Thursday January 18, 2018

Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield plans $2.7 million project for its expansion in Illinois, USA

17 murtis or idols of deities like Mahlakshmi, Venkateswara, Radha-Krishna, Rama-pariwar and Shiva-lingam, each costing $100,000 will be brought from India

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The Hindu Temple Of Greater Springfield Image Source: allhindutemples.com
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  • HTGS is a non-profit organization established in 2007 which aims “to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, culture, and philosophy”, to open and conduct worship daily
  • The entire complex will be built based on the traditional Indian Vastu Shasta principles
  • A new prayer hall with a basement that could provide space for cultural events has been planned

The Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield (HTGS) in Chatham (Illinois, USA) has reportedly planned $2.7 million expansion project. The announcement has come during the four-day celebration of the eighth anniversary of HGTS, from August 4- 8 August, this year in 2016.

HTGS is a non-profit organization established in 2007 which aims “to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, culture, and philosophy”, to open and conduct worship daily. Various study circles, religious education classes, discourses, celebrations of festivals, religious activities, community service projects, and cultural events are also undertaken by this organization.

According to merinews.com, the northwest of the temple structure was earlier a Baptist Church, that will be rebuilt. A new prayer hall with a basement could provide space for cultural events. The entire complex will be built based on the traditional Indian Vastu Shasta principles. An architect from India will be brought in to assist the project. 17 murtis or idols of deities like Mahalakshmi, Venkateswara, Radha-Krishna, Rama-Pariwar and Shiva-lingam, each costing $100,000 will be brought from India.

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Image Source: HGTS
Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield Anniversary Celebrations. Image Source: HGTS

The salient features of the newly proposed plan are Raja Gopuram, individual deity gopurams with kalashas which will cost about $300,000, a Havan room, an immersion pond with the fountain which is expected to cost about $100,000), and an Utsav Pallaki.

The 60th/80th birthday, which is celebrated in a grand manner in India costs $251 at the temple. The child-naming ceremony costs $51, mundan (tonsure) ceremony costs $31 and vehicle pooja costs $25. The important dignitaries are Keshava Shastry, who is the Priest, Dr. Kartik

The important dignitaries are Keshava Shastry, who is the Priest, Dr. Kartik Mani and Gopal Reddy, who are the Trustees’ Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively; Dr. Krishna Rao and Shipra Somani are Executive Committee President and Vice-President respectively.

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The eighth-anniversary celebrations will last for four full days and will be free and open to the public. The celebrations will conclude on August seven and will include performing various rituals like kalasha sthapana, archanas, bhajans, Srinivasa Kalyana Utsavam, arathis, abhishekams, discourse, homam/ havan, kanakabhishekam and many cultural programs and a vegetarian food mela, said merinews.com reports.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism and a distinguished Hindu statesman appreciated the temple leaders and the Hindu community for realizing this Hindu temple complex. In a statement in Nevada, he said that it was important to pass on spirituality, the ideals and traditions of Hinduism to the coming generations in a time when the community has become materialistic. He hopes that this temple would help in this direction.

Zed also stressed on the need to reflect upon one’s actions and realize the true power of the Self and work towards achieving the ultimate goal of human life, that is Moksha (Liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.)

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • AJ Krish

    It is great that the Hindus abroad continue their rich tradition. Wherever they are, they continue to follow the Hindu dharma.

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Triple Talaq: Are the concerns and efforts real?

It cannot be deied that BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see it as Modi's distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and as a message to Muslims that the days when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments are now gone.

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Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
  • Triple Talaq has been seen as way of BJP gaining popularity among Muslims, and not as a real concern for the distressed women of the community.
  • BJP leaders are often accused of Anti-Muslim statements, which further proves the point.
  • However, if the law is passed, it will be a step towards empowerment of the Muslim women.

