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Hindu American Foundation

Hindu American Foundation Promoting Human Dignity, Mutual Respect, and Pluralism. www.hinduamerican.org Our Guiding Principles

Satya. Be truthful. Ahimsa. Be non-harming. Viveka. Nutana.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an educational and advocacy organization established in 2003. HAF focuses on educating the public about Hindus and Hinduism and advocating for policies and practices that ensure the well-being of all people and the planet. We work directly with educators and journalists to ensure accurate understanding of Hindus and Hinduism. We also work with policymakers an

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an educational and advocacy organization established in 2003. HAF focuses on educating the public about Hindus and Hinduism and advocating for policies and practices that ensure the well-being of all people and the planet. We work directly with educators and journalists to ensure accurate understanding of Hindus and Hinduism. We also work with policymakers an

Operating as usual

WELP. We're in the Wall Street Journal!Here's a brief excerpt from HAF Executive Director, Suhag Shukla's opinion piece ...
12/22/2022
Opinion | Brown University Discriminates Against South Asians

WELP. We're in the Wall Street Journal!

Here's a brief excerpt from HAF Executive Director, Suhag Shukla's opinion piece on the recent addition of caste to Brown University's nondiscrimination policy. It's something we've been shouting about for some time now, and frankly, it's baffling why people don't understand the implications of these policies.

SO WE'LL SAY IT AGAIN... AND AGAIN... AND AGAIN... for as long as we need to.

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"In adding a specific category to its nondiscrimination policy—one that categorically and uniquely applies to a single ethnic group, Brown has created a policy that is discriminatory on its face. The policy change violates the Civil Rights Act (and, at a public university, would also violate the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause) by treating South Asian students disparately on account of their ethnicity under a presumption—for which no evidence is proffered—that South Asians on campus have a propensity to engage in a form of invidious discrimination, hitherto unknown on campus.

Brown defines “caste” only as a South Asian affliction. It fails to specify how the university would decide which students or faculty members belong to “esteemed” or “oppressed” castes. Having a caste complaint lodged against a South Asian student or staff member could unleash a labyrinthine formal complaint process reserved only for South Asians, without any guidance as to how accusations would be adjudicated other than presumptions of guilt and negative stereotypes."
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Please note, this is behind a paywall. BUT... right now, it's just $1/week. So well worth paying a buck to WSJ to read this if you don't have a subscription.

Its prohibition of ‘caste oppression’ creates a new offense of which only one ethnic group can be guilty.

[BREAKING NEWS - PLEASE SHARE]Last night, HAF received a ruling on our defamation lawsuit against Audrey Truschke, Sunit...
12/21/2022
False statements by anti-Hindu activists harmed HAF, but defamation suit dismissed on procedural grounds

[BREAKING NEWS - PLEASE SHARE]

Last night, HAF received a ruling on our defamation lawsuit against Audrey Truschke, Sunita Viswanath, et al. Unfortunately our case was dismissed on procedural grounds.

BUT…

Even though the case was dismissed, our main argument—that these bad actors did in fact harm HAF with false claims—was validated. Judge Mehta found that HAF incurred civil injury (“tortious damage”) caused by the defendants. Specifically, the court found that Viswanath’s claim that HAF has parent organizations in India is verifiably false. The court also noted that “some of Truschke’s statements are arguably verifiably false.”

As expected though, Truschke and all are claiming victory through misleading tweets, and tripling down on it. She's even gone so far to claim "Christmas came early." A very curious choice of words.

As for next steps, HAF is evaluating next steps. But we want to thank all of you for your continued support. The procedural loss DOES NOT AND SHOULD NOT diminish the fact that THEY LIED AND CONTINUE TO LIE about HAF.

Our record and reputation remains stellar. And we will continue to fight to preserve it. Thanks to all of you for your support.

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Here's our full press release.

It is incredibly disappointing that though Vishwanath and Truschke among others were found to have made verifiably false statements attacking HAF, the judge dismissed our legal action on procedural grounds.

