Pakistani Hindus discuss their issues in Pakistan Hindu Council AGM

By : pakistanhinducouncil.org.pk.

The First General Body Meeting of Pakistan Hindu Council Cabinet 18-20 was held on 9th December 2018, Sunday at Global Marquees, Karachi. The meeting was started with Gayatri/Mool Mantar and then a welcome speech was done by Mr. Raja Bhawan (Vice-President) in which he welcomed all the members and applauds all the members for their contribution in PHC. The financial budget was presented by Mr. Bharat Kumar Manglani (Finance Secretary) in which all details were shared with the members. All Members unanimously approved the financial budget and praised the dedication of the Finance Secretary. Mr. Parshotam Ramani (General Secretary) described all the projects and events in front of members to show the performance and progress of this cabinet. As the main agenda was Forced Conversion so Mr. Gopal Khamuani (President) stated that forced conversion has become a big issue for Hindus and this should be resolved as soon as possible. He further said I think lack of caring and busy schedule of parents is also the reason for children to convert their religion. He also demanded in his speech that Marriage act law should be implemented on an immediate basis and the chairman of Evacuee trust property should be a Hindu so that no Hindu property get possessed illegally. To finish this matter from its roots, it is necessary to give our children the knowledge of religion, sacrifices and our norms along with basic knowledge. The President also discussed the future plans as he said that we are making committees at the district level so that we get knowledge about the people issues and we will also organize Dharmic quiz programs in different districts so that children get knowledge about our religion.

However, in open discussion, all respected members shared their thoughts and suggestions regarding this issue. Mr. Paman Lal Rathi (Joint Secretary) stated that these cases usually take place in lower areas like Thar and interior where people do not have enough to eat and also do not have the education so we should give them education and should help them in reducing the poverty. Mr. Hotchand Karmani (Advisor and Ex-President) stated that it is the responsibility of every member of PHC to help people and to solve their issues. Mr. Rajesh Kumar Hardasani (Advisor) advised that we should tell our children about our religion and about the life of girls who got victimized and sometimes parents are also responsible in this issues as they did not give time to their children and allow them to do by their own. Mr. Harish Sakhija (MC Member) stated that there are different reasons but we should handle these issues personally and did not let anyone do politics as this is the matter of many lives. Mr. Prem Talreja (Advisor) advised that we should not create difference and should help lower castes as well because we all are from one religion and human first. At last, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani (Patron) also shared its work and dedication towards this issues as he stated that people do politics in these issues that cause a negative impact on our community. He stated that we should stay combine and should fight boldly against these issues so that we could get over this issue. At last, the Patron answered the questions of members and then it was unanimously decided by all the Bearers, MC Members, Advisors, Observers, life members and associate members that parent should give time to their children and should give them religious knowledge as well so that they know about the actual meaning of Hinduism and the purification of this religion.

 

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Hindu Council activities report for 2018

Annual General Meeting of Hindu Council was held in Blacktown on 15th December 2018 and was attended by about 40 members. A report of activities for the year 2018 was presented and can be downloaded below :

Download the report (15MB)

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Diwali celebration by Indian cultural society of Darwin, Australia!

By : Shashi Khanna.

Diwali may be over in India but the celebration and festivity continues with zeal in cities around Australia. Indian cultural society in Darwin celebrated DIWALI  at the Indoor sports stadium. A well organised program attended by whose who and nearly all the Indian community at Darwin. Indian cultural society ,a group of focused Indians who are taking from their seniors – the founder members are putting the showcase in a wonderful manner. 
 
 
Tables laid for the families and stage set for performances. A beautiful program from classical ,folk , bollywood and singing was on the list. Well anchored and presented orderly was appreciated by all. Annual address and introduction of the committee members was well presented by the President of the society. The area MLA read her message wishing every one Happy Diwali and joyfully welcoming all to NT. 
 
