Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK [HSS UK] has been instilling the ethos of hard work, good morals and selfless working for over 50 years and it’s effects are being felt in the UK through our integration and affection for the country.
HSS UK has not traditionally been an organization that has projected its manifold achievements, preferring to work silently to develop persons of great character. The need of the hour, however, is for this work to be recognized and projected, to allow the organization to build upon these exceptional achievements and reach ever-greater heights.
We were enthused to hear about how the first shakhas [Activity Centres] were started by inspired swayamsevaks [volunteers]pretty much as soon as they stepped off the plane from East Africa or Bharat (India). They started meeting with great enthusiasm in their front rooms, back gardens and public parks to get the organization off the ground as a meeting of hearts and minds above everything else.
As the organization grew organically, the need for structure and uniformity was met with the modification of our Sangh Padhiti (style of working) to meet the unique demands of the UK. Our veterans admirably managed the task of establishing themselves and their families in a new country whilst at the same time ensuring that HSS UK was also established on a secure footing in this country.
As HSS UK grew, so did its positive interactions with the society, reaching out to all parts of the UK community. Visits by many dignitaries, all the way up to the then serving Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990, were instrumental in introducing not just the organization, but positive Hindu values to the wider society. Large scale events such as the annual Hindu Marathon, the Virat Hindu Sammelan in 1989 (remaining until today the largest gathering of Hindus outside of Bharat), and the Hindu Sangam in Bradford in 1984 served to provide a positive vision of the Hindu society to both those within the Hindu community and the wider mainstream society.
The organization inspired its members to start service projects in the community in different spheres. These include temple management, elderly centres, language classes in Gujarati, Hindi and Sanskrit, Yoga and Hinduism classes around the country and fundraising for natural disasters and charitable causes. Youth leadership development through the annual Sangh and Samiti Shiksha Vargs [Training Seminars] has been an important contribution to the organization of the society, training dedicated workers who successfully balance working for the society with the family and career life.
As Sangh has grown, it has inspired its members to form organizations to work in different areas according to the needs of the times. These include the development of National Hindu Students Forum (organizing Hindu students activities in University and beyond), Sewa UK (supporting charitable activities around the world), Sewa Day (encouraging volunteering) and Friends of India Society International (worked to restore democracy in India during the period of Emergency rule in India in the late 1970s).
As well as this exposure to Hindu values at a mass level, there has been the influence of equally (if not greater) importance at the individual level. We have been fortunate to hear from Swayamsevaks and Sevikas working in important positions in their professional life, who have told us about the life changing influence Sangh has had on their lives. There are boundless such examples, and we are able to publish only a small sample of these moving illustrations. Their inspiration has come from the close association of many great characters, and they themselves continue to inspire future generations.
HSS UK has worked through the guiding principles of Sanskar (life values), Sewa (selfless service) and Sangathan (community spirit) for the last 5 decades and will continue to do so. It has provided the necessary impetus to work towards its vision as stated in the Sangh Prarthana (prayer):