The year is coming to a close. And we're all making those resolutions... right? 👀 We've got one for you if you're having...
12/20/2022
How to start living in the mode of goodness

The year is coming to a close. And we're all making those resolutions... right? 👀 We've got one for you if you're having a little trouble.

🕉️ Start living in the mode of goodness. 🕉️
(with 5 easy things to get you started)

https://myhaf.org/3HVsg3D

#2023

Focusing too much on the objects of the senses, we develop attachment to these objects. From attachment, lust arises, and from lust comes frustration. As this frustration turns into anger, our intelligence becomes compromised, and we lose sight of our true spiritual identity.

"Bad karma, man.""What goes around comes around.""Karma's a b***, huh?""You're gonna come back as an ant in your next li...
12/19/2022
5 things to know about karma and reincarnation

"Bad karma, man."
"What goes around comes around."
"Karma's a b***, huh?"
"You're gonna come back as an ant in your next life."
...
Yeah... sorta. 😐 But karma and reincarnation are a lot more complicated than that. And we've got 5 things you should know.
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Here are the quick hits but read the full write up on our blog!
https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/5-things-to-know-about-karma-and-reincarnation

AND DON'T FORGET TO SHARE THIS!
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Lacking proper knowledge, each soul is stuck in a cycle of reincarnation called samsara, in which each is born into a variety of physical bodies.

12/15/2022
Shine a Light on Antisemitism & Hinduphobia, Session 1

🚨🚨 HAPPENING TONIGHT!
➡️ Shine a Light on Antisemitism and Hinduphobia. Session II: An Interfaith Response. A StandWithUs + HAF joint event. Don't miss it!

🗓️ 12/15/222
🕗 8:00 - 9:00 pm ET // 5:00 - 6:00 pm PT
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➡️ REGISTER NOW BEFORE YOU FORGET!!
🔗 myhaf.org/3BFoVS2

Here’s a quick peek from the previous session.
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How many of you have taken Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment as part of an interview or even coursework? 🙋‍♂...
12/14/2022
Varna: Hindu theory of personality types

How many of you have taken Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment as part of an interview or even coursework? 🙋‍♂️ 🙋‍♀️

Inspired by the work of Swiss physician Dr. Carl Jung, Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed a test that used aptitude feedback, which highlighted strengths without placing one personality type over the other.

But did you know Jung's own understanding of personalities and pathways to knowledge was influenced by Hindu texts and ideas about human psychology?

Jung further researched the roles between the gurus and yogis and the four types of students – four personality types or varna. Religious scholar Huston Smith noted that the work Jung was conducting on typology was based on this Hindu model while altering certain aspects.

MBTI is frequently used in human resources, management training, education, counseling among other professional and personal development exercises. Referenced in Psychology Today, the MBTI is largely immersed in Hindu philosophy, with which key concepts originated.

Varna is personality type classification based on inherent qualities and actions.

LINK TO BLOG https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/namaste-a-pathway-to-unity/----Happy Monday! We know. MONDAY. What's the...
12/12/2022
Namaste: A Pathway to Unity - Hindu American Foundation

LINK TO BLOG
https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/namaste-a-pathway-to-unity/

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Happy Monday! We know. MONDAY. What's there to be happy about? Start of the week for most of us. Even if you don't follow the same M-F, 9-5 schedule (yes that's a little antiquated these days but just for example purposes), Monday mornings can just feel like a drag. BUT it doesn't have to be!

We've posted about the power of Namaste before (visit our link in bio to scroll to our Power of Namaste article to read more). But let's turn our attention briefly to a keynote speech presented by our ED, Suhag Shukla, for a simple Monday morning affirmation to start your week off positively.

"When we can be divine, we can better see the divine in all that is around us, which is what living out our simple little greeting, namaste, is all about."

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The following keynote was presented at the annual BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Women’s Conference in Robbinsville, NJ on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Jai Swāminārāyan. What an honor it is to be...

[INDIA NEWS]  -- This is GREAT.---“In today's fast-moving world and tough competitive day-to-day life, the youth hardly ...
12/07/2022
21 Uninhabited Andaman And Nicobar Islands Named After Decorated Soldiers

[INDIA NEWS] -- This is GREAT.

