Hinduism Arrives on the Global Stage
Sanathan Dharma has captured the imagination of the world.
Hindus have reasons to feel proud when its ancient tradition of starting an event with chanting of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit was adopted at the kick-start of Commonwealth Games 2010 on 30 October 2009, in presence of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and President Pratibha Patil of India at London in a spectacular ceremony. Chanting of Vedic hymns by British children in chorus for several minutes in fluent Sanskrit that too without reading any script was indeed worth-appreciating.
Chanting of Vedic hymns in state-assemblies of United States of America and countries is also becoming a regular trend. In October 2009 an Indian priest Narayanachar Digalakote chanted Vedic hymns seeking world peace while US President lit Diwali-lamp at White House. When Western countries are realising the importance of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit, it is time that Indian government may set up a separate ministry for development and research of Sanskrit to explore the hidden treasure of literature and medical science in the ancient language. (Taken from Madhu Agarwal’s article in the internet).
In October 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown lit the traditional diya and started the Diwali celebrations in British Parliament. Ram Nawami too was celebrated in No. 10 Downing Street. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, added colour to the Diwali celebrations in Britain by visiting Shri Swaminarayan temple and participating in a symbolic ‘Laxmi Puja’ ceremony. Diwali was similarly celebrated in the parliaments of Australia , ( Canberra , Sydney and Melbourne ), New Zealand ( Wellington and Auckland ) and Canada .
Hindu priest Rajan Zed opened the US Senate on July 12, 2007 with a Hindu prayer arranged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. Baptist church is worried about the rise of Hinduism in USA . Hindu priests offered prayers at the legislative sessions in the Maryland , Iowa, New Jesey, Nevada and California House and Senates in USA . Sri Sri Ravishankar addressed the European Parliament of 11 nations at Brussels .
Several world leaders like Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Greek President Karolos Papoulias quote from the Vedas to explain their point of view.
Britain backed by $19.5 million (Rs 100 Crores) in aid has started a State Funded Hindu school. Krishna-Avanti primary school has a space for 240 children. Pupils study the national curriculum but there is a strong emphasis on Hindu ethos and worship. USA takes up Hindi studies in its universities. India ’s rapidly growing industry and business is attracting large Americans to Bharat.
In January 2009, Barack Hussain Obama in his presidential address mentioned that USA was a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers. He carries a key chain with an idol of 4 armed Hanuman. He appointed Sonal R. Shah an active member of Ekal Vidyalay and Sewa International to serve as the Director of the new Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the White House. When USA faced severe trillion dollar financial crisis, President George Bush in Oct 2008 appointed Neel Kashkari, a Kashmiri Pandit as the head of the new office of Financial Stability. Obama team in 2009 asked Kashkari to remain at Treasury for some more period and assist in the transition. Several Hindus are now walking the corridors of power in Washington DC . When Obama and Dr Manmohan Singh met one-on-one in Washington recently in Nov 2009, Singh’s principal assistant and note-taker was his private secretary Jaideep Sarkar, a young gun of the Indian Foreign Service. No surprise there. And aiding Obama? Anish Goel, a senior staffer of the National Security Council and a rising star of the US foreign service. Similarly, when the US side engaged New Delhi on Af-Pak issues, the Indians found, much to their surprise, that the Senior Defense Advisor to Richard Holbrooke, the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan was Vikram Singh. China and Pakistan are worried that 26 Indians are serving Obama administration including at least a dozen in senior positions.
Hindus Around the World
There are about 7 crore Hindus in about 120 countries of the world. Of these Hindus are in good numbers in about 40 countries like UK, USA, Holland, Germany, Kenya, Middle East, West Indies, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan etc.
Saga of Trials & Triumph
In countries like Mauritius , South Africa , Fiji , Myanmar , Malaysia , Singapore and Caribbean countries of Trinidad , Guyana and Surinam , Indians were taken by the British rulers some 120 years back as contract laborers. These Indian were then sold to British Farm owners like sheep, cows or buffalos. Initial years were a sad saga of tears & fears, disease & death, torture, humiliations & hard labor. But it is also a tale of their struggle, determination, strong resolve and final Triumph. Most of these Indians hail from Eastern UP (Bhojpuri dialect) and from Tamil Nadu. Ramcharit Manas and Thevaram (ancient Tamil Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva) kept their faith and hopes alive. The literate among them would read and others listened with unmatched shraddha. Ramcharit Manas & Thevaram saved them from the aggressive conversion efforts of Christian missionaries and Indian Muslims.
