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Tampa, fl, September 18, 2006: Over 1700 people attended a day-long celebration in Tampa on Saturday September 16, 2006. The celebration, held at the Sickles High School, was organized to mark the birth centenary of Shree Golwalkar Guruji and to bring the diverse Hindu community of Florida closer.

The program, which was a resounding success, was inaugurated by Swami Aksharananda at 9:45 a.m. and concluded with an enthralling performance by the famous singer, Anuradha Paudwal, 12 hours later. This was the first major public event in Florida in which representatives from several Hindu organizations participated, under the stewardship of the Florida chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA. In his inaugural address, Swami Aksharananda (a South American Hindu) emphasized the great gift of Hinduism, unity in diversity, particularly relevant to a world still struggling with the aftermath of 9/11. Over one hundred families participated in the opening Ganesh Puja held in the spacious gymnasium.

After lunch, there were three parallel activities: Balagokulam, consisting of games and story-telling for the younger children; activities for teenagers; and several panel discussions for adults, coordinated by Abhinav Dwivedi of Hindu University of America.

The afternoon session was concluded with a cultural segment showcasing the talent of singers, dancers, and musicians from across Florida. Of particular interest was the performance by two young brothers on the mridangam, traditional Indian drums. It was refreshing to listen to this rendition, rather than to the more popular tabla. The cultural segment was followed by a performance of the poet/singer/painter, Baba Mourya, who executed three fine paintings to accompany his verbal outpourings.

The keynote speech delivered by Shri Ravi Kumar, the Joint International coordinator of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, showcased to the audience the achievements of Hindus and the Hindu resurgence that is occuring throughout the Hindu world. Hindus and in particular the youth, said Raviji, were asserting themselves unlike their previous generation. He stated that the entire program of Hindu Sangam was organized by the youth and all activities had taken place as planned and on time.

But it was Anuradha Paudwal, who brought the packed auditorium to life with a mixture of classical, filmi, and traditional bhajans and devotional songs. Requests from the audience included the popular “Payojimainay” which was composed by the 16th century poet, Mira. A visibly moved crowd stood and sang in unison along with Anuradha’s concluding rendition, “Jai Jadesh Hare” – a fitting conclusion to Florida’s version of Hindu Sangam 2006.