Hindu Community Centre planned in Preston England

A Hindu Community Centre has been planned in the city of Preston in England. According to reports, land has been purchased for it and plans have been filed with the Preston City Council. To be developed by Mandhata Samaj, it will be used for religious, cultural and educational activities; besides holding community festivals and gatherings. Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of Centre leaders and area community for realizing this Hindu Centre. Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this new Centre would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism. “Shree Mandhata Samaj”, a registered charity established in United Kingdom (UK) in 1972, is an umbrella organization of various India origin Koli community groups spread over UK; which has youth, women, education, etc., sub-committees and organizes “matrimonial get-togethers” for the community members, numbering over 30,000. Thakor Patel is one of the area Samaj leaders behind this Centre. Preston, the administrative center of Lancashire on River Ribble houses the main campus of the University of Central Lancashire and was recorded in the Domesday Book as “Prestune” in 1086. Prominent people associated with it include one of USA’s founding fathers Benjamin Franklin; footballers Clarke Carlisle, Tom Finney and Phil Jones; wrestler Stu Bennett; cricketer Andrew Flintoff;...

Hindus seek Diwali holiday in New Jersey’s Parsippany-Troy Hills School District

Hindus are urging Parsippany-Troy Hills Township School District (PTHSD) in New Jersey to include Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, as a schools holiday in their 2016-2017 calendar and beyond. The 2015-2016 Calendar of PTHSD, whose “mission” includes “to develop a feeling of self-worth and confidence”, showed schools were closed for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, while district was closed for Good Friday. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was not fair with Hindu pupils and their families as they had to attend school on their most popular festival. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that this unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion. Moreover, it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these students, Zed added Rajan Zed stressed that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and it would be a step in the positive direction. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the PTHSD pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. PTHSD needed to develop some sensitivity to diversity in the changing demographics and grant holidays on Diwali and major...

Hindus welcome Kenya’s withdrawal of proposed religious regulations

Hindus have welcomed the Kenya government’s reported decision to withdraw the proposal of regulating the religious organizations. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta for withdrawing proposed Societies (Religious Societies) Rules, 2015, and thus showing a strong political will on this issue of unnecessary and unrealistic encroachment undermining the religious freedom and exhibiting his commitment to facilitate a free and open society. Moreover, governments should not be in the business of micromanaging religious bodies and regulating worship procedures, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted. Rajan Zed further said that as Kenya’s constitution and other laws/policies protected religious freedom, Kenya should see religious diversity as a national strength and reaffirm its history of religious freedom. Zed stressed that continued commitment to advance religious freedom-diversity-tolerance and peaceful coexistence-cooperation needed to be promoted in Kenya and positive steps should be taken to engage in interfaith dialogue. Ethnic diversity of Kenya, described as “the cradle of humanity” which showed earliest evidence of human’s ancestors, had produced a vibrant...

Hindus elated at US yoga practitioners growing to 37 million

Hindus are highly pleased with the fast and tremendous growth of yoga in the United States of America; with yoga practitioners reaching to about 37 million according to a recently released “2016 Yoga in America Study” conducted by Yoga Journal & Yoga Alliance. Calling it a step in the positive direction, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that yoga, referred as “a living fossil” whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, was a mental and physical discipline for everybody to share and benefit from. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical, Zed noted. According to USA’s National Institutes of Health; yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed added. This comprehensive national Study points out that there is about 50 percent increase in the number of yoga practitioners in the last four years; raising the annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories to $16 billion. The Study also indicates that 86 percent of practitioners self-report having a strong sense of mental clarity and 79 percent give back to their communities—significantly higher rates than among non-practitioners....

“Faith in Birmingham” gallery opens showcasing Hindu deities Vishnu & Ganesh

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) in United Kingdom reportedly launched a new gallery “Faith in Birmingham” on February five; providing unique insight into Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism. BMAG in Birmingham, which claims itself to be a “world class museum”, is showcasing 11th Century Ganesh and Vishnu statues from Bihar, an 11th Century Shiva Lingam from eastern India, 13th Century Nandi statue from Mysore, and various other Hindu artifacts. Museum, expecting a large number of visitors, is putting a “queueing system” in place, reports suggest. Commending Birmingham Museums for the launch of this new multi-faith gallery; Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said: We hope that gallery helps promote interfaith harmony and unity, creates a culture of love and peace, encouraging interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and building better relationships among people of diverse beliefs in Birmingham and beyond. Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that thus opening-up the Birmingham residents and surrounding communities to major world religions would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of “others” in a global community. BMAG, a part of Birmingham Museums launched in 1885 and known for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings, has over 40 galleries. Birmingham Museums, owned by Birmingham City Council and governed/managed by registered charity Birmingham Museums Trust, contains around 800,000 objects, displayed/stored in its nine venues, attracting over one million visitors annually. Ellen McAdam is Trust Director and Steve Freer is Trustees Chairman of Birmingham Museums, which held a Rangoli (Hindu artform) Demonstration in November and has...

