Margshirsha Shukla 14 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: December 16, 2013

1.   FESTIVALS:  Thai Pongal or Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated mainly by Tamils at the end of the harvest season. Pongal marks the beginning of uttarayana.It coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi and is usually held from January 13–16. The second of the four days or the first day of month Thai is the main day of the festival which is known as Pongal or Thai Pongal. This also represents the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the zodiac i.e. Makar or Capricorn.
The word pongal itself refers to the "boiling over" of milk and rice during the month of Thai. The saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" meaning "the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities" is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival. The festival is to thank the Sun god (Surya) for the good harvest and consecrate the first grain to him on this 'Surya Mangalyam'. Tamilians decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and embellish the floor with decorative patterns drawn using rice flour. It is celebrated in countries SriLanka, Malaysia etc.

2. SV150 PROGRAMME AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI: SV150 Birth Anniversary Celebration Committee Kenya organized a ‘Work-Shop on Ideology of Swami Vivekananda’on 3rd December 2013, at University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr. Issac Hussain (who studied at Lucknow in UP for 4 Yrs.) narrated his experiences in Bharat, where he talked   about cultural values and helping nature of people of Bharat.  Ms. Branda, student from Department of Religious Studies &Philosophy gave her experience about visit of 100 students in various temples of Kenya.  
Key Note Speaker Mr.Vijay Swami Ji, executive director RIWATCH in Arunachal Pradesh, mainly dealt on 'how the great visionary Swamiji's approach on education is quite relevant in 21st century and even across the world'.  Further to it, Prof D N Waruta, Former Chairman Department of Religious Studies & Philosophy enlightened all with his speech when he stressed that nobody has monopoly of having truth, he al. Chief Guest Prof.  Henry Muturo, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) called for mutual cooperation between University & HSS in the field of Education.

3. MEDICAL FRATERNITY LAUDS RSS ON EYE DONATION MOTIVATION: “Fantastic” that was the seal of approval stamped by Dr. S S Badrinath, the  world renowned eye surgeon and Chief of Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. He was referring to a unique way of obtaining eye donation pledges in thousands by RSS Karyakarthas of Chennai. Over 3000 families were talked into signing the family eye donation pledge. A thousand pledges were handed over to Sankara Nethralaya eye bank at a function ‘1000 Eye Donors Families’ Meet’ organized by ‘Swami Vivekananda 150th year Birthday Celebration Committee’ on November 23 at Meenakshi College  for Women in Chennai.
Swami Satyaprabananda Ji of Ramakrishna Order, Sri Suhas Rao All Bharat Seva Pramuk of RSS and Sri Sundara Lakshmanan, Organising Secretary of Rashtriya Seva Bharati Dr. Lakshmi, Secretary of Meenakshi College, blessed the families which have signed the pledges. (Dr. Badrinath fondly remembered Late RSS Pracharak Sri Shivaram Joglekar whose pioneering work of involving families in eye donation pledge helped greatly to fight against blindness).

4. BHARAT’S MARS CRAFT TUNED TO STAY COURSE: Bharat's Mars spacecraft was fine tuned on December 10 in the interplanetary space to stay on course in the 680-million-km sun orbit on way to the Red Planet. The spacecraft was 2.9-million km away from the earth when the trajectory correction was carried out and was cruising at 32 km/second to reach the Martian orbit in mid-September 2014 for its geological exploration.
Scientists at the Deep Space Network of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Bylalu, about 40 km from Bangalore , are monitoring the orbiter's odyssey and programming its computer for sending and receiving commands for its operations despite a 20-minute delay in the exercise due to the distance between earth and the orbiter in deep space.
After a nine-month journey, the spacecraft will enter the Mars sphere of influence, which is around 573,473 km from its surface, in a hyperbolic trajectory. When the spacecraft is closest to the Red Planet, it will be captured into the Martian orbit through a crucial manoeuvre, which involves slowing its speed.
Transition from the earth's final orbit to solar orbit is programmed in line with sun's gravity and laws of the universe to ensure the orbiter reaches precisely on time to be slung into Martian orbit.

