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Contents OCTOBER 2018

Desh-Videsh VOLUME 25, ISSUE 10 Article

Cover

Diwali: The Victory of Good Over Evil

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Come the months of October – November, there is an air of festivity all around. It is the auspicious festival of Diwali that makes even the grimmest face smile in anticipation. It is indeed the time for all to usher into the light, to overcome all that is evil, and to celebrate the supreme festival of the Hindus all over the world!

Lesser Known Facts about Diwali

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Diwali or Deepavali is celebrated in many countries, and many mark it with an official holiday. In India, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji, the holiday is celebrated by many communities, not only the Hindus.

The Spiritual Significance of Diwali

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For an oil lamp to burn, the wick has to be partially immersed in the oil. If the wick is completely drowned in oil, it cannot bring light. Life is like the wick of the lamp, you have to be in the world and yet remain untouched by it. If you are drowned in the materialism of the world, you cannot bring joy and knowledge in your life.

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Diwali: The Victory of Good Over Evil

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Lesser Known Facts about Diwali

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The Spiritual Significance of Diwali

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Thinking About Finances at Diwali

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The Holiday Weigh-In 46 Divali Nagar, City of Lights in Trinidad and Tobago

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2018 MyShadi Bridal Expos: Year in Review

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Book Review

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125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Historic Speech in Chicago 68 Community News

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PUBLISHER Aruna Shah MANAGING EDITOR Raj Shah Director of Sales Koonj Shah SALES MANAGER Yagnesh Shah ART DIRECTOR Ambadas Mitta ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Kamlesh Makwana WEB MASTER Paresh Khachariya ASSISTANT WEB MASTER Sheetal Jaimin Shah EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Thomas Abraham CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Rina Shah, Nisha Jani, Nirali Chokshi Faren Rajkumar, Shawn Binda - MISSION STATEMENT-

To serve and support members of the Indian subcontinent community with an inspirational and educational magazine and to empower readers with an awareness of local, national and international news, events, and social happenings. CORPORATE HEAD OFFICE 10116 NW 53rd St. Sunrise, FL 33351-8020 Telephone: (954)784-8100 info@deshvidesh.com INDIA OFFICE Ashram Road, Ahmedabad. ATLANTA OFFICE: K. Javed atlanta@deshvidesh.com BOSTON OFFICE: S. Kumar boston@deshvidesh.com CHICAGO OFFICE: Arun Sharma chicago@deshvidesh.com

Desh-Videsh (USPS 024575/ISSN: 1941-2398) is Published Monthly Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec and Semi-Monthly Jan., Mar., May, July, Sep., Nov. (18 issues Annually) by Desh-Videsh Media Group, Inc. 10116 NW 53rd St., Sunrise, FL 33351-8020 • Telephone: (954) 784-8100 • E-Mail: info@deshvidesh.com. Copyright 2010 by Desh-Videsh Media Group Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission of Desh-Videsh Media Group Inc. The publishers of this magazine assume no responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business compassion, nor do they assume responsibility for statements/opinions expressed or implied in the columns of this magazine. Subscription Services: Subscription rates are $7.00 for 6 Issues, $12.00 for 12 Issues, $18.00 for 24 Issues, $25.00 for 36 Issues. PERIODICAL POSTAGE PAID AT FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

