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8th Int’l elders conference kickstarts in Assam with cultural extravaganza

Representatives from 33 countries, adorned in traditional attire, paraded through the main streets of Dibrugarh in a procession accompanied by drums and devotional dances from Northeastern tribes. Thousands of citizens, including RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, witnessed this cultural spectacle.

DIBRUGARH:

The 8th International Conference and Gathering of World Elders, organised by the International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS), commenced on January 28 with vibrancy in Dibrugarh, Assam.

Representatives from 33 countries, adorned in traditional attire, paraded through the main streets of Dibrugarh in a procession accompanied by drums and devotional dances from Northeastern tribes. Thousands of citizens, including RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, witnessed this cultural spectacle.

The inaugural session, presided over by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, featured a keynote address by RSS Chief Bhagwat. The programme commenced with the lighting of an auspicious lamp and religious prayers by representatives of ancient faiths from seven continents.

Sarma welcomed the delegates to Assam, emphasising the need to preserve and nurture indigenous faiths in the face of intolerance and conflicts. He highlighted the deep connection between Assamese tribes and nature, expressing concern over the targeted conversion of these communities. The CM announced the establishment of a separate department in the Assam government to preserve, promote, and nurture indigenous faiths.

In his keynote address, Bhagwat welcomed international delegates to Assam, recognizing the gathering’s two-decade-long sustenance. He congratulated the Elders representing more than 33 ancient traditions, emphasising the importance of their wisdom in today’s conflicted world. Bhagwat urged the preservation of ancient cultures, emphasising spiritual oneness and respect for diversity.

Bhagwat critiqued modern ideologies focusing on material prosperity, noting the failure of religions and theories in achieving peace. He emphasised the ancient wisdom of “sarve sukhinah santu” – let all be happy, rooted in spiritual oneness. He underscored the relevance of integrating culture into development policies for global progress.

A new academic and research journal focused on history, anthropology, and governance was launched during the event. The five-day conference will conclude with addresses from RSS Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, and Deputy CM Chowna Mein on January 31, followed by a visit to RIWATCH campus in Roing, Arunachal Pradesh, by delegates.

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