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How Bharata Natyam Came to Montreal

Posted on 2019/6/12 11:10:41 ( 423 reads )


QUEBEC, CANADA, May 30, 2019 (The Hindu by Priyamvada Sankar): It has been a saga of 50 years as I adopted the country, which gave back to me generously. Within a few weeks of my arrival in North America, as a new bride, thanks to the contacts of my father Dr. V. Raghavan, I was invited by the Syracuse University and the Colgate University, both situated in upper New York State and renowned for their Music and Dance as well as Sanskrit study departments. My performances -- both lecture-demonstrations and Bharatanatyam were well received by the audience, from the U.S. and Canada. After that there was no looking back, as the cliche goes. A student of legend Balasaraswati, I began in a small way starting a school for Bharatanatyam. Soon I started the Priyamvada Sankar School of Bharata Natyam in Montreal in the Fall of 1968. The first of its kind in Montreal.

The silver jubilee of the Priyamvada Sankar School of Bharata Natyam was celebrated in 1994 with shows at different venues in Greater Montreal. Our school continues to engage with other cultural communities and we are regularly invited by the Jewish schools, African, Italian and Greek communities, Church organizations, Bahai, Buddhist and other religious groups. It is with humility that I have to state here that I'm the longest serving member of the Interfaith Council of Montreal I was humbled when I was conferred Order of Merit by the Brossard City and the National Association for Canadians of Indian Origin (NACOI) honored me as the Outstanding Indo-Canadian. The Government of Quebec awarded the Medal of the National Assembly. It was an honor to be a member of Montreal elite, chosen to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Canada.

Much more at "source" above.

Why Koenraad Elst Is Important for Hindutva

Posted on 2019/6/12 11:10:27 ( 407 reads )


U.S., MAY 7, 2019 (Swarajyamag by Aravindan Neelakandan): Belgian Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst is a dangerous scholar. With a cruel pleasure the establishment media and mediocre scholars bracket him with crackpots and zealots. Interestingly, both the establishment Hindutva side (as far as that exists) as well as the newly emerging Internet Hindutva types are not exactly comfortable with him. Nevertheless, when the dust settles, his books will stand as invaluable testimony and source to express the Hindutva side of things in the most honest manner possible. Blunt but honest. His latest book "Still No Trace of an Aryan Invasion" ( Aryan Books International, 2018) is a significant addition to the Aryan invasion/migration (AIT/AMT) and out-of-India theory (OIT) debates. There are 30 essays in this collection. These include in-depth analyses of issues related to caste, ethnicity and race, and book reviews, and rejoinders.

An in-depth review can be read at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/6/12 11:10:10 ( 401 reads )


Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realize that they know nothing.
-- Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), famed guru of Swami Vivekananda

Fifth International Conference Mount Kailash Held in Germany

Posted on 2019/6/11 12:22:06 ( 438 reads )


HAMBURG, GERMANY, June 10, 2019 (Universitat Hamburg): Mt. Kailash in the far west of Tibet is one of the holiest mountains in the world, revered by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Boenpo. During the last two decades, also Westerners set out for this remote region. Improved infrastructure and more liberal issuing of permits let their number and very much that of Indian pilgrims increase on a large scale. In addition to traditional rules for Tibetan and Indian pilgrims, new regulations to preserve the landscape of Mt. Kailash and neighboring pilgrimage sites were put into force. New observations and explorations in the region of Mt. Kailash and surrounding pilgrimage sites were reported in recent publications and since 2014 discussed in international conferences on the phenomenon of the holy Mt. Kailash.

Another international Kailash conference, the "5th International Conference on the Phenomenon of the Holy Mt. Kailash" with the subtitle "Compilation of Traditional and New Aspects of Mt. Kailash and Surrounding Pilgrimage Sites," will take place at the University of Hamburg, Germany, March 21-22, 2020. The aim of this conference is to compile both traditional and new aspects in the knowledge of the holy Mt. Kailash and surrounding pilgrimage sites, their interpretation and comparison with old scriptures and tantric vision. Data on Mt. Kailash and the holy lakes will be introduced and systemized. The knowledge of this sacred region in Tibet will be shared, cooperation in further scientific investigation discussed.

For more information about the conference see "source" above.

Sri Siva Vishnu Temple Holds Town Hall on Caribbean Hinduism

Posted on 2019/6/11 12:21:53 ( 480 reads )


WASHINGTON, DC, June 5, 2019 (HAF): Lanham, Maryland's Sri Siva Vishnu Temple Center for Dharma Education hosted a town hall Saturday, June 1, on the importance of the Caribbean Hindu community in advancing Hinduism in the Diaspora, as well as some of the challenges many Diasporic Hindus face in the United States. The town hall, "Bhakti in Berbice and Beyond," was co-sponsored by HAF, Indiaspora, HACSI, HMEC, India International School, the Maryland Milan Mandir, and featured nationally renowned Caribbean Hindu activists and advocates. Speakers highlighted key themes in the Caribbean Hindu experience, including the legacy of indentured servitude and slavery from the 19th century; the coerced conversions to Christianity in the West Indies; feelings of exclusion from many East Indians/South Asians; and the importance of Bhakti in carrying on traditions passed down for generations.

