GUWAHATI, Nov 21 – Eknathji Ranade, the Indian patriot, and the man behind the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, was a person who was exemplary in his conviction in India’s greatness and her cultural and spiritual glory. He recognised that if people of India made united efforts the nation’s innate strength in varied areas could be better realised.
This was a view expressed by Dipok Kumar Barthakur, chairman of the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture (VKIC) in a lecture on ‘Mananneeya Eknath Ranade’ to commemorate his birth centenary on November 19.
Addressing the audience at the VKIC auditorium, Barthakur focussed on the life and times of Ranade, who recognized the significance of the message of Swami Vivekananda to India, especially to youths. After examining the planned project to create a memorial to celebrate the legacy of Swami Vivekananda, he involved himself in the work wholeheartedly.
Barthakur revealed how Ranade identified the challenges in constructing the Rock Memorial, and how he went about overcoming those. To get the approval of the Indian Government, he carried out a signature campaign including almost all the Parliamentarians. The force behind the Rock Memorial was known for his persuasive skills, the speaker added.
After the completion of the Rock Memorial in 1970, Ranade conceived of a living entity to propagate the message of Swami Vivekananda. To realize this goal, he created the Vivekananda Kendra with its headquarters in Kanyakumari – a ‘spiritually-oriented service organization’ that serves people in remote and backward areas across the country through volunteers and professionals.
Being familiar with the unique indigenous cultures of the North-east, Ranade believed that there was a need to protect and promote them from imminent threats. He, therefore, mooted the idea of establishing the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture in Guwahati.
Towards this end he asked Dipok Kumar Barthakur to create an institution in Guwahati. Unfortunately, Ranade did not live long to see the fulfilment of his dream. He passed away in 1982 at Chennai.
In his lecture he referred to his association with Ranade, and shared a number of anecdotal incidents about the person, who had a particular interest about the welfare of people in Assam and the rest of the North-east.
Presiding over the function, Chinmoy Choudhury, who has been associated with the Vivekananda Kendra, Guwahati for long, mentioned the sterling qualities of Eknath Ranade.