Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
There are about seven crore Hindus in about 120 countries of the world. A considerable number of them can be found in nearly 40 countries including UK, USA, Holland, Germany, Kenya, Middle East, West Indies, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Most of the Hindus in countries like Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Caribbean countries of Trinidad, Guyana and the Surinam, where they were taken by British rulers almost 120 years ago as contract labourers, hail from eastern Uttar Pradesh (where the Bhojpuri dialect is in use) and Tamil Nadu.
Ramcharitmanas and Thevaram (ancient Tamil hymns in praise of Lord Shiva) kept their faith and hopes alive. The literate among them would read while the others listened with rapt attention and unmatched shraddha. Deepavali is the most popular festival abroad for Hindus and is both a religious and a social event. Hindus invite all their Hindu and non-Hindu friends on this day. Deepavali is a national holiday in Malaysia and in Singapore, all government offices remain closed.
The West is facing a cultural crisis. Increasing incidents of broken families, single parents, unwed teenage mothers, drug addicts, alcoholism, homicides, suicides and above all, sex abuse by missionary preachers, are causing great concern to the community which is now studying the Hindu family system with greater attention. Millions of liberal Westerners find solace in yoga, meditation and in the preachings of the Bhagwad Gita. All these are growing in the midst of heavy attacks by Christian missionaries, which label yoga the devil'swork and the Bhagwad Gita as the devil'sliterature.
The untiring efforts of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramatirtha, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Yogi Aurobindo (Auroville), Mata Amritanandamayi, Swami Prabhupad, Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Tilak, Swami Muktananda, Acharya Rajneesh, Swami Mahesh Yogi, Shri Ravishankar Maharaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and the labours of organisations like Ramakrishna Ashram, Satya Sai Samaj, ISKCON, Saiva Siddhanta Church, Chinmaya Ashram, Divine Life Society, Raj Yoga Centre, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Sevika Samiti and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have made Hinduism truly global. No wonder the Sultan of Bahrain, the royal family members of Buckingham Palace, Benitto Craxi (former Prime Minister of Italy), Mrs Anwar Sadat of Egypt, sisters of former Prime Minister of Canada, Max Mulrony, also speak in praise about Hindu philosophy.
In most countries Hindus form a microscopically small minority in the midst of people belonging to other cultures. The parents therefore struggle to educate their children in Hindu values. The aggressive Western culture has ruined the Western society and is posing a threat to Hindu youth. The Indian parents are rightly worried about the future of their children who are growing in such a volatile environment. At such places, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Sevika Samiti and Vishwa Hindu Parishad run shakhas, training camps on the concept of Hinduism, celebrate festivals and organise conferences which have brought a significant change in their attitude. Hindu children now feel proud to observe the ancient Indian ethos and tradition.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, in cooperation with hundreds of other Hindu organisations has organised large world Hindu conferences in the UK, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, Singapore, USA and Trinidad to forge a sense of unity amongst the Hindus living abroad. These conferences were addressed by heads of States of the host countries, like Nelson Mandela, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, David Russel Lange, Jomo Kenyatta and Devan Nair. A conference on Dharma was held in last July in New Jersey and it was the largest international gathering of Hindu youth. Renowned personalities of the world assembled together to discuss the problems which the society is facing and the ways and means to solve them.
Over 15,000 Hindus gather during the Deepavali celebration every year in Sydney. Senior federal and state ministers have been attending this festival regularly. Deepavali last year was celebrated in the parliaments of London, Washington and Sydney with their Central Halls brilliantly illuminated. Hindu renaissance is bound to trigger many such events in the future too. Hindu resurgence is finding its echo all over the world. The new century augurs well for Hindutva.
(The author is Vishwa Sah-Sanyojak, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.)