HINDUISM TODAY'S Malaysia edition was inaugurated with a flair on June 18 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia now joins Mauritius and the United States as functioning franchisees of the international monthly journal dedicated to serving Hinduism worldwide. Soon presses will roll in India and South Africa.

A 25-strong delegation from America, Mauritius and Singapore headed up by the newspaper's founder and publisher, H.H. Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, joined 200 well-wishers at the Saujana Hyatt where they were treated to a hi-tech display of HINDUISM TODAY'S birth, growth and promising future. Sixteen video monitors ran continuous Hindu themes while a state-of the-art Macintosh computer system-including a LaserWriter, Mac II, hard disc, modem, etc.-colorfully exhibited the paper's artistic merits. A beautifully Ganesha shrine greeted the guests before a stage which became the scene of a professional production announcing "HINDUISM TODAY and Forever" complete with upbeat music, strobe lighting and mood-inducing fog.

The HINDUISM TODAY story was told in a computer-generated slide presentation including scenes of the day-to-day production of the paper at its ashram home on a sacred river in Hawaii, USA. Graphic posters of quotes from previous issues adorned the walls. Red and white balloons rounded out the festive setting.

Malaysia's leading Hindu politician, the Honorable Dato Samy Vellu, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Post and President of the Malaysian Indian Council, lauded the paper for its high-minded purpose of bringing better understanding among Hindus and non-Hindus. He also pointed out that religious publications especially need to be sensitive to the region in which they are published. "An article which may be well-received elsewhere could be highly sensitive here," he said. The Minister suggested that the newspaper's Malaysia edition focus on the rich Hindu heritage in the region.

Numerous Malaysian dignitaries and successful Hindu business leaders attended, several of whom rose to give short talks.

H.H. Sivaya Subramuniyaswami spoke on the importance of communication in our time. "Hindus everywhere now have a way to communicate on Hindu matters," the saffron-robed master stated. "It is for all Hindus to use and enjoy."

The organization's Malaysia editor, Pathmarajah Nagalingam, called attention to the presence of the many Hindu organizations assembled at the Hyatt as evidence that Hindus are eager to cooperate for the general good of the religion and its future. "Through this paper," he stated, "Hindu leaders can communicate with their members and the public at large, and Hindu temples and organizations can talk to one another as well." At several previous Hindu conferences, he noted, Hindus have talked about establishing such a paper as HINDUISM TODAY. "I am impressed by the number of VIP's attending tonight-we couldn't ask for better support."

Distinguished guests included D.P. Vijandran, Deputy Speaker of Parliament; Mr. Malik, High Commissioner of India; K. S. Nijhar, Parliamentary Secretary; Mr. Makhanlal Saigal, leader of Malaysia's North Indian community; and Mr. R. Rajathurai of Singapore's Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple. Dr. S.M. Ponniah, Advisor to the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, spoke fervently on the "strange Hindu habit" of being told what Hinduism is by non-Hindus. "Now, we are finding our voice, speaking up for ourselves-not to hurt anyone-but to represent for ourselves what we are, what our dharma is." Amachar Mardemootoo of Mauritius spoke on the impact of HINDUISM TODAY in his country over the past several years.

The 1.25 million Hindu population of Malaysia and Singapore snatched up all of the first two issues and are now demanding over 4,000 copies per month from the young Kuala Lumpur franchise. Malaysia Hindus now carry HINDUISM TODAY into homes and newsstands vigorously with volunteers distributing hundreds of copies each. While most publishing efforts take years to turn a profit, Malaysia Editor N. Pathmarajah confided that Siddhanta Publications had made it into the black in the first month due to the franchise support system designed to allow for simultaneous printing of HINDUISM TODAY in several countries.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.