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Connecting Global Threads of Faith

Dear Members,

Welcome to the first December edition of our newsletter and thank you for being a part of our community. In this December edition of "Connecting Global Threads of Faith," we delve into stories that reflect the challenges faced by Hindu communities around the world and celebrate the resilience of Hindu heritage.

Our hearts go out to our fellow Hindus in Guyana as they face uncertain times due to the territorial dispute involving Venezuela. The recent directive by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to explore and exploit resources in Guyana’s Essequibo region raises questions about the impact on the Hindu community, which makes up a significant portion of the local population. We'll be monitoring the situation closely and hope for a peaceful resolution that respects the rights and traditions of all involved.

On a more uplifting note, we delve into the magnificence of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Jersey, USA. This architectural marvel stands as a testament to Hindu art, spirituality, and devotion. The intricate details of its construction, the symbolism behind each structure, and the fusion of east and west cuisine at Shayona Cafe offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Hindu traditions flourishing beyond the borders of India.

The incidents reported from India shed light on both the tensions and mismanagement affecting significant Hindu sites. The clashes at Srirangam temple and the scrutiny of Odisha Government's handling of Shree Jagannatha Mandir underscore the importance of preserving the sanctity of sacred places. It prompts us to ponder how effective governance can safeguard the spiritual treasures embedded in these historical landmarks.

On a brighter note, the progress in the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya brings a sense of anticipation and joy. The release of images showcasing the ongoing work and the preparations for the consecration ceremony reflect the devotion and determination of the community. It is a testament to the endurance of faith over the centuries, even in the face of adversities.

Indonesia's Prambanan temple serves as a beautiful testament to the enduring cultural ties between India and Southeast Asia. It reminds us that Hinduism's reach extends far beyond its birthplace, creating a shared heritage that transcends borders and religions.

However, the intensifying persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh ahead of general elections is deeply troubling. The rise in religiously motivated attacks demands immediate attention and intervention. As global citizens, we must advocate for the protection of minority rights and condemn any form of violence based on religious beliefs.

And our hearts ache as we learn about the conversion of a temple in Pakistan's Sadiqabad into an animal farm. These incidents underscore the ongoing challenges faced by hindu community in preserving their religious and cultural heritage. We stand in solidarity with those affected and hope for a future where diversity is celebrated, and religious sites are respected.

In closing, "Connecting Global Threads of Faith" is not just a report; it is a call to action. Your feedback, insights, and engagement are essential as we strive to foster understanding, preserve heritage, and stand united in the face of challenges.

Sincerely,

Editorial Team


India


Chaos ensued at the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Trichy as temple guards allegedly attacked Ayyappa devotees from Andhra Pradesh. The devotees, on a pilgrimage that involves travelling across Tamil Nadu before reaching Sabarimala in Kerala, had visited the Trichy Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple.

It all started when the devotees standing near the sanctum sanctorum, chanted 'Govinda,' a traditional chant associated with Venkateshwara Swamy. The security guards instructed them to stop chanting, leading to a confrontation. Two Ayyappa devotees were injured during the scuffle, with one pilgrim sat on the temple floor bleeding.

Upon witnessing the situation, other Ayyappa devotees gathered, and the police were called in to intervene. Complaints have been filed by both parties, and further investigation is underway.



  The revered Jagannatha Mandir in Puri, a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus, has been marred by recent mismanagement, shedding light on the failures of the Odisha Government in overseeing the affairs of the sacred temple. The Shree Jagannatha Temple Act, 1955 (https://shreejagannatha.in/wp-content/uploads/download-manager-files/xx(1).pdf) gave the control the management and affairs of the Jagannatha Temple at Puri to the Odisha government. The treasury of Lord Jagannath Temple is known as Ratna Bhandar where the gold, jewelry, most precious gems, diamonds and other valuables have been preserved. As per an order of the Orissa High Court, there was an attempt made to open the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar on April 4, 2018. But it could not be opened as the temple administration could not find the keys. But the administration did not make it public that the key was missing until the matter was raised in the managing committee meeting two days after the attempts were made to open the Ratna Bhandar. The treasury has yet to be opened for inventory.



Ahead of the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust released photos showing the current status of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir construction work.

The replicas offer a visual representation of the sacred structure, giving devotees a sense and feel of the grandeur of the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony as it unfolds next year.

Earlier, the General Secretary of Shri Ram Janambhoomi Trust, Champat Rai, said that the idol depicting the child form of Lord Ram is 90 percent ready."At Ram Janambhoomi temple, a 4'3'' idol depicting the 5-year-old child form of Lord Ram is being constructed at three locations in Ayodhya. Three artisans are building the idol on three different pieces of stone, and one of the idols will be accepted by the Lord. "The idol will be installed in the 'Grabhgriha' on the ground floor. The ground floor of the temple is almost ready. So, there will be no problem with 'Praan-Pratishtha' (Consecration ceremony)," he added. He further mentioned that at least 4000 sadhus are being invited to the 'Praan-Pratishtha' ceremony. Vedic rituals for the Pran-Pratishtha (consecration) ceremony of Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram) in Ayodhya will begin on January 16, next year, a week before the main ceremony.

Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its affiliated organisations in Mangaluru on Monday, December 4, started the process of handing over “Mantrakshate” which is brought from Ayodhya, to every Hindu household in Dakshina Kannada district, and invited them for the religious congregation at local temples on January 22 when Lord Ram idol will be consecrated in Ayodhya.


Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader M.B. Puranik recalled days since 1984 when VHP and other units took up the fight to reclaim the land where temple of Lord Ram had been brought down. “We cannot visit Ayodhya and physically witness the consecration ceremony. We can be in our places and pray,” he said. People need to follow ideals of Lord Ram to make the country ‘Rama Rajya’, he added.


Vidyendra Tirtha Swami of Chitrapura Mutt also spoke on the occassion. A batch of three activists from areas in Mangaluru namely Kadri, Shakti Nagar, Katipalla, Surathkal, Kavoor, Kodikal, Mangaladevi, and Kannur were called on stage and each of them was given a pot containing “Matrakshate”. Activists carried these pots on their heads and visited Sharavu Mahaganapathy and a few other temples before taking the pots to their areas for house-to-house distribution of ‘Matrakshate’.



There was bloodshed many times in the establishment of religion, which is a lesson for us from history so that in future “dharma ka sthapana” can happen without violence, said general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Dattatreya Hosabale, on Saturday at the Ambedkar International Center in Delhi.

Taking on the critics of Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Hosabale said: “Some people who suppressed the facts of history are trying to build a narrative. But one simple fact should silence them, which is that Ram Janmabhoomi has not happened once, but 72 times. The society of Bharat has never forgotten its respect and right over Ram Janmabhoomi. Every generation has struggled for this.” There are some occasions, some scenes are such that even the Gods wait to see them. 500 years of wait, 20 to 25 generations of struggle, 74 wars, after all for this temple.

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Indonesia

Centuries-old Prambanan temple, a large compound consisting of 240 Hindu temples on the outskirts of Yogyakarta city in Muslim-majority Indonesia, stands as a testimony to India's deep-rooted cultural and historical ties with South East Asia.The 10th-century Prambanan temple, located approximately 17 kilometres northeast of Yogyakarta city, is considered Indonesia's largest Hindu temple.


A UNESCO heritage site, the Prambanan temple popularly known as Candi Prambanan original compound, destroyed by major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions over centuries, was rediscovered in the 17th century and is now being restored. The temple is dedicated to three main Hindu deities ‘Trimurti’ - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Two priests, appointed by the authorities, perform prayers thrice every day in front of the Shiva temple. The prayers are offered to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva," a priest told PTI after performing the evening prayers. "The temple is a testimony to India's deep-rooted cultural ties with Southeast Asia," he added. In November end, around 400 yoga enthusiasts participated in a yoga event in the temple park.


Not far from the Prambanan temple lies the Kedu Valley, where one of the largest Buddhist monuments in the world - the Borobudur Temple - is located.

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Bangladesh


As Bangladesh prepares for its upcoming general elections, the Hindu community is facing a surge in religious persecution. A recent incident in Sripur village, Jhenaidah district, highlights the growing threat to Hindu minorities in the country.

On the night of November 29, a mob of Islamists, reportedly led by Faruk Hossain Juel, descended upon Sripur village, armed with country-made weapons, sticks, and sharp implements. They unleashed a brutal attack on the Hindu residents, leaving several people seriously injured. Four villagers, Santosh Kumar Biswas, Amal Kumar Biswas, Biswajit Pramanik, and Chirabjib Kumar Biswas, were hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.

This incident is not an isolated one. In the lead-up to the elections, Hindu families in Shailkupa upazila, Khulna division, have been subjected to intimidation and forced to sell their homes at throwaway prices to escape religious persecution. Reportedly, many Hindu families are fleeing to other parts of the country due to threats from Islamists. Often, religious frenzy is used as a camouflage to grab land and properties of Hindus who do not get necessary protection from the government authorities.


These incidents underscore the escalating persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh, particularly in the context of impending elections. The Hindu community is facing a wave of violence, intimidation, and land grabbing, forcing many to abandon their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. The Bangladeshi government must take immediate action to protect its Hindu minority and ensure their safety and well-being.

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Guyana


Venezuela’s strongman President Nicolas Maduro ordered the nation’s state-owned companies to immediately begin exploring and exploiting the oil, gas and mines in Guyana’s Essequibo region. The directive came a day after Venezuelan President Maduro held a referendum to reclaim the 61,600-square-mile (159,500-square-kilometre) territory which accounts for two-thirds of Guyana and also borders Brazil and is almost the size of Greece.


Guyana is also home to more than 200,000-250,000 Hindus, making it the only nation in the Western Hemisphere with a sizable Hindu population, according to Pew Research Centre and Encyclopedia.com. Guyanese Hindus are also struggling to retain their traditions alive in the face of many challenges, according to a blog post by the Hindu American Foundation. The challenges endured by Guyanese Hindus that has contributed to their decline in Guyana, and why is it crucial for the global Hindu community to be aware of and support the preservation efforts of Guyana's Hindu population?https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/hinduism-beyond-india-guyana

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Pakistan


A viral video depicting the conversion of a temple in Ahmadpur Lumma town of Sadiqabad in Pakistan into an animal farm has sparked widespread outrage.

The video shared on X (formerly Twitter) shows an ancient temple which has been converted into an animal enclosure and is now home to cattle, goats, ducks, and chickens.

The video shows two men entering the premises and filming the video as they show around. The video became viral a day after another clip showcased how a Krishna temple was transformed into a madrassa and mosque in the same town.

These incidents have ignited controversy and raised questions about the preservation of religious diversity and cultural heritage in Pakistan.

 

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 together ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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