Aminta Kilawan-Narine, A New York-based lawyer and columnist, said that unlike some Indian American Hindus, most Caribbean Hindus were proud of their faith, and did not see a conflict between their religious identity and their engagement with social justice spaces. Vijah Ramjattan, the founder of the United Madrassi Association, echoed those comments, adding that the Hindu community needed to put aside territorialism over geography, sects, etc., and emphasize "unity in the community," the United Madrassi Association's motto. All of the speakers agreed that more needs to be done to integrate the experiences of Diasporic Hindus into the larger narrative of Hinduism.

More at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/6/11 12:21:39 ( 433 reads )


God Siva's all-knowingness is always inside of us. We don't have to do anything for it to be there; that's the important thing. We just have to look in the right place at the right time.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

Forced Conversions, Marriages Spike in Pakistan

Posted on 2019/6/8 10:47:30 ( 651 reads )


LAHORE, PAKISTAN, June 6, 2019 (Religion News Service): Every year, thousands of Hindu and Christian girls and young women are kidnapped in Pakistan and forcibly married, disappearing from their families. And while these forced conversions have been going on for decades, a recent surge in reported cases has brought the issue back into the limelight. Around 1,000 cases of Hindu and Christian girls being forced to convert were estimated in the province of southern Sindh alone in 2018, according to the annual report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. There are no concrete numbers for the rest of the conservative country, which is around 96 percent Muslim. In the majority of these cases, the girls are under 18. And while marriage under the age of 18 is illegal in Pakistan, the law is often ignored.

"This appears to be a systematic, organized trend and it needs to be seen in the broader context of the coercion of vulnerable girls and young women from communities that are already marginalized by their faith, class and socioeconomic status," said Mehdi Hasan, chairperson of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. "The ugly reality of forced conversions is that they are not seen as a crime, much less as a problem that should concern mainstream (Muslim) Pakistan." Meanwhile, there is no law banning forced conversions. "The government has done little in the past to stop such forced marriages," the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in its annual report. "(The executive branch) asked lawmakers to pass effective legislation to end the practice," the report added, but nothing happened.

More at "source" above.

Government Sets up Separate Board to Promote Vedic Education

Posted on 2019/6/8 10:47:17 ( 511 reads )


INDIA, January 13, 2019 (Rightlog): According to an Indian Express report, the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry has accepted the proposal to establish India's first National School Board for Vedic Education- Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB). The move is expected to pacify the anger of the disgruntled section of the supporters of the incumbent government who were not happy with the Modi government because they believe that the present government has done nothing to promote Veda education and Ved Pathsalas and to curtail the over communist influence on the curriculum. There has been a long-pending demand to set up and promote Vedic pathsalas and Vedic education at large level and this seems a big step towards fulfilling that demand.

The Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP) - a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD Ministry- is already working for the promotion of Ved Vidya, and the very same body has given in-principle approval to establish BSB in its governing council meeting chaired by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi on Friday, reported Indian Express. The governing council of the MSRVP has now been ordered to come up with the Board's bylaws in a week. According to the Indian Express report, the Bhartiya Shiksha Board will be set up with the objective of standardising Vedic education. The BSB will draft syllabus, will conduct regular examinations and certificates will be also provided.

More at "source."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/6/8 10:47:03 ( 545 reads )


Just as the rays of light share and diffuse the radiance of the sun, so you too share and reflect the golden glories of Indra, the cosmic soul. Let us meditate on the divine presence and for our share, enjoy the ecstasy of bliss vibrating in the world of past and future creations, by virtue of Indra's omnipresent majesty.
-- Rig Veda 8.99.3

The 70+ Irish Pagal Saab Cleaning Jodhpur's Historic Stepwells

Posted on 2019/6/5 13:02:26 ( 691 reads )


INDIA, May 18, 2019 (The Better India): Caron Rawnsley, a French-born Irishman in his early 70s, has spent the past five years cleaning Jodhpur's famed stepwells, locally known as bawaris, jhalaras (square-shaped open stepwells with steps on three or all four sides), and lakes. Thus far, he has led efforts to clean 10 precious reservoirs including the Ram bawari, Kriya jhalara, Govinda bawari, Chandpol bawari, Mahamandir bawari, Mahila Bagh jhalara, Tapi bawari and the Gulab Sagar lake. Once a part of the ancient networks of water storage, bawaris were drinking water points, while jhalaras supplied regular water for religious rites, royal ceremonies and community use.