Anchoring done by young and children both was very cute. The perfect dance performances by all age groups was appreciated. The beats of Bhangra swayed all to their feet. Loud applause and whistles followed in appreciation. 
Snacks,dinner and drinks were laid throughout the evening which was much enjoyed by all. Tickling taste buds Indian food was great along with the Indian music. 
 
 
All dressed up in their best of Indian apparel and accessories further adorned the atmosphere. A diya lit on each table luminated the festival. Meeting the Indian diaspora to such an extent was amazing. An enjoyable evening concluded with every one on the floor dancing their hearts out to the beats of Punjab and bollywood. 
 
Indians may be miles away from their country miles apart from the society but it was heartening to see they gave created a mini India here at Australia. The charm of Indian music , food and dresses has captivated the foreign hearts too who mingle and participate in Indian festivals with zeal and zest. The harmony amongst Indians from any state and with Australian society is an examplaire. 
 
World is a huge family and we all are the brothers and sisters with different colours, cultures and religions living togather in harmony celebrating each festival and every moment. I have amazing experiences to take back home and share with India. How harmonious and lovingly people live here in togatherness,inspiring all the sects, culture and Indian society. Long live our Indo-Aussie relationship emerging as an example for world wide citizens. The divine sense of acceptance and giving is truly showcased here. 
 
 
I find myself overwhelmed and lucky to witness and participate in all this. 
Thank you so much Sh.Surinder Jain from Hindu council of Australia , Sydney for giving me this extremely wonderful opportunity to report from Darwin,NT. It’s surely an interesting and worthy vilunteering. God bless and I again salute to all the members of Hindu council of Australia specially my brother Somesh Sibal for introducing me to Hindu council of Australia for all their fruitful efforts and hard work for promotion of Indian culture in Australia. Also my heartiest congratulations and greetings to the Australian society and government for their support and encouragement. 
 
I leave with a heavy heart but with zeal and promise to join back you all again next year. Lovely being a volunteer at Hindu council of Australia. All good wishes & good luck !! 

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Book Review – Hinduism and Nature

By : www.arc.org.

Penguin India publishes important new book on Hinduism and Nature

 

We have just received our copy of Penguin India on Hinduism and Nature by historian, environmentalist (and good friend of ARC) Dr Nanditha Krishna.

The book, published by Penguin India, is about the mythical stories and religious significance of many forests and mountains, lakes, rivers (and a few flat bits) of India’s varied landscapes. And how those stories and significances are one of the things that can and might protect India’s animals and places from the bulldozers of progress.

The basis of Hinduism is righteousness, or dharma, she argues, and the great epic texts of Hinduism show a clear appreciation of the natural world by people in India 5,000 years go. Even then, writers and thinkers wanted to urge people to manage natural resources and protect animals.

“I fell in love with sacred groves attached to Hindu temples,” Dr Krishna said to explain how she came to write the book. They were places “where not a twig may be broken and which are the remnants of ancient forests where sages lived in harmony with nature.”

She also was inspired by “rivers that gush from the hills and meander through the land; with the sacred tanks attached to each temple, the sacred plants and the animals respected by my religion; with the awe-inspiring mountains which reach up to the skies and where the Gods live.”.

In her long career as an environmentalist, the Chennai-based author of Sacred Plants of India and Sacred Animals of India has explored the divine relationship between human beings, plants and animals, “which are an essential part of every Hindu prayer.”

In her long career as an environmentalist, the author of Sacred Plants of India and Sacred Animals of India Dr Krishna has explored the divine relationship between human beings, plants and animals, “which are an essential part of every Hindu prayer.”

“The Earth is my mother and I am her child,” says the hymn to the Earth in the Atharva Veda. The human ability to merge with nature was the measure of cultural evolution. Hinduism believes that the earth and all life forms – human, animal and plant – are a part of Divinity, each dependant on the other for sustenance and survival. All of nature must be treated with reverence and respect. If the forests, clean water and fresh air disappear, so will all life as we know it on earth.

