Category: Outreach

Covid-Chronicles with Shaunaka Rishi Das

Covid-Chronicles with Shaunaka Rishi Das

Covid-Chronicles with Shaunaka Rishi Das

How do faith communities stay connected while in isolation? How does religious practice carry on while members are so far apart? In this recent episode of the Covid-Chronicles hosted by Dr Ed Kessler from the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, OCHS director Shaunaka Rishi Das discusses the impact of COVID-19 on religious communities:

link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxDPbH4SeG4&feature=share

Beyond Belief BBC 4 Radio with Shaunaka Rishi Das

Beyond Belief BBC 4 Radio with Shaunaka Rishi Das

Beyond Belief BBC Radio 4 with Shaunaka Rishi Das

Listen to OCHS Director Shaunaka Rishi Das, joined by other experts discuss the impact of prayer in recent BBC Beyond Belief episode “Prayer” with Ernie Rae.

Click on link to listen
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/b006s6p6

Or download on apple podcast
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/prayer/id261779770….

The programme can be listened to here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000m577

OCHS Approved as UN NGO

OCHS Approved as UN NGO

OCHS Approved as UN NGO

At a meeting in New York City on 28 April 2016, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies was approved as an NGO (Non-governmental organisation) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI).

The approval was granted by UN DPI as the OCHS is engaged in activities aligned to the aims and objectives of the United Nations. This new status allows the OCHS to be a formal partner for sharing of news and information about UN activities. It also grants OCHS staff access to weekly NGO briefings at the UN Headquarters in New York City, the annual UN DPI/NGO conference (this year to be held in South Korea), and other UN meetings in New York.

The granting of UN DPI status for the OCHS is a reflection our increased work internationally, particularly through our Bhumi Project.

Last year the OCHS participated in the Bristol Faith Commitments, and earlier this year we attended the launch of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development in Berlin. Through these opportunities, and others, the OCHS and Bhumi are increasingly being asked to offer Hindu perspectives on international development.

Gopal Patel, Director of Bhumi, commented, “This formal association with the UN will help our work. It will allow us to increase our networks, learn from others in the field, and provide a mature Hindu perspective on global matters.”

The OCHS would like to thank Kusumita P. Pederson, Martin Palmer of ARC, and our colleagues at the UN for their help and support in making this association possible.

IK Foundation Lecture: Am I a Hindu? Questions Young People Ask

IK Foundation Lecture: Am I a Hindu? Questions Young People Ask

IK Foundation Lecture: Am I a Hindu? Questions Young People Ask

Nehru Centre Event
Friday, 8 November 2013 – 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Nehru Centre
8 South Audley Street
London, W1K 1HF

 

A talk by Dr Nick Sutton of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

In this talk Nick Sutton will consider the position of young people of Indian descent who were born and have grown up in Britain.  The inspiration for this talk comes from actual encounters with young British Hindus who have raised the question of what it actually means to be a Hindu and how the religion and its adherents can be defined.  As the conclusion to this discussion we will also consider the position of Hinduism as a world religion and how it differs from other faiths in several significant ways.

Organiser: 
Nehru Centre – London
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Nehru Centre talk: What the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita Reveal about the History and Religious Culture of India

Nehru Centre talk: What the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita Reveal about the History and Religious Culture of India

Nehru Centre talk: What the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita Reveal about the History and Religious Culture of India

Nehru Centre Event
Friday, 20 September 2013 – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Nehru Centre
8 South Audley Street
London, W1K 1HF

A talk by Dr Nick Sutton of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

In this talk Dr Sutton will discuss the interaction between religion, philosophy and politics in ancient India and focus in particular on the rise of the Buddhist and Jain traditions in the subcontinent. These and other newer forms of religion represented a direct challenge to the hegemony of the Vedic elite and received extensive patronage from the rulers of India, but it would be a mistake to simplistically represent this as being a confrontation between Buddhism and Jainism on the one hand and Hinduism on the other. Rather what we can detect is a much broader social and cultural movement that can observed in the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita as well. In this talk we will consider the nature of these changes that have had a profound effect on Indian society and history, observable down to the present day.