5. 98.8 PERCENT OF INVESTMENT IN THE COUNTRY CAME FROM WITHIN: GURUMURTHY: Stressing that strong family ties is the real strength behind Bharat’s growth, prominent economist S. Gurumurthy said that during the past 20 years it had come to light that 98.8 percent of investment in the country came from within.
He was speaking at the the all-Bharat conference of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) which began at Thiruvananthapuram on 13th December with a call to propound the virtues of ‘Swadeshi.’
Inaugurating the conference, Gandhian P Gopinathan Nair said Swadeshi movements represent the real Bharat. Mahatma Gandhi had recognised that the real potential of the country was lying in the villages.
Earlier, The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) slammed the Congress-led UPA government for compromising on the interests of country's farmers during the recent WTO convention in Bali, Indonesia.
SJM national convener Arun Ojha, BMS all-Bharat President Saji Narayanan, SJM co-conveners Saroj Madra, Bhagavathi Prakash Sharma, Dhapath Ram Agarawal, Kumaraswamy, organising secretary Kashmirilal and others spoke on the occasion.

6. NEPALI SANSKRITI PARISAD DEMANDS BAN ON CONVERSION: The  central committee meeting of Nepali Sanskriti Parisad was  concluded on 30 November and 1 December 2013 at Varanasi. 105 central committee executives from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, West Bengal, Sikkim, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharastra of Bharat, Bhutan and Nepal participated in the conference. Various problems related to the socio-economic-cultural, health, education, employment, environmental, safety and security of the society as a whole was been discussed in the meet.
In a resolution the Executive said the government should take care of and properly address the educational, health, employment, and safety and security issues of the Nepali community. The great Nepali culture is in danger due to religious conversion by the Christian Missionaries by means of allurement, conspiracy and use of force. The NSP demanded a complete ban in such an inhuman and sinful act of religious conversion.
On the concluding day, a grand public program with cultural performance by Darjeeling cultural group was organized. More than thousand people from local Nepali and other community took part. Shri Indresh Kumar, member RSS all Bharat executive spoke at the occasion.

7. TEJAS LCA WILL BE BATTLE READY BY 2014: BROWNE: Tejas, Bharat’s first indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), would be fully battle—ready by 2014, IAF chief N.A.K. Browne said on December 12. “Tejas, a fourth-generation fighter aircraft, will replace MIG 21 ... and the aircraft will be the LCA Mark I Type. Forty of them will be inducted by the IAF by end—2014,” Air Chief Marshal Browne told journalists at the Advance Landing Ground in Upper Shillong.

 ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ walks last mile to gallows
Two days from now, when Bangladesh and India celebrate Victory Day on December 16 to commemorate the surrender of the Pakistani Army and the end of the 1971 War of Liberation, it will be a particularly special one. It will mark not just a stellar military win, the end of a genocide and the birth of a new nation, but also, for the first time, the triumph of justice. On December 12, Abdul Qader Mollah became the first razakar, who collaborated with the Pakistani Army to squash the Bengali nationalist movement, to be hanged to death. An execution in itself is no cause for celebration but the people of Bangladesh and their Government in Dhaka deserve full credit for ensuring that Mollah, also known as Mirpur-er Koshai or the ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ for the mass murders he committed in that Dhaka suburb, has been given his just deserts. Few, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, had ever thought that this would be possible. They had assumed that the likes of Mollah would get away with their crimes because surely they would not be tried in a court of law all these years later, especially since they had secured themselves in positions of power within the political establishment. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proved critics wrong when she set up the war crimes tribunal that over the course of three years has been trying and convicting these Rs. Even then sceptics assumed that the war criminal would never be punished to the fullest extent of their crime, that they would be let out when a new Government comes to power. But the people of Bangladesh came together in the historic Shahbagh protest, pressured their Government to change the rules and overturn the life sentence that Mollah had been initially been given, and ensured that he walks that last mile to the gallows. Yes, all of this has taken more than four decades, and in the intervening years Mollah, and many of his murderous co-conspirators, have not just lived with impunity but wielded political power. Yet, as the wheels of justice slowly but surely come full circle, it is hoped that those who were pained to see the likes of him strut around the country — one that the latter had never wanted to be born in — will finally find a sense of peace and closure.
Critics decrying the hanging of Mollah because he was supposedly made a political scapegoat, must be cautioned. The Jamaati leader was allowed a fair trial that went through the due process of law. Within the country, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party must acknowledge this and indeed reconsider its alliance with the Jamaat-i-Islami, an outfit that is now barred from contesting elections because of its nefarious role in the 1971 war. Outside Bangladesh, Western groups and powers concerned about human rights violations in Mollah's execution must remember that the values of freedom, justice and humanity that drove the war crimes trial in Nuremberg, also govern the trial in Dhaka. (Editorial Daily Pioneer 14 December 2013)

