nation building organization founded by Maharshi Dayanand in 1875. The entire congregation gathered in the outside lawn near the flagpole joined by the children, teachers and volunteers of its Sunday School, DAV Sanskriti School. The unfurling of the national flag was followed by singing of the National Anthem, “Jana Gana Mana” by everybody. The ambience reverberated with Jai Hind and Vande Mataram.

Sanjay Sood conducted this gala day event and delighted to share a glimpse on the Indian history focused on Republic Day in 1950 that witnessed declaration of secular, sovereign republic that India is. The celebration, truly reminiscing for everyone, brings all the people of Indian origin together and instills a feeling of nationalism and patriotism in their hearts. Colonel Upneja, who served Indian army shared traumatic memories of Sino-Indian war in 1962. He shed light on bravely fought Indian army at high altitude without quality weapons and lack of ammunition. Even after inevitable losses in 1962 war, whole Indian nation united tremendously afterwards. Sqn. Ldr. S.S. LaL who served for 35 years in AFMC, also touched upon golden past and revealed how Indian army bravely fought. Both speeches gave listeners good enough goosebumps, teary-eyed and feeling proud at the same time.

Not to be left behind, Lakshya Yadav, Child Speaker for the day from the Sanskriti School, articulated his mature thoughts on the 70th Republic Day of India in chaste Hindi delivered extempore. “Gantantra Divas” begins with the Prime Minister of India who first lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay tribute to the soldiers of the armed forces who laid their life for the motherland.

Flag hoisting at Rajpath on arrival of the president is followed by grand military parades, variety of other events exhibiting country’s rich cultural heritage from different states and cultural dances by school children. His speech reflected nation’s history and the diversity which identifies India as a great unique republic country.

To further raise significance of the event, the children of the DAV Sanskriti School and DAV Montessori School, sang evergreen patriotic song “Insaaf Ki Dagar Pe” that inspire children to take their responsibilities as responsible citizens.

The top listed iconic song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon” that commemorates to solider laying down his life defending the country received a special applause by audience. Children from the Sanskriti School enthralled the audience with their Indian dance performance based on patriotic themes.

The soulful vibrant dance performances by little kids in colorful attractive attires stole the show. The gathering on this joyous and momentous day pledged together to make nation better and salute their national flag with Jai Hind, Vande Mataram. The culmination of Republic Day celebration saw chanting of Shanti Paath.

There was overall appreciation filled in the air that the little children of the DAV Sanskriti School learn so much about Indian values and culture in mere two hours a week. The gathering moved into the dining hall to enjoy special meal topped by traditional laddoos.

 

HOUSTON: For over two decades, Martin Luther King Jr. day has been designated as a national day of service, not “a day off, but a day on”. Volunteers across the nation gather every year to spread the true spirits of volunteering and giving back to the community.

So that’s exactly what AYM (Arya Yuva Mandal) students of the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston did. On Monday, January 21st, 2019 (MLK Jr. day), all these youth volunteered at Interfaith Ministries’ ILEAD Youth Day of Service to help spread the spirits of volunteerism by assisting many groups, including but not limited to Meals on Wheels and refugee programs.
Although students of all religions and faiths attended the ILEAD program, there was one shared goal: to work together with everyone else and help better the community. The activities began with an opening speech by the head of IM (Interfaith Ministries), Martin B. Cominsky for Greater Houston.

Students of AYM were then split into four groups along with everyone else: one to make breakfast bags, one to wish happy birthday to those in Meals on Wheels who had birthdays, another to make care packages for refugees, and the last group to make Valentine’s Day cards. Altogether, all the youth split up at the event and carried out variety of service projects, including packaging several hundred meals, prepare care packages, make telephone calls for wellness checks of seniors and cards for over 2,000 refugees.

 
The event took place over a span of four hours, with all the time devoted to the community service. As hours eventually came to a close, Neeraj Salhotra, an AYM alumni, made concluding remarks about the involvement of the community in public service. ILEAD’s Youth Day of Service was a great success for the youth and the community, enlivening MLK Jr.’s spirit of hope and service to the community. It is with no doubt that we can say that AYM will be back the following year to help in such a great event.

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