Fourth Annual National Camp
Hindu Students Council
Fourth Annual National Camp
Camp America, Oxford, OH
June 30 - July 4, 1994
Hindu Students Council Fourth Annual National Camp Camp America,
Oxford, OH June 30 - July 4, 1994 Press Release
Over eighty students from sixteen states across US attended the fourth
annual national camp organized by the Hindu Students Council(HSC). The
five-day camp, from June 30 to July 4, 1994, was held at Camp America,
Oxford, Ohio. It provided a great opportunity for students with
different backgrounds - Indian and non-Indian - to live and learn
together. They heard distinguished scholars speak on various aspects of
Hindu Dharma, and culture, and also had group discussions on social,
political, and other issues that affect the Hindu community in North
Each day began with a hour of Hatha yoga practice. Mr. Gokul Kunnath
from Atlanta, and Mr. Jaishankar Singanallur, a Ph.D. student from
Rutgers University, guided the students through various asanas and
Dr. Dharmarajan, a board member of the Sri Venkateswara Temple at
Pittsburgh spoke on `Why do we pray?' In his enlightening talk he
explained the significance of prayer in attaining harmony and inner
peace in ones life. He said, "prayer if done properly can bring
tranquility to the mind." He explained the various forms of prayers
that one can perform. In the evening a puja was performed by him. The
camp site echoed with the melodious sounds of bhajans sung by the
students. The campers spent the rest of the evening around a glowing
camp fire, singing songs and getting to know each other a little
Dr. S.K. Chaturvedi, a professor at Ohio State University, gave a talk
on the `Practical Applications of Hindu Dharma'. He said that the goal
of life should be to attain inner harmony. To attain this he said, "we
should have the right thinking, right attitude to success and failure,
right food, and a good healthy body." He added that, "Hindu Dharma
provides us with such a way of living", so that we can realize the
`atman' in us.
Students split into two groups to discuss social issues. The hot topic
of today, `Domestic Violence', attracted many participants. They
discussed the violence and abuses that take place in the Indian
household and the need to recognize and address these pressing issue.
The importance of participation in the American politics was the topic
for the other group. They discussed the current level of political
voice, or the lack there of, of the Hindu community in America, and the
need to improve the situation. `Living in America: A Hindu Perspective'
was another favorite topic for discussion. Students talked about their
experiences while growing up, in some instances where they were the
only Hindu family around. They also expressed their desire to preserve
and promote their Hindu heritage. Pankaj Merchia, Harvard Medical
School, talked about the Hindu ideal of "respecting all living beings,
out of which arises the ideal of ahimsa."
Dr. Bansi Pandit, author of the popular book, `The Hindu Mind', talked
about the benefits of meditation. He explained the techniques of
meditation and conducted a meditation workshop. `Unity in Diversity:
The Hindu System' was the topic of discussion following the meditation
workshop. This camp featured two unique workshops, `Hindu Martial Arts'
conducted by Murali Kothandaraman, Northeastern University, and
`Mehendi: Rang Mahuk aur Sundarta', conducted by Poonum Agrawal, Tuffts
University. Students learned about the Indian roots of Eastern martial
arts, and about `Kalaripayitu', a form of martial arts still practiced
in the southern states of India. The mehendi workshop was a great
success. The students had their hands decorated with exquisite
A boating trip to the nearby lake was a great experience for the
campers. The cultural show with many folk dances, singing performances,
and comedy skit was also a great hit. Students engaged themselves in
various sports activities like basketball, volleyball, frisbee,
kabbadi, etc. A trip to the temple near Dayton was very popular. The
students paid their respects to the Lord, singing bhajans. In the night
they participated in garba/dandya/bhangra. A flag hoisting ceremony was
held on July 4. The American national anthem was sung along with
Vandemataram. Homage was paid to Swami Vivekananda who attained samadhi
on that day.
Vital issues like Human rights in the Indian Subcontinent, status of
Hindu women, and social service were addressed in separate sessions on
Monday. The need for a Hindu heritage movement on campus was also
addressed. Students expressed their overwhelming support for the `penny
drive.' This seva project has been initiated to help students in
Bharat. Cans were distributed to the students to collect pennies. The
money thus collected, along with donations will be sent to Bharat
(India) to help underprivileged children.
The members of the National Coordination Council(NCC) of HSC had
workshops on decision making, team building, etc. They also adopted the
`Program for Growth and Excellence' - a training program to help them
in developing personal skills and to prepare themselves for leadership
roles in the society.
The campers expressed their views about the camp in the concluding
session. Rachana Patel, University of Pennsylvania, said, "the camp
gave me an opportunity to mingle with friends who share common ideals
and values.' Sririam Sadagopan, Ohio State University, enjoyed his
first camp, and was "impressed by the commitment of the participants."
Jagat Shah, University. of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, was also
attending his first camp, and "learned more about HSC." Dheeraj Kumar
Singhal, UCLA, said, "the camp was a great experience for me." The camp
was coordinated by Raj Vardhan Singh, Rashmi Gupta, both of Ohio State
University, Jwalant Lakhia, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign,
Chandan Bandhopadyay, Northeastern University, Srikanta Mookerji,
University of Pittsburgh, Swarna Maian, Case Western Reserve
University, and Mihir Meghani, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Students left the camp with a feeling of having become closer as a
HSC is an international forum providing opportunities to learn about
Hindu heritage and culture. It has over thirty registered college
chapters across US and Canada and reaches out to more than five
thousand youth through its various programs. For more information on
HSC and its activities contact its national office or call (617)
227-3023 or email Hindu.Students.Council@um.cc.umich.edu.
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