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A History of the Global Economy. From to the Present. Trials in Burma. New York, N. Facts on File. The Independent. Merrill's Marauders. Veterans History Project, Library of Congress". Japanese prisoners of war. Continuum International Publishing Group.
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Agricultural Astrology Business Comedy Comic Detective English Health History Knowledge Language Magazine Martial-Art Musical Mystery Novels Other His family has been in Myanmar for four generations and are farmers. The four main priests here follow Sama Veda tradition and are trained by Indian priests who come periodically. In the temple brought priests from India, who stayed two months for the kumbhabhishekam rededication ceremony. The temples remain in close contact with Tamil Nadu, Ulaganathan explained, regularly bringing artisans from Mahabalipuram to provide the murtis and decoration.
A farmer with ox cart and hay shed in the background; Elephants are still used for work here. As we walked to his shop, we again observed the all-pervasive nature of Buddhism here. One finds Buddhist monks, bhikshunis and child monks almost everywhere in public places.
We remembered the large numbers of Burmese families we had seen earlier in the day, dressed in their best clothes, taking their children to the temple for their week or so of living as a monk. Lal Bahadur Subedi runs a shop that deals in ghee, dry fruits and traditional Indian sweets. The Nepalese community built this temple 21 years ago, and it is popular with all Hindus. It observes the major festivals and has a good facility for hosting traditional weddings. Subedi estimates the Nepalese population in Myanmar to be about , Most in the rural areas are farmers, those in the cities are traders, and some work in the ruby mines.
In fact, all Nepalese here are called Gorkhas. About 80 percent have citizenship, and those that do not have themselves to blame for being of two minds when it was easy to acquire. We are concerned about our children, as they no longer have time for any religious activities—it is all consumed with study. We are providing special classes for them in Nepalese language. Another big change here is marriages taking place across different jatis and communities, which previously was considered taboo.
In part, this is due to the financial success of individual families. It is the only temple in Myanmar established in this cooperative manner. Shri Bahadurg Bagla, who founded the Satyanarayan temples, was instrumental in getting this temple completed as well, according to Sadanananda Singh, one of the temple trustees.
Singh recounted that his father came to Myanmar at the age of 14 from his home area of Gorakhpur, first by land and then by ship, and started a dairy business. Now Singh runs companies engaged in transport and construction.
We had previously seen puja done for the same purpose at other temples, and learned that it was one reason Burmese come to our temples.
Ancient capitol: This ancient Hindu temple of Bagan enshrines Lord Vishnu. Trustee Ram Kishore said that sometimes the Burmese outnumber the Hindus in the temple. He says the temple is one of the richest in Yangon; besides conducting Hindi and Tamil classes, they promote language study all over the country. Everything—from the towering temple stupas to the small statues—is made of gold or covered in gold leaf.
In my entire life I have never see anything so rich and glittery as this temple. Devotees thronged the compound, some to worship at the many shrines and statues, others to meditate in the large halls with huge gold statues of Buddha. I was surprised to see abhishekam, bathing with water, done to statues of Buddha, just as you see in Hindu temples. There is also a place where people can pray to the nine planets, something I also thought was only a Hindu practice.
Here, too, we saw child monks with their families, many engaged in photo sessions to capture the moment. At one point, the grandly attired little ones were taken in procession for their initiation. We spoke with Srinivasan, age 65, a Tamil man living here with his Burmese wife. Learning of our purpose in Myanmar, he told us their story. They were classmates in school. When his parents tried to arrange a marriage with a Tamil girl, Srinivasan insisted he would only marry his classmate.
In the afternoon we went to downtown Yangon to visit the office of S. He estimates that there are a total of one million Tamil Hindus in Myanmar, mostly living in the states of Yangon, Mawlamyine, Thaton and Pha An, and that 95 percent of the Tamils came from Ramanathapuram.
As there has been no proper census by religion in Myanmaar recently, such estimates are at best educated guesses. But Tamils are, no doubt, the majority Hindu community. According to Selvam, about 20 percent of Tamils are businessmen, 30 percent farmers and the rest employed in other occupations.
There are Siva, Murugan, Mariamman and Vishnu temples wherever the community is found. These are managed jointly by his foundation and the Hindu Central Council. Their two major festivals are Deepavali and Pongal.
