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Connecting Global Threads of Faith

Editorial

As we embrace the closing days of November, we reflect on a tapestry of stories that weave through continents and communities, celebrating the myriad expressions of faith, resilience, and cultural richness.

In Bolton, England, the Sharad Purnima festival echoed with the rhythmic beats of Garba dancing, uniting 600 people in joy and purpose. A testament to the power of community, the event raised £13,000, a generous sum that found its way to three deserving causes. Pravin Arjan and Sital Raja-Arjan MBE, the hosts, embody the spirit of giving and celebration that resonates beyond borders.

The World Hindu Congress in Thailand echoed the call for unity, addressing the diversity within Hindu society. RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale emphasized the need for global coordination among Hindu organizations, recognizing the strength that lies in unity. The event, attended by delegates from 61 countries, marked a resolve to counter biases against Sanatan Dharma and uphold its values.

However, the spirit of celebration is tempered by distressing incidents in Pakistan, where the demolition of the Sharda Peeth raises questions about the protection of cultural and religious heritage. These incidents underscore the challenges faced by Hindus in the country, highlighting the need for international attention and intervention.

In the serene landscapes of Kauai, Hawaii, the Iraivan Temple stands as a symbol of faith and stewardship. Despite being a minority, the monks of the Kauai Aadheenam campus have created a haven, drawing seekers from around the globe. Their commitment to Shaivism and the architectural homage to the Chola Dynasty reflect the enduring nature of cultural heritage.

The spiritual pulse echoes in India, where temples face desecration, and heritage sites demand restoration. The plea for the preservation of a 12th-century Chola temple and the distressing demolition of 13 sacred tombs in Tiruvannamalai evoke a collective call for safeguarding cultural and religious legacies.

Across borders, in Canada, the so-called Khalistani separatist movement disrupts Diwali celebrations, raising concerns about the intimidation of Hindus. The lack of intervention by local authorities adds urgency to the need for safeguarding religious freedom and communal harmony.

In the political landscape of the United States, the formation of the Congressional Hindu Caucus reflects the acknowledgment of the concerns of the Hindu-American community. A bridge between communities, it signifies the importance of representation and understanding in a diverse society.

As we navigate through the pages of this newsletter, spanning continents and cultures, we find ourselves interconnected by stories that resonate with the Sanatan’s spirit of humanity. It is in this interweaving of narratives that we discover our shared values and the collective responsibility to preserve our cultural tapestry for generations to come.

In unity and celebration,

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World Hindu Congress -Thailand

From Ram Mandir to the resurgence of Hindutva and why it should not be Hinduism, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said that the “majority and minority debate is useless”.“RSS wants unity, not homogenisation. Homogenisation is a western concept. They want to bring about uniformity. Look at the kind of diversity in Bharat. Bharat has never demolished diversity. It has always celebrated it,” he said.

When asked about the reason for organising the World Hindu Congress, he said “our potential as Hindus has to be strengthened. Such inspiration comes from such Congress. Sajjanshakti, well-meaning people, they may not have come and attached themselves to the cause, but the idea is to connect them and collaborate with them. We have to organise and collaborate with them. We are providing them necessary tools. There should be awareness about it, realisation that others are also with me. I am not alone”.


World Hindu Congress concludes with resolve to strengthen Hindu society The conference in Thailand's capital concluded with a resolve to strengthen unity amongst Hindu organisations and effectively counter “visceral hatred” and biases against the Sanatan Dharma. Delegates resolved to support Hindu public representatives elected in foreign countries to fight political narratives against them by organising them through associations and increasing interaction amongst themselves.

According to the organisers, over 2,100 delegates from 61 countries attended the conference that was inaugurated on Friday by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat while spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi delivered the concluding address on Sunday.

The next World Hindu Congress will be held in Mumbai in 2026, the organisers announced.


Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin highlighted Hindu values that promote peace and said that the world struggling with turmoil should take inspiration from Hindu values of non-violence, truth, tolerance and harmony, only then peace would be established in the world. The Prime Minister of the host country, Thavisin, was to participate in the inaugural session but due to some reasons, he could not come. The message of the Thai Prime Minister was read out in the meeting. He said that it is an honour for Thailand to host the World Hindu Congress organized on the principles and values of Hinduism. The Vedas visualize the key principles of synthesis and balance for a peaceful coexistence. The concept of shanti is established on these principles The World Hindu Congress gathered more than 2200 delegates invited from 61 countries of the world who made remarkable achievements in the fields of education, economy, academics, research and development, media and politics. These include MPs and ministers from about 25 countries. There are about 10 lakh people of the Indian community living in Thailand whose contribution to the trade and economic development of the country is noteworthy. ________________________________________________________________________________________

Canada

Unruly elements affiliated with the so-called Khalistani separatist-terrorist movement staged a protest, held Khalistani flags and raised slogans against the Indian government outside the Kalibari temple in Canada’s Mississauga also known as Toronto Kalibari.

