Ashutosh Vardhana: Features offered for publication


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List of titles available

0016   Celebrating the Divinity in Woman: The Hindu Festival of Navarátri  
0015   The birth of Lord Krishna (Krishna Janmashtami)        
0014   Ráksha Bándan, the Hindu festival of brothers and sisters  
0003   Aufruf zum Zweifel
Wider Terrorismus, Intoleranz und religiösen Fanatismus. Ein britischer Hindu denkt über die Kampagne gegen den Terrorismus nach
0002   A call to doubt. A British Hindu reflects on the campaign against terrorism



0021 Some things which Christians want to know about Hindus

This article is now in preparation. At present, the page contains only some of the questions, in random order, but none of the answers.

If you are aware of any questions often asked by non-Hindus, please send them to me, so that I can take them into consideration while writing this article.

If you would formulate differently the questions already listed on the site, please send me your formulations. Thank you.



0020 The pub without beer, and the temple without god. A cautionary tale

A Hindu temple in Leicester or London was asked to receive a group of visitors from other religions (Christians, Muslims, Jews) and give them an insight into Hinduism and the Hindu way of life. The visit turned out to be an embarrassing disaster. The temple leaders spoke only about their finances, the cost of the building and the various social and educational services they provided. The ignorant young man who was supposed to answer questions about Hinduism, was unable to answer even the simplest questions and gave a distorted picture of the Hindu way of life. The temple was dead. It had obviously been deserted by god . The refreshments provided were offered without love. The incident is serious because this temple is regularly visited by non-Hindu school children and they will presumably receive a similar caricature of Hinduism. Other temples and Hindu organisations should also take note, just in case they fail in similar ways.

Length: 2137 words = 12,400 characters


0019 India and Pakistan to join Common Market

Summary: A reflection for India and Pakistan Independence Day, 14 and 15 August

The greatest evil that has beset India and Pakistan since independence is the animosity between Muslims and Hindus. Three wars between India and Pakistan, the dispute over Kashmir, the Ayodhya dispute and its bloody consequences have brought death and suffering to thousands. Poverty remains. Ashutosh Vardhana, a Hindu writer living in England, refers to the century-old Franco-German animosity which led to many bloody wars, but was brought to an end by the creation of the Common Market and the European Union and created unprecedented prosperity in Europe. He proposes that India and Pakistan should work towards a similar economic union and focus on prosperity rather than religion and patriotism. The Kashmir problem and its terrorism would simply melt away.

Length: 597 words = 3445 characters

0018 An impossible dream: What Pakistan and India can do with their independence

Summary: A reflection for India and Pakistan Independence Day, 14 and 15 August:

On 14 and 15 August 1947 Pakistan and India gained their independence from British colonial rule. Bloody conflicts and continued distrust between Hindu and Muslim communities followed. On the anniversary of this day, Ashutosh Vardhana, a Hindu writer living in England, proposes the creation of a common market for India, Pakistan, Afghanistan (etc) on the model of the European Community, which ended the centuries of war between Germany and France and brought prosperity and peace to Europe.

Length: 965 words = 5300 characters

This article can be divided into two parts:
Part 1 (Bloody reality): 736 words = 4000 characters
Part 2 (I have a dream): 229 words = 1300 characters


0017 Diwali and Sal Mubárak

Summary: A brief account (story, customs, significance) of the Hindu festivals of Diwali and New Year, celebrated in October or November. Diwali: 4 Nov 2002. With illustrations

Length: 453 words = 2500 characters

0016 Celebrating the Divinity in Woman: The Hindu Festival of Navarátri

Summary: The Hindu festivals of Navarátri (Nine-Day Festival, 7 to 15 October 2002) and Durgáshtami (Worship of goddess Dúrga, 14 October 2002) are about to be celebrated. This festival makes us aware of the battle of good against evil and the power and dignity of woman. 7 Oct (beginning of Navarátri) or 14 Oct (Durgáshtami) would be ideal dates for publishing this article. Otherwise any day from 17 to 25 October will be fine.

Two versions of this article are available:

  1. Version 1, length 914 words
  2. Version 2, length 454 words

0015 The birth of Lord Kríshna (Kríshna Janmáshtami)

On 31 August this year (2002), Hindus celebrate the festival of Kríshna Janmáshtami, the birth of Lord Kríshna. Ashutosh Vardhana explains the significance of this festival.

