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Global Hindu Footprint - Spread Beyond India
<span style='color:purple'>Hindu religion has a remarkable global footprint today, and is practiced across all the continents of the world.

One of the major contributors to this global footprint is migration of Hindus from India to different parts of the world in last 250 years. Today if Hinduism has a presence all over, the credit is largely to the valor of the Hindus who migrated from India under tremendous hardships to go and settle down far away in unknown lands. Like the fragrance of a flower is spread in the garden, these Hindu migrants have carried their faith and culture from India to different parts of the world. They spread the presence of Hinduism from Guyana and Surinam in South America to Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore in Asia Pacific and from South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles in Africa to UK, Holland, France, Purtugal, Spain in Europe.

These torchbearers of Hinduism, on one hand, must have been highly agile and flexible in adapting to the outer norms and local customs, while on the other hand, very steadfast in preserving and nourishing the faith of their forefathers, as well as relentless in mandatorily passing it on to their children. Preserving Hinduism must have obviously not been free from grave challenges. They must have withstood enormous external challenge in preserving their faith - varying in degrees from persecution to ridicule, racism or rejection. Today, these Hindu communities live in different socio-politico-cultural statuses within their respective local societies - some can certainly said to be flourishing while others probably struggling to survive.

As a salute to those ambassadors of Hinduism, I am initiating this thread. I think it is very important for us to collect, record, analyze, and report the history and status of these Hindu societies outside of India. I am expecting to post and invite fellow forum members to use this thread for reporting the migration history, their struggles, life of their leaders, their present condition, and any other related information.

<span style='color:red'>Hindus of South America</span>
How differently Hinduism developed in the adjacent nations of Suriname and Guyana
[This article appeared in January-February, 2000 issue of Hinduism Today. Explicit permission has not been taken]


The Indian subcontinent has not been the only source of major Hindu migrations in the last 50 yeah. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus have emigrated from the former British colonies of Trinidad and Guyana to America and England and from the former Dutch colony of Suriname to Holland. These communities, whose forefathers left India 150 years ago, have unique elements today, some the result of colonial policies, others customs preserved intact from the mid-19th century India of their ancestors. Hinduism Today Trinidad correspondent Anil Mahabir visited the region, meeting with religious leaders and lay Hindus. Here is his engaging report on the countries similarities and differences.

The day I arrived in Guyana, I traveled 45 miles by speedboat from one bank of the Essequibo River to the next. For the first time in my fife, I was standing on one side of a river unable to see the other side.

My whole country of Trinidad, in fact, would fit inside this river, only slightly overlapping the banks. We don’t have rivers back home, just streams, canals and ditches. Rivers aside, there was much that was similar to Trinidad-every Hindu home flies the jhandi flags in front, the Ramayana is the main text, the Deities and festivals are the same, the food is the same. The similarities are, in part, because of common origins in India, but also seemed to have been shaped by a shared Caribbean experience.

I was most struck by the temple culture of both countries. Wherever I went, I found simply-built temples that exhibited a most compelling beauty. I had not felt this way about the temples in my own homeland. Obviously the Guyanese and Surinamese take great pride in’ their temple buildings.

Despite the fact that Guyana and Suriname sit side-by-side, their histories are vastly different. Guyana was colonized by the British, Suriname by the Dutch. The obvious result of this was that Guyanese learned to speak English, while Surinamese learned Dutch. The colonial policy of each country was also very different with regard to religion. The Dutch pursued a “hands off’ attitude as far as the culture of the Hindus was concerned. In Guyana, explained Swami Aksharananda of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Guyana, “The British sought to interfere, control and convert the Hindus and Muslims. Many missionaries were brought to Guyana to evangelize the Indian population and to destroy their language and culture. That is why Hindi has persisted in Suriname and not in Guyana.” This is the same tactic the British used in India. “During the colonial period,” Pundit Reepu Daman Persaud, head of the Dharmic Sabha and Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture told me, “the Hindus were forced to convert to get jobs in the public service, even if they did not want to. Many who converted continued to be Hindus within the private confines of their homes.”

Devanand Jokhoe, an economist in Suriname, explained, “Conversion was not an official policy of the Dutch as it was of the British in Guyana. Hindus were not forced to convert as a prerequisite to get jobs. That is why less than five percent of all Indians living in Suriname are Christians. Some non-Indians can also speak Hindi, for example, the Javanese and Blacks who live in Indian villages.”

Suriname, who’s 121,500 Hindus comprise 27% of the population, is the only country in the Western Hemisphere where all the Indians speak Hindi. That this is so after so many years away from India-is amazing. In neighboring Guyana, where 238,000 Hindus form 34% of the population, it is the opposite. Almost no one speaks Hindi. Everyone speaks English. This is a perfect example of the differences in colonial rule between the British and the Dutch. The British sought to destroy everything Indian and Hindu, while the Dutch allowed it to flourish. So, from the youngest toddler to the oldest nani, the Suriname Hindus all speak Hindi.

I was struck by the divisions among Hindus in Guyana. There were people whom I met who did not want me to speak to others, and even went out of their way to prevent me from doing so. Perhaps this is related to the overall pessimism of the Guyanese. Even the very wealthy talk of migrating. Even so, paradoxically, most seem quite happy and go about their daily routines with smiles on their faces. They were also very hospitable to me. The country’s president himself, Bharrat Jagdeo, loaned me a car and driver to tour the capital. Where else would that happen?

In Suriname, my lack of any fluency in Hindi hindered a smooth rapport with several in the country, especially among those who spoke little English. Unfortunately, this included most of the pundits, and I found myself relying upon intellectuals, businessmen and others for information.

The first Hindus: It is generally agreed in both countries that it was India’s poorest who emigrated to the West. They were inclined to leave the India of the mid-19th century because of famine, drought and poverty. The first Indians arrived in Guyana on May 5, 1838. Pundit Reepu Persaud pointed out that these were the first to bring Hinduism to the Americas, not Swami Vivekananda. The first shipload of Indians to Suriname arrived June 5, 1873. Trinidad’s first group came in 1845. Slavery was abolished in Suriname in 1863 and in Guyana in 1834. Freed slaves refused to continue working the sugar plantations. Several nationalities were brought as indentured servants to replace them, but only the Indians adapted well to the harsh tropical climate.

The Indians came from Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar, an area known as Bhojpuri’s Belt-Bhojpuri being a regional dialect of Hindi. Most were farmers, though a few Brahmins also came, even though this was against the policy of the British, who considered the more educated Brahmins as potential trouble makers. Perhaps ten percent returned to India from Guyana after their contracts were fulfilled, but later almost none did so. Pundit Persaud said his parents went back to India in 1930 and then returned to Trinidad. He said, “The West Indies was generally recognized as a place better to live than India.”

Between 1873 and 1916, 34,000 Indians came to Suriname. Nearly 23,000 stayed. As in Guyana, after an initial group which returned to India, hardly anyone left. If they did it was to go to Holland, as is the case today, according to historians Hassan Khan and Sandew Hira.

It is believed the ratio of migrants was 100 men to 20 women, creating enormous social problems. According to Swami Aksharananda, “Indian men forged unions with black women, not marriages.” I could not find out what became of the descendants of those unions, whether they were in the Black or the Indian communities of today.

The early years: The plantation system had a dramatic effect on Hinduism. People were not allowed to move from one plantation to another. They were sequestered and had to get passes to leave in any event, plantation work left very little time for anything else. According to Swami Aksharananda, “Only Sunday was left to the Hindus to practice Hinduism. Indeed, Hinduism became a kind of Sunday thing in the early days in Guyana.” The legacy of this is the popularity of Sunday morning temple worship in this part of the world.

During indentureship, there were tremendous efforts by the Hindus to assert themselves as Hindus. This was so even though the colonial policy of the British in Guyana was to crush Hinduism at all costs and Christianize “the heathens.”

“The policy of the Dutch in Suriname was more relaxed.” says Anoop Ramadhin. “Hindus were more at liberty there to practice there religion. There were no forced conversions,” he continued. “The Dutch separated the various groups from one another and allowed them to live in their own villages. That is why today you have Black, Indian and Javanese villages. Even the Bush Negroes are set apart.”