9. DISPUTED STATUE TO BE RETURNED TO CAMBODIA: An ancient statue of a Hindu warrior, pulled from auction two years ago because of assertions that it had been looted from a temple deep in the jungles of Cambodia, will be returned to that country under an agreement signed on December 12 by Sotheby's, its client and federal officials at New York.
The accord ends a long bare-knuckled court battle over the Khmer treasure, a 10th-century statue valued at more than $2 million. The Belgian woman who had consigned it for sale in 2011 will receive no compensation for the statue from Cambodia, and Sotheby's has expressed a willingness to pick up the cost of shipping the 500-pound sandstone antiquity to that country within the next 90 days.

10. BRILL'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HINDUISM Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, is part of the Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 2: South Asia (HO2), which publishes scholarly reference works, bibliographies, and research tools pertaining to the political, economic, social, linguistic, and religious history of the Bharatiya subcontinent.
The five-volume Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism -with first volume published in 2009 and to be completed in 2013 with Vol. 5- is a thematic encyclopedia, presenting the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions in original essays written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. Illustrated with maps and photographs, Brill’s Encyclopedia presents the learned philosophical and theological traditions of Hinduism as well as its various folk traditions. Covering the spread of Hinduism over the last two hundred years to all the continents as well as the interaction of Hinduism with other religions, it also portrays the various responses of Hindu traditions to a number of contemporary issues of great relevance today, such as feminism, human rights, egalitarianism, bioethics, and so on.

11. PORTUGAL: FREE YOGA CLASSES FOR 750 PUBLIC SCHOOL KIDS: Under the "Porto's Kids" project - an initiative of the Municipality of Porto - free yoga lessons during school hours have begun for about 750 children, in 30 classes in Kindergarten and 1st Grade of public schools in the city of Porto. The classes are taught by instructors from the Associacao Ashrama Porto Yoga Center in Porto.
All lessons are free for the children and are given to the whole class during school hours with the presence of the educator/teacher who will give continuity to what is learned during the week, training in self control and concentration. In this project only senior yoga teachers with high qualifications are allowed to teach. All the teachers are graduates of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation program and have had special training in Yoga for Kids.
This is the 7th year that the yoga ashram has collaborated with the City of Porto on this project. From past years it has been seen that there has been a very good acceptance of the program by children and their families, the teachers, and the individual schools.

12. MANIPURI SANKIRTANA ENTERS UNESCO CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST:  The Manipuri Nat-Sankirtana, an art form conceived by the famous Manipur king Bhagyachandra Singh in the 18th century, has entered UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Sankirtana - the ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur - has been selected for inscription on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The decision was taken on December 4 at the ongoing 8th session of the UNESCO  Intergovernmental Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan. The committee consists of representatives from 24 countries.
The intergovernmental committee said Sankirtana satisfies all the criteria for inscription on the representative list. The art form is transmitted from generation to generation through formal and traditional education. Sankirtana music and dance reinforce the social and spiritual cohesion among the Vaishnavites of Manipur, it added.

13. TATA HALL OPENS AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL: Tata Hall, the newest addition to the Harvard Business School (HSB) campus, has thrown open its doors to some of the business school's executive education programmes.
In a dedication ceremony on December 9 , Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Group, and a 1975 graduate of HBS’s advanced management programme, joined Dean Nitin Nohria, former Dean Jay Light and architect William Rawn.
The arc-shaped, seven-storey, glass and stone building features triple glazed windows and a green roof. The building features two classrooms, 179 bedrooms, and three gathering spaces for the nearly 10,000 participants who attend the executive education programmes each year.
Tata Hall was funded by a $50-million gift donated by the philanthropic subsidiaries of Tata Group — the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust.

