Ashadha Amavasya, Vik. Samvat 2072.Yugabda 5117: June 16, 2015




1. FESTIVALS: Inetrnational Day of Yoga will be celebrated throughout the world on 21st June. 21st June, being the day of summer solstice – longest day in the Northern Hemisphere was declared by United Nations General Assembly as International Day of Yoga after the Bharatiya proposal as put forward by PM Narendra Modi in his UNGA speech was co-sponsored by record 177 member countries. Plans are being made for enthusiastic celebration involving masses, not only in Bharat, but all around the world with the participation of Bharatiya missions, Bharatiyas & local communities, temples, yoga gurus and others.  -goTop


2. STRIVE HARD TO FULFIL GLOBAL EXPECTATIONS FROM BHARAT: RSS CHIEF: Experiencing the recent change in Bharat the world is looking at it with great hope and confidence because Bharat has been trusted as the most credible nation. It is now the duty of the Hindu society to reinstall Bharat as Vishwaguru (World Teacher) by internalizing the values and ethos of ‘samarasata’ and togetherness.

This fervent appeal was made by RSS Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohanrao Bhagwat on 5th June at Nagpur while addressing the valedictory function of the 25-day long RSS Third Year Summer Training Camp at the Reshambag ground.

Dr Virendra Hegde, who is associated with the Dharmasthala where Lord Manjunatha (Shiva) is the presiding deity, was the Chief Guest at the program and recalled in his address, how Vishwa Hindu Parishad succeeded in bringing together 170 saints and religious leaders on one platform and made an announcement that all Hindus are brethren. He also recalled his association with the late Sri Guruji Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak of RSS.

Earlier, Yashvantbhai Chaudhary, Karyawah of the Camp informed that that there were 875 participants in the camp who had come from all over the country representing 16 linguistic groups.

Other prominent dignitaries present were ISRO Director M Annadurai, ISRO Group Director SV Sharma, Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of State for Information Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.  -goTop


3. HSS UK PRAUDH SHIBIR: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, UK)  annual jamboree was enthusiastically held on 5, 6 and 7 June at Beaumanor Hall's, near Loughborough, landscaped, pristine gardens and cottages.  This year's chief guest was Shri Ramesh of NELE, (a project of Hindu Seva Pratishthana, Banglore). 

This year around 125 Swayamsevaks up and down the country thoroughly enjoyed meeting each other, listening to thought provoking Bauddhiks, brain storming on various subjects related to Sangh activities, playing games, learning Yogas, keep fit sessions and enjoying delicious, sumptuous food.  Apart from regular Shakha, the highlights of the Shibir were 3 Bauddhiks on the Sangh work in the UK - history, present status and future for our work and group discussion on the influence of Shakha on Swayamsevaks in their social work, fulfilling societal needs.

Shri Dhirajbhai Shah, Sanghachalak UK HSS, UK Kayawah Shri Dhirubhai Shah and pracharak Chandrakant Sharma dwelt on various aspects of role and future of HSS in the society, present status of work, progress of Bal Gokulam, sangh sanskar in swayamsevak etc. 

Dr Ram Vaidya, Sah Sanyojak - Vishva Vibhag, summed up the deliberations and put forward challenges and tasks including next year's Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Sangh work in the UK.  -goTop


4. KUTUMB PRABODHAN FOR RESURRECTION OF FAMILY VALUES: The chirp and cheer of a joint Indian family, with elders around to guide and advise, may make a comeback in homes if the RSS-launched programme of ‘Kutumb Prabodhan’ is to succeed in cities and villages across India.

“Kutumb Prabodhan” (Family Awakening) involves swayamsewaks approaching a family and getting all its members to sit together with “disturbing” modern gadgets completely switched-off and kept away at a distance.

The modern technology — Internet and mobile — is seen by RSS leaders as a further catalyst to the disruption of a Model Indian family system which has already come under “tremendous pressure” on account of “demands of modern life” and emergence of nuclear families.

‘Kutumb Prabodhan’ programme— a priority task for the RSS — is seeking all members to love their green offshoots (children) as much as roots (elders) of the family tree.

