Message from the Sanghchalak (President) of HSS (UK) on Varsh Pratipada.
Today (25 March 2020) marks the auspicious day of Varsh Pratipada, the start of a new year (2077) as per the Hindu Calendar, Vikrama Samvat.
The day aptly carries the assurance to human life, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” It fills the human spirit with optimism and hope about one’s future, and injects courage and confidence in facing the trials and tribulations of life – both individual and national. During these truly unprecedented times, this message of hope and collective human spirit is more important than ever. As we face the global impact of Coronavirus, our actions today will dictate our future, and as the days ahead become increasingly challenging, our individual duty and responsibility to act selflessly must be with conviction and optimism that as this ‘winter’ passes, ‘spring’ is not far behind.
Today is also a day of reflection and one of gratitude. On behalf of HSS (UK), I would like to applaud and thank the tremendous efforts of all key workers that have continued to put the needs of others significantly above their own to save lives and ensure we all remain safe. From the teams in the NHS, Social Care, Teachers, Emergency and Security Services, to Food Production and Distribution, Public Services and Utilities, we are forever grateful for your heroic efforts.
This gratitude extends to the thousands of volunteers that have come forward in the service of their community and nation. This resonates with one of the core principles of our organisation which is Sewa, the act of selfless service to others. It is during such times as these that we see the spirit of humanity coming together, breaking down barriers through acts of kindness and service, whilst embodying in full the essence of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum, “the whole world is one family”. HSS (UK) fully supports the efforts of Sewa Day in bringing together the tremendous spirit of helping others in this critical period. The campaign ‘Help A Neighbour’ has created a remarkable surge in community power ensuring the welfare of all those around us, especially those most vulnerable. It has built neighbourly relationships that will last into the future. With increasing calls now from the health and social care services for volunteers, I would urge you to register with Sewa Day who will be able to guide you to ways in which you can help the national effort based on your own personal circumstances. Many initiatives to help can also be conducted from your home through providing companionship by phone or video calls.
As our history has shown, with every challenge, there also comes opportunity. Whilst the need to physically distance ourselves has become the barrier between people, this has inadvertently brought our social connectivity closer together. It has now been two weeks since we have had to take the decision to close our physical shakhas (activity centres) in the interest and safety of all members and in line with Government advice. However, this has not stopped the strength, values and commitment of all swayamsevaks and sevikas to ensure we remain socially connected, and through innovative means, our activities have continued from the safety of our own homes. Across the country we are now seeing the use of technology to run e-Shakhas via video conferencing tools, with full programmes that continue to ensure our mental and physical wellbeing as well as nurturing our positive values. Over the coming days and weeks, our executive teams will continue to publish content that will help maintain skills but also challenge us to explore many new ways of collaborating. Through these innovative virtual groups, we will see the ability for our members to connect with even the remotest of geographies. If you would like further details about the e-Shakha in your area, please contact your local vibhag (regional) karyawaha (secretary).
I must urge you to continue to adhere to all advice to stay at home, create physical distance and keep washing your hands to curb the spread of this virus. However, on this day at the start of a new year, I would also urge you to take a call to action and make a commitment to use this juncture to invest in yourself, deepen your skills and knowledge, and extend your reach to serve the community around you for the national cause and humanity.
Wishing you good health and safety.
Dhiraj D. Shah
President of HSS (UK)