World Hindu Youth Conference in Bali from March 29 to 31
THE World Hindu Youth Conference organised in Bali from March 29 to 31 was a unique experience. It was organised by Swami Vigyananand and Hindu Students and Youth Network (HSYN) on the theme “Shaping the Next Generation of Leaders of Hindu Resurgence”.
Hindu youth belonging to a number of countries including Bharat, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Netherlands, UK, USA, UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore attended the Conference. Bharat was represented the ABVP activists like Rohit Chahal from Delhi, Aniket Kale from WOSY, Deepak Goyal from Pune and myself.
Bali is the home of about four million Hindus. The inaugural session was addressed by the Governor of Bali who spoke of the need for the Hindu youth to work towards protecting Hindu culture so that it may continue to survive through several generations. At the very outset, it was discovered that Hindu youth are facing similar problems across the world. These problems relate to lack of knowledge about Hindu dharma, mistaken identity, apathy, lack of sustainability and lack of positioning of Hindu interests.
In the beginning, Bhavin Davdra spoke on dharma, the ancient Hindu system of principles, values and duties that has the ability to sustain everything. With this basic understanding, the delegates discussed various important propositions.
Education was the first sub-theme to be discussed. Krishna Ramarathnam, in his paper titled ‘Importance of Education in the Modern Society’, described education as a process of examination. He spoke of the ancient gurukul system, which upheld gender equality and imparted knowledge that would contribute towards the betterment of society. He identified that the need of the hour is education which imparts “dharmic knowledge” or knowledge with a purpose to make a positive contribution.
On a slightly different note, Bhakti Mehta, in her presentation titled ‘Ensuring Relevance of Dharmic Education’, mentioned that distortions, factual inaccuracies and stereotypes have been allowed to ruin Hindu heritage. She argued that such unabated ruin would have the long-term effects of creating gaps between children and parents and lowering self-esteem. She proposed that active efforts must be taken to teach children and develop conversation at home.
The next sub-theme was Economics. Sushyant Subramanian outlined the importance of a knowledge-based society for a strong economy. He argued that Chankaya had preceded Adam Smith and pointed out the similarities between the Arthashastra and the Wealth of Nations.
On the second day of the Conference discussion was held on Politics. Swadesh Singh argued that new revolutions are unique as they are characterised by a faceless leadership and do not have any messenger. He spoke of the need to influence the media, religion and the education system. He concluded with the proposition that the Hindu civilisation always leads to a knowledge based society. Pritika Sharma also spoke on this topic.
Next topic was Human Rights and Media. Bhumika Modh spoke on the flagrant violation of human rights of Hindus in various countries. She not only highlighted the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh in the wake of religious reprisals but also spoke of the Indian government’s own failures in protecting the rights of Hindus in the country. Amit Srivastava spoke on the Power of the Social Media. The final session was on Future Hindu Youth and Students. It was a great opportunity for the Hindus to interact with each other and understand the various issues that are being faced by them.