The RSS efforts may not exactly transform Indian families into the kind of bonhomie presented in the films like “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun” of Sooraj Barjatya or ‘Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham’ of Karan Johar but may still help mitigate the toxicity generated by the current “me-myself and my family culture” of the big cities.

Families in big cities are the most affected by the breaking up of the joint family system whereas villages are still free from “this negative development of the modern culture”, a senior RSS Prant Pracharak said. The presence of ‘Chaupals’ in villages still provide  platform to rural families to come together and discuss issues, the RSS leader pointed out.

He said a home is a lab where kids learn by observing elders and “therefore, Sangh wants to preserve the family system for the next generation” and encourage mutual cooperation and sharing with youngsters “learning tools for good life”.

RSS leaders are reaching out to families in villages and cities and asking them to spend at least one hour together every week and know about each others. The discussion may involve family issues, childhood memories or comparison of “this generation with the earlier ones and their challenges”.

Under the programme, newly married couples are also being advised on the ways to negotiate the sharp twists and turns of the nuptial road ahead.

The Sangh programme also involves “selected couples” of nearby villages staying as “guests” in each other’s family “and thus, enlarging their family ties”.

In the cities, RSS is asking families to wean away children from internet and mobiles and draw them to “healthy book reading or sports activities” with elders overseeing them. (By Deepak K Upreti Daily Pioneer, 2nd June 2015)  -goTop


5. YOGA DAY CELEBRATIONS AT UN TO BE BROADCAST AT TIMES SQUARE: The celebrations of the first International Day of Yoga at the United Nations , to be presided over by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, will be broadcast at Times Square for the world audience.

The UN will commemorate the inaugural International Yoga Day on June 21 with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Sam Kutesa gracing the occasion. The Bharat-led celebrations will also feature a special lecture and demonstration by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

These celebrations would be broadcast to an audience of thousands at Times Square, considered as the global crossroads in the heart of Manhattan. Another celebration of the Solstice Day would be observed at Times Square with thousands performing yoga exercises, according to the Bharatiya mission to the UN. Several Bharatiya-American and other ethnic organizations have joined hands to commemorate the first yoga day.  -goTop


6. BANGLADESH CONFERS LIBERATION WAR AWARD ON VAJPAYEE: Former Bharatiya prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was conferred the Bangladesh Liberation War award for his contribution to the liberation of the country from Pakistan on 7th June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, received the award on behalf of Vajpayee from President Mohammad Abdul Hamid at a function in Dhaka.

Modi said it was a moment of pride for the people of Bharat. Recalling Vajpayee's speech of December 1971 in parliament, Modi said the former prime minister had said friendship between Bharat and Bangladesh was like a bond which would not break under any pressure, and would never be the victim of any foul play of diplomacy.

Modi said Vajpayee's message had to be passed on to succeeding generations.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted Vajpayee's contribution to her country's Liberation War. -goTop


7.  MODI VISITS DHAKESHWARI TEMPLE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the 12th-century Dhakeshwari temple in Dhaka on 7th June, on the second and concluding day of his Bangladesh visit. He then headed to the Ramkrishna Mission nearby and was greeted by the monks at the mission.

The Prime Minister spent around 15 minutes at the temple which was closed for nearly an hour for the public in the morning.

The PM was given a replica of Goddess Dhakeshwari and a shawl besides other memorabilia. The 800-year-old Sri temple in Lalbagh is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh's "national temple".

The Dhaka Ramakrishna Mission Math is a branch of the Belur Math, which PM Modi visited last month when he was in Kolkata.

The Prime Minister then inaugurated the newly-constructed Bharatiya High Commission's Chancery at Baridhara. -goTop


8. PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE ANNOUNCES E-TOURIST VISAS FOR SWEDISH NATIONALS:  President Pranab Mukherjee announced on 2nd June e-tourist visas for all Swedish nationals during an interaction with business leaders from Bharat and Sweden in Stockholm.

Mukherjee, on a state visit to Sweden, assured the Swedish CEOs that the Bharatiya government is "responsive to industry and investors".

Welcoming the enthusiasm shown by Swedish firms in investing in Bharat, he said the three Ds of Bharat - Democracy, Demography and Demand will ensure that their investments are a huge success.

