On Monday last, 21 June, Pt Rajendra Arun, President of Ramayana Centre Mauritius, passed away after a short illness.
Shri Rajendra Arun was well-known as a Ramayana scholar in Mauritius and abroad, where he was frequently invited to deliver talks on the Ramayana and take part in International and World Ramayana Conferences.
A journalist by training, he came to Mauritius from India in the 1970s to be the editor of the weekly paper ‘Janata’ launched by Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. In his editorials, he quite often quoted Ramayana. In 1982, the ‘Janata’ paper ceased to appear, and subsequently Pt Arun joined Quality Beverages as Co-Ordinator and Advisor until his retirement.
He was in close contact with Swami Krishnanandji Maharaj, founder of Human Service Trust. Swamiji had donated a copy of Ramcharitmanas in every Hindu home and wanted to have someone to convey the values of Ramayana to the youth especially. He found in Shri Arunji the right person to meet this challenging task.
Panditji started a weekly radio programme on the MBC and at popular request began to officiate at Ram Katha satsangs that would be especially organised by the Ramayan Mandalis throughout the island. He gave talks every Tuesday at Hindu Maha Sabha hall, Port Louis, from noon to 12.45 pm, coinciding with lunch time, the audience being staff working in different ministries and the private sector.
His greatest legacy is the Ramayana Centre at Union Park, which was established following the unanimous passage of the Ramayana Centre Act in Parliament in 2001, with the help and support of numerous devotees, well-wishers and donors both locally and abroad. It comprises the Learning Complex and the Ram Mandir. In addition to the several activities that are conducted there, there is a well-furnished library which houses books relating to Ramayana and other aspects of Hinduism. They include several tittles by Panditji himself, as he was a prolific writer, on the main characters of Ramayana – Prabhu Ram, Mata Sita, Bhakt Hanuman, Bharat, Dusruth, and Mata Kaikeyi, which are available in Hindi and English.
The contribution of Pt Arun will be written in letters of gold in Mauritian history as far as the promotion of Ramayana is concerned.
Mauritius Times offers its deep condolences to Mrs Vinoo Arun and her family, praying for shubh sadgati for the departed atman.
* Published in print edition on 25 June 2021
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