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Georgetown University in US appoints a Hindu Priest as First Director for Department of Hindu Life

Brahmachari Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003

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  • Brahmachari Sharan was earlier an honorary Hindu Chaplain at University of Edinburgh since 2010
  • Mr. Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003
  • In November 2015, Pratima Sharam was appointed as the first Hindu chaplain who resigned after three months of service

August 10, 2016: A Hindu Indian has been appointed as the first director at Georgetown University in USA, for the department of Hindu Life. Due to an increasing number of Hindu students in the university, Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan has also been given the recognition of the first Hindu Chaplain of the United States.

Brahmachari Sharan was earlier an honorary Hindu Chaplain at the University of Edinburgh, since 2010. He will now serve as chaplain-in-residence at Georgetown’s, also as a priest in residence to students from New South Hall, reported ndtv.com. The university, established in 1789, is open to all students regardless of their caste and creed.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan as Georgetown’s first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States,” Rev Howard Gray, Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry at the university said to ndtv.com.

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Georgetown University Logo. Image source: www.georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Logo. Image source: www.georgetown.edu

Brahmachari Sharan was appointed by the University because of his bond with the students on the basis of religious vibrancy, keeping in mind that there are around 400 Hindu students and professors in the university.

Mr. Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003. He has also acquired official training for rituals at Vishwanath Sanyaas Ashram (in Varanasi and Delhi, India). A doctorate holder in Sanskrit himself, Sharan taught the subject of Asian Religions at Wales’ Cardiff University. Besides that, he has also served as a senior teacher at the University of London.

According to the ndtv.com reports, Georgetown University has also had a Hindu chaplain in the past. In November 2015, Pratima Sharam was appointed as the first Hindu chaplain who resigned after three months of service. “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan as Georgetown’s first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States,” said Rev Howard Gray, Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry at the university.

“I look forward to meeting each one of you wonderful, dynamic students when you return. In the meantime feel free to message me with any questions, or just say hi! If you’re already on campus,” said Sharan while addressing his students.

– prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Georgetown University’s decision to appoint Brahmachari Sharan as the director for the Department on Hindu life is an honour, that no international university has ever given to a hindu scholar.

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

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Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

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The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)