CHENNAI: Numbers too tell a story. And 5,555 has one! That was the number of students from over 20 city schools who took part in a walkathon to celebrate the 151st birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, on the Marina on Saturday. Dressed as the monk, they held placards addressing contemporary issues – environment, ecology, pollution, human values, women’s honour and patriotism.
“The event celebrates the synergy between Hindu spirituality and environmental sustainability through respect for ecology, women and teachers. We wish to inculcate these values in children through this walkathon,” said S Gurumurthy, columnist.
The walkathon was organised by Vivekananda Educational Society, in association with the Initiative for Moral and Cultural Training (IMCT) Foundation.
R Rajalakshmi of IMCT said, “Children reflect the society. It is our duty to shape the society in such a way that they grow up to become responsible and sensible citizens.”
The walkathon was one of the pre-fair programmes of the Sixth Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair, to be held from July 9-14 at the Ramachandra Medical University Grounds.
Apart from the walkathon, another curtain raiser was the ratha yatra where 25 raths carrying life size idols of Vivekananda, along with his message, have been touring the city since June 29. The raths have already covered 500 schools and will cover 500 more.
“Each rath has one of the six messages. People think moral values are different from what they do in reality. We are trying to instil these values in children,” said S Namahshivayam, Senior Principal of Maharishi Vidya Mandir.
“I loved the walkathon. I found it very useful,” said an excited K Shivaani, a student from DAV school, Aadambakkam.
“Hinduism has a service component, which is overlooked in public domain. We have given a pavilion to all Hindu organisations to showcase their services to the society,” informed Gurumurthy.
The fair will see the participation of around 250 Hindu organisations. Tibetan Buddhists from the Dalai Lama’s sect will also be part of the fair. “There is no BJP-RSS politics involved, service is the only aim,” said R Ravikrishnan of VES.