IInd World Hindu Congress will be organised in Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda had delivered his historic speech in 1893, from Sept. 7 to 9, 2018
J V Lakshmana Rao
Chicago: With the Chicago team in forefront, the Illinois chapter of the Viswa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) will host Second World Hindu Congress in September 2018. In order to prepare a working plan and to make them operational, the team held a preparatory meeting at Rana Regan Center in Carol Stream on April 30.
Welcoming the gathering, Shri Shailesh Rajput, secretary of the Illinois chapter of VHPA, said the First World Hindu Congress was held in New Delhi in November 2014. At the concluding session of the Congress on November 23, 2014, the US delegates offered to host the Second World Hindu Congress in the US. Four US cities—Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Chicago—were considered, but the Chicago Chapter’s claim to host it weighed high because, Chicago was the city where Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic speech at the World Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893. Consequently, the International Committee of the World Hindu Congress headed by Swami Vigyananand approved that Chicago would be the host city of the Second World Hindu Congress to be held from September 7 to 9, 2018.
Dr Shamkant Sheth, president of Illinois chapter of VHPA, said organisers and volunteers of the VHPA, HSS, Hindu temples and Hindu organisations had expressed their excitement to make the Second World Hindu Congress a great success. He said Hinduism was evolved by great saints and scholars thousands of years ago and, hence its traditions, culture, oneness of humanity and spirituality have to be kept alive and passed on to the present and future generations. In that respect, the World Hindu Congress was playing a great role.
The Congress would be attended by intellectuals, scholars, opinion-makers and several others from all over the world. Seven forums, which would be holding sessions simultaneously during the three-day Congress, would cover the views of experts in economics, politics, media, women empowerment, temple management and the youth and children.
He said the first Congress in New Delhi was attended by about 1,800 delegates from 52 countries, but the IInd Congress in Chicago would attract even bigger number of delegates from 72 countries. He said the attendance to the Congress would be strictly by invitation based on advance registration, but the concluding session would be open for all.
Dr Barat Barai, a community activist and who had organised a massive reception to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2015 said, “After years of repression, Hindu renaissance was initiated by Swami Vivekananda in the US and Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa.
When people of other religions proudly announce their religious identity, unfortunately, Hindus feel shy of calling themselves Hindus. They should overcome this shortcoming and feel proud to announce that they belong to Hinduism, one of the two oldest religions (Judaism is the second one) of the world. Our youth must be made to realise this historic fact and feel proud about it.”
Nirav Patel, a VHPA activist and member of the national council of VHPA, said that several committees were being formed to recruit volunteers to look after fund raising, security, food, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, medical and other such facilities to help the delegates to make the Congress a great success. He appealed to people to register themselves as volunteers in good number and work in the areas of their expertise for the success of the Congress.
Shri Kaushik Joshy, an architect of Chinmaya Mission in Chicago and in-charge of Hindu Mandir Executives Conference, who said that there were 810 Hindu temples in the US and among them, more than 20 temples were in Chicago, extended their support to the Congress.
Shri Chirayu Parikh, president of Jalaram Mandir, representing Hindu Priests Conference, stressed the need for the youth to take active role in the operation of temples that were supporting organisations like the World Hindu Congress. A few others, who represented various Hindu organisations, spoke in support of the Congress.
A video clip of Swami Vigyanananda’s speech to the first World Hindu Congress was played on a big screen at the meeting. Shri Amitabh Mittal, executive committee member of VHPA, proposed the vote of thanks.