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Governor inaugurates International Seminar on Maharishi Dayanand

· Advocates reassessment and celebration of Indian cultural heritage for global recognition

Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla highlighted the significance of reassessing Indian culture in the context of the modern world. He underlined the necessity of embracing the rich cultural legacy of the country with pride to propel India onto the global stage as a frontrunner.

He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the inauguration of a three-day international seminar hosted by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, commemorating the 200th Birth Anniversary of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. On the occasion the Governor Shukla paid tribute to the transformative legacy of the revered sage.

Highlighting Maharishi Dayanand’s pivotal role in catalyzing a societal renaissance with his clarion call of “Go back to the Vedas,” the Governor lauded his tireless efforts to rejuvenate Vedic culture, religion, and philosophy. He commended the Swamiji’s steadfast commitment to social reform, including the abolition of the caste system, eradication of untouchability and advocacy against archaic practices such as child marriage and Sati Pratha. He credited Maharishi Dayanand with pioneering the translation of the Vedas into vernacular languages, democratizing access to these sacred texts.

The Governor said that his Veda Bhashya method determined the future direction of Veda interpretation and his revival of the Gurukul education system, which has spawned numerous institutions dedicated to preserving Vedic heritage. He underscored Swamiji’s progressive stance on women’s empowerment and education, noting the establishment of girl Gurukuls and women’s colleges as enduring legacies of his advocacy. He said that Swamiji made many efforts to protect the Vedic culture and has written many books, including Sanskar Vidhi, Gokarunanidhi and Satyarthprakash which have proved helpful in giving direction to the society.

Furthermore, Governor Shukla hailed Maharishi Dayanand as a harbinger of India’s struggle for independence, attributing the surge of nationalist fervour to his impassioned advocacy of Swaraj and Swadeshi. He said that all the movements that took place to liberate the country were influenced in some or the other by Maharishi Dayanand and the Arya Samaj established by him. India’s independence movement got immense strength due to his inspiration and influence. He said that Swamiji’s teachings are more relevant today. He also commended the Indian Institute of Advanced Study for its pivotal role in fostering and disseminating India’s rich knowledge tradition.

Earlier, Prof. Shashi Prabha Kumar, Chairperson, Governing Body of IIAS welcomed the Governor and spoke on the theme of the seminar. She gave detailed information on the writing works of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, especially on the promotion of Sanskrit and local languages. Recalling his contribution to girls’ education, she said that as a result of his contribution, today women are playing leading roles in various fields of development.

Prof. Nageshwar Rao, Director, IIAS and Vice-Chancellor, IGNOU, Delhi spoke virtually from New Delhi.

Prof. Shailendra Raj Mehta, Vice-chairman, IIAS said that to know Maharishi, it is necessary to assess his era. In 1875, Swami Dayanand raised his voice of protest against the narrative given by the British towards Indian tradition.

Mehar Chand Negi, Secretary, IIAS proposed a vote of thanks.

Rajesh Sharma, Secretary to Governor, Pandita Indrani Rampersad, Guest of Honour, scholars and other prominent people were also present on the occasion.

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