When the Indian Pavilion celebrated the 159th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand at Expo Dubai 2020 this week, a large group of representatives from various communities living in the UAE witnessed it. Children, mainly of Indian origin, interpreted and disseminated Swami Vivekanand’s messages.
That there is a paradigm shift is true. The Government of India has taken multiple initiatives which are the pride of the Indians of the world. The world now knows more Indian leaders who deserved to be read and known. This is evident from the fact that almost all Indian missions abroad celebrate Vivekanand Jayanti this week. The global community, mostly people of Indian origin, now know more about hidden Indian gems. For example, the birthday of the famous Indian philosopher Deep Dayal Upadhyay is now celebrated worldwide as Antyodaya Diwas. The fact that 23 of India’s 38 overseas cultural centers are named after Swami Vivekanand reflects respect for our nation’s greatest youth icon. In my recent conversation with Sri Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the Chairman of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations shared plans for establishing other such centers around the world, including in the Gulf countries.
Few years ago, the political and academic nexus in India had set up a completely different narrative of great Indian leaders and icons. People abroad could link India with only one to two families and one surname. Political will is exactly what was needed to restore our glory and present the correct and unbiased image of our gurus and leaders. It is not just about bringing justice to deceased leaders, but more importantly benefiting society as a whole to be inspired and act accordingly. In this series of attempts, the first outdoor statue of Swami Vivekananda was unveiled in 2021 at the Harrow Art Center in London to commemorate Swamiji’s arrival in England 125 years ago. It would be relevant here to mention and recall that while London was encouraging Vivekananda and embracing apprenticeships, Dubai was celebrating Vivekanand Jayanti at the biggest exhibition in the world – Dubai Expo; The intolerance of some intellectual bankrupts and urban Naxals in the prestigious JNU in the heart of Delhi was exposed when they vandalized the statue of Swami Vivekanand. The anti-national student-teacher bond at these left-leaning Indian universities is already in its final days, it seems, as India’s woke student community has taken charge and defined the new narrative.
Another great world leader who has found his place in international academic and political circles is Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. The Indian government has recently endeavored to establish branches of the Ambedkar International Center in the United States and United Kingdom.
Going back to Swami Vivekananda, in his famous speech to the Parliament of Chicago in 1893, he spoke of several factors which are relevant to the problems of India today as much as in the world. On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism in the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Swami Vivekananda spoke about the importance of abolishing fanaticism in all its forms, a relevant issue in the world, especially in our country which is not only one of the oldest but also one of the youngest in terms of population. Vivekananda received a standing ovation for two minutes after his speech which established him as the greatest figure in the Parliament of World Religions and India as the mother of religions. Swami ji believed that the revival of India depended on the country’s youth. He had immense faith in Indian youth. He used to say that a thousand dedicated young people can revolutionize this country. He stressed that young people should have the spirit of philanthropy, service and feelings for their compatriots.
Swami ji was very optimistic about India resuming its position as ‘spiritual guru’. He predicted that India’s future will far exceed its past glory. Now, the youngest are waking up, asking themselves questions. Slowly but surely we will become more enlightened people.
Swami ji also had a vision of the kind of education the Indian people needed. He was not in favor of a purely career-oriented education. He talked about the “true education” that will strengthen your character in addition to boosting your self-confidence. Unfortunately, this type of education is not available today. However, the New Education Policy 2020 integrates through its reflections. Swami Vivekananda had an incredible understanding and knowledge of Philosophy, Religion, Literature, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads and the new Education Policy 2020 has room for it.
Over a century ago and long before communications technology and capitalism promoted the idea of a global village, India offered the world a true global citizen in the person of Swami Vivekananda . He said that man’s quest for peace will remain incomplete until the West recognizes India’s spiritual and civilizational advances and interweaves these thoughts with ideas of modernity and progress. Likewise, he advised his compatriots to pay attention to national integration, to cut societal hierarchies and meaningless rituals, to pursue a path of modernization alongside spiritual development. and bind all citizens to the task of making India a world leader again.
Swami Vivekananda’s weapons to conquer the world were education and peace. He has always presented himself as a “nationalist saint” who wanted young people to step out of their comfort zone and achieve absolutely everything they desire.
Swami Vivekananda had incredible understanding and knowledge of philosophy, religion, literature, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, etc.
In every course he took abroad, every speech he gave, every word uttered by him was backed by intensive research and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.
Swami Vivekananda’s aspiration was to motivate young people to such an extent that they begin to express the changes they desire and eventually achieve them. To honor his vision and motivate young people to make it happen, National Youth Day is celebrated across the country.