Note: This article is dedicated to the late Dr Narahari Achar 1/5/39-4/23/21. My Tribute to him as at the end of this article
April 2007-Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico: A call for enhanced Mexico and India relations and for an effective response to the challenges of a globalized world was made at the International Symposium on the Social Sciences, Globalization and the Cultures of Resistance.
It was held 4/24-28/2007 in Saltillo, Mexico. Saltillo , also known as ‘la Atenas de México ‘ or ‘the Athens of Mexico’ is the traditional home of many leading Mexican luminaries. The international convention drew attendance from India, USA and regions throughout Latin America and included many representatives from the Coahuila State and Saltillo City Cultural and Education Depts, local scholars, journalists, artists and students. The symposium was held on the grounds of State Central Public Library ‘Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal Ildefonso Villarello Velez’.
The event was inaugurated by Andre Salas Mendoza from the Coahuila State Secretariat of Education and Culture, India’s RSS National Executive Ram Madhav, Lady Norma Zapata director of the State Central Public Library and author and researcher Gene Matlock.
Highlights of the four-day symposium included Christian theologist and professor Fernando Navas’ of U.N.A.M. presentation on ‘Conversion vs. Inter-religious Dialogue,’ Professor Jaime Torres Mendoza’s ‘The Social Process of Change in Academic Paradigms,’ Vedic Friend’s Association (VFA) President Steven Knapp’s ‘The War Against Hinduism, ‘Ancient Mexico’s Hindu-Turkish Connections’ by Gene Matlock, ‘On Idols, Myths and Religion vs. Deities, Histories and Science’ by VFA Promotional Director and Vedic Empire Production’s Vrndavan Brannon Parker.
‘On Yama in Sanskrit Phonetics’ by GIRISH K. JHA Dept. of Sanskrit, Patna University, ‘Vedic Cosmology: Understanding the Universe and its Structure’ by Prof. Carlos Rocha of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities. ‘Human Rights Violations and the Globalization Process’ by RSS National Executive Ram Madhav, ‘The Importance of Conservation of Ancestral Cultures Before the Globalization Process’ by Dr Yashwant Pathak, International Coordinator for the (ICCS) International Centre for Cultural Studies, ‘The Antiquity of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana’ by Prof Haracio Arganis from VFA’s Latin American Branch Asociación Vedica de los Amigos (AVA) and Coahuila Director of Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities.
Andre Salas Mendoza from the Coahuila State Secretariat of Education and Culture proclaimed “We open a window of our individual being so that others can enter. If we do not open up this way we are going to die of starvation or solitude. And this is immense when such solitude is seen in a global perspective. Such solitude on the international levels leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. So before the necessity to speak it is necessary to think. Invoking Li Yung Tang and Einstein Andre Salas Mendoza called for sustainable growth that measured success through a holistic and humane perspective.
Lady Norma Zapata of the Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal spoke on the holistic understanding that humans are beings who function as societies. “We need to apply that great science, one that includes all other sciences, that which integrates and relates all within the cohesive whole.. We recognize in Augusto Comte, social philosopher, to have elaborated a specific science for the study of the society.”. She declared that the symposium has “the objective of creating bridges of cultural communication, a way to stimulate dialogue and understanding regarding the social and cultural realities facing us all as we attempt to integrate with the great global idea.”
In his talk Ram Madhav of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh highlighted the Hindu perspective on ‘Positive Globalization’ by citing the ancient Vedic phrase ‘Vasudaiva Kuthumbakam’ or ‘the whole world is one family’. He called it a positive form of globalization that can benefit all humanity. He also stated that rather than monotheism or polytheism Hinduism represented an ‘Omni-theistic’ outlook.
It is this ‘Omni-theistic’ outlook that is lacking in many places in the world today. Hinduism's indigenous traditions and values, being in sync with the traditions and values of other ancient cultures such as Mexico's, can provide a sustainable path that can guarantee the world harmony.
He urged the Mexican people “Do not exchange your tortillas for pizzas and India, please do not give up Rotis in exchange for burgers.” He also called for Mexico and India to develop extensive cultural and economic ties that are “bound to be of great mutual benefit for two such countries as India and Mexico, that share so much in common.”
Ram Madhav and Stephen Knapp were also special guests at the Asociación de Abogados de Coahuila A C or Coahuila State Lawyers Association conference on ‘Societal Violence and the Judicial System’ held at UNIVAS, Universidad Valle de Santiago. In his speech, Ram Madhav clarified India’s commitment to peace by combining the wisdom of Gandhi with a holistic approach that takes into account the modern realities of terrorism and globalization. This position is based on preparation and strength in all areas of national life such as economic, social, military, cultural and political. An effective application and modern outlook rooted in the time-tested indigenous traditions and culture of India.
In comparing Detroit, America’s auto city with Saltillo, Mexico’s rising auto city, Author Steven Knapp urged the people of Saltillo to maintain their cultural and peaceful lifestyles in order to avoid the hell that has become Detroit. He also encouraged people to see beyond skin color, nationality, religion, language and class and realize that we are really not so different from one another.
Author Gene Matlock released his latest book “What Strange Mystery Unites the Turkish Nations, India, Catholicism and Mexico?” at the Symposium and live on-air over a local radio station from the conference venue.
The final day of the conference featured a presentation by Dr. Narahari Achar of Memphis University. Using Planetarium Software he revealed ancient humanities’ understanding of the astronomical sciences in his presentation entitled ‘Astronomical Historical Records in the Literature of Ancient South Asia.’
The final presentation of the event was presented by Iskcon Governing Commissioner Guru Prasad Swami. In his lecture entitled ‘A Proposal for the Integration of the Philosophies of India’ he urged the attendees to seriously consider the ancient and practical wisdom of Hindu civilization as we collectively face the onslaught of mercantile globalization.
In the closing ceremonies presided over by the Director of the Coahuila State Library system, Gloria Gonzalez, State Certificates of Recognition were presented to all the speakers at the symposium.
The event finale featured dance and musical presentations from both the Mexican and Indian Hindu traditions. The Indian Guadalupe dancing girls, a 12 man band or Rondalla group, a troupe of Mexican Folk Dancers, a Bengali bhajan band and Bhakta Rueben’s Bharatnatyam of Mexico provided this unique cross-cultural entertaining experience.
The International Symposium on Social Sciences, Globalization and the Cultures of Resistance was organized by Saltillo’s ‘Ildefonso Villarello Velez’ Central Public Library, the Coahuila State Organization of Public Libraries and Book Publishers, (ICCS) the International Center for Cultural Studies, The Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities, Vedic Empire Productions and (VFA) Vedic Friends Association.