Unparalleled Demonstration of Hindu Unity in New York
From Narain Kataria and Shree Sidhwani in New York
The sidewalks of the prestigious Fifth Avenue near Central Park, right in the heart of New York City, reverberated with the slogans: “Santon Ka Apmaan -- Nahin Sahenge, Nahin Sahenge”, “Hindu Persecution -- No More, No More”, “Enough is Enough”, and “Release our Shankaracharya -- Right Now, Right Now”.
Braving the cold and chilly weather, Hindus of North America, led by the tri-state Vishwa Hindu Parishad chapter and supported by thirty-eight Hindu organizations participated in a highly unusual protest demonstration in front of the Office of the Consulate General of India on November 30 to express their outrage and anguish at the insulting and humiliating manner of the arrest of a greatly respected and revered Hindu religious leader Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati.
The massive and boisterous demonstration exhibited the underlying cultural and religious solidarity among various sects of Hindu Samaj. The coming together of more than three dozen Hindu organizations also demolished the myth and debunked the fallacious theory propounded by prophets of doom that Hindus cannot be united.
The Protest was attended and addressed by prominent physicians, college professors, and other heads of cultural and religious organizations. The atmosphere was charged and electrifying. The emotional outburst was seen to be believed. All the present community as well as religious leaders unequivocally condemned the illegal and shocking confinement of a Shankaracharya, one of the highest and the most revered seats of the Hindu Dharma.
The sum and substance of speeches delivered on the occasion can be summarized as follows:
§ The manner in which the Tamil Nadu State police and the Public Prosecutor have been portraying the great and pious person of Shankaracharya’s exalted status, as a professional killer, smacks of a serious political partisanship between various anti-Hindu elements within the country.
§ The entire shameful exercise is an insidious attempt to denigrate and discredit the sterling name of Hindu Dharma through the defamation of one of its most revered heads.
§ Swami Jayendra Saraswatiji who is held in high esteem by one billion Hindus globally and occupies a position in the Hindu society that is somewhat similar to that of the Pope at Vatican is an apotheosis of proper religious conduct as enshrined in the Hindu scriptures. Hindus in America are deeply disturbed and shocked at the disrespectful manner in which this great Hindu Seer was summarily arrested and remanded to prison as if he was no more than a common criminal.
§ Hindus of America have this deep underlying concern that, with the setting of a precedent with one Shankaracharya, soon the other renowned and revered Hindu spiritual leaders such as the Heads of Shringeri, Puttapurthi and Swami Narayan Sanstha could also be similarly mistreated and insulted on unsubstantiated fictitious grounds.
The State Government of Tamil Nadu and the Central Government of India should heed carefully the growing discontent and anger of the global Hindu community. Eight hundred million Hindus of India are slowly beginning to wake up to the realization that they too are entitled to the same rights and liberties within their own ancestral country, India… that are routinely accorded to the followers of other minority religions.
From now on, Hindus will no longer tolerate the mischievous and dangerous game of certain political groups designed to defame and demonize the Hindu Dharma. However painful and unfortunate the current chain of events may be, it has the potential of mobilizing and transforming the mighty Hindutva movement worldwide in an effort to stem any further attempts at harming and undermining the Hindu faith and interests.
The following well-known Hindu community leaders addressed the gathering: Gaurang Vaishnav, General Secretary of VHP of America; Raksh Pal Sood, Advisor to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh; Rajesh Shukla and Arish Sahani of Overseas Friends of BJP; Devendra Singh Sawhney of Sikh Sangat of America; Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of Hindu Temple Society of North America; Dr. Narinder Kukkar, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Indians in America; Dr. A.V. Raghunath of Kanchi Kamkoti Seva Foundation; Br. Krishnamoorthy, Acharya Chinmaya Mission; Prof. Ved Chowdhary of Hindu International Council Against Defamation (HICAD); Ram Suchdev of Overseas Sindhu Sabha; Nagendra S. Rao, Founder President of Sanatana Dharma Pratishthapana Foundation; N. Lalchandani of Satya Narayan Temple, New York; Venkat Sarma of Malyali Hindu Mandalam; Bidyut Sarkar of International Federation of Bangladeshi Hindus and Friends; Dr. Sudhakar Reddy of OFBJP/American Telegu Association; Subhash Arora of Arya Samaj; Major Sher Bahadur Singh of International Hindi Association, New York and Rajendra P. Singh of U.P. Association of Mid-Atlantic (UPAMA).
Names of various supporting organizations
Alliance of Sindhi Associations
American Institute of Yoga and Arts, New Jersey
American Telegu Association (ATA)
Arya Samaj of New York
Bharat Sevashram Sangh of N.A., New Jersey
Divya Dham, Queens, New York
Indian American Friendship Council
Indian American Intellectuals Forum
International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS)
International Federation of Bangladeshi Hindus & Friends
International Hindi Association, New York
Foundation for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences from India, Inc. (ARSI)
Gayatri Samiti, New Jersey
Gujarat Foundation, New Jersey
Hindu Center of New York
Hindu Sevika Samiti
Hindu Students Council
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
Hindu Temple Society of North America
Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation
Kerala Hindus of North America
Hindu Interfaith Council Against Defamation (HICAD)
Mahagauri Balagokulam, Queens
Malyali Hindu Mandalam
Natraj Cultural Group
Overseas Friends of BJP
Om Kriya Yog, N.J.
Overseas Sindhu Sabha
Satya Narayan Mandir
Sikh Sangat of America
U.P. Association of Mid-Atlantic (UPAMA)
Vishwa Hindi Samiti
Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America
Yogakshema America, Inc.