14. BIG COMPANIES CLINCH MULTIPLE PLACEMENTS AT IITS: Post-midnight developments at the premier IIT-Bombay campus, early on December 2 left several students thrilled. High-profile companies not just offered seriously high pay packets; they also went in for bulk hires on campus. A similar situation played out at other IITs in the country as well on the first two days of placements.
Samsung Korea, for one, hired around 14 candidates from IIT-B-the highest so far. Google picked up around 10 students. Samsung Korea, which made an offer of $135,000 on campus, excluding performance-based incentives, hired 14 candidates for both its US and Korea offices. Last year, it had hired only one candidate. Google hired three students for its California office and seven for Bharat. Microsoft recruited 9 students at the IIT-B campus placements-5 for US and 4 for Bharat.
"By the end of the first day, more than 150 unique offers were made. Of these, 75% were for international postings," said Avijit Chatterjee, professor-in-charge of placements at the institute.
Among the top companies that have visited the IIT’s of Mumbai, Kanpur and Kharagpur campus and made offers include Google, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Boston Consultancy, Mckinsey and Bain, Credit Suisse etc.
15. N-CAPABALE PRITHVI-II MISSILE SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRED: Bharat on December 2 successfully test-fired indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha as part of a user trial by defence forces.
The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired at around 10:05am from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range in Orissa.
"The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the launch activities were carried out by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) and monitored by scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise," the sources said.
Such training launches clearly indicate Bharat's operational readiness to meet any eventuality and also establishes the reliability of this deterrent component of Bharat's strategic arsenal, the official said.

16. MODI FLAGS OFF 'RUN FOR UNITY' IN VADODARA: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi flagged off 'Run for unity', which seeks to drum up support for his pet 'Statue of unity' project, on the 63rd death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel here on December 15 morning.
The run was being held simultaneously in 1,100 places across the country.
"This run is being organized with a determination to unite the people, unite the villages and unite the nation," Modi said, adding that it was about "patriotism". Senior BJP leader LK Advani flagged off the run in Ahmedabad. He said the event was a true tribute to Patel and praised the people for turning up in large numbers.
Gujarat government is building a gigantic statue of Sardar Patel — 'Statue of unity' — which it claims would be the world's tallest statue — on Sadhu Bet in Narmada river. The run will also start a campaign for collection of iron from all over the country for the statue.
17. VSK’S WEBSITE WWW.SAMVADA.ORG REDESIGNED & RELAUNCHED IN BANGALORE: Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) centre for Media and Mass communication, Vishwa Samvada Kendra’s website was relaunched with a new design on December 9 in Bangalore.
It is one of the regularly updated websites of RSS which posts regular updates/news/programme reports, related aspects of RSS and Sanghparivar organisations.
The website was inaugurated and launched on August 3, 2006 at Vishwa Samvada Kendra’s office by the then RSS Sarakaryavah Mohan Bhagwat. The updates of are also available on Twitter ( and Facebook ( ).

18. 1400-YEAR-OLD BUDDHIST TEMPLE DISCOVERED IN CHINA:  A 1,400-year-old Buddhist temple, built during the Northern Qi Dynasty, has been discovered in north China's Shanxi Province, which archaelogists say may help shed light on the early Buddha carvings.
The shrine, enclosed by walls carved with Buddha niches, is part of the Tongzi Temple complex secluded on a mountain near the city of Taiyuan- the capital of Shanxi.
The structure was built in 556 AD during the rule of Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557 AD), a booming period for Buddhism, said researchers with the Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IA CASS).

