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HSS New England Appreciated 60+ Teachers From The Region!

Vikas Deshpande
04/26/2018

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

The U.S. celebrates the first week of May as “teachers appreciation week” and the Tuesday of the same week as “National Teachers Day.” Hindu philosophy and culture considers the Guru, or the teacher, as the “Supreme Being” who invokes and sustains the light of knowledge while eliminating the darkness of ignorance. Our lives are touched and inspired by countless teachers in schools, colleges, and the many other activities in which we participate, excel, and appreciate. To acknowledge and appreciate these Gurus who silently shape our lives and to appreciate the role of teachers, on April 22nd, 2018, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, New England Chapter celebrated Guru Vandana or Teacher's Appreciation Day at Chelmsford High School, Chelmsford, MA.


Over 400 attendees consisting of parents, children, and other members of the community appreciated 65 teachers and faculty members from various school districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, private schools, arts and dance schools, and some faculty members from higher education institutions. The overall event was divided into three sessions. At the beginning and the end sessions, there were several activities focusing on arts, storytelling, henna, face painting, wheel of knowledge, traditional Indian games, spicy food eating competition, science in Hinduism, health workshop, Sanskrit workshop, Yoga, and a Vedic math workshop. Children, adults, and teachers alike enthusiastically participated in these activities while enjoying and learning something new at the same time. Mouthwatering Indian snacks and tea added a special aspect to these activities.


Between these two activity sessions, the Guru Vandana event was held in the gym of Chelmsford High School. HSS North America President Prof. Ved Nanda of University of Denver Law School, Chief guest of the program Prof. Nikos Makris of Harvard Medical School, President of HSS New England Chapter and Biotech Entrepreneur Dr. Suresh Jain, HSS International Coordinator Mr. Saumitra Gokhale, and HSS national General Secretary Dr. Yelloji Mirajakar actively interacted with teachers and general attendees throughout the program. The program emcee Mrs. Suman Garhewal welcomed the guests, teachers and all attendees. Dr. Suresh Jain welcomed everyone on behalf of HSS New England Chapter.  HSS volunteer and University student Ms. Natasha Patel gave a short presentation about HSS to the audience. After an introductory presentation on HSS, children attending HSS Balagokulam performed a chorus, reciting Shri. Adi Shankaracharya's Guru Ashtakam. This beautiful work of Sanskrit poetry emphasizes the importance of the Guru in one's life.


Guru Ashtakam recitation was followed with a ceremony to appreciate all teachers - Guru Vandana. Children performed a small traditional pooja or worship of Guru with light, by offering flower, and a small gift. After Guru Vandana, Dr. Suresh Jain offered the chief guest Prof. Nikos Makris special gifts. This was followed with a special felicitation of Prof. Ved Nanda on behalf of HSS New England by Dr. Suresh Jain. Prof. Ved Nanda is the recipient of this year's prestigious Padma Bhushan award accorded by President of India for his lifelong contribution in arts and literature.


Prof. Yogesh Rathi introduced Prof. Nikos Makris and requested him to share his thoughts on the occasion of Guru Vandana.  During his address to the audience, Prof. Nikos Makris eloquently explained the importance of teacher as a mentor that students can have an impact, over his or her life. He explained the contribution of Hindu and Greek civilization and role of teachers in their respective traditions.  Prof. Ved Nanda in his speech thanked Dr. Suresh Jain and Prof. Nikos Makris for their thoughtful speeches. He later elaborated the role of a teacher in the personality development and in inculcating the cultural values among his or her disciples.


Before the conclusion of the program, there were colorful Indian folk dances followed by a demonstration of an Indian marching band playing classical tunes using both Indian and Western musical instruments. Audience members and teachers alike appreciated and enjoyed the event and thanked the organizers. Many teachers took the opportunity to take pictures with other fellow teachers against the beautifully decorated backdrop.


Guru Vananda event coordinator Prof. Yogesh Rathi, while expressing his satisfaction, said, "The Guru Vandana program provided an opportunity to show the gratitude to teachers. It gave an opportunity to introduce several facets of Hindu Culture and Civilization to the larger audience. It also gave teachers a pleasure of meeting their students' families and experiencing a unique way of appreciation by the entire community."



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