Pointing out that Bharat is going to become a $8-trillion economy in PPP terms by the end of this year and its international trade will soon cross $1 billion, the president called upon Swedish investors to lend their expertise.  -goTop


9. HINDU UNITY DAY CELEBRATED IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: Milpitas, California – May 29, 2015 – In an atmosphere of collaborative spirit, wide spectrum of Hindu organizations came together on the occasion of Hindu Unity Day organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS).

Approximately 25 Hindu organizations representing various Bharatiya regions, languages, culture and Hindu philosophies came together to work for common good and in collaboration with each other. Though each organization has its own focus areas, a common thread that emerged in the discussion was their support for victims of recent earthquake in Nepal. Almost all the organizations attended the event were working on some programs to help their brothers and sisters in Nepal.

The shared theme that emerged was to leverage each other’s strengths so that combined community efforts can be maximized not only during the times of need like natural disasters, but also throughout the year for causes both local and international. Mr.Vijay Simha, one of the national executives of the HSS gave an impassioned key note speech to join hands in unity to promote the civil rights and welfare of the community.  -goTop


10. DUBAI PARKS TO OPEN EARLY FOR YOGA, TAI CHI: Yoga enthusiasts, joggers and other fitness freaks in Dubai have been allowed early morning access to parks and other facilities without an entry fee.

"We understand the need to encourage physical activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, and Art of Living for example," said Mohammed Al Fardan, the head of Parks at the Parks and Horticulture Department of the Dubai Municipality.

Fardan was addressing a press conference to announce the first International Yoga Day celebrations to be hosted by the city municipality on June 12, the report said.  -goTop


11. PRESIDENT RELEASES YOGA BOOK IN BRAILLE: President Pranab Mukherjee has released Yogikasparsh, a yoga manual in braille written by Nivedita Joshi, at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He said that Yoga is an art, science and philosophy that helps to join the powers of body, mind and soul for achieving self-realization. The President added, "It is perhaps only yoga that provides the complete answer to a person's physical, mental, moral and spiritual well-being."

The President said that the publication of a Yoga manual in Braille was a welcome pioneering step in the right direction. The yoga manual in Braille was prepared by young yoga teacher Nivedita Joshi in association with scientists at the IIT - Delhi.

It is expected to help millions of blind people learn and practice Yoga. Nivedita Joshi, daughter of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, suffered from a critical ailment some 19 years ago and got fully cured with the help of Yoga. Later, she dedicated her life to this ancient art of Bharat and became a Yoga teacher herself. -goTop


12.  CULTURAL PUSH: GOVT DECIDES TO POPULARISE RAMAYANA, RAMLILA ABROAD: The government has decided to popularise the Ramayana and Ramlila abroad through festivals and exhibitions as part of a broader cultural push to invigorate ties across the globe, said culture minister Mahesh Sharma.

The promotional events may be held in China, Mauritius and countries where the Ramayana and Ramlila are already popular, sources say.

One key component of the diplomatic effort, The Festivals of India,  is a combination  of dance performances, musical shows and other theme-based exhibitions and will showcase the traditions of Ramlila and Ramkatha (story of Ram) to portray Bharat’s “rich cultural diversity”. Such festivals have been organised in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and China with the latest edition scheduled for Australia in December. The government also has plans to organise these festivals, called Bharat Parv, at the district level.

Sources said the government was also working on ways to collect and preserve types of folklore associated with Ramlila. To propel this, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is organising a seven-day international conference from November 23 to showcase traditional and contemporary forms of Ramlila and Ramkatha manthan. The IGNCA has also documented a 31-day film on ‘Ramnagar ki Ramlila’ that it plans to send to Doordarshan for screening. -goTop


13. BHARAT'S FIRST INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT CARRIER INS VIKRANT UNDOCKED: Bharat undocked its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at a simple ceremony at Cochin Shipyard on 10th June.

Bharat’s largest aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant's induction into the Navy will be done after a series of static and dynamic trials. 

The successful completion of the 40,000 tonne aircraft carrier puts Bharat in the elite group of four nations -- the US, Russia, the UK and France -- in the world capable of designing and constructing aircraft carriers.

