Between the 7th and 9th September 2018, 2500 delegates from 60 countries gathered in Chicago for the second World Hindu Congress with the theme, Sumantrité Suvikrānté – ‘Think Collectively, Achieve Valiantly’
The WHC aimed to provide a global platform where Hindus could gather, connect and discuss how to enable collective and methodical work to create positive change in society. The Congress did not fail to deliver, as it brought together high-profile speakers, dignitaries and inspiring minds from across the globe.
The World Hindu Congress 2018 had an additional spark of excitement as it marked 125 years since Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic speech in at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, beginning with the now famous words ‘Sisters and brothers of America…’. The positive energy of this iconic anniversary was visible across all seven parallel conferences, namely; the Organisational Conference, the World Hindu Economic Forum, the Media Conference, the Political Conference, the Education Conference, the Women’s Conference, and the Hindu Youth Conference.
Delegates from NHSF (UK), comprising of National Committee and Chapter committee members, attended the Youth Conference, which aimed to create global networks for the Hindu youth and students to solve common problems. NHSF (UK) had a number of notable representatives in both the Hindu Youth Conference and Hindu Political Conference.
Our National President, Drishti, spoke in the Youth Conference session on Strengthening Hindu Identity. She talked about changing the narrative and how to proudly own and accurately depict our identities, asking us to think about how we can accurately articulate our values to the world and thrive in every field without losing our ‘Hindu-ness’. Our National General Secretary, Akshaya Rajangam, introduced the Youth Conference session on ‘Hindu Youth as Drivers and Leaders of the Economy’. She began to direct the audience not with clapping or volume, but induced a chanting of ‘Aum’ in order to bring serenity and focus to the room prior to the session. She went on to explain how Hindu youth should switch the action of ‘job-seeking’ into ‘job-making’ and how we can delve into entrepreneurship.
NHSF (UK) alumna and former National Public Relations Coordinator Mayuri Parmar Amin also spoke in the Youth Conference, and was part of the session on the importance of politics and human rights for the next generation of Hindus. She addressed the benefits of Hindu representation within the political field, discussing how appropriate participation is required to proactively eliminate extremist views by shaping agendas and providing more positive role models. NHSF (UK) alumnus and former National President Pranav Bhanot was part of the Political Conference session on ‘Empowering the Next Generation of Political Leaders’. He outlined the importance of representation in politics and the tendency of our Hindu community to applaud or advise, but not actively engage. He concluded by emphasising the importance of empowering the next generation of political leaders to stand up and be active in the political arena.
As well as the discussions in the seven parallel conferences, the WHC was packed with inspiring talks from various dignitaries from different backgrounds. Anupam ji Kher gave an address in the inauguration, and was joined by a message from the 14th Param Pawan Dalai Lama. Later on, Swami Swaroopananda ji, the worldwide head of the Chinmaya Mission, spoke, and the conference concluded with an address by the Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu. All who attended left with a feeling of oneness, enrichment and empowerment that will be taken into the numerous forthcoming global initiatives in the coming years.
Image: the four speakers from NHSF (UK). Clockwise, from top right: Drishti Mae (National President), Mayuri Parmar Amin (former National Public Relations Coordinator), Pranav Bhanot (former National President), Akshaya Rajangam (National General Secretary).