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Edito r’s V iew Dear Readers, Shubham karoti kalyaanam Aarogyam dhanasampadah Shatrubuddhivinaashaaya Deepajyotir namostute I prostrate to the light which brings brilliance, auspiciousness, health and wealth for the destruction of evil thoughts This message is from the Hindu Scriptures and is very timely for upcoming Hindu Festivals, Navratri and Diwali. It is that time of the year - the time to celebrate, enjoy family, and thank God almighty for all the blessings He and She have given. Here I specifically mentioned She because during Navratri, we worship Goddess Durga. Not too many people know why we celebrate Navratri, or nine nights. Hindu scripture explains that Goddess Durga and one of the fiercest demons, Mahishasura, battled for 9 days, and on the 10th day, Durga killed Mahishasura. Therefore the 10th day is called Vijayadashami, day of the victory. In this special Diwali issue, we present several articles about Diwali, each reflecting on different topics. In the article, “Diwali: The Victory of Good Over Evil,” we learn about the concept of good people achieving victory over those who are evil. The above mentioned shloka “Shubham karoti kalyaanam” goes even one step further and discusses the destruction of evil thoughts. Everyone of us should keep that goal in life. Another interesting and fascinating article is about Divali Nagar in Trinidad and Tobago. In the article, Diwali is spelled Divali and it is not typo but rather the way it is spelled in the Indo Caribbean community. As I have mentioned before, the Hindu Indo Caribbean community has maintained Hindu culture a lot better than Hindus coming from India, either here in the US or in Caribbean island countries. Some of you who know me, know that I consider Swami Vivekananda as my spiritual hero along with Gandhi ji. Back in 1970, when Aruna and I were just starting our life in Chicago, we used to go to the Swami Vivekananda Ashram every Sunday. It is our honor to present two historic speeches given by Swami ji 125 years ago in Chicago. Swami ji delivered a heroic speech in front of thousands of non-Hindu delegates and won their hearts. I am hoping our Hindu youths living in America takes inspiration from these speeches. Our young writers, Nisha and Nirali are back in this issue with Diwali related articles, one on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and another on maintaining healthy finances. Over the last couple of months, many of you must have received several emails and phone calls regarding our Bridal Expos. We just finished another very successful shows in Orlando at the Hilton Orlando and in South Florida at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa. In this issue, check out those beautiful pictures of our Fashion Show models and participating vendors. I would like to recognize one special model, Rosanna Barsati, who has participated for ten years with us as a model at MyShadi Bridal Expo! Happy Navratri, Happy Diwali and Happy New Year! Raj Shah Managing Editor

~ A Magazine Promoting the Indian Subcontinent Since 1993 ~


C

ome the months of October – November, there is an air of festivity all around. It is the auspicious festival of Diwali that makes even the grimmest face smile in anticipation. It is indeed the time for all to usher into the light, to overcome all that is evil, and to celebrate the supreme festival of the Hindus all over the world! Held on the fourteenth day of the waning phase of the moon in the month of Kartik, the night of Diwali is the darkest night of the darkest period of the year, and yet it is the celebration of light. According to Hindu scripture, Diwali marks the homecoming of the illustrious King Rama, who returned after defeating the evil Ravana in a battle that lasted for 14 years. In celebration, cities and far-flung boundaries of Ayodhya where Ram lived, were lit up with rows of lamps glittering on dark nights to welcome home the divine king. However, at a metaphysical level, Diwali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil, where evil is destroyed and reduced to ashes by fireworks is the belief of the people. It symbolizes the aspiration of all Hindus to vanquish the ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away the darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali personifies moving from darkness to light. It is a holy tradition, on that symbolizes the victory of good over bad.

holds to partake in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying respect to God for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor, and fame. Now, when we look into present day scenarios, we find a significant change in the perception of Diwali, especially among younger generations. For the millennials, the occasion is to indulge in material pleasures and ‘enjoy’ the time. And no doubt, this is a gross fault of their parents in this matter – as they also fail to educate the true meaning and significance of Diwali to their kids. As such, the festival has become more an event to burn firecrackers, buy gifts, indulge in food and drinks rather than realize and practice the inner essence of the festival. Along with changing times, the methods of celebrating Diwali have also witnessed new twists and turns. The contemporary era has commercialized the entire event. It is not that commercialization has affected the spirit of cheerfulness in any sense. Rather, it has helped Diwali earn global recognition. Earlier, any event was ritualized in a modest manner. But, as India joined the global bandwagon and became exposed to new cultures and traditions, the methods of celebrations too were extended.

As stated in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Asato Ma Sad Gamaya (Lead us from untruth to truth ) Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya (Lead me from darkness to light ) Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya (Lead me from death to immortality ) Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ( Om Peace, Peace, Peace) Also Buddha said: Appo Deepo Bhav. Be a light unto yourself. Epitomizing the triumph of good over evil, righteousness over treachery, truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness, Diwali is just not a festival; it is an integral part of our being, of our lifecycle and our very existence in this beautiful world. It is the message of Upanishads, sages, and all enlightened Beings. Celebrated joyously all over India and also abroad by NRIs, it is also the festival of wealth and prosperity. Diwali is a festival where people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen ‘diyas’ (lamps), decorating houses, bursting firecrackers, and inviting near and dear ones to their house18

