“Jayasya Aayatnam Dharmah”- Dharma, the abode of victory. The theme of the World Hindu Congress in Bangkok 2023, with seven parallel themes running throughout the three day event. NHSF (UK) had the privilege of speaking at the Hindu Youth Conference within three different sessions, discussing issues currently being faced by the Hindu youth community worldwide. The sessions were attended by numerous organisations including Hindu Students Council (USA), Hindu Youth Australia, KMHD (Indonesia), and many more. Being a panellist on the session based on Navigating Gurukshetras within Academia alongside Deepaliji Kulkarni discussing the importance of branching out the jobs being done by Hindus and Ramdasji Tiwari discussing the war of Narratives, I discussed the importance of constructively responding to anti- Hindu challenges on campuses. The session brought together the importance of owning the Hindu narratives, within academia and beyond in policy making. The session paid homage to our core value of Vasudeva Kutumbakam, the world is one family, with our development as Hindus being shared globally. Being a part of this panel helped me gain an immense understanding of the current landscape of Hindus globally, we are excelling in many areas however there is a huge push for change with governing policies. For NHSF (UK) we have an opportunity for our students to become the next generation of Hindu role models in all walks of life, from media to politics to economy, so now is the time for us to grow. The experience was unforgettable and truly showed the community Protecting, Preserving, Practising and Promoting Hindu Dharma.
- Nikita Trivedi, National Vistarika
Dharma Vijaya, the victory of that which sustains, differs from other victories we see in life – money, power, and ego. The victories of Shri Ramachandra, Shri Krishna, Maa Durga, and in a non-Itihasic/Puranic context, though important in their own right, the victories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap, and Kittur Chennamma, are examples of the all-important Dharma Vijaya. Simply put, it represents the victory of virtue, and indeed, in line with their motto ‘Jayasya Aayatnam Dharmah’ – Dharma, the abode of victory – the World Hindu Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, served as an inspiration for us, the Hindu Samaj, to progress towards a society that prizes the victory of Dharma above all. The WHC was hosted from the 24th to the 26th of November at the IMPACT Exhibition Center and featured seven parallel conferences featuring speakers who were experts in their fields, covering topics such as Hinduphobia, cultivating the Hindu Youth voice, and improving education about Hindu Dharma.
On the first day, we started with the Shankhanaad (blowing of the conch) in the plenary session featuring cherished inspirational Hindu figures such as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known as Amma ‘the hugging saint’, and Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, head of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery and publisher of the Hinduism Today magazine. They spoke about the importance of unity amongst Hindus, the issues we face today, and how the Congress aims to create various ‘Uttara pakshas’ or conclusions/solutions for the challenges discussed over the three days. The first session I attended was part of the Hindu Youth Conference, aimed at inspiring and amplifying the Hindu Youth voice. Chaired by our National President, Bhavya ji Shah, the first session was an insight into the Hindu Identity and how we can ensure respect, visibility, and acceptability in the mainstream. One of the speakers, I Wayan ji Darmawan, an Indonesian Hindu, spoke about the challenges his community faces in their Native Land, stating that despite having a population of around five million, they struggle to find representation and recognition. For many of us there, it raised the issue of visibility, not just in wider society, but amongst Hindus ourselves; how can we ensure that these diverse voices are heard by us? In the second session, our Vistaarika, Nikita ji Trivedi, brought up examples of anti-Hindu sentiment on Campus and how we respond as NHSF (UK) and need to respond in the Samaaj at large.
On the second day, I got to hear from Swami Mitrananda of Chinmaya Mission at the Hindu Education Conference, where he spoke about the importance of strengthening our indigenous knowledge systems and ensuring that, worldwide, we are able to engage with institutions so an accurate view of Hindu Dharma and society is represented. I then attended the Media Conference and heard from figures such as Sushri Ami ji Ganatra and Acharya Arumuganathaswami, who spoke about how we can take Hindu Dharma to a global audience and how we can educate our and the next generation about our Itihasa and Puranas. On the final day, we received summaries of each conference, as it was difficult to attend them all, and had a reflection on the Congress, the questions asked, and potential solutions thought of.
The World Hindu Congress provided me with an insight into the multi-faceted Hindu sphere and served as the perfect Manthan (churning) of ideas that we, as Hindu youth especially, should be inspired by and take forward into the future. Furthermore, being able to meet and ask perhaps too many questions to those figures who’s books, and words, have helped me with my own intellectual development as a Hindu left me in awe of such an unforgettable experience.
- Aman Vyas, London Zone Campus Team Member