“Oh My God!” ISKCON Indore youth festival receives excellent response
By Praneshwar das
In the name of secularism, it has been very difficult to approach colleges and have direct KC programs. Also college students today are not all interested in spirituality due to wrong association and a loss of culture in modern indian families. On top of that the media adds to the atheism by producing films like OMG (Oh My God), which spread lot of misconceptions of God in a heroic way. So one of our preaching activities is to counter / clarify the misconceptions in ways which are interesting and motivating for students. Therefore we chose to have the online quiz contest and a youth festival on “Oh My India, Oh My God”. The India aspect was necessary to use the patriotism indians have to make it easy for us to enter the preaching arena without any resistance.
The idea clicked when i was visiting ISKCON pune for the temple inauguration and i met HG Caitanya Caran Prabhu who told me that he had just launched his new book called “Oh My God” (OMG). Initially i just thought that it would be a great topic for a youth fest but then i was wondering whether students would turn up for the festival. To ensure that students turn out i started thinking various ways and then finalized on having an online quiz contest based on 2 books (one our Isopanishad by Srila Prabhupada and the other one “OMG” by HG Caitanya Caran P) which we would give to the students with a registration fee of Rs. 100. These 2 books seemed to me a perfect combination to not only drive away all misconceptions about God but also supply the highest conclusions re God.
When I presented the idea to HG Mahaman Prabhu, Zonal secretary for Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, he gave full support and motivated us to go ahead. Also HG Radheshyam Prabhu, temple president pune sent me a very encouraging mail. So our OMG team consisting of 5 fulltime devotees (Ranchor Prabhu, Madhumangal Prabhu, Mithun prabhu, Jaiprakash Prabhu and myself) along with many IYF youths designed the entire event with an online quiz contest plus youth festival. Those who would participate in the quiz contest would have to come to the youth fest to know their results, get certificates, prizes. We kept the prizes very interesting, first prize a laptop, second a kindlefire tablet, third a MP4 player and 100 consolation prizes.We decided to invite HG Caitaya Caran Prabhu, the author of the book OMG to be the main speaker for the youth fest. We also approached the Vice chancellor (VC) of RGPV University, a university which has 200 engineering colleges affiliated to it in Madhya Pradesh. The VC Prof Piyush Trivedi is a very warm and favorable personality. He gave us permission to approach the colleges affiliated to RGPV and also allowed to use the RGPV logo on our posters, banners etc. The VC also agreed to be the chief guest of our youth festival.
With the blessings of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Srila Prabhupada and the Vaisnavas, the online quiz contest was held between 15th August to 30th August 2013 and the youth festival was held on 1st September, Sunday, from 4 pm to 8 pm in a big Hall in Indore near Bhavar Kua which is the student hub of Indore. Thousands of students stay in this area.
The online quiz contest was a huge success. 700 students from more than 40 engineering colleges in Indore including IIM, IIT, SGISTS, IPS academy etc took part in the contest. The most important part was that a total of 1320 books were distributed, 660 Isopanishads and 660 OMGs.
The youth festival also was grand. A huge 10 feet banner of Srila Prabhupada and the Hare Krishna Mahamantra created a very holy atmosphere for the youth fest. We had a very good turnout of around 500 students (400 boys and 100 girls). In the beginning HG Mahaman spoke excellently on Mera Bharat Mahan, bringing out the real Mahaanta of India and Indians. Subsequently the VC Prof Trivedi spoke on “The Role of spirituality in Modern education” emphasizing the necessity of spiritual education along with material education. Following that was the main item of the youth fest, a spectacular speech by HG Caitanya Caran Prabhu with searing logic clearing all misconceptions created by the movie OMG. Caitanya Caran Prabhu showed a particular clipping of the movie and then paused the movie after each argument given by Kanjibhai giving proper counterarguments for Kanjibhai’s atheistic opinions. At the end of the session CCP gave sharp precise answers to challenging questions posed by the students. Following that was a drama on “Oh My God, kya ek kharab to kya sab kharab” bringing out the faulty generalization by Kanjibhai saying that all Godmen or Sadhus were bad. Last but not the least was Mantra Rock, which was also received well by the student and all of them danced to the tune of the Mahamantra. There was a full Ekadasi feast at the end with Sabudana Kheer, Potato fingerchips, peanut cucumber potato salad etc. Many students have registered for the follow up session on “DISCOVER YOUR SELF” to be held on Sunday, September 8th 2013.
The event was covered by 2 newspapers including the Times of India, Indore and Patrika, one of the leading hindi newspapers in Indore. All Glories to Sri Sri Radha Govinda, All Glories to Srila Prabhupada, All Glories to all the Vaisnavas.
Please find the photos by clicking on this link: https://plus.google.com/photos/100718465883943344601/albums/5919576595420666481?banner=pwa&authkey=CM-N5vKGytvj_AE