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Amidst the frenzy involving Diwali, it should not be forgotten that the festival is not only about celebrations such as lightings, firecrackers, cleanliness, colorful rangoli making, social gatherings to exchange greetings and sharing sweets with your loved ones, but it is also a festival that is filled with spiritualism and religious activities such as worship of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, Mother Kali, Lord Chitragupta, and Govardhan Parvat. It is important to understand the significance of the festival and believe in the same. For example, we all know that lighting lamps is a mandatory custom on the Diwali. Now, what is the significance of lighting a lamp? These lamps are meant as symbols, as a means to an end. But, what is this end? What is the real darkness, which must be dispelled? It is the darkness within us, the darkness of ignorance, selfishness, and duality that has to be eliminated. Indian culture says that we are all one. Indian culture says that as our brothers and sisters suffer in darkness, so we too are suffering, although we may not be aware of it. It is, therefore, our divine duty to help dispel the darkness in their lives and to help alleviate their suffering. The lighting of the lamp has other significance also. It is through light that the beauty of this world is revealed or experienced. Most civilizations of the world recognize the importance of light as a gift of God. It has always been a symbol of whatever is positive in our world of experience. To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces – wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering, etc.

and eternal, called the Atman (Spirit). Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness, awakening the individual to one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace). Diwali celebrates this through festival fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Diwali varies from region to region, the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman). It can be said that there might be a paradigm shift in the interpretation of the festival of Diwali, and today, we find commercialization and limitless enthusiasm engulf the occasion. What remains the same however, is that this day is a celebration of life, joy, and goodness. From darkness we enter into light, and light empowers us to do good deeds and bring us closer to divinity. Let us try to believe in this perception and share this with all concerned – work towards a better life and a better society, where the dominance of good over evil would be permanent and irrevocable.

It is thus ironic that though Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights,” the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the inner light.” Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, 20

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The Spiritual Significance of Diwali

Compiled by Raj Shah

On this auspicious occasion of Diwali, I would like to share some pious, spiritual thoughts about the festive holiday from our Hindu Spiritual leaders.

For an oil lamp to burn, the wick has to be partially immersed in the oil. If the wick is completely drowned in oil, it cannot bring light. Life is like the wick of the lamp, you have to be in the world and yet remain untouched by it. If you are drowned in the materialism of the world, you cannot bring joy and knowledge in your life. By being in the world, yet not drowning in the worldly aspect of it, we can be the light of joy and knowledge.

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 34

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Diwali is the day we harvest the results of our hard work blessed with the wealth by Mother Lakshmi. We pray to her with gratitude and ask the gracious Mother to: Shower Her blessings in abundance for the coming year Give us the intelligence to use our wealth in the right manner Give us the heart to share it generously with our fellow beings For this sharing, Lamps of Love are lit… Fill the Heart with the oil of Love. Place in it the wick of single-pointed mind. Light it with the Knowledge of Truth and remove the darkness of Ignorance around you. Just as one lamp can light many lamps; let each youth kindle this Light in many hearts.

Swami Swaroopananda Chinmaya Mission The Yajurveda says, “Tanme Manaha Shivasankalpam astu” — let noble intentions flow from this mind of ours. This Diwali, celebrate with knowledge and take an intention to serve humanity. Light the lamp of love in your heart; the lamp of abundance in your home; the lamp of compassion to serve others; the lamp of Knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance; and the lamp of gratitude for the abundance that the Divine has bestowed on us.

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Indians celebrate Diwali with great fervour. Diwali has significance in many aspects of our life. It symbolises triumph of: light over darkness, virtue over vice, knowledge over ignorance, justice over injustice, compassion over cruelty, and such dualities in life. According to Hindu Heritage, one cannot exist without the other. For instance, we cannot have pleasure without pain, success without failure, attachment without aversion, love without hatred, and so on. Diwali is an occasion to celebrate the positive aspects and to endure the negative and unpleasant.

Padma Bhushan N.S. Ramaswamy Former Director, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bangalore OCTOBER 2018 - WWW.DESHVIDESH.COM

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The inner significance of Diwali is that it is a joyful celebration of the victory of good over evil, of our spiritual qualities dominating our basic instincts, intellect and ego. Light is a universal symbol of spirituality. Thus bringing more light into our homes and therefore our lives symbolizes each of us becoming a more spiritual person.

