Modern India Needs to Relive Lessons of Arya Samaj Founder Dayanand Saraswati: President
| Ashok Dixit, Editor - Foreign Affairs, IOP - 25 Oct 2018

Modern India Needs to Relive Lessons of Arya Samaj Founder Dayanand Saraswati: President

By Ashok Dixit

New Delhi, Oct 26, 2018: President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the four-day-long 11th global Arya Samaj convention here on Thursday (October 25) in the presence of representatives from 28 countries, including from Pakistan and Bangladesh, governors of Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim and two Union Cabinet ministers, besides other participants hailing from various walks of life.

Delivering a short but impressive speech of about 20-minutes at the Golden Jubilee Park in Rohini, Delhi, the venue of the event, President Kovind recalled his association with the movement of Arya Samaj in his youth in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, saying that that fortunate experience of four to five years inspired him and gave him several life lessons which were of value to him even today.

Describing the Arya Samaj as an institution of cultural pride and a movement of great significance for all citizens of the country, he said there was even a greater need today in modern Indian society to promote the teachings and philosophies of Arya Samaj Founder Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883).

President Kovind said that for citizens of India, it was important for one and all to take the message and teachings of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati of the mid-19th century forward, especially his campaign to end cultural isolation, re-establish links with the time-tested Vedic way of life, and end social evils like caste and class differentiation, and superstitions.

He also recalled that Maharashi Dayanand Saraswati had also during his life time championed the cause of gender equality and empowerment of women, a topic and issue that was very much in the news these days.

It was also Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, who was one of the first people in 1875 to use an item like salt to take the fight to our then British colonial masters, President Kovind said, adding that it was ironical that almost half-a-century later, Mahatma Gandhi had used the same tactic (The Salt March to Dandi in 1930) to make the British withdraw their illegal Salt tax.

Highlighting the need for a values-based society, President Kovind said Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was such person, who in spite of all of his achievements, never hankered after power or pelf, and suggested that those occupying offices of authority and responsibility today in India, would do well to imbibe those very beliefs that he espoused for the betterment of the nation and its people, and for future generations to come.

The President also dwelled on the subject of environment, calling on all relevant institutions to be more active in creating a pollution-free and clean air atmosphere. Climate change and global warming were pressing issues that needed to be addressed on priority for the survival of society both in the short and long term, he added.

He ended his speech by recalling Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s description of Dayanand Saraswati, which was as follows:

“I offer my homage of veneration to Swami Dayananand, the great path maker in Northern India, who through bewildering tangles of greed and practices, the dense undergrowth of the degenerate days of our country, cleared the straight path that was meant to lead the Hindus to a simple and rational life of devotion to God and service for man.”

The President was also presented with copies of the Vedic scriptures and other mementos on the occasion.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr. Satyapal Singh, Governor of Himachal Pradesh Devrat Acharya and Union Minister for Science and Environment Dr. Harshvardhan.

They called for and endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a New India, Young India, where caste and creed had no place. They also said that the Vedic scriptures and by extension the Arya Samaj had all the relevant lessons and ingredients that modern Indian society needs, including scientific.

Apart from host India, the other countries that will be represented at the event include United States, the United Kingdom, Russia,, Canada, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, The Netherlands, Guyana, Trinidad, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius, Armenia, France, Germany, Japan and Jamaica.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be the chief guest on October 28, the final day.

Apart from Singh, other prominent personalities attending the event include Dharam Pal (He will deliver the welcome address), Alok Kumar, Vijender Gupta (BJP Delhi unit president), senior RSS leaders Inderesh Kumar and Krishan Gopalji, Devratt Acharya (Governor of Himachal Pradesh), Ganga Prasad (Governor of Sikkim), Satyapal Singh (Minister of State, HRD), Sumedh Anand Saraswati (Member of Parliament from Sikar, Rajasthan), Sudanshu Trivedi (General Secretary of the BJP), Arvind Kejriwal (Chief Minister of Delhi), Meenakshi Lekhi (Member of Parliament, New Delhi), Yoganand Shastri (Former Delhi Government Minister), Acharya Balakrishna (MD, Patanjali Group), Rakesh Thukral and others.

Organised by the Sarvdeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (SAPS), this global convention will see personalities affiliated to the Arya Samaj expressing their points of view on a host of socially relevant issues to the country such as the divisiveness prevailing within the Hindu community in the name of class and caste, or in the name of socially underprivileged and backward sections and movements like the Dalit ( a class of people subjected to untouchability; people who have been declared backward, broken and scattered), Patidar (Gujarat’s agricultural-dominant Kanbi community) and Gurjar (a pastoral agricultural ethnic group with populations in India, Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan).

According to SAPS, the main objective is to spread the message of human welfare as originating from the ancient Vedas, promote principles of universal brotherhood, take steps to eradicate discrimination and enmity between various sects and religions, and to make the whole world “Krinvanto Vishvamaryam” i.e. “Noble”.

Participants and followers would also be given the opportunity to broadly exchange ideas and experiences, and share various aspects of Vedic thought.

Other issues likely to be raised and deliberated upon during this globally significant event will be the importance of environment conservation and to develop an action plan to stop the devaluation of the family and ensure the safeguarding of social morals.

During the course of the four-day event, a Yagna (religious sacrifice or offering) will also be organised and attended by at least 10,000 Arya Samaj followers.

Previously, ten International Arya Mahasamelans (IAMS) have been held between 2006 and 2017 in various parts of the world. There was a gap of three years between the fifth and sixth IAMS i.e. between 2010 and 2013.

This year’s IAMS will be held in 16 halls and will dwell, teach and demonstrate advanced technologies, innovative methodologies like social media and information technology platforms, discourses on the Vedic scriptures, training in Yoga and meditation, historical aspects of the Vedas, the life, times and teachings of Arya Samaj founder Maharashi Dayanand Saraswati, discourses on the dangers of addiction, non-vegetarianism, slaughter of animals, cow slaughter to redefine, rejuvenate and groom the present generation of Arya Samajis to lead and guide the world to a better tomorrow.

The Arya Samaj was founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati more than a century-and-a-half ago. Today, the movement has a presence in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia,, Canada, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, The Netherlands, Guyana, Trinidad, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius and Armenia to name a few.


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