Upset Hindus urge Sega for removal of Lord Krishna from video game

Hindus are upset at “Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final” role-playing video game being developed/published by Sega’s subsidiary Atlus depicting Lord Krishna, saying it trivializes a highly revered Hindu deity. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged Tokyo headquartered Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. CEO Hajime Satomi to not include Lord Krishna character in its “Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final” Atlus video game being released on February 10. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the movements of Lord Krishna, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities. Moreover, Lord Krishna depicted by “Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final” wears fedora type hat (widely associated with gangsters), tall riding boots, knickerbockers pant, blue hair, fancy jacket and shirt with neck-scarf, and has brown face; while in Hindu images he is usually depicted wearing dhoti and is blue-skinned; Rajan Zed points out. Zed stated that Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. needed to follow its own “Group Management Philosophy”, which included “strive to enrich our society and culture”; as in this case it was creating confusion in the society/cultures by spreading misinformation about Hindu deity Lord Krishna. Rajan Zed indicated that reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating Lord Krishna with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Lord Krishna was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to be used...

Hindus commend Birmingham Museums for uniting diverse religions in new gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) in United Kingdom is launching a new gallery “Faith in Birmingham” on February five; providing unique insight into Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism. BMAG in Birmingham, which claims itself to be a “world class museum”, will explore the “traditions, beliefs and customs in an accessible and welcoming environment” of these faith groups, including some “world-class exhibits” and “historical objects of international importance”. “Over the next two years, Birmingham Museums will work with other faiths to incorporate more voices”, Museum release adds. Museum, expecting a large number of visitors, is putting a “queueing system” in place. Commending Birmingham Museums for the launch of this new multi-faith gallery; Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said: We hope that gallery helps promote interfaith harmony and unity, creates a culture of love and peace, encouraging interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and building better relationships among people of diverse beliefs in Birmingham and beyond. Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that thus opening-up the Birmingham residents and surrounding communities to major world religions would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of “others” in a global community. BMAG, a part of Birmingham Museums launched in 1885 and known for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings, has over 40 galleries. Birmingham Museums, owned by Birmingham City Council and governed/managed by registered charity Birmingham Museums Trust, contains around 800,000 objects, displayed/stored in its nine venues, attracting over one million visitors annually. Ellen McAdam is Trust Director and Steve Freer is Trustees...

Hindus criticize Coldplay-Beyoncé video for trivializing Hinduism

Hindus have criticized Coldplay music-video hit single featuring Beyoncé Knowles and titled “Hymn For The Weekend”, saying it trivializes Hinduism. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this party-anthem/club-song music-video unnecessarily dragged sacred Hindu concepts and symbols with no linkage to the lyrics/storyline. What was the connection of—depicting one person dressed as Lord Shiva holding a trishul and sitting on the pavement; three persons dressed as Hanumans and standing with gadas leaning against their shoulders; two saffron-clad sadhus (with one on the ground and another high on a bamboo stick holding a mala) sitting on the roadside, as if meditating, with incense burning in front of them—with the lyrics in the video like “drink from me”? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked. Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus understood that the purpose of Coldplay-Beyoncé in this case apparently was not to denigrate Hinduism, but casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees. Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed stated. Rajan Zed noted that inappropriate usage of Hindu symbols/concepts for mercantile greed or commercial/other agendas was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Moreover, it might unnecessarily perpetuate caricaturing and stereotyping of Hinduism. Zed further said that Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred...

Louisiana ball apologizes to dismayed Hindus over parading of Hindu gods

The Ladies’ Krewe of Galatea, which held a ball and tableau in Morgan City in Louisiana on January 23, has apologized to the dismayed Hindus who called the reported parading of Hindu deities in it as highly inappropriate. Helen Solar, Captain of the Krewe of Galatea, in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed today, wrote: “If you or any member of the Hindu religion or any Indian are offended at our “Travel to India,” we assure you that nothing we presented was intended to offend and do apologize if we led anyone to that interpretation.” Solar also wrote: “I was greatly saddened and dismayed to read this morning that Hindus were, themselves, dismayed at the Krewe of Galatea Ball Masque”…“in no way intended to trivialize one of the world’s oldest, greatest, and most revered religions”…“The entire Ball Masque was intended to be a fantasy voyage”…“While I as Captain of the Krewe of Galatea certainly understand that you object, as you should, to the trivializing of any Hindu belief, I assure you that our Krewe agrees”. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism and who spearheaded the protest urging a formal apology, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Solar and Krewe of Galatea for showing maturity and responsibility, understanding the feelings of Hindu community and apologizing. Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus understood that the purpose of Krewe of Galatea in this case apparently was not to denigrate Hinduism, but casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees. There were certain convictions in every tradition, which were venerable...

Amsterdam Airport carries Hindu Vedas for passengers

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands’ largest and one of the world’s leading airports; carries Bhagavad-Gita, Vedas and other Hindu holy books. These are available to passengers in the Meditation Centre, located near the F-gates, which is open 24-hours a day for prayer or meditation or relaxing in silence or holding a group service. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanking Schiphol, urged other top world airports—Singapore Changi, Incheon (South Korea) International, Hong Kong International, Beijing Capital International, Munich, Zurich, Vancouver International, Tokyo (Haneda) International, London Heathrow—to provide Hindu scriptures for its passengers as a substantial number of Hindu passengers used these airports regularly. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested provision of Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Ramayana, Bhagavad-Gita, Mahabharata, Devi Mahatmya, etc., in the meditation/prayer rooms of world airports. Prayer/worship to God was highly important in Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, Rajan Zed added. Claimed to be “Europe’s Preferred Airport”, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport served over 58.2 million passengers in 2015. Jos Nijhuis is President & CEO of Schiphol Group, while L.J. Gunning-Schepers is Chairman Supervisory Board. There are about one billion Hindus in the...