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Hindu American Foundation Celebrates Hindu Heritage by Commemorating Awareness and Appreciation Month

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Hindu American Foundation
The essence of bhakti is devotion to a personal form of the Divine. HAF

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a non-profit advocacy organization for the Hindu American community is celebrating October as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation month.

Hindu American Foundation has been officially recognized by the state of California. But you don’t have to live in California to celebrate our heritage!

Join us this year in using this unique opportunity to educate others about Hindu teachings and traditions, including the true meaning of yoga in order to ensure the well-being of for all people around the world.

Hindu Awareness & Appreciation Month:

  • Recognizes contributions of Hindu culture and spirituality to American life.
  • Allows our children to feel proud of their Hindu identity as Americans.
  • Allows the broader American society to understand and appreciate Hindu Americans and Hindu traditions.
  • Promotes diversity and pluralism

When most people say they do yoga, what they’re really talking about is asana. But is just one of the eight limbs of yoga as explained by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra. Of course, Yoga is so much more, and no one knows this better than Hindus around the world.

For Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month, HAF invites you to participate in all four paths of yoga to share the broader meaning of yoga and demonstrate the power yoga has to ensure the wellbeing of all people and the planet.

For each of these, please share what you’re doing on social media, using the hashtags #HinduAmericans, #HAAAM, #karmayoga, #bhaktiyoga, #rajayoga, #jnanayoga, #yogabeyondasana, and be sure to tag HAF @HinduAmerican

Yoga is so much more, and no one knows this better than Hindus around the world. HAF

10/1-10/8: Bhakti Yoga

The path of love: The essence of bhakti is devotion to a personal form of the Divine. It opens up opportunities for every individual to develop a love for the Divine, and ultimately recognize the Divine in everything and everyone. This week practice bhakti yoga by:

  • Learning to sing a new bhajan or committing to singing a favorite every day this week with your family.
  • Visiting your local temple and reading a story about a presiding deity or the story of great devotees such as Prahlad, Akka Mahadevi, or Meerabai as a family.
  • Volunteering at or donating to a local animal shelter recognizing that all of Creation shares the same divine spark and is thus deserving of love and dignity

10/9-10/15: Karma Yoga

The path of work: Performing selfless service, doing work without expectation of reward and holding the Divine in your mind and heart, is the essence of karma yoga. This week practice karma yoga by:

  • Cleaning up trash at a local park, playground, or beach.
  • Participating in food distribution for the needy or donating to a food bank in your community.
  • Running an errand or making a meal for someone who’s elderly or not in the best of health or at the hospital.

10/16-10/22: Jnana Yoga

The path of knowledge: In jnana yoga ‘knowledge’ isn’t intellectual knowledge or accumulation of facts, but rather knowing the Divine, distinguishing between what is transitory and what is permanent in existence, and ultimately seeing the sameness or shared essence between our individuals selves and the Divine. This week practice jnana yoga by:

  • Reading and discussing as a family the practical applications of teachings of Chapters 2 and 3 of the Gita.
  • Volunteering to teach about Diwali in your child’s school.
  • Visiting HAF’s Hinduism 101: Learning About Hinduism Inside and Out and reviewing 2 or 3 modules of your choice and discussing them with your school-aged children to better equip them to respond to errors in their school textbooks

10/23-10/31: Raja Yoga

The path of meditation: Here is where ‘yoga’ as the word is most commonly used resides. Remember that raja yoga uses the physical to transcend the physical. Asana, or poses, are an important part of the path, not the ultimate goal of yoga, which is samadhi, or union with the Divine. This week practice raja yoga by:

  • Commit to starting your day with five Surya namaskar and observe the effect on your breathing, posture, stamina, and ability to manage stress.
  • Practicing the yama of ahimsa by going vegetarian for the week. If you already follow a vegetarian diet, consider ahimsa of thought by becoming mindful of how you react and respond to daily stressors such as aggressive drivers, a pushy colleague, or the demands of family members.
  • Learning pranayama or committing to doing pranayama for at least 5 minutes every day this week and observing the effects on your stress level or stamina.

Please share this with you family and in your network, directing them to the HAF site: October is Hindu American Appreciation and Awareness Month. (HAF)

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Abducted and Converted : 20 Year Old Hindu Girl Arti Kumari Sharma Falls Victim to Jihadis in Sindh, Pakistan

Arti’s case is not the first of its kind. Hundreds of Hindu girls are being kidnapped, raped and converted every month

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Hundreds of Hindu and Christian girls and women are kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam annually. (representative image) Pixabay

Washington, DC, September 12, 2017 — The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has called for the immediate release of Arti Kumari Sharma, a 20 year-old Hindu woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint this past Saturday near her home in Khairpur District in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province.

Arti’s uncle, Kishwar Sharma, a Houston resident and native of Pakistan, recently escaped religious persecution in Pakistan to immigrate to the US.

“I am deeply distraught to find out my niece was kidnapped at gunpoint near her house,” said Sharma. “Arti is engaged to be married in November and is the second girl to be kidnapped in my family.”

Arti, a teacher at Qasim Model School, was abducted on her way home by a Muslim landlord, Ammer Wassan, taken to a local mosque where she was forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will to a man named Amir Bux. She was also reportedly coerced into signing an affidavit claiming that she married Bux and converted out of her own free will.

Despite her family filing a First Information Report with local police, Arti has not been allowed to return home and will be brought before the Sindh High Court on September 12.

Arti Kumari
Arti Kumari Sharma. Twiter

“Arti’s basic civil rights and freedom have been flagrantly violated, in contradiction of Pakistani law and international human rights law,” said Rishi Bhutada, HAF Board Member and Houston resident. “We urge the Sindh High Court to order the immediate release and safe return of Arti to her family.”

Many NGOs and human rights groups, including Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, have estimated that more than 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls and women are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam annually. The courts and legal system in Pakistan are often complicit in sanctioning this practice by accepting false documents and statements obtained through force, threats, or coercion.

The Foundation has extensively documented this trend and other human rights violations against Pakistani Hindus in its annual human rights report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights, 2017.

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Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Releases Online Forms for Second Bullying Survey of Hindu American Youth

In this first edition, it was unfortunate to find out that half of the respondents to the survey felt socially outcasted because of their religious background

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Hindu American Youth
Hindu American Foundation. Facebook
  • The Hindu American Foundation from the US aims to inform the society about Hinduism
  • The Foundation is responsible for various research and reports on Hindus all over the world
  • The website of the foundation has released forms for further survey of bullying of Hindu American Youth

New Delhi, August 18, 2017:  nonprofit organization for Hindu community in America, Hindu American Foundation (HAF) works for the well-being of Hindus and spread the Hindu philosophy.

Earlier this year, the Hindu American Foundation had published a report titled ‘Hindus in South Asia and Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2017’. The report was an extensive research work that enlisted the numerous incidents of Human Rights violations against Hindus in various countries.

Also Read: 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF): Here is What you Need to Know!

Now the HAF is coming out with its second survey of Hindu American youth being bullied in American schools. To reach out to the masses and get the widest survey outreach, their website has released a form. The responses from these forms will be compiled and reported. The second survey will be published next year.

The deadline for the form is until 1st December 2017. The form can be accessed here.

Last year the foundation came out with its first survey report of Hindu American youth being bullied. The survey was titled ‘Classroom Subjected: Bullying and Bias against Hindu Students in American Schools’ which had concluded that Hindu American students continue to be bullied and feel socially ostracized for their religious beliefs.”

In this first edition, it was unfortunate to find out that half of the respondents to the survey felt socially outcasted because of their religious background.

But the report’s objectives were successful. It was a recommended resource at the state as well as federal level.

Bullying is one of the biggest social evils that face our society. With this survey, HAF aims to highlight and combat bullying of the minority on the basis of their religion.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) : Here is What you Need to Know!

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Hindu Human Rights Report
Hindu people. Wikimedia
  • The Hindu American Foundation has launched its 2017 edition of “Hindus in South Asia & The Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights” also known as the Hindu Human Rights Report
  • The Hindu American Foundation launched its first report in 2004 
  • It aims to highlight Human Rights violations against Hindu Diaspora in South Asia

June 20, 2017:

The Background

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on Monday, 19th June 2017, launched their 2017 edition of “Hindus in South Asia & The Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights” Report, also known as the Hindu Human Rights Report.

HAF is an advocacy organization that educated the public on Hinduism and the issues that affect Hindus worldwide. Since 2004, the HAF has published Reports on Hindu Human Rights. It seeks to highlight the threats that Hindus face in South Asia.

The research that goes into these reports is extensive. Allied organizations such as Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD), Bangladesh Minority Watch (BMW), the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), Malaysian Hindu Foundation (MHF) and Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), among many others provide the necessary information that is thus revealed in the reports.

The 2017 Report

The report observes Human Rights of Hindus violated across 9 countries and 1 Indian state where Hindus are in Minority. These are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, and finally the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Out of these, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Bangladesh, and Malaysia are branded as “Egregious Violators” as they have constantly allowed the Human Rights violations of Hindus. Interestingly, the HAF had also recognized these same states as Egregious Violators in its 2016 report.

