Curtain Raiser - Second Hindu Spiritual & Service Fair, 2009
December 24-28, at Chennai
The Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony [India], a platform of different faiths and civilisations launched in January 2008 at an all faith meet in Delhi to promote dialogue among civilisations with Eastern civilisational emphasis, is sponsoring, through its Chennai Chapter, for the second time the “Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair 2009” at Chennai on 24-28 December 2009. The Fair will be inaugurated by the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Surjeet Singh Barnala and Shri BS Yeddiyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, will be the Guest of Honour at the inaugural function. The Fair will be held at Vasudevan Nagar, Tirunvanmiyur. It will be inaugurated at 5pm on December 24.
Why the Fair?
To remove the misconception about Hindu spiritual organisations that they are no socially conscious – which is contrary to truth.
There has been a long held perception about Hindu spiritual organisations that they are not socially conscious and they do not have deep impulse for public service. This perception has greatly affected the image of India as a nation and of the Indian people as a whole as it implies that the majority faith groups of India are not socially conscious. In a world of rising religious and civilisational consciousness, this adverse image is also affecting the image of the Indian civilisation and its contributory capacity as a whole. The GFCH [India] which is articulating the need for an Eastern emphasis in the civilisational dialogue and discourse of the world is deeply concerned about this adverse image building which has occurred because of the inadequate efforts to project the Indian civilisation and the faith groups of India in proper light. A note on the objects and activities of the GFCH [India] attached.
In the view of the GFCH [India], the perception that Hindu spiritual institutions lack social agenda is clearly an incorrect perception, which needed to be corrected, to create a proper image of the faith groups of India and civilization for enabling India and the Indian civilisation to play their rightful role in public and global discourse. The GFCH [India] could collect information about the extensive social service undertaken by different Hindus spiritual institutions, which could clearly dispel the incorrect public perception and lead to better understanding about Hinduism and between Hindus and others. But the GFCH [India] also found that the individual Hindu spiritual institutions, however, mighty their service projects were and however influential there were, would not be able to dispel this impression all by their individual selves. What was needed was a networked collectivism among them to put together their aggregate social service work and showcase them to the public.
But, since the Hindu spiritual institutions are a commonwealth of faiths with spiritual, but not temporal, unity, they do not have a church-like organizational infrastructure to bring them under one roof, nor is there any ecumenical effort within the Hindu faith to bring about a networking of the Hindu institutions. Since the identity of India and its civilization has deep umbilical connection to Hinduism and Hindu faith and spirituality, in the larger interest of the Hindu civilization and for proper imaging of the Indian civilization in the global discourse, it is necessary to bring together the different Hindu spiritual and service institutions to showcase their public service activities. Many Hindu spiritual organisations with which the GFCH [India] had developed association in the course of its evolution have urged GFCH to network the Hindus spiritual institutions to project a proper image about them in the public domain, particularly, outside India, where Hindu spiritual organisations are substantially perceived as the brand ambassadors of spiritual and religious India.
The wrong perception about Hindu spiritual organisations that they lack social consciousness – which is contrary to truth – is one of the reasons for the misunderstanding about Hindu spirituality and therefore the Hindu organisations and Hindus as a people in the minds of other faiths and their adherents. This is also one of the reasons for the divide. The massive service rendered by the Hindu spiritual organisations has not been show cased by them or by others to the public. The Arya Samaj, alone runs some 24000 educational institutions! Institutions run and affiliated to Vidya Bharati is over 18000! This is mind-boggling, yet unknown. If these facts are known in the public domain, the perception that the Hindu spiritual organisations are lacking in social impulse is bound to change.
This fair is thus integral to the efforts of the GFCH [India] to promote proper knowledge about faiths among themselves, thereby understanding among diverse faiths and civilisations, which GFCH [India] considers as an important measure of inter-faith and civilisational understanding and harmony.
The GFCH [India] has also been associated with the efforts to create proper view of the Islamic faith by supporting anti-terrorism campaigns by the Deoband Islamic School among the Muslims. It is as part of such efforts that the GFCH [India] is organising this fair to give a proper and fair view of Hindu spiritual and service organisations to the public and to other organisations and also to the Hindu spiritual organisations themselves.
The fair is accordingly intended to show case the service activities of the spiritual organisations and also to promote a spirit of service in spiritual organisations. The goal is: “promote service with spirituality and spirituality with service”. Over 100 well-known spiritual and service organisations like Sri Ramakrishna Math, Satya Sai Trust Amritanandamayi Math, Art of Living of SriSri Ravishankar, Patanjali Yoga Peeth of Swami Ramdev to Gayatri Parivar Swaminarayan movement, besides Ramashram and Aurobindo Ashram, just to name a few, are participating.
The Hindu Spritual & Service Fair, December 2009
The Organising Committee of the Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair 2009 consists of many eminent persons as under:
1. N Mahalingam Industrialist, Philanthropist and Scholar
2. Dr S. Padma Subrahmanyam, well-known artiste and scholar
3. Manoj Kumar Sonthalia, Chairman, The New Indian Express
4. S Natarajan, Vice Chairman, Shriram Group
5. CV Narasimhan, Former Director CBI and Educationist
6. N. Murugan, Former IAS Officer
7. DK Srinivasan, Chairman, Hindu Mission Hospital
8. Dr. Badrinath, Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya
9. R Venkatachalam Chancellor, Ramachandra Medical University
10. Gopal Srinivasan, Managing Director, TVS Capital Funds Limited
11. Mrs. YG Parthasarathy Founder, Padma Sheshadri Bala Bavan
12. Karumuthu Kannan Chairman, Thyagaraja Mills Limited
13. Dr. Kalanidhi Former Vice Chancellor, Anna University
14. Sirkazhi Siva Chidambaram Eminent Karnatic Musician
15. R. Krishnaswamy, Senior Advocate and Secretary, Narada Gana Sabha
16. R. Jawahar Editor, News Today
17. A. Kanakaraj, Educationalist, Chairman, Jaya Group of Educational
18. Duli Chand Jain Educationalist, President, Karuna International
19. Ms. K. S. Gita Promoter, Pioneer Group, Chennai
20. S. Gurumurthy well-known writer and corporate advisor
Besides the Organising Committee, the representatives of the participating spiritual organisations headed by Swami Gauthamananda, the President of the Ramakrishna Mission Chennai constitute the Patrons Committee.
This time more than 100 spiritual and social organisations have evinced interest in participating in the fair which will be held in a spacious ground at Tiruvanmiyur in Chennai between 24 and 28 December. We are providing the exhibition space free to 100 plus participating organisations and we are endeavouring to encourage school and college students and artistes and musicians to participate in the fair for different programmes.