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Hindus welcome Pennsylvania State Holi celebrations with an Elephant present

Girls playing Holi (representational Image): Pixabay

New Delhi, April 4, 2017: Hindus welcomed Pennsylvania State University (Penn State, PSU), a major public research-intensive university, for celebrating with gusto the Hindu “festival of color”, in University Park campus on March 25, with an elephant present.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu activist said in a statement in Nevada today, elucidating PSU celebrating Holi as a step in the positive direction, urged all US public-private universities/colleges to sponsor Holi festivals on campuses, mentioned Merinews report.
Zed has pinpointed that substantial number of Hindu students at university/college campuses around the country would become a positive thing due to their presence, as it was vital to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.
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Rajan Zed also welcomed the presence of elephant at the celebrations as elephants had played a vital role in Hindu religious ceremonies. Elephant-headed Lord Ganesha is worshipped in Hinduism as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and was invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Elephant Airavata emanated from Churning of the Ocean (samudra-manthana). There were ancient manuals written on the elephant, like Hastyayurveda and Matanga-lila. Moreover, Hindus traditionally loved, respected, cared for and looked after the welfare of the elephants and other animals.

Zed appreciated efforts of Penn State South Asian Student Association (SASA) and the campus for keeping the religion-culture of Hindu community alive in Penn State by organizing such celebrations; and extended gratitude to PSU President Dr. Eric J. Barron and PSU Trustees Chairman Ira M. Lubert for university support to Holi festival.

Rajan Zed further stated that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Many US higher education institutions—Georgia Southern University, Missouri State University, Penn State Harrisburg, University of Texas at Austin, Colorado State University Pueblo, University of New Orleans, International American University, etc.—already had Holi celebrations; while many—University of Arkansas, Wagner College, Oakland University, etc.—are planning to host the celebrations in the near future.

Awareness about other religions is proliferating by organizing festivals like Diwali and Holi on the university-college campuses would help make nation’s students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow; Zed indicated.

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Joie de vivre festival of Holi welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. Besides color play, ceremonies also include the lighting of the bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna; and celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Lord Shiva. Holi fell on March 13 this year.

Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers, with moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

SASA’s “Holi 2017” announcement, scheduled from 11 am to four pm in HUB lawn of the Penn State campus and where the colors were provided, included live DJ and performances by dance teams—Penn State Sher Bhangra, Penn State Ghaamudyaz, Penn State JaDhoom, R.A.M. Squad; and cultural booths. This was reportedly the first time for an elephant to be present at the Holi celebrations, which were touted as “a great celebration full of friends, colors, music, and of course an ELEPHANT!!!” SASA was reportedly created in 1960 “to promote South Asian culture”.

PSU was founded in 1855 and is claimed to be ranked as one of the world’s top universities, has 24 campuses with around 100,000 students. It offers about 410 doctorate, graduate, baccalaureate, associate and professional degrees.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse


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BBC Plans to Showcase Documentaries on Hinduism, will Explore Faith and Ethical Issues

BBC will project Hinduism in these films accurately and which will be based on the ancient Hinduism scriptures and not reimagine Hinduism concepts and traditions to fit its programs

Incense stick in Hinduism. Pixabay

August 08, 2017: A new documentary strand of five films a year will be showcased on BBC One will explore faith and ethical issues in all the major religions in exciting and contemporary new ways, including Hinduism.

Hindus called the step in the positive direction and welcomed BBC for the idea of producing films on Hinduism.

BBC will project Hinduism in these films accurately and it will be based on the ancient Hinduism scriptures and not reimagine Hinduism concepts and traditions to fit its programs.

As per the 2016 report in The Sunday Times, “The BBC is too Christian in its religious output, according to an internal review, and should increase its Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh programming”.

Hinduism, the third largest religion in the world has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksha… Click To Tweet

As per the sources, Hinduism was highly underserved at BBC. Multiculturalism had been growing fast in the UK  because of which it was now a diverse society formed of various religions and denominations and non-believers, however, BBC had not kept pace with it.

It was time for the superfluous religious production at BBC to end, giving way to uniformly distributed time among various religions/denominations/non-believers.

