Hindus around the world will observe the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda with special prayers, meditation, devotional songs, and religious discourses on January 12, 2013. Swamiji’s birthday is also celebrated as India’s National Youth Day that is commemorated with processions, youth conventions, seminars, yoga, sports, and other cultural activities. To mark Swami Vivekananda 150th birth anniversary year (January 2013-January 2014) many organizations are gearing up to celebrate the event along with millions of devotees of the Swami across of the world.
The Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission have already taken up a number of important service projects which were dear to Swami Vivekananda. These projects include integrated child development, empowerment of women, and alleviating poverty. Besides, the Mission will produce films and distribute books on the message of Swami Vivekananda to various libraries and will hold national and international seminars in various places on Swami Vivekananda’s contribution to Indian and international cultures.
The RK Math and Mission will do a live telecast of the celebrations which will be held at its Headquarters – Belur Math in the Howrah district of West Bengal, India. It has launched a special commemorative website that aims to provide a glimpse into the various facets of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. The Malaysian government also released a commemorative postal stamp to mark the occasion last year. A variety of activities is in the offing to commemorate Swamiji’s immense contribution to the making of India as a nation. The occasion: the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a former Governor of West Bengal. His tribute was commissioned by The Hindu on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda (12 January 2013) was celebrated all over India and in different countries of the world. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports of India decided to observe 2013 as the year of 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Year-long events and programs were organised by different branches of Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Mission, central government and different state governments of India, education institutions, youth groups etc.
Bengali film director Tutu (Utpal) Sinha made a film- “The Light: Swami Vivekananda”, as a tribute to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary. In 2011 Malaysian government introduced a postal stamp to mark the occasion. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports of India decided to observe 2013 as the year of 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Union Human Resources and Development Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) of India asked all schools to celebrate birth anniversary of Vivekananda in schools to renew the interests of school children in the works and ideals of Vivekananda.
A senior CBSE educational official told in statement– “The NCERT officials said that the council is preparing a supplementary book containing the thoughts of 15 great thinkers of India. The expert committee for textbook development will endeavour to include names not included so far, subject to the load of syllabus and textbook material on children, remaining within acceptable limits”. Political parties of Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka venerated Vivekananda at different functions and events across the city.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the life and teachings of Vivekananda has been a great inspiration to her and she considers Vivekananda as her “political teacher”. She sanctioned a fund of 20 million (US $370,000) on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government for the welfare of Vivekananda Cultural Centre of the state. In 2012, a 3-day World Congress of Religions conference was organised by the Institute of World Religions of the Washington Kali Temple, Burtonsville, Maryland, in association with the Council for A Parliament of World Religions, Chicago, Illinois to commemorate birthday of Swami Vivekananda.
The event commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of India’s visionary monk, Swami Vivekananda, who addressed the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in September 1893, passionately calling for both tolerance and universal acceptance as a path to eliminate the evils of sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism and engage all the world’s religious and spiritual community leaders in efforts to forge a new global civil society.
A bilingual film “The Light: Swami Vivekananda” was made in India as tribute to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary. The director of the film Tutu Sinha told in an interview– “I have always wanted to make a film on Swami Vivekananda. ” Bengali theatre group Lokkrishti staged a drama Biley to commemorate the birth anniversary. Bengali theatre actor Debshankar Haldar played the role of Swamiji in this drama. Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, USA: Chicago celebrated Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary on a grand scale.
Chicago immortalizes Swami Vivekananda with many landmark monuments like Swami Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago and Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple in Homer Glen, a larger-than-life size bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda and the Vivekananda Spiritual Centre at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, a bronze plaque at the Art Institute of Chicago commemorating his historic address at the World’s Parliament of Religions. The City of Chicago has also immortalized Swami Vivekananda by naming a long stretch of prestigious downtown marketplace Michigan Avenue.
The stretch in front of the Art Institute has been named as Swami Vivekananda Way. Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated in India and all over the world on January 12, 2013. The government of India has originally planned to celebrate the birth anniversary for a year and launched it on January 12, 2012, but the celebration has been extended for two years ending on January 12, 2014. The government of India has set up a National Committee under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister and a National Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister and released Rs. 00 crore to the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission in Belur for the celebration.
It also established in 2012 a new visiting professorship in Indian studies with a gift of $1. 5 million at University of Chicago to commemorate the legacy of spiritual leaders Swami Vivekananda. In India, the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, and Vivekananda Kendra and the Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, and other organizations are planning to celebrate the occasion for one year from January 12, 2013. On that day, Dr.
Man Mohan Singh will also release a movie shot at Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple in Homer Glen in the USA and other historic places in Chicago connected with the life of Swami Vivekananda. In Chicago, the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda will be celebrated with major functions to be held at Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple in Homer Glen and at the nearby Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont. Other official celebrations are expected to be held at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago.
According to an Indian Embassy official in Washington, the Consulate General of India in Chicago is coordinating with all the institutions in the city with the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and India’s Ministry for Culture. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-USA (HSS-USA) has also chalked out an elaborate year-long celebration with a series of programs involving children, the youth and the elderly. The theme of the celebration is “Universal peace through Dharma and Yoga,” which is the message of Swami Vivekananda.
While the newly-built Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple of Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago in Homer Glen, with its serene ashram-like ambience, plans to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary after Arti on January 12, 2013, in the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago complex, where the imposing statue of Swami Vivekananda stands under a beautifully decorated canopy and the newly constructed and Indianized Vivekananda Spiritual Centre are located, will celebrate the event for two days — January 12 and 13.
The other events being planned during the yearlong celebration, include conferences to be addressed by scholars and senior monks of the Ramakrishna Mission from around the world; a mini-parliament of religions with participation of representatives from various faiths; a program in honour of Swami Vivekananda at the Art Institute of Chicago; a bus tour of places associated with Swami Vivekananda; a lecture by Asim Chaudhuri, author of “Swami Vivekananda in Chicago;” publication of a calendar featuring photographs of Swami Vivekananda and information about his life; a display on the people and places associated with Swami Vivekananda in Chicago; a guide book with colour photos of the places associated with Swami Vivekananda in Chicago; and framing and installing panels on life of Swami Vivekananda. Celebration in Pakistan: Pakistani Hindus celebrated 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda. The brewing Indo-Pak tension was no dampener for the Hindus in Pakistan who celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda with cultural programmes and religious quiz competitions. President of Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust (PHSWT) Sanjesh S.
Dhanja told TOI that they held a function at Radha Krishna temple, Steel Town, about 60km from Karachi, to mark the occasion. “There are very few Hindus in Pakistan who know about the legendary spiritual leader so we decided to celebrate his birth anniversary to generate awareness,” said Dhanja. Detailed lectures on the life and teachings of Vivekananda were delivered and a quiz competition was held. Patron of PHSWT Mukhi Odha Mal said, “This is first of its kind programme ever held in Pakistan on Vivekananda since Partition and I saw a lot of enthusiasm among the Hindu community especially the younger generation. “
Priest of temple Ramesh Kumar Acharya said that young children were highly impressed by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Now it is one of our missions to make birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda an annual affair in Pakistan” he said. Sanjesh said that on the occasion they also held 2nd Bhagwat Gita Quiz Competition. The first such competition was held in the month of June 2012. Sanjesh said, “A Hindu, Baboo Kothari, who had arrived to participate in the birth celebration function of Swami Vivekananda, coming all the way from Mitti in Sindh was so much impressed with the function that he announced to hold birth celebration function of Swami Vivekananda in Hanuman Temple every year. ” Reacting on the brewing tension between India and Pakistan, Sanjesh said, “Our aim is to spread the message of peace”.
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