By Pranav Bhanot
Dynamism, vibrancy and unity are three words which best describe the National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK) 20th Anniversary celebrations ‘Arise Arjuna’ on Saturday 19th November at the JFS School, Kenton. Over the past 20 years, NHSF(UK) has grown to represent 15,000 students across 35 universities across the country and organises over 1200 events a year under the NHSF (UK) banner to make it the largest Hindu Students movement in Europe.
The Launch Event
The 20th Anniversary launch event was held on Wednesday 16th November 2011 at the Nehru Centre, London. The evening marked a celebration of not only the advances of NHSF(UK) but also the achievements of British Hindus in the UK. Guests were treated to a canapés reception followed by performances by Amal Lad and Janaki Mehta. There were key note speeches by Manoj Ladwa (Founder of NHSF(UK)), Alpesh Patel (Principle of Praefinium Partners), Raslik Ladwa (Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practise (UK), The Royal College of Surgeons and Pranav Bhanot (President of NHSF (UK). The theme which linked all the key notes speeches was an acknowledgement of the advances we have made as a community but just like Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, we continue to face challenges ahead and we need to tackle them head on. The guests who included business leaders, community leaders and representatives from NHSF affiliated universities were informed that the 20th Anniversary celebration was a launch pad for the future. The vision for the organisation was disclosed including the establishment of the Hindu Lawyers Association, Bringing Politics onto Campus campaign, a continued commitment to interfaith work as well as an expansion of NHSF activities to reach out to schools and colleges. The evening was a great success as it brought together stakeholders of the Hindu Community and provided a platform to convey the vision for NHSF(UK) and how it would change the landscape of Hinduism in the UK.
The Arise Arjuna – National Event – 19th November 2011
Arise Arjuna was the the largest interactive exhibition on Hindu history, culture and traditions of the year. NHSF(UK) partnered with the Hindu and wider community including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Anthony Nolan Trust and the Art of Living to showcase how our communities can unite and work together to better society at large. Through exploring the four zones (preserve, protect, practice and promote), delegates learnt about Dharmic history, science, dispelling myths, stalls, dances and performances. In the evening, students from over 30 different universities took part in a very colourful and vibrant national garba to bring an end to the day’s celebrations. Special guests on the day included the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Navin Shah (Member of the GLA), Swami Vigyanand (Joint Secretary of VHP), Ram Bapa and Sanjay Babbar (RAF)
The Essence of Arise Arjuna is one of action over inaction, practice over hypocrisy, vision over apathy and truth over ignorance. We wish to inspire and rejuvenate the community to the wealth of learning and experience that four millennia of Dharmic thought has given to the world. It was inspiring to see how inspired students and their families were when they reached the end of the exhibition.