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Differently abled at Muskaan contribute in Holi celebrations


New Delhi: The festival of color is finally here. So why not smear your loved ones with organic colors this season? A group of differently abled adults has been collectively preparing organic Holi colors for some years.

These adults are trained at Muskaan, a training centre for intellectually disabled adults in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. The group has turned approximately 9200kg of flower petals into colorful organic hues. The flowers are collected by them from temples or other places and then sun dried. The dried petals are then sent to a workshop where they are further converted into powder. Annu Jetley,an educator at Muskaan, says “Flower cutting is therapeutic and helps them gain mental stability and composure.The simple motor skills help them gain focus”.

The trainees gather in a large well-lit room with soft music being played on a daily basis. The centre was established in 1982 as a parent and children association for mental disabilities. There are differences in their levels of intellectual disabilities too. While some possess a lower or moderate level of difficulty, the others need the greater degree of support. The trainees are found to be responding to the music and sing along many a time. Many of them have speech difficulties. Some senior trainees are also paid the stipend for the work they do.

14 members among them do the task full-time including a batch of senior citizen belonging to other groups. They have high working skills and cut flowers in spare time. A few of them have also managed to find jobs.

Shanti Auluck, founder of Muskaan, says ” At present, the processing of dry petals into colour powder is outsourced, but this summer onwards, we will set up our own unit”.

(Inputs from agencies)

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BBC Plans to Showcase Documentaries on Hinduism, will Explore Faith and Ethical Issues

BBC will project Hinduism in these films accurately and which will be based on the ancient Hinduism scriptures and not reimagine Hinduism concepts and traditions to fit its programs

Incense stick in Hinduism. Pixabay

August 08, 2017: A new documentary strand of five films a year will be showcased on BBC One will explore faith and ethical issues in all the major religions in exciting and contemporary new ways, including Hinduism.

Hindus called the step in the positive direction and welcomed BBC for the idea of producing films on Hinduism.

BBC will project Hinduism in these films accurately and it will be based on the ancient Hinduism scriptures and not reimagine Hinduism concepts and traditions to fit its programs.

As per the 2016 report in The Sunday Times, “The BBC is too Christian in its religious output, according to an internal review, and should increase its Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh programming”.

Hinduism, the third largest religion in the world has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksha… Click To Tweet

As per the sources, Hinduism was highly underserved at BBC. Multiculturalism had been growing fast in the UK  because of which it was now a diverse society formed of various religions and denominations and non-believers, however, BBC had not kept pace with it.

It was time for the superfluous religious production at BBC to end, giving way to uniformly distributed time among various religions/denominations/non-believers.

Adequate coverage of Diwali, Holi, Krishna Janmashtami, Maha Shivaratri, Ram Navami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navaratri, Duserra, Hanuman Jayanti, Makar Sankranti, Yugadi and other Hindu festivals, must also be covered by BBC.

Hymns from ancient Sanskrit scriptures, contemporary bhajans, and Hindu lessons should constantly form part of BBC One’s 54 years old “Songs of Praise”, one of the world’s longest-running religious television series.

Hindu hymns, songs, and faith stories were highly stimulating, warm and engaging. Moreover, God liked all songs-of-praise, notwithstanding the religion these came from.

ALSO READ: More Than Just a Sign: Decoding Hinduism With These 5 Major Symbols 

The intervention of The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a must in this multi-faith issue. Its priorities included people, communities, and nations learning to live together with diversity in a spirit of love and respect.

\BBC, whose ‘values’ included “celebrate our diversity” and “great things happen when we work together” and whose ‘purposes’ included “reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities”, should show some development on this issue.

BBC should take religion more seriously, and help us build interconnections and create harmony Click To Tweet

BBC labeled “yoga” as “fad” in 2013 and Hindu festival of Holi as “filthy festival” in 2012 to which it apologized later. BBC has been accused of racism, imperialist stance, Indophobic bias, anti-Hindu bigotry, anti-American bias, etc in the past.