HVP Bronkhurst, a Euro-Asian missionary and writer says, “Hindu pundits in Guyana would go from home to home getting people to gather and sing the Ramayana.” The Gita became a major text. People would gather at nights. This was how they were able to maintain their religion. The only thing which kept them going was the memory of Rama and Hanuman. Similarly, in Suriname the Ramayana reigned supreme.

Later, Guyanese-born Hindus took up the cause of Hinduism. One of those early pioneers was Dr. J.B. Singh, who is credited with heightening Hindu consciousness, setting up Hindu organizations and fighting for the cremation rights of Hindus. In fact, he was the first Hindu to be cremated in Guyana, in 1956. Prior to that, Hindus had to be buried, even though this was very contrary to the Hindu faith.

Swami Purnananda came directly from Bengal in India in the mid-20th century. He established Bharat Sevashram Sangha, which is today called the Guyana Sevashram Sangha and run by Guyanese-born Swami Vidyanand. Swami Purnananda popularized the “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” mantra. He printed a small book called Aum Hindutvam, which was the first catechism or question-and-answer booklet for Hindus in Guyana. He developed mantras for different occasions and popularized havan service (the fire ceremony). The present-day Guyana Sevashram Sangha is unique among organizations here. It is the only institution in the Caribbean which has produced its own swami. It is the only institution which trains young men to become bramacharis. It offers free medical services to all groups in society

The Surinamese I met did not seem to have quite the same keen sense of history as the Guyanese. In general they said it was the elders and the pundits who kept Hinduism alive in the early days. More recently, the name of Nanan Panday, leader of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha of Suriname, is mentioned as the key personality. “He has been at the helm of Hindu leadership for 40 years,” says Anoop Ramadhin. The names of Pundit Haldhar Mathuraprasad and T Soerdjbaille, leader of the Gayatri Mandir, have also been mentioned as playing key roles in the Hindu community of Suriname.

Conversion: Swami aksharananda is firm on this question: “Conversion is very high. In fact, conversion in Guyana is defined as ‘conversion from Hinduism to Christianity,’ nothing else. The Muslims hardly ever convert. The Christians do not convert. It is only the Hindus who are coaxed into dispensing with their religion.” At the beginning of the 2oth century, he says, “about one percent of the Indian population was Christians, now it is about 15%-a 15-fold increase in one century. The Pentecostals are doing the most conversions.”

Pundit Reepu Daman Persaud agreed, “The Pentecostals are studying the demography of the country. They attack rural areas where they believe the Hindus are more vulnerable, illiterate or weak. Since we have found out the strategy, the Dharmic Sabha is going into the same areas and combating their anti-Hindu propaganda.”

I met Parmanand Samlal, who visits the homes of converted Hindus and gets them to reconvert to Hinduism. I had never heard of such a program before. He said he has achieved four re-converts for the year 2000 so far. He is a member of the Dharmic Sabha and a “worshiper,” as he put it, of Pundit Reepu. Pundit Reepu is highly respected in Guyana as one who has always stood for the Indians and Hindus, even in difficult political times, whenever abandoned Guyana for better circumstances, though easily available to him in another country.

Dirgopal Mangal, says conversion is on the decrease. He told me of Blacks in Guyana who attend Hindu temples, giving the example of “Minister Collymore, who attends the temple every Sunday morning in Parika.”

Suriname is different. Radjen Koemar-singh of Suriname (radjenk@hotmail.com) told me there is some conversion from Hinduism but not much, due to the binding factor of Hindi. Accountant Anoop Ramadhin agreed, “Conversion from Hinduism in Suriname is less than one percent. Some Javanese are also Hindus.”

Schoolteacher Algoe Harrynarain said, “The Christian churches in Suriname pay poor Hindus to convert. They have funding from abroad. They are well organized. The Hindus do not have such funding.” He said the Jehovah Witnesses pay a salary to Hindus to convert to Christianity.

While conversion exists in both countries, it is not on a large scale, and meets active resistance from Hindus, even with their limited resources. In my entire visit, I did not meet a single Christian Indian, and I think this says a lot about the situation.

Intermarriage: As in Trinidad and Tobago, intermarriage between Hindu and Muslim Indians is very common in Guyana, constituting perhaps eight percent of all weddings. Black/Indian marriages are rare. Hindu activist Bharat Kissoon estimates that in six out of every ten Guyanese Hindu/Muslim marriages, the wedding follows the Islamic line. The result of the unions are combined names such as Kishore Mohammed (a Hindu), Salisha Singh (a Muslim) and Anil Khan- Such names are also common in Trinidad. Suriname is much different, and while I could not find any official statistics, intermarriage was obviously rare.

Hindu activists in Guyana say that intermarriage has been on the increase over the past ten years. Normally both parties are allowed to keep and practice their faiths, though some Hindu girls convert to Islam. It is very rare to see a Muslim in such a union convert to Hinduism. Hindu and Muslim leaders are silent on these unions for fear of possibly rocking the boat or destroying whatever Indian unity exists. Politicians dare not speak of it either.

Country politics: The prevailing view is that, culturally, Guyana is at it lowest ebb since Independence was granted in 1966. The “oppressive” reign of the Peoples’ National Congress PNC, the party of the Blacks, and what one person called its ethnic “insensitivity to Indian culture” is seen by most Hindus as one of the principal reasons why the Indian culture is undeveloped.

Another reason is the constant stream of emigration from Guyana to other parts of the world. “Migration took our best people,” says Pundit Persaud. “Our best artists, dancers, singers, musicians left for greener pastures because they simply could not make a living producing Indian culture in a country where the political directorate was hostile to Indian culture,” says one activist who declined to give his name.

Swami Aksharananda said, “The national culture in Guyana is often portrayed as a Black and Creole culture which neglects or deliberately shuns the Indian output. The present majority Indian government is often accused of being an ‘Indian government.’ [That is, partial to Indians.] They are afraid to develop Indian culture, afraid of being called racist. This is not my perception, but that of most Guyanese. Indian culture gets little funding. The National Dance School is a Black dance school, for example.” I was told that Guyana does not have a single all Indian radio or TV station.

There is more optimism and enthusiasm for things Hindu in Suriname. Indian musician Radjen Koemarsingh noted, “There is an Indian cultural center, seven radio stations with an all-Indian format and four television stations exclusively devoted to Indian programming.” Hindi is taught in some schools as an official language.

Schoolteacher Algoe Harrynarain commented, “Yes, emigration has hurt us, but there is a cultural revival right now. In any case because we all speak Hindi here, the situation is different to that of Guyana. It is difficult for the culture to be lost.”

Emigration is even more a factor here. Some 250,000 Surinamese now live in Holland, compared to just 450,000 in Suriname itself-making this country one of the most sparsely populated in the world. A dismal economic situation continues to motivate people to leave. I even met teachers and businessmen with stable jobs who were still anxious to migrate if they got the chance.

Hindu home life: Most Hindu homes in both countries have a small shrine or prayer house located at the front of the home. Like the houses, these will vary in nature and appearance, depending on the wealth of the owner. There is also a jhandi or flag hoisted on bamboo next to the shrine or by itself, as with one I saw in a rice field.

The main daily observance in both countries is the pouring of water early in the morning. Water from a brass pot is used to bathe a Siva Lingam located at the base of the jhandi. Some Hindus also chant bhajans and meditate afterwards. Those who are free from employment may go to the temple on a daily basis. One day a week is set aside for haven, or fire worship ceremony, and fasting from salt and meat. At least once a year, most Hindus will try to have a grand puja or Ramayana Yagna, an event where the entire community is invited to participate. The biggest festivals of the year are Diwali and Phagwa (Holi) in both countries. Lesser festivals include Ram Navami, Sivaratri and Karthik Nahan.

The main Deity in both countries is Hanuman, because of the conquering role he played in the Ramayana and His popularity in the Bhojpuri Belt, whence came most of the original Hindu immigrants. Other Deities include Siva, Durga, Kali and Ganesha.

