Sunday December 17, 2017

10th Annual Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference to take place at Trinidad in October

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

The 10th Annual HMEC 2015 (Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference) will be held October 2-4, 2015, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The conference will be hosted by the Caribbean Temples and organized by the temples across North America.

The HMEC offers Mandir Executives, Priests, Hindu community leaders and Scholars a great opportunity to learn from one another and grow as one. It is a forum to join together as one, share, and listen to each others stories, opinions, and experiences, said the organizers.

During the conference, wide ranging discussions will take place on building, preserving and strengthening of Mandirs in North America.

The event will also focus on how to engage youth in temple operations, providing leadership, networking and building a strong community, engaging in interfaith dialog, outreach and social services.

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Worshipping many Gods in Hinduism is a Sin in Christianity: says a newspaper ad in a Trinidad Newspaper

Do you pray to your trinity, Mahatma or Mohammed in a form or a formless way ? What's your battle-side ?

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Idol worship in Hinduism
Idol worship. Image source: WIkimedia common

Trinidad and Tobago: September,08,2016: The Internet is divided into two sects: one the worshipers of Ganesha with pictures of idols swamping their timelines, other the anti-idol worshipers, who condemn bowing down in front of Plaster of Paris (POP). However, it’s not always black and white, there are people standing at the grey lines and they are the one’s who respect the strong emotion behind worshiping an image of God.

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Opinions and pieces of advice come free of cost and are thrown at wholesale prices. Hence, arrives one from Noah Days Ministry (email: ENoah999 (at) gmail.com).  Their recent piece on idol worship included about 8 psalms from the bible and lines that read out “Hindu religion incorporates different forms of idol worships which contravene the first commandment of God and are highly unacceptable to Almighty God”.

Being subtle is certainly not Noah Days Ministry’s strong suit!

Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad
Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad

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Let’s take an example to understand perceptions here. Sitting in a yoga class, your instructor tells you to shut your eyes and hum ‘Ommm’ while visualizing the Om chakra, which is thought to be an energy point. The instructor tells you that it’ll help you focus instead of letting your thoughts drift away elsewhere. No, Noah Days Ministry is going to raise a hand and question that ideology, simply because it works! But isn’t that the point of worshiping an idol- believing in a physical representation to help focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation.

A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.
A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.

Dr. Kumar Mahabir shared his views with NewsGram regarding the advertisement published in The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. He said that he waits on other Hindu individuals like him, writers and leaders (including the Hindu Women’s Organization) to respond to this Christian’s attack. He will particularly wait for a list of people who are often quick on the draw to attack Sat Maharaj. Although, please wait before you commend the brother to the black side of the debate. His rage over the published piece is not completely irrational. After all, the summary of these 10 passages is notorious- ‘According to the many bible verses cited, all idol worshipers including the Hindus and Jews are guilty of breaking the rules set by the Almighty, the only God to be bowed down to’. Having said that, Noah Days Ministry doesn’t fail to mention how the Roman Catholic organization and many Christians too stand guilty in their eyes for propagating ‘idolatry’. Conclusion? The rage over religion biasing stands invalid.

Fellow brethren! stand at any side of the fence- vehemently oppose statues in a temple or submit your Monday mornings to Hanuman veneration. Pick any side, choose any image but believe in patronage offered to your mind through prayers and meditation.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

 

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Hindus and Muslims at peace in Trinidad and Tobago: Strong need to convey Indian diaspora stories to the world, says Author Aliyyah Eniath

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians

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Temples in Trinidad Image Source: Wikimedia

New Delhi, September 1, 2016: Debuting with a book that gives voice to the lives of people of Indian origin in Trinidad and Tobago, author Aliyyah Eniath believes there is a strong need to convey the stories of the diaspora to the world.

People in this Caribbean nation- where nearly 40 percent of the 1.3 million population is of Indian origin- “still tightly hold on to a lot of cultural practices. Diwali is a huge festival which is a week-long celebration in Trinidad. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims back home. Conflicts between India and Pakistan do not affect our lives”, Eniath stated.

https://twitter.com/IndianDiasporas/status/758537637028360192

“It is very important that we get our stories to the world. We have so many stories to tell. It is important that our voices are heard, that the world should know about us too because India has a huge population and is a significant part of the world population. And it is not all about American writing — it should be about Indian writing too,” Eniath, the author of “The Yard” (Speaking Tigers, Rs 350, pp 272) told IANS in an interview during a visit here.