Hinduism Today’s publisher Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Whatever Path you choose to walk, let me be the light that will light your way. Wayfarer that you are, you must fare well upon the way in Love and Joy - to be kneaded to become fit for the Divine. May this Deepavali light up your life Within and Without. Love and Light.

Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru


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Written by Raj Shah

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Wishing you, your family and your businesses a very happy Diwali and prosperous New Year!

Thinking About Finances at Diwali

By Nirali Chokshi, CPA

Happy Diwali! Diwali is one of the most auspicious celebrations for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, and has many different meanings to people in addition to celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. From an accounting standpoint, many also take time to reflect, give thanks to their clients/ customers/partners, give donations to various charities, and may even close their business accounting books.  I’m a big proponent of donating to charities and helping your community. However, it is important to note that the tax implications are a little different for 2018. Please donate freely and generously, but do know that you may not get the 40

tax benefit you are expecting. For 2018, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act has increased the limit of charitable deduction to 60%

of your adjusted gross income BUT this only goes into effect if you itemize on your personal tax return. How do you itemize? Itemization takes place on your Schedule A of your Form 1040 personal tax return. Itemizing consists of charitable deductions, property tax, mortgage interest, and medical expenses to name a few. For the deductions to apply, the total

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deduction of Schedule A should be more than the standard deduction. The standard deduction for 2018 is $12,000 if you’re single or $24,000 if you’re married and filing jointly. Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali, is a day dedicated to celebrate the Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Many people have pujas praying for prosperity, health and well-being of their loved ones, buy something extra special, or mark it as a beginning of a new business venture. As the majority of businesses in the United States have a December 31st year end, it is still a valuable time to take a close look at your accounting records. Are you on track with your revenues? Have expenses been appropriate for your business?

Is your accounting up to date? Have you considered how the new tax laws will affect your business? This is a great time to still make a few changes in your business before the end of the calendar year. If you wish your year had gone better, consider what you could do differently. If you had a great year, take the time to recognize what you did right so that you can continue to have success. Although there are many financial aspects to consider during this time, Diwali is a time to celebrate with your family and friends and be thankful for all that you have. Wishing you, your family and your businesses a very happy Diwali and prosperous New Year!

About the Author

Nirali Chokshi is a CPA working at her family’s accounting firm Chokshi Accounting & Tax Services in Orlando, FL. She graduated with her Masters from University of Central Florida in 2009.


sas and go for chickpea dhokla instead. Leave the fried, caloric rich, fattening vada and stick to steamed idli sambar. Idli also has more protein than aloo puri. Instead of white rice, try your biryani with cauliflower rice. Watch for those glycemic indexes as well, especially if diabetic. Even ketchup, which has more sugar, can be substituted with mint chutney! Feeling a sweets craving? My mom makes amazing fruit salad with a little milk; it’s healthier than the ladoos. I’m guilty - I love my poha with potatoes and sev; instead try grated coconut (a healthy fat), peas, & some lemon juice.

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olidays tend to bring about very rich memories for us, usually centering around the excitement of traveling and family members visiting. Every year it’s a new blur of vivid colors, bright lights, and delicious aromas. Oh the aromas!! It’s almost like every holiday has its own special scents. But the foods and drinks we indulge in don’t have to be so calorically dense, nor do they have to add to our “holiday weight.”

In trying to avoid buying a size up in my jeans and staying clear of acne breakouts (right before Navarati season, yikes!), I found alternatives to unhealthy holiday foods [inspired by GrowFit, TruWeigh & BoldSky blogs]. Here are some of the highlights to guide you.

Still craving ladoo? Try making whey protein ladoo! Take poha, banana, oat powder, almonds, milk, and your favorite protein powder and combine them well. Make the ladoo balls then coat with a creamy mix of your protein powder & milk. Set it to cool and you’ll have protein bites for Diwali.