19. CONSERVATION OF LEGENDARY GARUDA SUCCEEDS IN BIHAR: In a rare success story of conservation in the country, the population of the endangered Greater Adjutant or the legendary Garuda, has shown a manifold increase at its breeding site at Kosi Diara in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar.
At a time when there are between 800-1200 birds of this species in the world, Bihar alone has claimed to have a population of about 400. The other two places where this bird is found are Cambodia and Assam. But its population is on the decline there.
Arvind Mishra, an avian expert, whose efforts have largely contributed to this success story said, “When we first discovered this breeding site in 2006-07, there was a population of about 78. But the latest survey has come out with a record number of 75 nests, from which we can expect to have a population of at least 400 of them including the young ones”.
Mishra’s multi pronged awareness campaigns covering more than 20 villages in the Kosi Diara region has paid dividends. He admitted of the obvious advantage of the religious significance that this bird enjoys as “Bada Garud”. As per Hindu mythology it is considered the sacred mount of Lord Vishnu.

20.  BHARATIYA DIPLOMAT PENS SAARC ANTHEM: Kathmandu-based Bharatiya diplomat Abhay Kumar has penned an anthem for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in a bid to foster regional consciousness and bring member states closer.
Originally composed in Hindi, the anthem will also be made available in the languages of the other seven SAARC countries.
"I believe a SAARC anthem, a song that all South Asians could sing together, can act as a catalyst in fostering deeper South Asian consciousness and fraternity. Having received a very warm and enthusiastic reception to the Earth Anthem, which I had written and produced recently, it was my thinking that I could do something similar for SAARC," Abhay Kumar, first secretary (Press, Information and Culture) at the Bharatiya Embassy at Kathmandu.

21. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, sayojak Vishwa Vibhag will be touring Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in Dec-Jan. Shri Ravikumar sahsamyojak returned from his tour to HongKong and Malaysia. Dr.Sadanand Sapre sahsamyojak would return Bharat after his pravas to Mauritius and South Africa. Visitors: Dr.Mahesh Arora – UK

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Within the lotus of the heart He dwells, where nerves meet like spokesof a wheel at hub. Meditate on Him as Aum. Easily may you cross the sea of darkness.    – Mundaka Upanishad.



Bharatiyas have been migrating to distant regions of the world since the past couple of centuries.
In the known history they have migrated to far off places since around the middle of the 19th century.
In the precolonial and colonial period they went mostly as bonded labourers to work in the sugar cane fields in many countries.
These included Carribean countries and Fiji in the west and Far East and also to Mauritius and many African countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and also to South Africa.
For quite a long period the South Africa Hindus were virtually cut off from the rest of the world because of the apartheid policy of the white rulers of South Africa.The second half of the 20th century saw the gradual softening of this policy and the steady rise in the intermixing of the south Africa community with the rest of the world. There also started an interaction of the migrated South African Hindus with the mother country which eventually led to the holding of the first Hindu Conference in South Africa with the joint efforts of the South Africa Hindu Mahasabha and other local Hindu organisations.
A local Organising Committee was formed sometime in 1994 and it successfully held the Hindu Conference in Durban in July 1995.
The conference had blessings of Pujya Swami Sahajananda of the Divine Life Society of South Africa which also played as host to a galaxy of
Hindu Saints and Social leaders in its premises.
The idea of the conference was mooted with the pravas in 1993 of Man Seshadriji, the then Sar Karyavah of RSS  along with Dr Yashwantrao Pathak, the then  Sangh Pracharak in Africa.Their pravas was followed by a number of other social karyakartas and religious leaders from Bharat.
The conference was held at the prestigious stadium in Durban and was attended by many prominent Hindu Leaders. These included Shri Dattopant Thengadi,  Shri Murli Manohar Joshi, Shri Giriraj Kishor ji, Bhante Gyan Jagatji, Dr Mahesh Mehta and Shrimati Anjlee Pandya of America, Sadhu Rangarajan, Shri Brahmadeo Upadhyaya from Caribbeans, Shri Ruben Thuku of Africa and many others.
The conference lasted for three days and many interactive sessions were held during this period in addition to the Inaugural and concluding functions.The Chief guest for the concluding  function was none other than the world renowned  South Africa President Mr Nelson Mandela .
The cultural programme was led by Shri Hrudaynath Mangeshkar and his troup The total attendance at the conference was estimated to be around forty thousand (40000).
 The conference paved the way for spreading the Hindu Organisational set up not only in South Africa but also to many neighbouring countries.


