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  • GHTN Media Team

Global Hindu Temple Network

Updated: Apr 9


Newsletter








Connecting Global Threads of Faith

From the Editorial Team

Dear Readers,


In an age of unparalleled connectivity facilitated by globalization, the dissemination of information has transcended geographical boundaries. Yet, amidst this deluge of news, there exists a narrative often obscured from mainstream discourse - the enduring struggles faced by Hindus and the remarkable resilience they exhibit across diverse landscapes. Our fortnightly report serves as a beacon, illuminating these oft-overlooked incidents and offering a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted experiences of the Hindu community worldwide.

The primary aim of our report is to present a comprehensive and impartial overview of incidents affecting Hindus, as reported by credible news agencies. By meticulously curating and analysing this information, we endeavour to foster greater awareness about Hindu culture, values, and contributions to society. Moreover, we advocate fervently for the safeguarding of fundamental rights and the freedom of religion for Hindus globally.

 

In this edition of our newsletter, we delve into a myriad of developments spanning continents, encapsulating both the challenges and triumphs within the Hindu community. From the bustling streets of India to the vibrant diaspora communities in Canada and the United States, and from the serene landscapes of Fiji to the bustling cities of Spain, our report traverses diverse landscapes to unveil the rich array of Hindu experiences.

In India, recent incidents underscore the persistent challenges faced by Hindus, ranging from clashes on university campuses to the contentious issue of state control over temples. These developments not only highlight the complexities of religious freedom but also underscore the importance of safeguarding cultural heritage in an ever-changing landscape.

The ongoing survey conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the Bhojshala Complex in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district has drawn attention to the centuries-old struggle over the site. For Hindus, the complex holds significant religious value as a temple dedicated to Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while for Muslims, it is the site of the Kamal Maula mosque.

Meanwhile, in Canada and the United States, the Hindu community grapples with issues surrounding identity and representation. Instances of Hinduphobia underscore this struggle, while cultural celebrations serve as a testament to their resilience and determination. From fervent protests against pro-Khalistani elements to the joyous festivities of Holi, Hindus navigate a multifaceted landscape.

While recent pro-Khalistani protests in Canada targeting India's High Commissioner have sparked outrage among Hindus, false information spread through posters has fueled concerns about the rise of Hinduphobia. Despite petitions and appeals for recognition, the government's response has been lacking. Moreover, temple vandalizations remain largely unreported, underscoring a troubling trend of extremism against Hindus in Canada.

Beyond the shores of North America, we explore the burgeoning Hindu community in Fiji, where traditions are upheld with fervor and zeal. The celebration of Holi serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of unity and diversity, transcending boundaries of race, ethnicity, and background.

In Spain, the challenges of integration and recognition confront Hindus, as they navigate a landscape marked by diversity and pluralism. Despite facing legal hurdles and institutional barriers, the Hindu community strives to carve out a space for itself, advocating for recognition and representation in the public sphere.

As we navigate the intricate web of global developments, our report serves as a conduit for dialogue and understanding, fostering empathy and solidarity across borders. We invite your feedback and insights as we continue this journey together, championing the cause of Hindu heritage and resilience in the face of adversity.

 

Sincerely

Dr Vinay Nalwa

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March Newsletter # 2 (Mar 15 – Mar 31)

India

The court-mandated Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey at the Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district continued on the seventh day on Thursday.

Ashish Goyal and Gopal Sharma representing the Hindu community and a leader of the Muslim community, Abdul Samad, were present with the ASI team during the survey. 

On March 11, the Madhya Pradesh High Court directed the ASI to carry out within six weeks a 'scientific survey' of the Bhojshala complex, a medieval-era monument that Hindus believe is a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati) and the Muslim community calls Kamal Maula Mosque.

It is believed that Raja Bhoj, a Hindu king, had installed the statue of Vagdevi in Bhojshala in 1034 AD. Hindu groups say the British took this statue to London in 1875.


As many as 10 youths were booked after a dispute erupted over playing Holi in Aligarh Muslim university on Thursday afternoon.

The complainant Aditya pratap Singh (20) said several unruly elements and students attacked him and his associates after an argument about playing Holi.


A shopkeeper in Bengaluru was thrashed by a group of men after they complained that he was playing loud music at the time of azaan. He alleged he was asked by the men to stop playing Hanuman bhajan.

Three people were arrested in connection with the incident.


Madapathis of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Shrine accuse the Greyhounds — elite anti-Maoist combat unit of the Telangana Police — of trying to dispossess them of land and the state government of divesting them of their fundamental rights and livelihood by arbitrarily taking over management of the shrine.

Gunfire interspersed with temple bells in the morning air as unmindful devotees went about their prayers at the Sri Veerabhadra Swamy shrine near Hyderabad. The shrine, said to be centuries-old, sits on a hillock, about 10 km from the hustle and bustle of Telangana’s IT hub Cyberabad. The Madapathis, who identify as a family of “Lingayat Brahmins”, are the hereditary priests and custodians of the shrine, also known as the Machileshwarnath temple. For them, the gunfire at the Greyhounds training centre next door seems to be the least of their worries.

Given the tussle between the state and Madapathis, the shrine is now at the centre of a fast-moving row over the state’s control of Hindu places of worship, particularly temples in southern India.

