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When Germany is Christian, Is India Hindu?

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Maria Wirth The World Reporter

Disclaimer: The views and opinion expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of The World Reporter.

Though I live in India since long, there are still some points that I find hard to understand – for example why many so called educated Indians on TV discussion forums become agitated whenever ‘Hindutva’ is mentioned. The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of it. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression as if an India that values those Hindu roots was dangerous? Don’t they know better?

Their attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those people have a problem only with ‘Hindu’ India, but not with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ countries. Germany for example, is a secular country and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian Churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under ‘Christian countries’. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population ‘to go back to Christian values’. In 2012, she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit for a day to address the German Catholic Day. In September 2011, the Pope was invited to address the German Parliament. Two major political parties carry ‘Christian’ in their name, including Angela Merkel’s ruling party. Government agencies even collect the Church tax (8 percent of the income tax) and pass it on to the Churches.

Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I actually would understand if they were. After all, the history of the Church is appalling. The so called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny. “Convert or die”, were the options given not only to the indigenous population in America some five hundred years ago. In Germany, too, 1200 years ago, the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. It provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: ‘One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?’’ Heresy was put down with an iron hand. I still remember a visit to the Nuremberg castle prison as a school kid. There, we were shown the torture chamber and the torture instruments that were used during inquisition. Unbelievable cruelty!

Nuremberg Castle
Nuremberg Castle, image by bill barber

 

Those times, when one’s life was in danger if one dissented with the dogmas of the Church, are thankfully over. And nowadays many in the west do dissent and leave the Church in a steady stream – in Germany alone over 2 million officially signed out in the last ten years and during a survey in 2011, 5,5 million Germans ‘considered’ leaving the Church – partly because they are disgusted with the less than holy behavior of Church officials and partly because they can’t believe in the dogmas, for example that ‘Jesus is the only way’ and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.

And here comes the second reason why the resistance to associate India with Hindutva by Indians is difficult to understand. Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind belief in dogmas and the suspension of one’s intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. The rishis enquired into truth, discovered universal laws and showed how to live life in an ideal way. Hinduism (please don’t get irritated by this ’modern’ word. In today’s world it is in use for the many streams of Sanatana Dharma) comprises a huge body of ancient literature, not only regarding Dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion.Yet we Germans have to be content with only one ‘ancient’ epic which was written around 800 years ago and probably refers to incidents around 400 AD. That is how far back ‘antiquity’ reaches in Europe, and of course children in Germany hear of this epic, called ‘Nibelungenlied’, in school. Naturally westerners consider the existence of Sri Krishna and Sri Rama as myths. How could they acknowledge a civilization much more ancient and much more refined than their own?

Inexplicably, Indians cater to western arrogance and ignorance by downplaying and even denying their tradition. There is a “Copernicus Marg’ in New Delhi and Indian children do not get to hear in school that the rishis of the Rg Veda knew already that the earth is round and goes around the sun – thousands of years before westerners ‘discovered’ it. (Rg 10’22’14)

When I read some Upanishads, I was stunned at the profundity. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given but not imposed.

In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized that I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.

Many of the educated class do not realize that on one hand, westerners, especially those who dream to impose their own religion on this vast country, will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this helps western universalism to spread in India. On the other hand, many westerners, including Church people, very well know the value and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had been known in the west.

Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation has done painstaking research in this field and has documented many cases of “digestion” of Dharma civilization into western universalism. Hindu civilization is gradually being depleted of its valuable, exclusive assets and what is left is dismissed as inferior.

If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them because they wrongly believe that Hinduism is inferior to western religions. They belittle everything Hindu instead of getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their tradition except what the British told them, i.e. that the major features are caste system and idol worship. They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that already as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added. When will the westernized Indian elite realize it?

Maria Wirth is a German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. In recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent Indians (and the world) from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian tradition. http://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/

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Russian by roots, global citizen by choice. In love with India and Indian culture, love to report everything from politics to military news. Against the controlled media.

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Culture and Lifestyle

Why Do Movies Change The Way People Dress?

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via GIPHY

Movies transcend the silver screen. Apart from being avenues for actors to show off their skills, they also let the great and good of Hollywood strut their stuff. Impacting fashion, then, is inevitable.

At least, it has been for the past couple of decades. Directors and stylists create the looks, and ordinary people try to recreate them as best they can. But why? What makes films the leaders of fashion? After all, they are the original influencers because their reach was far and wide before social media became a thing!