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“In today's fast-moving world and tough competitive day-to-day life, the youth hardly find time to remember our rich heritage and past. This initiative is a testimony to the sacrifices made by Indian Army personnel and youngsters will be aware of their heroic deeds. This becomes most crucial whilst the nation celebrates Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (commemoration of 75 years of Indian Independence),” said Col Diptangshu Chaudhury, a war veteran of the Kargil conflict.
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Port Blair, Dec 2 (PTI) The government has named 21 uninhabited islands in the union territory of Andaman & Nicobar after recipients of Param Vir Chakra , the country’s highest wartime gallantry award.

12/06/2022
What is Hindutva really aiming to do?

There are quite a few issues with the idea of Hindutva and caste. First and foremost, the term "Hindutva" just does not have a standardized meaning. No, Wikipedia is not your source for the definition. But the other part is how "Hindutva" came up and how it is being used by political forces.

WATCH as Abhijit explains what's happened and the irony of it in this 1 minute clip from our 2022 Year End Gala and Fundraiser.
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12/05/2022
Where does the biggest threat to the Hindu community come from?

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?
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Last week, HAF hosted our 2022 Virtual Year End Gala and Fundraiser — Fact or Fiction: Distortions of India and Hinduism. Our Executive Director, Suhag Shukla, was Kushal Mehra (host of The Carvaka Podcast) and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a defense and international affairs expert. with regards to journalism, with discussions surrounding media and academic bias, how narratives are pushed, and how we can support the Hindu community in the US and across the world.
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When asked about combating misinformation in the media, here's what Kushal had to say as one of the root problems in North America for the Hindu community.
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Let us know in the comments what you think!
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WHOA! This is incredible!
12/01/2022

WHOA! This is incredible!

An artist from Colorado uses 816 Rubik's Cubes to create portrait of Bhagwan Hanuman Ji. ❣️🙏

[ REMINDER: TONIGHT ]Fact or Fiction? Distortions of India and Hinduism.HAF's 2022 Year End Gala and Fundraiser.🕗 When: ...
12/01/2022

[ REMINDER: TONIGHT ]
Fact or Fiction? Distortions of India and Hinduism.
HAF's 2022 Year End Gala and Fundraiser
.
🕗 When: 8pm ET / 5pm PT
🖥️ Where: Live stream (Zoom)
🔗 Link in bio: myhaf.org/Dec2022Gala
➡️ SHARE THIS POST!
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What can we say? It's our year end gala and fundraiser and we'd LOVE for you to join us in closing out 2022. Moderated by our amazing Executive Director, Suhag Shukla, we dive into one of the biggest challenges facing Hindus and the Hindu American community—misinformation. Misinformation and distortions about India and about Hinduism. And we have two very special guests that are experts in this area—Kushal Mehra (host of The Carvaka Podcast) and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (a defense and international affairs analyst).
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Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions, interact with us, and of course, show your support to HAF as we continue to be the leading voice for Hindus in America.
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Grab your favorite bevy 🥂, prep a charcuterie board 🧀 , and make it a thing tonight! But remember, you MUST register (use the link, scan the QR code, or visit our events page to sign up). Link in bio.
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Hope to see you there!
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#2022

11/29/2022
Why I Support HAF - Padmaja Patel

A BIG BIG THANK YOU to all those who gave so far! We hit our $12k goal just before noon today! But we're not stopping there. Please continue to support HAF and our campaign.

Your donations are the reason we are able to produce all the amazing educational content around Hindus and Hinduism.
Your donations make our advocacy work possible.
Your donations allow us to bring the community together.

Make a donation. Share this post.
Let HAF be the voice for Hindus and Hindu Americans.

Visit myhaf.org/givingtuesday.

11/29/2022
What HAF does for the Hindu American community

GIVING TUESDAY IS HERE!
myhaf.org/givingtuesday

It's and we need your help! Giving Tuesday is a day to give back to your favorite nonprofit (that's us!). Can we count on your support?

Your donations allow us to create many of the resources that our community uses when educating the public about Hindus and Hinduism. These include the various toolkits (like the Diwali and Holi toolkits), animated videos (like our 1-minute explainers), and trainings (such as Dharma Ambassadors program).