Afghanistan: Afghanistant faces numerous security threats and instability. The presence of Taliban and ISIS has officially led to the crisis of the country with the ongoing violence and Human Rights Violation. In a country where Islam is the dominant religion at 99.7%, the situation for the minorities in the country is apalling. The HAF 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report states the plight of minority groups. According to the report, “Hindus and Sikhs lack cremation rights and are often attacked and humiliated while trying to cremate their dead.”

The reports further add how Hindu and Sikh children in particular are faced by bullies and harassed for their religious beliefs. The parents live in constant fear that their daughters might be abducted and married off to a Muslim. Sikh and Hindus also face unemployment, particularly in the government sector.

Such conditions have drastically reduced the Hindu and Sikh population in Afghanistan. HAF estimates only 200 families remaining, as compared to 200,000 in 1970s.

Hindu Human rights report
Terror in Afghanistan has created insecurity especially for the minority groups. Wikimedia

Bangladesh: The report observes a significant increase in religiously motivated violence over the past few years. On Diwali day, 15 temples were reportedly ransacked. “The beheadings of Hindu priests and secular bloggers, abductions and conversions of Hindu girls, and forced occupation of minority owned lands also continued throughout the year unabated.” said the report.

The rise of Islamist terror groups has also worsened the situation. Extremist groups such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), al-Qaeda in the India subcontinent (AQIS), ISIS, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have created an atmosphere of instability and insecurity.

In an incident that was shameful to say the least, Islamist militants took hostages in a bakery. They asked the hostages to recite versions of the Koran and those that did not or could not were shot dead. 20 people were killed a a result of that.

The political elites of the country have been absolutely ignorant of the problem. The Awami League (AL) has not voiced any sympathy or answers to the problem. Rather, bloggers and journalists have been supressed.

The discrimination can be seen in the political representation as well. Religious minorities are underrepresentated. The Rapid Action Battallion (RAB) and other Bangladeshi forces are also accused of Human Right violations. “Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture of prisoners” is a frequent against the minorities.

The Hindu and Buddhists are thus distancing themselves from Bangladesh. Hindu population has declines from 31% to less than 10%.

Hindu Human Rights Report
Many Indians work in Bangladesh. Wikimedia

Pakistan: We have read about numerous cases of discrimination, assault and harassment against Hindus in Pakistan. The situation in 2016 was just as severe. The report states “Human rights and religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate at an unprecedented rate in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2016. Pakistan’s widespread violation of human rights and its toler- ance of human rights violations by non-state actors demonstrate a blatant disregard for international human rights norms and its obligations under human rights treaties and conventions.”

Forcer conversions of Hindu (or christianity) to Islam has continued in 2016. HAF estimate 1000 people abducted and converted last year. The abductions is even more brutal to the women who are married off to Muslims, raped or “sold”.

The report also notes the “depiction of non muslims in textbooks.” Children are often taught to reject pluralism. Hindus are also used in the insensitive bonded labor system. While the reports acknowledge Pakistan’s decision to pass Hindu Marriage Bill in March 2017 as a “positive step”, the militant problem remains unsolved.

The report also mentions the 1000 bodies of Baloch activists recovered in Balochistan province since past 6 years, highlighting the abuse of power and weapons by authorities and security forces.

Hindu Human Rights Report
The Pakistan Army controls the country. Wikimedia

Malaysia: Hindus continued to face economic marginalization due to the Bumiputra policy which favors the majority muslims. Malaysia’s constitution itself gives preference to Muslim majority. Furthermore, Islam is the official state religion of the country. Hindu temples have been demolished and Hindus have been forced to relocate in 2016. The Shariat law has been imposed on Hindus and other minority groups.

ISIS has also been able to garner support of the muslim majority in Malaysia. Minority groups have been suppressed. The LGBT activists have been abused by the men in power.

Hindu Human Rights Report
The Malaysian Army. Wikimedia

The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir: Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir has seen escalating violence and conflict, especially since the death of Burhan Wahi (commander of Hizbul Mujahideen). Kashmiri Pandits have been the target in this political unrest. We know of the incidents in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, but even in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, human rights violations have given rise to Kashmiri Pandit activists. The tense situation has prompted a remark from US State Department which raised concerns over the issue.

The reports also note how ISI and Pakistan sponsor terrorism and fuel violence. Hindus have sought refuge in other parts of the country where social and economic conditions for them are deplorable.

Hindu Human Rights report
Stone Pelters in Kashmir. VOA

These were the Egrogious States. Five more nations commit human rights violations against Hindus. The HAF explores these violations and addresses them extensively. It ennumerates various policy reforms that can further the objective of co-existence. The full report can be found on the HAF website. The 2017 report has dsicussed crucial topics such as refugee problem, growing islamist terror, discrimination in political and economic sphere, religion hate crimes and violence against women.

It becomes important to address these issues especially since Hinduism is about pluralism and dignity.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394