On 5th October 2014 Sewa Day completed 5 years of its noble movement of international volunteering. With the inspiration of HSS, some swayamsevaks conceived, planned and executed this unique movement, based on Hindu tradition of service (sewa). This year over 100,000 people in over 25 countries participated, right across from Hong Kong to Middle East to USA. Hundreds of projects were undertaken to bring joy and happiness to the needy and protecting the environment.

From the start of this movement, the message of bringing change in the mindset of the people has been constant, with slogans like “Make a Difference”, “Be the Change” and “I am the Change”. This year thousands wore the t-shirt proclaiming, “I am the Change”. Hopefully many will bring enduring change in their lives with the inspiration from Sewa Day.

What sort of change would one want in their lives? Is the pursuit of peace, prosperity and material comforts the only goal of one’s life? Today while the world has progressed tremendously materially and become a global village, there is more inequality and poverty than ever before. Greed and individualism has dominated the human mind. As Gandhiji had once said, ‘there is sufficient in the world for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed’. It is this mindset of greed and individualism that needs to be changed for a better, peaceful and equal world. And where best to start but ourselves.

We must develop ourselves from individual to collective thinking; from acquisition to sharing; from selfishness to selflessness. Sangh has always emphasised these qualities and therefore in our Shakhas, all our activities are directed towards developing them. When a Swayamsevak/Sevika attends Shakha regularly, he/she inculcates these qualities organically. While he/she may not notice the change in him/ her, others do. They stand out in the community and become the catalyst for social change. Shakha is the crucible for this individual and social change.

So next time when you wear the tea-shirt with the slogan” I am the change” think what change you want in yourself. And to bring change in the habits, mindset or lifestyle, one needs conviction, commitment and discipline. Sewa Day has become a movement for this change.

Dhiraj D Shah, HSS Sanghchalak, UK