Hanuman Jayanti celebrates the birth of Hanuman Ji, revered as one of the greatest warriors ("Maha Vir") and the greatest devotee of Lord Rama. The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh/ Hindu Sevika Samiti (HSS) conceptualized the Yatra or march to stress the qualities of Hanuman ji) for Hindus to create a better society – such as that encompassed by “Ram Rajya” – the Just Society - as established by Sri Ram. With Hanuman’s motto “I will not rest until Ram’s work is done,” Swayamsevaks/Sevikas organized the Hanuman Jayanti Yatra on Friday last, 30th March, 2018, on West Coast Demerara, for the very first time in Guyana. After the procession (beginning at Hague proceeding West and Tuschen proceeding East), the groups converged at the Nirvana Centre at Meten Meer Zorg.
As the Yatra proceeded led by vehicles playing Hanuman bhajans and the Hanuman Chalisa, devotees, both young and elderly, came out in large numbers and showed great enthusiasm throughout the event, dressed mostly in red traditional Indian garments. Some walked, others rode their bicycles and drove, whilst chanting and singing along to the Hanuman Chalisa, waving their red flags and showing great strength and unity. As devotees were collected in the different villages, a Hanuman ji flag was planted on that spot on the Public Road. This added to the splendor of the event and it kept getting bigger and better.
After marching under police escort along the public road to the delight of may passers- by and residents, the groups - by now totaling several hundred - converged at the Nirvana Humanitarian Society’s Multipurpose Centre in Kastev, Meten-Meer-Zorg for a cultural programme. The groups were welcomed with tassa drumming with great pomp and gaiety. As is customary, tilak was applied to the forehead and raksha sutra tied to all attendees. The cultural program featured ISKCON, many local singers, dancers and a danda (stick fighting) demonstration by sevaks. A chanting from the Ramcharitmanas of a chaupi (verse) from the Sundar Kand Chapter, which is dedicated to Hanumanji was read by Pt. Charranlall Nandalall on behalf of the West Demerara Pandits’ Organization.
The main message/pravachan by the Sangachalak (Mentor) of HSS-Guyana, Ravi Dev Ji, who contextualized the actions of Hanuman Ji in Guyana today. He said, like Hanuman who had momentarily forgotten his pedigree, Guyanese Hindus need to be reminded about the greatness of their religious heritage. Just as how Sita Mata was abducted and had to be rescued before Ram Rajya could be established, in a similar fashion he said much of Indian culture ("sanskriti") had been abducted over the past 180 years and needs to be rescued for the community to move forward along the lines of Ram Rajya.
Hanuman bhajans were sung lustily and Hare Krishna chants kept the crowd enthralled in an atmosphere of delirious joy. In concluding, the swayamsevaks and sevikas of the HSS sung the Hanuman Chalisa in a modern upbeat tune and punctuated by naras or “call and response” slogans. On of the most popular was "Garv se kaho - Ham Hindu hai!! - "Say with pride - We are Hindus!"
Following the motto of Hanuman, attendees felt the task was completed quite successfully and vowed to make the event even bigger next year.