Here are four factors that give Hollywood a say in the fashion industry, and why anything isn’t likely to change.

Escapism

People don’t watch movies to connect with real life. If you wanted to do that, you’d binge-watch documentaries or never turn off the news. No, you sit down to take in a film because you want to get away from life for a few hours. What this does is convince you that the characters are not representations of fictional people, but real. So, recreating their charm and swagger through their outfits seems like the logical next step. After all, you may see yourself through the width of a lens rather than your eyes.

Latest Trends

Of course, actors aren’t regular, run of the mill human beings. They’re part of the 1% of society, which means they get rich and famous perks that aren’t available to others. This means they don’t turn up on set looking angelic – they are morphed into Gods and Goddesses by stylists. Stylists are professionals with their fingers on the pulse of fashion, so they know how to dress people to appear cool or sultry or effortless. The public doesn’t have this type of access, but that doesn’t stop you from copying the styles.

They’re popular for several reasons!

via GIPHY

Pop Culture

It’s hard not to know about the latest pop culture trends, even if you actively stay away from them. That’s because they are everywhere, including on your TV screen. This has been the case for decades, from Morpheus’ rimless glasses in “The Matrix” to Marilyn Monroe’s blonde hair and white dress combo in “The Seven Year Itch.” Part of the reason that movies are iconic, aside from famous lines, is their recognizable outfits. At some point, you’ll see a trend that you love and want to recreate at home because there are thousands of movies/they are derivative.

via GIPHY

Accessibility

Film is one of the most conspicuous forms of media. Movies start their lives in theaters, move onto your screen, and finish in your DVD collection. As a result, you get tons of opportunities to see the latest fashion trends. You’re exposed to it, even if you don’t read glossy magazines or class yourself as a budding fashionista. The rise of Netflix has solidified the effect as your reference points are only one click away in an app or folder on your mobile device.

And, that’s why movies will continue to change the way people dress in the future.

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Weed It And Reap! It’s Time To Design Your Own Garden

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home garden

With our new normal seeing us staying at home a lot more because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to invest in your garden. Because people are seeing the staycation as the default holiday this year, homeowners are going above and beyond the annual garden tidy-up and are embarking on a full remodel of their outside area. If you have triffid-like plants overtaking your borders, your lawn has seen better days, there are no zones to enjoy and you can’t even consider dining outdoors, it can be challenging to find the joy in your garden. You need to treat your garden like the interior of your home. Your humble abode is your pride and joy, so this should extend into your outside area.

Gardens are no longer a patch of lawn and a couple of side borders full of plants. There are all sorts of glorious garden styles for you to enjoy depending on how you see your garden being utilized. Will you want a grand, elegant array of blooms? Do you want to grow vegetables? Or are you seeing your garden as an outdoor party area? Take a look at how you can design your own garden using these ideas to inspire you.

Create Some Zones

Gardens serve many purposes. Some days you will be outdoors with the kids, spending some time playing games and kicking a ball around. All you need for this is some artificial grass that is resilient and requires little maintenance. Many individuals aren’t willing to put the mowing time in, and would rather have a permanent lush green carpet underfoot. This is why artificial lawn is so popular. Alternatively, you could plan for a pool out the back. For those kids who are active and a little older, a dip in the pool can be more attractive than the video games on offer inside. All you need to do is source water pump spare parts for your kidney shaped pool every couple of years, get it cleaned regularly and look forward to some exciting outdoor summer pool parties.

Vegetables

Many people are keen to explore the concept of sustainability. This means foregoing any reliance on supermarkets for food, and having a go at being more self sufficient. You could decide to create some raised beds, ready for sowing. Think about the vegetables you love to cook with and eat, and get planting. You might want a couple of rows of parsnips, some pumpkin and some artichoke. If you want to get the kids involved, think about whipping up a greenhouse or some polytunnels, and plant some strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. These salad veg and fruit enjoy the more humid conditions.

Al Fresco Dining

If you see the outside of our home as being an extension of your pad, you might want to consider how you can accommodate some outdoor dining. Whether you are having a barbecue or enjoying eating outdoors for a summer dinner party, you need a patio with an awning for cover adjacent to your home. This means your guests don’t have to go too far to sit and eat and relax and chat. Being a host, having your diners outside can be fun and enjoyable in the summer months. You could even give it a go during winter. While chillier, you can create a cozy atmosphere with an outdoor heater, a firepit and some subtle lighting.

