Tuesday January 23, 2018

Understanding Hinduism in United States

Swami Vivekanand was the establisher of Hinduism in Chicago . More than 80,000 Hindus presently live in Chicago comprising American as well as Indian Hindus.

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Hinduism in Chicago, Wikimedia Commoms
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This is a video released by Chicago police department. In this, Rev. Chaplain Dean guides us through the cultures and traditions of Hinduism.

Watch this video

Here is a brief summary of his point of view.

  • In Chicago, Hinduism was established by Swami Vivekanand (a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa) in 1883. Since then nearly 80,000 have settled in the Chicago.
  • A major chunk of this immigrated population comprises of Indian doctors, professors and engineers. Most of them are concentrated in western and northern suburb regions.
  • Hindus worship different idols of gods and goddess. However they believe in one supreme lord “The creator”. There is a great sense of respect among Hindus towards all other religion.
  • Every Hindu home has some place reserved for worship. Be it community temples or simple home temples, Hindus always worship their gods in temples. Darshans are often done during weekdays followed by offerings. There’s a whole different mesmerizing ambiance inside a Hindu temple.
  • Unlike western culture, eastern nations such as India, Japan follow a different tradition. Wearing shoes are not allowed inside temples and touching any idols are not allowed. Even photography is strictly prohibited.
  • In Hinduism, the Right hand is ideally preferred for handling sacred objects and food. It is considered inauspicious and rude if someone offers via his left hand.
  • Similar to England, Indian police do not carry weapons with them. So these Indian Hindus often get frightened when approached by a police officer.

Related article : Being an American Indian ,from the eyes of Gauri

  • Women often wear Saari and marriage necklace along with a Bindi on their forehead as a sign of marriage. In males, sacred tilak is applied. People welcome others by doing Namastey (generally means I worship the divine within you)
  • Touching is considered to be a bit inappropriate in Hinduism (especially among opposite genders). It is highly inappropriate to ask Hindu women to remove anyone of them. Police officers are expected to respect the dignity of Hindu women. Same goes the other way round.
  • Most Hindus are vegetarians and non-smokers, so smoking and bringing non-veg food are considered to be disrespectful.
  • Swastika is a religious symbol symbolizing power (Shakti) which means let goodness prevail. In Hindu homes, one can often see swastika inscribed in front of their doors. Even temples contain these holy symbols as a mark of auspiciousness.

Pritam, a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself.

Twitter @pritam_gogreen

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

Next Story

All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.