“I am Sriprakash Kothari. Everyone calls me S.P. I am new to join the team, but I am no less enthusiastic than any of you in my commitment to and enthusiasm for WHC 2018! I look forward to working with each one of you in making WHC 2018 a success. But what is success? What propels us to organize the WHC? I have three goals in mind. (i) Enlighten. (ii) Reform. (iii) Advance.
Enlighten. For millennia Hindu civilization has been a beacon to mankind in search of spirituality. Hindu tradition has evolved through the ages with changing times, encompassing a diversity of ideas about Reality, the importance of duty, morality, and action, the purpose of life, and the meaning of achieving self-realization. The Hindu thought thus offers a sense of purpose to life in the hope of bringing happiness and satisfaction. It’s distinct from many other religions in not indulging in religious hegemony. This is echoed by Swami Vivekananda, arguably the greatest ambassador of Hindus in recent centuries. Ironically, it was here in Chicago that in 1893 he addressed the Parliament of Religions by proudly announcing that he belongs “to a religion which has taught both tolerance and universal acceptance.” I hope WHC brings greater awareness and enlightenment all throughout the world about Hindu view of life through a message of spirituality, harmony, and inclusiveness.
Reform. The Hindu tradition accommodates diversity and welcomes evolution of thought. I view this as an opportunity to march forward in our quest for a better society. In particular, what began as social classification based purely on function, unfortunately degenerated into a system with hierarchy and inequity. Moreover, the Hindu cause has suffered due to chronic disorganization of Hindu society. While numerous groups are working for the Hindu resurgence, these groups work disjointedly. Women have not fared any better. Hindu women are qualified, educated and talented, but their talent is not being utilized for the larger Hindu renaissance and their participation is minimal. WHC must work toward a society that not only values meritocracy, morality, and accountability for action, but also compassion for the weak and disadvantaged as its cornerstones; to transcend the regional, linguistic and denominational identities into a larger Hindu identity. WHC must be at the forefront in championing these causes.
Advance. An inescapable conclusion from history is that the journey toward spiritual attainment, social reform, and political freedom traverses through economic advancement. Economic independence, for example, will empower women and economic progress will narrow the chasm between social classes. Economic advancement without sacrificing ethics, without violating laws, and without exploitation of anyone will pave the way forward to a just society. WHC must foster cooperation among those with ideas and those with resources and view commerce as a necessary means of furthering Hindu society for a better world tomorrow.”
I am humbled by the confidence you have in me. It is a privilege to serve as the Chair of the upcoming WHC. I look forward to working with all of you.
Dr. Sriprakash Kothari
Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management