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


Photo: Madhukar Adi

By Charudatta Malusare

HOUSTON: The Houston chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) held its twelfth annual Hindu Sangathan Divas conference on Saturday, June 3, at the Houston Durga Bari Society (HDBS) in Houston, Texas. This event was attended by over 165 participants from over 49 Hindu organizations from the greater Houston area.

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

The event began with the meaningful Sangh Geet “Chale Nirantar Sadhana”, which set the perfect tone and aligned all minds with the agenda. Arun Sharma referred to the different Hindu organizations as blooming flowers of different colors and fragrance, and “Hindu Identity” as the string which strings the flowers together to form a beautiful garland, “Hindu Society”.


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

The first group outlined the importance of Sewa as serving society selflessly. The seva efforts should ultimately lead to empowerment of the society by taking the role of “Sevak” than “Seva Seeker”. This can be achieved by increased networking between organizations, sharing platform with each other, appreciation of the efforts of other groups and complimenting them with their own efforts. The emphasis was made to put up the framework structure for togetherness, to unite such organizations under one umbrella to take up the causes of natural calamities or crises, to serve better and faster.

The second group expressed their thoughtful views on the significance of proudly projecting our Hindu identity in the mainstream community. Greater clarity and proactive approach is needed and this can be done by Hindu involvement in governance, inviting politicians to our cultural events such as Diwali, Holi, Garba celebrations. HSS is organizing Guru Vandana and Raksha Bandhan which are gaining popularity in mainstream community such as the police , teachers and fire fighting departments. The broader and inclusive meaning of “Hindu” should reflect in our behaviour than mere words. All Hindu organizations need to unite on protecting and projecting “American Hindu” identity and increasing awareness.

The third group brainstormed the topic of creating second generation youth leadership. The young individuals participating expressed that this can be achieved by giving autonomy, nourishing their curiosity, developing common interest areas and respecting suggestions. The youth camps conducted by youth can be a great engaging tool and create a sense of responsibility. It was recommended that support groups for youth be formed to communicate their challenges and take guidance during the leadership transition process. The creation of a Hindu Youth forum database as a platform for sharing ideas and organising Hindu Youth leadership conferences will be a step closer to achieving this goal.

All groups assembled back and a summary of each session was presented to the audience. Arun Kankani, keynote speaker thanked all attendees for their enthusiastic participation. He urged all organizations to understand the massive change happening globally over the last two decades and align with Hindu Ethos, Values, and Cultures. He outlined our collective approach to be “Think Globally, Act Locally”. “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 and Durga Arati. The atmosphere was so enchanting and divine that everyone felt empowered with the blessings of Durga Devi. This event was made successful with the lively participation of many community leaders, including youth, HSS volunteers. Special efforts and warm hospitality by HDBS 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.