Only the naive will believe that deep concern for the welfare of Muslim “sisters” and for the maintenance of the “dignity of women” and “gender equality” persuaded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to introduce the bill in parliament to ban the practice of triple talaq.

For a party whose founder in its previous incarnation, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, thought that only a civil war can solve the Hindu-Muslim problem, as Tripura’s Governor, Tathagata Roy of the BJP, reminded us recently, and a BJP candidate in the Gujarat elections sought a reduction in the numbers of “topi and dadhiwalas” (sartorial allusion to Muslims), it strains credulity to believe that it has been guided solely by laudable motives to put an end to an admittedly reprehensible custom.

The belief will persist, therefore, that it is a desire to “garner votes” which is behind the decision, notwithstanding Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad’s disavowal of such an intention.

Few will deny, of course, that the practice itself is highly condemnable, not least because it is illegal even in Islamic countries. For a secular country, therefore, to allow it to prevail will point to a flawed outlook whose roots lie deep in the political calculations.

It cannot be gainsaid that the BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see the proposed law, first, as an example of “brother” Modi’s distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and, secondly, as a message to Muslims in general that the days are gone when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments.

The “secular” rulers of the past, on the other hand, also thought that they will gain votes by pandering to the predilections of the obscurantists among the minorities.

The worst example of this regressive attitude was the Shah Bano episode, when the Rajiv Gandhi government negated a Supreme Court verdict in favour of alimony for a divorced Muslim woman on the advice of Muslim fundamentalists.

Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common
Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common

The BJP’s rise from the sidelines of politics to the mainstream, can be traced through that event in the mid-1980s. The Congress will have to tread carefully in deciding on its stance on the bill which has followed the Supreme Court’s recent declaration of triple talaq as unconstitutional in a case involving the litigant, Shayara Bano.

The difficulty for the Congress is that it has given secularism a bad name by making the concept virtually synonymous with minority appeasement. While the BJP will not mind being closely associated with Hinduism, the Congress has been trying to shed the impression that it has become “mussalmanon ki party” or a party of Muslims, as the Congress leader, Ashok Gehlot, has said, ever since the 2014 defeat made him aware of this unwelcome image, as the A.K. Antony report pointed out.

The triple talaq bill gives it an opportunity to refurbish its reputation by articulating a rational position on drafting the law, aiming at protecting Muslim women from cruel and whimsical divorces and at the same time ensuring that the legislation does not lead to a police witch-hunt targeting men. Since the bill has to still pass through the Rajya Sabha, Parliament’s upper house, there is ample scope for fine-tuning it for smoothing out the rough edges, the most egregious of which is to introduce an element of criminality in a civil legal procedure.

If the Congress and other “secular” parties play a leading role in ensuring that the new law will unequivocally serve the ends of justice where no one — neither the women, nor the men, nor the children of divorced parents — will suffer, then these parties will be able to retrieve much of their lost reputation about cynical kowtowing to bigots in the Muslim community and reassure the country in general that politics can rise above partisan and opportunistic considerations.

From this standpoint, the bill provides a golden opportunity to the secular outfits even if the BJP runs away with much of the credit for introducing it.

Outside of politics, what is noteworthy is the failure of the Muslims to deal with the problem on their own. But ever since partition robbed the community of bold, educated leaders and self-confidence by inducing the minority complex of being forever under siege under the numerically superior Hindus — unlike other minorities like Sikhs and Parsis who have retained their poise and self-belief — the Muslims have come under the retrogressive influence of the mullahs with the result that they have remained stuck in the past.

Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.
Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.

Triple talaq is one manifestation of such backwardness along with polygamy and the veiling of women as they reinforce the age-old patriarchal norms. Only a small section of upper middle class women — film stars and sports personnel being prominent among them — has been able to extricate themselves from the grasp of medievalism and enter the modern world. But the majority of the poor and lower middle class women have been denied the opportunity of advancement by orthodox Muslim society. The new law offers them a ray of hope. IANS Live