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Guyana: New Hindu Sabha launched, aims to promote social cohesion

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Guyana: A new Hindu Sabha named as Guyana Viraat Sabha was launched on Saturday. It promises to promote and foster social cohesion. The organisation had gained prominence last year.

A few hundred people attended the launching ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. Students of Valmiki Vidyalaya Primary school chanted to commence the ceremony. Well Known Kathak dancer Kiran Mattai gave a skilful performance after that.

The Sabha had established itself with the first national Pitri Pasksh programme at the Lusignan Tarmac in 2008. However, last year when it differed with Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha over the date of Diwali and supported Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.

Guyana Viraat Sabha is made of some of the biggest Hindu leaders of the country and many of those were part of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha in past. Guyana Pandits Council also supports this Sabha.

Rabindranauth Persaud, President, said that they feel committed to provide a better link between two kinds of people. One, who had selflessly sacrificed their lives for a better Guyana and other who are prepared to pool their energies and other resources in a bid to achieve a better environment for all.

He further added that”The Viraat Sabhaa is convinced that man, being gregarious, cannot exist without a philosophy. As such, spiritual education is placed at the pinnacle of the Sabhaa’s objectives. The Sabhaa is convinced that spirituality and divinity (are) the only way to unlock the gateway to civility and (create) a more cultured society. Godlessness nurtures negative propensities and vices which are adverse to human civilisation.”

He mentioned that Sabha already has already an impact on Hindu population of the country with its national network.

Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally, highlighted the role of the organization in extending its services to people in a non-discriminatory way. She focused to publicly recognize the rapidly growing network of the Sabhaa, which has the initiative in various aspects of human and social development.

She said that motto of the organisation proves the point of the Guyana’s motto. The Universe is One Family, she said this is a reminder of the deep concern to create a society where everyone will exist together.

The minister added that Sabha supports Government’s efforts to promote social cohesion and it is setting up a stage for the untroubled implementation of this program. Showed happiness over the fact that Government and Sabha are associated.

“We are concerned about people. We want every Guyanese to experience the good life, and so you [Sabhaa] have extended the right hand of friendship to Government for collaboration and partnership. And we, likewise, extend our hand to you for partnership, since there is commonality,” Minister Ally stated.

She also mentioned that there is a critical role for religion in the human and social development and nation building. Both Sabha and the government realise this point. She offered other groups to participate more like Sabha.

“Through this Government, political will is guaranteed for social cohesion, but we cannot do it alone. It is when groups like yours approach us (that) we are encouraged and recognize that here is another group that has caught a vision for the need to collaborate,” the Minister said.

She noted the need for the collaboration. She said the there is a distinct advantage with religious communities over other groups seeking to promote the social cohesion.

She said such groups are able to reach large numbers at one time as they are able to more frequent interaction with people than the other groups. She also said time must not be wasted remembering the past and everyone should be moving forward and building a unified nation to coexist.

“We have to stop referring to people as ‘dem black people’, ‘da coolie man’ and ‘dem buck man’. It is disrespectful. Our children are being socialized with this same culture, and it is unhelpful,” Minister Ally said passionately.(Source-GuyanaChronicle.com)

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  • Rajesh Geer

    Spritual education is the highest education that one can render .however this can only come from an enlightened master . from time to time enlightened masters are born in Hinduism .

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Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

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Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.