An Excerpt

“Forests have always been central to Indian civilization, representing the feminine principle in prakriti. They are the primary source of life and fertility, a refuge for the wanderer and a home for the seeker, and have always been viewed as a model for societal and civilizational evolution.

“Forests were places of retreat, a source of inspiration, for all Vedic literature was revealed to the sages here. Rama’s entire journey from Ayodhya to Lanka was through forests. In the Mahabharata, the big war is for urbanization and to capture the cities of Mathura, Hastinapur and Indraprastha. Yet the Pandavas spent their years of exile in the forest and made marriage alliances with forest tribes, a move that would help them later in the Kurukshetra war. They also learnt several important lessons from living in the forest, which became a source of knowledge and a place for learning higher truths. There were several classifications of the forest.

“The ancient forests have survived as the sacred groves of modern India. The seals of the Indus civilization contain figures of wild animals such as the elephant, water buffalo, rhinoceros, deer, gazelle, antelope, wild sheep and goat and ibex and tiger, which means that the area was once covered with dense forests. Rhino habitat ranges from open savannah to dense forest, while tigers live in swamps, grasslands and among trees, bushes and tall grass which camouflage them. Elephants are found in savannah and forests, where they can find fresh water to cool their thick dark skins. The large number of such seals suggests that the Indus–Sarasvati region was once a thick forest, not the agricultural fields or deserts we see today.

 

Hindu Environment week is one of the eco initiatives by Hindus today, inspired by the insights of their faith

The Vedas were composed in the Indus–Sarasvati region. In these texts, there is a fundamental sense of harmony with nature, which, in turn, nurtured a civilizational value. Forests were the primary source of life and inspiration, not a wilderness to be feared or conquered. The Vedas were written by sages living in the forest who saw it as a home and a source of revelation, exaltation and creativity. Some of the greatest verses of philosophy were written in forests. People drew intellectual, emotional and spiritual sustenance from the twin concepts of srishti and prakriti.

‘So may the mountains, the waters, the liberal (wives of the gods), the plants, also heaven and earth, consentient with the Forest Lord (Vanaspati) and both the heaven and earth preserve for us those riches’

One of the most beautiful hymns of the Rig Veda is dedicated to Aranyani, the goddess of the forest. She is an elusive spirit, fond of solitude, and fearless. The poet asks her to explain how she can wander so far from civilization without fear or loneliness. He creates a beautiful image of the village at sunset, with the sounds of the grasshopper and the cicada and the cowherd calling his cattle. She is a mysterious sprite, never seen, but her presence is felt by the tinkling of her anklets and her generosity in feeding both man and animal:

Aranyani Aranyani, who are, as it were, perishing there, why
do you not ask of the village? Does not fear assail you?
When the chichchika (bird) replies to the crying grasshopper,
Aranyani is exalted, resonant, as with cymbals.
It is as if cows were grazing, and it looks like a dwelling, and
Aranyani, at eventide, as it were, dismissed the wagons.
This man calls his cow, another cuts down the timber,
tarrying in the forest at eventide, one thinks there is a cry.
But Aranyani injures no one unless some other assails;
feeding upon the sweet fruit, she penetrates at will.
I praise the musk-scented, fragrant, fertile, uncultivated
Aranyani, the mother of wild animals
(Rig Veda, X.146. 1–6)

LINKS

Find Hinduism and Nature on Good Reads.

Penguin India on Hinduism and Nature

The Hindu Newspaper features vital work on green pilgrimage by ARC’s partner organisation in India

ARC’s partner organisation in India, ATREE

Building Stewardship in the buffer zone to protect biodiversity – Clean KMTR Campaign

(Source : www.arc.org)

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Invitation to conduct further research about ANZAC Jawans

By : Prakash Mehta.

Hindu Council of Australia has erected a cenotaph dedicated to all servicemen of Indian origin who have enrolled or served the Australian forces in World Wars. It was inaugurated with the joint efforts and support of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Hornsby Shire Council, Hornsby RSL, Hindu Council of Australia, local  Indian community and local MP Julian Leeser.