Check out the video and visit our campaign page myhaf.org/givingtuesday to make a donation TODAY to help us reach our goal of $12,000!

11/29/2022
Giving Tuesday - Why I support HAF - Barbara McGraw

Tomorrow is and we hope you'll give to your favorite nonprofit organization (that's us, right? RIGHT?)!

We cannot express how critical your donations and support are as each dollar allows us to continue creating great educational content (our blogs, podcasts, toolkits, videos, etc.) to advocating for the rights of Hindus in America and across the world. But don't take our word for it.

Here's former member of HAF's Board of Advisors, Barbara McGraw on why she supports HAF, and why you should too!

Ready to show your support? Simply visit myhaf.org/givingtuesday

[ EVENT ALERT 12/1 @ 8PM ET ]myhaf.org/Dec2022Gala ----More and more fictional narratives are being pushed along side fa...
11/28/2022

[ EVENT ALERT 12/1 @ 8PM ET ]
myhaf.org/Dec2022Gala
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More and more fictional narratives are being pushed along side factual ones. Our own community is seeing a rise in anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment in the media coverage. It's important to understand why these distortions happen and the impact they have on our community. It's an important topic to discuss, so we're discussing it!

Join us on December 1 for our 2022 Year End Virtual Gala and Fundraiser — Fact or Fiction: Distortions of India and Hinduism. HAFs Executive Director, Suhag Shukla, hosts Kushal Mehra (The Cārvāka Podcast) and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (defense and international affairs expert and analyst) as we talk about these topics and what HAF is doing about it.

We encourage you to register and engage with us on December 1st. it's a virtual event so you can access from anywhere, but you must register!

** PLEASE SHARE! **

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FOR DETAILS AND REGISTRATION, PLEASE VISIT:
myhaf.org/Dec2022Gala

December 1st, 2022
5pm - 6:15pm PT / 8pm - 9:15pm ET

May the Goddess Waters be auspicious for us to drink.May they flow, they flow, with blessings upon us.May the Earth be p...
11/24/2022

May the Goddess Waters be auspicious for us to drink.
May they flow, they flow, with blessings upon us.
May the Earth be pleasant and free of thorns as
our place of rest.
May She grant us a wide peace.

May the Divine Waters which grant us blessings
May they sustain our vigor and energy,
and for a great vision of delight.
May we partake of that which is their most auspicious essence, as from loving mothers.

May the Heaven grant us peace, and the Atmosphere.
May the Earth grant us peace, and the Waters.
May the plants and the great forest trees give us
their peace.
May the Devas grant us peace.
May Brahman grant us peace.
May the entire universe grant us peace.
May that supreme peace come to us.
May that peace dwell in me.

Take this firm resolve:
May all beings look at me with the eyes of a friend.
May I look at all beings with the eyes of a friend.
May we all look at each other with the eyes of a friend.

Shukla Yajur Veda 36.12–15, 17–18
Translation by David Frawley

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From the HAF family to yours… we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Gearing up for post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping? Many of us look to this time of year to get the best deals on g...
11/23/2022
Why giving without getting anything in return is the gateway to happiness

Gearing up for post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping? Many of us look to this time of year to get the best deals on gifts for others and for ourselves. 🙋‍♂️ 🙋‍♀️ And it's always nice when those that we bought a gift for reciprocate with their own gift to us. But what happens if you don't get anything? It kind of stinks, and NGL it's a bit disappointing.

But… the idea of giving, shouldn't be tied to getting. And giving purely for the unadulterated desire to uplift others, not out of selfish motives, is extolled throughout Hindu scripture. It's the process by which we can learn to let go of mundane material attachments and cultivate the spirit of renunciation required to become liberated from samsara, or the cycle of rebirth and death.

A nice example of such selflessness can be found in the Hindu text, Srimad Bhagavatam, which describes a story about a man named Rantideva who had fasted for 48 days.