Organiser: 
Nehru Centre – London
nick-sutton330x410
Young, Hindu, Oxonian

Young, Hindu, Oxonian

Young, Hindu, Oxonian

A talk by Alpesh B Patel, Tuesday 29 January 2013, 6pm, Balliol College as part of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Leadership Programme.

What does it mean to be a good leader, and what qualities do we associate with good leadership? What do aspiring young leaders need to focus on most in their early years?

The purpose of this student organised lecture series is to help students consider leadership from Indian sources, dharmic and spiritual perspectives and practices, and from the considerable experience of representatives from government, the civil service, the media, community organisations, and academia.

The OCHS leadership programme consists of eight lectures to be delivered throughout the academic year, and of internships placing students under the guidance of recognised leaders.

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Leadership Programme aims to educate and inspire potential leaders and pioneers of tomorrow to serve the aspirations and needs of the community, and to prepare them to engage in national life, politics, public administration, business, the professions, and the voluntary sector, whilst being mindful of good professional practice and the practice of dharma.

Mr. Patel was a Visiting Fellow in Business and Industry at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and read Philosophy Politics Economics at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. Mr. Patel is a Barrister and founding Board Member of TiE UK which is part of an international grouping of entrepreneurs whose aim is to mentor other entrepreneurs.He also presented a weekly show on Bloomberg TV and Sky TV and currently regularly co-hosts on CNBC. Mr. Patel has written 12 books on investing several of which cover India in particular.

Bhumi in India

Bhumi in India

Bhumi in India

Our Project Manager, Gopal Patel, is currently in India for the next few months. Whilst there he will be working on a number of India-based initiatives for Bhumi.
 
The first is to develop an India-based Hindu chapter of the Green Pilgrimage Network which was launched by ARC last year in Assisi, Italy <http://arcworld.org/news.asp?pageID=493>. He will be helping organise two conferences that will bring together civic and religious leaders from pilgrim towns across the country. The first will take place in Hyderabad in mid-October, during the Convention on Bio-diversity <http://www.cbd.int/cop11/>. The second will be held in Rishikesh in late Novemeber at Parmarth Niketan <http://www.parmarth.com/>, the ashram of Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji) <http://www.parmarth.com/swamiji.html>. It is here where Gopal will be based during his stay in India.

 

 

 
The Bhumi Project is also working on an initiative in India to highlight the role of women on pilgrimage. As in other cultures, women play a strong role within Hindu society. This initiative aims to highlight that role by exploring how women can set a good environmental example for others when on pilgrimage.
 
Also in partnership with Parmarth Niketan, Bhumi will be working on a number of green initiatives for the Maha Kumbh Mela which is taking place early next year in Allahabad. Billed to be the largest gathering of humans ever, 120 million people are expected to attend the festival over a one-month period.
 
Alongside these initiatives, Bhumi also hopes to widen it’s network in India through partnerships, working with leaders in the Hinduism and environmental field, and establishing a long-term presence through a Bhumi India office.
 
You can stay updated about Gopal’s stay in India through his blog <http://blog.bhumiproject.org> and Twitter: @BhumiGopalPatel <twitter.com/BhumiGopalPatel>.
OCHS Cricket Day 2012

OCHS Cricket Day 2012

OCHS Cricket Day 2012

The last weekend of the cricket season saw the first OCHS Cricket Day, with gorgeous weather conditions and two excellent teams set for a great day. 

The format of the game was two innings; one of twenty overs and the second of sixteen. The teams were London vs Rest of the world and the game was played at the beautiful Luton Town and Indians cricket ground.

London batted first, slightly over confident they crumbled to 26/4 within the first 6 overs. With Vishal Patel from Milton Keynes holding the innings together and some loose bowling by the ROW, London managed a respectable 111 from their allotted overs.

The teams comprised of some players who have played minor county cricket and others who have never played before creating the greatest possible mix. ROW in their first innings started slowly but strongly with former Bedfordshire cricketer Dhaval Naik hitting 55 not out and taking them to 124.

After tea, the London team was back in to bat 13 runs behind, this time much more steady. The promising Afghan youngster Faiyaz struck an excellent partnership with Manjit Singh who struck two huge sixes with one smashed out of the ground on to the road! London powered to 108 from 16 overs leaving ROW 95 to chase. Opening the bowling with Abbas Panju (who has not bowled since high school) the openers struggled to get quick runs on the board, Preetum Gharat from Norwich for the event, hit a few boundaries helping ROW along their way, but in the end the slow pace of the London spin bowlers Bhavesh Shah, Amit Patel, and Paresh Tailor simply made the task too difficult for the ROW. With just one over to go Subhash Salmalkar, an excellent cricketer from Mumbai, was left with the incredible task of hitting 29 from the last over.

