The Auckland chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh – the preeminent global organisation of the Hindu diaspora – hosted a public event at the Balmoral Community Hall in Auckland on Sunday, November 2.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is the overseas arm of the India-based Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the world’s largest voluntary social organisation that aims to unite Hindus and preserve Hindu traditions, while contributing to human causes in general.

The theme for the event was drawn from an ancient verse from the Rig Veda – Sanghachadwam Samvadwam, which exhorts us to walk together, speak in one voice, agree to work for a common purpose that benefits all.

A senior member each from HSS and RSS spoke engagingly to a rapt audience. Joint General Secretary of RSS, Dr Manmohan Vaidya, who holds a doctorate in Radio Chemistry and speaks, reads and writes in five languages including Sanskrit, said the concept of diversity is so deeply embedded in Hindu culture that there is no specific word for it.

Hindu culture is all accepting, he said, and such ancient ideals as those enshrined in this Vedic shloka are relevant for all time to come. Every individual is capable of contributing to the good of society and no contribution is small, he said. Everyone had their own part to play toward the weal of society and it would always be successful as long as those efforts were rooted in a common purpose.

For HSS Global Coordinator Saumitra Gokhale, this was his fourth visit to New Zealand. An engineer who also holds a MS degree from a Canadian institution, ShriGokhale, in his address, detailed the many platforms that have been established to bring the global Hindu diaspora of diverse persuasions and expertise together – ranging from economic and education forums to media and women’s platforms at the global level.

These forums meet at different intervals at various locations across the world but once in four years the World Hindu Forum combined all these platforms together, Shri Gokhale said.

The recent forum held in Chicago in September to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s legendary address to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 that virtually introduced the Hindu way of life to the world, was a great success with delegates from more than 60 countries converging on Chicago, he added.

Chief guest Judge Ajit Swaran Singh spoke eloquently of his experience growing up as Hindu in Fiji and made an impassioned plea not to forsake one’s mother tongue. “You lose your language, you lose your culture,” he said. Shri Pravinbhai Patel proposed a vote of thanks and the meet was followed by a lunch.

Among dignitaries present were National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Honorary Consul of India in Auckland BhavDhillon and Hindu Council of New Zealand’s Vinod Kumar.

The HSS has three shakhas (branches) in Auckland (Glen Eden, Mount Roskill and Pakuranga) as also in Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. HSS New Zealand has a Facebook page.