Below is a report on a recent symposium held in Mexico and attended by Shri Ram Madhav and Stepehn Knapp. This is the second year of such an event in Mexico and has been planned for next year as well.
A call for enhanced Mexico and India relations and for an effective response to the challenges of a globalised world was made at the International Symposium on the Social Sciences, Globalisation and the Cultures of Resistance. It was held at Saltillo in Mexico. Saltillo, also known as la Atenas de M?xico or the Athens of Mexico, is the traditional home of many leading Mexican luminaries. The international convention drew attendance from India, USA and regions throughout Latin America and included many representatives from the Coahuila State and Saltillo city'scultural and education departments, local scholars, journalists, artists and students. The symposium was held on the grounds of State Central Public Library, Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal Ildefonso Villarello Velez.
The event was inaugurated by Andre Salas Mendoza from the Coahuila State Secretariat of Education and Culture, India'sRSS National Executive Member Shri Ram Madhav, Lady Norma Zapata, director of the State Central Public Library and author and researcher Gene Matlock. Highlights of the four-day symposium included Christian theologist and Professor Fernando Navas? (of U.N.A.M.) presentation on ?Conversion vs. Inter-religious Dialogue,? Professor Jaime Torres Mendoza's?The Social Process of Change in Academic Paradigms,? Vedic Friend'sAssociation (VFA) president Steven Knapp's?The War
Against Hinduism, ?Ancient Mexico'sHindu-Turkish Connections? by Gene Matlock, on ?Idols, Myths and Religion vs. Deities, Histories and Science? by VFA promotional director and Vedic Empire Production'sVrndavan Parker, on ?Yama in Sanskrit Phonetics? by Girish K. Jha, Department of Sanskrit, Patna University, ?Vedic Cosmology: Understanding the Universe and its Structure? by Prof. Carlos Rocha of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities. ?Human Rights Violations and the Globalisation Process? by RSS National Executive Member Shri Ram Madhav, ?The Importance of Conservation of Ancestral Cultures before the Globalisation Process? by Dr Yashwant Pathak, International Coordinator International Centre for Cultural Studies, ?The Antiquity of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana? by Prof Haracio Arganis from VFA'sLatin American Branch Asociaci?n Vedica de los Amigos (AVA) and Coahuila director of Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities.
Andre Salas Mendoza proclaimed, ?We open a window of our individual being so that others can enter. If we do not open up this way we are going to die of starvation or solitude. And this is immense when such solitude is seen in a global perspective. Such solitude on the international levels leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. So before the necessity to speak it is necessary to think. Invoking Li Yung Tang and Einstein, Andre Salas Mendoza called for sustainable growth that measured success through a holistic and humane perspective.
Lady Norma Zapata spoke on the holistic understanding that humans are beings who function as societies. ?We need to apply that great science, one that includes all other sciences, that which integrates and relates all within the cohesive whole. We recognise in Augusto Comte, social philosopher, to have elaborated a specific science for the study of the society.?. She declared that the symposium has ?the objective of creating bridges of cultural communication, a way to stimulate dialogue and understanding regarding the social and cultural realities facing us all as we attempt to integrate with the great global idea.?
In his talk Shri Ram Madhav highlighted the Hindu perspective on ?Positive Globalisation? by citing the ancient Vedic phrase Vasudhaiva Kuthumbakam or whole world is one family. He called it a positive form of globalisation that can benefit all humanity. He also stated that rather than monotheism or polytheism, Hinduism represented an ?omni-theistic? outlook. It is this ?omni-theistic? outlook that is lacking at many places in the world today. Hinduism'sindigenous traditions and values, being in sync with the traditions and values of other ancient cultures such as Mexico?s, can provide a sustainable path that can guarantee the world harmony. He urged the Mexican people, ?Do not exchange your tortillas for pizzas and India please do not give up rotis in exchange for burgers.? He also called for Mexico and India to develop extensive cultural and economic ties that are ?bound to be of great mutual benefit for two such countries, that share so much in common.?
Shri Ram Madhav and Stephen Knapp were also special guests at the Asociaci?n de Abogados de Coahuila AC or Coahuila State Lawyers Association Conference on ?Societal Violence and the Judicial System? held at UNIVAS, Universidad Valle de Santiago. In his speech, Shri Ram Madhav clarified India'scommitment to peace by combining the wisdom of Gandhiji with a holistic approach that takes into account the modern realities of terrorism and globalisation. This position is based on preparation and strength in all areas of national life such as economic, social, military, cultural and political. An effective application and modern outlook rooted in the time-tested indigenous traditions and culture of India.
In comparing Detroit, America'sauto city with Saltillo, Mexico'srising auto city, Stephen Knapp urged the people of Saltillo to maintain their cultural and peaceful lifestyles in order to avoid the hell that has become Detroit. He also encouraged people to see beyond skin colour, nationality, religion, language and class and realise that we are really not so different from one another.
Author Gene Matlock released his latest book What Strange Mystery Unites the Turkish Nations, India, Catholicism and Mexico? at the symposium and live on-air over a local radio station from the conference venue.
The final day of the conference featured a presentation by Dr Narahari Achar of Memphis University. Using Planetarium Software, he revealed ancient humanities? understanding of the astronomical sciences in his presentation entitled ?Astronomical Historical Records in the Literature of Ancient South Asia.? The final presentation of the event was presented by Iskcon Governing Commissioner Guru Prasad Swami. In his lecture entitled ?A Proposal for the Integration of the Philosophies of India? he urged the audience to seriously consider the ancient and practical wisdom of Hindu civilisation as we collectively face the onslaught of mercantile globalisation.
In the closing ceremonies presided over by director of the Coahuila State Library system, Gloria Gonzalez, State Certificates of Recognition were presented to all the speakers at the symposium.
The event finale featured dance and musical presentations from both the Mexican and Indian Hindu traditions. The Indian Guadalupe dancing girls, a 12 man band or Rondalla group, a troupe of Mexican Folk Dancers, Krishna Chaitanya'sBengali Bhajan Band and Bhakta Rueben'sBharatnatyam of Mexico provided this unique cross-cultural entertaining experience.
The symposium was organised by Saltillo's?Ildefonso Villarello Velez? Central Public Library, the Coahuila State Organisation of Public Libraries and Book Publishers, the International Center for Cultural Studies, the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Sciences and Humanities, Vedic Empire Productions and Vedic Friends Association (VFA).