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Canada

Barrie's Indian community celebrated the festival of Holi on Sunday. People gathered at a parking lot on St Vincent Street for the Hindu festival of Colours, otherwise known as Holi.

"There are people here from different cultures, different backgrounds and races, and this brings us together to celebrate as one," said Shakir Barmare, President of the Barrie Indian Association.

More than 400 people attended the event in Barrie. Barmare says that by holding the Holi festival each year, Indian- Canadian immigrants can keep the tradition alive for younger generations growing up in Canada. Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard and the Chief of Barrie Police Service, Rich Johnston, were also present at the festival.

 

The Hindu community in Canada has expressed outrage over pro-Khalistan elements engaging in “Hinduphobic” behaviour during recent protests targeting India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa’s events in western provinces of the country.

They were particularly concerned over posters related to the 1984 anti-Sikhs riots in India, which followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A poster in this context, displayed in public during a pro-Khalistan demonstration in Calgary on Saturday stated that Sikh infants were “burnt alive by Hindu mobs” during the pogroms, while those riots were never considered communal in nature.

“Khalistani protest posters shockingly depicting Hindus as hateful and extremist mob committing the heinous act of killing a baby are deeply disturbing. Such disinformation, allowed to proliferate under the guise of protest in Canada, paves the way for more Hinduphobia,” Rishabh Sarswat, president of the Canadian chapter of the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), said.

This followed a series of posts on X from CoHNA Canada in which it said, “If Khalistani supporters can resort of violence against police, diplomats and press with impunity, imagine the risk they pose to ordinary citizens.”

It argued it was time for Hinduphobia to “receive the attention it deserves”.

Protests by pro-Khalistan groups in Canada have become rampant especially after the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) called for High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma’s events in the country to be targeted.

 

Devotees in Canada’s smallest province are celebrating the opening of the first Hindu temple there. The Hindu Temple of Prince Edward Island (PEI) opened this month and has been thronged by members of the community since, evidencing the demand for such a house of worship in a province with the population of just 180,000.

“It was really incredible. There was a gap, obviously,” said Krishna Thakur, an academic from the United of Prince Edward Island, who is also President of the Hindu Society of PEI.

The Society’s secretary Neethin Rao, who is from Kerala, said the temple has been “well received” within the province with the opening being attended by the mayors of Charlottetown and Cornwall, the local MP as well as members of the legislative assembly.

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US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Monday (local time) extended their Holi wishes to the people of India and others across the world celebrating the festival of colours.

"Today, millions around the world will join together to celebrate Holi, the arrival of spring, with gulal (coloured powder) and vibrant colours. Jill and I wish all those observing today’s Festival of Colours, joy and happiness," Joe Biden wrote on X.

 Earlier, US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti posted a video explaining his excitement about celebrating his first Holi in India. Holi was celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm across India and by the Indian communities living in different countries. The festival marks the arrival of spring after a long winter season.


The ancient festival has Hindu roots, but growing numbers worldwide are taking part in the celebration, which features bonfires, singing, dancing, prayer, feasting and clouds of pigmented powder.

Celebrants are covered in red and pink hues outside a temple. A rainbow haze swirls through India, where raucous laughter rings out as friends and strangers douse one another with fists full of pigmented powder. It is time for the ancient Hindu tradition of Holi, an annual celebration of spring.

In 2024, crimson, emerald, indigo and saffron clouds will hover over the country on March 25 for one of its most vibrant, joyful and colorful festivals. “Playing Holi,” as Indians say, has spread far beyond India’s borders. Holi (pronounced “holy”), also known as the “festival of colors,” starts on the evening of the full moon during the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, which falls around February or March.

It begins with the kindling of bonfires. People gather around the flames to sing, dance and pray for an evening ritual called Holika Dahan, which re-enacts the demise of a Hindu demoness, Holika.

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Fiji

Hindus in Fiji celebrate Holi to mark the triumph of good over evil. All Sanatan schools remain closed and Ramayan mandalis around Fiji spend the whole day taking part in celebrations.

“In Fiji, where our strength lies in our diversity, Holi demonstrates the spirit of inclusivity and mutual respect,” Charan Jeath Singh, said Minister for Muti-Ethnic Affairs and Sugar Industry.

“It is a time when we go beyond our differences, come together as one community, and celebrate the joyous festival with our loved ones, our neighbours, and diverse community,” he said.

“The festival of colours signifies grace irrespective of our race, ethnicity, and background on this auspicious day are a beautiful symbol for the unified nation that we are proud to call home, our beloved Fiji.

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Spain

The Hindu priest from Ceuta Juan Carlos Ramchandani (Pandit Krishna Kripa Dasa) has participated in the International Congress on the Legal Status of Religious Minorities without a Cooperation Agreement in Spain organized by the Public University of Navarra (UPNA), the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain.

Ramchandani attended as speaker and president of the Hindu Federation of Spain and vice president of the Hindu Forum of Europe. Ramchandani spoke about the “unusual situation” of Hinduism, “the oldest form of religion in humanity that is still in force,” in Spain, where it has a documented presence for 150 years and with approximately 75,000 faithful spread throughout the national geography. , but which lacks the official recognition with the privileges and duties that the government of Spain grants to the confessions that do have it.

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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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