Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Urban Naxal Launch in Hyderabad and journey of Indic Book Club

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

Going by few past experiences, when I first got to know that Vivek Agnihotri’s Urban Naxals was being released in Hyderabad, I thought about 40-50 people will turn up for the book launch. The book launch was being hosted by the Indic Academy in collaboration with Pragna Bharati. The event was scheduled to start at 6pm. I reached the venue at around 5pm to volunteer for any help. We were setting up tables, and the tea/snacks vendor came in and said, I have an order for 100 people. I smiled, and thought to myself, each person is going to have a LOT of tea and coffee today!
Participants started trickling in from 5:30 onwards. As the queue was getting bigger to enter names into the register, we had to have a second register to allow people to enter their details. The Chief Guests of the event were two distinguished and highly accomplished individuals – Dr. K. Aravinda Rao (Former SP of Warangal, IG of Greyhounds, & DGP of AP) and Padma Shri T. Hanuman Chowdary.
At about 6:15pm, I finally went inside the hall. The hall was already bubbling with multiple discussions of the participants. There were at least 200 participants who had turned up on time for this book launch event! After the necessary introductions were made, and the distinguished guests were called on stage, another young man was invited to sing Vande Mataram. Till date, I have never heard the full Vande Mataram song. Wrong statement - Till date, I didn’t know Vande Mataram was longer than what we traditionally hear! The pleasant rendition of the entire song is something I will remember for a very long time.
Shri Hanuman Chowdary was the first speaker. By the time he started speaking, the entire hall was full (about 300 people easily!). He was also surprised to see so many new, and more importantly, so many young faces! Coming from him, whose organization Pragna Bharati has organized many such events, it was really an exceptional feeling! Why am I stressing so much on these attendance numbers?
Because I still remember that day, about 4 years back, when about 20 people turned up for a similar event by the Indic Academy. We dispensed with the traditional seating arrangement of that hall, made it a round table discussion, and we intently listened to and learned from the likes of Shri Hanuman Chowdary and others.
Because I remember the day of launching of Hyderabad chapter of Indic Book Club where about 20 of us assembled in a house and listened to and learned from the likes of Vamsee Juluri and others. With this history in mind, to see an auditorium full of enthusiastic young minds, eagerly waiting to listen on a topic like “Urban Naxals” was nothing short of exhilarating!
Undoubtedly, Dr. K. Aravinda Rao is exceptionally qualified to speak on Naxalism and the dangers that they pose to the society. We heard some good snippets from him on how the Naxals have infiltrated the society. He gave a couple of instances of how the Naxals misused the Peace Talks offer given by the then CM of AP – YSR. He also gave us the line of the evening – “I will recommend this book to every parent who has a college going kid”. Coming from such an experienced man, one could understand the gravity of the problem and what can be done to combat the problem. Every time we hear him, there is something new that we always learn.
Vivek Agnihotri went over the details of how the book came about, and his experiences. His messaging was also simple – grab every opportunity you get to spread your message; grab every opportunity to discuss and debate; if you can go and change the perception of even 1 person, you have done a good job! Until someone announced that since we are nearing 9pm, the program had to be halted, we didn’t even realize that we already spent 2 ½ hours listening to four different speakers!
There was another event scheduled for the next day. Vivek Agnihotri would read out from his book and open the floor for discussions. This time I was yet again sure that about 40 people will turn up! Not only did more than 100 people turn up, the audience intently listened to the book reading for an hour, and then participated in a very healthy discussion!
Indic Book Club and Indic Academy began as the idea and passion of one man, who followed it up in an exemplary manner. The way IBC and IA grew over the years is a text book example of how to build an organization and a long-lasting ecosystem. Today, Indic Academy has chapters across multiple cities worldwide and arranges great workshops and book launches, again worldwide! One may or may not like all the books shared by IA or written by IA members – but every single one of them is open for debate and discussion- unlike the Leftist ecosystem. In these days where a gathering of 10 JNU leftists has 50 cameras covering them, I thought these events are the ones worth covering in detail. But then another thought came to mind – why do we need their approval?


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