Chicago honour for Swami
|BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY|
New Delhi, Nov. 20: The Indian government hopes to set up a Chair at the University of Chicago to spread the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, 117 years after the monk delivered his landmark address in the US city.
The consulate-general of India in Chicago is in touch with the university to set up the Chair, which would focus on inter-faith dialogues.
Vivekananda had delivered his speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11, 1893, where he introduced Hinduism as a faith that had taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.
“Sisters and Brothers of America, it fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us,” Vivekananda had begun his speech. “I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.”
A senior official in the ministry of culture told The Telegraph: “Our consul-general is in dialogue with the University of Chicago on how to set up the Chair…. India may give funds through endowment for an annual Vivekananda lecture at the university also.”
The proposed Chair is part of the government’s plan to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda.
Ministry sources said value education programmes across the country had been planned apart from a special film on the saint who was born in 1863 and died young in 1902 at the age of 39.
A national committee chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and an implementation panel headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will guide the execution of the programmes that would culminate in 2013-14.
The programmes, set to start within a few months, will be held across the country and abroad. Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission on the banks of the Hooghly, will organise the value education programmes across the country, like seminars and youth conventions, the ministry official said.
The Telegraph, Kolkata, India, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010