Festivals unit Hindus
Celebration of Hindu festivals in large congregations strengthened their faith. Deepavali is the most popular festival and is both a religious and a social event. Hindus invite all their Hindu and non-Hindu friends. Deepavali is a national holiday in Malaysia and in Singapore when all government offices are closed. Nearly 5 lac Hindus gather at Lord Subramaniam Temple in Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia on the occasion of Thai Pusam; 5 lac Hindus gather at the Ganga Talav in Mauritius on the occasion of Shiv Ratri. Lacs of Hindu and Sri Lankan devotees make a pilgrimage on bare foot to Kadirgamam temple in South Sri Lanka to pay their obeisance to Lord Karthikeya. Thousands gather annually at the (Maha Mariamman) Devi Parvati Temple in Suva , Fiji .
Heads of State in many countries
Hindus came to these distant lands 100 years ago and underwent trials and tribulations like Lord Ram during his Vanavas. Today the Hindus are better off. Like Ram they too are celebrating Deepavali having won the battle of survival. Their proud sons, Sir Shivsagar Ramgulam & Aniruddha Jagannath, Dr Navin Ramgoolam (Mauritius), Mahendra Chowdhary (Fiji), Basdeo Pandey (Trinidad), Bharat Jagdev (Guyana), Devan Nair &, S.R.Nathan (Singapore) have risen to become the Prime Ministers and Presidents. V.S.Naipaul the proud son of Trinidad is a Noble Laureate.
Conquering Developed Nations like America , England
Professional Indians like doctors, engineers, IIT graduates, Managers, economists, Computer specialists, Information Technologists are in great demand in developed countries like USA , Canada , UK , Europe, Australia , New Zealand , Japan , Korea , Singapore etc. Here too after some initial struggle, Hindu community has established itself as the most educated, influential and above all most law abiding community amongst various other races. By the dint of their hard and committed work, they have now become the richest community on the basis of per capita income. Even American politicians have started wooing the Indian community. 17 year old Murali Ambatti of New York University became the youngest doctor in US, 4 year old Rohit Puri of Bangkok, Thailand becomes the youngest Microsoft executive, several teenage boys and girls in US, UK, Australia and New Zealand win national awards in English, general knowledge and science talent competitions. Very recently C.K.Prahalad of University of Michigan is ranked third in “Thinkers 50” based on a survey of business people, consultants, academics and MBAs. He stands tall next only to strategy guru Michael Porter and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Business advisor Ram Charan, Prof. V.Govindarajan and Prof. Rakesh Khurana also find a place among the “Thinkers 50” where Peter Drucker was ranked first before his demise.
Noble Laureates, Values & Wealth Creators
Dr Hargobind Khorana, Dr Chandrasekhar, Dr Amartya Sen and Dr Venkat Ramakrishnan have made Indians proud by bagging Noble Prizes in technical subjects. In USA many Indians like Indira Nooyi, Vinod Khosla, Vinod Dahm, Sabeer Bhatia, Arun Netravalli, Rajeev Gupta, Sanjay Tejwrika, Rajat Gupta, Rana Talwar (only to mention a few) occupy topmost posts in well known Multinational companies like Pepsi-Cola, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Stanchart, Mckensey, Sun Microsystem, Intel etc. Dr Ajay Kumar who hails from Meerut is the Director of Aerodynamics in NASA credited with the successful testing of MACH-7 Scramjet engines that can make flight travel from Mumbai to Delhi a matter of few minutes. He is now heading the MACH-10 project. Ms Arti Prabhakar, Director National Institute of Standards, Ms. Preeta Bansal, councellor in White House, Astronaut Kalpana Chawla have proven that Hindu women can accept any challenge in the western world. In UK based Shri Laxmi Narayan Mittal CEO of M/S Arcelor-Mittal Group of industries is the largest steel producer in the world. Hindujas, Swaraj Paul, Jatania Brothers, Tom Singh, Bhikku & Vijay Patel, Jasminder Singh, Bharat & Ketan Mehta and Dinesh Dhamija have made UK financially strong.
Influencing West through Vedic Universal Philosophy & Hindu Family Values
West is facing a cultural crisis. Increasing rates of broken families, single parents, unwed teenage mothers, drug addicts, alcoholism, homicides, suicides and above all sex abuse by missionary preachers is a great concern to the community which is now studying the Hindu family system with greater attention. Millions of the liberal westerners find solace in yoga, meditation and Bhagwad Gita. All these are growing in the midst of heavy attacks by Christian missionaries which label yoga as devil’s work and Bhagwad Gita as devil’s literature.
