Big Hindu Answers
By Nikita Thakrar
NHSF (UK) PR Team
Curiosity, unity and a ‘want to know’ mindset is what best describes the National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK) annual conference ‘BIG HINDU QUESTIONS’ held on Saturday 24th November at University of Wolverhampton in Walsall.
Hindu Dharma is the one of the oldest living religions and hence sometimes a complex subject to assimilate. Over the decades, young Hindus have questioned various aspects of Hinduism and mostly the answer they have been receiving is, ‘because that’s the way it is’.
Earlier on in the year, the National committee asked university students across the country to submit their Big Hindu Questions, and this was what shaped the foundation of the conference. There were two aspects to the day, keynote lectures where delegates were indirectly questioned regarding assorted themes and workshops where delegates had the chance to engage, debate and most importantly have some of their Big Hindu Questions addressed.
The theme that connected all the keynote lectures was the confirmation that although Hinduism had advanced over the past 7000 years, it’s preservation was something that was left in the hands of individuals that were living today. The first keynote of the day was given by Jay Lakhani (Founder of Hindu Academy) who urged the delegates to question everything they came across and not merely follow blindly. Following lunch, Dharmesh Mistry (Former President of NHSF) posed a Big Hindu question to the delegates: ‘their vision for the future of Hinduism’. His main idea was that communities should unite and work together to preserve the essence of Hindu Dharma. The last keynote was delivered by Sachin Nandha (MD and Founder of the WeComeOne Group) who gave confidence to the delegates in the form of a motivating lecture based on the idea of ‘carrying the Hindu flame forward’.
The workshops however, were varied in theme and encompassed: ‘One God, Many Gods?’, ‘Law of Karma’, ‘Scriptures: Past their sell by date?’, ‘Science and Hindu Dharma: Where is the link?’, ‘Human and Civil Rights: How does it affect me?’, ‘My Relationships, all forgiving – or not’ & ‘Leadership: The future of Hindus’. Workshop facilitators included: Dhiraj Shah (President of HSS (UK)), Dr. Nick Sutton (Lecturer at University of Nottingham), Shyam Bhayani (Former NHSF Learning Co-ordinator), Dr. Ram Vaidya (Joint co-ordinator of World Activities for HSS), Vishal Merai (Chairman of ISKCON Redbridge), Rishi Handa, Gaurav Prinja. During workshops, it was invigorating to see not only the workshop facilitator answering some of the Big Hindu Questions, but also fellow delegates conveying their input and aiding in answering other’s questions.
The day ended on an inspirational closing from Chirag Patel (Vice-President of NHSF (UK)) who urged every delegate in the room to not only carry on being curious, but to take a small step towards doing their part in taking the essence of Hindu Dharma forward.
The day was a great success as it brought together over 200 curious young individuals from universities across the country and motivating change makers in the community together to start making a difference. The seed was planted, now let’s watch it grow.
“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education” – Smiley Blanton