British Prime Minister David Cameron termed the ‘Encyclopedia of Hinduism’ as a great contribution to humanity. “Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a great contribution to humanity. I love the saying, ‘Let all noble thoughts come from all directions’. I am going to use this. This is beautiful,” said Prime Minister Cameron, while launching the encyclopedia on October 27 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. He held a Diwali party in London to launch the ‘Encyclopedia of Hinduism’.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the founder and chairman of the India Heritage Research Foundation said, “In our prayers, we pray ‘Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. Sarve santo niramaya’ means may all be happy, may all be healthy. Our scriptures remind us, ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ – the world is one family. We pray not only for all of human life, but also for the animals, the plants and nature. Our culture teaches us – Do not only worship the Creator, but also serve the creation.
“This encyclopedia was created with that in mind – service of creation, service of those who didn’t know or understand or have access to these timeless truths and insights.”
The book includes contribution of more than 1000 scholars from around the world and is a compendium of thousands of years of history, science, art, architecture, polity, religion, philosophy and culture of India.
More than 1,000 guests attended the unveiling of this historical book. The event was organised by the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party and the Conservative Party Friends of India among others. Andrew Feldman, chairman of the Conservative Party, said that the book is a phenomenal achievement.
Dozens of Girls abducted by Boko Haram
The Islamist terror group ‘Boko Haram’ which kidnapped nearly 300 young girls from a Nigerian town in April this year has once again abducted dozens of young girls this weekend. The mass abduction is a direct response to the ceasefire announcement, which came the week before incumbent Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan launched his re-election campaign.
Boko Haram took as many as 60 girls and young women from the towns of Waga Mangoro and Garta near the city of Maiduguri on October 25. According to a report, more than 500 girls and women have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since 2009.
India ranks low at 114 on WEF gender gap index
According to a recent report, Indian women still face inequalities in access to health, education and employment despite years of rapid economic growth. India has performed poorly in removing gender-based disparities, ranking 114 out of 142 countries in World Economic Forum”s (WEF) 2014 gender gap index, scoring below average on parameters like economic participation, educational attainment and health and survival.
India slipped 13 spots from its last year”s ranking of 101 on the Gender Gap Index by the WEF. India is part of the 20 worst-performing countries on the labour force participation, estimated earned income, literacy rate and sex ratio at birth indicators.
On educational attainment, India ranked 126 with female to male ratio in literacy rate is at 0.68. On the other hand, India ranked impressive 15th place in women’s political participation on the political empowerment sub-index. India has one of the lowest percentages of firms with female participation in ownership.
Georgetown Univ appoints first Hindu priest
Pratima Dharm, who recently retired as the first Hindu chaplain in the United States (US) Army has been appointed as the first Hindu lady chaplain at the Georgetown University.
While serving as a captain in the US Army, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for organising and leading numerous humanitarian aid missions for Kurdish Iraqis.
“War can dehumanise you and I was watching the dehumanisation of my soldiers, so I was fighting to give them a sense of family,” said Dharm, who began her stint with the Army in 2006. “Army ministry has touched me so deeply and it has made me a better chaplain and a better human being.”
Mumbain lady came to the US in March 2001, months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “I told myself if I ever got the opportunity to serve this country, I would love to,” said Dharm.
Dharm said that she will lead the weekly Hindu pujas or prayer services, now attended by about 100 students, and look at programs that could better Hindu education on campus and work closely with other religious groups on campus.
Kurdish Warrior Rehana beheaded by ISIS
Rehana, the poster girl of Kurdish battle against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in the crucial Syria-Turkey border city of Kobani, has been captured and beheaded by ISIS militants.
Rehana is one of the 10,000 Kurdish women who have fought against ISIS in the battle for Kobani in which ISIS forces made significant gains only to be pushed back by the United States airstrikes supporting a fierce Kurdish resistance. Rehana killed more than 100 ISIS terrorists in Kobane.
Buddhism binds India-Vietnam: Nguyen tan Dung
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Bodh Gaya, Bihar and prayed at the Buddhism”s holiest shrine, Mahabodhi Temple on November 28.
On his two-day visit to India, he also circumambulated the ancient Mahabodhi tree under which the Buddha has attained enlightenment. After the prayers, Prime Minister Dung said that Buddhism binds India and Vietnam together.
He also proposed that there should be direct flights between Bodh Gaya and Hanoi, and sought visa-on-arrival facility for Vietnamese saying it would boost the number of Buddhist pilgrims to the site. Dung also announced a decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with India on the Nalanda University as part of reverence for the ancient university where Buddhism studies flourished more than 1,000 years ago, and also to revive Buddhist links, official sources said.
During his visit to New Delhi, India has also been offered two oil fields for exploration in the South China Sea. On this, China warned India against interfering in its dispute with Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea. China also opposed the move by the Vietnamese government inviting India to carry out oil exploration in South China Sea. Both India and Vietnam have territorial disputes with China-India in the Himalayas and Vietnam in the South China Sea. This is the third visit of Vietnamese PM to India. He had earlier visited India in 2007 and 2012. As Buddhism symbolises the shared cultural heritage of India and Vietnam.
—Nishant Kumar Azad
with inputs from agencies