Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram
Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram, also known as Mamandram, is Hindu-based non-governmental organisation in Malaysia. Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram was founded in 1982 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is dedicated to serving Hindus in Malaysia through religious education and spiritual development by disseminating knowledge and moral values. Mamandram has developed into becoming the voice for Hindus by advocating issues concerning the rights and wellbeing of Hindus in Malaysia.
In 1982, Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram was formed by seven founding members with the blessings of His Holiness Jagatguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. Col.(ret.) Sathaya was the first president of the religious organisation. The second president of Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram was Professor Dr. N.S. Rajendran who took over the position in May 2001. The current Mamandram president is Radhakrishnan Alagamalai who took over in June 2013. Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram currently has 32 active branches all over Malaysia, organised into six departments based on geographic location.
The aim of Mamandram is to promote Love, Develop Beauty, Uphold Dharma, Acquire Knowledge and Attain Grace. To evolve spiritually through the practice of Hindhu Dharma by loyalty to king and country, upholding the constitution, rule of law, good behaviour and morality. Mamandram believes in adapting Hinduism to fit modern lifestyle, whilst holding on to traditions and values. Mamandram aims to expand its service to the community even further and move forward in these modern times. Taking the motto "One Race, One God and Love is God " as inspiration, the Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram continues to help Hindus in Malaysia to strive for spiritual excellence and prosperity.
Programmes and activities
Mamandram engages prayers, worship, moral and ethical classes, recitation of sacred hyms at home and temples. Mamandram also organises spiritual retreats, group prayer meetings, religious festivals and Guru Pooja for saints and sages. Mamandram also embarks in organising and producing exhibitions, documentary films and issuing of handbills, newsletters and magazines. Mamandram also engages with the public via talks, meetings, groups discussions, seminars, forums and conferences. Mamandram also promotes fine arts and cultural programs and competitions.
Hindu Dharma religious courses
Malaysia Hindhudharma Mamandram has a track record of more than 30 years in conducting religious courses. The Basic Hindu Dharma and Intermediate Hindu Dharma courses are handled by renowned speakers and experienced lecturers from the Mamandram fraternity. The Hindu Dharma Basic and Intermediate Courses are for boys and girls aged 15 and above. Some adults have also signed by for this courses in their quest for better understanding of Hinduism. The course, aimed at younger Hindus, teaches the basics of the Hindu religion through lectures and speeches on religion, history, righteous living and thinking, religious games and activities, as well as bhajan (group religious songs) and yoga sessions.
Free Hindu Dharma religious education books
Malaysia Hindhudharma Mamandram has published Dharma Textbooks Levels 1, 2 and 3. The books in Tamil language are part of a 9 book series. These Hindhu Dharma Foundation books are being distributed free of charge to all the 523 Tamil Primary schools in Malaysia. The books are also available to the public for a reasonable price. Mamandram has plans to release the books in English in due course.
The Annual Delegates Conference is the main deliberative assembly of the Mamandram. Composed of about five delegates from each branch, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions chaired by the President. Over a two-week period at the start of each session, all members have the opportunity to address the assembly. Discussion on matters raised by members submitted seven (7) days before the Delegates' Conference to the general secretary. Traditionally, there is a President's address. Submission and adoption of the Annual Report and Account Statements are also carried out. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are also made. The Assembly may make recommendations and decide on general resolutions. The quorum for the Delegates' Conference is 50 percent of the total number of delegates from Branches in benefit and 50 percent of the current National Council members. The decisions of the Delegates' Conference will be binding on all members.
Appointment/Election of office bearers for the National Council is done once in every three years. Each delegate in attendance has one vote.
The Powers and Activities of The National Council include the Appointment of National Sub-Committees and Regional Councils and Cooption of members as required for the achievement of the Aims and Objectives of the Mamandram. The National Council is the official organ of the Mamandram and Hindu Dharma for the achievement of the aims and objectives, dissemination of news on religious, social and cultural matters related to the Hindu Society, promotion of spiritual fraternity amongst Hindus and to expound Hindhu Dharma. The National Council also manages buildings and properties and seeks for funds and undertake and execute any trust, accept and manage orphanages, old folk homes and temples which are not cared for. The National Council can suspend and/or dissolve Branches and Regional Councils and delegate its powers to the National sub-committees and the President. 21 Members sit in the National Council.
Branches are established throughout Malaysia for the achievement of the aims and objectives of the Mamandram. Mamandram Branches are known as Arul Nilayam and they carry out the activities in accordance to the plan and programme as regulated by the National Council. The branches are service centres for their members in their respective areas. They organise Spiritual Decelopment through daily individual prayers (Nithia Aanmartha Pooja), weekly family prayers (Vaara Illa Prathanai), monthly branch prayers (Maatha Arulnelaya Kootu Prathanai), festivals and fasting (Viruthangal/Vilakkal) and Guru pooja. Branches engage in social welfare through helping family welfare (Kudumba Nalan), personal health (Udal Nalan), education (Kalvi Nalan), general welfare (Pothu Nalan) and funeral service/prayers (Aathma Nalan). Branches actively promote religious education through weekly religious classes (Pahlar Palli Vahupu), introductory religious classes (Arimuha Samaya Vahupu– 3 Days), recitals of Vedas – 3 Days (Thirumurai ParayanaPayirchi), Religious WorkCamps – 3 Days (Pairchi Muhaam) and Hindu religious forum/contests.
Hinduism in Malaysia
It is estimated that 7.1% of the 25 million (July 2008 est.) total population of Malaysia, or about 1.79 million people, are ethnic Indians, most of whom are the descendents of indentured labourers brought to Malaya by the British from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Of these ethnic Indians, almost 89% are Hindus. As one of the biggest Hindu organisations in Malaysia, the Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram has been at the forefront of various issues facing the Indian community in Malaysia.
The Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram was a founding member of the Malaysia Hindu Council (MHC), an umbrella organisation of Hindu groups in the country formed with the aim of co-operation in dealing with the issues facing the Indian community as well as concerted efforts in social and religious work.
Also, Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram has been an integral part of negotiations with the government of Malaysia in addressing the misgivings of Indians in Malaysia, a problem that came to the fore with the HINDRAF-led rallies in the capital Kuala Lumpur on 25 November 2007.
See also Survey of Hindu organisations
- State Councils in the Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram
- CIA – The World Factbook – Malaysia
- NGOs discuss Indian issues with PM in heart-to-heart chat The Star – 15 December 2007
- Facing Malaysia's Racial Issues TIME – 26 November 2007