His 150th birth anniversary observed with a seminar on ‘Social Changes in India and Swami Vivekananda’

In order to celebrate the 150 birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the History Department of the Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate Studies (Autonomous) conducted an ICHR-UGC National Seminar on ‘Social Changes in India and Swami Vivekananda’.

Speaking at the seminar, Swami Lakshmidharananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, Vidyapith elaborated how Swami Vivekananda supported women in the society. He strongly believed that the women should be educated and that any decision regarding the welfare of widows and women should be in the hands of the women themselves.

“Vivekananda was not interested in addressing issues like widow’s remarriage or the age when the girls can be married off. Nor did he like men interfering their affairs. He categorically asserted that it is wrong, a thousand times wrong, if any man dare say, ‘I will work for the salvation of this woman or child’.”

It was not that Vivekananda was not concerned with women’s welfare and wanted to subvert any initiative for reformation. He wanted women to have full freedom to understand their own ideals, their problems and to propose solutions for their own betterment. He believed that women could tap and use their capabilities, if they were properly educated.

He believed in the self-respect and self-dignity of women and wanted no man to trample upon it, be it in the guise of protection or in the guise of reformation, he said.

In terms of the caste system, although he was against untouchability, Vivekananda pointed that almost all civilizations of the world were first governed and controlled by the priestly classes.

Questioning the supremacy and authority of the priests, warrior classes began to assert their rights and controls. Next the merchant classes, controlling the entire affairs of the state through the strength of wealth gathered through trade and commerce.

He believed that a time would come when the labour class and the masses would rise and gain supremacy by the power of their sweat and labour, he said.

The two-day seminar will feature various speakers from different parts of the country. At the inauguration, Director of IRISH in Kannur and former head of the Department of History at Pondicherry University K.S. Mathew delivered also spoke.