For the last few days I have been pretty upset over the issue of “converting all the Hindus.” Yesterday, it crossed all the limits. A Christian girl, who sadly is from India, asked me if Hinduism is a good faith for me. When I said yes, she started to give me a long lecture on why Hinduism is no good and how she wants the whole world to convert to Christianity. After that disappointing conversation, I thought to myself, “Why is it that people only catch a Hindu to brag about their own religions!?” It is because we are thought of as vulnerable beings and easy targets. I think that we should stop being nice and saying that all religions are equal. I told that girl at least a hundred times that for us all religions are equal, but she clearly hated that thought. We shouldn’t be scared to say, “I am proud to be Hindu, and it is the best religion in the world.” We must also make our children more religious because they will be facing more challenges!
Recently, I came across a letter to the Editor by Subha Varma Pathial in the February 1999 issue. After 30 years living in the UK, I still wear long hair (thinning of course due to old age!), sari and bindi, and also trousers for housework. My dress has never posed a problem for me as a lawyer living in a small rural town, or in recent years as a university lecturer. Tradition in any cultured society like religion, law, education etc… should be a positive thinking for individual and collective management; and dress is not for impressing others, including our children, but for self-expression. Fashion, on the other hand, represents nothing but materialism. Instead, if we were to use our dress sense to bring out our true personality, this deep-seated inner strength will enable us to contribute to the outside world with confidence. For men to understand our traditions, it is for us, mothers, to teach our sons and daughters some values in life before they turn into men and women in “suits.”
Life after Death
I am a regular reader of your magazine and while reading your September 1999 issue I was a bit shocked to see an article on life after death. Why? Well, I have been pondering on these same questions for such a long time and suddenly out of the blue I have all my answers and much more. It has so much logic in it that after reading it I feel as if all the words came from God himself. I am sure that I am not the only one feeling that way, and I only want to say a big “thank you” to Gurudeva. Congratulations for the wonderful work the Hinduism Today team is doing around the world. Keep it up.
Nalini Veeraragoo Ayasamy
I applaud the service you are rendering by revealing and addressing the unfortunate attitudes that foster spousal abuse [Oct. 99]. Thank you for educating the public and offering information on protection.
Kusha Devi Dasi
I read with great interest your articles on domestic violence. What a valuable contribution you are making, by informing people of this problem and suggesting some solutions. This problem, of course, is far from unique to Hindus. It plagues people across all racial, ethnic, etc., lines. It is only when women feel empowered that they will have the courage to ask for help, and to help themselves and each other. It saddens me that I have read other articles also in this publication that seem to suggest that women should remain at home, and not work outside the home. Women who feel a sense of satisfaction and self-esteem from working in the home should do so if they are able. Some women, however, feel empowered by work outside the home, gain confidence from their achievements in the workplace, and feel a sense of independence by earning their own money. Does this not help to break the cycle of helplessness a lot of battered women feel?
* Traditional Hinduism does hold that a full-time wife and mother will have a harmonious home. We are unaware of statistics which show a working woman to be subject to less abuse at home.
Below is a letter from my friend Amit, who just returned from Orissa: “I returned from Bhubaneswar today. The misery of the people whose houses have been blown away has to be seen to be believed. The situation in Cuttack is far worse. The drain water had got clogged and most parts of the city lay under stinking water. There is absolute lawlessness. It will take at least another month before power can be restored in Cuttack. All the beauty of the Ring Road and Tulsipur is now a thing of the past. People are dying in Paradip due to lack of food. The first wave of destruction is there for everyone to see. It is not less than 50,000 dead, in spite of the official figure being 3,000 plus. But what is going to happen once the floating dead bodies and the animals start spreading diseases? Another round of deaths. Cholera has already broken out in Choudwar and Paradip.”
B. K. Dash
Violent Video Games
Your May 1999 issue on the “Great Video Game Plague” has once again shown your deep concern, in guiding parents in today’s dynamic world of ever-changing electronic gadgets that are mesmerizing our children. Yes, I agree with you on their harmfulness. No one can doubt the psychology of killing. This long-term impact on violence must come to an immediate halt, for screen violence ultimately leads to real violence. Your insights into how to oppose these games are practical, and I hope the message reaches out to as many people as possible.
Too Much Fluff
I have been enjoying your magazine for a long time. However, lately, I have noticed that it has become more fluffy and less substantial. For example, is it really prudent to emphasize so much on superficial things like clothing, as illustrated in “The Traditional Garb of Hindu men” and “I Dressed for Success” [December 1999]? I wish there were more spiritually enlightening articles, such as, “Be Joyous! Keep Moving From Darkness to Light” and “Rising Above the Senses” in the same issue.
Please note that in the article, New Hindu Presidents” [Diaspora, Dec. 1999], mention is made of Mauritius as having a Hindu President. This not the case. The actual president is a Muslim by the name of Cassam Ubeem.
* It is the Prime Minister who is a Hindu..
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