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Only 22% Americans know a Hindu

English: Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscr...

Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscript. North India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Only 22 percent Americans know someone who is Hindu, according to a Pew Research Center survey published on July 17.

This number is lowest than any other religion/denomination surveyed.  Catholics rank highest with 87 percent, followed by evangelical Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mormonscial , Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

Americans express warmest and more positive feelings towards Jews (average rating 63); followed by Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., the survey adds.

Reacting to this survey findings, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged American Hindus to make outreach efforts towards non-Hindu communities, do charity, invite others to visit Hindu temples/ashrams, offer help to neighbors, be good role models, act for the benefit of all, volunteer, try to stay pure and exhibit warmth and love towards fellow Americans.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) urged us to act selflessly without any thought of personal profit.

Rajan Zed suggested to each American Hindu to take a vow of undertaking at least one charitable project during this year for less fortunate members of the community. Quoting scriptures, Zed stressed that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.

Headquartered in Washington DC, “Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world”. Alan Murray is President.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.


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Gandhi in vogue among American celebrities

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Special to Earthpages.org

Peace icon Mahatma Gandhi appears to be back in vogue among Hollywood and other celebrities.

Saturn award winner actress Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) was spotted in New York City streets wearing V-neck T-shirt displaying Gandhi’s large picture.

Actress-supermodel Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Golden Globe nominated Jessica Alba (Dark Angel), Grammy nominated Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad), etc., also reportedly carry Gandhi T-shirts. DJ I-Dee (Isaac DeLima), scratch music prodigy and winner of DMC USA, was seen in a Miami (USA) club wearing neon Gandhi T-shirt.

A prestigious fashion themed exhibition titled “Italian knots: Evolution, language and style of the tie”, organized by Associazione Culturale Colosseum Roma, showing at Embassy of Italy in Washington DC (USA) till July two, displays Gandhi’s picture prominently along with the pictures of the likes of Oscar winner George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck).

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcoming Gandhi’s rediscovery by American celebrities, urged them also to look deeper into Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, his commitment to world peace, and his work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Rajan Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, further said that although Gandhi never set foot on America, yet he was on Time magazine covers in 1930, 1931, and 1947; Time Person of the Year in 1930; and was runner-up for Time Person of the Century. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts.


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Hindus back Beatle Paul McCartney’s Meat Free Monday

During the gig Paul McCartney dedicated a song to John, George Linda and all the lovely people by Antoon Kuper

During the gig Paul McCartney dedicated a song to 'John, George Linda and all the lovely people' by Antoon Kuper

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus have thrown their weight behind Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s call for Meat-Free Monday movement, which aims at persuading public to go vegetarian once a week to slow global warming.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it was good for ethical and health reasons also.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Hinduism promoted strict vegetarianism insisting on ahimsa (not harming living creatures) and non-killing, and renouncing animal slaughter and meat eating. It suggested taking of sattvik (vegetables, fruits, etc.) and avoiding rajasik (eggs, etc.) and tamasik (meat, intoxicants, etc.) foods.

Rajan Zed argued that there was extensive protection of life in Hinduism and ahimsa was a command. All the major religions of the world were opposed to killing, he added.

Zed further said that as eating less meat would help the environment, more celebrities should come out in support of at least staying away from meat once a week, thus contributing to a healthier world.

Other celebrity proponents of idea behind Meat Free Monday reportedly include actors Kevin Spacey and Woody Harrelson; actresses Joanna Lumley and Laura Bailey; singers Sharleen Spiteri, Chris Martin, and Sheryl Crow; comedians David Walliams, Matt Lucas, and Ricky Gervais; media personality Kelly Osbourne; industrialist Sir Richard Branson; poet Benjamin Zephaniah; scientist Sir David King; Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman; socialite Zac Goldsmith; chefs Giorgio Locatelli, Oliver Peyton, Arthur Potts Dawson, Yotam Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell; food writers Mark Hix and Nigel Slater; restaurateur Oliver Peyton; etc.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s livestock, which was one of the most critical contributors to global warming, McCartney is advocating Meat Free Monday. According to reports, meat is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transport’s 13 per cent.


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Hindus admire Church of Norway for firm stand on environment

Bremnes Church, Bømlo by Henke

Bremnes Church, Bømlo by Henke

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus have praised Church of Norway for launching a sustainability reform.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded Church of Norway’s powerful stand on environment challenging national and diocesan councils, parishes and local joint church councils, individuals, and Government and the Parliament to make environmental reform efforts.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was commendable for the Church Synod to try to persuade parishes to become “greener” and local joint church councils to be “environmental lighthouses”, individuals to “make a personal climate promise”, Government and Parliament to make the petroleum extraction carbon neutral, etc.

Faiths coming out in support of the environment was a remarkable signal, Rajan Zed said and urged all world religious leaders, religions and denominations to openly bless the environmental causes. Ancient Hindu scriptures, especially Atharva-Veda, were highly respectful of mother nature, he added.

We may believe in different religions, yet we share the same home—our Earth. We must learn to happily progress or miserably perish together. For man can live individually but can only survive collectively, Zed says quoting scriptures.