Cadets guarding the memorial at Cherry Brook Park, NSW

The memorial in NSW is a first of its kind in the state that recognises the contributions and connections of people of Indian origin. It is about the contributions made by the servicemen of Indian origin in Australia, by enlisting at the time of need. The plaque commemorates the service and sacrifice made by Australian Soldiers and Military Personnel of Indian heritage who served in the Australian Imperial Force in World War I.

It also remembers and recognises up to 15,000 Indian Soldiers who fought with allied troops at Gallipoli where almost 1,400 Indians Soldiers died at Gallipoli and up to 3,500 were wounded. It also remembers and recognises the Indian Soldiers who have participated alongside the Australian Soldiers in various Military Campaigns and Peace Missions. ”

The first effort to find out about such service men came to Hindu Council’s attention by an article written by journalist Manpreet K Singh and published by SBS dated 9 June 2017.

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2017/06/09/12-indian-anzacs-who-enlisted-australian-imperial-force-during-wwi

These names were further confirmed with research center of Australian War Memorial Canberra service records about the accuracy and authenticity.

The President of Hindu Council has called upon people to come forward and do further research and said that

We hope this Cenotaph also encourages more research and publications to connect larger Australian Indian community with Anzac history.

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First Indian Born Hindu woman elected in Upper House Victoria

Hindus started migrating to Australia in 1970’s and after about 50 years of migration, they have established their roots in their new homeland. Nothing illustrates it more than a migrant and that too a woman getting elected in a Parliament.

Kaushalya Vaghela

Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela is a Hindu Indian Australian politician. She has been a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Council since 2018 and has recently been elected to represent Western Metropolitan Region[1] the first Indian Hindu woman to do so.

Kaushaliya confesses to be almost a Fanatic for Freedom, Fairness, Feminism, Food, Fitness, Fashion, Fun, Family & Friends. Having studied her B.Sc from Ahmedabad and M.Sc from Vadodra in India, she studied at RMIT, Melbourne and has established herself as a management expert as well. However, she felt humbled by winning the election and becoming an MLC.

In her previous role , she was advising Minister of Multicultural Affairs – Hon Robin Scott and acted as a bridge between Hindu community and the minister.
She helped a lot of Indian spiritual, cultural and other diaspora organizations in resolving their issues and getting government support in whatever form possible.

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Australian Prime Minister – protection of our religious freedoms is synonymous with our identity

The Australian Prime Minister Hon Scott Morrison #ScoMo has a issued a press release vouching for the freedom of religion as essential to Australian identity in a diverse Australian society of today. Hindus applaud his statement and support a multicultural Australia, free of religious hatred and free of terrorism.

 

THE HON SCOTT MORRISON MP

Prime Minister

Australian PM Scott Morrison saying Namaste to Hindus at Deepavali 2018

 MEDIA STATEMENT

 Thursday 13 December 2018

RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS

There is no more fundamental liberty that any human being has than their fundamental right to decide what they believe and or not believe.

What you believe should always be a matter for you.

The protection of our religious freedoms is synonymous with our identity and it is particularly relevant because of our diverse Australian society.

Some of our largest and most established communities and some of our more recent arrivals to Australia have a higher proportion of members expressing identification with a religious belief.

94% of Indian born Australians identify as having a particular religious faith and those faiths are many including Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Muslim.

PM with some of the Hindu Council team members

If you support an open tolerant multicultural Australia then you will support and understand religious freedoms.

Religious faith is a way of life and an integral part of harmonious Australian culture that is critically important for our continued success.

Australians are substantially united that all beliefs and all Australians, including not having a belief, should always be respected by each and every citizen.

ENDS

Media Contact: Rosa Stathis, 0417 669 223

Prime Minister’s Press Office

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Bioethics – a Hindu Perspective

By : Dr Raj Maheshwari.

