HSS (UK) Perspectives – Sanghchalak’s Message of Hope
It is more than five months since mankind started facing an unprecedented challenge to its survival. Almost one in two people around the world is in lockdown in some form or other. It is more than two months since UK officially went into lockdown, bringing normal life to a standstill with thousands who have succumbed to the virus and almost an equal number treated in hospitals. Never have I been so sure of the important role of HSS (UK) in this situation, not only for the Hindu community but for all of UK society. This is not a boast but a plea for all of us to engage constructively in what may be the biggest crisis of our time. It is also a message of hope.
At a time when individuals, organisations, communities and even countries could easily drift into despondency, desperation and self-interest, I want to articulate the core messages and philosophy of universal and eternal values which has given many the strength to overcome challenges in the past and in my view will help humanity in the present.
Today, I want to focus on two of those values – Sanghatan and Sewa.
Now is a time for Sanghatan (Community spirit & universal connectedness) – for all to come together and ensure we get through this crisis. The message of universal connectedness is integral to our work and is now necessary more than ever. If individuals feel that each one of us is part and parcel of one whole and we are all connected with every living being, the earth and the wider environment, irrespective of different beliefs and way of life, then not only will we be united and committed in our goal to fight the current challenge but this will also create a shared sense of responsibility for others. We can help the world experience the enduring values based on the principle of the whole world as a family (vasudhaiva kutumbakam) and to do this with real sustainability, there needs to be harmony between science, spirituality, commercial enterprises, social endeavour, political and social leaders.
Now is also time for Sewa – selfless action, sacrifice and resolve amongst those who can work selflessly for a higher cause of survival of humanity and this planet. Of course, this requires trust amongst the public and dutiful leadership. Organisational, country leaders and influencers of any kind must subscribe to these values and lead by example. They need to be more than just rhetoric providers and think wider than their segment or group of society. Leaders and the public alike have to cast aside ego, selfishness, greed for more power and parochial thoughts.
As HSS (UK), we have been cultivating these values in our members (swayamsevaks and sevikas) for more than 50 years because we believe these are noble ideals that transcend personal goals. HSS (UK) has inspired more than 27 organisations and projects – www.hssuk.org/covidresponse that are doing tremendous work across the whole country in their own spheres of activity. Swayamsewaks and sevikas have become leaders with that underlying motivation of sanghatan and sewa.
It is my earnest appeal that whatever your personal ambition or field of work, each of us who is able, will work with a selfless mindset to overcome the current challenges and create a more sustainable world for all humanity and everything that we share on this earth .
Dhiraj D Shah
HSS (UK) Sanghchalak (President)