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WHC gave platform to writers, artists & women entreprenures

Author: Himani Sanagaram
Publication: India Post.com
Date: September 19, 2018
URL:      http://www.indiapost.com/whc-gave-platform-to-writers-artists-women-entreprenures/

The three-day meet of the 2nd World Hindu Congress countries held at the Westin Hotel in Lombard in Chicago recently, that had 2,500 delegates and 220 speakers from 60 countries, redefined the word “Hindu” which went beyond the traditional narrow interpretation and gave it a broader reach encompassing entire humanity.

Another positive outcome was that it decided to establish at least 20 internships for youth who aspire to enter politics. Hindu youth should leverage their social media skills, speak out against biased portrayal of Hindus, educate emerging politicians on the effective use of media and identify the key roadblock to Hindu youth in embracing their Hindu identity proudly, were key points.

The meet also took a challenge for freeing temples from the control of the government and an operational mechanism to reach out to unreached areas as well. It also sought to create awareness about atrocities committed against Hindus around the world.

The guest of honor at the WHC, Vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, came on the last day and underlining Swami Vivekananda’s epoch-making message, reiterated that WHC is a platform where everyone can come and get together.

He said that India lives in villages and “Ram Rajya” is not complete without Gram Rajya, He recalled former president Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s message that Hindu religion does not claim profit and does not subscribe to any dogma. “It’s one set of religious rights which do not appear to satisfy to any caste or creed or way of life.” Naidu got a standing ovation.

The third day highlighted the many contributions that Indians worldwide are doing in their new country. Various media personalities came. Yashika Singh, who manages a TV Show “All About Faith” and talks about all religions at SABC TV, also attended.

Amit Khanna, former chairman of Reliance Entertainment, moderated the discussion on “Commerce of Media Opportunities for Media”. Hindu Media Bureau started by Dhanashree Ramachandran is a blog that would weed out negativities spread against Hinduism and its portrayal in the media. It is there to provide a channel for all Hindu communications in the US and world.

Aadit Kapadia, Cofounder of MyIndMakers, is based in Houston and hosts and runs the longest running weekly podcasts on Indo-American issues. Dilip Javadekar spoke about how he recently made a Marathi film Shanks, based on Marathi cuisine.

Author and blogger Shefali Vaidya and columnist for Daily News and Analysis Sunanda Vashisht also spoke. Prerna Lau Sian of UK spoke about how biased media is against Hindu political leaders and yoga gurus like Ramdev and wanted to make a change.

Vikram Sharma of Hindu Post and Kartikeya Sharma of iTV Bharat also spoke at the event.

Soft laddus and hard laddus were distributed at the sessions urging the attendees to bond well together like a hard laddu, unlike a soft one.

The Dalai Lama could not attend but gave a message by video stating that Hindu religion had great potential. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr. Pranav Pandya of All World Gayatri Pariwar also sent video messages to the WHC.

Congressman Bill Foster, a scientist and businessman representing 11th congressional district of Illinois, addressed the concluding session of the congress.

Renowned classical dancer Sonal Mansingh spoke about “Kala, Sanskriti and Vidya” and how one is always seeking eternal life in this ephemeral life. This can be achieved by Nritya, which Is not just dance. Every breath you take is a dance, the blood flowing in your veins is a dance, the heart beat is taal. Even the word Bharath has music in it – as Bha means love, Ra means raga and ta means taal,” she said.

Mohandas Pai, chairperson of Board of Manipal Global, said that India’s economy is $2.6 trillion and it is the third largest economy in the world, following China and the US.

The political conference highlighted the importance of asserting a strong political voice especially in countries like the Caribbean, Fiji and the African countries, and developing young political leaders. A dynamic digital database of all political leaders by country is to be developed. The Congress hosted five other parallel sessions, on youth, media, economy, women, education and Hindu organizations.

Women’s conference

Entrepreneur and Grammy nominated artist Chandrika Tandon shared her insights at the women’s conference. A short term goal was to conduct value based workshops, seminars and symposiums for young girls. Long term goals were an Angel Investor group for women entrepreneurs and a global Hindu Women Business directory.

A strategy for developing scholarship in religious studies and a strong international network of Hindu scholars were the outcomes of the Education conference. Moderator David Cohen stated that his wife Rekha Bhardwaj would direct the movie “Space MOMs” based on India’s first successful attempt to reach Mars when Mars Orbiter Mission entered orbit in 2014.

Film Director Vivek Agnihotri, promised to spread Hinduism through his movies. Calling himself a Hindu warrior, he showed a short clip of his forthcoming movie ‘Tashkent Files’ was shown. “I come from the most logical scripted religion and it is called Indian civilization or Hindu Culture,’ Agnihotri said.”I have decided to dedicate my life’s 5-6 years to do something on the history of Bharatiya civilization” he said.

“80 percent of films are made by Indians and 20 percent by foreigners,” Amit Khanna said. Commenting on films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi” that highlight India’s poverty, film director Madhur Bhandarkar said that “it was a point of view or interpretation.”

Mrs. Asha Shukla of Bhopal runs Sewa Bharat, a self defense training program that wants to make girls self confident. Devi Jagran is to awaken the Devi or goddess in each child and at Sewa Bharati, Madhya Pradesh, a unique program where communities help themselves by empowering the girls within them, by creating awareness in them that they are not weak and they have a latent energy. It simultaneously develops programs involving boys and families about gender equality and respect for women and girls.

