March 18, 2014
Phalgun Krushna Paksha Dwitiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5115
Hindus, who were upset over an article in Arkansas’s John Brown University (JBU) student newspaper calling Hindu gods as “demonic” and Hinduism as “ugly religion”, are still waiting for an apology.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that universities were meant for education and research and should not be in the business of denigrating religions.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that JBU should not shy away from its responsibility for this denigrating article by just saying: “The Threefold Advocate” is a student publication and operates with nearly complete autonomy…
“The Threefold Advocate” was hosted on jbu.edu, its adviser was JBU’s Department of Communications head and the person who wrote the article seemed to be a JBU employee, Rajan Zed argued.
Zed further said that it was sad that despite their urging, JBU President Dr. Charles Pollard had not apologized to the perturbed Hindu community and objectionable article had not been removed from “The Threefold Advocate” online edition. On this issue, Hindus might contact Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which had accredited JBU; and Arkansas State Department of Education, which had approved JBU, Zed added.
Rajan Zed indicated that it was highly inappropriate for a publication of educational institution like JBU, which was listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes, to belittle Hinduism, which was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.
Our gods were highly revered to us and we considered them divine and worship them and our religion was very sacred to us. JBU, which claimed to be an educational leader providing “academic, spiritual and professional foundation for world-impacting careers” to students from across the globe, should be more sensitive about the feelings of “others”, Zed noted.
The article titled “Rethink yoga” by Deborah Raiees-Dana, who is described as “the tutoring coordinator for Student Support Services”, includes lines “…yoga is the beautiful face that the very ugly religion of Hinduism uses…” and “…yoga has its roots in the worship of demonic Hindu gods.” It further says: “There is more I have left unsaid than I have said.”
There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Launched in 1919, JBU with a 200-acre main campus in Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas (USA), serves over 2,500 students from 42 US states and 44 countries. Its Mission includes “…education that prepares people to honor God and serve others by developing their intellectual, spiritual, and professional lives”. President Pollard states under “Greetings” on the website: JBU is dedicated to one thing, educating the whole person – “head, heart and hand.” It offers nine graduate degree programs, 40 undergraduate majors and 47 undergraduate minors and “admits students of any faith”. Michael R. Kairis is Chairman of its Board of Trustees and Sidney Van Wyk is the Editor-in-Chief of “The Threefold Advocate”.