(CHATSWORTH, 9 July 1995)

Masters of Ceremony;
Leaders of the Hindu community;
Distinguished Guests;
Fellow South Africans;
For our country, and for me personally, today’s event is a fulfillment of a long cherished hope. Here, on our soil, are gathered together members of one of South Africa’s proudest communities, at last able as free people to welcome fellow Hindus from across the world as their guests in a democratic South Africa.
The joy of sharing this moment with you is all the greater for knowing that Hindus from so many countries are present. It is a particular honour to be able to welcome such eminent swamis and sages. Your participation in the World Hindu Conference being held in Durban does honour to our new democracy. May your stay in our country be a pleasant and rewarding one.
I would like to congratulate the organizers of today’s event. You have given us all a rare opportunity to participate in the moment of great historical significance.
Dear friends, the strength and the richness of Hinduism has made it one of the world’s oldest religions. It has endured because it has been able to give succour and guidance to its followers in all ages and all circumstances, whenever they may be. Human civilisation is immeasurably enriched by its vision and the values which it inspires.
Nowhere are these things more vividly demonstrated than in South Africa. Our lands are graced by temples, altars and shrines built by the indentured labourers who first brought Hinduism to these shores and those who followed them. They testify to the indomitable spirit with which they sustained community and religion under adverse circumstances.
The nurturing of Hinduism in South Africa has been woven into the struggle for freedom and justice. The Hindu community has given our nation some of its most reversed leaders, amongst them Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Monty Naicker, Mr. Nana Sita and many others. In the past several Hindu leaders were in the forefront of the struggle against oppression. Today they represent our people as a whole in Parliament and the provincial governments, leading the transformation of our society in order to address the legacy of apartheid.
Our vision of a free and equitable society at peace with itself is also to be found in the core values of Hinduism – tolerance, peace and unity. These values, as expressed in the pronouncements and writings of Gandhi and Nehru, had a profound and lasting influence on our liberation movement, and on my own thinking.
The relevance of these values to our society has never been greater than in this time of nation building and national reconciliation.
If we have been able to aspire to the accolade of the ‘Rainbow Nation’, it is in part because of what we have drawn from the tradition. Our rich country of many cultures and religions is protected constitutionally. But more importantly relevance and respect for the values and the culture of others are written in the hearts of our people and enshrined in the practices of our governments, institutions and parties.
As one recent token of the seriousness of this commitments, our public broadcaster has now acknowledged, the place of Hinduism in the mainstream of our national life.
It is there, at the local level, that the most decisive work must be done to heal the wounds which apartheid inflicted on our society. The Indian community is well placed to contribute to this procost, especially in this province of KwaZulu Nata, and above all in Durban.
The experience of the first year of democratic government has removed the basis of the fears which gave credence to divisive ways of thinking about the diversity of our people. Our diversity is now a source of strength, the strength of one South African nation of many cultures and religions but united to a common destiny.
All cultures and religions now enjoy equal respect, without preference. For the first time in our history this equality and freedom is enshrined in our constitution.
No longer do our communities need to think of themselves as minorities threatened by the majority. Assured that their culture is safe and their religion protected, they are free to think of themselves as part of the South African nation. They can be confident that their traditions are admired and respected.
The conditions are also ripe for all religions to join together in a common commitment to harmony, peace and national reconciliation. Uniting around these noble values that are common to our different faith, will help to safeguard our new freedom and consolidate our democracy. It will also help us avoid the kinds of religious tensions which are being experienced in many other parts of the world.
Hinduism has a special role to play in nation-building and reconciliation, reconstruction and development. As we are gathered here today, from across our land and from communities across the world, let us dedicate ourselves to a vision for the twenty first country. It is a vision based on tolerance and unity, an equitable distribution of resources, on peace and friendship in this our South African nation, and between the nations of the world.
May peace be with you.

(The first World Hindu Conference was held at Durban, South Africa during 7 to 10 July, 1995. On 9th July the President Nelson Mandela visited and gave the speech. The account of the conference is penned by Dr.Shankarrao Tatwawadi who was present on the dias at the conference. )