Hindu Sangathan Divas (Hindu Unity Day) Organized in Houston by HSS


Photos: Anup Rathore

By Charudatta Malusare

HOUSTON: The Houston chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) held its 13th annual Hindu Sangathan Divas conference on Saturday, June 2, at the JVB Preksha Meditation Center in Houston, Texas. This event was attended by over 170 participants from over 48 Hindu organizations from the greater Houston area.

Hindu Sangathan Divas offered representatives of Houston area Hindu organizations the opportunity to network with the goal of synergizing the work of different Hindu organizations, exchange ideas, share material and resources.

The event began with the meaningful Sangh GeetEk Naya Itihas Rache Hum” followed by Ekatmata Mantra which set the perfect tone and aligned all minds with the agenda. The entire program was coordinated by Hindu youth leadership team which perfectly exemplified the leadership team of second generation Hindu youth taking the baton forward.

Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, keynote speaker of the event.

Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, keynote speaker of the event.

After an introductory session, representatives attended one of three parallel breakout sessions, covering, “American Hindu Identity Awareness for mainstream community”, “Synergizing Seva Activities amongst Hindu Organizations”, and “Creating Second Generation Hindu Youth Leadership”. Each breakout session included a presentation by an experienced panel member of Hindu organizations actively working in the respective area followed by group discussion.

The first group expressed their thoughtful views on the significance of proudly projecting our Hindu identity in the mainstream community. The discussion included the views expressed by the panellists on the values, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Hindu community to find expression in a range of spheres, including economy, education, media exposure, organizational, and political, as well as the unique leadership and contributions of Hindu women and youth. Greater clarity and proactive approach are needed and can be achieved by Hindu involvement in governance, inviting politicians to our cultural events such as Diwali, Holi, Garba celebrations etc. HSS is organizing Guru Vandana and Raksha Bandhan which are gaining popularity in mainstream community such as the police, teachers and firefighting departments. The broader and inclusive meaning of “Hindu” should reflect in our behavior than mere words. All Hindu organizations need to unite in protecting and projecting “American Hindu” identity and increasing awareness.

The second group outlined the importance of Seva as serving society selflessly. During the Harvey disaster, relief efforts by all the organisations in united way worked and demonstrated how connected we are as community. The group stressed on a structured approach such as the training of volunteers, setting up a central command station, use of social media campaign for better communication during of natural calamities or crises, to serve better and faster. The seva efforts should ultimately lead to the empowerment of society by taking the role of “Sevak” than “Seva Seeker”.

The third group brainstormed the topic of creating second generation youth leadership by constant engagement and open communication than enforcement. The young individuals participating expressed that this can be achieved by giving autonomy, nourishing their curiosity, developing common interest areas and respecting suggestions. It was recommended that resources be developed such as APPs or databases to overcome language barriers and better understand the significance of Hindu Ethos, Values, and Cultures. The creation of a Hindu Youth forum database as a platform for sharing ideas and organising Hindu Youth leadership conferences would be a step closer to achieving this goal.

The distinguished legal scholar and President of HSS America zone, Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, graced this function as keynote speaker. He thanked all the attendees for their enthusiastic participation. He urged all organizations to adopt collective approach as “United we stand, divided we fall”. He remarked “Hindu Dharma” resonates where diversity is valued and multiple perspectives are promoted however, our Hindu identity as a whole should be distinct, protected and promoted proudly. This broader understanding will lead to the ultimate goal of Sangha where the entire society will be transformed, safeguarding our own Hindu dharma.

The keynote speech was followed by Sangh Prarthana. The Jain prayer and meditation by Samani Kanchan Pragya Ji and Pranav Pragya Ji, created an enchanting and divine atmosphere, everyone felt empowered and blessed. This event was made successful with the lively participation of many community leaders, HSS volunteers and especially the youth. Special efforts and warm hospitality by JVB Preksha members made the event more enjoyable.

HSS conducts a structured values education program through its 150 chapters nationwide to develop strong character and teamwork and leadership skills to organize a dynamic and flourishing Hindu-American community.