Devi Jagran is a unique approach rather than simply expressing devotion to God. They strive for deliverance from superstition to awakening, problem to solution and remove the inherent thought that women are weak and bring to light the potential within them (darkness to light). As an aid to community policing, it steps forward to help police create a safe society. Girls from slum areas (presently 2000 in number) of cities in Central India are first registered with Nivedita Bharti. They undergo physical and mental self defense training including Pranayam.

Vaishali Shah who heads the Shrivedanta Foundation in Kenya was also a poster presenter. She attended the first World Hindu Congress in Delhi and saw a great improvement in the second. She made a suggestion for including posters and these were included in this year’s Congress. Books on Hindu religion showing festivals and Gods are printed at her foundation and students can also earn a certification. She has also founded the Kenyan Vegetarian Club.

Satya Kalra of Path of Anandam commented that very few women were participating in the conference. She helps and counsels women through her Triple A approach of Awareness, Analysis and Action. “This conference spreads a very good awareness and is very well organized,” Kalra said.

Yoga in Hong Kong

Among the attendees was Yogaraj CP who came all the way from Hong Kong. He has been teaching yoga in Hong Kong for 15 years and won the award for Guinness World records for world’s heaviest weight (110 lbs) balanced on headstand and holding a human chair pose. The event was organized by owner and sponsor Raju Sabnani. Yogaraj CP has been practicing for 5 years and his father was in the Indian Army. Yogaraj also holds the record for longest human chain in an acro-yoga position. He has been practicing yoga since he was 5 years old and is married to a Japanese woman.

Hindus in Italy

There are about 100,000 Hindus in Italy. Italian Hindu nun Svamini Hamsananda Ghiri who adopted Sanatana Dharma, reads Sanskrit prayers and music and uses Ayurveda. Her ashram is near Genoa in North Italy. “In Italy, Hinduism was recognized officially as a religion in 2012,” Ghiri said. “We have same rights. We have government help for Hindus, temples, schools.” Her fellow monk Andrea Bravento or Govinda was with her.

Ghiri belongs to the Hindu Monastery Matha Gitananda Ashram of Altare that Paramahamsa Svami Yogananda Giri started.

Swami Gauranga Das also spoke at the conference. He is busy with the construction of the first Govardhan eco-village in Palghar, Maharashtra.

Hindu persecution over the world was also discussed. In a panel on“ Protecting Human Rights in Hostile Countries/Territories” moderator was Shri Sradhanand Sital, who is chairperson of the Global Human Rights Defense in Netherlands. Smt Santosh Vinita Kalyan, a South African politician and a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament’s National assembly, said that a consolidated database of Hindus needed to be made. Kalyan is also Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation.

Prem Kaidi, a journalist from Nepal said that many Hindus in Nepal were being converted to Christianity and Islam by Maoists. Kaidi, a follower of Saint Naraharinath said that 82 percent of population is Hindu in Nepal but is slowly being eroded by foreign cultures and churches. Mosques and madarsas are being established since the last 10 years.”

Hindus have sold themselves to destroy Dharma,”Kaidi said. Nepalese living in hill areas and villages are very honest and hard working but are poor and illiterate, so they can be easily turned form their faith. Within 10 years, the conversion is at the highest rate in Nepal. Kaidi asked for logistic support from the World Hindu Congress from outside and different pressure groups to help illiterate villagers of Nepal who are victims of the war of conversion.

Sanjesh Dhanja of Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust runs the foundation and tries to spread Hindu culture in Pakistan and safeguard Hindu religion despite the racial bias against them. It also provides legal help to victims affected by human rights violations in Sindh province. He was grateful that he was allowed to travel for the World Hindu Conference. He said that many Hindu girls are raped and Hindus are converted to Islam and have to go through hardships.

“There are about 1.9 percent Hindu elites of the 10 per cent and 95 per cent are from scheduled castes,” he said. Dhanuja got a standing ovation as he was drawn to tears at the end of his speech.

Sanjay Kaul spoke about the 1989-1991 atrocities in Kashmir against the Hindus and how he fled his hometown.

Shri NgodupTsering, representative of Central Tibetan administration, spoke about the inhuman human rights violations in Tibet committed by China.

In the World Business Conference, Columbia University professor Arvind Panagariya stated the Indian economy will grow with Prime Minister Modi. Also economic reforms, high savings and productivity growth will make India $12-15 trillion economy in 20 years. With Aadhaar, Jan Dhan Yojana and Unified Payments Interface, India has Internet plus digital infrastructure to drive growth,” he said.

Chicago’s Prashant Shah, Editor of India Tribune took part in Media conference. J Diganveker participated in the political conference. Diganvker, a Republic candidate from the 8th district of Illinois urged Hindus to increase their political presence and think collectively and work independently,

Ankur and Mohini Sharma, who came to see the conference from Boston, had a positive reaction to the conference and said that it should have been done much earlier. “We should not be ashamed wearing a saree or a bindi in public,” Mohini said. “The number of Hindus all over the world is great. We tried to rediscover ourselves here and it took a thousand years to collect all this wisdom,” she added.
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