VISHWA Adhyayan Kendra (VAK) organised the 5th Lakshmanrao Bhide Memorial Lecture at Alkesh Dinesh Mody Auditorium in Mumbai on January 7. The function was presided over by Shri Ramesh Sheth, president of Shram Sewa Nyas, Pune and also the founder trustee of Utthan Vividh Laksheee Shikshan Sanstha of Keshav Shrishti. Smt. Kirtida Bhatt, former vice president of Chase Manhattan Bank, USA and a social worker, was the chief guest.
Convenor of RSS Vishwa Vibhag Dr Shankarrao Tatwawadi, released two books Secrets of RSS – Demystyfying the Sangh by Shri Ratan Sharda and The Saga of Hindu Emigration, a VAK publication compiled by Shri Ramesh Subramaniam. He also narrated a few inspiring incidences from the life of the late Lakshmanrao Bhide. Shri Ramesh Sheth recalled his long association with the late Lakshmanrao Bhide. He remarked that Bhideji was a thinker and organiser and had vision of two projects viz. a residential school to impart Bharatiya education to Hindu children from foreign countries and a financial company that would support unique sewa projects in Bharat inspired by Sangh and working for national development.
Smt Kirtida Bhatt mentioned how she had benefited personally from the guidance of Bhideji. She recalled that Bhideji had advised her to device a new methodology to promote Samiti work in USA seeing the ground realities there and not copy any model. “He strongly believed that women hold the key to preserving Hindu values, heritage and culture,” she remarked. It was due to this reason that HSS shakhas became a family activity in USA. She also mentioned that Bhideji felt that she and her husband Shri Janardhan Bhatt should continue to live in USA and maintain contacts in Bharat and not think of settling in Bharat permanently, as it would be beneficial in many ways. “The best lesson I learnt from Bhideji was that we need to practice in our daily lives some important values essential to our culture, so that we are an example in a small way and are looked up as Hindu ambassadors” she concluded.
Delivering the memorial lecture on the subject ‘Dharma for fostering Global Pluralism’ Shri Seshadri Chari cited several examples to show the fundamental differences between Western philosophy, Semitic/Abrahamic religions and Hindu Dharma as practiced in Bharat over thousands of years. He mentioned that Hinduism, Hindutva, Hinduness, Hindu way of life or Hindu Dharma, whatever way we may call, is essentially universal and pluralistic in outlook and even the Indian Constitution and Supreme Court have not yet clearly defined it as it is very complex. Therefore, the Hindu Code Bill does not speak of who it applies to but mentions who it not applies to. He mentioned that many ‘isms’ that attempted to become ‘global’ and ‘universal’ have miserably failed as they could never accept diversity, insisted on uniformity and imposed their teachings as the only way forward. He remarked that ‘ism’ and pluralism cannot exist together.
“It is unity and not uniformity that matter in Hinduism. The basis for all new ideas and social experiments was the welfare and well-being of whole humanity. It is very difficult to compare Hinduism to other ways of worship as there are fundamental differences in their approach and none is anywhere near comparison” he said. Hinduism seeks to understand the fundamental unity among everything in creation and appreciates the superficial diversity he remarked.
Advocate Rajesh Mudholkar gave a brief account of the Bali Study Tour that was conducted from November 26 to December 3 in which 11 delegates participated. A short but very fine Bali dance was the special attraction and enthralled everyone. This was performed by a delegate from Bali who had come to attend the Vishwa Sangh Shivir. (FOC)