In the evening we visited the home of Krishna Padhi, a retired gold trader and leader of the Oriya community from Orissa , which numbers just nationwide.
In addition they celebrate Holi and Kartik Purnima. A large number of Oriya came to Myanmar in British times, mainly to work on the roads. There are four Jagannath temples in Yangon alone, clearly showing how many Oriya must have been there in the past. Many were forced to return to Orissa between and Now, in the second generation, they have mostly been absorbed into the surrounding communities.
Later we visited the famous Ganesha Temple of Yangon, located in the main downtown area. The priest assured us the puja was only to negate the evil eye, and not to cause harm to anyone in return. According to Tin Oo Lin, whose great grandfather, a Tamil, founded the temple and married a Burmese lady, the temple is popular with Hindus, Burmese and Chinese alike. Tin himself has a Chinese wife. He explained that during major festivals, such as the ten-day Durga puja, Bengalis from all over Myanmar converge here.
The ample facilities are also used by other communities for weddings and social functions. As with all other temples we have visited, a substantial number of Burmese worship here. The SDSS, he explained, was founded in , and is inspired by and molded after the RSS of India, though legally an independent and locally run organization.
It has some 2, active members and volunteers. Niwas himself is a pracharak , a life-long bachelor and fully dedicated worker for the organization. Niwas was instrumental in our visit, helping arrange appointments with key Hindus and providing guides from one end of our journey to the other. In two lengthy interviews he recounted to us the history of Myanmar and the presence of Buddhism and Hinduism here, dating from ancient times.
Each community tended to settle in an area similar in climate to that of their places in India.
Some maintain contact with their ancestral homes; others have lost track. Today, he says, there is no discrimination against Hindus; in fact, the government gives him free passes to travel by ship or train to any part of the country for promoting the religion.
But, he added, those who did not take citizenship when it was offered now face limits on what they can do, such as going on for higher education. He lamented the complete absence of any Hindu sannyasins in the country: Hindus here suffered, he explained, due to lack of contact with India over a long period of time.
SDSS is now running a campaign to make people more knowledgeable in the religion, the Gods and Goddess, the great Hindu saints and the traditions and festivals. They have established four Sanskrit schools for priest training and try to work with all the temples in the country. They initiated the Hindu Dharma Shiksha Samiti to teach the children and produced school books in Hindi, with the goal that Hindi be spoken in the homes where it is the ancestral language.
The language effort is being aided by the easy availability of Hindi TV channels from India, though to some extent the religious goal is mitigated by the worldly content of those same channels.
A more recent addition, with help from the Indian Embassy, is instruction in classical Indian dance and music. Retaining culture: Early morning yoga class by yoga teacher Kashi Tunda Nath in Mandalay.
But, he shared, there is resistance from parents who want the children to focus solely on their school education. Many would prefer their children learn Chinese instead of Hindi. In contrast, he spoke admirably about the Buddhist novice monks system in which children of both rich and poor families participated on an equal level and received good exposure to their religion.
Our last interview in Yangon was with L. Subramaniam of the Telugu community. He estimates there are , Telugu people in Myanmar, of which 10, live in Yangon. They share the same problems as the other communities with regard to language, intermarriage, etc.
He recounted that at one point in time, some Buddhist preachers starting speaking against Hinduism. He worked with the offices of the SDSS and through the government to put an end to the harassment. Subramaniam explained something that puzzled me: Initially I thought it was sandalwood paste, but learned it is thanaka , made from the bark of one of several scented woods.
Its use here dates back at least 2, years. Our sandalwood is a bit hot, but thanaka is very cool. I apply thanaka on my whole body during night time before I go to sleep for its cooling affect. Most of the men use thanaka only at home, as they feel shy wearing it during the daytime when they are working in their offices or moving around publically.
Shri Satya Narayan Temple main sanctum with worshipers. After five days in Yangon, we drove north kms to Kyauktaga and Zeyawadi, where Hindus with their roots in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar settled.
In a detailed interview Subhash Ahuja described the school they are running for the children of the Hindu community, stressing the teaching of culture, traditions and language. As soldiers: