Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK (VHP) organised the first all-UK Hindu Mandir Executives Conference on 4th October 2020
Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK (VHP) organised the first all-UK Hindu Mandir Executives Conference on 4th October 2020. Out of around 250 mandirs (temples) in UK, over 200 senior executives and representatives of 135 mandirs from 94 towns participated in a three-hour online conference. Delegates came from well established large mandirs as well as new and small mandirs scattered across the country right from Aberdeen, Belfast in the north to Cardiff (west), Hull (east) to Southampton (south). They represented different sampradayas (sects), linguistic groups and countries.
The conference was supported by major national Hindu bodies like Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), Hindu Council (HCUK), National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT) and National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF).
The conference commenced with auspicious Deep Prajjwalan (lighting of diya) live from Balaji Mandir (Birmingham), BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir (Neasden) and Bhaktivedanta Manor (Watford) accompanied by chanting of mantras by Shri Krishan Kant Atri (Newcastle upon Tyne) who is the Hindu Chaplain with British Armed Forces.
Welcoming the delegates, Dr Tribhovan Jotangia, President of VHP UK said, “Hindu mandirs are the heart of Hindu community. They play an essential role in the spiritual, cultural and social welfare of the community. The objective of HMEC UK was to explore ways to make mandirs more effective and vibrant in meeting the ever-changing needs of UK’s diverse Hindu samaj.”
The keynote address was delivered by Dr Ram Vaidya, international coordinator of HSS activities, who described the concept and role of mandir since ancient times and why it was the pillar of the community life. He broadly explained the purpose of a mandir under three headings: shiksha (education), sanskar (life values) and suraksha (security). This was followed by panel discussion on the impact of Covid 19 pandemic on mandirs and various government guidelines. Heads of HFB, HCUK and NCHT explained the current situation and answered questions from delegates.
The major part of the conference was devoted to workshops of small groups of 15-20 delegates. There were six topics of the workshops:
Mandir and Governance
Mandir and External Representation and Engagement
Mandir and Youth
Mandir and Promotion of Hindu Dharma
Mandir and School Visits
Mandir and Sewa Activities
Each delegate had the opportunity to participate in two workshops which were facilitated by competent persons. Workshops provided excellent opportunities for delegates to share information, experiences, innovative ideas and challenges faced.
After the reporting of each workshop to the whole conference, Shri Dhiraj Shah, Sanghachalak (President) of HSS UK, gave an inspiring concluding address, summarising the essential takeaway messages. He congratulated VHP UK for organising such a successful conference which was professionally planned and executed without any hitches or flaws. Quoting the ancient saying “Sanghe shakti kaloyuge”, he said that in the present world it is the collective efforts that are successful for the community.
The delegates left the conference with lots of information and ideas to improve their mandirs for the future, leaving many positive feedback messages.