NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

USA : Voiceless Hindu Minorities Suffer Indignity and Injustice in Pakistan

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Hindu American Foundation
Date: Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 6:04 AM
Subject: Voiceless Hindu Minorities Suffer Indignity and Injustice, HAF Deplores at National Press Club
To: Gopi Chand (PHP)

Voiceless Hindu Minorities Suffer Indignity and Injustice,

HAF Deplores at National Press Club

Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2013) -- "All they want is peace," said Samir Kalra, Esq., the Hindu American Foundation (HAF)'s Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights, while describing his conversations with Pakistani Hindu refugees to a standing room only audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The Press Club event marked the formal release of the Foundation's ninth annual human rights report, entitled Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2012, intended to give voice to Hindu minorities that have "suffered indignity and injustice in silence" in many countries around the world. 
The report provided detailed accounts of human rights violations in the areas of: violence against women, forced conversions, mass violence, temple destruction, socio-political ostracization, economic and political marginalization, and discriminatory laws in nine countries and one state in India. 
HAF's latest report marked a departure from previous years and featured a new and revamped format, categorizing countries based on the extent of their human rights violations, while including expanded coverage of Hindu refugee populations from Bhutan and Pakistan. 
"This year's report represents an evolution of HAF's human rights work and a new focus on providing direct humanitarian assistance to Hindus displaced from their countries of origin," said Kalra, who visited Pakistani Hindu refugee camps in Jodhpur, India earlier this year. "While advocating on larger systemic human rights issues is vital, it is equally important to address the basic needs of these refugee populations." 
Kalra was joined at the briefing by Professor Ved Nanda, a world-renowned expert on international law and the Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver, and Professor Sachi Dastidar, Distinguished Service Professor in the Politics, Economics and Law Department at State University of New York, Old Westbury and an expert on the plight of Hindu and other non-Muslim minorities in Bangladesh.
During his talk, Professor Nanda noted the growing importance of human rights within the international legal framework and praised HAF for its commitment to consistently raising these issues with U.S. policy makers. Similarly, Professor Dastidar provided an overview of violence against minorities in Bangladesh and the country's slide from secular democracy to one with increasing extremism and intolerance. In addition to Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Pakistan garnered the greatest censure from the Foundation and were labeled as Egregious Violators for engaging in or allowing rampant and systematic violations to take place against their minority Hindu populations. 
"It's critical that human rights concerns are not ignored in light of our larger geopolitical interests in these countries," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF's Executive Director and Legal Counsel. "We cannot achieve our national security objectives in South and Southeast Asia without addressing the lack of religious freedom and fundamental civil liberties that exists in the region." 
Other countries or regions covered in the report included Bhutan, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sri Lanka, which were labelled as Countries of Serious Concern for committing severe human rights violations against their Hindu minority, but not rising to the level of Egregious Violators. And the last category, Monitored Countries, encompassed those nations with a history of violations against the Hindu community, such as Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago, but where conditions had improved in recent years. The one exception was Saudi Arabia, which only has a small population of Hindu migrant workers and lacks available data on violations against Hindus to appropriately assess the situation. 
The Foundation also featured its new documentary film on Pakistani Hindu refugees at the press briefing, entitled "Victims of History: The Untold Story of Pakistani Hindus in India."


For media inquires contact, Samir Kalra, Esq. at or 202-223-8222.  

Karachi : Hindu lawmaker says persecution of minorities could lead to community’s exodus in Pakistan

Monday, Jun 10, 2013, 17:09 IST | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI

(File Photo : Pakistani Hindus in India)

Mahesh Malani, the only non-Muslim elected to the Sindh Assembly from Tharparkar, claimed discrimination against Hindus, the country's largest minority group, was forcing them to migrate to 'safer places'.

A Hindu legislator has cautioned Pakistan's new government about a possible exodus of members of his minority community and called for quick and effective legislation to safeguard their rights, according to a media report on Monday.

Mahesh Malani, the only non-Muslim elected to the Sindh Assembly from Tharparkar, claimed discrimination against Hindus, the country's largest minority group, was forcing them to migrate to "safer places".

"The increasing sense of insecurity, caused by issues like forced conversion of Hindu girls to Islam, is compelling the community members to migrate to other places (like India)," Malani was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Malani, who contested the May 11 polls as a candidate of the Pakistan People's Party, has been pushing for a proposed law seeking registration of Hindu marriages since 2008.

He said the new government should form committees in every district to deal with the problems of minorities.

These committees should comprise Muslims, non-Muslims and members of the Council of Islamic Ideology and they should take up cases related to alleged forced conversions and forced marriages.

Rampant poverty is the main reason behind such incidents, particularly in Sindh where Hindus make up a substantial chunk of the population, he said.

Some Hindu businessmen are shifting their businesses due to the lawlessness in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi, Malani said.

Since September last year, nearly 1,000 Hindu families have been struggling to migrate to India, the report claimed.

Some of them succeeded in making their way to India, a "development likely to raise questions about Pakistan's ability to protect its religious minorities", it said.

Several Hindu welfare organisations at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, which shares a border with Sindh, extended their support to Pakistani migrants, said Ramesh Jaipal of Hare Rama Foundation.

Leaders of the Hindu community had taken up the issue with Pakistan's Supreme Court,which ordered the implementation of laws to address the concerns of minorities, Jaipal said.

"The existing laws should be implemented to protect their rights – this was the court's order," said Malani, who earlier served as a parliamentarian in a seat reserved for minorities.

