Below you can read the message by Mr. Sadeo Chunivan, the president of the HFB, delivered during the general assembly which was held on 1st of July 2018.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends, it is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all of you today.
It is gratifying to look around and see so many familiar faces in this assembly, despite the good weather outside.
As you may know, the Hindu Forum of Belgium was created in June 2005 (yes, already 13 years!). The various Hindu associations in Belgium decided to join forces, look beyond our differences, and bring together our ideas, energy and time for a common cause- grow awareness of the existence of a Hindu community in Belgium and get recognition of our community in the country we live. The Forum got officially registered in 2007 and on March 13th 2013, we deposited our demand for government recognition.
Over the last 4 years, I was given the opportunity to serve as President of the Hindu Forum of Belgium. Let me say a few words on how privileged I feel to have had the chance to serve this organization. It has been 2 incredible years – filled with meetings, contacts developed and ties built with the political world in Belgium and abroad and with other religious communities. Among others, meetings with Justice Minister of Belgium Mr. Koen Geens and Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi are highlights I wanted us to remember together. Another extremely inspiring side of my job was the meetings with leaders of other religious communities in Belgium – getting together with our Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhists brothers and sisters have been particularly enriching. It reinforced my conviction that respect, cooperation and dialogue are the keys to foster stronger ties in our society.
Religious freedom is a precious gift we enjoy in Belgium. Let us first appreciate that because it is not the case in many countries of the world. We are lucky to live in a country where we can gather and celebrate our beliefs and traditions, transmit our culture to our children, without any fear of repression.
The different meetings and activities organized by the Hindu Forum of Belgium have been successful in raising awareness of what Hinduism is about and its existence in Belgium. Our target remains gaining full recognition from the government and therefore the financial support required to run our office properly. I am confident my successor as President of the Forum will put all his or her energy to this endeavor. My successor will have my full support and friendship.
I wish to thank the following persons who have been supporting Hindu Forum of Belgium over the years:
- Mahaprabhu, Manick Paul, Shusma Trapa, Malati, Ravinder, Hare Krishna temple Radhadesh, Hare Rama temple Antwerp and Hare Rama temple Brussels for their precious help in setting up contacts, getting meetings organized and welcoming members of the Hindu Forum of Europe.
- Tapan Roy, Santosh Kedia and Kanta Odito for their financial support, without which the above would not have been possible.
Please allow me to end by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who is, I’m sure, a source of inspiration for many of us here. The Mahatma said: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Many thanks for your kind attention