NEW YORK: On Sunday, June 24 a first ever “Hindu Women’s Network” Conference was convened at “New Dorp High School” in Staten Island, N.Y. with the initiative of “Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America” (VHPA).
Although open to all women in general, the forum was meant to give voice to Hindu women on contemporary issues faced by them as the nucleus of the family in USA and develop, support structures for their holistic, physical, intellectual and emotional empowerment.
As the director and main convener of this unique gathering, Dr Ila Sukhadia’s primary objective for the Conference was to highlight the various challenges faced by women and create an interactive network to guide them as support-group, in their moment of crisis.
With this goal in mind, this daylong well attended ‘Conference’ was divided into ten different sessions, headlining various needs of the womanhood. The subject matters incorporated for various panel discussions and expert’s counseling sessions were – Family Relations, Self-Identity & Connecting with your roots, Motivating Children, Caring for Aging Parents, Personal Loss & Loneliness, Marital & Conjugal conflicts, Fitness & Health, Empowerment, Youth Session, and Money Management.
During the panel discussion on ‘Family Relations’, Sweta Vikram emphasized that, “while playing the role of mother, wife or daughter one should not lose self-identity and self-confidence and cautioned all mothers against trying to mold their children in your own image”. According to her “reasoning with the children was the key to gain their trust”.
Dr Bharati Palkhiwala, the renowned Psychiatrist, while commenting on stress, anxiety and depression asked women to open up channels of communication with people they trust most and try to change the overall attitude to look at the things. She further elaborated that, “one should come to terms, as soon as possible, with the misguided notion of stigma most of the Hindu women feel about getting treatment for Anxiety and Depression”.
She assured them that both of these conditions are perfectly medically treatable which can empower them to lead normal fruitful life.” Talking about elderly parents, Jaya Asthana said,” a mature woman typically has to tackle three generations of people in a family whose needs are varied.
The most neglected among them are the elderly parents. She suggested to be sympathetic to them, understand their loneliness, and try to assimilate them in all family affairs, and community groups with similar interests.
For the afternoon youth session, the subject matter was bullying, peer pressure and merciless teasing whose undercurrent, according to Dr. Sai Patil, the moderator, is invariably gaining ‘power-advantage’ over the other person.
The discussion-participants for these currently hotly debated issues were college-smart Shelley Jain, Sai Khisti and Priya Dave. Sai Khisti, who had just returned from ‘Cambodia’, after serving the community there, credits her own handling of destructive situations to self-confidence, hanging out with the right crowd and having her ‘Mom’ as the best friend in life.
The gathering was impressed to note that Shelley Jain has formed an organization, called “SPARK” specifically to pump up self-confidence in youth and Priya Dave wants to tap youthful synergy through her own group called “CHY” (‘Coalition of Hindu Youth’) for the benefit of society. The ‘Money Managers’, Lata Kripalani and Shefali Ajamera, touched the nerve of the audience when they talked about the appalling ignorance and indifference shown by most of the women when it came to monetary aspects of their lives.
They urged women to get to know the whereabouts and details of all important family documents related to assets, investments, different insurances, bank accounts, etc and educate themselves with entitlements programs of the Government.
Sukanya Krishnan, the famous TV personality of WPIX CH 11 was the keynote speaker of this conference.
The evening concluded with a brief entertainment program, coordinated by Manu Misra, celebrating ‘Unity in Diversity’ as the theme for fashion show depicting different ‘dressings’ of different states of India.
This was the only time slot for which men were invited. On the heels of grand success of this conference, the ambitious ‘Hindu Women’s Network’ is already planning to convene multiple such forums throughout USA.
India Post New Service