There would seem to be more vegetarians in Suriname than in Guyana. Estimates are that about 10% of Hindus in Suriname are vegetarians. Less than five percent of Hindus in Guyana are vegetarians. They are mainly the pundits and the swamis and the spiritual leaders. However, Dr Satish Prakash of the Araya Samaj says that vegetarians among his group in Guyana are as much as 35%. Bi4t overall it is not popular. One activist told me, “When Lord Rama was in exile in the jungle with Sita, according to the Ramayana, were they not eating meat to survive 14 years? And if Lord Rama could eat meat, why can’t I?” I conducted a brief poll out of curiosity and I found that most Hindus I talked to in both countries do not know what ahimsa is, or that it is an integral part of Hinduism. Nonviolence remains an esoteric, opaque, Gandhian concept, not taught by the leaders or drummed in by the pundits. Little or no reference is made by anyone to the Vedas as the source of Hinduism, or the Upanishads or even the Mahabharata, except for the Bhagavad Gita. The Ramayana, as in Trinidad, is the main text.

As is unfortunately the case among too many Hindus, priest-bashing is common in both Suriname and Guyana. Many I met said the priests were “not up with the times,” “too concerned with ritual” and other complaints similar to what is heard in Trinidad. There are some legitimate concerns because of the emigration of some of the best pundits to other countries. This has broken up the traditional father-to-son training system, and now some become pundits without being properly trained.

Suicide in Guyana: Many people I talked to in Guyana expressed concern about the high rate of suicide among the Hindu community and the fact that virtually no one is doing anything to address the problem from a Hindu angle. Suicide is not a major problem, among Surinamese Hindus. Dr. Vivekanand Brijmohan, a forensic pathologist in the Berbice district, said the suicide rate among Hindus in Guyana is “alarming.” In one three-year period in Berbice, there were 197 suicides, 160 of them Indian males, mainly Hindus. Brijmohan said, “It is a cultural thing. Hindus are more strict in the household than the blacks. Certain Indians have a longing for freedom, to go out at night, etc. Some of them do not get that freedom due to their strict Hindu upbringing. If makes them dissatisfied with life, depressed. Alcoholism and marijuana addiction is another cause of suicide.”

Swami Aksharananda runs AYUPSA: a National Centre for Suicide Prevention. He sponsors a national health program which attempts to eradicate the prevalence of suicide among the Hindu community. He does this by holding seminars, making press releases and going into the villages for direct contact with the Hindu people, particularly the youths.

Jailhouse preacher: Bharat Kissoon is a Hindu activist and retired economist who ministers to the Hindu inmates in the Georgetown prison every Sunday. He told me, “I was drawn to this work because of the particular case of a Hindu prisoner in Trinidad, Dole Chadee, who was hanged last year. The day before he was hanged he longed for a pundit to do his final rites. He could not find any Hindu who was willing to go. to the prison and, therefore, he had no choice but to resort to a Christian pastor.”

There is a famous story here, that of Salim Yaseen, a condemned prisoner who was about to he hanged on the 12th of September 1999. He allegedly told Bharat that before leaving he wanted to hear the Hanuman Chalesa, a traditional scripture in praise of Lord Hanuman. He got his wish, and he was not hanged due to a legal loophole. Now, according to Bharat, “all prisoners want to hear the Hanuman Chalesa.”

Connections with India: The Surinamese I spoke with said they don’t think that Hindus ‘in India even know there are Hindus living in Suriname. They could not recall any visit by a major Hindu leader, nor recount any significant assistance received from India in any way.

A few swamis have come to Guyana. Early ones, such as Swami Chinmayananda and Rishi Ram, came in the 1960s and helped develop Hinduism. But those coming today, said Pundit Persaud, “do not stay and assist us in developing Hinduism. They come to talk about yoga and meditation only.” In Trinidad, travel agencies often advertise “journey back to your roots” programs to India. In Guyana and Suriname there are greater economic restraints, and those who, have the money to travel use it to emigrate.

The future: Both countries have suffered from the chronic brain drain and seem to be perpetually entangled in the politics of racial and religious division. Both countries are relatively poor, but the people do not want to be labeled as such. They feel ashamed when people from the outside boldly come to, visit, analyze and recommend solutions for their assumedly insufficient social and economic existence. They are content with living very simple lives, not caring whether or not they have a cell phone or a computer. Dharma dictates daily how they should act. The jhandis flying proudly before every Hindu home, rich or poor, are their own statement of identity. From cower roaming the roads freely in Guyana, to pundits walking miles to puja service, I believe Hinduism, though simple, will never die in this part of South America.

There are no good articles about Hindus of Srilanka so I have to rely on wikipidea. In context with this community 2 important people must be mentioned:

1) Arumuga Navalar
2) Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

The first of these was one of the great Hindu reformers who stemmed xtian conversions, the second one is a first class intellectual (half Lankan Tamil and half English) who was an ardent admirer of India and defended Indian culture, religion and art from xtian attacks vigorously.

Here is a good article I found:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Architects of the Hindu Heritage of Sri Lanka

Editor of the "Hindu Organ"

How far have we dveloped our spiritual attitude? Have we such a rich heritage as to be worthy of worldwide consideration? Finding answers to these questions would certainly be intricate, but nevertheless instructive and interesting.

In his excellant essay on 'The Religion we need' Dr. S. Radhakrishnan dwells on the true religious life and argues, inter alia, that "religious life is spiritual certainty offering us strength and solace in the hour of need and sorrow". It is the conviction that love and justice are at the heart of the universe, that the spirit which gave rise to man will further his perfection. It is our faith which grips us even when we suffer defeat, the assurance that though the waves on the shore may be broken the ocean conquers nevertheless. The renowned philosopher speaks of the highest Love that works for the welfare of the world and reaches the conclusion that "this ideal of religious life cannot be reached except by deep meditation and strenuous self-discipline."

On this basis of approach to our questions, let us evaluate the spiritual growth of Lanka during the immediate past and preceding eras by paraphrasing the pronouncements of renowed scholars who had made full and fruitful use of their rare scholarship to learn for themselves the significance of the lofty thoughts of those religious stalwarts who had preceded them and to bequeath to the succeeding generations the benefit of their benign studies of spiritual ideas.

In this context, our mind speeds back across the past ten decades to the glorious past when they rode across the religious sphere like a Colossus, a noble savant in whom precept and practice combined in the required ratio. He was Navalar the Great (Sri la Sri Arumuga Navalar of Nallur in Jaffna-1822-1879). A Hindu of Hindus, affectionately called the 'Champion Reformer of the Hindus', author of numerous treatises on Saiva Literature, was a pioneer prose writer and publisher of rare books of the Sangam Age. That such a devout Hindu should have been called upon to translate the Holy Bible into Chaste Tamil is true testimony of the broadness of Navalar's learning. None but the truly great could embark on the study of an alien religion and made a faithful exposition of the Gospels of the other religion.

Particular mention must be made of that international intellectual, Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, who in the course of his lucid exposition of the Dance of Shiva, answering his own query says "If it be asked what inner riches India brings to aid in the realization of a civilization of the world, then from the Indian standpoint, the answer must be found in her religions and philosophy, and her constant application of abstract theory to practical life.

Sir Muttu Coomaraswamy's lectures at the Atheneum, London on the truth of Hinduism, his translations of Tayumanavar-Hindu philosophic Poems-and his synopsis of the 'Saiva Sittantam' all go to indicate that a religioner's enthusiasm will always lead him to the inevitable course of sharing his experiences with his bretheren. Swami Vivekananda in his memoirs of European Travels refers to Coomaraswamy as the foremost man among Hindus.' It would be appropriate here to note that Swami Vivekananda returning from his historic visit to America as the Hindu Representative at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1896 arrived in Colombo in January 1897 and made such a profound impression on the already enlightened minds of the leading Hindus of Lanka that organisations for the spread of religious knowledge in this country were soon establised. The Colombo Vivekananda Society is in memory of the Swami's visit. The Ramakrishna Mission soon after inaugurated its branch in Colombo, another great factor in the evolution of religious awakening in LANKA.