Although Eniath was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, her roots lie in Uttar Pradesh.

As an author, she believes it is “unfortunate” that publishers in Britain and the US are not too keen on stories about the Indian diaspora. But the Indian publishing industry is doing its bit to fill the gaps. “When I got the offer from the Indian publishing house, I could not refuse as I see India as a big platform for diaspora writers,” added Eniath, who is director of a lifestyle magazine.

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For her, the book and its characters are a medium for telling the world how the diaspora has been living in Trinidad and Tobago.

“My book focuses on the experience of one family living in The Yard where the characters are compelled to live together. Many Indians living in Trinidad share similar experiences as well. I think that it does convey the emotional and family bonds as well as the culture, especially the Muslims, about whom I have written and how they have different views on religion,” Eniath explained.

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians. “Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri are writing on the immigrants’ experience, but in Trinidad and Tobago, it is different as we really don’t feel like immigrants since we have been there from the start. So it has always been a British-Indian-African community.

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“The writing is a bit different but is sort of trendsetting because I don’t think such a book has been written before with such a strong T&T and Indian connection. So I think it is a bit new as well,” said the author who wanted to become a writer ever since she read “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

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Choosing Indian characters was inevitable as it is “easier to relate to characters based on my experience” she said, adding: “I grew up in the close network of an Indian family in Trinidad and Tobago where everyone was involved in everyone’s life. I wanted to write about the extended Indian family.”

And given her fascination with love stories, it was also inevitable that her debut effort is also a love story.

“I am a huge fan of love stories with happy endings, but like them with some layers to it. Mine is a little different; it is mainly a love story but it is also heart-breaking. I do like very much to write about love hoping that it will connect to readers in a big way and it is also what I love to write about,” said the author. (IANS)

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‘Calcutta To The Caribbean- An Indian Journey’: A Film on heart-rendering Experience of Indian Indenture in Trinidad

In 1845, on May 30, a sailing ship brought 217 Indians under the false impression that they will get to work on the sugar estates

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Directed by Gideon Hanoomansingh, “Calcutta To The Caribbean- An Indian Journey” is a documentary film tells the history of Indians who went to the Caribbean and how the abolition of slavery brought these workers to the sugar plantations.

In 1845, on May 30, a small sailing ship weighing 415 tonnes, the Fatel Rozack, was tied up at the lighthouse jetty in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After almost a 3 months and 6-days voyage from Kolkata (then Calcutta), around the southern tip of Africa and across the southern Atlantic, it came to Trinidad.

In 1845, on May 30, the ship Fath Al Razak brought 217 Indians to Trinidad. Image source: www.yespunjab.com

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As History says, this was no ordinary ship. With it, she brought 217 Indians who were given the false idea that they were heading for a better life and will work on the sugar estates of Trinidad. While five died on the voyage, most of them were women and under 30s. To the surprise, only five of them were men. On reaching the Port of Spain, Gazette reported, “the general appearance of the people is healthy”.

Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This was just the beginning! Soon over, 143,939 Indian labourers were shipped to Trinidad in the next 72 years. The majority of the labourers, that is 240,000 were sent to Guyana (then British Guiana), 36,000 to Jamaica, and smaller numbers to St Vincent, Grenada, St Lucia and Martinique.

This map is shows the slave trade routes that were established to produce sugar and chocolate. (Martin, Lecture 7, 2015). Image source: chocolateclass.wordpress.com
This map is shows the slave trade routes that were established to produce sugar and chocolate. (Martin, Lecture 7, 2015). Image source: chocolateclass.wordpress.com

Indian Labourers came from several areas the country, such as- Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal  (through the port of Calcutta) and Oudh. Not just that, in the early years it came through Chennai (then Chennai) as well. The labourers, most of them belonged to Hindu faith and only a few of them were Muslims.

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The details mentioned here are just mere glimpses of their lives, the documentary holds in it much more. One has to watch it to get close to the lives of these Indian labourers, share their struggle and unsaid pain. One journey that doomed their lives forever! Their experiences were akin to slavery.

The film will be screened on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 4:30pm at Film Programme, UWI, #12 Carmody St., St. Augustine.

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