Date: 02 Nov, 2014
Delhi will play host to the first edition of the World Hindu Congress, a three-day conclave between November 21-23 to build the country’s religious majority, now spread across the world, into a strategic force so that they can assert their presence on the global stage.
Anchored by the saffron outfit, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the conference, unlike the other functions organised by the body, will not see the participation of sadhus and sants. Instead, it would have Hindus drawn from various fields talking about increasing their footprint in education, media, politics, and more importantly, economics.
Ringing in modernity to VHP run conclaves, the WHC would instead be held at state-run Ashoka Hotel where almost half – over 700 delegates will come from foreign countries. The Congress will be inaugurated by RSS chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat, while other senior functionaries like Suresh Soni and Krishna Gopal, will chair various sessions. Nobel Laureate Dalai Lama and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman will give addresses, apart from experts from the fields of economics, education, public policy and media.
The brain behind the initiative is Swami Vigyananand, the IIT Kharagpur-educated sanyasi, who also holds a Phd in philosophy. He is currently the joint general secretary in VHP, an organisation that was in the forefront of the Ram Temple movement. “The idea behind such a Congress was to bring together all the Hindus on a single platform. When they are united they can exercise strategic influence at the global level. The Congress aims to develop an institutional framework where they can come and debate issues of common importance, not merely religious,” Vigyananand told The Sunday Standard. He went on to add that discussing issues under such a platform does not mean that one is being discriminatory. Swami Vigyananand started with seven different forums, covering different areas, which needs intervention to make any community powerful and respected globally.
Currently seven groups: World Hindu Economic Forum, and forums and networks on women, youth, politics, education, Hindu organisations and media have their branches in several countries. The conference would provide them a place to network and start joint ventures. “It’s the first time all these forums will come together to hold a World Hindu Congress, which from now onwards will be a held once in four years. The next conference will be held in 2018 in USA,” said Vigyananand.