'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: https://doi.org/10.1080/09584930903561689

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.

Viewing alternatives

Metrics

Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions

Export

About

  • Item ORO ID
  • 26055
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1469-364X
  • Keywords
  • Vivekananda Kendra; modern Hindu organisation; leadership
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2010 Tyalor & Francis
  • Depositing User
  • Gwilym Beckerlegge

Recommendations