After attending the first World Hindu Conference in 2014, Hindus all over the world were looking forward to the World Hindu Congress, 2018 (WHC) with a lot of expectations. And, the event, which took place in Chicago, USA on September 7-8-9, was a mega success with 2,500 Hindu delegates from 60 countries across the globe attending it.
Seven different sections were covered under media, organisation, youth, education, women, economics and politics; and each saw exemplary speakers speaking on their work in the respective fields and reaching out to fellow Hindus to align and grow with them.
The sessions saw Shefali Vaidya devising new acronyms with every sentence spoken, Makarand Paranjape’s hilarious one-liners, the young VP of Surinam charming the crowd, Maharshi like Sri Vamdev Shastri speaking on the need to re-elect Modi in 2019 and Rajiv Malhotra reaching out to young Hindus for aligning with him for scholarly work.
Whether it was the RSS pracharaks from all over Bharat and North America roaming about nonchalantly and talking in Hindi with their sweet Marathi and South Indian accents, or a Brazilian Sadhu ParamAdvaita ji incessantly singing praises for Sanatana Dharma, or the African delegation from Ghana wielding Tilaks and proudly displaying Dharma on themselves, the WHC Chicago was a sort of a modern Kumbh Mela of Hindus from around the world.
Here are some of the takeaways and suggestions from the delegates which are worthy of documenting:
- WHC has become a platform of humongous proportions for global Hindus to connect with each other. That collective Hindu consciousness is the only missing link between Hindus and a global resurgence of Hinduism. Hindus have done some brilliant work as individuals and have achieved a lot. But if these trickles of Hindu power were to unite with each other with clear-cut agenda and purpose, within no time Hinduism will become a Tsunami to arrive on the global stage. WHC definitely opened those gates for Hindus to coalesce.
- Some brilliant academic work being done by Hindu scholars still evades the ordinary Hindus which leads to our defensive posture in the clash of narratives with Leftist Chrislamic groups. WHC educated fellow Hindus to the academic works of brilliant Hindus like Rajiv Malhotra, Koenrad Elst, and David Frawley (Vamdev Shastri) to be understood and carried forward in an organised and emphatic manner.
- The presence of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Vice President of Bharat Venkaiah Naidu, US Senators, and other successful personalities from the global Hindu leadership infused huge confidence in the delegates that Hindus are no longer rudderless ‘Pagans‘ but the true inheritors of the great Sanatana Dharma. Symbols have a great importance in any civilisational narrative, and we had enough of them at the WHC.
- WHC saw an amazing confluence of two very distinct and far away branches of Hindus happening right in front of our eyes: The raw, rustic, rural Hindu ground workers were seen narrating their little success stories from Bharat to rich, suave, urban Hindus in multiple corners of the venue.
One Prabhakar (name changed for safety purpose) told us how he quit his plush job in the US and has started reclaiming temples in rural Andhra. How he painstakingly goes from village to village talking to villagers about the beauty of Sanatana Dharma. One Sadananda (name changed) who is also known as Church Sadananda for closing down 300 illegal churches in Andhra Pradesh talked about how he used the local villagers and the law of the land to do that. And the rich urban Hindus were listening with total awe and admiration about the groundwork of these silent Hindu warriors.
If Hinduism is to be seen as a body, the WHC provided a synthesis of muscle and mind to erect a robust and well functioning body of Hinduism. Anyone who is familiar with the issues Hindus are facing in the world knows how critical it is for the rich, urban Hindus to open their purses and hearts to these ground workers who are fighting conversion mafias with bare hands.
Simone Weil, the great French thinker once said, “Who were the fools to tell you that brute force can not defeat an idea! And once an idea is dead, it is nothing but a corpse.“ Sanatana Dharma is a beautiful but fragile idea being carried forward on the bare chests of warriors like Sadananda and Prabhakar. If rich and connected Hindus help these ground workers, the brute force of Chrislamics can be countered very effectively and the idea of Sanatana Dharma can find firm roots in human consciousness.
- A very heartening sign at the WHC was the extremely enthusiastic participation of young Hindus and the ‘Matri Shakti‘, the women power. Energetic young boys and girls were engaging in heated debates on the issues and strategies to save Dharma. Nothing is more gratifying than to witness the next generation of Dharmic leaders taking shape right in front of our eyes.
- Another interesting aspect was the widespread use and understanding of Hindi by almost all national international delegates. Of course, all languages have their innate beauty of rustic connection to the land one belongs to, along with the strength of nourishment provided by vernacular literature, but to have a common language as Hindi to connect with each other as Hindus is a very enthusing development on a global scale.
- It was a heartwarming sight to see various offshoots of Sanatana Dharma like Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism standing shoulder to shoulder with each other. That the Indic Dharmas had more in common with each other than the differences was underlined by the robust participation of delegations from all sister faiths of Hinduism.
- Finally, the Dharmic narrative in the ongoing clash of civilisations is now beginning to shape up. It is crucial in any thought struggle on a global scale to have a narrative to spell out the need and tools of resistance to Adharmic narratives. The Collective Hindu consciousness has arrived finally and it is a robust, compassionate and strong force that will change the course of mankind from darkness to light, from untruth to truth, from death to life.
Amidst the incessant chaos that has engulfed this little world of ours, the Hindu understanding of life is finally being articulated by brilliant and committed minds to spread a warm, friendly and a happy spiritual understanding of forces of life that can de-stress the world and make entire mankind move on the trajectory of evolution in a peaceful non-confrontational manner.
There is only one suggestion. A gathering of the scale and class of WHC needs to spell out clear-cut agendas for Hindus living globally. This was initially suggested by Shefali Vaidya but since more and more delegates agreed to this idea, this is the only suggestion that needs to be offered to leaders of Hindu Samaaj.
Most of the Hindus in this world want to help a global cause that aligns them with each other. Unless forums like WHC are used to spell out that global agenda for Hindus, the real fruit of events like WHC will not be realised for Hinduism. Even if half a day of session needs to be devoted to this, it will be a worthy exercise because it will give tangible goals to the global Hindus, raise awareness of the global community on issues faced by Hindus and could give us a chance to assess our progress on the front when we meet again in Thailand in 2022 .
What better forum than WHC than to talk about Hindus rising to save battered Hindus of Bangladesh and Pakistan? When will a Hindu agenda be spelt out that gives shelter to poor and helpless Hindus globally and empowers Hindus who are working for fellow Hindus? Isn’t it time that Hindus reach out to each other and spread the fire of Dharma globally and place Sanatana Dharma to the rightful place in the league of religions?
If not now, then when?
If not us, then who?
If not the WHC, then how?
The Hindu leadership has to ponder upon this and respond or a lot of energy and activity at WHC will be wasted and a Dharmic confluence is reduced to a PR exercise.
As a footnote before concluding, one wonders why didn’t Narendra Modi send a recorded video of his feeling to the WHC? If it was an error of the staff that manages his schedule, it was a grave one which could have been avoided had due diligence been attempted. If the PM chose to send a written message, the Leftists have managed to tame an uncompromising Hindu leader, sadly.
(Dr. Omendra Ratnu is the founder of Nimittekam, an organisation working for rights and rehabilitation of Pakistani Hindus. He attended the World Hindu Congress in Chicago earlier this month.)