The Hindu Bhakta Sangamam, organised by Maharashtra unit of Keraleeya Kshetra Paripalana Kendra Samiti in Mumbai on April 27, was a grand success. The participation of devotees representing various temple committees, Bhajan Sangams, Narayaneeya Samitis, Ayyappa Sewa Sangams and other Hindu religious organisations was overwheling. It was the first of its kind function organised by the Samiti in Mumbai. The day-long programme commenced with Sampoorna Narayaneeyam by representatives of selected Narayaneeya Samitis followed by Samooha Bhajan by Prof. Ramanadhan and his disciples.
The Sangamam was presided over by Sri A.K.G. Nair, chairman of the Reception Committee. The programme began with lighting of the traditional lamp by Swami Vedananda Saraswati of Geetha Mandir Ashramam in Kerala, Sri Kummanam Rajashekharan, secretary of Hindu Aikya Vedi, Dr N. Gopalakrishnan, director, Indian Institute for Scientific Heritage and Sri Ramesh Shinde of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
After the welcome address by Sri Mannanur Ravindran, president of the Samiti, the guests were felicitated with shawls and bouquets. The people who were felicitated on the occasion included Sri P. Deivamuthu, editor, Hindu Voice, Sri Somanath Sangle, Sri Upendra Menon, Sri Bhushan Sharma and Sri Shivajii Wadge, chairaman Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Guruswamis representing different Ayyappa temples in Mumbai.
Sri A.K.G. Nair stressed the need for unity among Hindus and stated that a Bill is likely to be passed for the take over of Hindu temples in Maharashtra. He appealed to the participants to express their resentment against the Bill. He also stated that the awareness about the traditions and values of the country should be created in the younger generation.
Swami Vedananda Saraswati said the Bhakta Sangamam was a good beginning. Criticising the interference of government in temple administration, he said only believers should be the inheritors of the temples. He stated that a Value Enrichment Action Plan should be taken up involving the collegians.
Sri Kummanam Rajashe-kharan stated that the Hindu population in the country has diminished during the past hundred years. He said large-scale conversion is being carried out by other religions offering monetary incentives and added that foreign money is pumping into the country for this purpose. He said the government has no right to take over the temples. He pointed out that the Kerala government during the last Sabarimala pilgrimage season had earned revenue to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crore without providing adequate facilities to the Ayyappa devotees.
Sri Ramesh Shinde said unity of all the Hindus is need of the hour. He also appealed to the younger generation to take interest in learning Hinduism.
Dr N. Gopalakrishnan said out of the 49 civilisations in the world, only the Sanatana Dharma alone has survived despite 960 years of foreign subjugation. Referring to the rich cultural legacy of the country, he said the Hindus are blessed with 2,182 books written by sages of yore supplemented by 10,000 commentaries and over lakh sub-commentaries. Quoting profusely from the scriptures, he elaborated on the ancient wisdom handed down by the rishis and saints of the country.
The Sangamam was basically organised to register protest against the decision of the Maharashtra government to frame a law to take over temples and other religious places of Hindus. At the instance of the Kshetra Paripalana Kendra Samiti, about 4.50 lakh temple trusts and Hindu religious places are now being brought under the banner of Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangh. The Bhakta Sangamam was organised to mobilise awareness among Hindu devotees about the need to protect temples in the country and to involve the new generation in temple activities.
A resolution was also passed at the Sangamam for sending it to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The effort is to desist the government from enacting the law for the take over of Hindu temples in the state. Over 2,000 people from different parts of Mumbai participated in the day-long programme. Sri N.S. Kurup, convenor of the Reception Committee, proposed a vote of thanks.