DIWALI IN PRISON
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Alternative Peace Foundation held an interfaith meditation for peace at the Westville
YOUTH – THE FUTURE! Futurist Alvin Toffler said the secret message communicated
In today’s society, the job of a priest remains ever relevant and
Does a criminal deserve a second chance? Is it possible for a criminal to redeem him/her self?
The Arya Samaj SA believes criminals can be rehabilitated and its pandits have been doing prison visits for more than forty years. In the past, many offenders have passed the organisation’s popular graded course of studies in Hinduism, often achieving top marks. The tutoring of inmates had been a labour of love especially for the late Pandits B Behadar, R M Singh and N Ramduth, who visited the Central and now, Westville Correctional Services, weekly. They brought hope and gave inmates a sense of purpose as they prepared them for the exams. Today, the tutoring and ministering tradition continues with lady Pandits also visiting the Correctional facility. Every life that can be ‘turned around’ for the better is worth all the effort put in by these committed pandits.
2016 will be recorded as a historic year for the Arya Samaj. For the first time, prison authorities have entered into an arrangement with the Arya Samaj to allow havan ceremonies to be performed at a number of “Medium Blocks” housing inmates. Such a move heralds new thinking by the authorities and an openness to foster practices and traditions of other faiths. This indicates that our hard earned democracy is maturing and becoming truly inclusive of all religious persuasions.
The meanings of the mantras were explained in English. The inmates, some of whom who were not Hindus, were excited that ‘something different’ was being done at the facility and remarked the ceremony would get rid of the negative energy. At the end of the ceremony, two inmates began crying. The emotion of the beautiful ceremony, the thought of Pandits in their sky blue gowns sacrificing their time to be with them on such an auspicious day as Diwali, small gift packs and the tasty vegetarian food were somewhat overwhelming for them.
Arya Samaj continues to show dignity to the vulnerable and downtrodden in society.
Posted by on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 @ 5:47PM