Please accept this as a personal invitation to the NHSF (UK) Annual Lecture 2003 that is to take place on Saturday 22nd November. The annual lecture, which is an event open to all, has attracted speakers of significant standing over the past few years becoming a forum for speakers of international acclaim to address Hindu youth from all over the UK. Annual lectures have picked up contemporary issues relevant to Hindu youth and the very real issues being faced in discovering who we are and where we come from.The Annual Lecture will be delivered this year by Dr Werner Menski of the London School of Oriental and African Studies. Dr Menski is a German indologist (PhD in Hindu Law; MA in Sanskrit and Hindi) who is now a leading legal scholar of Hindu law, covering the entire spectrum from Vedic beginnings to the latest Hindu law cases both in Britain and in India. Dr Menski is a Senior Lecturer in South Asian Laws at SOAS, where he started work in 1981, prior to which he taught in Germany. Married to an Indian Kathak Dance artist, and having spent extensive amounts of time in India, Dr Menksi has fully embraced Indian culture and tradition. NHSF (UK) are proud to announce that Dr Menski has agreed to address Hindu Youth on topical aspects of Hindu Law at the 2003 Annual Lecture. "Hindu Law: Threat, imagination or reality" promises to provide an unrivalled insight into aspects of the acceptability of social behaviour within ethnic minority communities. Dharmesh Mistry President, NHSF (UK)
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Time is racing ahead with half the academic year over already and many having just finished semester exams. For those of you with results to come - good luck!The second term is just as busy as ever on campus with many activities being planned. Universities all over the country have a range of events happening over the next few weeks. Local talks on a range of topics related to Hinduism have become very popular with speakers such as Dilipji Lakhani of Vivekananda Centre in London being inundated with requests! Support from such speakers is vital to enable societies to organise a balance of events on campus. Nationally activities have not stopped either with this term bringing events such as the Annual conference and Sewa Week. Annual Conference will be held on 22nd February 2004 at the University of Leicester and this year is entitled British Hindus and the War on terror. This one day event follows on from the highly successful Be British Be Hindu conference held last year. Again the day will provide the opportunity for delegates to voice their opinions on a highly contentious topic. Sewa Week then begins the following day (23rd - 29th Feb) and is the national event held locally. Each university has organised events to give people the opportunity to give up their time for a good cause. The Charities being sponsored this year are Imperial Cancer Research and Sewa International. Zonal events are also being held this term with the whole of south zone coming together for Holi whilst at the same time raising money for the Ekal Vidyalaya scheme which aims to educate rural India - http://www.ekalvidyalaya.com/ These are just some of the activities coming up - details of local events can be found at http://www.nhsf.org.uk/events. Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Conference in a few weeks time. Dharmesh Mistry President, NHSF (UK)
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - Response to Awaaz LiesBy Shrien Dewani General Secretary, National Hindu Students Forum (UK)
A recent report by AWAAZ South Asian Watch Group must be fundamentally challenged - amongst its numerous errors and factual inaccuracies it incorrectly states that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is a "UK Student Affiliate" of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK. At no point in its 13 year history has National Hindu Students Forum (UK) had an official affiliation to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. The report also goes on to state that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) shares the same address as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - this is also inaccurate.
Affiliates of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh openly list themselves as service projects of the registered Charity - something that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) have never done. Not content with creating disharmony in the general community, Awaaz have stretched themselves to maligning the good work of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) at Schools and Universities across the country by attempting to fabricate tenuous links between independent Hindu Organisations.
The report released on 26th February 2004 entitled "In Bad Faith? - British Charity and Hindu Extremism" attempts to create disharmony amongst various faith groups in the UK and makes wild allegations with no substance. Such is the lack of evidence that they have resorted to using images from National Hindu Students Forum (UK) National Educational Events on the front cover. This clearly has no relevance to the fabric of the report (which is highly unstable) as National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is not a British Charity, and it not an extremist society - in fact it is completely the opposite!