(The following is an abstract of the talk delivered by the author at the conference on “Core Ethical Teachings” at NSW Parliament House on 4 March 2011).

Dr Raj Maheshwari
Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist at St John of God Health Care
Sydney, Australia

Bioethics addresses specific ethical issues relating to science and medicine. With the advancement in technology, we are constantly faced with new scientific scenarios where ethical decisions need to be made. The principals of ethical decision making in Hinduism is informed by some of the ancient texts, namely Vedas, Upanishads, and two main epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Core Philosophy

Cycle of rebirth is one of the core concepts in Hinduism, based on the belief that the body is just a carrier for the soul, which passes on through the repeated cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth until the soul has been purified and can ultimately join the divine cosmic consciousness, also called as Moksha.

Hindu View of Life and Suffering

Contrary to the western view of health, Hinduism doesn’t view health as mere absence of disability; instead it is assessed as a product of sound mind and body, which off course is one of the goals of a Dharmic life. Likewise illness is accepted as part of ordinary life experience, which is instigated as a consequence of a bad past karma or a test from god to assess your commitment to a dharmic life.

Hindu views death as not opposite to life, rather, it is opposite to birth, and life is a journey between birth and death. Hinduism accepts suffering as inevitable even in death, so discomfort is accepted over drugs, while a conscious dying process is seen as a good death that would determine the properties of your rebirth. Thus death is seen as just another step in this cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Hindu View on Organ Transplant

Cremation in Hinduism is considered as both a destructive process and a course of creation; physical body and mind reunites with the earth, while atman wanders for about 12 days before continuing again the cycle of rebirth. Although in short no religious law prohibits organ transplant or donation in Hinduism, however there are contrary views. Some argue it to be a charitable act which is likely to attract karmic benefits; while others argue that if the body is incomplete during reuniting with the earth, the atman of the dead is suspended in a “state of animation” risking a karmic burden for family members. However, it is commonly insisted that the permission should be explicit.

Hindu view on contraception and abortion

Hindu bioethics agrees that there are two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning that brings husband and wife together, and the procreative meaning that capacitates them for the generation of new lives; and each and every sexual act need not be valued for its procreativity.

On abortion, the Hindu ethical decision making is based on the belief that the foetus is not just a foetus but a complete soul advancing into the next cycle of rebirth, so abortion is akin to murder; however, if mother’s welfare is in danger then the dharmic principle of duty to oneself takes precedence and abortion is permissible.

Hindu View on Biotechnology

Hinduism supports the idea of somatic cell genetic engineering which can address issues like sickle cell anaemia, haemophilia, or AIDS, on the principle of obligation to ensure survival of the present and future generations. However, it does not supports the idea of using genetic engineering for mere achieving perfection in body or bodily functions, again because Hinduism’s focus is on perfection of the soul rather the carrier body.

Regarding Cloning there are complex arguments in absence of any direct scriptural reference. The decision-making is guided by the principles of nonmaleficence (anyone’s well-being must not be sacrificed on some high altar of promoting a greater social and scientific good), beneficence (someone with leukaemia needing a compatible source of bone marrow), and autonomy (procreative or recreative rights along with rights to self-replicate).

Hindu View on Fertility Related Matters  

In ordinary cases, Hindu bioethics would want to limit IVF to married couples, using their own gametes in order to maximize the chance of both physical and emotional success for the child. However, there is provision for use of other person’s sperm in exceptional circumstances. One of the UpanishadsNiyoga, supports it if its purpose was the impregnation of a wife of an impotent or dead man so that his family may be preserved, and he may have sons to offer oblations for the welfare of his soul in the next world.

In summary, Hindu bioethics is philosophically pluralistic and ethically contextual, giving it the conceptual flexibility demanded by today’s complex moral problems. It is based on a multi-legged ethical decision making model involving the laws of Karma (good and bad actions), Dharma (righteousness), life after death, and Moksha (eternal freedom).

