On 24 May, Sant Nirankari Mission (SNM) of Melbourne hosted Victorian Legislative Assembly President Mr Bruce Atkinson, Cr Darren Pearce, and The Indian Sun Editor Siddharth Suresh at their Rowville congregation to thank them for their ongoing support towards the Mission in Victoria. The congregation of more than 100 volunteers took the opportunity to specially thank Mr Atkinson for the invitation he extended towards His Holiness Baba Hardev on 11 February at the Victorian Parliament.
“His Holiness was overwhelmed with Mr Atkinson’s hospitality at the Parliament,” said Manjit Singh, head of media and PR activities of the Mission in Melbourne.
The congregation of Rowville were shown video clips of HH Baba Hardev’s visit to the Parliament.
The tea meeting hosted by Mr Atkinson at the Victorian parliament was attended by Consul General of India in Melbourne Ms Manika Jain, Speaker of the Victorian Parliament Telmo Ramon Languiller, Member of Naree Warren and Parliament secretary to Deputy Premier Judith Graley, as well as members of Melbourne SNM’s core team.
Mr Singh also spoke about the support extended by the Council and The Indian Sun towards the Mission and its work.
“The Mission’s work as good citizens is evident. The blood donation camps, the clean up Australia drive are all well received in my city area,” said Cr Pearce.
“The Sant’s work has built bridges between communities in Australia. At a time when religious extremism is gaining momentum, Sant’s ideology and the Mission’s work aims at bringing people together. It gives youth positive direction and strengthens multiculturalism in Australia,” said Mr Suresh from The Indian Sun.
He thanked Mr Atkinson for hosting His Holiness at the Victorian Parliament. “By inviting Baba Hardev to the Parliament, Victoria has shown that it values the Mission’s work. It has recognised the Sant’s community work,” he said.
Mr Atkinson said the teachings of His Holiness will travel across the community like ripples and influence everyone. “His teachings of universal brotherhood and love will touch one and all,” he added.
Mr Atkinson said he would want the Mission’s head to return to Victoria. He added: “His teachings and influence on the volunteers in Victoria are the driving force for the great work the Mission is conducting in Victoria. Their selfless and passionate community activities are the direct result of Baba Hardev’s teachings,” he said.
In his sermon, committee member Mr Raj Kumar explained that religious extremism was like “ice” that contracts, is brittle and breaks apart easily. “Any expansion that we hear in the news of religious extremism will not last long,” he said. And added, “It’s finally love and universal brotherhood that will thrive.”