Till the 1950s, Jodhpur met its water needs through this complex network of lakes, canals, aqueducts, tanks, surface wells and stepwells. However, these stepwells went into disuse, when supply from the Indira Gandhi canal brought perennial water from the rivers in Punjab into this desert city. Today, many of these architectural marvels that also double up as one of India's oldest rainwater harvesting systems lie dilapidated. "When I came to Jodhpur sometime in the latter half of 2014, I saw these beautiful stepwells but was shocked to see these ancient and unique water harvesting systems going derelict. So, I decided to devote my time to cleaning these places and trying to bring them back in good shape," says Caron in a conversation with The Better India.

Much more at "source" including photos.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/6/5 13:02:11 ( 685 reads )


Man possesses unlimited strength, infinite capacity for work and boundless perseverance. It is because they cannot always realize it that most men are so miserably inert.
-- Swami Pranavananda (1896-1941), founder of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha

Vietnam's Ruined Hindu Temple Complex Among CNN's "Abandoned Sacred Places"

Posted on 2019/6/4 13:10:36 ( 696 reads )


VIETNAM, June 3, 2019 (VN Express): A cluster of Hindu temples at My Son is on CNN's list of abandoned sacred places. The UNESCO heritage site My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam is a complex of abandoned and partly ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by the Champa, a united kingdom of various groups of the ethnic Cham. "Only 25 of 70 temples survive, the rest were destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Vietnam War," CNN said. The My Son cluster is regarded one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia. It is often compared with other historical temple complexes in the region such as Borobudur in Java, Indonesia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, and Ayutthaya in Thailand.

Christian Missionaries Abuse Hinduism Inside Temple

Posted on 2019/6/4 13:10:23 ( 958 reads )


INDIA, June 3, 2019 (Swarajyamag): The incidents displaying stark Hinduphobia of Christian missionaries continue to surface. Video clips have been doing rounds on social media showing evangelists unabashedly entering Hindu temples and ridiculing Hinduism, going as far as calling Hindu Deities "Satan" in front of the devotees. In another video, Christian missionaries try to enter Nanganallur Hanuman temple, ridiculing the Deities. In both the clips, locals are seeing confronting the evangelists. In a similar video clip surfaced recently, a Christian missionary was seen climbing up to the Adiyogi statue in Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and screaming, "Neither Yoga, nor Yogi can liberate you from sins, only Jesus can."

These incidents are a few in a long history of attacks on Hinduism by Christian evangelists. The Church also holds significant money and political power in India. While Christians are officially only 2.3 per cent of the Indian population, the church owns and runs around 20,000 educational institutions in India, second only to the union government. It also runs over 5,000 healthcare facilities, thousands of vocational training centres, and is known to own enormous amounts of property. Alumni of Church-run institutions hold high positions in government, private sector as well as non-governmental organisations, giving it unique lobbying power.

The short video clips can be viewed at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/6/4 13:10:07 ( 814 reads )


Those who cannot live in harmony with the world, though they have learned many things, are still ignorant.
-- Tirukural 140

Analyzing the Representation of Hindus in Western News Coverage During the 2019 Indian Elections

Posted on 2019/6/1 5:46:58 ( 812 reads )


UNITED STATES, May 17, 2019 (Pragyata by Vamsee Juluri): The Wester media coverage of events in India have a heavy tilt where they repeatedly show Hindus in a bad light. There have been several news reports, analyses and opinion pieces published in important Western media outlets in the past few months about the ongoing elections in India. The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, Time magazine, The Economist, and National Public Radio are among the media that have devoted much attention to events and issues in India. The overall tone of these articles has been severely critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some articles criticize his economic policies and alleged failures. Most articles though, focus on a broader discourse which somewhat has Modi and his party as the focus, but also point to a deeper question of postcolonial representation - that of Hindu identity.

In this essay, I focus on the ways in which Hindus, Hinduism, and Hindu struggles for political and cultural representation in democratic modern India have been presented before Western news readers and listeners. Does the coverage of the elections recognize the space for a Hindu identity or existence even outside of the more commonly used "Hindu Nationalism" conceptual framework that prevails in media and academia today? Or does the coverage conflate the word "Hindu" with the notion of "Hindu Nationalism" and a particular understanding of it, and with the political groups often labelled as "Hindu Nationalist," namely the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party) of Prime Minister Modi? In this essay, I focus mainly on certain objective indicators of representation, and evaluate the perception among many Hindu citizens in India, America and elsewhere, and among some scholars and activists, that there appears to be a strong Hinduphobic bias in media coverage of India, reducing the work of even once well-regarded news sources to efforts, intentional or otherwise, at propaganda.

Extensive article at "source" above with documented examples from major news sources including the New York Times, NPR, the BBC, and Time.

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