In this laudable line of literators who have embellished the religious sphere of lively Lanka, priority of place must be assigned to Sir Ponnampalam Ramanathan, who like unto his illutrious uncle, Sir Muttu Coomaraswamy was himself a statesman and scholar besides being a distinguished King's Counsel (1851-1930). The broader outlook of this brilliant intellectual could be seen from his "Eastern Exposition of the Gospel of Jesus according to St. John" and his "Culture of the Soul among Western Nations." Even before the vibrations that were caused in America by the vigorous per-orations of Swami Vivekananda could ebb, Sir Ponnampalam Ramanathan had made a triumphant visit to this Western Sphere re-iterating the majesty and magnificence of spiritual understanding. To the enraptured American audiences, Sir Ramanathan who Swami Parananda. It was on his return to Lanka that Sir Ramanathan had been able to give a pratical touch to his unbounded spiritual awakening. Hence the establishment of the two great educational institutions-Ramanathan College for Girls and Parameswara College for Boys, establishments that have stood the test of time and have made the famous founder's dreams come true by ushering in the University of Jaffna (with the Faculty of Fine Arts in the premises of the Ramanathan College).

Swami vipulananda, one of the purest products of Religious Lanka, first as layman and then as monk of the Ramakrishna Order, had enriched the progress of this ancient land in the path of true spiritual prosperity. As Professor of Tamil at the Annamalai University and the Unversity College of Colombo, as editor of the Prabuddha Bharata and as Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Schools and above all as inspiring preacher, Swami Vipulananda had placed religion in its proper perspective and encouraged religioners to continue the holy work of showing the sure way to Salvation.

The torch of knowledge is that which stimulates the sense of reflection of the real truth. The torch-bearers of religious light are those that illumine the path of the seekers after the truth. Blessed is the land that has an endless line of torch bearers and whose torches, holden aloft in radiant resplendence, enlighten the entire area that is covered by the emitted rays. One such torch bearer, this little Isle was destined to greet, was Mahatma Gandhi, on pilgrimage to his neighbouring country. The Mahatma appeared before an admiring nation as Dharithira Naravana, in the cause of the oppressed. He was a mighty man of prayer. He went further than the poet who mused 'that more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of ' and said that all things were wrought by prayer. His conception of Religion is simply captivating. "Religious Faith is steady and infallible. It is not a faith which merely appeals to the intelligence, but a faith which is indelibly inscribed on the heart. First we want to realize our religious consciousness and immediately we have done that, the whole department of life is open to us, and it should then be a sacred privilege of all." He had seen the truth so very convincingly that he was able to interpret its significance in the simplest of language.

And extra-ordinarily impressive his pilgrimage was, Lanka, the land of great traditions had has as its benefactors many a spiritual stalwart. The name of the Venerable Anagarika Dharmapala lies engraved in gold in the annals of this ancient land.

Peeping into the picturesque past, just before the beginning of the Buddhistic Era, the priceless epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha, disclose how hallowed Lanka had been then. The names of cities, towns, rivers, tanks, peaks and bridges invariably suggest the strongest possibilities of the spheres of incidence of the Great Wars of Ramayana and Mahabharata as having been extended to bring Lanka within the orbit of action. Apart from historical accounts, the fundamental truths around which the stories move count. The Bhagavad Gita has become universally recognized as propounding great ideals about duty. (Work along thou art entitled to, not its fruits). To Mahatma Gandhi the Gita was a book of solace. Said he somewhere "But I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of over whelming sorrow.

Now there are the standing mounments of spiritual significance, those ancient and hallowed Temples all over the Island with Majestic Raja Gopurams objectively rising above into the clouds, proclaiming to the universe that here is a land of lofty ideals, a home of the faithful, a shelter for all from misery and misgivings. Thiruketheeswaram, Thirukoneswaram, Munneswaram, Naguleswaram, Maviddapuram, Nallur, kathirkamam, Sivanolipathamalai (Adam's Peak), are but a few of the sanctified places of worship that help devotees find solace in their religions. Myths there are, so are traditions and legends; but the fact remains that these sacred places are all suggestive of the rich heritage of religionism.

This enabling feature has been enhanced by the periodical appearances of sages and saints, Yogis and other Spiritual teachers. Accounts of such impacts will form some of the chapters of the spiritual history of the land. "The mind of the sage being in repose, becomes the mirror of the Universe"-(Chuang Tzu). Yoga Swamigal of Columbuthurai, one in the glorious line of classic Yogis, was a tower of spiritual strength to the people of this country including foreign visitors. Young Soulbury a son of Lord Soulbury sat at the santified feet of Yoga Swamigal and was fortunate to inherit the yogic inclination.

Swami Subramaniya an American, is another who received initiation from Yoga Swamigal. The Swami has established an Ashram in remote rural surroundings at Alaveddy in the Jaffna District, in addition to the Saiva Siddhanta Church in the Islands of Hawaii spreading the gospel of Saiva Siddhantha all the world over. Yoga indicates the path to enlightenment and emancipation and is cryptically described by Schelling as "the perceiving self merging in the self perceived." The Yoga is verily the beacon lamp of truth that cannot be blown out. Lanka has had the enduring benefit of such beacon lights.

Please consider merging some of the older threads on the forum with this one if possible.

List potential mergers here.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Early Indic Immigrants to United States Of America</span>

(From Closed Borders and Mass Deportations: The Lessons of the Barred Zone Act
January 2005 by Alicia J. Campi, Ph.D. http://www.ailf.org/ipc/barredzoneprint.asp)

In 2005 US Congress is expected to reexamine the U.S. immigration system in light of the roughly 10 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. Some advocates of restrictionist immigration policies offer mass deportations or a “moratorium” on immigration as solutions to the obviously dysfunctional system under which undocumented migration of this scale is taking place. Yet U.S. immigration history offers examples of similarly ill-conceived proposals. As policymakers and the public debate the nature and extent of immigration reform, they would do well to reflect upon the cautionary lessons of the Barred Zone Act of February 4, 1917.

Asian Immigration

The United States, a country that prides itself on being a land of immigrants, historically has a mixed record towards immigrants of color, particularly Asian immigrants. In the decades before the Civil War, the nation was expanding westward and needed laborers for railroad building, mining, construction, logging, and fishing. These laborers were often Chinese (who comprised 20 percent of California’s labor force by 1870 even though they constituted only .002 percent of the entire U.S. population {1}) or Asian Indians, followed by waves of Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos. These migrations were propelled by the California Gold Rush of 1848, as well as U.S. expansion into the Hawaiian Islands. Speaking languages other than those of Europe, with very different cultures and traditions, Asians a century ago confronted the same fear and anger that Mexican immigrants often face today.

During the economic depressions of the 1870s and 1880s, anti-Chinese riots raged throughout cities on the West Coast. Under pressure from nativists, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited most immigration and naturalization of Chinese. This caused Chinese immigration to the United States to decline from 123,201 in 1871-1880 to only 14,799 in 1891-1900. {2} However, the demand for unskilled labor remained, so young Japanese workers were recruited by U.S. agribusiness to replace the Chinese. The growing numbers of Japanese in turn precipitated new violent backlashes, leading the U.S. and Japanese governments in 1907 to agree on limits to Japanese immigration in a “Gentleman’s Agreement.” The ranks of Japanese workers subsequently were augmented by unskilled Korean laborers who came to the U.S. mainland through Hawaii after Japan’s occupation of Korea in the early 1900s and who served as strike-breakers, farmers, and railroad workers.

