Several Guyanese and other Indo-Caribbean Hindus, including this writer, are participating at the quadrennial World Hindu Congress being held in Bangkok on November 24 to 26 at Impact Convention Center, just outside of the sprawling modern city of skyscrapers. Over two thousand delegates have registered for the three-day conference coming from dozens of countries. In addition to Guyanese, several delegates also come from neighboring Suriname and Trinidad and the Caribbean Hindu diaspora in North America and England. The last global Hindu confabulation was held in 2017 in Chicago where dozens of Guyanese were participants. Because of Covid, the WHC was delayed from 2021 to now. World Hindu conferences were previously held in Trinidad and Suriname but not in Guyana as yet. A Hindu conference is in the making for the latter half of 2024.
India, Thailand, and other Southeast Asia nations share common Dharmic and cultural values. Thailand was chosen for this year’s WHC because the country shares several Hindu practices and organizers had committed to changing region for every WHC. Thailand is a Buddhist nation with a significant number of Hindus and people who also embrace Islam and Christianity. Buddhists embrace many practices of Hinduism.
The theme of the WHC 2023 is “Dharma, the Abode of Victory”. Seven parallel thematic sessions are planned “to articulate the values, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Hindus in all its vibrance and glory will constitute this WHC”, say, organizers.
The organizers of the WHC say it is held “to provide space to discuss and deliberate upon the opportunities and challenges facing Hindus across the world and how to address them valiantly. It will also focus on areas of strategic importance to Hindus and provide avenues for collaboration among Hindu leaders, activists, and thinkers for the Hindu resurgence”.
The conference also provides opportunities for Hindus “to network, exchange ideas, work confidently and model their future course of action”.
Scheduled to address the conference are the Prime Minister of Thailand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from where the bulk of Caribbean Hindus trace their roots, the head of Hindus in India (Sarsangachalak) Shri Mohan Bhagwat, and other prominent leaders. Guyanese and other Caribbean nationals are due to make presentations, especially in the areas of education, politics, business, and challenges facing Hindus in the region.