References and Advanced Readings

– Crawford, S. C. Hindu bioethics for the Twenty-first Century 2003; Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

– Lakhan, S. E. Hinduism: life and death. Student BMJ2008;16:294-336

– Coward, H. and Sidhu, T. Bioethics for clinicians: Hinduism and Sikhism. CMAJ, October 31, 2000; 163 (9)

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Pauline Hanson gives thumbs up to Indian Migration to Australia

By : Surinder Jain.

Pauline Lee Hanson is an Australian politician and a Senator representing the state of Queensland. She is also the founder and leader of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party (PHON). Despite Hanson’s repeated denials of charges of racism,[13] her views on race and immigration have been discussed widely in Australia. In her maiden speech, Hanson proposed a drastic reduction in immigration with particular reference to immigrants from Asia. Condemning multiculturalism, her One Nation party has rallied against government immigration and multicultural policies.[20] Hanson publicly backed Kevin Andrews, then Minister for Immigration under John Howard, in his views about African migrants and crime.[25]

Senator Pauline Hanson (source : Wikipedia)

Hindu Council of Australia, in association with the Hon Coleman MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Senator the Hon Zed Seselja Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance, celebraterd Deepawali festival and Annakut in the Great Hall of the Federal Parliament House in Canberra on Monday December 3, 2018. Pauline was one of the honored guests at Diwali.

Although Diwali has been celebrated at federal Parliament for over ten years now, it was the first time that Pauline Hanson joined. “This is the first time I have ever been to this event. I am not anti-migrant at all.” She said that she did not see any  problem with Indians migrating to Australia.  She expressed her happiness for having joined Diwali festivities. “It’s very special what I understand as a community. I am still learning. I don’t understand it fully but I think as a member of parliament and a national political party, it’s nice to be a part of it and I support the Indian community on this special day.”

[Read more …]

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Addressing Global Warming through reducing meat consumption

By : Vijai Singhal.

An Open letter to MPs and Senators.

3rd December, 2018

Dear Senators and MPs,

As you already know, addressing Climate Change is the most important issue for humanity.The recent results of the Victorian State elections have clearly proved that Australian people want positive action on climate change. It has already resulted in the dethroning of the past four Prime Ministers in Australia.

Hindu Council of Australia has been very actively involved in addressing this issue mainly from the point of view of reducing meat consumption, which is the most effective things people can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and ensure food availability for the poor, as well as extending the values of respect and compassion for animals and is good for our own health. Hindu Councilhad launched its “Meat Free Day” campaign on 2nd October, 2008 – on Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday. We are now celebrating its 10th anniversary and Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th year of his birthday.

You know that as per UN FAO report: “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, animal-farming contributes more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than of all forms of transportation worldwide (18% vs. 13.5%). Under a business as usual scenario, the number of animals farmed worldwide is projected to double by 2050. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions would negate reductions from other positive changes (e.g. increasing automobile fuel efficiencies, switching to renewable energy etc). It is therefore necessary to take positive action to reduce meat consumption. This aspect of the problem is not getting the attention it deserves. At long last the recent IPCC report did emphasise the need to move to plant-based diet, improved farming practices and reduction in food wastage as being necessary to limit the GHG emissions.

It is also a big health issue, as you know WHO had released a report on 26 Oct 2015 that says that if you eat as much as 50 grams of processed meat (the equivalent of a few slices of bacon) every day – or a total of 350 grams a week – your risk of colon cancer goes up by 18 percent. Our average consumption is far too high. The resulting increase in health budget is becoming a big problem for the national government to balance its books as well. Moderating our consumption of meat and dairy products will lower the incidence of obesity, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, while cutting consumption of processed meat will reduce the incidence of colorectal cancers, resulting in the saving of billions of dollars in health budget.

We look forward to the support from Greens to highlight this issue as it effects so many aspects of our living.

Vijai Singhal

Director, Hindu Council of Australia

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