Saturday May 18, 2013
Getting to Know Our Hindu Brothers and SistersTim King Salem-News.com
Special video/photojournalism report from our news editor in California's capitol city.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Hindus from the Sacramento area gathered in bright garb with dominant yellows and reds under a silky blue sky Saturday engaging in a special gathering that included a warm speech from a public figure quoted frequently on Salem-News, Hindu Statesman Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada.
The event was the âHindu Sangamâ (Sangam meaning âconfluenceâ) and it was held at Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir on Elder Creek Road in Sacramento.
Tarachand Datusalia, who helped Salem-News.com discover much about this event, explained, "Yesterday we had a wonderful Hindu Sangam event where more that 400 people participated. Whole day program went very smooth as planned and everyone really enjoyed. This being first such an event is greater Sacramento; it was a great success and went beyond our expectations."
My interest in people of this colorful, ancient religion stems from my years covering the brutal government-orchestrated war crimes that swept northern Sri Lanka in the years leading up to 2009. That is another story, but I was able to talk to one woman at this gathering who is originally from Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Meeting my frequently referenced news contact, Rajan Zed briefly, I settled back and watched the ceremonious event with curious eyes and great interest.
I credit the Hindus with something I can say about no other modern religion; Hinduism is one of the only faiths that is based in peace while embracing the notion with open arms. I know of no time in the modern world where members of this faith carried out a ethnic cleansing against other human beings.
Christians (Native Americans-Iraqis), Muslims (non-fundamentalist Muslims and others) and Jews (Palestinians) and God knows Buddhists, (Sri Lanka Tamils and Royhinga Muslims in Burma) all have recent histories of committing full-scale, frequently government-backed Genocidal crimes. The largest pressing concerns in this area are the Rakhine and Sinhala Buddhists. If Muslims or Hindus dared carry out these activities they would be decried by all western media, it hasn't happened.
I know it offends people, but that cannot be my largest concern, because we have to be larger than the crimes of those who share our cultures and abuse human beings in the name of conquest and greed.
Unlike many in mainstream religious organizations, Hindus do not only help Hindus, they aid all people who are suffering and oppressed and hungry and lacking safety and security, whereas Jews help Jews, Christians help Christians (Mormonism being the tip of this sword) and so on and there are exceptions, but not nearly enough.
No question the rhythms and synchronicity are part of the magic of Hinduism that has entranced so many in the past, some famously like the Beatles, and many non-famous people who traveled to India and came to love the culture through their own travels and interactions.
But accepting Hinduism for what it is takes no real ideological shift because this is the oldest major religion on the face of the earth and Buddhism stemmed from Hinduism, which I suspect many people do not realize.
Like Judaism and Christianity, the two belief systems in Asia have many common points that should and often do build unity. But the bloodshed has been terrible and for some reason the Buddhists sometimes turn against Hindu people and sometimes things become very violent, which leads writers like myself to see the orange robed Buddhists in a different light that the one I was raised under, and of course the same holds true for Jews who run Israel as an apartheid state where significantly different and stricter laws regulate Arabs and Christians. Conversely, Jews are regulated and tried under a softer, light handed legal system and success in Israel often has to do with 'how' Jewish a person is.
None of this makes any more sense than it did in the Third Reich when Jews suddenly had to carry special ID and wear the Star of David on their arm so that the Nazi bastards and weak citizens who went along with it could single them out.
Of course this eared the Jewish people to their culture, of course those who survived the Shoa deserved to live in peace and security, etc., but this did not turn out and the reason is that Israel took too much too fast and nobody forgives the theft of a family's land. Thank Theodore Herzl - the founder of Zionism, for perverting the notion of 'chosen' beyond realistic proportion.
On the subject of the Third Reich, another group that suffered immeasurably are the Gypsy or 'Roma' who were rounded up just like Jews and Poles and artists and educators and journalists and placed in camps where their lives were snuffed out. The welfare of that culture has been a large focus of Rajan Zed throughout his lifetime and in our interview below, you will hear him discuss his thoughts on a culture that was always treated terribly in history.
The problem is that unlike the Jews, Roma are still seeking recognition for the most basic things. Our Reporter Ken O'Keefe covered the expulsion of Gypsy and Irish people from a long standing city in the United Kingdom, complete with cops smashing batons, forcing old women into the street, etc.
The Roma are often at the center of these events in Europe as their traditionally nomadic lifestyle is in fact a direct conflict with governments that seek to control and contain, or in this case deprive.
This ongoing oppression of the Roma or Gypsy is a need that the Hindu Statesman has addressed with success for many years.
The video clips above and to the right were all shot as a song was delivered in unison. I was using a VIO POV camera that was provided to my operation in 2008 so I could take it to Iraq and have an extra perspective for recording the various stories that I became involved in.
Having recently relocated to Sacramento, California, I have not yet been able to revive my full size TV camera which is a full size DVCPRO 3-CCD ENG (Electronic News ) television camera.
This small unit from VIO took excellent pictures and the video is very crisp under adequate lighting. It is far less intimidating for a crowd when a camera does not occupy so much space.
Regular readers know that I was recently invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in the first week of July, 2012. It was among my life's biggest honors.
The event is the largest gathering of North American Tamils held each year and this was a special 25th Anniversary Jubilee Event. Most of the Tamils in attendance are also Hindu, however certainly not all are.
At this special event, I first spoke to the USTPAC (United States Tamil Political Action Council) event with a direct focus on my research and publication of dozens of articles telling the story of the war crimes in Sri Lanka. Bonnie King also spoke to this group.
Later that night I was the keynote speaker in front of 3000 people talking about at a massive, beautiful Baltimore cathedral. I used the allotted time addressing those heinous war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government and in particular, the elimination of journalists that took place before, during and after the Genocide.
This event in Maryland was incredible but it was about the need for people to heal and the fact that Sri Lanka Hindu Tamils paid such a high price is not something I will ever let the world forget.
Still, it is very important that the event in Sacramento was extremely positive and not in any sense gloomy. The deaths in Sri Lanka are mostly off the radar for Indians and Indian Americans seem to often know less.
I was pleased that Sacramento Sangam Annampuram was so positive and I love the explanations about the Hindu faith that were offered.
In fact one of the best was delivered by White woman who had long ago converted to Hinduism, she was not the only one, and this marks a positive step; to see the cultures merge and the Hindu faith remain the guiding force is impressive and progressive.
There were at least two couples that were mixed in this way and every person I interacted with was exceptionally kind and helpful.
Tarachand Datusalia wrote after the event's conclusion:
"Many thanks to everyone who participated and really appreciate all the help for the event we received. To do better next year, please share any comments you might have."
Tarachand says they are looking forward to a grand Hindu Sangam next year which will take place as Hindus are celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand (please visit: https://www.facebook.
The Hindu Sangam Team
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka âblessed garlandâ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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