HOTA Forum Workshop

A forum to facilitate effective networking, collaboration and empowerment of Hindu organisations

Using the Ekta Shankh (unity conch shell) as its symbol and relying on the motto Sanghe Sakthi Kaliyuge (organisation is strength), representatives from various cultural, spiritual and educational groups in Melbourne came together for the HOTA (Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations) forum on Sunday, 23rd April 2017.

Facilitated by Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia (World Hindu Council of Australia) – Victoria chapter, HOTA is a forum for participating Hindu temples and other organisations working together to discuss and deliberate various topics of common interest, issues, ideas and opportunities with the objective of enhancing community services and preservation of Hindu culture. Sri Swami Vigyananand Ji launched HOTAVIC forum at the 4th Australian National Hindu conference in Sept 2015. At present it has over 50 partnering member organisations.

The delegates started the day with offering prayers and seeking blessings at the Shirdi Sai Mandir. The Forum opened with Sri Kunal Mehta’s prayer session. Sri Paresh Valob, president of Shirdi Sai Sansthan Melbourne welcomed the guests and expressed interest in future such events.

Smt Geeta Devi, president of VHP Victoria and Chairperson HOTAVIC welcomed Forum partnering members. She stated HOTA Forum’s main intent is to provide support to the Dharmic organisations – it supports the support network. HOTAVIC demonstrated this with three of the forum partnering organisations collaboratively working on coordinating the Forum meeting.

Chief Guest VMC Commissioner Sri Chidambaram Srinivasan welcomed the HOTA initiative and mentioned that it is a good place to listen to other organisations. He remarked organisations need to look for overreaching principle of working together to ensure the cohesiveness and wherever possible help the emerging communities in Victoria.

Sri Nagabhushana Sharma Betanabhatla, HOTAVIC Secretary, spoke on the vision, benefits of conducting HOTA forum as an annual project with a view to strengthen the community. Further, in the Forum all the partnering members are on equal footing, giving importance to common goals and supporting each other. Previous year HOTAVIC achievements were also mentioned.

HOTA forum aims to achieve its objectives through two annual events – a forum meeting and a cultural event- Raksha Bandhan.  Each year with HOTA co-ordination, one of the forum partners will host all the events for that particular year, with rest of the partnering organisation’s support.  The change of ‘HOTA Host’ takes place at each Raksha Bandhan event, with passing the HOTA batten to the new host organisation.  

Sri Ashwin Bora and Sri Vijeth Shetty from India Australia Exchange Forum (HOTA Host 2017) introduced HOTA partner organisations. Delegates from 30 organisations then shared their organization activities and highlights of 2016/17 year. The discussions and brainstorming sessions by the delegates were very engaging and robust. Each of the delegates of temples, associations / organisations and individual supporters presented their contribution and issues.

The outcome of the forum through the group discussions were as follows:

  1. Local Institutions that cater to Hindu Communities – ISKON Melbourne (Bhakta Dasa)
  2. Improved communication between the organisations – Jet Australia Foundation (Satya Ramanuja Dasa)
  3. Propagation of Vedic Knowledge in theory and Practice in the broader community – Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan Inc (Dilsher Singh) and Jet Australia Foundation (Prakash Ramanuja Dasa)
  4. Common Information Dashboard – Arya Prathinidhi Sabha and Arya Samaj of Melbourne Inc. (Suri Soni)
  5. Sharing of Volunteer Information – Datta Yoga Centre Australia (Lakshmi Manjunath)
  6. Maintenance of Subject Matter Experts in general Temple maintenance works – Shirdi Sai Sansthan Melbourne Inc (Sunitha Kasu)
  7. Visa Services for Priests – Venkata Sree Krishna Brundavanam (Ramesh Rao)
  8. Information Sharing – India Australia Exchange Forum (Vijeth Shetty)
  9. Priests Forum & HOTA Organisations Directory – HOTA VIC Forum (Sharma Betanabhatla)

The following two initiatives were not allocated in the 2017 HOTA Forum, however, the leads will work independently and will be provided the necessary support

  1. Guarding against condemnation of Hindu Organisations – Durga Mandir (Rishi Prabhakar)
  2. Legal and Political support to the community –  Individual (Karthik Arasu)

Dr Anil Kumar Asthana from WAHA in his summary speech spoke of how often its small initiatives that make big difference to the community while urging to preserve heritage for future generations by investing in education and knowledge sharing. On behalf of VHP Victoria and HOTAVIC a memento was presented to Shiridi Sai Sansthan. The meeting closed with Sri Shivesh Pandey from IAEF proposing the vote of thanks.

HOTAVIC forum venue and lunch for the delegates was provided by Shirdi Sai Sansthan Melbourne Mandir – thanks to the members of the executive committee Sri Paresh Valob, Sri Srivastava Ji, Smt Sunitha Kasu and rest of the team for their unconditional support and making the forum meeting a success.

For further details please contact:

Sri Nagabhushana Sharma Betanabhatla, Secretary HOTA VIC – 0402 584 612/ sharma.betanabhatla@vhp.org.au

Smt Geeta Devi, President VHPVIC – 0423 297 666/ geeta.devi@vhp.org.au