Christianity came to Norway around 1000 AD, from the British Isles, Germany and Friesland. Church of Norway, with about 1,600 churches/chapels, and with King as its constitutional head, can be defined as a State church with an Episcopal and a Synodical structure. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.


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Shocked Hindus demand UK Parliamentary enquiry into chicken injected with beef

Photo Credit: hddod / poppy

Photo Credit: hddod / poppy

Special to Earthpages.org

Perturbed Hindus have demanded Parliamentary enquiry into the reported sale of chicken secretly injected with beef and pork in United Kingdom.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was highly disturbing for the people of faith that this illegal act was allowed to go on for quite some time. He demanded immediate halt to the sale of such misleading products and strong action against those found responsible.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that for mercantile greed, some businesses played with the sentiments of the faithful. UK should have better enforcement and efficient check system so that illegal acts like this did not happen in the future,

In a study, United Kingdom Government’s Food Standards Agency headquartered in London indicated that proteins from beef or pork were also present in injection powders that claimed to contain only chicken protein. Agency states that it is carrying out further studies and gathering more information in partnership with other European Member States.

London based “The Independent” newspaper says that this fraud was run by firms in three European Union states to fetch a higher price for chicken breasts. “The fraud has been taking place for at least the past two years, and still continues because of inaction by the authorities in three EU states, believed to be Germany, Netherlands and Spain,” it wrote in its June four edition. This adulteration was first detected in UK in 2001.

Cow is held sacred by Hindus and they do not eat beef.


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European Commission & Parliament snub Hindus in dialogue with leaders of various faiths

Jose Manuel Barroso by World Economic Forum

Jose Manuel Barroso by World Economic Forum

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus are perturbed for not being invited by presidents of European Commission and Parliament along with representatives of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism for a meeting on May 11 in Brussels to discuss ethical contributions for economic governance.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was clearly an insult to European and world Hindus at the hands of Commission and Parliament, the highest governing bodies of Europe, who chose to completely ignore them. It was a step-motherly treatment.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and European Union should take it seriously. An estimated two million Hindus reside in Europe where every country has some Hindu presence.

Rajan Zed further said that Hindus had made a positive contribution to the multi-cultural society of Europe. They believed in peaceful coexistence, and respect for all religions, traditions, beliefs, and cultures. Europe should give due respect to its Hindu brothers and sisters which they well deserved.

Zed argued that idea of Commission and Parliament to have dialogue with leaders of various faiths was highly commendable but framing and implementation lacked its real spirit of inclusiveness. “Are Hindus not covered under European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes ‘dignity’ and ‘equality’,” Rajan Zed asked.

Invitees reportedly included representatives of: Anglican Church (1), Churches of the Reformation (3), Conference of European Churches (1), Islamic Communities (4), Jewish Leaders (1), Orthodox Churches (4), Roman Catholic Church (4). The meeting was co-chaired by President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering. Discussions centered around the “Economic and financial crisis: ethical contributions for European and global economic governance”, where Barroso reportedly talked about “sense of responsibility” and Pöttering underlined “ensure that all parts of our society are cared for.”


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Hindus seek European Union intervention in Czech Republic & Hungary to protect Roma

Special to Earthpages.org

history of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

history of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

Hindus are asking for immediate intervention of European Union (EU) in Czech Republic and Hungary to protect the Roma minorities in view of recent reported incidents of violence.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged EU and countries of Europe to urgently take steps to end apartheid of their Roma people, terming it as immoral and a dark stain on the face of Europe.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was moral obligation of Europe to take care of its largest minority Roma population and stop human rights violations reportedly regularly suffered by them, who numbered around ten million and were the most disadvantaged.

Rajan Zed further said that references to Roma people in Europe reportedly went as far back as ninth century AD and asked, “How many more centuries Roma have to reside in Europe to prove that they are ‘real and equal’ Europeans like any other.”

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of Council of Europe, in his Viewpoint published on April 27 on Council website, said, “Anti-Gypsyism continues to be a major human rights problem in Europe – governments must start taking serious action against both official and inter-personal discrimination of Roma”.

He cited incidents where Roma children were forced to strip and violently slap one another in a Slovakia police station, sudden eviction of Roma families in Belgrade without alternative accommodation, etc. He asks in the Viewpoint, “Would this have happened to non-Roma?”

A joint statement recently released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, said

Our organisations are deeply concerned by the continuing discriminatory treatment and exclusion of the Roma, and particularly by the recent escalation in hate motivated incidents and racist rhetoric reported in a number of States.

Their alarming condition is a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, unusually high unemployment rates, etc., Zed argues.

poverty of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

poverty of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc


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Ancient henna wooing Hollywood celebrities

Photo Credit: Nandu Chitnis

Photo Credit: Nandu Chitnis

Special to Earthpages.org

Henna, which has been playing a vital role in Hindu weddings since ancient times, is becoming popular with Hollywood and other celebrities.

Also known as mehndi, it is turning into an in-thing with celebrities as a trendy alternative to traditional tattoos. Although the final result is similar to tattoo, but the mehndi experience is delightful and painless, and the images are temporary, according to acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.