Barbecues are also fun for the whole family. You could pick up some good quality garden furniture from a local garden center and enjoy eating some halloumi burgers, marinated salmon and grilled corn at the weekend.

Planting

If you adore flowers and color, it’s time to consider your planting. Don’t just head to the garden center and pick up flowers because you love the look of them without any planning. You need to work out when your flowers will bloom, whether you want all year round color, or whether you fancy some shrubbery or grasses. If you don’t have a green fingered bone in your body, it might be a good idea to pick up some wildflower seeds. These can be left to grow on their own and love nutrient poor soil. All you need to do is mow it back a couple of times a year. Wildflowers also help you do your bit for the environment as they are great pollinators for bees.

If you love an English country garden look, you’ll want traditional blooms. Consider some roses, hydrangea and scented heather and lavender. These are wonderful for those gardens that have a lot of colors: reds, yellows, oranges, and violets. If you prefer a more modern or exotic look, palms and bamboo can be ideal, provided you have the sunlight. Read up on the sort of plants that match well together and draw out your patch for planting. Then you can plot which shrub or flower you will plant where.

Water Feature

If you don’t have the room for a pool, but you still fancy a water feature, consider a fountain or an illusion orb. For a garden to be a relaxing space, the sound of water can add to the atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. Couple this with a hammock or some gentle swing seating, and you can have an extra zone where you can kick back, read a book, have some alone time, or chill with pals.

When you do have your garden zones, don’t forget the finer details. How will you move between each zone? Will you have a tiered garden or do you need to think about paths? Sand and paving come in all different sizes making an easy path to lay. You could opt for a shingle path instead or go for some decking.

Designing a garden can be tricky, so think about getting the professionals in if this gives you more confidence. There are many factors to consider with a garden, but follow this guide and you will soon weed it and reap!

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The best ways to stay entertained at home

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home entertainment

They say that home is where your heart is. After all, our home is the place where we spent most time at. But sometimes, if we lack of the proper forms of entertainment, our time at home can become dull and boring. That is why today we have brought you a list of the best entertainment applications and softwares in order to turn the time you spend at home into the best time of the day.

Make sure your sound systems are on point

Sound is a key factor in most modern media forms. It does not matter whether we plan to enjoy watching a new film or some quality gaming session, if we do not have the proper sound systems, the quality of the experience becomes way less pleasant. 

Many people try to solve this problem by buying expensive sound equipments, but, how can you know if they are working to their fullest potential? The solution to this problem is simpler than you could think, all you need to do is run a speaker test on your sound devices. 

This test will help you realize the quality and range of your speakers, headphones, earplugs, etc. It does not matter the type of audio system you use to consume digital media, thanks to this quick and easy test, you will be able to enjoy the experience at its fullest potential and detect any possible problem your device could have.

Having access to the best apps on the market

Nowadays, we can find all forms of media compiled on different apps. These apps are an user friendly way to present what traditionally could only be found on websites. For example, the popular video page Youtube has its own app with a more user friendly interface for phone users where users can find their videos in an easier and faster way. And same goes for social media apps, game apps, software apps, etc. 

All these apps can be easily found on the play store. The only thing you would need to do is to download Play Store compatible with your mobile device. Once you have installed the latest version of the Play Store, a whole new world of apps will open in front of your eyes. All you need to do is pick your favorite ones and start enjoying them. 

Stimulating our kids

The time our kids spend at home is precious and we should always treasure it. However, we all know that kids get bored easily, so we should always look forwards to productive ways of keeping our kids entertained while stimulating their learning process. This can be easily achievable using music games. Music games are the perfect stimulus for our children. Their colourful layouts will catch their attention while the music will teach them how to differentiate between different instruments, tones, etc. Before they realize, our kids will be learning everything about music in a fun and productive way. 

Learn to dance without leaving your home

Learning how to dance is a goal we often share but that we often struggle to achieve. Knowing how to dance properly is a skill that would always come in handy for social gatherings and for a quick self-esteem boost. However, this would usually imply that we would need to enroll ourselves in expensive and boring courses at dancing schools. But thanks to the recent developments on technology, learning how to dance is now easier than ever. Websites like  www.salsabachatadance.de provide their users with everything they would need to get started on learning how to dance from the comfort of their own homes. From virtual lessons with a 3D instructor to dance sessions using Virtual Reality systems, you can turn your living room into a disco floor and start learning how to dance like a real professional.

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