Hindus Unite At WAVES Conference in Florida

via http://www.hinduismtoday.com/hpi/2008/7/5#1.shtml published on July 7, 2008

FLORIDA, USA, July 5, 2008: The three-day international World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference concluded on June 29, with over 200 delegates at University of Central Florida, Orlando. It called for strong education and training of Hindu youth with many eternal values so that they can confront global problems and provide comprehensive solutions.


As many as 120 papers were presented in various sessions of the WAVES Conference. Most participants were Hindu Americans and also Hindus from India and Nepal. Hindu Americans are among those who have highest per capita income and the highest education in the America.  Also, participants from Canada, Trinidad and other countries were present.


A unique feature of the conference this year was the participation of Hindu youth in day-long workshops jointly organized with Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and Hindu Student Council (HSC) on June 30.


These sessions were the most lively in the conference, and were very well attended. Hindu youth sitting on panels at the plenary session felt heard, empowered, and engaged in thoughts on their heritage and how it could shape their life and lives of future generations. While the discussion was mostly for Indian American youth, young students who were born and raised in India pointed out that issues are similar for them. “We want to be listened to and heard by our parents so that together we can incorporate our heritage in our lives”, said Jaya Goswami, the past president of HSC Chapter at UCF, while commenting on the youth session. “By being included in the WAVES Conference we feel empowered”, said Ruti Dwivedi, a junior at UCF.


At the “Intergeneration” dialogue session, a discussion happened about the need to establish one’s Hindu identity. While defining Hindu identity, measures have to be identified on how to deal with those who do not understand or appreciate the world-view of dharma.


Issues such as inter-religious marriage and whether all religions lead to the same God were discussed fiercely with many points and counterpoints. The interactive sessions among youth and Hindu Vedic scholars reiterated the imperative of detailing and disseminating sources of knowledge related to Hindu culture and heritage.


Aditi Banerjee, a young attorney practicing in Manhattan, discussed the contents of the book “Invading the Sacred,” highlighting several issues of bias in academia such as the Hinduphobic works that resemble earlier American literature depicting non-whites as dangerous savages needing to be civilized by the West. Another aspect of Hindu portrayal was presented by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman who spoke on the ongoing attack on Hindu symbols: Sarasvati, Vedic language and cultural traditions.


Prof. Nathan Katz of Florida International University, referred to the historic Hindu-Jewish Summit declaration issued in February 2008. He talked about how Hinduism could flourish in the land of America.


Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation made a keynote presentation at the banquet session on the study of India by Europeans was dominated by Germans, British and French in the colonial era. Individual scholars came with positive as well as negative designs and agendas, and different European national interests played a key role. Malhotra has derived a new comprehensive theory for many of the ills facing the Indian Sub-continent, including today’s Dravidianism, the Sri Lankan civil war, as well as US-based South Asian Studies are the legacies of this colonial Indology.


Dr. Subramanian Swamy, expounded in his valedictory address on the framework of Hindu religious thought and philosophy that has evolved as Sanatana Dharma, and encouraged scholars to continue scholarly deliberations at forums like WAVES to bring forward intellectual face and prowess of the tradition.


Prominent community leaders such as Braham Aggarwal, Anil Deshpande, and Subas Razdan actively participated in the conference.


The conference highlighted:


1.The importance of networking among temples

2. A preparation of resource material for and training of the Hindu priests and

3. Education of the youth during the formative stages of their lives on the significance of symbols and metaphors of Hinduism and a Hindu temple.


Other prominent scholars at the conference included Professor Satya Prakash Agarwal, Dr. Kosal Vepa, Dr. Sannidhanam Sudarshan sharma, Dr. Vinod Deshmukh, Er. Himendra Thakur, Dr. Shashi Tiwari, Dr. Lothar Schaefer, Dr. Shivamurthy Shivacharya, and Mr. Jeffrey Armstrong.


WAVES President, Dr. Surendra Dwivedi, said ‘Dharmo rakshati rakshitah’, and felt relieved that a new generation of scholars are willing to promote these Vedic values.


The Conference was co-sponsored by University of Central Florida, University of Louisiana, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

For further information, please contact Dr. Bal Ram Singh at 508-999-8588 or

[email protected].

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