During the same period, Asian Indians, particularly Sikhs from the Punjabi region who were originally brought by the British to work the Canadian-Pacific railroads, began to move south into the U.S. Pacific Northwest and California as farm workers. {3} In response, nativist rioters burnt out the Asian Indian settlements in Bellingham and Everett, Washington in 1907. In the following decade, protectionist and racist groups, epitomized by the Asian Exclusion League, campaigned against the “Hindu invasion” or “Turban tide” that was perceived as an economic threat to native farmers. Laws were passed in California to strip land ownership from Asian Indians and Japanese in 1913 and 1920. In response, many Asian Indians married Mexican-American women, which for a time exempted them from the law. Asian Indian students who were supporters of independence from the British Empire were expelled from the country by order of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Finally, sustained political attacks against Asian Indians such as those orchestrated by Democratic Representative John Raker and immigration commissioner Anthony Caminetti culminated in the imposition of the 1917 Barred Zone Act. Asian Indians joined other Asian country nationals (except Japanese and Filipinos) who were excluded from immigrating to the United States. {4} The final injustice to Asian Indians was exacted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Bhagat Singh Thind (1923), which considered to which race Asian Indians belonged. {5} The Court decided that although Asian Indians were Caucasian, they were not “white” and therefore could not be U.S. citizens. Harassment of the Asian Indian population continued, forcing many to return to India . By 1940 half of the Asian Indian population had left the country, leaving only 2,405. {6}

With the expulsion and barring of Asians from the United States, unskilled labor for agriculture and the railways was increasingly found in Mexico. In the 1930s, Mexican labor was cut off until the Bracero Program of 1942 revived the importation of Mexican farm workers. Originally enacted as a wartime measure, the program endured until 1964.

Repeal of Discriminatory Laws

World War II and its aftermath caused the United States to completely rethink its immigration policies. Far from being seen as a “pause” in immigration which allowed new immigrants to assimilate, those previous years of xenophobic and racist immigration policies were deemed inappropriate and often illegitimate actions for a nation that considered itself the leading democracy in the post-colonial, Cold War world. Step by step, the offensive laws were dismantled or revised. The first revision was the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 by the Magnuson Act. Then, on July 2, 1946, Congress enacted the Luce-Cellar Act to extend naturalization and limited immigration rights to Asian Indians (since India was newly independent) and to Filipinos (who two days later were granted their independence by the United States). {7} Total revocation of the Barred Zone Act occurred through the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act). However, this legislation retained the discriminatory national origin quota system and permitted only a very small annual quota of 2,000 for Asian Pacific immigrants.

Only in the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS) Act of 1965 were the anti-Asian immigration quotas lifted, with dramatic consequences. The number of Asians and Pacific Islanders increased more than eightfold between 1970 and 2002, from 1.5 million to 12.5 million. Roughly 43 percent of the foreign-born Asian population entered the United States in 1990-2000. In 1970, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans represented less than one percent of the U.S. population. By 2002 their share of the population had increased to 4.4 percent. {8} In 2003, Asian immigrants represented 34.7 percent of all immigrants entering the United States. {9}The composition of Asian Americans also has changed significantly. In 1970, 96 percent of Asian Americans were Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese. By 2000 they had fallen to just under 50 percent of the total.

Revision of the discriminatory anti-Asian immigration laws has affected Asian Indians in particular. During 1930-1940, only 496 Asian Indian immigrants were admitted to the United States. During 1951-1960 this number had risen to only 1,973. However, in the decade of the 1990s, 363,060 Asian Indian immigrants were admitted, which now has made them the third largest Asian immigrant group in the country. {10}

From Scapegoat to “Model Minority”

Asian Indians also provide an example of how an immigrant group can be perceived very differently over the course of time. Since the 1980s, the new Asian Indian immigrants – and most other Asian immigrants – usually have come to the United States as professional and managerial workers together with their families, unlike the earlier arrivals who were single, unskilled laborers and farmers. {11} In 2000, Asian Indian men had the highest year-round, full-time median earnings ($51,900) of all Asian men and male U.S. workers in general. In addition, 64 percent of adult Asian Indians 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree; the highest percentage of any Asian group. {12} As a result of these relatively high levels of educational and economic attainment, Asian Indians are now often viewed as a “model minority.”


The United States has experienced a large wave of immigration during the past quarter of a century. Absorbing these numbers economically and socially is a challenge which has revived nativist sentiments. Concern about terrorism since 9/11 has heightened the on-going immigration debate. The present immigration system, based on the INS Act of 1965 with its subsequent modifications, was the product of a political and economic reality far removed from our post-communist, global, 21 st century world. How to construct a new, equitable, and workable immigration system which creates adequate legal channels for both permanent and temporary immigration, and gives legal status to the millions of undocumented workers in our economy, is an urgent question.

Our own immigration history, full of missteps as well as successes, provides a guide. “Barring” certain peoples from entering the country did not lessen the economy’s demand for labor. It only led to the victimization of certain nationalities and the successive exploitation of new ones. Certain immigrant groups once disparaged as “cheap labor” were relabeled a few decades later, perhaps misleadingly, as “model” minorities and welcomed into the labor force in valued high technology and scientific fields. Surely this also is the likely pattern for the “new” waves of immigrants, whether Latin, African, or Asian. Federal and state policies that enhance U.S. educational opportunities for new immigrants, as well as labor laws guaranteeing fair wages and working conditions for all workers, must be enacted along with updating our immigration laws. Only with these types of comprehensive, across-the-board reforms will the United States be able to construct a new and just immigration system which does not repeat past mistakes such as the Barred Zone Act.

* Alicia Campi is a Research Assistant with the Immigration Policy Center.

Copyright 2005 by the American Immigration Law Foundation.


1 “Linking the Past to Present: Asian Americans Then and Now,” The Asia Society, 1996 (http://www.askasia.org/frclasrm/readings/r000192.htm).

2 Office of Immigration Statistics, Department of Homeland Security, 2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, September 2004, Table 2, p. 12-13.

3 It is estimated that 7,348 Asian Indians migrated to the U.S. and Canada between 1899 and 1920. T.S. Sibia, “Sikh Farmers in California,” University of California, Davis, July 30, 2003 (http://people.lib.ucdavis.edu/tss/punjab...rmers.html).

4 All immigrants except merchants, students, and diplomats from regions lying to the east of an imaginary line drawn from the Ural Mountains to the Red Sea, dividing the continent of Asia, were barred. The area covered all of India, Afghanistan, the Middle East including the Arabian Peninsula, East Asia, and most of the Pacific. Also excluded in the act were illiterate aliens and mentally unstable and other undesirables.

5 U.S. v. Thind, 261 US 204, 214-215 (1923). See a detailed discussion of the case by Marian L. Smith, “Race, Nationality, and Reality: INS Administration of Racial Provisions in US Immigration and Nationality Law Since 1898,” Immigration Daily, June 16, 2003 (http://www.ilw.com).

6 Ramesh N. Rao, “It is India Not South Asia,” The Subcontinental 1(1), Spring 2003 (Subcontinental Institute, Washington, DC).

7 Quotas for Asian Indians and Filipinos were set at 100 each. The Chinese quota was 105. Non-quota status was extended to spouses and children of citizens. Bill Ong Hing, “Waiting for Naturalization,” AsianWeek.com, March 16-22, 2001.

8 Terrance Reeves & Claudette Bennett, The Asian and Pacific Islander Population in the United States: March 2002, Current Population Reports, P20-540. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, May 2003.

9 2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Table B, p. 8.

10 2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Table 2, p. 14.

11 Reed Ueda, Postwar Immigrant America: A Social History. Boston, MA: St. Martin’s Press, 1994, p. 65.

12 Terrance J. Reeves & Claudette E. Bennett, We the People: Asians in the United States, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-17. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, December 2004.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Hindu Invasion or Turban Tide in 1899, California, USA</span>

Indians began coming to California in the 19th century. One Indian adventurer was reported in the gold fields as early as 1857.

of the western countries in which one are hindus best received and can live as dual citizens forever - living in that country while being interested in india and developping india??
Dear ben_ami,

In my opinion, one such nation should be Holland. I had lived in Holland for a few months in year 2000. Hindus were doing very well there. I think they had migrated in large numbers from Suriname and still doing so on an ongoing basis. They have adopted to that soceity in outer norms of lifestyle, but still maintaining the inner Hindu life and culture. I had noticed the following things:

- Well kept Hindu temples
- Even noticed a "Vishnu Hindu High School" in The Hague if I am not wrong.
- Bhojpuri/Hindi TV/Radio channels and preserving Hindi/Bhojpuri as the common communication mode, while also of course having Dutch as first language.
- Although not as wealthy as you see them in UK, Canada and USA, Hindus in Holland as mostly working people, but noticeable and respectable in soceity, well integrated with Dutch culture too.
- Weddings and other functions totally as per Hindu customs, and inside the soceity.
- Good and live cultural and spiritual connections with India. These people visiting ashrams in Haridwar, and Varanasi etc. Gurus and Swamis visting Holland.