On Diwali and other holiday times, when you find yourself sitting idle and relaxing, stay clear of sweets high in saturated fats. Avoid the heavy samo-

Craving chaat? Neha Ghosh from BoldSky introduces Spicy Corn Chaat, which is packed with antioxidants and fiber. She mentions the capsaicin in red

A useful trick is to keep a mild level awareness throughout the holidays about the foods you pick up to eat. Don’t be afraid to question what it is you’re ingesting! Think, is there a better alternative to what I’m about to put into my body? We do not have to give up sweets completely, but there are tasty variations that we may even grow to love more because they don’t make us feel as groggy or bloated. 48

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chili powder, which aids in fat loss. Longing for savory snacks? Paneer is one of my favorite things. Try roasting a paneer kabob with flax seed and cinnamon (or get creative)! Ghosh includes cinnamon in her recipe since it is also helps manage cravings and weight. Flax seeds

About the Author

Nisha Jani earned a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine from the University of Miami, where she also studied Psychology and Kinesiology. She uses her expertise in exercise & physiology to fuel her lifelong passions of dance, fitness, and teaching. She is passionate about bringing to the community an awareness about the benefits of preventative medicine in the form of exercise and diet, favoring a holistic approach to well-being. After working in cardiology, Nisha is now a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, applying scientific principles towards improving athletic performance, injury prevention, and nutritional guidance.

contain omega-3’s which we need to support critical functions in our bodies. Think outside the box when it comes to food, especially during the holiday season. Stay aware, stay active, and embrace the holiday aromas in a health conscious way.


Divali Nagar, City of Lights in Trinidad and Tobago By Raj Shah

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ivali Nagar, City of Lights is an annual exposition of Hindu culture, and it is associated with the celebration of Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago. The idea of Divali Nagar was born in 1986 out of a concept enunciated by Hans Hanoomansingh, then President of the National Council of Indian Culture and was organized by a team of dedicated individuals, such as Rampersad Parasram, the first chairman of Divali Nagar. The event be­came so pop­u­lar, the original venue was no longer large enough to house the crowd. The Na­ tion­ al Coun­ cil of 54

In­di­an Cul­ture (NCIC) lob­bied for the Na­gar’s per­ma­nent home to be lo­cat­ed along Uri­ah But­ler High­ way. Presently, the exposition is hosted in the borough of Chaguanas. In three decades, the Na­ gar has be­ come part of the cul­ tur­ al land­ scape that has

served to educate peo­ ple who have lit­tle knowl­edge about Hinduism. The event also en­ cour­ ages new gen­er­a­tions of Hin­dus to strength­en their faith. The Divali Nagar celebration in Trinidad and Tobago is the largest celebration outside of India. Over nine days, more than 300,000 visitors attend this event. It is the most significant Indian cultural event of the Trinidad and Tobago as well as throughout the entire Caribbean. The event has set a trend in that now South Florida and other places in the US have Divali Nagars of their own.

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Festivities usually begin one week prior to the annual Diwali day holiday and finishes the night before Diwali. The event concludes with extensive fireworks show on the final night. Emphasis has been given to the several cultural and religious parts of the program every year and the enormous positive impact it has had in Trinidad and the Caribbean as well as the diaspora living abroad. Over the last few years, the exposition of Hindu Culture at the Divali Nagar has expanded with significant improvement. The celebration is annually undertaken with a theme depicting an aspect of Hindu philosophy. There are various displays that are selected to educate the visitors on the theme. Mahatma

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Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda were two of the most popular themes over the years. A huge statue of the Swami Vivekananda was erected on the compound and for years it brings great inspiration to visitors.

The Divali Nagar site is used during the year for educational seminars, Indian Arrival Day festivities, religious festivities, trade exhibition and wedding receptions.

In 2016, the theme was Gan­ga Maa, which fo­cus­ed on the god­ dess of the Riv­ er Gan­ ga (Ganges). In 2017, the theme was Hindu Symbolism. This year’s theme is Hindu Reformers. This sacred festival brings all within the community positive feelings and is marked by unity, harmony, and festivity. It is observed and celebrated as a national holiday and unifies multireligious, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Indo-Caribbeans living in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Photo Courtesy: The Bokeh Studio Photo Courtesy: Peter Nguyen Photography

Photo Courtesy: Castaldo Studio Photo Courtesy: Peter Nguyen Photography

Photo Courtesy: Castaldo Studio

Photo Courtesy: Peter Nguyen Photography

Model: Rosanna Barsati

We would like to recognize one special model, Rosanna Barsati, who has participated for ten years with us as a model at MyShadi Bridal Expo!

