Wednesday August 22, 2018
Home Opinion How PM Narend...

How PM Narendra Modi’s overseas visits are making world aware of Hinduism

0
//
148
Republish
Reprint

01_PM-Narendra-Modi-in-Mauritius

By Devika Sharma

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Mauritius was a balanced mix of promoting the essence of Hindu culture along with strengthening bilateral ties. On March 12, he had visited the Ganga Tales, a place considered to be the most sacred Hindu place in Mauritius and offered prayers at the temple of the Hindu Deity Lord Shiva. Seeing him perform the Puja (Prayer) and Aarti at the temple was a scopophilic sight for millions of Indians not just in Mauritius but world over. Modi also poured ‘Gangajal’ on the Shivalinga at the temple, assisted by Hindu priests. This was symbolic of the larger idea of Hindu rituals and practices.

On the same day he hailed Mauritius for elevating Hindi literature through its contribution and talked about how the Hindi language has occupied a special and important place in the world. Mr. Modi also wished the people of Mauritius on behalf of nearly 125 crore Indians on the occasion of the country’s National Day.

Even in his earlier visit to United States, his presence at the Madison Square created a spectacle of the event that symbolized the essence of India as he wanted the world to see. Speaking about the importance of our holy river Ganga and connecting with a sea of NRI’s there, he laid the groundwork for the construction of a World Hindi Secretariat building at Phoenix where he spoke highly about the uniqueness of the Hindi language. By all this he strategically sent out a larger message of the essence of India.

Similarly, in his visit to Mauritius, the Prime Minister, whose government has been pitching for use of Hindi in official works in India, said that the language has made a special place for itself in the world of languages. Modi also visited Appravasi Ghats during his visit to the island nation. The temple site and Appravasi Ghat are associated with the arrival of Indian indentured work force to Mauritius more than 180 years ago.  Modi has been successful in glorifying our priceless heritage on a global scale by acting as a signifier of Indian culture. These practices by the PM in my view are not based on religious lines but strategic lines.

Mauritius is sometime portrayed as India’s backwaters. A chunk of the population sees India’s condescending attitude as a threat to its own identity. But, are these threats legitimate?

People who are skeptical of better India-Mauritius relationship must give due credit to the fact that unlike China’s cheque-book international relations and the west’s economic materialism, India’s engagement with Mauritius is open and transparent and based on mutual respect and friendship.

In the recent years Indian diasporas world over has been stimulated by India’s economic advances and has started to feel a rejuvenated sense of pride and belonging to their land. For instance the Sindhis define Mauritius in a phenomenal way.  They are an important part of the population composition in Mauritius where people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds have together built a unique country.

These are the people who can be invoked on grounds of Hinduism. Invoked to do good for the country, invoke NRI’s to send in support not just morally but even financially for the overall development of India. Modi has done just that. In every  overseas visit he has made sure of addressing Indians living world over.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Hinduism Should Not be Viewed Through the Narrow Prism of Marxism

Regarding menstruation, the seers of ancient India set down certain dos and don’t. It is no exaggeration that they realized the subtle intricacies of not only the tangible body and but also various sheaths of spiritual bodies

0
Hinduism
Indeed all ancient Hindu scriptures put the female on the same footing as the male.

By Salil Gewali

“A little knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance”. And far more dangerous is when that little knowledge is spread in the society being propelled by the fuel of “prejudices”.  This write-up is with reference to a number of articles by a certain class of writers published in the mainstream media. Those articles are intended to rake up the issues in order to push the sacred temple of “Sabarimala” of Kerala or Shani Shingnapur and the culture associated with it, into the mire of controversy. Tarnishing the image of Hinduism is the main goal. Not unexpectedly, some stories even proclaim that in India “women” are thus demonized and their menstruation is abhorred.

Having gone through some of them I immediately contacted a number of top scholars in Kerala for hands-on verification — whether “women” are being despised so heartlessly or not. Since one of my books is translated into their language I did that with all ease. Not a single scholar (women included) informed me suggesting that they, or temple management of Sabarimala, have ever “despised women”, or hated “menstruation”.  I rather got an earful for asking such absurd questions.  They instantly reiterated referring to Hindu scriptures which teach all and one to look upon women as “Motherly figures”. One scholar remarks, “this confrontation has actually been orchestrated by the politicians with the help of certain forces which want to demean our culture”.  I heaved a sigh of relief!

