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Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America: The first annual Hindu Heritage Day celebrated in New Jersey

The HHD was successful in providing a platform for the Hindu-American population to reconnect with their land and culture

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Image Source : Facebook
  • The first annual “Hindu Heritage Day” by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America-Ney Jersey, was celebrated on July 9
  • The main highlight of the event was the cultural program in which over 250 students performed in events like classical music and dance
  • A Sanskrit play – “Utthishthata, Jagrata” was also performed on stage

The first annual “Hindu Heritage Day” by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America-New Jersey, was celebrated on July 9 at North Brunswick High School, 98 Raider Road, North Brunswick. It was a grand success with more than 900 attendees, including children of all races and religions.

The VHPA is an independent, non-profit and volunteer-based charitable (socio-cultural- spiritual) organization serving the needs of Hindu community in US with an aim to create a dynamic, vibrant Hindu society inspired by the eternal values of Sanatana Dharma, and the lofty ideals of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam, meaning “the entire creation is one family.”

With an aim to promote, support and celebrate Santana Dharma and the values and traditions of the rich Hindu heritage, several events were held simultaneously over eight hours for people of all ages. About 11 non-profit organisations and many local food and clothing vendors also participated.

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The main highlight of the event was the cultural program in which over 250 students performed in events like classical music, dance, poem recitation and chanting the traditional hymns. A Sanskrit play – “Utthishthata, Jagrata” was also performed on stage. A discourse on stress relief was given by Swami Adhyatamananda. Messages or quotes were cited from Hindu literature to broaden the understanding on several universal topics.

Several activities like face painting kite flying, field games like kho-kho, rangoli and henna competitions were held for the kids and ladies while the elderly enjoyed the Kavi Sammelan and the thought-provoking plays. The Hindu Heritage Day (HHD) thus exhibited the vibrant, artistic and spiritual heritage of India.

A play in simple Sanskrit! - "Utthishthata, Jagrata". Image Source : Facebook
A play in simple Sanskrit! – “Utthishthata, Jagrata”. Image Source : Facebook

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“VHPA wants to engage second-generation youth and their families to connect with their heritage, and also give them a platform to exhibit their talent and skills,” said Brahm Sharma, president of the N.J. Chapter, reports newsindiatimes.com.

Arun Joshi, one of the main organizers of the event, said that by making HHD an annual event, an effort is being made to help the public understand Hindu values and different aspects of the Indian tradition.

The HHD was successful in providing a platform for the Hindu-American population to reconnect with their land and culture and cultivate an interest in the Hindu heritage and values among the children.

The organizers are planning to include a diverse crowd like those who are unfamiliar with Hinduism or who want to learn about it to the event from next year.

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

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Deepika Requests Smriti Irani To Take Action Following Padmavati Rangoli Vandalism

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Padmavati
Deepika tweeted with a photograph featuring the simple logo Source: Twitter

New Delhi, October 20: Deepika Padukone has requested the Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to take action against culprits who destroyed a rangoli featuring her as Rani Padmini of her upcoming film Padmavati.

One member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and four members of Rajput Karni Sena were arrested for vandalizing the rangoli prepared by a local artist at the Rahul Raj Mall on past Sunday. The artist took 48 hours to make the rangoli and posted a picture of it on Twitter. Police arrested the perpetrators on the basis of a video footage displaying men shouting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ as they destroyed the rangoli.

Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma requested mall owners to come forward and file a case against those who do such wrongdoings. “We have arrested five persons, four of them belonging to outfit Karni Sena and one from the VHP. More persons are likely to be arrested as the video footage recovered by us shows 8-10 persons involved in the activity,” Sharma said.

“I also want to make it clear that the police will deal with strictness against any such action. Freedom of expression is everyone’s right in a democracy, but vandalism will not be allowed,” he said.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati has been facing a lot of hostility since its inception. Bhansali was attacked last year by members of Karni Sena who claim that history is being distorted in Bhansali’s film. The same group burnt posters last month featuring Deepika, Shahid, and Ranveer. They have also warned to thwart the screening of the film if facts were twisted. The movie is scheduled to release on December 1, 2017.

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism
Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ramayana
Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.