The Houston chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (“HSS”) celebrated the traditional Vijaya Dashami utsav on Sunday, October 9, 2005 at Bear Creek Park. There were more than 150 participants of all ages. This year, the program was organized as a sports meet among the various HSS shakhas, or branches, in the Houston chapter.
The program commenced with a yogasana competition, judged by Rama Rao and Meera Rao of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthan USA, or SVYAS, and M.B. Shintri and Daksha Shah.
Children were separated into two age brackets, one for shishu, or young children, and the other combining bal, or older children, and kishor, or teenagers. The yogasanas performed included Chakrasana, Halasana, and Sarvangasana In the shishu bracket, the winners were Karuna Kankani, Vidya Nayak, and Ashish. In the bal and kishor bracket, the winners were Ayush Sharma, Aman Sharma, and Varnika Singh.
For the tarun, or adult group, the yogasana competition required expertise in ten postures of Surya Namaskar. More than fifty participants performed Surya Namaskar after a demonstration by Promod Pathak. Winners were Iswari Murthy, Abhiram Pathak, and Harsil Shah.
After the yogasana competition, the program continued with team sports, including the robust game Kabaddi, and the game of quick tagging Kho-Kho. In Kabaddi, the Guruji team placed first, followed by the Bharat Mata, Gayatri, and Shivaji teams. In Kho-Kho, the Smruti team placed first, followed by the Ambedkar, Gayatri, and Keshav teams. Games were refereed by Shyamji Parande of Sewa International and Saumitra Gokhale of HSS.
The sports meet was followed by the formal Vijaya Dashami utsava. The main talk was delivered by Shyam Parande, the international coordinator for SEWA International, who discussed the importance of service activities in Hindu culture traditionally and its continuing importance, especially among overseas Hindus, to build bridges among the different groups in society. Other guests included Saumitra Gokhale, who works on behalf of HSS fulltime throughout North America, including the Caribbean, and Sreekumar Vinekar, vice-president of the Southwest Region of HSS, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The final event involved a subscription drive for the popular international children’s magazine, Balagokulam. Although it has been in publication for only two years, Balagokulam magazine has made its mark on the overseas Hindu community, with subscribers throughout North America and Europe.