At a recent free conference - hosted and entirely funded by National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - Jewish and Muslim student bodies shared the same platform as National Hindu Students Forum (UK) to discuss the War on Terror and its effect on the British Community. Similarly National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is actively involved with such initiatives as Interfaith UK promoting harmony amongst the UK community. The work of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) includes organisation of a National Charity Week of which the primary aim is to get students involved in donating their time to general community service projects. This week in 2004 ran from Feb 23rd - Feb 29th and saw Hindu Societies organise activities such as painting local community centres, gardening for the elderly, visiting disabled children care homes and much more. Various charities are supported through this week - the chosen charities this year are Sewa International and Imperial Cancer Research. In conjunction with Sewa International National Hindu Students Forum (UK) have raised money to help needy causes such as the Gujarat Earthquake Appeal. The £60,000 raised in 2001 has been used to build 5 schools in the state of Gujarat - these schools have been visited by NHSF members and therefore we are happy that funds have not been used for any other purpose than that for which they were raised. We are not extreme and refute any allegations - direct or indirect - that infer that we are. Awaaz, through its report, is attempting to create disharmony in the UK community and should not be given the credence to do so.
Notes to editors:
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) was set up in 1991 by a mixed group of students to fill the void left on campus for Hindu Students by the lack of Hindu cultural and educational activity.
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) now has branches at over 50 schools, colleges and universities who run a varied set of events many of which are listed at http://www.nhsf.org.uk/events
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) has bases all around the country however its primary National address is: P O Box 46016, London, W9 1WS
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is an independently funded and governed organisation. The National decision making body as per its constitution is the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT)
The Charity week run by National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is called Sewa Week - "Sewa" meaning to serve. This is one of the sacred tenants of the Hindu faith and requirement of each and every individual. This week runs annually during the last full week of the month of February. The aims of the week are two fold - to aid general community service projects (not necessarily Hindu Projects) and to raise money for democratically chosen charities (charities to support are chosen by the National Council body)
The decision making bodies of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - National Council (NC), National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT) are representative of a wide range of Hindu Organisations from across the UK Hindu Community.
Contrary to the charge that NHSF is involved in duping the British Public it is in fact the media that has been duped by such outrageous reports.
One of the busiest periods of the NHSF year is still upon us with many students around the country trying to keep up with organising Hindu Society activity and making sure they meet their coursework deadlines!This term has seen two major national events - the National Conference and Sewa Week both of which have been immensely successful. Youth Conference saw a turnout of over 200 students and Sewa Week has seen many more become active involved in a range of Service projects.
With Annual General Meeting having taken place last Saturday many active NHSF workers were able to take stock of the vast range of acheivements of the organisation over the last 12 months, but more importantly recognise how much work is still left to do! The new team brings together old experience with fresh blood and will therefore, I am sure, make for another very exciting period of work for NHSF.
Regardless of the numerous groups out there that exist to malign the work of NHSF - and the very basic need for students that we fulfill - I am glad to note that NHSF still has many supporters. It is these supporters - from both within the Hindu community and the general wider community that this student organisation relies on for the very fabric of its existence.
With the change over national and new intiatives taking place this is the perfect time of year to become involved with NHSF work. If you would like to become involved with your local branch, regional work or national work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dharmesh Mistry President, NHSF (UK)
Annual General MeetingThe Annual General Meeting of NHSF (UK) was held on Saturday 6th March 2004 at Imperial College London. A new year, a new team, and new ideas will hopefully make for an even more productive 04/05! Dharmesh Mistry will continue as National President whilst Kishan Chandarana will become National Vice President and Vibhuti Patel will become National General Secretary.> See the complete new team- go to site> Send the New Team a message- Mail the Secretary
Proposed new Hindu School in HarrowA new Hindu school as been proposed for the area of Harrow, Middlesex and a survey is currently being conucted to judge public opinion. This is a very important project for the community at large. Please take 5 mins to complete the survey and give give your views. http://www.psena.com/school
NHSF A Level meetingsDuring August and September NHSF will be organised a number of meetings in different towns for students that will have just received A Level results. NHSF representatives will be visiting towns to introduce students to their local representatives and the role of NHSF in the university environment.Meetings will take place in Bradford, Manchester, Preston, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, London North, London East and London South.>We are looking for sponsors for each meeting in the above town - if you can help please email email@example.com>Read more about the meetings NHSF Site
Resources for Hindu YouthWebsites:Valmiki Ramayanhttp://www.valmikiramayan.net Chinmaya Missionhttp://www.chinmayamission.org/Bhagavad Gitahttp://www.bhagavad-gita.orgRamakrishna Vivekananda http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.infoGlossary of Hindu Terms http://www.digiserve.com/mystic/Hindu/glossary.html
Books:Arise Arjuna: Hinduism and the Modern World: David Frawley India's Rebirth: Sri Aurobindo Cradel Tales of Hinduism: Sister NiveditaIdiots Guide to Hinduism: Linda Johnsen
FREE Public Meetings
This is a request for volunteers:
A series of public meetings are being organised for students and their parents after the release of A Level results in August. The meetings will consist of a multimedia presentation on Hindu Societies around the country that are part of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) and will give students and parents the opportunity to meet existing students from universities around the country.
For each meeting we are putting together an organising team from the local area. Each team will be tasked with organising the publicity and logistics for each meeting, to ensure members from each and every samaj have the opportunity to attend their local meeting.
We would greatly appreciate your input into the organisation of each local meeting - if you are able to help then please contact the local co-ordinator on the list below or alternatively reply to this email.
Date: 21st AugustTime: 7pmVenue: Gita Bhavan Hindu Mandir, Withington Road, Whalley RangeContact: Divya Prinja07929 204 909
Date: 21st AugustTime: 7pmVenue: VHP MandirContact: Puneet Gupta07974 144 006
Vibhuti PatelJoint National General Secretary
"Summer" is now in full swing - even though British weather might not make it feel like it! Whether you are spending your time working or on holiday there is plenty of activity going on around the country to keep you occupied during any spare time!
Hindu Youths groups have a wide variety of events organised - some of which are profiled on this newsletter. Whether your interested be spiritual, cultural or social something is going on somewhere that will interest you!
The National Hindu Students Forum (UK) Free public meetings are drawing closer (beginning 21st August in Ilford) and early indications are that the meetings will be an excellent opportunity for students and parents to meet, mingle and explore the world of Hindu Youth activity.
If you would like more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sure you will find the information in this newsletter useful and I hope to see many of you at the public meetings being held this month.
What makes you unique? The free public meetings for students and parents to find out more about NHSF and university life are being held from August 21st in 9 locations around the country. This is a unique opportunity for you to find out about how to get involved in the largest Hindu Student movement in Europe and really discover where who you are?
>Read more about this intiative www.nhsf.org.uk/sixthform
Hindu Youth - Leicester Get Connected FestivalLeciester's largest ever Hindu Youth event is being held on 14th and 15th August at the Racecourse in Oadby. Get Connected is aimed towards people from all backgrounds and walks of life, particularly young people. Visitors will get an opportunity to enjoy, experience and interact with the different aspects of Hindu culture via a special zone concept>visit www.hinduyouthuk.org for more information
Chinmaya Summer EventsA range of events are being held by Chinmaya Mission this summer. From study classes, yagnas, and talks at the centre in Hendon, London to family camps in Dorest there is something for everyone. more information go to Chinmaya Events Page
Upcoming FestivalsRaksha Bandan, 29th August 2004
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu custom marking the love and affection between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie colourful 'Rakhi' on the wrists of their brothers and ask their brothers to protect them from harm. Raksha Bandhan represents one of the most sentimental festivals of India. It is based on the emotional ties that bind a brother and sister in a very close bond - the most sacred relationship of life, without any ulterior motive or demand of any kind. Raksha Bandhan is a day of festivity and pure joy.
visit www.nhsf.org.uk/festivals for more info