The fact that Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary is one of the most important occasions for the country can be seen from the numerous celebrations and enlightenment programs taking place not only all over India but world over. However, when every state in India celebrated the historic event, government of Maharashtra gave a cold shoulder to it citing lack of funds!
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As shocking and shameful as it sounds, the incident was revealed by Swami Sarvalokananda (Adhyaksha, Ramkrishna Math Mumbai) during the 151st Janma Tithi celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Ramkrishna Math and Mission Mumbai on Sunday. “I personally approached Maharashtra Government. They asked us to prepare a budget for it. We did the hard work of preparing it and submitted it to them. But for six months we didn’t hear anything from them,” he said.
He further says that he again approached them but they just received fake assurances for several months. “Then I was told that the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have rejected the proposal citing shortage of funds,” he says. Naturally, the people gathered at the venue started exclaiming “Shame, shame.”
According to him, along with several others, this is a matter of shame when governments from several states in India have celebrated the event and spread the message of Swami Vivekananda. This is more ironical when we take into account that the great patriot monk had visited Mumbai (then Bombay) thrice in his lifetime. “The city is blessed thrice by Swamiji. In fact, he left for the historic Parliament of Religions in Chicago from Mumbai’s naval port,” said Swami Sarvalokananda.
Leader of opposition Vinod Tawde, who was the chief guest at the event, revealed how he too tried in vain to persuade the government in doing something for the event. “I called the Chief Minister regarding this but he always kept delaying it,” said Tawde during his electrifying and enlightening address to the people gathered in large numbers. “When they were against Veer Sawarkar’s birth anniversary celebrations, it was understandable as he was a political figure. But Swamiji has nothing to do with politics. Why are they (government) so afraid of the saffron color?” he asked.
Earlier in the day, Tawde, Swami Sarvalokananda and other prominent personalities unveiled the opening of Swami Vivekananda Chowk, just outside the lane of the Math. The day was also celebrated in various ways at the Mumbai Math and all over India.