Partition of India

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Hindus of Influence:
1. Pramukh Swami Maharaj December 7, 1921 (age 92)
Childhood:
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was born in a very small village called Chansad and was originally given the name Shantilal,
which translates to peace. He was the youngest of nine children. Shantilal started doing daily puja at the age of seven.
Initiation into Hinduism:
His parents were disciples of Shastriji Maharaj, and followers of the Akshar Purushottam faith. Shastriji Maharaj is
considered the founder of Akshar Purushottam Upasana, which led to the creation of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) a group of Hindu followers that differentiate from Hindus in their efforts to
better the world. When Pramukh was seventeen he received a letter from Shastriji asking him to become a Sadhu.
Pramukh accepted
Early Life as a Sadhu:
Upon beginning a life as a sadhu he was given a new name Shanti Bhagat. He also lived a life of celibacy and vowed to
live a life in which his only goal was to praise God and fulfill his dharma. The new sadhu was requested by Shastriji to
study Sanskrit as his first responsibility. Shanti’s responsibilities in his early sadhu life include cleaning of temples,
cooking. In addition, He continued to work hard and study.
His Journey to BAPS President
In 1946 his hard work paid off Shanti was appointed head of the mandir a temple in sarangpur. As head of the BAPS
temple in Sarangpur Shanti oversaw the massive expansion of the temple. He was propositioned to be the next president
by Shastriji Maharaj. In 1950 Shanti accepted the new position as president of the BAPS organization. After his
appointment as president he took another new name as customary he became Pramukh Swami Maharaj the new guru.
His Work as President
Under his lead the BAPS organization has had many achievements such as the temple in Toronto. He has made BAPS the
first Hindu global organization. Also he is credited with modernizing a lot of Hindu beliefs. Many disciples speak to him
not just on the religious front. Many people refer to him as the ideal guru and is regarded as one of the best spiritual
leaders in existence. In March last year Pramukh appointed Mahant Swami as his replacement do to health issues and old
age preventing him from full devotion. He is still considered the president and active guru.
His Teachings: “If one does not have values in life it won’t take long to lose one’s wealth.” This is a quote from Pramukh
Swami and in it he speaks of fulfilling dharma. The quote means you should live your life with values such as helping
others and being the best person you can be. This quote is meaningful and describes the way Pramukh views the world.
His Legacy: After Pramukh passes he wishes he has left behind a life of fulfillment and to see his teachings/reformation
of the church to carry on through his disciples
2. Madhva
Madhva Early Life
Madhva was born with the name Vaudeva. The year of his birth, however unknown, was between 1197 and as late as
1238 A.D. in a village called Pajakaksetra near the town of Udupi, in the southwest region of Karnataka, India
Madhva’s Monkhood
Originally when Madhva told his parents he wanted to become a monk they were disappointed. He became a monk when
his younger brother, Vishnuchitta was born, Vishnuchitta became their parent’s caretaker and later became a monk like
his brother. Madhva studied under Guru Achyuta Preksha during which he began to question his religious teachings and
the nature of God
Madhva’s Religious Accomplishments
Madhva created his own set of beliefs which he traveled India and attracted followers which are known as Sad-Vaisnavas.
His beliefs were that the caste system should not be chosen by the family you are born into, however your behaviour
should decide your caste. His preaching was seen as radical by many people, during which his life was threatened.
Madhva became known as Madhvacharya; “Acharyas” is a religious suffix given to a great religious teacher
Madhvacharya's return to Udupi
When he returned to Udupi he established 8 mathas (monasteries) which were led by one of his disciples of followers.
Some of the regions followers of Madhvacharya included Many of the Hindu saints. His spiritual opinion become popular
throughout India, more so in the south and west. On palm leaves he wrote 37 books, most were his views on spiritual texts
Madhvacharya's Death
He set out on a pilgrimage to the city of Badari, before his arrival Madhvacharya disappeared. Before his death he
teachings consisted of the unity of god and the human soul and his beliefs were based on his views on Hindu texts
3. Vallabhbhai Patel
Born on October 31, 1875 in Nadiad, Gujarat to a farming family, and was raised in traditional Hinduism. Patel married at
the age of 16 and became a lawyer.