Starting with actress Demi Moore and singer Gwen Stefani, many celebrities have been seen sporting this body art, including entertainer Madonna; actresses Drew Barrymore, Daryl Hannah, Angela Bassett, Laura Dern, Kathleen Robertson, Mira Sorvino, Naomi Campbell, Trudie Styler, Nicole Eggert, Justine Bateman, Yasmine Bleeth, Liv Tyler, and Barbara Hershey; musicians The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and Sting; singers Mayte Garcia and Erykah Badu; actors Elijah Wood and Laurence Fishburne; boxers Kassim Ouma, Michael Katsidis, and Bernard Hopkins; model Nell McAndrew; etc.

Associated with joy, celebration, festivals, and weddings, it has a recent renaissance in Hollywood. Some popular magazines and CD covers had been decorated with henna art, besides it being seen in some Hollywood movies.

Many henna themed parties involving celebrities, including birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, nightclub events, are sometimes held in Hollywood.

Henna/Hina has reportedly been used for body art and hair dye since Bronze Age. It finds references in India’s court records dating back to around 400 CE, in Rome during Roman Empire, in Spain during Convivienca, in medical texts of Ebers Papyrus, in Syria and Egypt in 14th century CE, etc.

Henna/mehndi as a ceremonial art form is said to have originated in ancient India. It can last anywhere from few days to few months depending on the type of the paste. Mehndi plays a vital role in Hindu wedding and practically no marriage is considered complete without it. During earlier times, some bridal mehndi processes took four to five days to complete. It is also applied during various Hindu vrats (fasts), like Karvachauth.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the henna loving celebrities to explore some rich philosophical thought of Hinduism, which is oldest religion of the world with moksha (liberation) as ultimate goal.


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Hindus ask Canada to urgently organize nationwide interfaith dialogue

Toronto at Night by Benson Kua

Toronto at Night by Benson Kua

Special to Earthpages.org

Concerned at the recent religion poll, Hindus have called Canada to organize a nationwide interfaith dialogue as a high-priority.

In view of Maclean’s magazine’s recent poll “What Canadians think of Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Muslims . . .”, which Maclean’s itself calls “disturbing”, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed today urged Canada government to form a nationwide council for interreligious dialogue, including the leaders of major religions and non-believers. Similar councils should be formed in all the ten provinces, three territories, and ten major cities.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement today in Nevada (USA), said that Canada should introduce study of comparative religion in all public and private schools so that “we could understand each other better, see interrelations and inter-reliance among religions and even resemblance in doctrines.”

Rajan Zed argues that religion is a complex element of our lives and religion comprises much more than one’s own individual experience or specific tradition. God, as a sign of God’s munificence and benevolence, constructively wished presence of different faiths.

Zed pointed out, “We are all looking for the truth and we are all gravitated towards the same direction. In our shared exploration for truth, we can learn from one another and thus come closer to the truth. Dialogue will bring us reciprocal enrichment.  Dialogue helps us triumph over the biases, typecasting, and caricatures, handed down to us from previous generations.”

Rajan Zed listed cities where councils for interreligious dialogue should be formed initially as: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, London, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Quebec City. Later on these councils may be extended to other cities as well.

Canada, besides various Christian denominations, is home to considerable number of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, aboriginal spirituality, etc., and about 16 percent with no religious affiliation. A 2006 Ipsos Reid Survey of Christian religious attitudes indicates that approximately 17 percent of the population attends a Christian church on a weekly basis. The Government observes Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas Day as national holidays. Ontario funds Catholic religious education, while providing no funding for other religious schools.

Maclean’s, founded in 1905 and based in Toronto, claims to be Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine, which enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers. Kenneth Whyte is Editor-in-Chief. Canada, with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, is second largest country of the world. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.


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Hindus applaud Vatican & Pope for bravely going ahead with biggest solar plant of Europe

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St. Peters Square - Vatican City by vgm8383

St. Peter's Square - Vatican City by vgm8383

Hindus have lauded Vatican and Pope Benedict for stepping up its fight against global warming by planning to build the biggest solar plant in Europe costing about $660 million, resulting in cutting around 91,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions a year.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican for this environment friendly move, being outspoken to save the planet and curb environmental degradation, going greener in a big way, listing pollution as one of seven social sins, covering roof of the Paul VI auditorium with solar panels cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by about 225 tons, proposing solar-heating system for Vatican’s 300-seat cafeteria, thinking of a renewable energy project for Pope’s Castel Gandolfo summer palace, planning energy production from the gasification of natural products, etc.

Faiths coming out in support of the environment was a remarkable signal, Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said and urged all world religious leaders, religions and denominations to openly bless the environmental causes. Ancient Hindu scriptures, especially Atharva-Veda, were highly respectful of mother nature, he added.

We may believe in different religions, yet we share the same home-our Earth. We must learn to happily progress or miserably perish together. For man can live individually but can only survive collectively, Rajan Zed says quoting scriptures.

Zed criticized some countries of Europe for complaining that harnessing sunlight on a grand scale was too expensive to curb global warming.

Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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