VISHWA Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, organised the 4th Lakshmanrao Bhide Memorial Lecture on January 15 at Alkesh Dinesh Mody Auditorium in Mumbai. The function was presided over by Shri Ashok Goel, vice chairman and managing director of Essel Propack Ltd and also chairman of Uttan Vividh Laksheee Shikshan Sanstha of Keshavsrushti. Shri K Sital, social worker, industrialist and publisher of Hong Kong, was the chief guest who received the Bharatvanshi Samaj Bhushan Puraskar from VAK for his distinguished leadership and outstanding services in the areas of publishing, networking, social justice, trade and promoting social coexistence and harmony among the people of Indian origin spread across the whole world.
Shri Dattatreya Hosabale, Sahsarkaryavah of RSS, delivered the memorial lecture on the topic “Facebook generation’s face-off with global challenges”. Dr Satish Modh, founder member of VAK, introduced the late Lakshmanrao Bhide as a remarkable Pracharak who worked silently for over five decades building a network of workers around the world. Narrating a personal anecdote he said that the energising words of Bhideji, “Look within you and build your potential” is like a mantra that changed his professional profile. He went on pursuing academics which made him take PhD in management and complete law after completing Masters in Engineering all due to Shri Bhideji’s motivation. Shri Ashok Goel informed that Shri Bhide had expressed the concerns of people of Indian origin (PIO) and wanted Mumbai to commence a school where the children of these PIOs could develop with “global minds in Indian soul” and be nourished with values of Indian culture. Uttan Vividh Laksheee Shikshan Sanstha of Keshavsrushti came into existence due to Bhideji’s motivation and farsightedness, he said. The Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir is committed to fulfil the aspirations of the late Lakshmanrao Bhide, he remarked.
Shri Ratan Sharda, the founder general secretary of VAK, introduced Shri K Sital, the chief guest. He informed how Shri Sital developed skills from the shakha that he attended in Karachi during his childhood and fine-tuned them and transformed himself into a successful businessman and a committed social worker. He listed the various achievements of Shri Sital.
After the introduction the chief guest was given the Bharatvanshi Samaj Bhushan Puraskar by VAK. Shri Dattatreya Hosabale presented a plaque and a memento. Shri Narasimhan, coordinator of 4th LBML, handed over a cheque of Rs one lakh and Shri Ashok Goel presented Shri Sital with a shawl.
When Shri Sital took over the mike the first thing he said was that he was overwhelmed with the honour and warm applause which he got from the audience. He wanted to speak a lot of things but was made speechless due to the warm and emotional reception. He informed that he perceived Bhideji more as a saint than a mere RSS worker. “There are about 25 million Indians scattered over the world. These Indians are hard-working wealth-creators. They pay their taxes regularly. None of them is a terrorist” he said amid thunderous applause. Shri Sital informed that he has travelled to remote countries and has seen hundreds of success stories of PIOs. In order for the larger Hindu community to know about these remarkable Indians he started to document them and bring out directories and profile of 100 global Indian achievers.
He mentioned that the PIOs who were taken as ‘indentured labourers’ to sugar plantations from Fiji to Suriname faced inhuman hardships for two generations but slowly transformed themselves into achievers due to the Hindu values of life, tremendous will power and patient hard work.
Talking about the secret of his success he said that the discipline that he had imbibed in the shakha was the foremost reason. He also spoke of apnapan (cordial atmosphere) in the shakha that lacks in a school or clubs. He advised the audience to have a sense of humour and enjoy humour.
Shri Vishal Chavda, committee member of VAK, informed about the reasons for VAK to decide to have a web presence and introduced Shri Sunil Mishra who has designed and hosted the website. He then requested Shri Sital to inaugurate the VAK website. Literally the launch was glittery and dazzling.
Shri Dattatreya Hosabale started his address by mentioning that Bhideji was an embodiment of simplicity and openness and he personified love and affection. He recalled that after assuming the office of general secretary of WOSY, he met Bhideji who gave him useful guidance and suggestions about the students and youth of various countries.
Speaking on the topic of the function, he said there is a digital divide between the youth. All the youth of present day do not have access to primary education leave alone access to internet, he said. Of every 100 students who enroll for primary education only 30 manage to reach up to the 10th standard, he said. More than governments the youth alone have the potential to reverse this trend and achieve 100 per cent literacy by spreading education.
He listed the global challenges facing the “facebook” generation of today—climate change, poverty, corruption, terrorism, etc. The youth have a lot to speak on these topics, he said. The facebook generation is disillusioned with the system in most parts of the world. Youth have expectations from society but when their expectations are not met there is anger amid the youth. It was the youth power, he reminded, that toppled the corrupt Sukarno government in Indonesia in 1968.
The facebook generation does not want to turn its face from global challenges, said Shri Hosabale referring to the 45-minute interaction he had with about 50 students mostly from IIT and Kalina Campus before the main programme. He was confident that the youth will take up issues that haunt society.
Ms Divya Ratan Sharda conducted the interesting question-answer session that saw many youth participate with eagerness and enthusiasm. Shri Vidyadhar Phadke, treasurer of VAK, proposed a vote of thanks. Ms Shubaga Narasimhan rendered the initial and valedictory Vedic prayer.
The audience which was about 400 mainly comprised of about 150 college students and professionals from various walks.
Ms Mamata Vora effectively conducted the entire programme. Shri Sanjay Kelapure, president of VAK, welcomed the gathering and introduced VAK and its various activities.