By Suraj Bhanot
NHSF (UK) South Zone Coordinator
The 25th February 2011 will always hold a special place in the hearts of south zone committee members and chapters a like, for it was the first time since Subrang Garba 2007 that the zone gathered for a spiritual event. The event took four months of hard work, perseverance and dedication from both south zone committee members and other National Hindu Student Forum (NHSF) UK national committee members in order to ensure the success of the first ever south zone Ram Dhun. It was a personal objective of mine to ensure that in our 20th anniversary year, a Dhun would be held for our chapters in the south and the wider community. North and Central Zones had set the bench mark for such events and I wanted to ensure that south zone entered with a bang!
In the week leading up to the Dhun, the support NHSF received from the local community was incredible; plans were made to ensure all aspects of the day would run as smoothly as possible.
I still couldn’t believe the event was happening! It only hit me when the night before myself and Dimple Joshi along with her parents made the journey to collect our guest of honour; Shree Hanumanji murti from Nilesh ji’s house to bring him to the mandir. The murti was breath-taking and I was so proud to see Shree Hanumanji take centre stage for the first ever Ram Dhun in south zone.
I couldn’t sleep the night before; a whole rollercoaster of emotions were running through my mind. Will people come? Will there be enough food? Have I forgotten anything?
Pulling up at the mandir and seeing the Shree Hanumanji murti through the glass door is an image which will forever be engrained in my mind. The stage looked stunning, adorned with badani decor, fruit and the most beautiful flowers. Sunshine poured through the windows of the mandir; it was truly a glorious day indeed.
The Punditji at the mandir initiated the day with a Havan and this was followed by last minute alterations to the hall, ensuring all was set for the day ahead. The musicians were ready for their 9 hour spectacle and the Dhun began with a Hanuman Chalisa. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening; the event that was promised to south zone had begun.
As the day proceeded, more and more people came, it was great to see so many chapters and faces both old and new from the NHSF national committee. The Dhun was progressing wonderfully. The musicians, mainly students from south zone chapters, were magnificent.
The time had arrived for the Hanuman Abisheik. The band was electrifying and the sound of the Shanks (conch) still resonates through my body whenever I think of this moment. Goosebumps filled every inch of my body and overcome with emotion, tears poured down my face. It was a proud moment to see the hall full of students chanting at the top of their voices “Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram!”
As the final 30 minutes of the day dawned, the finale was set ready to climax the day’s events. 4 children dressed in all their splendour as Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanumanji entered the mandir, surrounded by the energy of the shanks as they resonated against the room’s natural energy. The Dhun had been a tremendous success.
I would like to thank all those involved for making the event a true success. It wouldn’t have happened without all the support from chapter committees and members, national committee, the local samaj, musicians and sponsors.