📖 Read all about it on our blog.
🔗 https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/why-giving-without-getting-anything-in-return-is-the-gateway-to-happiness

The Divine is within us all, and as such, the suffering of others should not be seen numbly as having nothing to do with us. If we all originate from the same divine source, then we are all part of the same spiritual family, and should naturally want to help one another.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and soon many of us will feast on an abundance of food—after all, it is one of the...
11/22/2022
HungerMitao | Give Where You Live

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and soon many of us will feast on an abundance of food—after all, it is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving!

But as fortunate as many of us may be, there are many others struggling just to put food on the table.

Enter HungerMitao—a volunteer-driven grassroots movement, is focused on raising awareness about hunger in the USA, improving community engagement, as well as channeling resources and contributions of the Indian American community towards fighting hunger through the Feeding America network of food banks. Over the last five years since its formation on September 29, 2017, HungerMitao has enabled 40 million nutritious meals for Feeding America and its network of food banks, and is a model community driven movement to make a positive impact right where we live.

Want to make an impact? Visit their website at https://www.hungermitao.org on ways you can volunteer and support the great work they do, because hunger has no bias.

Helping Florida Hurricane Ian has come and gone, but the Staggering Scale of Wreckage it left behind will take years to recover from. Distressed by the scenes of devastation from Florida, the Indian American community through HungerMitao has started a matching challenge pledge to raise funds for Fee...

As we head into Thanksgiving here in the U.S., many of us are gearing up to see friends and family (and maybe some folks...
11/21/2022
The Power of Namaste

As we head into Thanksgiving here in the U.S., many of us are gearing up to see friends and family (and maybe some folks you may not really want to see, but kind of have to) over the holidays. While most of these interactions are usually pleasant, in today's social climate, sometimes they tend not to be. Never the less, there's a simple word that can stir warmth no matter how cold the stares may be.

It's "Namaste."

Read all about the power of namaste on our blog.

Literally translated, namaste means, "The Divine within me bows to the same Divine within you." And despite its conciseness, this one word encompasses the essential teachings of Hinduism. But, in terms of its potential power, it transcends Hinduism and Hindus.

How many of you remember that ONE line from the first movie when M’baku challenges T’Challa and yells, “Glory to Hanuman...
11/18/2022
Why Black Panther’s references to Hinduism are significant in Hollywood - Hindu American Foundation

How many of you remember that ONE line from the first movie when M’baku challenges T’Challa and yells, “Glory to Hanuman!”? Surely that got lots of our collective ears to perk up. Even had to re-watch that scene to make sure we heard it right!

Now that the second movie is out and in theaters, we want to share this piece from former HAF team member, Dr. Murali Balaji on why Black Panther’s references to Hinduism are significant in Hollywood.

P.S. Have you seen Black Panther 2? Is it good? Don't comment with any spoilers!! We'll delete them if you do 😁

READ: https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/why-black-panthers-references-to-hinduism-are-significant-in-hollywood/

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# hollywood

For anyone not familiar with the long-running Marvel comic series Black Panther, one of the film adaptation’s early scenes might have caused a stir, as it did with the Indian...

Winter is coming here in the US! And for many of us, this brings some drastic seasonal changes. Except for maybe San Die...
11/15/2022
Here's how Ayurveda can help you get through this winter

Winter is coming here in the US! And for many of us, this brings some drastic seasonal changes. Except for maybe San Diego ☀️ even the warmer parts of the country experience some temperature dips. And with the seasonal changes, come seasonal imbalances that need to be adjusted for.

And ayurveda can help! Last year, we spoke with our good friend, Chef Divya Alter, on how Ayurveda can help you adjust to the changing seasons. Just as we change our clothes to adapt to the changes of the environment, we similarly need to change our diet to eat with the season. If you don’t, you’ll feel like something’s not right, because you’re not in harmony with the nature around you.

So, with the winter months approaching, what foods do should we incorporate into our diets? Read the full article on our blog which includes some tips, recommendations, what to void, and more! We even have a few recipes Diya gave us to publish.

🔗 Link to blog: https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/heres-how-ayurveda-can-help-you-get-through-this-winter
📱 For our Instagram users, please click the post link from our bio!