Thanks to everyone at Luton Town and Indians and those who took part with a special thank you to Hitu Naik for umpiring the whole day. The London team won the first OCHS cricket day by 20 runs with everybody having an enjoyable day, raising £600 for OCHS and looking forward to next year!

Hemal Randerwala

If you would like to be involved with next year’s event in anyway please email hemal@ochs.org.uk

Hindus in Africa launch plans for environmental change

Hindus in Africa launch plans for environmental change

Hindus in Africa launch plans for environmental change

Hindus in Africa have launched a long-term plan to address some of the most pressing environmental concerns in the continent.

Their nine-year plan was launched at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, along with similar plans from other faith groups in Africa. The plan is part of The Bhumi Project, an international initiative that works with Hindus to address environmental concerns. The event was hosted by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).

Over the next nine years the Hindu community plans to green religious and cultural centres, promote green economy, develop educational resources for schools and use social media to engage the youth. Implementation of the plan will take a holistic approach, engaging with the wider Hindu and non-Hindu community in Africa. “We can’t work in a vacuum, focusing only on the environment” said Preetika Bhanderi, head of the Bhumi Project in Africa. “We must focus on sustainable ecological footprints and greening religious practices and lifestyles when implementing our programmes.”

The Plan will first be implemented in Kenya, followed by East Africa – which has a high concentration of Hindus, followed by the rest of the continent.

There are 1.7 million Hindus in Africa. Arriving in the continent in the 1800s as labourers, they can now be found working in a number of industries, including manufacturing, textiles and commerce. They own and run a number of schools, hospitals and charitable organisations. Speaking at the launch of the nine-year plan, Muljibhai Pindolia, Chairman of the Hindu Council of Africa, commented, “Hindus have always played an important role in the development of Africa. We see this as our country, and want to contribute as much as possible. This new initiative will further increase our work with all Africans to create a better life for all.”

The Plan is part of a wider initiative, The Bhumi Project. Bhumi is Sanskrit for Mother Earth. The Project was started in 2009, and aims to work with and encourage Hindus worldwide in the care, protection and service of the planet. “To see the work our Africa team has done is very inspiring,” commented Gopal Patel, Project Manager of the Bhumi Project. “They have taken Hindu principles of good environmental practice and seen how they can be applied to the needs of Africa.” Besides working in Africa, the Bhumi Project is active in America, Europe and India, where it is developing green initiatives for the Kumbh Mela in January.

Along with the launch of the Plan, a statement was also released to encourage Hindus to be aware of animal poaching, and to help endangered species in Africa, particularly the elephant and rhino.

Nehru Centre Partnership

Nehru Centre Partnership

Nehru Centre Partnership

The OCHS and the Nehru Centre are natural partners in promoting Indian thought in their respective fields. This partnership was consolidated with a series of OCHS talks at the Nehru Centre.

The OCHS talks at the Nehru Centre included three from Dr Nicholas Sutton: How to Understand the Bhagavad-gita; Indian Insights on the World’s Oldest Questions; and Vedantists, Buddhists and Jains. Anuradha Dooney spoke on Women in Hinduism; Dr Rembert Lutjeharms on Interpretation of Hindu Sacred Texts; and Shaunaka Rishi Das on Paradigms of Indian Thought in the Modern World. 

One regular attendee, Mr Manu Duggal says, ‘I am a supporter of the OCHS and try to attend all their talks at the Nehru centre. Although born into a Hindu family, I am non-practising. I enjoy the comparative approach to theological discourse taken by the OCHS speakers. The speakers I have heard have brought the subject alive by showing the depth and diversity of the Hindu tradition.’

Discussions continue on how the Nehru Centre can work with the OCHS to promote Hindu studies at Oxford. This has included Nehru Centre sponsorship of the 2011 Sakta conference and an undertaking to source books from India for the OCHS Library.

A new series of OCHS talks at the Nehru Centre is scheduled to begin in August.