20th Jnana Yajna
Invoking the blessings of the Lord
Audience with guests of honour
The 20th Jnana Yajna of the Movement was held on 1st July last at the Octave Wiehe Auditorium packed to its full capacity with students, teachers and sympathizers.
Various personalities attended the function like Mr G. Dhunnookchand representing the Minister of Education, Mr V. A. Mulloo P.S. of the Ministry of Culture, Shri A.Gopinathan, Deputy High Commissioner of India, Prof. R. R. Pandey and Prof. Pusparatnam of the MGI, Mr Deepchand Beeharry President of Hindi Union, Rectors of State and Private Secondary Schools and other personalities of the educational and cultural world.
The programme consisted of the Finals in Gita Recitation, Ramayana Chanting
Gita Recitation by pupils of Hindu Girls College
Ramayan Chanting by pupils of Gaytan Raynal S.S.S.
and Elocution Contests in English and Hindi, the preliminaries having already been held at Goodlands and Curepipe in June . In between were beautiful interludes of classical and folk dances by girls of Presidency College.
Folk dance by girls of Presidency College
As in previous years about thirty colleges took part in the competitions whose theme was the Elimination of Poverty, and excitement was high.
The Elocution Contests saw the victory of V. Hurdoyal of Gujadhur SSS and P. Rudhun of Maurice Curé(English Senior); A. Seechurn of Gujadhur SSS and P. Puchooa of Royal College Curepipe, with A. Bholah of Ideal as Consolation Prize (English Junior); P. Ramdhony of Jugdambi SSS and N. Peertaub of MGI (Hindi, Senior only). The Gita Recitation was won by the teams of Hindu Girls and Presidency Boys with Mayflower as 3rd; while in Ramayana Chanting the MGI carried the day with Lady Sushil SSS as 2nd and G. Raynal SSS as 3rd.
The winners of the various essay competitions were: A. Muttylall of MGI and C. Johur of Gujadhur SSS; P. Munds of Modern and N. Teemul of Maurice Curé; S. Keenoo of St Joseph's and S. Bundhun of Hindu Girls; K.Mohundin and B.D. Seemreeceea of Grand Bois,
while P. Chellan of MGI had the merit of sending the only essay in Telegu, and M. Veeraragoo equally of MGI, the only one in Tamil. The Silver Medals for best performance at S.C. went to A. D. Muttylall of MGI, and at HSC to R. D. Brizmohun of Ramphul SSS.
As noted by the Chairman of the Panel, the level was higher than last year's, a fact that redounds to the credit of all schools and participants. We can now understand why for over three hours the audience was so quiet. All were spellbound by what they saw and heard.
In his address Yogi Rummun dwelt on the long way travelled, the work achieved so far and what remains to be done. The Minister of Education's speech praised Yogi Rummun and the Movement for their contribution in building a healthy society, while the Deputy High Commissioner of India expressed satisfaction at the good work being done and the faith and enthusiasm of our youths for Hinduism and Indian Culture. He urged that Hinduism should be made living every moment of one's life and pledged full support to the Movement.
The speeches were followed by the much awaited-prize distribution which itself preceded the token donation of the book for the library of each participating College.
That day we really felt we were in the land of the rishis.
Comments of the Chairman of the adjudicating Panel,
Mr Mahadev Ramnohur, Senior Exam. Officer,MES
I am sure you have appreciated and enjoyed the talents of the participants and also their performance at Bhagvadgita recitation, Ramayana Chanting and elocution contests. Without any hesitation, I am glad to say that there has been a remarkable improvement in the level of performance compared to previous years. The level was quite high which rendered the task of the panel difficult. All the participants deserve our sincere congratulations....
EXCERPTS FROM SPEECHES MADE ON THAT OCCASION
Minister of Education, Science & Technology, Hon. James Burty David
I shall place on record the untiring and relentless efforts of Yogi Rummun, the pioneer of this Movement, in initiating the very idea of teaching Hinduism in private secondary schools. The seminars, workshops and competitions organised by the Hinduism Movement every year help to create an awareness of the practical elements in this subject. Through these events, the Movement has been rendering a remarkable service to the Mauritian society by keeping alive the basic values permeating Hinduism. I am fully convinced that posterity will recall the farsightedness of Yogi Rummun with gratitude .....
In the past in the struggle for excellence in education, religious studies did not have its due place in an examination-oriented system. Now, the teaching of Hinduism adds another dimension to the school curriculum and I am sure it will help in bringing a balance between academic and spiritual knowledge. The course contents offer an opportunity to study religious scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, B.Gita, Ramayana etc. Such opportunities should not be examination oriented only but these should also be used as guidance for proper living by students who are makers of the history of tomorrow .....
(The Minister being unable to attend, his message was read by his representative, Mr Gian Dhunnookchand.)
Shri A. Gopinathan, Deputy High Commissioner of India
Shri Rummun has informed us that this is the 20th Yajna being conducted by the Hinduism Movement. We would like to consider this as a landmark. A landmark because since the last two decades, Mr Rummun has worked tirelessly to spread the message of Hinduism, of ancient scriptures, of the values that Hinduism symbolizes amongst the youth of Mauritius. This itself is no mean task. And the success that he has achieved over the last two decades is borne out by the huge crowd that we have in the University Auditorium today. The fact that for more than three or four hours this Auditorium remains packed with competitors and their supporters bears testimony to the yeoman service that Yogi Rummun has rendered to the cause of Hinduism, to the cause of spreading the awareness about Hinduism in Mauritius. And I should like to congratulate him on behalf of all of us in the High Commission for this purpose.
We saw the level of participation in the chanting of the various scriptures. It is extremely gratifying to note that not only is the level high but also the students who participate are extremely enthusiastic. They are highly devoted to scriptures and to the ancient teaching. Similarly the Hinduism Movement has been promoting the study of scriptures by offering a scholarship to the most promising student of Hindu philosophy to go to India and study in the Banaras Hindu University. We in the High Commission were very happy to facilitate the admission of such a scholar last year. We are trying to do the same this year.
I am happy to note that apart from the Arunodaya and this annual Jnana Yajna every year, Shri Yogi Rummun has added two more events to his repertoire as from this year, namely Shraddhanjali repeating today's programme in a village, and Antavas for encouraging young people to follow in the footsteps of ancient Indian sages. I hope Mr Rummun and the Hinduism Movement in Mauritius will be able to continue with these regular activities in the years to come. We on our part we'll pledge all possible support to his activities...
From popularization among youths, Hinduism is now on the stage of consolidation and discovery, of scholarship. But we must guard against learned self-sufficiency. We must train our youths to adapt ancient with modern, East with West, theory with practice, and go within themselves, as did the "world-building" rishis of the past on the anvil of experience, because it is by adaptation and fusion, by introspection pursued rigorously over years that our ancient rishis not only helped human civilization forward but also made India ONE and great in the past, a lesson taken over by the builders of modern India from Ram Mohan Roy to Mahatma Gandhi. We must train our youths to reject the superfluous, dig deep, discover and use the essentials of our culture, and adapt themselves and society to the mighty challenges of the new age in commerce and industry, media and journalism, enterprise and leadership, religion and spirituality, wherever we are lagging behind. That will help get rid of the present self-complacency and confusion reigning in several fields, including politics. It's a work that demands sacrifice, generosity and austerity from one and all - yajna, daan and tapas, as emphasized by our sages. We are confident that the flower of our youth will be equal to our expectations.....