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Find out how Arya Samaj is playing a crucial role in educating children in Fiji!

Since its establishment, Arya Samaj in Fiji has focused on education largely and currently owns and manages many schools and institutions in the country

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(Aum) The symbol of Arya Samaj via Wikipedia.org
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  • The Arya Samaj in Fiji was established on 25th December 1904 at Samabula
  • Based on the fundamental principles of Dharma or True Religion, it teaches love, justice and righteousness towards all, irrespective of race, caste or creed
  • Vishnu Deo was the first leader and the only Hindi language newspaper in Fiji, Fiji Samachar

August 17, 2016: Arya Samaj is a Hindu faction that promotes values and practices based on the Hindu text Vedas, which started as a reformist movement by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in the 19th century. Arya Samaj simply renounces all rituals and beliefs which are commonly associated with Hindus except those originating from the Vedas. It was the movement had that removed almost all concepts introduced after the Vedas in Hinduism.

The vision of Arya Samaj in Fiji is to evolve and educate-

“A Society where everyone is literate and conforms to acceptable moral, spiritual, cultural and social values”

Arya samaj in Fiji was established by a handful of followers who had little knowledge of the work of Mahrishi Dayanand. It was Dayanand, who was the founder of the Arya Samaj Movement in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 10 April 1875. Although the influence of Arya Samaj gradually became weaker among Indians in Fiji, as other organizations were established; but it remained a dominant force in politics until 1959. To the present day, Arya Samaj in Fiji speaks out on the issues affecting its members and its work, which is visible through the various educational institutions it manages today.

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Arya Samaj in Fiji was born out of the desire by the Girmitiyas meaning the descendants of Fiji Indians, to sustain the religious, cultural and social inheritance and provide a platform for the upliftment of their living standards. The inspiration to the members who established Arya Samaj in Fiji was derived from the Satyarth Prakash, written by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati himself in 1875. It can be dated back to 1893 when the learning centers were established by a small group of people who had organized themselves into sects. With the arrival of Shiu Datt Sharma in 1902, a temple was established in Samabul, which also acted as a school attended by many.

Today Arya Samaj is all over Fiji and since 1904, it has contributed significantly to the struggles of the Girmitiyas, their needs, and demands. Believing in promoting knowledge through education, the Arya Samaj in Fiji under the auspices of the National organization Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, established many schools to educate children. Prior to this several informal centers of learning were in operation by the Samajs and individual members that can be dated back to 1893.

From 1926 to 1929 under the auspices of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, some 100 Fiji-born Indian boys and girls were sent to India to study at various Arya Samaj institutions. At the end of its first century of existence, the Arya Samaj Movement in Fiji proudly owns many educational institutions.

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Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj
Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj

MANAGEMENT
The affairs of individual Samajs or sects are managed by the officials through elections conducted every March of a year, by their respective members, under the provisions of Local Samaj Constitution provided by the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. The affairs of the National Body, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, however, is managed by an Executive Committee consisting of 13 Office Bearers and 35 representatives from affiliated sections, who are elected at the Annual general meeting (AGM) every June. Other functions of the administrative wing of Sabha are vested in the various sub-committees and Boards of School Committees by appointment of the National Executive at the post-Convention (AGM) Executive meeting. The Arya Mahila Mandals and Arya Yuva Dals are an integral part of the Samajs and are very active at Samaj and National level.

The Sabha’s Headquarters is situated at its property at Samabula, Suva.

To conclude, Arya Samaj has specifically aimed at its educational activities and worked for the education of many children in Fiji, built many educational institutions as well. As Indo-Fijians have migrated overseas, they have taken their religion and culture with them. Consequently, Arya Samajs have been established and spread in many countries by former Indo-Fijians.

prepared by Yajush Gupta , twitter: @yajush_gupta

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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