Today, almost nine decades since its formation, the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, popularly referred to as the Arya Samaj, remains a mature organisation which continues to offer direction and leadership to the community in the religious, social, cultural and educational fields. It has helped to interpret and present Hinduism in a manner to give it an exalted place in South Africa. Taking its stand on the slogan, Back to the Vedas the Arya Samaj has dissociated itself from superstitious beliefs, meaningless rituals, heinous animal sacrifices and the ugly caste system. It has lent its full support to vegetarianism and cremation and advocates a way of life which is rational, scientific, modern, enlightened and progressive. The Principles of the Samaj provide the fullest scope and opportunity for the development of the full potential of an individual to reach the highest status in society in a responsible way.
To give practical expression to its ‘Principles’ and being a strong advocacy movement of women’s’ emancipation, the Arya Samaj SA has scored a first by electing a woman President, Professor Usha Desai, to lead the organisation at this critical juncture in its history. The example set by the South African branch ought to inspire others throughout the world to follow suit, as the gender imbalance is something we face globally.