As an Ayurvedic chef, I look at food in a very personalized way. One food that may be good for me, might not be good for you, because we have different digestive systems, different imbalances. We live in different parts of the world with different seasons.

🚨 Special virtual forum THIS THURSDAY 🚨-Attention folks! With the rise of hate crimes especially within our community, w...
11/14/2022
HAF & Department of Justice Hate Crime Forum - Hindu American Foundation

🚨 Special virtual forum THIS THURSDAY 🚨
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Attention folks! With the rise of hate crimes especially within our community, we are co-hosting a unique webinar with Department of Justice Northern California. We'll have a variety of speakers including the FBI, DHS, the US Attorney's Office, and the Fremont Police Department. It's THIS THURSDAY and Pacific Time and you must register.
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📅 November 17, 2022
🕠 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. PT
🔗 https://www.hinduamerican.org/events/hate-crimes-forum or use the post link from our sproutlink in bio.
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With hate crimes on the rise, hear from the Hindu American Foundation and the US Department of Justice on what community members and organizations can do to remain safe.Speaker details and exact program coming soon.

11/11/2022
CISCO, the state of California, and HAF

Last week, our team at HAF hosted a virtual event exclusive to our Donor Circle level supporters called The Scoop, in which we pulled back the curtain a bit on a number lawsuits we are either directly or indirectly involved in. One of the more prominent cases is what's happened between CISCO and the State of California. While HAF isn't a direct party to the suit, Samir Kalra—one of HAF's managing directors and legal counsel—explained exactly why and how HAF got involved.
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PS. As mentioned, this event was hosted exclusively for our Donor Circle level supporters. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit https://www.hinduamerican.org/get-involved/support
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Access level for Donor Circles starts at $1,001.

[POPULAR POST]Do you know about the eight forms of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity? It is said that as pro...
11/09/2022
Ashta Lakshmi: the eight forms of Lakshmi

[POPULAR POST]
Do you know about the eight forms of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity? It is said that as prosperity exists in a variety of ways, so too does Lakshmi, who bestows specific types of wealth through eight unique forms.

Read all about it in one of our most popular blog posts!
https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/ashta-lakshmi-the-eight-forms-of-lakshmi

Though Lakshmi’s forms are distinct, her encompassing nature is that of a nurturing and protective mother whose wealth is considered to be boundless. She gives to devotees what they need, while at the same time encouraging them to work hard and persevere.

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Comments

Those who are saying that these are peaceful farmers need
to know who is funding them, and why, after LalKila, these
terrorists plan to siege the Indian Parliament too >>> Khalistani
outfit SJF has also increased reward from $250,000 for waving
Khalistani flags at the Red Fort on Republic Day to $350,000
for unfurling the flags at the Indian Parliament on February 1,21
Sir William: The Persian, Orientalist, and Linguist Jones

Sir William Jones, said, at a meeting of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which he had founded, on Feb 2, 1786:

"The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family."

He was not the first person to have observed the family resemblance between Sanskrit and the languages of ancient Europe (which is why I have quotes around "discover" in the article's title), but he's the one who usually — and, as we will see, justly — gets the credit for founding the field of Indo-European studies. However, the term Indo-European was first used by the British scientist and scholar Sir Thomas Young in 1813.

How Sir William Jones came to discover the Indo-European language family is a fascinating story. He was the son of a well-known mathematician, the senior William Jones. Daddy Jones was a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton and had come up with the idea of using the symbol π for the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The junior Jones was a child prodigy who learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, and some Chinese when he was still quite young. By the end of his life, he spoke 28 languages with various degrees of fluency.

His father died when he was just three, so his early life was one of financial hardship. After attending Harrow School, he went on to receive an M.A. from the University of Oxford. The Oxford campus has a frieze honoring Jones that shows him sitting under a banana tree, taking notes as the Indian scholars explain the ancient texts to him. Later in his life, he wrote a book on Persian grammar under the pen name of Youns Uksfardi, "Jones of Oxford".