Launched in October 1922, headquartered in London, and established by a Royal Charter, BBC claims to be the “world’s leading public service broadcaster”. Every UK viewer needs to have a TV License, which costs £147.

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32-year-old UP man arrested for raping 6-year-old Child in Delhi on Holi

People celebrated Holi woith their friends and family. Image : (representational Image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, April 9, 2017: Nearly a month after a six-year-old child was raped on Holi day in a south Delhi locality, a 32-year-old Uttar Pradesh native has been arrested for the crime, the Delhi Police said on Sunday.

Accused Mantram of Sidharth Nagar went missing after the crime was reported on March 13. He was arrested on Saturday night.

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“Mantram worked at a food stall in south Delhi’s Nehru Place. He found the six-year-old girl playing in a park and took her to a deserted place and raped her,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Romil Baaniya said.

The girl’s father, a resident of Navjeevan Camp in Govind Puri area, had lodged a missing complaint with the police on March 13 night.

The police formed multiple teams to crack the case and detained over 100 ‘Gramin Seva’ TSR service drivers and factory workers from the area, he said.

Mantram told the police he had smeared his face and clothes with colour to hide his identity. A case under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act has been registered against him. (IANS)

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Hindus welcome Pennsylvania State Holi celebrations with an Elephant present

Girls playing Holi (representational Image): Pixabay

New Delhi, April 4, 2017: Hindus welcomed Pennsylvania State University (Penn State, PSU), a major public research-intensive university, for celebrating with gusto the Hindu “festival of color”, in University Park campus on March 25, with an elephant present.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu activist said in a statement in Nevada today, elucidating PSU celebrating Holi as a step in the positive direction, urged all US public-private universities/colleges to sponsor Holi festivals on campuses, mentioned Merinews report.
Zed has pinpointed that substantial number of Hindu students at university/college campuses around the country would become a positive thing due to their presence, as it was vital to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.
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Rajan Zed also welcomed the presence of elephant at the celebrations as elephants had played a vital role in Hindu religious ceremonies. Elephant-headed Lord Ganesha is worshipped in Hinduism as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and was invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Elephant Airavata emanated from Churning of the Ocean (samudra-manthana). There were ancient manuals written on the elephant, like Hastyayurveda and Matanga-lila. Moreover, Hindus traditionally loved, respected, cared for and looked after the welfare of the elephants and other animals.

Zed appreciated efforts of Penn State South Asian Student Association (SASA) and the campus for keeping the religion-culture of Hindu community alive in Penn State by organizing such celebrations; and extended gratitude to PSU President Dr. Eric J. Barron and PSU Trustees Chairman Ira M. Lubert for university support to Holi festival.

Rajan Zed further stated that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Many US higher education institutions—Georgia Southern University, Missouri State University, Penn State Harrisburg, University of Texas at Austin, Colorado State University Pueblo, University of New Orleans, International American University, etc.—already had Holi celebrations; while many—University of Arkansas, Wagner College, Oakland University, etc.—are planning to host the celebrations in the near future.

Awareness about other religions is proliferating by organizing festivals like Diwali and Holi on the university-college campuses would help make nation’s students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow; Zed indicated.

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Joie de vivre festival of Holi welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. Besides color play, ceremonies also include the lighting of the bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna; and celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Lord Shiva. Holi fell on March 13 this year.

Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers, with moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

SASA’s “Holi 2017” announcement, scheduled from 11 am to four pm in HUB lawn of the Penn State campus and where the colors were provided, included live DJ and performances by dance teams—Penn State Sher Bhangra, Penn State Ghaamudyaz, Penn State JaDhoom, R.A.M. Squad; and cultural booths. This was reportedly the first time for an elephant to be present at the Holi celebrations, which were touted as “a great celebration full of friends, colors, music, and of course an ELEPHANT!!!” SASA was reportedly created in 1960 “to promote South Asian culture”.

PSU was founded in 1855 and is claimed to be ranked as one of the world’s top universities, has 24 campuses with around 100,000 students. It offers about 410 doctorate, graduate, baccalaureate, associate and professional degrees.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse