Am I A Hindu In India

By Promod Puri

I am a proud Canadian citizen. In this land of multi-cultural and multi-religious freedoms I am also a proud Hindu.

But when I visit India I am not a Hindu. Because, I confess, many, many, many times I have eaten beef steaks. And that I am not “hiding” the fact that our refrigerator often has minced beef.

I am not a Hindu in India because I don’t adore Trump, and I did not share the pictures showing special Hindu prayers for his success in the US presidential race. Unlike Trump, I am not an anti-refugee, and I’m not an anti-Muslim either.

More seriously, I am not a Hindu in India because I don’t understand the moral vigilantsquads apprehending and thrashing young couples, married or unmarried, indulging in the “obscene” act of holding each other’s hands in public.

I am not a Hindu in India because I denounce the violent and at times fatal acts of “gau-rakshak dals” projecting their bizarre vision of Hinduism under the pretext of saving the holy cow. The same cows don’t get their compassion when often seen gnawing plastic garbage bags.

I am not a Hindu in India because I reject Manu and his caste classification of the Hindu race. Rather I salute Ambedkar who fought to uproot the caste system in the country.

My non-Hindu status in India qualifies me in the expanding outcaste of “go-to-Pakistan”. I love to visit Pakistan, especially to my ancestral town of Sialkot. This is the place where poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal was born. He wrote: Sare jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara….

Back in Canada, in the land of true freedom, I am a Hindu again.

(Promod Puri is the author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions”. Websites: progressivehindudialogue.com, promodpuri.com and promodpuri.blogspot.ca).

EASTER AND VAISAKHI: FESTIVALS OF NEW BEGINNING

By Promod Puri

Easter is a celebration of resurrection of Jesus.

It is on this day, Christians believe in the rise of Jesus Christ after his death and burial. And that means a new beginning.

Since Easter (April 16) comes in the beginning of spring season, a symbolic connection can be ascertained with the coming back to life of Jesus, and the life of plants and trees that have been dormant in winter. Easter is a celebration of new life and rebirth in the nature and the Christian faith.

The celebration of new life and rebirth finds a meaningful implication in the Hindu-Sikh-Buddhist festival of Vaisakhi (April 13) which also falls during the spring season.

Vaisakh is the name of first month (April-May) in the Hindu calendar. It is a time of festivity when the crops are ready for harvesting. On this day in 1875, Hindu reformist Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj sect in Hinduism. And Gautam Buddh attained enlightenment on the Vaisakhi day. Vaisakhi marks a new beginning with the formation of Khalsa Panth, the birth of Sikhism by Guru Gobind Singh on April 13, 1699.

Easter and Vaisakhi are the occasions of celebrations when mother nature also promises new beginning as the spring season comes back with new leaves, flowers, and blossoms.

Happy Easter, Happy Vaisakhi amidst Happy Spring.