But then I am talking about year 2000, which is before 9/11. I do not know the status right now. Any Hindu Hollanders on forum?

Yes Holland is a good country, there was an article about Dutch Hindus:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hindus of Holland

After the United Kingdom, the second largest Hindu community of Europe live in the Netherlands. There are between 150,000 - 200,000 Hindus currently living in the Netherlands, the vast majority of who migrated from Surinam - a former Dutch colony in South America.

There are about 50,000 Hindus living in the Hague (Dutch capital) while the other concentrations of Hindus are in the Cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Most Dutch Hindus trace their ancestry back to India from about 5 to 6 generations ago. Their ancestors were mainly from the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh areas of India.

They were taken to Surinam as 'Indebted Labourers' - a system that was all but slavery and used by the colonial powers to get very cheap labour to replace the freed slaves - on a ship called "La la Rookh".

In several ways, the Hindus in Holland are better organized than us in the UK. They are well integrated into Dutch society. There are five government funded Hindu primary schools in the country. All of these schools are run by the Hindu community but are regarded as "national" schools and teach the same curriculum as other schools in the country. In addition to this, the schools also teach Hindi, mark important Hindu festivals, as well as teaching the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The schools are open to all children and between 2% to 3% of students are from non-Hindu backgrounds. On the whole, students from these schools also perform better than average. The Hindu community also has a weekly 30-minute program on national television called "Ohm", as well as their own radio program. In addition to this, the Hindus in Holland have also set up their own Human Rights group called Agni to campaign for and distribute information about human rights violations of Hindus across the world.

Holi was celebrated in a big public event in The Hague and Rotterdam earlier this year, which included a fantastic display of bright red water spouting from a big public fountain.

"Seva Netverk" is a charity set up by the Dutch Hindus to help people across the world. Some particularly important projects they have been involved in are in India where they have set up many schools in poor villages and have also helped to track down and rescue young girls who have been taken into prostitution.

While there is this vibrant and thriving Dutch Hindu community, there has also recently been in an increase in Hindus migrating to Holland from India. However, the Dutch Hindus we spoke to say that there tends to be quite a separation between the two groups and as far as they can see, Indian Hindus tend not to be visible apart from when they visit Mandirs.

While the mother tongue of Surinamese (and Dutch) Hindus is Bajpuri, they also ensure that everyone can attend free Hindi classes and the vast majority of Hindus are able to speak in Hindi. Indeed, their radio programmes are run in Hindi. The community have also evolved and adapted their own music and dance from the Ramayana, called Nagana Baithak Gana.

Indian gov't loots Hindu money while Dutch gov't funds Hindu schools. Infact I would say Hindus are better off living abroad in countries like UK, Holland and Canada where the state doesn't brainwash kids into anti Hindu hate propaganda and isn't on an active mission to destroy dharma.

The other 2 countries that are pretty good are UK and Canada. Despite what the Brits may have done 50 years ago Hindus are much better off in UK than in India, for one the UK gov't atleast takes notice of Hindu concerns if they bring them up, there was a debate in the UK parliament about persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus (imagine that happening in India), recently there was a gov't sponsored survey among UK Hindus to know their views and aspirations, there is a gov't funded ISKCON school in UK and so on. In Canada while the gov't doesn't assist Hindus much (because Hindus haven't organised themselves) it is still a great country, for one there is no other major city than Toronto in the world that has so many different communities, infact in a few years goras will be a minority in Toronto, many Hindus in Canada are Srilankan Tamils, next come Gujjus and then come Punjabis.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Hindus in Afghanistan</span>


<img src='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/56/Kabul_ganesh_khingle.jpg/150px-Kabul_ganesh_khingle.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
statue of Lord Ganesha in a temple of Kabul

<img src='http://www.afghanhindu.info/images/girl-in-hindu-choak.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
A Hindu/Sikh girl plays in the yard of a Gurudwara ruins

<img src='http://www.afghanhindu.info/images/sikh4.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
A sikh gentleman holding placard with photo of General Massod who was a strong supporter of unity between Hindu, Sikh and Shia Hazara comunities and archenemy of Taliban
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Hindu Shahis - Hindu Rulers of Afghanistan</span>

Western Afghanistan comprising the provinces of Heart (whose name is derived from Hari-Rud which is said to be a derivation from the older term Hari-Rudra - two Hindu dieties), Kandahar (the ancient Gandhara of the Mahabharata) was ruled by Sabuktagin a Muslim ruler from a town named Ghazni. He was facing Raja Jaya Pala who ruled from Kubha (modern Kabul) in Eastern Afghanistan. His kingdom comprised the provinces of Kapisa on the western side of the Hindu Kush Ranges and Punjab on the Eastern side. (Incidentally, his kingdom was like that of Ambhi who ruled approximately the same provinces, when Alexander the Great had invaded the area in 330 B.C.E.)

Raja Jaya Pal Shahi, Ruler of Punjab bore the brunt of the Islamic Onslaught

The year 980C.E. marks the beginning of the Muslim invasion into India proper when Sabuktagin attacked Raja Jaya Pal in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is today a Muslim country separated from India by another Muslim country Pakistan. But in 980 C.E. Afghanistan was also a place where the people were Hindus and Buddhists. The name "Afghanistan" comes from "Upa-Gana-stan" which means in Sanskrit "The place inhabited by allied tribes". This was the place from where Gandhari of the Mahabharat came from Gandhar whose king was Shakuni. The Pakthoons are descendants of the Paktha tribe mentioned in Vedic literature. Till the year 980 C.E., this area was a Hindu majority area, till Sabuktagin from Ghazni invaded it and displaced the ruling Hindu king - Jaya Pal Shahi.

The place where Kabul's main mosque stands today was the site of an ancient Hindu temple and the story of its capture is kept alive in Islamic Afghan legend which describes the Islamic hero Sabuktagin who fought with a sword in every hand to defeat the Hindus and destroy their temple to put up a Mosque in its place. (This is not being mentioned here to reclaim the place as a temple. But to record a long forgotten fact that today's Islamic battlefield of the Taliban was once inhabited by Hindus.)

The victory of Sabuktagin pushed the frontiers of the Hindu kingdom of the Shahis from Kabul to behind the Hindu Kush mountains (Hindu Kush is literally "killer of Hindus" - a name given by Mahmud Ghazni to describe the number of Hindus who died on their way into Afghanistan to a life of captivity) . After this setback, the Shahis shifted their capital from Kubha (Kabul) to Udbhandapura (modern Und in NWFP). Sabuktagin's son Mahmud Ghazni, kept up the attacks on the Shahis and captured Und. Subsequently, the Shahis moved their capital to Lahore and later to Kangra in Himachal.

Tirlochan Pal Shahi - The Last Hindu Ruler
Three generation of Shahi kings laid down their lives and their kingdom in battling the invaders. Raja Jaya Pal Shahi was followed by his son Anand Pal Shahi who fought a battle with Mahmud near Lahore, but lost as his elephant is said to have run amok within his own army. His son Tirlochan Pal Shahi continued his struggle with the Muslims from Kangra but he too went down fighting when he was treacherously killed when away from the battlefield.

The defeat of the Shahis opened up the Gangetic plains to the Muslims and Mahmud Ghazni repeatedly attacked the main Hindu kingdoms ruled by the Gurjara-Pratiharas and sacked Hindu temples. The main ruler in those days was Rajyapala Pratihara who resisted Mahmud Ghazni's raids, partly successfully. In his last attack on Somnath, Mahmud Ghazni successfully sacked the temple at Prabhasa Patan in Gujarat, but on his way back he was roundly defeated by the Gujar rulers of North Gujarat. Mahmud never came back to India after that. (Refer to the Glory that was Gujar Desha by K.M. Munshi) But these first Muslim raids into India proper had given an ominous indication of what was to come a couple of centuries later in the year 1194 C.E.