Three versions of this feature are available:

  • Version 1, length 400 words, which explains the story underlying this festival and its theology (divine incarnations).
  • Version 2, length 1330 words, which consists of version 1 plus information about festival customs at home and in temples, the significance of Lord Kríshna for Hindus, and comparisons with Christian beliefs (childhood of Jesus). Most illustrations can be found in Version 2.
  • Version 3, length 890 words, same as version 1, plus information on customs and rituals, but omitting similarities between Kríshna and young Jesus. For greater choice of illustrations see Version 2.

0014 Ráksha Bándan, the Hindu festival for brothers and sisters

Length: 367 words, plus Note of 62 words for non-Hindu readers

Editorial introduction: On a full moon day in July/August Hindus celebrate the festival of Ráksha Bándan which celebrates the love and loyalty which brothers owe to their sisters.  Ashutosh Vardhana describes the customs of the festival and the philosophy underlying it.

0013 Devil worship in Ayódhya

Length: 2000 words = 9500 characters

Lord Hánuman, the great devotee and servant of Lord Rama

Babri Mosque in Ayódhya destroyed in 1992


In 1992 religious riots in India and Bangladesh were sparked which left several thousand dead, when a group of politically motivated Hindus tried to right a wrong committed by Muslims 500 years earlier


and demolished an ancient but unused mosque that had been erected by Muslim conquerors of the time in place of a temple which marked the birthplace of Lord Ráma. The government imposed a stand-off and put the matter into the hands of a court which in ten years was unable to produce an equitable decision. The Hindu faction then announced that, on 15 March this year, they would go ahead with the building regardless of consequences.


On 28 February a train with Hindu devotees coming from the disputed site was set alight by a gang of Muslim youths. 58 Hindus were burnt alive. This sparked off Hindu reprisals against Muslims in which more than six hundred people died both sides.

In this article, Ashutosh Vardhana, a Hindu writer from England, argues that the temple project offended against the spirit of Hinduism and is in fact blasphemy.


0012 Monsoon Wedding. A film

Length: 1294 words = 5991 characters

The article can be divided into two parts:
Plot: 750 words = 3480 characters
Discussion: 544 words = 2511 characters

© Mirabai Films

Summary: Monsoon Wedding: During an upper middle-class wedding of a westernised family in Delhi, the bride's father learns that his rich brother, on whom he depends financially, is a paedophile and the bride wonders whether she should confess to her arranged-marriage Indian fiancee from America, whom she meets for the first time four days before the wedding, that she has only just ended an affair with her boss, a television producer. How should the bride, the groom, the father resolve their dilemmas? What would you do?

0011 British Asians petition for peace

Length: 386 words = 2047 characters

Summary: On 14 Feb 2002, a delegation of the British Stop the War Coalition called on the High Commissions of India and of Pakistan to hand in a petition urging the two governments to resolve their problems by means other than war. The delegation contained Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Westerners, and the petition was signed by about 400 members of all communities.


Delegation outside India House, London

Click here for larger image

© Stop the War Coalition

Click here for larger image

0010 The three friends

Length: 844 words = 3872 characters



© BBC News
Peace Protest in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Summary: In this true story, set in the North East of England, three youngsters from the Indian subcontinent work together on a computing project. They are: Uzman (Muslim from Pakistan), Aisha (Muslim girl from India) and Ashok (Hindu from India). How do they respond to the rising hostility between India and Pakistan?















0009 Hindu festival: Why we celebrate Maha-Shivaratri,
                 or: The wedding of the gods (13 March 2002)

There are three versions (Version 1 is my preferred version):
Version 1: 1404 words = 6776 characters
Version 2: 1260 words = 5645 characters
Version 3: 926 words = 4171 characters

Summary: On 13 March this year (2002) Hindus celebrate the festival of Maha-Shivaratri, the great night of Lord Shiva, his wedding to Goddes Párvati, and how she managed to win him for a husband. Ashutosh Vardhana tells the story behind this great festival.

Shiva meditating

Shiva and Parvati reunited


0008 Hindu festival: Why we celebrate Holi,  
             or: The invincible boy (28 March 2002)

Summary: On 28 March this year (2002) Hindus celebrate the festival of Holi. It is a boisterous occasion. Bonfires are lit and on this day the rules of respect are dropped and people are allowed to let rip. Ashutosh Vardhana tells the story that gave rise to the festival.

Length: 1383 words = 6378 characters
or shortened version:
771 words = 3460 characters


Click on images for larger versions

0007 These evil cowards, or: I love America

Length: 1471 words = 7143 characters

Summary: Society has to defend itself against terrorists and to punish them. However, by calling them 'evil' we concede that we do not understand them and are not willing to consider the causes of their actions. Calling them cowards is often plain silly. Western belief in the superiority of its civilisation matched with Muslim belief in the superiority of its secular and religious values, must lead to contempt. Contempt breeds hatred, hatred breeds violence, in both directions. We must stop calling our enemies evil and try to understand them if we want to stop the cycle of violence.

