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'An ordinary organisation run by ordinary people': a study of leadership in Vivekananda Kendra

Beckerlegge, Gwilym (2010). 'An ordinary organisation run by ordinary people': a study of leadership in Vivekananda Kendra. Contemporary South Asia, 18(1) pp. 71–88.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09584930903561689
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Abstract

Vivekananda Kendra describes itself as a 'spiritually oriented service mission', extensively influenced by both Swami Vivekananda and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As the name of the movement suggests, members of Vivekananda Kendra acknowledge their indebtedness to the inspiration of Vivekananda, a samnyasi. Vivekananda Kendra's organisation, however, is built around a lay leadership. Members emphasise this when explaining the values and goals of the Kendra, often consciously distinguishing between its model of leadership and the nature of its membership, and those of movements such as the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, where leadership is largely provided by samnyasis. This article explores the distinctive ethos of Vivekananda Kendra with particular reference to its lay leadership. The article draws on material gathered in a series of interviews with senior members of Vivekananda Kendra at the movement's headquarters at Kanyakumari in 2006 and 2008. This article explores the distinctive ethos of Vivekananda Kendra with particular reference to its lay leadership, and in the light of scholarly arguments that Vivekananda’s retention of a re-modelled understanding of the role of the samnyasi has been strategically central to the long-term appeal of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission and its promotion of seva, service to humanity. The article draws on material gathered in a series of interviews with senior members of Vivekananda Kendra at the movement’s headquarters at Kanyakumari in 2006 and 2008.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 Tyalor & Francis
ISSN: 1469-364X
Keywords: Vivekananda Kendra; modern Hindu organisation; leadership
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Religious Studies
Item ID: 26055
Depositing User: Gwilym Beckerlegge
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2011 10:38
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 14:30
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/26055
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