The Forum started with a Puja of Maa Saraswati – the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music, and art, followed by a brief presentation by Snehal Thaker who explained the significance of various aspects of Maa Saraswati depicted in the symbolic picture used in the worship
MC of the event, Sunaina Sharma, made the event very interactive and encouraged the children by having a Quiz and giving them prizes for the winners.
After the Quiz, there was a Bharatnatyam dance by Geetha Sadagopan , the current president of Shruthi Adelaide.
The dance was followed by the Interfaith Forum. The speakers representing different faiths were Dr Dilip Chirmuley ( Hinduism ), Jeff Boyce ( Christianity ), Sylvia Barnes (Jewish ), Nasir Zia (Islam,) Shantha Sooriyabandara ( Buddhism )and Harvinder Singh Garcha –(Sikh).
The presentations of all the speakers were of high quality .. They emphasized the importance of religious education along with academic education. The speakers were also of the view that religious education gives us ability to be more tolerant, compassionate, calm, truthful and respectful to each other.
One speaker spoke about the significance and need of a teacher (Guru) in attaining knowledge, and then using that knowledge for realizing the “inner-self” or “higher-self”. Interestingly, some of the speakers thought that there has been a gradual loss of interest and overall dilution of religious education over time. Was it due to unavailability of great teachers or simply change in our priorities – perhaps influenced by free and fast communication in modern times .
The event was concluded by a vote of thanks by Dr Gaurang Prajapati followed by lunch. Some Hindu religious books were given as a token of thanks to the public.