Nine legislators currently represent minorities in the Sindh Assembly, eight in the Punjab Assembly and three each in the legislatures of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

"My Religion is Sanatana Dharma!" - Astounding New Video!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Santosh Jain
Date: Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Subject: Fwd: [] "My Religion is Sanatana Dharma!" - Astounding New Video!
To: Gopinath Das

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dharmacentral <>
Date: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM
Subject: [] "My Religion is Sanatana Dharma!" - Astounding New Video!

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Afghan Sikhs, already marginalized, are pushed to the brink

By Mark Magnier and Hashmat Baktash, Los Angeles Times
June 10, 20136:11 p.m.

Decades of war, instability and intolerance in Afghanistan have fueled waves of Sikh emigration, reducing the community to just 372 families nationwide, says Awtar Singh Khalsa, right, association president of the Karte Parwan temple in Kabul. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / April 25, 2013)
KABUL, Afghanistan — Outsiders may have trouble distinguishing between the turbans worn by Afghan Sikhs, with their tighter folds, varied colors and tucked-in edges, and those worn by Afghan Muslims, usually black or white with the end hanging down the wearer's back.
The subtle differences, however, and what they represent, have fueled widespread discrimination against Afghan Sikhs, members of the community say, prompting many to move away amid concern that the once-vibrant group could disappear.
"For anyone who understands the differences in turbans, we really stand out," said Daya Singh Anjaan, 49, an Afghan Sikh who fled the capital, Kabul, for India after seeing his Sikh neighbors slain. "I'm sure the remaining Afghan Sikhs will vanish soon. Survival's becoming impossible."
There are no exact records on when Sikhs, a 500-year-old monotheistic people from western India and modern-dayPakistan, arrived in Afghanistan, although most accounts place it around 200 years ago. Mostly traders, they prospered and numbered about 50,000 by the early 1990s, concentrated in Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar and Ghazni.
But decades of war, instability and intolerance have fueled waves of emigration, reducing the community to just 372 families nationwide, said Awtar Singh Khalsa, association president of the Karte Parwan gurdwara, or temple. This is the last of eight gurdwaras that once operated in Kabul, he said.
During the Afghan civil war of the mid-1990s, most of Kabul's solidly constructed gurdwaras were appropriated by battling warlords who shelled one another, destroying seven of them along with a Sikh school that once taught 1,000 students. Under Taliban rule, Sikhs had to wear yellow patches, reminiscent of the Jews under Nazi rule, and fly yellow flags over their homes and shops.
Among the goals laid out by the United States and its allies after toppling the Taliban government in 2001 was religious tolerance for minorities, who account for about 1% of Afghanistan's population.
In practice, Sikhs say, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's weak and embattled government rarely counters prejudice by the majority population, which emboldens attackers. Hooligans rob, insult and spit at them on the street, they say, order them to remove their turbans and try to steal their land.
Particularly dispiriting, Afghan Sikhs say, are charges by the Muslim majority that they should "go home," even though they've lived in Afghanistan for generations and are protected, at least theoretically, by freedom-of-religion safeguards in the Afghan Constitution.
Another disturbing example of the indignities they face is the treatment of their dead, many said. Cremation, a tenet of the Sikh faith, has been quietly practiced in Kabul's eastern district of Qalacha for more than a century.
In recent years, however, some Sikhs who have tried to carry out cremations have been beaten up, stoned and otherwise blocked from doing so, at times decried as statue-worshiping infidels whose ceremonies "smell." Islam considers cremation a sacrilege.
Many Sikhs said they've complained repeatedly to the government to little avail. "In the last decade, the Kabul government has specified 10 different places for Sikh burials and cremations, but villagers keep giving Sikhs problems," said Anarkali Honaryar, a senator representing the community. "Even when President Karzai issued a decree, nothing changed."
While in New Delhi last month, Karzai said that Sikhs are a valued part of Afghanistan and that he was sorry so many had left. "We'll do our best to bring the Sikh community and Hindus back to Afghanistan," he said.
Sikhs, Jews and other minorities enjoyed tolerance and relative prosperity until the late 1970s when decades of war, oppression and infighting set in. Although many Muslim families have also suffered hugely, Sikhs say they've faced worse pressures as a minority subject to forced religious conversions and frequent kidnapping, given their limited political protection and reputation for being prosperous.
Pritpal Singh, an Afghan-born Sikh living in England who has documented the plight of Afghan Sikhs, said his brother was kidnapped shortly before the family left in 1992.
"I really looked up to him; it was such a shock," he said. "They asked for crazy money and we couldn't pay, so they killed him."
As conditions worsened, Sikhs turned increasingly inward, building a high wall around the lastgurdwara to prevent passersby from stoning the building, and cremating their dead inside, normally unthinkable, to stem angry mobs.
Khalsa said he's met repeatedly with Karzai but nothing changes, and meetings with bureaucrats and politicians often end with demands for money.
"Corruption is unbelievable," Khalsa said. "The Taliban were far better than this government."
For those emigrating, India and Pakistan visas are much easier to secure than those to Europe, so some stop there first, then travel illegally to the West.
Although securing a short-term visitor visa to India is relatively easy, obtaining citizenship is a "nightmare" given India's bureaucracy and general indifference, said Paramjit Singh Sarna, anIndian community leader in New Delhi assisting Afghan Sikhs. It does not help that Sikhism originated in India and that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a Sikh.
Sarna said many Afghan Sikhs live in limbo in India. As "outsiders," they are unable to buy land or work, their travel is restricted, their children born stateless.
Dhyan Singh, a 62-year-old Afghan Sikh who has lived in New Delhi since 1989, said he misses Afghanistan despite the problems.
"Just last night, I dreamed I visited the Kabul gurdwara," Singh said. "It's only fear that keeps me away."
Times staff writer Magnier reported from Kabul and New Delhi. Special correspondent Baktash reported from Kabul.