Political Beginnings
Patel’s interest in politics was inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi; he decided to join India's
struggle for independence in 1917. Patel followed his policy of nonviolence. He did not always agree with Gandhi’s moral
convictions and ideals but, he chose to follow and support Gandhi, so Patel quit his upper class clubs, and dressed in the
white cloth for the Indian lower class.
Accomplishments
He organized the lower class people of Kheda, Bardoli, and other parts of Gujarat and started the non-violent Civil
Disobedience Movement, against the payment of raised taxes by the British government. He succeeded. He became one of
the most influential leaders in Gujarat because of this, and was nicknamed India’s Iron Man. In 1920 he became the
president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and served in the post till 1945. He was a strong supporter of
Gandhi’s Non -Cooperation movement and worked against alcoholism and caste discrimination in Gujarat. While
Mahatma Gandhi was in prison, he led the 1923 nonviolent resistance in Nagpur against the British law, banning the
raising of the Indian flag. After India's independence, he became the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of
India. He organized relief camps for refugees in Punjab and Delhi. He was the man behind the integration of 565 princely
states to form a united India.
Death
Patel was a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. After Gandhi's death his health started deteriorating, he suffered a major
heart attack within two months of Gandhi's death. He died on 15th December 1950 in Bombay.
4. Mahatma Gandhi
Childhood
Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2 1869 in Porbandar, India. Family was in the merchant and business
caste. Father was the chief minister of Porbandar and his mother was a devout Hindu who taught him the concepts of
Hinduism such as abstaining from meat, not harming anything living, fasting to purify the mind and body and respect
other Hindu branches and other religions. Was wed to Kasturbai Makhanji at the age of 13. They had 4 children. Wanted
to become a doctor but it was underneath his caste so he went to London in 1888 to become a lawyer.
Life:
While he was in London he experienced a lot of racism and he joined the Theosophical Society which was made up of
Hindu and Buddhist vegetarians. He learned more about Hinduism and was also interested in Christianity and Buddhism.
Was introduced to authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau and John Ruskin and became inspired by their
views on nonviolence and peaceful resistance. He received his law degree in 1891 and returned to India. He became a
practicing lawyer but stopped after 2 years because he was always shy and nervous. He went to South Africa by himself.
In 1893, he took a job as an office clerk in South Africa. He experienced the hardships of Indians and Africans under
white-rule. He started nonviolent protests to get legal status for the Indians in South Africa. During the Boer War he
helped the British organize volunteer ambulance corps and received a medal. But there was still no change for the legal
rights of Indians. By 1906, it was law for Indians to be fingerprinted and registered with the government. Again he called
a mass nonviolent protest which resulted in him being imprisoned for 2 months. The protests went on for 7 years with no
change and people were beaten or burned. But an international reaction resulted the government to compromise with
Gandhi. And so Indian registration was abolished, Hindu marriages were legal, and there was no more indentured labour.
After being in South Africa for 20 years, he returned to India.
In India he was given the title of Mahatma (Great Soul) by poet Rabindranath Tagore. He became the leader of the
Indian National Congress Party. During that time he: Encouraged a boycott on British goods, Fasted for 21 days to bring
peace between Hindus and Muslims, Fasted to draw attention to the untouchable caste, Built national pride in Indians,
such as making Hindi the national language and Called for a salt march when the British put taxes on salt. Marched to the
sea and boiled water to make their own salt. Was imprisoned for it. He did everything he could to make India its own
country. Later on he retired but still acted as its ‘leader’. After India’s independence in 1947 and the massive bloodshed
that occurred between the Hindus and the Muslims, Gandhi prayed and fasted for peace between them.
