THE HIMALAYAN TALK: INDIAN GOVERNMENT FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM RISKIER

http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c The government of India has announced food security program ahead of elections in 2014. We discussed the issue with Palash Biswas in Kolkata today. http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c Ahead of Elections, India's Cabinet Approves Food Security Program ______________________________________________________ By JIM YARDLEY http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/indias-cabinet-passes-food-security-law/

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICAL OF BAMCEF LEADERSHIP

[Palash Biswas, one of the BAMCEF leaders and editors for Indian Express spoke to us from Kolkata today and criticized BAMCEF leadership in New Delhi, which according to him, is messing up with Nepalese indigenous peoples also. He also flayed MP Jay Narayan Prasad Nishad, who recently offered a Puja in his New Delhi home for Narendra Modi's victory in 2014.]

THE HIMALAYAN DISASTER: TRANSNATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT MECHANISM A MUST

We talked with Palash Biswas, an editor for Indian Express in Kolkata today also. He urged that there must a transnational disaster management mechanism to avert such scale disaster in the Himalayas. http://youtu.be/7IzWUpRECJM

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS BLASTS INDIANS THAT CLAIM BUDDHA WAS BORN IN INDIA

THE HIMALAYAN VOICE: PALASH BISWAS DISCUSSES RAM MANDIR

Published on 10 Apr 2013 Palash Biswas spoke to us from Kolkota and shared his views on Visho Hindu Parashid's programme from tomorrow ( April 11, 2013) to build Ram Mandir in disputed Ayodhya. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77cZuBunAGk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALSH BISWAS FLAYS SOUTH ASIAN GOVERNM

Palash Biswas, lashed out those 1% people in the government in New Delhi for failure of delivery and creating hosts of problems everywhere in South Asia. http://youtu.be/lD2_V7CB2Is

Palash Biswas on BAMCEF UNIFICATION!

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS ON NEPALI SENTIMENT, GORKHALAND, KUMAON AND GARHWAL ETC.and BAMCEF UNIFICATION! Published on Mar 19, 2013 The Himalayan Voice Cambridge, Massachusetts United States of America

BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE 7

Published on 10 Mar 2013 ALL INDIA BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE HELD AT Dr.B. R. AMBEDKAR BHAVAN,DADAR,MUMBAI ON 2ND AND 3RD MARCH 2013. Mr.PALASH BISWAS (JOURNALIST -KOLKATA) DELIVERING HER SPEECH. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLL-n6MrcoM http://youtu.be/oLL-n6MrcoM

Imminent Massive earthquake in the Himalayas

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS TALKS AGAINST CASTEIST HEGEMONY IN SOUTH ASIA

Palash Biswas on Citizenship Amendment Act

Mr. PALASH BISWAS DELIVERING SPEECH AT BAMCEF PROGRAM AT NAGPUR ON 17 & 18 SEPTEMBER 2003 Sub:- CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2003 http://youtu.be/zGDfsLzxTXo

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Swami Of Accra The Swami Of Accra From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 32 The West African nation of Ghana is an unlikely place to encounter a Hindu monastery.

The Swami Of Accra 

The Swami Of Accra

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 32

The West African nation of Ghana
is an unlikely place to encounter a Hindu monastery.

AS AN Indian in Ghana,
I soon became aware of the country's Indian community. It was while
working on a photo-essay about crosscultural interactions, especially
interracial marriages, that I learnt of the African Hindu Monastery. Now, Ghana is by
no means homogenous when it comes to religion. Though predominantly
Christian, with Islam being prominent in the north, most Ghanaians still
maintain their connections to older traditions of ancestor worship and belief
in the spirit world. Hinduism, though, is a foreign and recent entrant,
associated with the Sindhi business families who dominate the immigrant
Indian population. The presence of an African Hindu community, therefore,
came as a surprise. I decided to go and see the place for myself.

The African Hindu Monastery (AHM) is a simple white structure in Odorkor, a
suburb of the Ghanaian capital city of Accra.
Started in 1975, it is headed by Swami Ghanananda Saraswati. The
gentle-voiced Saraswati was born into the traditional African faith. Although
he converted to Christianity when both his parents became Christian priests,
he continued his search for truth. Attracted by Hindu beliefs and the
practice of yoga, he travelled to India. While staying at Swami
Sivananda's ashram in Rishikesh, he decided to embrace Hinduism. At 35,
he returned to Ghana
and acquired his first disciples, holding lectures to educate Ghanaians about
this ancient and foreign religion. Initially, his teachings attracted the
literate and the academic –university lecturers and lawyers. Soon, some
Indian families started to come. Later, a meeting with one Swami Krishnananda
(who was visiting from India)
inspired him to set up a monastery "where he could tell people about
all that he had learnt in India".

TODAY, GHANA'S
population of 23 million includes 12,500 Hindus, of which 10,000, like their
Swami Ghanananda Saraswati, are indigenous Africans. While an older Sindhi
temple still exists in Accra (and the Sathya
Sais, the Ananda Margis, ISKCON and the Brahma Kumaris are also active), the
African Hindu Monastery (AHM) is now Ghana's largest centre of
Hindu worship.

Ghana now has a Hindu population of 12,500, of which as many as 10,000 are indigenous Africans

The AHM's iconography and practices provide clues to its hybrid
origins. Its nonexclusionist attitude is apparent from the picture of Jesus
alongside the Hindu gods on the main mantelpiece, as well as images of
spiritual leaders from other religions. There are even images of secular
leaders from India.
The monastery's members also believe that the Supreme God is known by
other names, such as Yahweh and Allah.

While it identifies itself with Vedic philosophy, with Vishnu as the primary
deity, there is an adjoining temple for Shiva. In fact, the day starts with a
Shiva Abhishek, followed by an aarti, conducted by the Swami or one of his
disciples. This is followed by a havan (fire sacrifice) and the reciting of
the Hanuman Chalisa. In contrast to the specially commissionedhavans in most
Indian temples, all those present can pour a spoonful of oil into the sacred
fire. Bhajans in Hindi —sung exquisitely in a Ghanaian accent —
might follow. Later, a Vedic text might be discussed, either in English or in
a Ghanaian dialect.

The AHM is not just accommodating of multiple religious traditions but also
open to people of all races, classes and communities. Indian worshippers are
not only members of the dominant Sindhi community, but also recent
immigrants: managers and contract labour alike. But most worshippers are
Africans, again from different professions and backgrounds. When I asked a
disciple about the group's opinion of the caste system, he pointed out
that there is no society in the world that does not break its people up into
the privileged and the unprivileged, be it through profession, ancestry or
race. Ghanaian Hindus like him, however, are clear that people have an equal
right to education, the means to a good life and most importantly, religion.

Some have given their children Hindu names like Rama or Krishna after a naming ceremony

CONTRARY TO its name, the monastery has only one monk. Saraswati 
explains,
"Hinduism is a new thing [in West Africa],
and I do not want to make somebody a monk who later on abandons 
monkhood. It
would bring a bad name to me and to Hinduism." Believers who want to
become disciples enroll in a six-week residential course, after which 
they
are initiated. The transition to Hinduism is a gradual one. For 
instance, an
African Hindu would continue to have a Christian or Muslim first name 
and a
traditional African last name – for example, Daniele Otchere. But 
there
are disciples who have given their children Hindu first names like 
Rama or Krishna after a Hindu naming ceremony. Hindu rituals at
marriage and cremation (rather than burial) at death are also 
beginning to be
adopted, though not obligatory.

The monastery likes disciples to pray and perform pujas at home. In fact, the
performance of rituals is seen as essential to being Hindu. Sometimes, new
believers' desire to perform Hindu-ness is so great that it feels like
they are play-acting – like the time when several people fell at the
feet of a visiting dignitary to show respect 'in the traditional Hindu
manner'. But then, ritual is often the embodied route to faith.
(As told to Trisha Gupta)

Photographer Smruthi Gargi Eswar meets the eclectic cult
Photos of the gods An African Hindu disciple scans the Bhagavad Gita

Fire-starter Swami Ghanananda Saraswati

Daily bred A woman takes her turn at the collective havan that follows the
morning aarti

Young hands The children of disciples are initiated into rituals

Egalitarians all Most worshippers at the monastery are Africans from
different professions and backgrounds

Song of songs Woman singing bhajans at the monastery

http://hssuk.org/index.php?view=article&catid=42:Interesting+Articles&id=114:The+Swami+Of+Accra&option=com_content&Itemid=101
  
 

Thanks & Regards,

Sudhir Srinivasan
B.Arch, MSc.CPM,Dip.ID, Dip.CAD, Dip.PM
|Architect|

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