Photo Courtesy: JN Creative Videos

Photo Courtesy: JN Creative Videos 62

Photo Courtesy: JN Creative Videos OCTOBER 2018 - WWW.DESHVIDESH.COM


Photo Courtesy: JN Creative Videos

When it comes to bridal and formal wear fashion, the exclusive designer fashion shows provide a stunning look at the latest styles. Whether a wedding guest or the bride, the designer clothing and jewelry boutiques attending the show allow attendees to purchase items on site. Many couples are now planning destination weddings, and the MyShadi Bridal Expo makes it even easier to do. The Destination Wedding Pavillion gathers venues and wedding plan-

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ners together to ease the process of planning a wedding in an exotic locale. For those hoping to check items of that wedding to do list or just feel inspired, the team at Desh Videsh Media Group hopes to see you next year! Be on the lookout for dates to be announced soon. For a look at what to expect at the MyShadi Bridal Expo, visit www.myshadibridalexpo.com and click on Past Events.

Photo Courtesy: Infinite Loop Photography

Photo Courtesies Infinite loop photography www.infiniteloopphoto.com JN Creative Videos www.jncreativevideos.com

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We Love Diwali Written by Raj Shah llustrated by Kamlesh M. & Natasha S.

Review by Faren Rajkumar Creative Writing MFA candidate, University of South Florida A joy to read and share, and makes a perfect Diwali present for young ones! This colorful story is a simply charming learning experience for children unfamiliar with the traditions of Diwali, and also a valuable way to help celebrate the old traditions with a new generation of Hindu children. It’s rare to find a well-done children’s book featuring authentically ethnic characters, and this one delivers. Sharing this book with minority children is an important way to empower remind them that they have a place on bookshelves, in the classroom, and in the imagination of writers and artists. Highly recommend as a gift for children during the Diwali holiday, and for teachers as a classroom learning tool. We Love Diwali published by Desh-Videsh Publishing (www.deshvideshpublishing.com) Price: $10.00


125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Historic Speech in Chicago September 11, 2001 will always be remembered as a black day in the history of the US. But for Hindus living in the US and Hindus living all over the world, September 11, 1893 will also be remembered as a historic and memorable day. On that day, Swami Vivekananda, one of the most famous and spiritual Hindu swamis, delivered an iconic speech in Chicago at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The spiritual leader delivered his speech among a wide delegation that included more than 5,000 delegates, historians and religious scholars representing the various religions and faith from all over the world. For the first time in the history of Parliament of the World’s Religions, Hinduism was introduced by our great spiritual leader. His historic speech with crisp logic and scientific insight attracted major attention. Since organizers of the conference did not know him as a religious leader, they did not want to give him permission to speak. After a long back and forth discussion, he was given two minutes to speak. Swami ji began his speech with “Dear sisters and brothers of America.” This first line gave him a two-minute standing ovation from the audience and later the title of ‘the cyclonic monk of India.’ September 11, 2018, marked the 125th anniversary of Swami ji’s most memorable speech. Even though Swami ji addressed delegates of the Parliament of the World’s Religions 125 years ago, his speech is still relevant today. May be more so than what it meant 125 years ago. His entire speech appears below. 68

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“Sisters and Brothers of America, It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. l thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the Earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee. The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me. Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.� 70

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Concluding Address Chicago, September 27, 1893 While the above speech at the opening address of the conference is most famous, Swami ji also gave other speeches at the conference that were extremely popular. He continually stressed the need for harmony and unity in the world. Below is his full closing speech. Below is his full closing speech. “The World’s Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labor. My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter. Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, “Brother, yours is an impossible hope.” Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid. The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant. Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: "Help and not fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension." 72

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IRCC - Diwali Festival of Lights When: 11/10/2018, 12 Noon Where: Broward County Convention Center 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale,33316 Contact: Sanjay Gupta 954-461-4003 Host: Indian Regional & Cultural Center


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Desh Videsh Magazine Celebrating Diwali October 2018  

The Desh-Videsh monthly magazine Celebrating Diwali October 2018 covers a wide variety of topics such as Indian Festivals, Diwali, Festival...

Desh Videsh Magazine Celebrating Diwali October 2018  

The Desh-Videsh monthly magazine Celebrating Diwali October 2018 covers a wide variety of topics such as Indian Festivals, Diwali, Festival...

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