Death
On January 13 1948, Gandhi was going to a prayer meeting to the Birla House when he was shot by Hindu Nationalist
Nathuram Godse who did not agree with Gandhi’s views on the unification of Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims.
Hindu Festivals Study Note
Mahashivaratri:
 Mahashivaratri takes place on the day before the new moon, during the month of February
 According to the ancient Hindu texts (Purana), during the great mythical turning of the ocean called Saundra
Manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. The Gods and Demons were scared as it could destroy the
entire world
 They turned to Shiva for help, and in order to protect the world drank the deadly poison and held it in his throat
instead of swallowing it
 This turned his throat blue, and became known as ‘Nilkantha’, the blue throated one
 Mahashivaratri celebrates this event by which Shiva saved the world
 During Mahashivaratri, married women pray for their well-being of their husbands and sons while unmarried
women pray for an ideal husband like Shiva
 It is believed that anyone who utters the name of Shiva during Mahashivaratri with pure devotion is freed from all
sins
 Between midnight and sunrise, members worship him by repeating his name and place flowers and grains on his
image
 The worshipers fast for 24 hours, in honor of Shiva sacrificing his life
Diwali:
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Diwali is most commonly referred to as Divali in the Hindu culture but also The Festival of Light
Celebrated over five days in late October/early November
It is the most popular among the Hindu festivals
Celebrates victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair
Puja is performed to honor Lakshmi and Vishnu
Vegetarian feasts are served following the Puja
As the night begins, houses are decorated with lights and fireworks are fired off on the street throughout the night
Gudi Padwa:
 Gudi Padwa is a festival to celebrate the New Year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar. On this day, the sun
takes a position above the point of intersection of the equator and the meridians.
 This day celebrates that Brahma created the world and was the starting point for everything. Gudi Padwa also
represents the first day of spring as it is celebrated late March/early April.
 Hindu's will celebrate this day by doing spring cleaning, then dressing up in nice clothes and attending family
gatherings
 Families will then prepare the traditional bittersweet neem-tree leaves. Everyone will consume these leaves as
they are believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body’s immune system against diseases.
 Also on this day, a Gudhi is typically displayed at the window of someone’s house for everyone to see. A Gudhi
is a bright colored cloth that is tied to a stick of bamboo. It is decorated with neem leaves and mango leaves with
flowers on it as well. It is all topped off with an inverted copper pot. A raised Gudhi symbolizes active state of the
soul
 Gudi Padwa is typically not celebrated by northern Indians.
Pongal:
 Celebrates thanksgiving of nature, and life cycles that give us grain; people thank the gods for a bountiful harvest.
 Typically beginning on January 14/15, Pongal is held in the month of Thai (January - February) when sugar cane,
turmeric, rice, and other grains are harvested.
 Lasts 4 days with each day celebrating something different:
 Day 1 is the Bhogi festival which honours Lord Indra who is the ruler of the rain clouds. Homage is paid to her
for the abundance of harvest through singing and dancing around a bonfire.
 Day 2 is when the act of Puja takes place where rice is boiled in milk outdoors in a pot, and is offered to the sun
god along with two sticks of sugar cane, coconut, and bananas. On this day, traditional dress and markings are
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worn. On this day the Kolam is also done. It is a design on the ground which is traced with white lime powder and
filled in with bright colours. The Kolam promises well-being for the future.
Day 3 is Mattu and is the day of the cows. Cows are washed, decorated, and worshiped for their role of ensuring a
good harvest.
Day 4 is Knau or Kannum Pongal day when a turmeric leaf is washed and then placed on the ground, and
leftovers of the Pongal meal are placed on it. The women of the house assemble around this leaf outside and ask
that the house and family of their neighbours should prosper.
Holi:
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Is the festival of colours and spring (February-March)
Holi is an annual festival celebrated on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalgma (Early March).
This festival celebrates the introduction of spring, remember various events in Hindu mythology and is a time of
joyfulness, singing and dancing.
