After 800 years, a proud Hindu ruling Delhi: Singhal

New Delhi : The World Hindu Congress Friday saw exhortations on the potential of “Bharat” to provide “direction” to the world with VHP leader Ashok Singhal expressing pride over the Narendra Modi government assuming office at the Centre, saying it was the first time in 800 years that a “swabhimani” (proud) Hindu was holding the reins of power in Delhi.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Singhal was among the speakers at the inaugural session of the three-day international conference.

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran also addressed the session.

The speakers preferred to use the word “Bharat” instead of India, with the programme schedule also using the same word.

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Nirmala Sitharaman were among those who addressed the subject sessions.

Singhal, in his speech, referred to Modi leading the Bharatiya Janata Party to victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and said power had returned to a “Hindu swabhimani (proud Hindu)” in Delhi after eight centuries.

“Eight hundred years after it (the power at Delhi) went away from Prithviraj Chauhan, it did not come into the hands of a proud Hindu. It has happened after 800 years,” he said.

Singhal said the VHP was founded in 1964 with the objective of creating “a fearless Hindu, an invincible Hindu” and went into details of the agitation launched by the organisation for building a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Mohan Bhagwat called for ridding Hindu society of its shortcomings and making India a world leader.

Bhagwat said there would always be a need to realise “sameness of humanity” in the world and Hindu society can deliver the message.

“A Hindu means a human being who seeks unity in all diversity,” Bhagwat said.

Referring to Swami Vivekananda’s words “arise, awake and not stop till the goal is reached”, Bhagwat said he had called for Hindu society to rise in unison.

“Let us start our work in all walks of life – media, academia… leadership based on our values is required. Let us demonstrate that capability. We have to work on values of sameness of humanity,” he said.

He said India had a tradition and task of teaching the world. “The task given has to be done. For that we have to improve ourselves.”

Wigneswaran said difficulties faced by the Hindu community in the island nation did not end with the Sri Lankan government’s war with the LTTE coming to an end in 2009.

The Dalai Lama said there was a need to develop “knowledge of mind” and to remember “sameness of humanity”.

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani spoke on networking educational resources at a subject session of the conference.

She later briefly interacted with the media and defended the government’s decision concerning teaching of German language in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Sessions on various themes including media, education, economics, politics, youth and women are being organised during the conference.

There were repeated references to India’s past glory, its present strengths and challenges.

In her speech, Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said India was being invited to the global high table and the new government has taken several initiatives to boost growth.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said he had set a target to build 30 km of roads per day in two years and add two percent to the country’s gross domestic product.

He said India had a rich legacy in terms of yoga and the traditional system of medicine, and Hindu thinking and heritage can give direction to the world.

“We can be the No.1 power in the world. Our thinking can give direction to the world,” he said.

He also said there was no question of demolishing the Ram setu.

Gadkari also said the Ganga river’s cleanliness and revival were among the priority tasks from the point of view of the BJP’s ideology.

Organisers said 1,800 delegates from 40 countries are taking part in the conference.