‘Reforms, cow protection and Ram mandir’: three-day Hindu Dharma Sansad begins
The town of Udupi was adorned in saffron as it witnessed the inauguration of the three-day Hindu Dharma Sansad and Virat Hindu Samajothsav. This event organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is being conducted from November 24 to November 26.
The organizers stated that the Dharma Sansad is aimed at reforming the Hindu community and making a few major decisions. The event is set to see over 2000 saints of various sects in attendance alongside prominent personalities like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, former Karnataka Chief minister Dr B. S. Yedyurappa, Dharmasthala Dharmadikari Veerendra Heggade, the Swami of Pejawar Krishna Mutt in Udupi, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat.
RSS Chief greeting the gathering from the stage || Photograph Courtesy: Adwitiya Shukla
After invoking the holy presence with Veda Mantras, the program commenced with prominent personalities including Shivakumar Mahaswami, Veerasomeshwara Rajadesikendra Shivacharya Swami, and Nirmalanandanath Swami delivering speeches at the R. Bharaniah Stage at Royal Garden, Udupi. Decorated in saffron, the garden was occupied by saints gathered to watch and engage in the event.
‘Reforms and discussion key requirements’
During his speech, Dharmasthala Dharmadikari Veerendra Heggade emphasized that the ‘Hindu Dharma’ has become stagnant due to the lack of religious reforms. He urged people to look upon the works of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar to reform the Hindu society which could lead to its empowerment.
Claiming that the ‘Hindu Sanathana Dharma’ is the oldest religion in the world, he affirmed that its destruction is impossible by foreign, political and cultural invasion. He pointed out that new problems that came up with time, and said that the program seeks to find solutions to the same which could ‘Save the Sanathan Dharma.’
Dr Pravinbhai Togadia, International Working President of VHP, said that every Hindu is divine in himself and there should be no space for untouchability in the Dharma || Photograph Courtesy: Adwitiya Shukla
Dr Togadia also questioned the secular position of the constitution, stating that the Government control of temple wealth and affairs is far from secular and is thus anti-constitutional. “There needs to be an action plan to relieve the temples from government regulations”, he added.
Vishwesha Teertha, chief seer at the Pejawar Krishna Mutt in Udupi decided to address the ongoing dispute between the Lingayath and the Veerashaiva community. “Hinduism has many faces but is united in one heart, and we must maintain equality for good. The notions of ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ are created by governments for political mileage. Everyone should get equal status, and maintain harmony.”
Concerns about ‘Hindu Dharma’ moving towards its seeming demise were expressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who also affirmed that it’s the responsibility of every Hindu to take steps to stop it. Swami Nirmalananda said that the youth should not just be taught modern and western science but also the values of Hinduism so that they can be passed on to the next generation.
‘The cow must be protected, but peacefully’
Proclaiming that “change begins with oneself”, Bhagwat disavowed violence in the name of ‘cow vigilantism’ while affirming that there was nothing wrong with the protection of the cow. Besides pressing on the need for a scientific approach to harnessing the benefits of cow products, he also said that forceful religious conversions shouldn’t be tolerated and reconversion is a must.
On the other hand, Togadia compared the U.S. legal system which prohibits the slaughter of horses to that of India and questioned why a similar legislation for cows cannot be passed in India. The Pejawar Swami also extended his support for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter.
Hundreds of saints gathered in Udupi to participate in the 3-day event || Photograph courtesy: Adwitiya Shukla
Ram Mandir project reiterated
Talking about the Ram Mandir project, Bhagwat proclaimed that the Sangh has much more media coverage of its opinions today, and that can accelerate their operations. Urging action, he said, “Bala Saheb had told us that the construction of Ram Mandir will take a slow and gradual process of 25-30 years, and in 2020 it will be 30 years since the inception of the idea. Hence we need to act fast”.
Togadia restated that the requirement of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is a must, and urged everyone to help establish a Ram Rajya. He defined Ram Rajya as a social system where every Hindu gets all the necessities like food, education, healthcare, shelter etc.
Addressing the gathering, the Pejawar Swami said that the construction of the Ram Mandir should begin from 2019. “After the Paryaya I’m completely determined to achieve this at any cost”, he reassured.
Featured image courtesy: Aryan Tandon
Edited by Soumyajit Saha