People from the intelligence said that these “goons” have now become “frequent visitors to Hindu temples”. They said that these issues will be raised with higher authorities and local government as well but pointed out that local administration despite being aware of this has not taken any steps to enable Hindus to peacefully visit their temples . They said that followers of the so-called Khalistani movement “intimidate Hindus” and “often remain outside temples for long periods of time”.

It should be noted that this is the second time Khalistani elements have attacked worshippers and Ontario Kalibari temple authorities. India on several occasions raised concerns with Canada over rising Hinduphobia and attacks on temples but the Canadian government has failed to address those concerns, leading to deterioration of ties between New Delhi and Ottawa.

In the video, a group of men, carrying Khalistan flags, are seen picking up objects from the ground and reportedly throwing them at a Hindu crowd celebrating Diwali, according to the Toronto Sun.

According to a social media user who shared the video on X, the incident took place at Westwood Mall in Malton. Later, in the video, the police are seen telling the crowd to move back. Peel Regional Police, in a statement on X, said that it was investigating the incident that took place at Westwood Square Mall on November 12.

This alleged incident came a week after India recommended Canada to strengthen its framework to prevent "misuse of freedom of expression" for triggering violence, attacks on places of worship and racial minorities, and address hate crimes and speeches. _______________________________________________________________________________________


United Kingdom

Thousands of pounds have been raised for three worthy borough causes as part of a major annual celebration in Bolton which marks a religious festival. Sharad Purnima is a Hindu religious celebration held on the day of the full moon every October.

And every year couple Pravin Arjan and Sital Raja-Arjan MBE host an event at Memory Lane in Bolton where hundreds of people come together and take part in traditional Garba dancing.

At this year’s event, the biggest of its kind in Bolton for the Hindu community, they raised £13,000 and at the end of the evening, three charities were each presented with a cheque for £4333.34.

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Pakistan

A Hinglaj Mata Mandir (temple) in Sindh province became a victim of crackdown on religious minorities, as officials in the Tharparkar District cited a court order to justify the demolition of this Hindu temple in the city of Mithi.

Even the Sharda Peeth, recognised as a UNESCO site, did not escape destruction. The demolition contradicts international preservation efforts and raises questions about protecting cultural and religious heritage in the region.

These incidents highlight the continued persecution faced by Hindus in the country. Top government sources acknowledge that such atrocities against Hindus are not isolated incidents in Pakistan.

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United States of America

On the island of Kauai, the presence of the Iraivan Temple — a white granite edifice with gold-leafed domes, modeled after millennia-old temples in South India — is unexpected and stunning. Less than 1% of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents are Hindus and on Kauai, the number of Hindus may not even exceed 50, according to some estimates.

But that hasn’t deterred the two dozen monks living at the Kauai Aadheenam campus from being good neighbors and stewards of their faith tradition, drawing pilgrims and seekers from around the globe. In this all-male temple-monastery complex, the monks study and practice Shaivism.

Illuminated only by oil lamps, Iraivan has no fans or air-conditioning. Its architectural style is from the Chola Dynasty, which ruled parts of what is now South India and Sri Lanka for about 1,500 years, starting in 300 B.C.

Indian-American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has said that it is his Hindu faith that led him to the presidential campaign, and that as a president, he wants to make faith, family, hard work, patriotism “cool” in the US again.

Speaking at the ‘The Family Leader’ forum, organised by The Daily Signal platform on Saturday, the 38-year-old spoke about Hinduism, Christianity and his traditional family values. Born to Indian parents who moved to the US from Kerala, Ramaswamy also spoke of the traditional values instilled in him by them.

Ramaswamy is the nation’s second Hindu presidential candidate after former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who ran as a Democrat in 2020. In his address to prospective voters, Ramaswamy often rues that faith, patriotism, hard work and family “have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions in this country”.


US Republicans launched a Congressional Hindu Caucus in order to advocate the concerns and issues of the Hindu-American community. This came after Democrat Shrinivas Thanedar launched a Congressional Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain American Caucus in the month of September.

Over 150 members of the US House of Representatives have committed to becoming members of the Congressional Hindu Caucus, making it one of the largest caucuses in the US Congress that would be actively engaged in enacting legislation and passing resolutions important to the Hindu American community.

The Policy Advisor of Congressional Hindu Caucus, Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar addressed the gathering at the grand inauguration event in Washington DC at Hyatt Regency on November 15. The event was attended by 18 members of US Congress along with Chairwoman Elise Stefanik.


The joyous occasion of Diwali and the Hindu New Year was celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at 2021 E. Township Line Road. The colors, lights and tastes of this festival include the traditional ‘Annakut’ display of vegetarian delicacies devotionally and elegantly offered in front of God as a form of devotion.

The festival was attended by members of the Hindu community in the North Penn region and invited guests, including state and local officials.

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India


A 12th century temple of the Chola dynasty, with striking architectural features, is in a dilapidated condition at Mundlapudi village on the outskirts of Tirupati.

