Shabana is a New York -based Indo-Guyanese gal and is passionate about raising issues that concern Indian diaspora. In this post, Shabana writes about the disconnect that in her view exists between East Indians and Indo-Caribbeans, which she powerfully conveys in a single sentence: “I need you to remember that NOTHING but a boat ride separates your family and mine.”
Note: There is a large Indo-Caribbean diaspora in the USA from countries lie Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean island nations. They trace their roots from East India.
If you’re South Asian, please read this!
South Asians who were lucky enough to not be removed from the subcontinent have a serious problem with rejecting Indo-Caribbeans as “real” brown people. I don’t know if it’s because you all are ignorant of your own history or you think brown people don’t exist outside of the subcontinent.
And why? Because we were taken by deceit and forced into conditions no better than slavery? Subcontinental South Asians wanna reject us but love Caribbean culture so much. You blast our dancehall music and imitate our patois poorly. You deny us access to our Indian/Bengali heritage but want to accessorize our Caribbean heritage. How does that wok? I can go on but honestly, if you’re a South Asian who looks down on Indo-Caribbeans, I need you to remember that NOTHING but a boat ride separates your family and mine.
Om and Namah are separate words. Leaving those two words, everything else has to be combined into a single word.
An NRI doctor- as a tribute to her motherland has written the qualities unique only to India as an ashtottarm (108 names).
As Indians, we are very blessed to receive the spiritual wisdom of the ancient seers (rishis) of India that shaped our values, customs, traditions and culture for millennia.
Though I now live in the United States, I had the good fortune to grow up in India. As a result, the positive values included in this article were deeply instilled in me. They’ve made me more mindful, compassionate, and centered. They’ve also contributed to my success as a neurologist, teacher, and professor of medicine at Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. With that nostalgia in my mind, as a tribute to my motherland and with great enthusiasm I have written the qualities unique only to India as an ashtottarm (108 names). In today’s “modern” world, where the positive values are too often replaced with materialism, intolerance, violence, extremism, and terrorism; these mantras will help you stay calm and centered in face of adversity, and in the “little” moments. We can all find beauty, peace, strength everywhere we look—if we remember to look for it.
I believe ignorance is the root cause of all the problems in the world. Divisions, differences and duality are due to ignorance only and knowledge alone is the solution. I hope you feel that way when you read this article. And, in addition to you enjoying learning more about India, I hope this ashtottaram on our Bhāratamata brings you greater peace, happiness, and harmony.
‘Sri Bhārata Māta Ashtottaram
108 Sanskrit Mantras
Om and namah are separate words. Leaving those two words, everything else has to be combined into a single word.
Ekavimśaṫi means 21 (Eka- means One, Vimsati- means Twenty). Our body has 21 ṫaṫṫvams (essence, root, reality). The 3×7 Ṫrayi Sapṫa Samidha Kṛitaha is the offering of 21 sticks of fire wood (samidhās) in a homam. I have composed this song with very simple lyrics so that it’s easy to hum and sing by every Indian from a rickshaw puller to a college professor, house wives and children making it a catchy household song, constantly reminding us of the glory of our mother-land. According to Hindu culture, the earth, Bhoomi, is considered to be our mother.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is an Indian hindu-faith based nationalist voluntary organization which was founded in 1925 by the Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, a doctor in Nagpur. The organization believes that he Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindustan. The prime aim of the organization is to provide service to the humanity during critical situations. They provide their services irrespective of any diveristy, be it religion, gender or caste.
I personally know many Swayam Sevaks and Swayam Sevikas. Their dedication and endless efforts to serve humanity cannot be described in words. This is just a small effort to let masses know that there is someone always willing to step up and serve when needed. Yes, I am talking about SEWA organization and its volunteers.
SEWA International is a Hindu faith-based., humanitarian, nonprofit organization founded in 2003. It has many chapters in different states in the USA. Its working area is international.
SEWA work area is very wide and encompasses many different levels of actions from as simple as providing a listening ear to coordination with many other organizations and entities e.g. embassies, ministries, etc.
Swayam Sevaks do mostly anonymous work, as the intention is to help and not to become famous or show off. Volunteers feel thankful for the opportunity they get to help someone, they are thankful to be a medium to help, they are thankful to know that they are in a position to help. Swayam Sevaks even shy away from calling this a help as they believe in selfless service and consider it as an opportunity to practice what they believe in from their heart, what they inherited from sages and their ancestors, and what they want their children to believe in by observing.
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Volunteers selflessly work day and night. They are always ready to help or arrange for help as much as possible. Many do not even mention the work they are doing
Everyone can serve and can get served too. Service or donations can be in the form of money, groundwork, time, spreading the word around so that people who need the service get it.
Help and donation can be for any chapter of SEWA. SEWA people never insist on helping or donating to a particular chapter, as this is a truly selfless service. They provide information about any chapter, area, and the person you want to connect to. Besides, people can reach out to any volunteer and he or she will work to connect you with the right support system.
SEWA is a Hindu faith-based organization but considers all humans equal. There is no discrimination in helping. No biases regarding race, color, religion, ethnicity, gender, and social status as they believe in ‘Vasudev Kutumbkam’ meaning the whole world is one family and believe that there is divine in everyone.
Service recipient’s faith, social status, lifestyle choices, views about Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma, religious beliefs, etc. do not matter for the Swayam Sevaks.
SEWA is donating many masks, PPE’s, food, medicines during COVID -19 pandemic. It has arranged for shelter for many, started a 24-hour helpline service, and arranged for educational webinars.