Date: July 27, 2018
Organised every four years, the previous edition of the World Hindu Congress was held in the national capital (Delhi) in 2014
Come September and the Windy City, to call Chicago (USA) by its commonplace moniker, will see at least 2,000 delegates arriving for the second World Hindu Congress (WHC) to be held from September 7 to 9. Shriraj Nair, Mumbai joint secretary, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), said, “The World Hindu Congress is held every four years. We had the previous one in New Delhi in 2014.”
This congress is timed to mark the eve of the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s historical address to the Parliament of World Religions. Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions (1893). This was the first World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, held from September 11 to 27, 1893.
Shriraj Nair, Mumbai joint secretary, VHP
History tells us that a Harvard professor called John Henry Wright invited Vivekananda to represent Hinduism at the Parliament of Religions. Wright has been quoted as saying, when he learnt that Vivekananda was not officially accredited to go to the Parliament of Religions, ‘to ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens’.
Nair laughed when reminded of that quotable quote, and said this Congress will focus on speakers and delegates mingling, and sessions over two days have to focus on, “the economy, education, media, politics, youth, temple organisations and women”. Nair added that all these come under separate umbrellas —World Hindu Economic Forum, Hindu Education Board, Media Forum and others.
Pravind Jugnauth, one of the invitees
Time to network
The Chicago attendee list draws from politicians to entertainment moguls and businessmen. One of its most robust arms is the economic forum. City businessmen slated to attend put networking gains above all. Sanjeev Malhotra, into the construction and signage business, said, “It is always a learning experience to listen to other businessmen speak at the forum and have a glimpse at other business models. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and, certainly not business. There are significant takeaways from this…”
Baburaj J, a businessman of 30 years from Borivli, said, “How I can inspire start-ups. The government can’t do everything. Today, the climate is conducive to start-ups and, as experienced businessmen, we can help those who are on the take-off stage of their entrepreneurial journey.” Baburaj, who supplies equipment to oil, gas and power industries, has been an attendee at the World Hindu Economic Forum conferences held previously in the UK and USA.
Ashik Bhuta, who is into chemical manufacturing, said, “International exposure is a big plus here. Today, we are a global community more than anything else and the way to do business is collectively. Individual businesses have reached saturation point. I have learnt a lot from the Chinese and Jewish business delegations I’ve met at international conferences.”
Devendra Fadnavis, Mohan Bhagwat, Dalai Lama, Pravind Jugnauth, PM of Mauritius Ashwin Adhin, vice-president Republic of Suriname Richard Gere and Madhur Bhandarkar