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Connecting Global Threads of Faith January Newsletter 1 (Jan1 – Jan 15)

India

Twelve persons were arrested on Friday for allegedly stripping and beating three sadhus, who were going to Ganga Sagar, in West Bengal’s Purulia district.

Madhur Goswami, one of the sadhus told local media persons, “We were going to Gangasagar. On the way some people stopped the vehicle. We were heckled and beaten up. The vehicle was also damaged. We would return to our ashram. We can’t go to Ganga Sagar as the vehicle has been damaged,”

Gangasagar in South 24 Parganas district is located at least 360 km further south from Kashipur in Purulia district where the incident took place. “We were coming from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. We couldn’t understand the language. Villagers started beating us. Had the police reached the spot a few minutes late, we would have got killed.” he added.


Millions of pilgrims would take the holy dip at Ganga Sagar, the confluence of River Ganges and Bay of Bengal, over the next two days to celebrate Makar Sankranti on January 15, the first major Hindu festival in the Gregorian calendar. Ganga Sagar Mela is the second largest assembly of pilgrims in the country after Kumbh Mela.

 

Ahead of Ram temple consecration ceremony, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has organized celebrations that extend beyond the borders of India. Festivities are set to unfold in 55 other countries, where prayers will be conducted in coordination with the main consecration ceremony scheduled for January 22 in Ayodhya. Through these celebrations, the VHP is trying to reach out to the Indian diaspora and Hindus. VHP sources said these congregations will be attended by Hindus of African, Hispanic, South American, Indo-Burmese, Mongolian and European origins.


According to VHP Joint General Secretary Swami Vigyananand, who handles the organisation’s international affairs, “There is a lot of enthusiasm among the diaspora and even those who have embraced Hinduism are coming. We didn’t expect such a massive response”.

 

A special 'Kalash' from Ayodhya's Ram Janmabhoomi was installed in the premises of the famous Martand Sun Temple in the Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Sunday.

The special Kalash was brought to the Anantnag district by a special procession 'Kalash Yatra' and installed at the Martand Sun Temple, which is one of the holiest sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Hindus in the Anantnag district.

The Martand Sun Temple is an eighth-century Hindu temple, located near the city of Anantnag.

 

Devotional platform for temples DevDham (previously DevDarshan) has raised ₹6 crore in its seed round, led by Titan Capital, All In Capital, Veda VC and TDV Partners. The company has raised $1 million in investment to date.


The startup, which was founded by IIT graduates Pranav Kapoor, Suyash Taneja, and Sagnika Chowdhury, aims to connect devotees globally with Hindu temples, offering online daily darshan, pujas, and digital donations.  The investment will be used to expand the temple network, enhance technology infrastructure, and strengthen marketing efforts, said the company.


The idol carved by Karnataka’s renowned sculptor Arun Yogiraj will adore the grand Ram temple. The trustee of Ram Janmbhoomi Teertha Kshetra, Bimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra, had confirmed the completion of the idol selection process during the trust's meeting on Friday.

Explaining the selection process, Mishra highlighted the idol's captivating nature, saying, "The idol speaks to you, as once you see it, you get mesmerised by it. Even if multiple idols are placed together, the eyes will get fixated on the one that will be the best."

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 


Hindus from South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities living in New York City "have a reason to celebrate and lift their spirituality," Mayor Eric Adams asserted on Saturday.

Mayor Adams attended a Mata Ki Chowki, a religious celebration, at the Geeta Mandir in the city. Adams -- joined by one of his top allies Deputy Commissioner of International Affairs Dilip Chauhan- thanked and highlighted the "importance of true faith and the importance of worship." When asked about the opening of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and what it meant to the Hindus of New York City, terming it “extremely important” Adams said "We have one of the largest Indian populations here in the city and (Ram Mandir opening) allows them to celebrate and lift their spirituality to help us all in the healing process," Mayor Adams told the Hindu community members.


On Diwali, Adams announced the Festival of Lights as a New York City public school holiday. The announcement came after state lawmakers approved a bill, first introduced in 2021 and reintroduced in 2022.

 

A Hindu temple in Hayward, California, has been defaced with pro-Khalistan graffiti. This incident at Sherawali Temple comes weeks after the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California was defaced by anti-India graffiti.

The Hindu American Foundation has reported that Sherawali Temple in California was defaced with pro-Khalistani graffiti. The Hindu American Foundation also highlighted the importance of installing working security cameras and alarm systems, considering the rising threat from Khalistan supporters. The spokesperson added the temple authorities were 'shocked' to find the anti-Indian graffiti on its wall.

Shedding more light into the incident, Jonathan Arguello, a police captain for the city of Newark, said the 'targeted act' was being investigated.

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United Kingdom

Survey of the British Indian and Hindu community has found that many are experiencing prejudice owing to their misrepresentation in the UK media deriving from a "colonial" focus on “cows, curry and caste”.

Fifty-nine per cent of survey participants said they had personally witnessed or experienced prejudice because of the British media reporting on Hindus and Hinduism and 79% said media reports on Hinduism had resulted in negative perceptions of British Indians.

Eighty-one per cent of respondents said that UK media reporting on India had directly led to negative perceptions of British Indians and 70% reported either witnessing or personally experiencing prejudice due to how the British media reports on India.

The nation-wide survey was carried out among 2,061 respondents, by INSIGHT UK, an organisation that represents British Hindu and Indian communities.

In their free text responses, respondents referred to being mistaken as Pakistani, experiencing hate on social media against Indians, and a focus in the UK media on “cows, curry and caste”. Some respondents recommended the UK media “remove its imperial and colonial hangover” and “use better sources and more Hindu representation”.

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Dear Readers

In our ongoing commitment to keeping you well-informed, we're introducing a new and interactive segment in our newsletter – “Share your Views”. This week, we delve into the details of a pressing news report that has caught our attention:  The Times of India report is on a survey of the British Indian and Hindu community that exposes the prevalent prejudice in UK media due to misrepresentation and colonial mindset.

 

Question for the readers - Do you believe that increased representation in the British media would empower British Hindus and the Indian community to address the concerns of biased and unreliable reporting, thereby minimizing its impact on them?

 

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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