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Hindus to meet Mayans in Guatemala

Author: Lalit K Jha
Publication: Hindustan Times
Date: May 27, 2005
URL:      https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/hindus-to-meet-mayans-in-guatemala/story-MllCkOyVC9C4gFSJj6EReM.html

The Mayans of Guatemala - representative of the Maya civilization that flourished during the first millennium AD in Central America - believe their ancestors came to this part of the globe 20,000 years ago from the East.

One of the most dominant ethnic groups, Kekichi Maya, has always had special attraction for India in the past as their forefathers have told them that the "Naga tribes of Nagaland" were one of the four original branches of the Maya civilization.

It is for these reasons and the similarities between the Aryan and Mayan civilizations, the people of Guatemala for long have been trying to establish contact with Indians and have a cultural dialogue.

The first such dialogue formally gets going at Maya Village, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala on May 29. Lake Atitlan is famous for its natural beauty and colourful Mayan villages.

A 16-member delegation of intellectuals, academicians and scholars from six countries - mainly people of Indian origin - left Houston in Texas for the Guatemala City on May 27 to participate in the two day conference on "Hindu -Maya Cultural Similarities".

The conference is organized by the Council of Elders of the Sacred Mayas, Guatemala in collaboration with the International Centre for Cultural Studies, a non-profit organization based in the US.

The Council of Elders is an umbrella organization of all the 23 different Maya groups in Guatemala and is responsible for controlling the tribal life of the people. "The conference would look at similarities in these cultures and traditions, besides conducting workshops on ceremonies of these traditions," Yashwant Pathak, global coordinator of International Centre for Cultural Studies, told HindustanTimes.com.

Giving details of the conference, Pathak said on May 29 the Hindu delegation comprising of members from countries like India, the US, Britain, Trinidad and Guyana would be given a traditional Mayan welcome followed by lecture on the culture and tradition of their civilization.

"On the second day, we would present our papers, besides show them how a traditional Hindu welcome is with tilak  and aarti. Later in the afternoon, we would also conduct a Vedic yagna. We are taking all the necessary things with us for the conference," Pathak said.

Before the conclusion of the two-day conference, members of the two delegations would tie "Rakhi" to each other. "This would represent the permanent brotherhood between the two ancient civilizations of the world and also that we would protect tradition and culture of each other," Pathak said.

The Hindu-delegation is also scheduled to meet the Noble peace prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu, a Mayan Indian. In 1992, she won the prize in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for rights of indigenous people.

After the conference, the Hindu delegation would proceed on a five day tour of the Guatemala Mayan attractions, he said.

Pathak said the Hindu and the Maya traditions and cultures are one of the ancient in the world. "There are many similarities in these two great traditions. While, they date back thousands of years; they believe in One God with manifestations in different forms. Both believe in philosophy for human being in totality and total humanity," he said.


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