With Friends From Abroad
Q : Some of our friends feel that it is burdensome to stick on to our mother tongues while in foreign lands. They also think that it is of little utility in their day-to-day life there. What should be our attitude in this regard ?
A : It is very necessary that we use our own languages in our homes even abroad. Usually it so happens that when those who reside overseas for a long time come to Bharat they cannot speak fluently in their mother tongue at all. They take to English even with their relatives and friends. This should not be.
There is the instance of Shri Ramlal, a revolutionary hero, who was exiled for many years in America. Once when he had visited Bharat incognito, we requested him to speak to our swayamsevaks. To our surprise he spoke in chaste Marathi even though his mother tongue was Hindi. That was possible for him because of his true patriotic and revolutionary fervour. If we cherish the same patriotic fervour we could easily preserve our languages even in foreign lands. And that is very necessary to keep alive our traditional Hindu way of life.
Q : Our children lose touch with our languages very quickly. Correct pronunciation is lost. What is way out ?
A : They should be regularly taught lessons, shlokhas and stotras.
Q : What about their moral instruction ?
A : Prepare good story books with Hindu names and characters conveying the great tenets and virtues of our Hindu culture. Ramayana and Mahabharata offer a rich store for such stories.
Q : We intend building a temple ?
A : That is very good. It is better if it is dedicated to Pranava or Omkar which is accepted by all sects of Hinduism, instead of to any one particular god or goddess.
Q: One of the problems of those living abroad is that many of them are unmarried and single. The foreign society would not readily admit them to their fold, and the usual entertainments like television and cinema bore them. They feel lonely ?
A : One way out would be to open good libraries containing books in our languages on our culture, history, literature and philosophy. Our people could borrow books and usefully spend their time.
Q : Some feel that insistence on the word ‘Hindu’ may spoil our image when our sanyasins go to foreign lands to preach ?
A : It is only defeatism or inferiority complex that makes one think so. Swami Vivekananda and Swami Abhedananda both worked in foreign lands. They never fought shy of proclaiming themselves as the champions of Hinduism. They spoke the truth frankly and fearlessly. They even criticised what was being practised there under the name of Christ though they deeply respected him.
The West admired and even respected them on that account. But now, that is not the case. Many of our sanyasins go all out to please them and in the process dilute their own thoughts and convictions. That has only made them lose respect in the foreigner’s eyes.
Q : Some Muslims in U.K. would like to join with us in this effort. Should we encourage them to do so ?
A : Provided they are prepared to own the Hindu culture as their own. They could have their own way of upasana but should consider the Hindu heritage and history as their own.