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Hin­dus and the In­for­ma­tion Age.

From the far side of Trinidad & Tobago…

Hinduism in the Information Age.

Opinion | Trinidad & Tobago Guardian | Sept 15, 2018:: The prac­tice of Hin­duism has been most­ly con­fined to the Hin­du homes and fam­i­lies in the scat­tered vil­lages across the In­di­an sub-con­ti­nent, and in Trinidad and To­ba­go since the days of in­den­ture­ship. Even the struc­tures cre­at­ed by Hin­dus were known as ‘Gu­ru­dom’ be­cause it cen­tred around a Hin­du spir­i­tu­al Gu­ru or the Pun­dit.

The most im­por­tant tool for the un­der­stand­ing of the Hin­du re­li­gion and the foun­da­tions of Hin­duism and its cul­ture were not ac­ces­si­ble be­cause of state leg­is­la­tion.

Hin­du lead­er­ship both in In­dia and the In­di­an di­as­po­ra failed to un­der­stand the new in­for­ma­tion age re­quired the mas­tery of tele­vi­sion, ra­dio tech­nol­o­gy, books and the print me­dia, and in re­cent times Face­book, What­sApp, Twit­ter and oth­er so­cial me­dia tech­nolo­gies.

One of the great­est Hin­du thinkers and writ­ers to­day is a white Amer­i­can who has em­braced Hin­duism and is pro­mot­ing the use of mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy to trans­mit the mes­sage of Hin­duism.

Pro­fes­sor David Fraw­ley has writ­ten nu­mer­ous books on Hin­duism in the Eng­lish lan­guage and in one of his es­says on Hin­dus and the In­for­ma­tion Age, he wrote:

“The im­age of Hin­duism that pre­vails in the in­for­ma­tion age is cre­at­ed by non-Hin­dus and an­ti-Hin­du forces, not on­ly by in­ten­tion but al­so by de­fault be­cause Hin­dus them­selves sel­dom chal­lenge wrong views or pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive.

“In this way, Hin­duism is be­ing erod­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the minds of young Hin­dus, who sel­dom find their re­li­gion rep­re­sent­ed, or who find it den­i­grat­ed in the me­dia world around them that is rapid­ly be­com­ing their re­al­i­ty.

“Hin­duism has pro­duced many ex­tra­or­di­nary minds in mod­ern times. Ex­cel­lent Hin­du cri­tiques of the West and of the mod­ern world can be found in the writ­ings of great Hin­du gu­rus like Au­robindo, Vivekanan­da, Shiv­anan­da or Chin­mayanan­da.

“The prob­lem is that their works get placed in the re­li­gious or spir­i­tu­al field and do not en­ter in­to the in­tel­lec­tu­al realm.

“Their teach­ings are of­ten con­fined to their dis­ci­ples, who per­son­alise them rather than pro­mote them for their glob­al rel­e­vance.

“Much of the work of cre­at­ing a new Hin­du in­tel­li­gentsia should con­sist of tak­ing the works of these great gu­rus and re­for­mu­lat­ing them for a broad­er and more in­tel­lec­tu­al au­di­ence.

“Hin­du in­tel­lec­tu­als have gen­er­al­ly failed in the mod­ern in­for­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion. They have not ar­tic­u­lat­ed their views in a clear way. They have pro­duced lit­tle by way of books, and al­most noth­ing by way of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers to ex­press what they hold to be true, even in In­dia.

“While oth­er re­li­gions have giv­en clear views of var­i­ous so­cial and po­lit­i­cal top­ics, Hin­duism is of­ten with­out voice.

“The most no­table ex­cep­tion to this trend is the mag­a­zine Hin­duism To­day’ com­ing out of Hawaii (USA), or­gan­ised and writ­ten main­ly by West­ern Swamis. Yet such a mag­a­zine has no re­al coun­ter­part in In­dia or its dif­fer­ent di­alects.

“In this in­for­ma­tion war a dif­fer­ent kind of war­rior is nec­es­sary and a dif­fer­ent strat­e­gy is re­quired.

“This is not an en­tire­ly new is­sue be­cause there has al­ways been some­thing of an in­for­ma­tion war in the clash of cul­tures, na­tions and re­li­gions that has oc­curred through­out his­to­ry.

“But to­day it has much more im­por­tance in the in­for­ma­tion age and has be­come the cen­tral is­sue.”

The Sanatan Dhar­ma Ma­ha Sab­ha of T&T Inc. ful­ly well un­der­stood the im­por­tance of us­ing mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy to spread the mes­sage of Hin­duism.

It is for this rea­son that we ap­plied for a ra­dio li­cence which was de­nied by the gov­ern­ment of T&T, show­ing pref­er­ence in­stead to one of its sup­port­ers.

Led by at­tor­ney Anand Ram­lo­gan, we took this de­nial to the High Court lo­cal­ly and then twice to the Ap­peal Court be­fore go­ing to the Privy Coun­cil in Lon­don, T&T’s high­est court. It or­dered:

“The board would pay trib­ute to the care and skill with which this case has been han­dled in the courts be­low.

“It is through no fault of the Court of Ap­peal and high­ly re­gret­table that the Court of Ap­peal was al­lowed to pro­ceed on false premis­es.

It is in the light of ex­cep­tion­al cir­cum­stances not re­vealed to the Court of Ap­peal that the board con­cludes that the ap­peal should be al­lowed.

“As in Ob­serv­er Pub­li­ca­tions Ltd v Matthew, so here the board con­sid­ers that the on­ly ap­pro­pri­ate or­der is a manda­to­ry or­der, in this case or­der­ing the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al to do all that is nec­es­sary to pro­cure and en­sure the is­sue forth­with to the ap­pel­lant, Cen­tral Broad­cast­ing Sys­tems Lim­it­ed (CB­SL), of a FM ra­dio broad­cast­ing li­cence, as ap­plied for on 1st Sep­tem­ber 2000, on an ap­pro­pri­ate fre­quen­cy to be agreed with CB­SL or, in de­fault of agree­ment, to be de­ter­mined by the High Court on ap­pli­ca­tion by ei­ther par­ty.

“The At­tor­ney Gen­er­al must pay the ap­pel­lants’ costs in the courts be­low and be­fore the board.”

And so Ra­dio and TV Jaagri­ti were born!

Courtesy: Trinidad & Tobago Guardian.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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