Indeed all ancient Hindu scriptures put the female on the same footing as the male. But some vested interests with an ulterior motive have been distorting the true history/legends of India and also merrily belittling or shrugging off the literary treasure troves of the country. It was first done by the British in order to divide and rule Indians, in which they were very successful. And later, the legacy has been faithfully and aggressively carried forward by the Indian intellectuals influenced by certain thinkers and writers of the West and their culture.

Hinduism
Representational image.

Well, the seers of ancient India not only knew as information but they “fully realized” that everything, in and out, is pervaded by “Brahman” (Almighty). The modern science too has arrived at the “same conclusion”. The father of Quantum Mechanics — Erwin Schrodinger has scientifically discussed this fact in his world-famous book – “What is Life?”.  All knowledge associated with the ONENESS of Universe and the “Unity in Diversity” is systematically enshrined in 108 Upanishads.  They expounded with a force that “Purusha” (male) and “Pratriki” (female) both combine themselves to put forth the infinite COSMIC CREATION. One without other is like the fire without the heat. They are mutually complementary, inter-dependent and inter-related. The “discrimination” of any kind, not just “against women”, but even against the tiny “insects” and “plants” are considered irreligious. I would also request such biased scholars to read between the lines from the literature authored by Sri Aurobindo and Vivekananda who just quote from them to gloss over the footprint of their agendas. One wonders when they will learn to shake off the baggage of prejudices against while getting down to study the literature of the home country.

Now about the legend Ayyappa of Sabarimala in brief. The story which is long and interestingly too drawn-out, says —  Lord Ayyappa, who was born out of Lord Shiva and the feminine energy of Lord Vishnu, had exceptional power. His birth on earth was in order to kill a female demon– Mahishi. After having been killed the demoness, the curse against her ends. She again takes birth, this time the Goddess incarnate. This is laws of karma works. When she grew up she approached Lord Ayyappa for the marriage. But Ayyappa, who was practicing celibacy, denied. But, he consoles her saying that he will only marry her when no “first timer” will visit his temple for blessings. However, Lord Ayyappa asks her to reside just near to his temple. Later, in her memory, the devotee constructed a temple known as Malikapurathamma just adjacent to the temple of Ayyappa.

Since Lord Ayyappa, who was known for his celibacy, and had promised to marry Malikapurathamma, it has become a sort of a tradition among women not to visit the temple.  It should not be  misunderstood that it is apparently as a mark of showing respect to both Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Malikapurathamma.

Hinduism
Representational image.

Regarding menstruation, the seers of ancient India set down certain dos and don’t. It is no exaggeration that they realized the subtle intricacies of not only the tangible body and but also various sheaths of spiritual bodies (five sheaths mentioned in Upanishads). The areas of study are very vast. They caution that a woman during her monthly cycle should abstain from the religious public rituals, but can perform the personal spiritual practice. In fact, contrary to the modern tradition and practice, the seers didn’t “limit themselves” to the personal and public hygiene alone, but they went further, and so taken the “spiritual aspect” into consideration. Of course, lot many such dos and don’ts are beyond the understanding of we mundane people with limited five senses and “scattered mind”. It is too absurd who interpret that it is a practice of “untouchability”. A medical doctor will never allow you to enter into ICU unless you are well washed. Is not everything there meticulously sterilized?  Do you say that the hospital is practicing “untouchability”? I don’t think any mother will allow her children to enter the kitchen and take food immediately after the latrine without washing hands and feet.

Going by such biased articles in the mainstream media intended to denigrate the culture and heritage of the country; and also literary books (who unfortunately receive “Sahitya Akademi” and “Padma Shree” awards), I fervently wish that one should have the deeper knowledge of the subjects. Here the crucial prerequisite is that they must first unlearn false history and start to learn the true history without being weighed down by the prejudices.  Moreover, the cosmic ocean of the Indian wisdom is so deep, even it has described many “inconceivable” laws and principles which are seemingly out-of-box and discriminatory. I humbly suggest not to selectively pick up a few odds and use them to demean this vast culture of knowledge. The Vedanta should not be view through the narrow prism of Karl Marx and LeninEven their favorite master Fredrick Hegel (front ranking philosopher of the west) cheerfully confessed the depth of ancient wisdom, –  “It strikes everyone in beginning to form an acquaintance with the treasures of Indian literature, that a land so rich in intellectual products and those of the “profoundest” order of thought”. How I wish that a dagger not be wielded by an untrained person or else it will be disastrous!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.