But for now, the Muslim rule of the Ghaznivids was established in Kabul, Paktoonistan and in the land of the five rivers - Punjab. Thus after Sindh in 715; Kabul, Paktoonistan, and Punjab became the next Indian provinces which went under Muslim domination in the period 980 C.E. to 1020 C.E.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Hindu Links between Afghanistan and Kashmir</span>

Kashmir, although cut off by impregnable mountain barriers from the rest of the world, always had very deep cultural and political relations with her neighbors. She had her diplomatic relations with China and other countries in the north. Lalitaditya led his armies as far as Gobi desert in the north. For long the exploits of Lalitaditya, which have been narrated in the Raj Tarangni quite in detail, were treated by scholars as a mere figment of the imagination of Kalhana, but ruler of Sindh, Dahar's letter to Bin Qasim, to which reference has been made earlier, has set at rest all the controversy on this score. Dahar's letter finds its place in Chhachhinama, which is an account of the war between Dahar and Bin Qasim given by an Arab eyewitness. The nearest Hindu Kingdom to Kashmir was that of Kabul. With Kabul, Kashmir was tied with bonds of religion, but she had also political relations with her, which lasted for a number of centuries as will be presently seen. Reference may in this behalf be made to Alberuni, an Arab scholar who came to India with Mahmud of Gazni in the beginning of 11th century and stayed in India for a number of years.

Alberuni has left a book on India, in which he has given with great scholarly precision an account of the social, political, and economic conditions of the then India. Alberuni writes that, "the Hindus had kings residing in Kabul. The last king of this race (Kshatriya) was Lagutarman and his wazir was Kallar, a Brahman. Lagutarman had bad manners and worse behavior, so the Vazier put him in chains and occupied the royal throne. After him ruled Brahman kings named Samand, Kamalu, Bhim, Jaipal, Anandpal and Tarojanpal (Trilochanpal).'' Out of the seven Brahman kings of Kabul mentioned by Alberuni, we find mention of four in Kalhana's Raj Tarangini, with this difference that Kalhana calls the first king Lalliya and not as Kallar as Alberuni calls him, the other three being Kamluka, Bhima and Trilochanpal. Kalhana wrote his history in 1148 A. D. about 125 years after the fall of Trilochanpal, who according to Alberuni was killed in 1021 A. D. There is one thing very interesting about the Hindu Kings of Kabul, and that they were known as Shahs, and their dynasty as Hindu Shahis of Kabul.

About the time when Lalliya, the Brahman Vazier of the last Kshatriya king, usurped the throne of Kabul, there reigned in Kashmir a strong ruler by name Shankara Varman. His reign lasted from 883 A.D. to 902 A.D. Shankara Varman was as noticed earlier a sagacious ruler, who made his country great, both militarily and economically. He started many industries and greatly encouraged trade and commerce, though he is described also as an oppressive ruler whose exactions from the people as taxes were exorbitant. One thing very important about him was that he established a direct relation with the common people and talked their language instead of Sanskrit. For all this he is very much criticized and taunted by Kalhana, the Brahman author of Rajtarangini. But by such methods he must have secured a substantial backing from his people. Whether it was for securing markets for the articles of Kashmir manufacture or simply to win military glory, Shankara Varman went out of Kashmir at the head of a military expedition, and conquered all the neighboring principalities including Gujrat, which was according to Rajtarangini ruled under the overlordship of Kabul by a king named Ala Khan. Lalliya, the Brahman ruler of Kabul, came to the help of his vassal, Ala Khan, but was defeated and driven out of his own country. The easy victory which the Kashmir ruler Shankara Varman achieved over Lalliya has to be attributed to the fact that Lalliya was a usurper with no title to the throne and had therefore struck no deep roots in men's minds and consequently must have received very little help from the people. But the occupation of Kabul by an outsider stirred the patriotism of the people of Kabul and a resistance movement was the result.

The people of Kabul were then, as they are now, very patriotic and seldom brooked interference from outside. They fought Arabs and other Muslim rulers from 663 A.D. to 1021 A.D. but never accepted their suzerainty. Every student of history knows that during this period of about four hundred years India remained safe from any intrusions - or invasions from the Northwest. The occupation of Kabul by Shankara Varman only led to a grim struggle, which reached its climax during the reign of Gopal Varman (902 to 904 A.D.), who succeeded Shankara Varman; and another military expedition was sent by the Kashmir ruler under a General by name Prabhakar Deva to restore order and tighten the grip. The Kashmiri General though successful did not press his victory too far. He had realized by his experience that the people of Kabul could not be kept for long under subjection. He started negotiations with them and agreed to install Lalliya's son by name Toramana on the Kabul throne. This was done and Toramana ascended the Kabul throne under a new name or title, Kamluka, which was given to him by Prabhakar Deva. As already seen, Alberuni in his list of Kabul kings describes him as Kamlu. Henceforth, the relations between Kabul and Kashmir became very cordial and in course of time marriage relations came to be established between the ruling dynasties of the two countries, which further strengthened the mutual bonds of amity, and concord. Kshema Gupta who ruled Kashmir from 951 - 959 A.D. married the granddaughter of Bhima, who is described by Alberuni as the fourth Brahman King to rule Kabul after Lalliya. We have it on the authority of Kalhana that this Kabul King Bhima came to Kashmir and stayed there for some time and built a temple dedicated to Vishnu which was given the name of Bhima Keshava. The dedication of a temple to Vishnu would show that the Hindu Shahis of Kabul were Vaishnavites and not Buddhists as some take pleasure in describing them as such. The temple of Bhima Keshava is even now existing in a village now known as Bumzu near Mattan, though as a Muslim Ziarat, and is now known as Ziarat Bam Din Sahib.

The name of Bhima's granddaughter was Didda who ruled Kashmir after her husband's death as sole sovereign from 980 A.D. to 1003 A.D. She appointed her brother's son Sangrama Raj as heir to the throne. By now the Turkish king, Subaktagin had occupied Ghazni and Kabul Shahis came face to face with a rising power, which within a short period liquidated the Hindu Shahi rule at Kabul. But the struggle was grim and a stout resistance was offered both by Jaipal and his son Anandapal and his grandson Trilochanpal. It may be that Kashmir also participated in these wars, as Queen Didda of Kashmir was closely related to Jaipal, son of Bhima. But Rajtarangini is silent on that. But to the final resistance, which was organized by the last Shahi King, Trilochanpal, Kashmir also made her contribution. This time Sangram Raj, (1003 - 1028 A.D.) Diddas' son was on the Kashmir throne. The Kashmir ruler sent well-equipped force under a Minister by name Tunga. But unfortunately the methods of warfare of Tunga and Trilochanpal were different. Trilochanpal was in favor of using the traditional Kabul methods of war are which consisted of retiring into mountain fastnesses and from there start depredations on the enemy, cutting his line of communications and harassing his rear. Trilochanpal counseled the adoption of such methods. But the Kashmir General who was both vain and inglorious did not heed the advice and came down to the plains and engaged in battle with Mahmud. Kalhana gives a graphic description of this battle. Says that Trilochanpal and some Kashmiris of royal blood fought very bravely, but the chances of victory, thanks to the tactical blunder made by Tunga receded back very far. The last resistance movement on the Kabul soil was finally crushed. The defeat of Trilochanpal had very far-reaching effects. The Punjab fell an easy victim to Mahmud who occupied it as a Province. The whole of India now lay bare before any invader who might have chosen to creep in, though far another two centuries no serious invasion was either planned or made.

After the fall of Trilochanpal, his sons, Rudrapal, Diddapal, Kshempala and Anangpala went to Kashmir and settled there under royal patronage. Here also they distinguished themselves by their deeds of valour. Not long after they had settled in Kashmir, that the country was attacked by some warlike tribes from the north. All the four Pal brothers took part in the defense of Kashmir and distinguished themselves by their acts of bravery. Thereafter nothing is heard about the descendants of Trilochanpal, excepting that Harsha, a Kashmiri king was involved in a civil war and one of his Ranis who was connected with Trilochanpal, distinguished herself in actual warfare. What type of kings were these great Hindu Shahi rulers of Kabul becomes clear from a remark of Alberuni who says that:

"The Hindu Shahiya dynasty is extinct and of the whole house there is not the slightest remnant in existence. We must say that in all their grandeur, they never slackened in the ardent desire of doing that which is good and right, that they were men of noble sentiment and noble bearing."

