Vedic Propagation for revival of Arya Samajs in Uganda.
A trip to Kampala, Jinja and Lugazi was organised by Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Eastern Africa from 30th May to 1st June 2014. The Executive members of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Eastern Africa (APSEA) accompanied by members of Arya Samaj Nairobi and Mombasa – initiated the review and revival Ved Prachar in these parts of the East Africa. Vice Chairman of APSEA, Mr. Arun Taneja also travelled from Mombasa to join the group.
Arya Samaj in Uganda, as many will recall; had not being operational for years despite some past efforts made by APSEA. With increasing number of migrant Indians the current APSEA office bearers felt that the revival was vital to the growth of Arya Samaj, in East Africa.
The Arya Samaj in Uganda has faced several difficulties over the past 15 years since being granted the repossession of its properties in Kampala and Jinja. Earlier visit in January 2014; by a team led by Secretary- General- Anil Kapila, together with Vice Chairman – Arun Taneja and Mr. Kamal Joshi had established that the revival was an important strategy to growing the Arya Samaj, movement in East Africa.
On arrival the group was warmly received by Ms. Belinda, Secretary to Captain (Rtd.) Abhay Aggarwal at the Entebbe International Airport. The Arya group was transported to Kampala by bus that had been organised by Captain Abhay Aggarwal and his team. The dinner was hosted by Capt. Abhay Aggarwal at his residence. We are indeed grateful to Captain Abhay Aggarwal and his family for their hospitality.
Lugazi and Jinja
Earlier discussions with Shri Mohindra Bhai Mehta ji had been held who had extended his invitation to all Arya samaj members to Lugazi for the visit. The Mehta family has long standing relations with the Arya Samaj, movement in Kenya and Uganda being the single largest donor during the formation years of the movement in Eastern Africa.
Mr. S.C Sharma -the Regional Director of Mehta Group had requested that Havan be held at Lugazi which was a great honour to all Arya Samajs.
On Saturday, 31st May 2014, the first Havan/Yajna was performed at Lugazi at the Mehta Group estate by respected Pandit Rana ji of Kisumu who had travelled all the way from Kisumu to Lugazi. The Havan was well attended by all the Executives and senior staff members of Mehta Group with their families. Mantras were well recited jointly by all and the sound echoed in the wet thick forest of that environment. The Mehta group has established the largest Sugarcane mill in Eastern Africa and the Havan was conducted at the mill. APSEA on behalf of all Arya Samajs congratulates the Mehta Group and wish them all the success in the expansion of their business in the region.
Havan kunds, Samagrie and prayer books were carried along by the group from Nairobi.
Mr. Anil Kapila handed over Havan books to Mr. S.C. Sharma. Mr. S.C. Sharma on behalf of the Mehta Group hosted delicious well-laid lunch for the group and the estate’s staff and their families. On behalf of the APSEA and all Arya Samajs the Secretary General thanked the Mehta family, Mr. S.C. Sharma and all the staff members of the Mehta Group for their hospitality.
In Jinja, the group was warmly received by Mr. Abhilash Jain, Mr. Mukesh Jain and Mrs. Babita Jain. Hot tea and snacks were served and amicable dialogues were exchanged between Jain family and the some members of the visiting team from APSEA.
That night, Arun Taneja’s brother, - Mr. Yashpal Taneja and his family very kindly hosted dinner for the group in Kampala.
On Sunday 1st June, 2014 the Members of Arya Samaj Uganda had organized Havan/Yajna in the ground of Arya School, Kololo Hills. Havan started at 10.30 am with Capt.Abhay Aggarwal and his family as Yajmans who were joined by Mr and Mrs. PK Sharma and his family, Mr. Abhilash Jain from Jinja, Dr. R.N Bowry and Prof.Tula Bowry, Mr.B.S Dhanda, Mrs Sarita Alam and others. The Yajan was attended by over 80 people from all over Uganda.
Pt Rana ji performed the Yajna along with a priest from Kampala. After the completion of the Havan Mrs. Bala, Sharma sang a Bhajan on Swami Dayanand Saraswati ji “Eik Brahmchari aaya, Dukhiyon ke dukh harne, Eik hitkari aaya………”.
After the bhajan, Mr. B.S Dhanda Ji“Adhishthata” welcomed all. Dhandaji conveyed message of Chairman-General Mr. Suresh Sofat - who regrettably could not join the group because some urgent commitments in U.K. In his message, Mr. Sofat appealed to all members and others who wished to join Arya Samaj Uganda to continue with Havan at least once a month. Mr. Dhanda thanked the entire team of Arya Samaj Uganda and under the leadership of Capt.Abhay Aggarwal for their efforts.
Capt. Abhay Aggarwal expressed his views, requesting all in attendance at the function, requesting that they hold Havan at their residences. A number of families booked themselves for the next three months. Mr. Abhay Aggarwal appealed to all members to put the past behind and pull together in the effort to reignite the light of Vedic Dharam in Uganda. He assured his full support and agreed to participate in all Arya Samaj activities and regularise the registration of any pending government formalities. He appealed all to become members of Arya Samaj in Kampala and Jinja.
Secretary General, APSEA- Mr. Anil Kapila expressed his views on the propagation of Ved Prachar in Kampala and also assured of the service of any priest when requested. He recalled and thanked the Mehta family for donation of the land where the school is built. He thanked the Management of Arya Samaj Uganda for the restoration of the plague of Shrimati Santokben Mehta at the entrance of the School. He reminded that early settlers in Eastern Africa had struggled to maintain their identity in remote parts of Africa, by starting schools and Yajans and this remains as relevant to the present immgrants who have to pass on the cultural and religious values to their next generations. He thanked the entire team of Arya Samaj, Uganda for their commitment in the revival of Arya Samajs in Uganda. Donations were made to Arya Samaj Uganda by various members of the visiting team and by members present.
Lunch was hosted for all present after the Yajan - kind courtesy of “Khana Khazana” Kapoor family of Kampala and delicious Guajarati food by Maharashtra Mandal.
The names of various members may not have been mentioned individually in this report but APSEA is extremely grateful to all who made this event possible.