The basic design of the indigenous aircraft carrier was done by the Bharatiya Navy's Directorate of Naval Design, which was developed into detailed design by the design team of CSL.

The ship has a length of over 260 metres and breadth of 60 metres. It has two take-off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires, capable of operating STOBAR aircraft including the indigenous LCA, as well as a range of helicopters with hangar facilities.  -goTop


14. ISRO BAGS SPACE PIONEER AWARD FOR LOW COST 'MARS ORBITER MISSION': The country's low-cost Mars mission which is in rendezvous with the red Planet for an extended period has been presented with the Space Pioneer award for the year 2015 by the US' National Space Society. It was presented to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada during May 20 -24, 2015.

It said the National Space Society (NSS) of USA presented this award in recognition of ISRO’s efforts in accomplishing Mars Mission in its very first attempt. National Space Society (NSS) is an independent nonprofit educational membership organisation dedicated to the creation of a space faring civilisation. -goTop


15. DELHI BILLIONAIRE WHO GAVE UP RS 600 CRORE TURNS INTO A MONK!: Not every day when we come across people like Bhanwarlal Raghunath Doshi who choose to give up their entire wealth to become a preacher. Yes, the owner of D.R. International, an international trading house dealing in various kinds of plastic raw materials, has given up his Rs 600-crore line-up to embrace the monastic life.

He made the move on 1st June in Ahmedabad in a high-end ceremony where around five lakh people were present. Doshi became the 108th desciple and turned into a monk under the discipleship of Jain Acharya. Along with him over 101 people from the audiences also made commitments to join the spiritual group in another five years by taking Diksha.

Doshi is the 354th postulant to have become a monk under Surishwarji Maharaj's discipleship. While not many know what prompted the 'plastic king' of Delhi to give up the worldly pleasures and lead an ascetic life, but it is being said that he was planning to take Jain Diksha since 1982. -goTop


16.  SUPER COMPUTER LAUNCHED, TO IMPROVE WEATHER FORECASTING: Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated on 2nd June a 'high performance' computing facility at NCMRWF that will improve the country's weather forecasting capabilities.

Claiming that the supercomputer named 'Bhaskara' has placed Bharat in the league of the US and European countries, Harsh Vardhan said: "Our facilities for predicting weather are world-class. But what we are adding today is a landmark achievement." Housed in the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF) in Noida, adjacent to Delhi, Bhaskara is part of the Earth System Science Organisation of the ministry of earth sciences that will considerably enhance prediction capabilities like tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall events, cloud burst events and monsoon, using high resolution regional models. -goTop


17.  ‘AMARNATH YATRA WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED’: Rejecting the demands of  Kashmiri separatists to curtail the duration of the Amarnath Yatra, the Centre has declared that the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine will go ahead as scheduled and will last almost two months.

As many as 80 companies (8,000 personnel) of the CRPF will be deployed to secure the routes of the shrine. Medical teams have also been geared up for any emergencies. “The Amarnath Yatra will go on as per schedule. It will commence on July 2 and will continue for 59 days,” confirmed the Home Ministry. The affirmation came after separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabeer Shah and others demanded curtailment of the  Amarnath Yatra citing “fragile environmental conditions” of the mountainous region.

As many as 1.50 lakh devotees have registered so far the yatra. 7,500 yatris would be allowed for yatra every day. -goTop


18. 3-DAY RSS INSPIRED GRAAMA SANGAMA CONCLUDES IN BENGALURU : Pledged to make their village self-reliant, giving priority youth and women empowerment, and to eradicate the social ailments like alcoholism, untouchability etc; the 3-day RSS inspired GRAAMA SANGAMA concluded successfully at the premises of Prashanti Kuteeram in Jigani of Bengaluru on 14th June.

A total of 1819 participants, attended this 3 day conclave rom 15 districts of Southern Karnataka.

In his key note address, Dr Dinesh, Akhil Bharatiya Samyojak of Gram Vikas Vibhag, said ” The success rural development of the villages can happen because of the presence 3 major factors,. First, the Matrushakti. Second, the Dharmik Shkati,  Third, the Kisan Shakti (Farmers).

RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah Bouddhik Pramukh, Mukunda CR in his valedictory address, said “Each village should be self-reliant. The rural development not merely done by outsiders or the govt projects. The Villagers should take self initiative to imbue works focusing on upliftment of the own village.”

The 3-day event was completely ORGANIC in its action. All food commodities used were completely organic, grown and contributed by Organic farmers from Karnataka. The Bhagawadwaj used in the conclave was made from purely organic cotton, natural colours were used. The event was ecofriendly, was plastic-free. V Nagaraj, RSS Kshetreeya Sanghachalak, Dr P Vaman Shenoy, RSS Sah-Pranth Sanghachalak, N Tippeswamy, RSS Pranth Karyavah were present on the dais.  -goTop


19. DUBAI-BASED BHARATIYA ENTREPRENEUR TO DONATE HALF HIS WEALTH TO CHARITY:  A 58-year-old Dubai-based Bharatiya education entrepreneur has pledged to give away more than half of his wealth for helping teachers around the world by signing a popular philanthropic campaign.

Kerala-born Sunny Varkey joins the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and fellow Bharatiya Wipro chairman Azim Premji by signing Bill Gates's "The Giving Pledge" campaign.

"I am delighted to sign the Giving Pledge. I was fortunate that I grew up in a family where charity was ingrained in us from a very early age. Even when my father earned a small amount, a large portion was shared with the community we lived in, sometimes at the cost of our own comfort," Mr Varkey said.

He is the founder of Gems Education, the world's leading education provider, which covers around 140,000 students across the world from over 153 nationalities. -goTop


20.  NOW, TREK TO MOUNT KAILASH IN JUST 2.5 DAYS AS CHINA OPENS NEW ROUTE: The pilgrimage to Kailash-Mansarovar will be a breeze from June 22, thanks to a new route allowed by the Chinese government. Instead of trekking for 12 days over rugged terrain at altitudes up to 19,500 feet as they have been doing for centuries now, pilgrims to Mount Kailash in south western Tibet will be driven all through the Tibetan plateau from Nathula in Sikkim.

While the old yatra route through Lipulekh takes 22 days, the journey from Nathula will take only 19 days (from Delhi and back). Significantly, against 12 days of trekking, the pilgrims will walk for only two-and-a-half days — when they do the 'parikrama' of Mount Kailash. The first batch of 50 pilgrims will cross over into Tibet from Sikkim on June 22 to bus it all the way to Darchen for their holy 'parikrama'. -goTop


21. BHARAT TO BE WORLD'S FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY AT 7.5%, SAYS WORLD BANK: Bharat is expected to grow 7.5 per cent this year, surpassing China, and for the first time is leading the World Bank's growth chart of major economies. China is projected to grow at 7.1 per cent this year.

In Bharat reforms have buoyed confidence and falling oil prices have reduced vulnerabilities, paving the way for the economy to grow by a robust 7.5 per cent rate in 2015, the report said. -goTop


22. HASSLE-FREE ACCESS TO BHUTAN, NEPAL, B’DESH: The Cabinet has approved the signing of a motor vehicles pact between Bharat and three other SAARC nations — Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal on June 15. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will visit Bhutan to sign the pact with his counterparts, which will enable seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles among these nations.

Signing of the BBIN pact will promote safe, economically-efficient and environmentally-sound road transport in the sub-region and will help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration, said Gadkari, detailing the Cabinet’s decision. -goTop


23. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag is on tour to US, Hong Kong and Thailand. Shri Shyam Parande, secretary Sewa International visited Nepal for earthquake relief activities. Visitors: Prakash Ranade & family – USA,  -goTop


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: When we talk about understanding, surely it takes place only when the mind listens completely - the mind being your heart, your nerves, your ears- when you give your whole attention to it. - Jiddu Krishnamurti -goTop




Countering cross-border terror across the border

The successful strike by the Indian Army's Special Forces against militants holed up on the other side of the India-Myanmar border marks an important and welcome change in the country's policy towards terrorism. As a Union Minister remarked, it was “unprecedented and bold”. The strike shows that the Narendra Modi Government is willing to adopt ‘hot pursuit', if need be. The cross-border offensive came days after militants massacred 18 Armymen in Manipur in an ambush. It was known that the militants had fled to the Myanmar side after the attack. While there is still some confusion on the extent of communication the Indian officials had maintained with their counterparts in Myanmar on this particular development, the two sides have coordinated closely in the recent past on tackling militancy directed against India from across the border.