Kalhana in his Raj Tarangini expresses grief over the fall of Trilochanpal in the following words:

"We have described the prosperity of the Shahi country during the days of Shankara Varman. Now we think in our minds with great grief, where is the Shahi dynasty with its ministers, its kings, and its great grandeur? Did it exist really or did it not? Tunga returned to his own country Kashmir, totally defeated, and left the whole Bharata land open to the descent of the Turshkas."

He further expresses his anguish in these words:

"The very name of the splendor of Shahi kings has vanished. What is not seen in dream, what even our imagination cannot conceive, that destiny accomplishes with ease."
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Festival fever grips Afghanistan's historic temples</span>
October 2005

With the onset of the nine-day Hindu festival period of Navratra, Kabul's ancient Hindu temples, steeped in fascinating folklore, are buzzing with a record number of devotees of all faiths.

The focal attraction is Asamai temple at the foothills of Koh-i-Asamai, the central hill feature around which the Afghan capital sprawls. Hundreds of Afghanistan's Hindus and Sikhs as well as Indians employed in reconstruction projects pay their obeisance there every day.

The hill is named Asamai after Asha, the goddess of hope said to be residing on the hilltop since time immemorial. Legend goes that the Akhand Jyoti or continuous fire there has been burning uninterrupted for over 4,000 years.

Amazingly, both the temple and the jyoti have survived numerous bloody wars for supremacy over Kabul and are haunting reminders of a time when the entire population of Afghanistan followed Hinduism.

The Asamai temple complex also houses a centuries old Panjshir Ka Jogi stone, named after a Hindu ascetic who, according to legend, was then meditating in the picturesque Panjshir valley.

Irked by the harassment of hostile locals, the good man magically turned himself into a stone one night. Taken aback, the terrified populace approached the Hindus and Sikhs of Kabul who installed the stone in the Asamai temple where it is now worshipped as a sacred wish stone.

Interestingly, it is believed that early hymns of the oldest Hindu scripture, the Rig Veda, were composed in the Herat area of Afghanistan. Herat derives its name from Hari Rud (Hari Rudra) that separates Afghanistan from Turkmenistan and Iran.

Two large halls with a capacity of about 1,000 persons form part of the Asamai complex, commonly used for religious congregations on festivals like Navratra and Diwali.

Kabul boasts another ancient temple complex - Harshri Nath - with temples devoted to Hindu deities Shiva, Saraswati and Ganesha.

Tucked away in the depths of the old quarters of the city, the Harshri Nath temple attracts several Hindu families who returned to Kabul over the past four years. In a shining example of communal amity, several Sikh families also faithfully visit the temple every week to pray alongside the Hindus.

Kabul's third temple is located in the Shor Bazaar area once the hub of the trade in clothes, currency and dry fruits that is dominated by Hindus and Sikhs. Dedicated to Hindu god Shiva, the small temple miraculously survived severe shelling during the Civil War, even as the entire Shor Bazaar was reduced to rubble.

Though the local Hindu and Sikh population has dropped to about 5,000 from close to 20,000, the temple is a favourite with scores of Indians currently engaged in reconstruction work, from health and transport to telecommunication and IT.

Thanks to the large numbers of Indians in Kabul, the Sikh festival of Gurpurub was also a colourful affair last year.

Kabul's majority Muslims led by Culture and Information Minister Makhdoom Rahin participated in the festival at Karte Parwan Gurdwara. Likewise, Diwali and the Muslim festival of Eid were celebrated with equal fervour by all communities.

This year, representatives of the Hindu and Sikh communities expect an even larger turnout. One of them enthused: "This will boost our efforts to restore the Hindu and Sikh shrines to their original glory."
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>No plan to rebuild Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan: Thailand</span>

Bangkok, June 20, 2006. Thailand on Tuesday denied reports that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had offered to rebuild two giant ancient Buddha statues destroyed by Afghanistan's former Taliban regime in 2001.

Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said the premier had only offered to collect the remains of the 1,500-year-old statues for use in producing small replicas.

"There was some mistranslation in some of the reports," Surapong told the agency.

Thai media reported on Sunday that Thaksin had offered to rebuild the statues, which had been the world's tallest standing Buddhas, when he spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a regional conference last weekend in Kazakhstan.

Karzai told the Thai premier he would consider the proposal to make small statues using the remains of the originals, according to Surapong.

The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban, ignoring world protests, dynamited the two statues carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan in March 2001, branding them un-Islamic.

The regime was ousted later that year in a US-led military campaign after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
<img src='http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20060712/i/r2286689032.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Well-wishers gather near the traditional Hindu funeral pyre of Rajpal Mehat in Northumberland, northeast England, July 12, 2006. Hindus in United Kingdom held their first open-air cremation in 75 years on Wednesday. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN)

<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jul 15 2006, 07:27 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jul 15 2006, 07:27 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Any Hindu Hollanders on forum?

thanks very much for your opinions.

and yes we had one called Sushmita, but she dont post anymore.
<!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo--> Yoga trend catching on with GIs
[ 17 Jul, 2006 2148hrs ISTAP ]

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"At first it seemed a little shocking - soldiers practicing such a peaceful art," writes editor Rita Trieger.

Upon closer inspection, she said, she noticed "a sense of inner calm" on the aviators' faces. "War is hell, and if yoga can help them find a little solace, that's good," said Trieger, a longtime New York yoga instructor.

Retired Admiral Tom Steffens, who spent 34 years as a Navy SEAL and served as the director of the elite corps' training, regularly practices yoga at his home in Norfolk.

"Once in a while I'll sit in class, and everyone is a 20-something young lady with a 10-inch waist and here I am this old guy," he joked.

Steffens, who said the stretching helped him eliminate the stiffness of a biceps injury after surgery, said the benefits of regular practice can be enormous.

"The yoga cured all kinds of back pains," he said. "Being a SEAL, you beat up your body." Yoga breathing exercises can help SEALs with their diving, and learning to control the body by remaining in unusual positions can help members stay in confined spaces for long periods, he said.

"The ability to stay focused on something, whether on breathing or on the yoga practice, and not be drawn off course, that has a lot of connection to the military," he said. "In our SEAL basic training, there are many things that are yoga-like in nature."
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Here is my mailing address:

1500BC Vedic Avenue
Aryan City, Vedasthan
<span style='color:red'>Hindu - Head or Deputy Heads of Nations</span>

King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah (since 4 June 2001)
Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)

Vice President Ram SARDJOE (since 3 August 2005)

President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 11 August 1999)

President Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH (since 7 October 2003)
Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 5 July 2005)

King Bhumibol Adulyatej (since 9 June 1946)

President Sellapan RAMANATHAN (since 1 September 1999)
Deputy Prime Minister Shunmugan JAYAKUMAR (since 12 August 2004)

President A.P.J. Abdul KALAM (since 26 July 2002);
Vice President Bhairon Singh SHEKHAWAT (since 19 August 2002)
Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)
(I am counting Dr. Abdul Kalam and MMS as Hindus)
<img src='http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20060725/i/r654306188.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Indonesian Hindus pray on the beach at the Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java July 25, 2006. Hundreds of Hindu people held a ritual prayer aimed to avoid earthquakes and tsunamis. REUTERS/Dadang Tri (INDONESIA)

<img src='http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20060724/i/r3394035250.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

A Mauritian family walks past the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, at the main temple in Grand Bassin, about 30 km (19 miles)from the capital Port Louis, July 23, 2006. More than half of the island's 1.2 million people are Hindu, descendents of indentured labourers from India. Picture taken July 23, 2006. REUTERS/Tim Cocks (MAURITANIA)

<img src='http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/afp/20060710/capt.sge.pbu27.100706125342.photo00.photo.default-512x373.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

A Thai guide ® speaks with a group of foreign tourists during a visit to the Emerald Buddha Temple at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, November 2005. Thailand is the most hazardous destination for British holidaymakers, according to a leading insurance provider's analysis of claims made by its globe-trotting clients.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)


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