Adequate coverage of Diwali, Holi, Krishna Janmashtami, Maha Shivaratri, Ram Navami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navaratri, Duserra, Hanuman Jayanti, Makar Sankranti, Yugadi and other Hindu festivals, must also be covered by BBC.


Hymns from ancient Sanskrit scriptures, contemporary bhajans, and Hindu lessons should constantly form part of BBC One’s 54 years old “Songs of Praise”, one of the world’s longest-running religious television series.

Hindu hymns, songs, and faith stories were highly stimulating, warm and engaging. Moreover, God liked all songs-of-praise, notwithstanding the religion these came from.

ALSO READ: More Than Just a Sign: Decoding Hinduism With These 5 Major Symbols 

The intervention of The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a must in this multi-faith issue. Its priorities included people, communities, and nations learning to live together with diversity in a spirit of love and respect.

\BBC, whose ‘values’ included “celebrate our diversity” and “great things happen when we work together” and whose ‘purposes’ included “reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities”, should show some development on this issue.

BBC should take religion more seriously, and help us build interconnections and create harmony Click To Tweet

BBC labeled “yoga” as “fad” in 2013 and Hindu festival of Holi as “filthy festival” in 2012 to which it apologized later. BBC has been accused of racism, imperialist stance, Indophobic bias, anti-Hindu bigotry, anti-American bias, etc in the past.

Launched in October 1922, headquartered in London, and established by a Royal Charter, BBC claims to be the “world’s leading public service broadcaster”. Every UK viewer needs to have a TV License, which costs £147.

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A 20 year old Elephant gets blessing at a Kerala Church

An Elephant named Mahadevan was blessed in a Church in Kerala.

Elephant blessed at Kerala Church
An Elephant was blessed at a Kerala Church. Pixabay

August 6, 2017: In a rare happening, a 20-year-old Elephant got “blessed” at a church in Kerala. Speaking to IANS, Fr Thomas Vedikunnel, the parish vicar of the famed St George Foronah Catholic Church at Aruvithura, however, tried to play down the whole episode.

“Yes, an elephant got blessed. It was done by a junior priest attached to this church. Is this news?” asked the parish vicar. He said to use the word baptized is wrong and the correct word is “blessed”.But veteran Kerala politician and seven-time legislator P.C. George, who is a member of this church, told IANS that the blessing took place on Thursday.

“In my Plathottam family, over the years there have been 50 elephants. The one that got blessed on Thursday belonged to my cousin. The elephant’s name is Mahadevan and is around 20 years old.” George said the blessing will not mean changing the elephant’s name, which is a Hindu one. “Please don’t misunderstand that since Mahadevan got blessed, his name is going to be changed. He will not have a Christian name,” said George. (IANS)


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Here is an Elephant inspired by PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan!

The video of an elephant picking up trash and putting it in the bin is a Must-Watch for today

Swachh bharat
The viral video where Elephant is seen cleaning the park. Twitter

July 12, 2017: The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a Government of India initiative to accelerate the efforts of cleanliness and sanitation. The mission was launched on October 2, 2014.

Anybody from India who has traveled abroad to a developed nation knows how dirty the country’s streets were at one point of time and how one idea of making India clean has brought a revolution. Earlier, we have seen viral pictures shared on social media of the political rallies and campaigns which leave behind waste and rubbish on the streets when their work is done.

ALSO WATCH:  The video shared on Twitter shows an elephant cleaning the garbage lying around him at a resort in South Africa.

According to some bureaucracies and administrations, this government scheme like Swachh Bharat is bound to fail. They have the notion that any money funded to such a scheme will go more towards individual pockets than the actual community development and progress.

ALSO READ: Our Culture of Environmental Protection has long been Forgotten, says Union Minister Harsh Vardhan

Former Chairman of Press Council of India, Markandey Katju explains, “India is only partially industrialized, and hence the feudal backward mindsets in people still persist. Almost everything is polluted, from the air ( as in Delhi ) to water to foodstuffs. Without water filters, boiling etc, it is not possible to drink water anywhere; it could make you sick.”

He concludes that corruption is inevitable in a society like India where industrialization process is not complete.

While many people have ignored such a positive message for the Nation’s cleanliness, it looks like the animals are literally playing the role of good citizens in carrying out this campaign. The video of an elephant trying to clean his surroundings should perhaps just inspire us to actually listen to the policy of the government.

prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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.