Ever since Bhagwad Gita was translated into English in 1785 by Charles Wilkins, it has caught Europe and America like a wild fire. Governor Warren Hastings, Arthur Schopenhauer, Annie Beseant, Margaret Noble (Sister Nivedita), Savitri Devi, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Max Muller, Aldous Huxley,Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Will Durant, Jules Michelet, a French historian, Schlegel – History of Literature, Wheeler Wilcox, “India, the land of the Vedas”, Joseph Campbell (Sanskrit) and hundreds of scholars have found a new meaning in their life mission.
In recent times Divine Mother of Pondicherry, Shivaya Subramanya of Shaiva Siddhanta Church, David Frawley (Vamadev Muni), Koenrad Elst, Stephen Knapp, Michel Danino, Alan Ford, Francis Gautier have been very vocal in their appreciation of Hinduism and leave no stones unturned to defend Hinduism against unjust criticisms.
Noble Laureates like Niel Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger (Quantum Physics), Einstein (Theory of Relativity), W.Heisenberg (German Sub Atomic Physicist 1901-1976), other leading scientists like J.R.Oppenheimer (1943-44 Father of Atomic Explosion), Carl Segal (Cosmology), social thinkers of the present era like Emmelin Plunret, A.L. Basham – Australian Indologist, Burke (A German Historian of Maths), Hankel, Hu Shih, former Chinese Ambassador to USA have been inspired by the universal Vedic philosophy, Vedic Sciences and Vedic civilization.
The untiring efforts of Swami Vivekanand, Swami Ramatirth, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Yogi Aurobindo (Auroville), Mata Amritanandamayi, Swami Prabhupad, Swami Chinmayanand, Swami Tilak, Swami Muktanand, Acharya Rajnish, Swami Mahesh Yogi, Shri Shri Ravishankar Maharaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and the labors of organizations like Ramakrishna Ashram, Satya Sai Samaj, ISKCON, Saiva Siddhanta Church, Chinmaya Ashram, Divine Life Society, Raj Yoga Centre, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh, Hindu Sevika Samiti and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have made Hinduism truly global. No wonder the Sultan of Bahrain, Royal family members of Buckingham palace, Benitto Craxi former prime minister of Italy , Mrs Anwar Sadat, Mrs Yeltsin, sisters of former Prime minister of Canada Max Mulrony also speak Hindu philosophy.
Many Indian engineers, accountants, managers and lacs of skilled and semi skilled workers are working in Gulf countries since the oil explorations in the sixties. They made the hot windy deserts of Saudi Arabia , Kuwait , Bahrain , United Arab Emirates , Sultanate of Oman and Qatar rich and prosperous by their hard work under highly adverse conditions. Even before oil was found, Sindhi and Gujarati merchants made life bearable. Arabs including Sultans will eagerly await the arrival of ships from India which brought necessary and lifesaving objects like drinking waters, food items, medicines and garments from India . Some of them are so influential that the Royal family members depended on them for financial help. The devote Khimjis had built a Shiva temple in Muscat , Sulatanate of Oman, one hundred fifty years ago. They were so dominant and aggressive in acquiring real estates that Oman parliament had to pass a resolution prohibiting them from purchasing any further land. In the bygone days they financed Oman crown prince’s travel and education in Bharat. Hence when Indian president
Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma visited Oman , the sultan made him sit on the royal throne and him-self sat below along with others. He personally drove the car while bringing Dr Shankar Dayal ji from the airport. After all Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma ji was in teaching profession before starting his political career; so much for adhering to Hindu Guru Sishya tradition. Recently Prime Minister of Iraq requested Sri Sri Ravishankarji to teach Sudarshan Kriya to jailmates in Iraq . The Arab royal families depend heavily on Indian professionals like doctors, engineers, administrators, managers, clerks and workers not only for running the affairs of their sultanates but also for the administration and maintenance of the royal palaces. Over 30 lac Indians are working in Gulf countries.
Shining as the Best Tax Paying Business Community
Indians with business acumen came to in Hong Kong , Thailand , Singapore , Kenya , Uganda , Tanzania , Dubai etc. Starting as small traders they have become the most successful community in the midst of world wide competitions. Unfortunately the Hindu especially Gujarati businessmen from Uganda , Tanzania , Kenya and Nigeria had to flee from these countries and seek asylum in UK in the sixties and seventies and from Zimbabwe in recent years after local military regimes replaced the European colonial powers. They have enriched UK and are well respected business community there.
(Let Us Move Together!)