Myanmar was also reportedly informed about the development soon after it happened. There is no reason to believe that the episode will adversely impact the close cooperation that exists between the two countries in fighting terror. On the contrary, it can strengthen the resolve, given that Myanmar has irrefutable evidence that its soil is being used to launch attacks against India. Although reports have it that some important militant leaders have been eliminated by the Special Forces' offensive, the long-term impact remains to be seen.

All the same, it is clear that the fear of the Indian Army must have percolated into the minds of the militants, who, until now, had thought they were safe as long as they were on the Myanmar side of the border. India's strong response cannot be termed as knee-jerk, because New Delhi had tried its best to get the militant groups to the discussion table. Several rounds of talks had taken place, but it was clear that the terror outfits were not in a mood to be reasonable. After the Indian Army's surgical strike, perhaps some of them may now be more receptive. Else, they will learn the hard way.

This apprehension must have spread, or ought to spread, among militant groups operating elsewhere too — along the India-Pakistan line, for instance. Of course, the dynamics are different. The Government in Naypyidaw has been working closely with New Delhi over the last many months on combating terror, whereas Islamabad has not only been uncooperative but has also tacitly backed anti-India militants. While this complicates matters, it should not come in the way of India's resolve to do all it can — diplomatically and otherwise — to neutralise terrorists who either have Islamabad's/Rawalpindi's direct support or are propped up by non-state elements Pakistan patronises.

Given that diplomacy has got us nowhere despite years of effort, perhaps ‘hot pursuit' into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where militant camps are flourishing, will be seriously contemplated by the Modi regime. In doing so, while the Government should naturally take into consideration the fallouts, it must not be overly sensitive to external opinion. The security and sovereignty of one’s country remains supreme. The US showed this with its elimination of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani territory, and Israel repeatedly demonstrates a similar commitment by hitting its enemies on foreign soil, despite being slammed by even its friends in the West. (Editorial, The Pioneer, 11 June 2015)  -goTop



Ayush Sharma

In the traditional Hindu belief system, the teacher is regarded extremely highly. After the mother and father, the teacher is said to have the greatest influence on a child’s development. Although we all admire and respect our teachers, our actions may not always convey this message. For the ninth year in a row, Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) has taken up the responsibility of reminding us to show our teachers the respect they deserve.

HEF volunteers conduct Guru Vandana, or teacher appreciation, events all over the nation. Last year, teachers were respected in the traditional Hindu way in 39 different locations around the US, including numerous events in Texas.

This year, there were a total of eight events hosted across Texas with four in Houston, three in Dallas, and one in San Antonio. Over 100 teachers were honored in Houston alone, and a total of 252 teachers were honored all over the state. The events took place over the May 9th and 16th weekends.

HEF takes a very unique approach to respecting the teachers. First of all, children are asked to invite all of their teachers, not only their “favorite ones.” And yes, this includes the teacher that gives the incredibly difficult calculus tests every week. This is because Hindus believe that all teachers should be respected since they are the ones who remove ignorance from our lives.

When teachers arrive to the events, they are greeted with student made posters and displays explaining concepts from Hinduism. The events start with the lighting of a lamp to signify the removal of darkness. The main program contains a presentation to introduce the concept of a Guru to the teachers and to discuss misconceptions in Hinduism. There are also cultural programs such as dances, skits, and musical performances. During the program, the teachers are called onto the stage to be honored by being given a small token of respect from their students. The events are followed by an Indian vegetarian dinner that the teachers always appreciate.

HEF is a national organization which works with Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) to increase public awareness about Hinduism and India. Volunteers with HEF have worked with the Texas Board of Education to correct misconceptions about Hinduism in school textbooks and to increase the amount of information about India. These improved textbooks are set to be distributed in the 2015-16 school year.

Ayush Sharma is a second year chemical engineering and pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin. -goTop