America excels in engineering solutions for moral problems

Click on image for larger version
with legible newspaper text

0006 Visiting my Muslim friends in Ramadan

Two articles in one file:
Visit 1: Length: 919 words = 5,021 characters
Visit 2: Length: 745 words = 4,081 characters

Summary: The author, a Hindu, was invited by his close Muslim friends in Yorkshire, England, to share the family meal with which they break their fast during Ramadan (iftar). He describes the occasion in intimate detail, relates the private joys and tribulations of an ordinary Muslim family. An opportunity for non-Muslims to see the obvious, namely that Muslims are generous, human and can suffer - like all of us.


0005 Mission impossible: President Bush hijacks an iftar
                 (White House, compact version)

Length: 1097 words = 6,194 characters

© BBC News 2001

Editorial introduction: Iftar is the name for the modest meal which Muslim families take when breaking their dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Only a Muslim, who has fasted, can do iftar and invite close friends for the occasion. President Bush, in ignorance of this fact, 'put on' an iftar dinner at the White House and invited 53 Muslim ambassadors (who could not decline and, being guests, had to listen politely). He abused the occasion by bragging about America's generosity to Afghanistan, disregarding not only Muslim custom but also the Biblical injunction that charity and prayer are meritorious only if done in private and not for show.


0004 Mission impossible: President Bush hijacks an iftar (full version)

Length: 2,504 words = 13,866 characters

Summary: This article contrasts the genuine iftar of a Muslim family with the for-show-only iftar laid on by President Bush for 50 Muslim embassadors. Iftar is the name for the modest meal which Muslim families take when breaking their dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month of Ramadan. It is not a dinner party or an occasion like Christmas dinner. Ashutosh Vardhana, a non-Muslim writer living in Yorkshire, England, who has for many years enjoyed the close friendship of Muslim families, describes his very personal iftar experiences during the first two days of Ramadan. He concludes with a sideways look at the iftar charade put on at the White House for the benefit of the media.



0003 Aufruf zum Zweifel
    Wider Terrorismus, Intoleranz und religiösen Fanatismus.
    Ein britischer Hindu denkt über die Kampagne gegen den Terrorismus nach

Taslima Nasrin gewidmet

Länge: 4,314 Wörter = 28,235 Anschläge

Der Gedankengang: Der Verfasser, ein britischer Hindu, diskutiert die aktuelle Kampagne gegen den Terrorismus von einem religiösen Standpunkt aus. Die christliche und islamische Ethik (im Gegensatz zur Hindu-Ethik) stellen die Pflichten des Menschen gegenüber Gott und der Obrigkeit (Gebot 1 bis 5: nur ein Gott, keine Bilder, keine Blasphemie, Sabbath; ehre die Eltern) über seine Pflichten gegenüber den Menschen (Gebot 6: nicht töten). Fanatismus kann untergraben werden, indem man Zweifel in die Unfehlbarkeit von heiligen Schriften und Gurus sät; und es gibt traditionelle Argumente, die diese Wirkung haben. Dieser Ansatz ist weniger gefährlich und auf die Dauer subtiler und wirksamer als Brachialgewalt.

0002 A call to doubt
    A British Hindu reflects on the campaign against terrorism

Dedicated to Taslima Nasrin

Length: 4,163 words = 23,863 characters

Summary: Christian and Muslim (unlike Hindu) ethics put man's duties towards God and authority above his duties towards men. This can be used to legitimise terrorists. Fanaticism can be undermined by sowing doubt in the infallibility of scriptures and gurus, and there are traditional ways for doing so. This approach is more subtle and effective in the long run and less dangerous than brute force.

0001 Diwali, or: Osama Bin Laden's Salvation

Length: 1451 words = 8083 characters

Summary: On 15 November 2001, Hindus all over the world will celebrate the festival of Diwali, the festival of lights. It is not only one of the most popular Hindu festivals but also one of the few that non-Hindus are aware of. Ashutosh Vardhana, a Hindu writer living in England, explains the significance of the festival to Hindus and non-Hindus in topical terms. Diwali is the celebration of the victorious god, Lord Rama, returning to his capital after having waged a successful war against Rávana, the monstrous ten-headed kidnapper and terrorist, and after having installed in Rávana's country a 'broad-based democratic government'.

0001a Diwali, oder: Osama Bin Ladens Erlösung

German translation of the above article. Deutsche Übersetzung des vorstehenden Artikels.