Dear Friends & Supporters of DCF,
Seasons Greetings and best wishes for a Happy & Prosperous New Year!
2015 has been an eventful year. First and foremost, 2015 saw the passing of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1930-2015), who attained Mahasamadhi, on the banks of the Ganga on September 23, 2015. Here is a garland of tributes to Pujya Swamiji. We will miss him, but will continue this work that he held so dear to his heart.
2015 also saw tremendous progress in DCF’s mission, with many milestones at both Berkeley and in Los Angeles, which we can be proud of. Our great heartfelt appreciation is due to Mrs. Mira and Dr. Ajay Shingal who have come forward to endow the Center for Dharma Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Our gratitude also goes to Dr. Ushakant Thakkar, DCF’s current Chairman of the Board, who came forward to endow the Dr. Thakkar family Presidential Chair in Vedic and Indic Civilizational Studies. We also thank our Jain and Sikh community members, who have come forward to endow the Jain and Sikh chairs at UCI. We hope that many more such individuals will come forward in 2016. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you, for your continued support.
However, the year has ended on a note of controversy. Some of the faculty and students at UCI signed a petition casting many aspersions against DCF. It is very unfortunate that some of the professors opposing DCF are of Indian origin with an ideological commitment to undermine initiatives that promote and nurture Hindu Studies. In this endeavor they are joined by many Western Scholars, in the Humanities departments in the American Academy, who are very quick to express suspicion and hostility towards Hindu Dharma and Hindus in general. The same group of scholars are generally very much more careful, with their language towards Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism etc.
This single minded devotion to opposing Hindu initiatives in the academy is not totally surprising. Many other communities, in their early stages of establishing themselves in academia seem to have gone through similar struggles, e.g. in the field of Jewish Studies, African Studies, Gender Studies and so on. The only way to respond effectively to this kind of opposition, is to remain committed and persistently keep working on our mission till we create a respectful and dignified space for Hindu Studies in American Academia. Our Executive team headed by Shri Kalyan Viswanathan, our Executive Vice President, Dr. Ushakant Thakkar, our Chairman, and other members of the Board are taking necessary steps in responding effectively to this challenge. Here is DCF’s official response to this attack.
Most of all, this is an occasion to remain united as a community, and resolved in our purpose. We will keep you posted as this situation unfolds.
With warm regards and wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
The DCF Executive Committee