After he graduated from Oxford, he tutored the seven-year-old Lord Althorp, an ancestor of Princess Diana. He went on to study law and developed sympathies for the cause of American independence. He tried to help Benjamin Franklin find a solution that would avoid a war with Britain. Having failed in that quest, he left for India and got appointed as a minor judge at the British Supreme Court in Calcutta, Bengal.

Now the British wanted India's Muslim and Hindu communities to be governed by their respective laws, so they appointed advisory panels of Muslim and Hindu experts to help draft those laws. As a Supreme Court judge tasked with developing the legal code for Hindus, Jones learned Sanskrit so he could translate Manusmṛiti (मनुस्मृति), an ancient Hindu legal text. He wanted to use it as a basis for the British colonial law for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. From there, he went on to translate important works of Sanskrit literature (e.g., Kālidāsa's play Śakuntalā) and write many books about the Subcontinent. His expertise in multiple Asian languages and cultures earned him the triple monikers of "Linguist Jones", "Persian Jones", and "Orientalist Jones".

But he remains a man of contradictions: He discovered the Indo-European language family but failed to recognize the relationship between Avestan and Sanskrit, the languages closest to each other in the entire IE language family. When his opinion was sought on a recent translation of the Avestan texts, he thought they were a forgery. (He also mistook Pahlavi for a Semitic language.) He erroneously included Egyptian, Chinese, and Japanese in the IE family but left out Hindi and the Slavic languages. He believed that "conquerors from other kingdoms" brought Sanskrit to North India, which then replaced India's "pure Hindi". So he could not grasp the Sanskrit-Hindi connection either. He had other odd ideas as well, e.g., how the Chinese and the South Americans are related to the Hindus. We may be appalled by these errors but the methodology of comparative linguistics was still in its infancy.

To us the idea of a Sanskrit-speakers' conquest of India may sound like the colonial-era "A***n conquest" narrative. Indeed, some modern Indian scholars fault him for having helped advance the British colonial agenda. We need to keep in mind, though, that he was a British civil servant and a creature of his times. His literary works, legal opinions, and humanitarian causes suggest that he was a fan of India's culture and a friend of its people. He (and his network) got the European scholars fired up about studying Sanskrit and comparative linguistics the way no one else had been able to before him. For example, Alexander Hamilton, who was a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (founded by Jones), was one of the very first Europeans to learn Sanskrit. He became Europe's first professor of Sanskrit and went on to teach Sanskrit to the majority of Europe's earliest would-be Sanskrit scholars. If you're an American wondering if this Hamilton fellow bears any relationship to the American Founding father with the same name, they were cousins! If you're a non-American, you may be intrigued by the fact that the Founding Father Hamilton died in a duel at the hands of the then US Vice President! But that's a story for another day.

Jones died in Calcutta in 1794 at the age of 47 from an inflamed liver and is buried in South Park Street Cemetery, a protected heritage site where many notables – for example, son of the Novelist Charles Dickens – lie buried. Despite his errors and omissions, he became an important bridge between South Asia and the West. Both South Asia and the West were forever changed by his insights into the relationship between the languages of Europe and South Asia.

This article is part of The7Rivers: An Epic Journey (www.facebook.com/groups/The7Rivers/) that includes 101 videos, articles, and a library of downloadable materials — all available free to The7Rivers group members. The7Rivers captures the history — including the thrills, drama, and romance — of the Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranians (Indo- and Irano-A***ns, including the Zoroastrians and the Parsis), and the Land of Seven Rivers (Indus Valley and RigVedic civilizations). It covers many fascinating and important stories that are not common knowledge. Join The7Rivers if interested in the full 101-episode series and the library: www.facebook.com/groups/The7Rivers/.

Suggested readings (all online):
• Jones, W (1786). The Third Anniversary Discourse, on the Hindus, delivered 2d of February, 1786. Read at the Electronic Library of Historiography website.
• Campbell, L (2018). "Why Sir William Jones Got It All Wrong, or Jones’ Role in How to Establish Language Families". Download PDF from the ResearchGate website.
• If you'd like to dig into works by or on Sir William Jones, the Internet Archive offers a large collections.

Album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=the7rivers&set=a.184830709779502
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