Holi is probably the least religious festival of the Hindu faith and is announced as a Holiday. During the Holi
festival Hindus will attend at public bon fires, spray friends and family with colours symbolizing spring and all
the beautiful colours and also generally party and celebrate in the streets.
Holi is about having a fun time, celebrating the upcoming season of spring, communicating and be social with
friends, family and strangers and being greatful for new life and the colourful world.
" For Holi everybody feels their right to emjoy and enjoy they do. Songs, dances, drinks, food everything goes in
excess when it is time for Holi. It can be said 'Life turns colourful' when it is time for Holi"
Akshaya Tritaya:
 Also known as Akhateej Navanna Parvam or "The Golden Day"
 It is said that the moon contains the secret to non-declining wealth. Hindu's believe that once a year the earth is
energized for 24 hours with material abundance and royalty consciousness. If you believe in meditation and the
systems of nature as well as the concept of non-declining wealth then you shall obtain the knowledge of nondeclining wealth.
 On this day Hindu's will offer special puja's to the Gods, such as bathing in holy rivers, give to charity, offer
barley to a burning fire, and it is traditional to sprinkle Tulsi water onto idols while performing aatri.
 Hindu's usually wear or buy gold because it is known to invite the Goddess Bevi Laxmi (Goddess of wealth in
households)
Navarati:
 Held in the spring and autumn; this year Charita Navaratri will be be held March 31- April 8 and Sharad Navaratri
will be held on September 25- October 3.
 On the first three nights of Navaratri Hindu's offer puja to the Goddess Durga (Manifestation of Parvati) who
washes away laziness and evil thoughts,
 On the next three nights Hindu's dedicate their worship to Lakshmi, The Goddess of wealth and good fortune.
 The third set of three nights are for Saraswati, the God of knowledge and learning.
 On the 10th day the Hindu's celebrate the "Day of victory" or "Vijaya Dasami", this symbolizes the victory of
Rama over Ravana
 On the final day Hindu's celebrate with dancing, different regions where the religion is practiced the dance
patterns are different.
Elissa, Sophia, Antonio and Mitchell
Summary Sheet
Riots/Battles
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Prejudice/
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Persecution
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Catholicism
vs. Islam
Battle of Panipat: The Marath (Hindu) soldiers surrendered to the
Afghanistan army. Yet the Afghan cavalry killed 40, 000 the day after
the fight out of vengeance for their kin. They took many civilians and
sold them into slavery.
Direct Action Day/ Great Calcutta Killings: A riot called by The
Muslim League; 4000 Hindus died.
There have been numerous terrorist attacks upon Hindu temples
over the ages including: The Chamba Massacre, 1998; Raghunath
Temple Attacks, 2002; Akshandri Attack, 2002.
Hindus are pluralistic rather than polytheistic meaning all their
‘gods’ are really manifestation of 1 omniscient god
Hinduism does not teach Fatalism - meaning things aren’t
predetermined they are determined by your actions and karma
Hindus do not worship cows as deities they are revered but not
divine
Persecution occurs in Media,Government,Society basically wherever
it can…Examples include:
○ In Media a statement was said comparing Hinduism as
demonic
○ A Hindu prayer was said in Senate causing an uprising
among Christian Fundamental Group - AFA
○ A Hindu Hate Group “Dotbusters” beat a man to death, his
father charged police with not upholding equality, father lost
in court because the crime was determined NOT a hate
crime.
Before 67 B.C.
○ Conflict began with Islamic expansion into India during
medieval period
○ Temples were destroyed including the repeated destruction
of the Hindu temple at Somnath
1947-1991
● Large scale violence sparked by underlying tensions between
sections of Hindu and Muslim communities
○ Conflicts also stem from ideologies of Hindu Extremism
and Islamic Extremism
○ India has maintained a constitutional commitment to
secularism
Partition of India
○
Partition of India comes in 1947 which was when the
British Indian Empire that created the sovereign states of
the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India
○ Was the most critical phase of history
○ Did not end violence between Hindu and Muslims
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