Invariably, locals are unaware of its past, but even the authorities concerned have dug up a public tap precariously close to the temple and a cement road has been laid down adjacent to the wall.

Noted archaeologist and Pleach India Foundation’s CEO E. Sivanagi Reddy visited the temple site along with heritage activist B.V. Ramana on Wednesday, where he found the temple in neglected condition. He appealed to the villagers to restore the Chola temple by dismantling and reconstructing it on stronger foundations.

The revered Kattu Siva Siddha Viddha Abhyaasa Temple in Tiruvannamalai witnessed the overnight demolition of 13 sacred tombs and the closure of a perennial well, creating a wave of distress among devotees. It is alleged that the land was levelled to create space for car parking.

The temple, known for its spiritual significance and monthly gatherings, was dedicated to the memory of Kattu Siva Siddhar and his disciples. The sacred space had been a site for meditation, prayer, and monthly rituals performed in honour of Kattu Siva and the 13 disciples, whose Jeeva Samadhi (burial site) had been erected there. According to historical accounts, Kattu Siva, a Siddhar known for his mystical abilities, performed penance in the forests near the hill close to Tiruvannamalai’s Girivalam route. Devotees believed in his power to manifest and disappear at will, appearing only to those who sought his presence.

Devotees and administrators are seeking answers and urging authorities to facilitate the reconstruction of the Jeeva Samadhi and the preservation of the spiritual practices that have been disrupted by shocking events.


A couple from Germany participated in "Chhath Puja" at Patna.

"It's a great festival. It's the biggest and most beautiful festival I've ever been to. And it's an incredible experience because the people are so friendly and everyone is in a great mood. It's a joy to watch everyone offering prayer. So thank you so much to everyone," said a visitor from Germany in Patna.

Thousands of devotees from various parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring States witnessed Soorasamharam(annihilation of demon) during the annual Kanda Sashti festival at Tiruchendur in Thoothukudi district on Saturday.

Devotees began their Sashti fast on the premises of Subramaniya Swami temple here when the Kanda Sashti yagasala puja started on November 13. Following viswaroopa deeparadhana and udhaya marthanda abhishekam, the yagasala puja started. After taking a holy dip in the sea, devotees offered prayers at the temple before starting their fast in 21 temporary sheds.

The Allahabad high court on Thursday reserved its order on an application seeking appointment of a court-monitored advocate commissioner to survey the Shahi Eidgah premises, adjoining the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura.

The application was moved by the Hindu side in the pending suit that seeks removal of Shahi Eidgah, claiming it was built on a Hindu temple. After hearing both parties, Justice Mayank Kumar Jain reserved the order.

The application in suit number one, titled Bhagwan Sri Krishna Virajman Vs Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board, was moved on behalf of plaintiffs, including the deity, for appointment of the court-monitored commissioner to inspect the “disputed” property. The petitioners have claimed that the birthplace of lord Krishna lies beneath the mosque and that there are a number of signs that establish the building in question is a Hindu temple.

In May this year, the Allahabad high court transferred to itself all the suits pending before the Mathura court praying for various reliefs pertaining to the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Eidgah dispute.

Marking the beginning of a two-month-long annual pilgrimage season, the doors of the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala opened for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival on Thursday. Temple chief priest Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu opened the sanctum sanctorum in the absence of the outgoing head priest K. Jayaraman Namboothiri. This was followed by the opening of the Upadevata temples and transferring of the scared fire to the Aazhi.

Travancore Devaswom Board president P.S. Prasanth, Sabarimala Special Commissioner M. Manoj, Pathanamthitta District Collector A. Shibu etc. were present on the occasion.

As per official estimates, around 50 lakh pilgrims visited the temple last year with the revenue crossing ₹350 crore. The authorities, meanwhile, are anticipating a further surge in pilgrim footfall this season, especially from the neighbouring States.

In Rajasthan, Jodhpur has the largest population of migrants from Pakistan.

Gamu Ram (40) and his family who migrated to Jodhpur for a better life from Pakistan a decade ago, face struggles every day while waiting for citizenship and rehabilitation.

Ram lives with his family at a temporary settlement in Bheel Basti, nearly 10 km from Jodhpur city, on Gangana Road. They are among thousands of Pakistani Hindu migrants living in the city holding onto hopes of a better life. Jodhpur has the State's largest population of migrants from Pakistan.

Three organizations: Nimmiketam (https://nimittekam.org/) UJAS (https://www.slsujas.org/) , and ThinkPeace ( https://www.thinkpeace.in/) are working with these refugees, We encourage our readers to donate to these organizations and help alleviate the struggles of Hindu refugees trapped in the inertia and indifference of the governments.


We welcome your feedback and suggestions on our global media report covering Hindu heritage and the challenges faced by Hindus worldwide. Your insights are invaluable in fostering greater understanding and awareness. Please share your thoughts on our email and let us continue this important conversation togeth

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