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1989-2000

Imagineering the Future



Ten years ago this month, January of 1979, the maiden issue of this newspaper was printed. In those paleolithic and oh-so-humble days, three of us produced the 8[?]" by 11" issues. Type was set on what we now affectionately call "Photosaurus Rex," a ponderously slow and now extinct phototypesetter that left the stench of darkroom chemicals on our hands for the olfactory torment of our comrades. Those same three then printed the paper on a tiny office press. Just the press work, handfolding and mailing look us three full weeks. No color. No graphics, unless you count those dim rectangles feigning as photographs and made intelligible only through craftily composed captions. In those days the reader's imagination was more essential than the writer's.

All that is behind us (we trust). The paper is now touted as one of Desktop Publishing's finest accomplishments, and professionals handle the printing and mailing in two countries (US and Mauritius) 12,000 miles apart, all on a scale barely thinkable then. We have learned that Margaret Mead was right when she said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only way it ever has changed." We celebrate our tenth birthday by offering our readers a unique two-page retrospective and analysis of major people, stories and trends that we covered in the last decade (pages 10-11). But, as your teenage children might say, "That's history." What does the future hold? We offer a glimpse, based on present trends, on our journalistic instincts and - truth-to-tell - a sizable smattering of unrestrained extrapolation and good humor. We hope you are with us in the year 2000 to celebrate our 21st birthday and to see how much of the future below comes true.

December, 1989: The awakening of a globalized instrumentality of Hindu social conscience is evident at national and international forums and conferences. The mainstream media begin to recognize and report on the multiplicity of significant and unique contributions the East brings to critical dialogues on human rights, women's issues, poverty, survival, environmental breakdowns, nuclear proliferation and more.

April, 1990: As the Hindu year begins, scientists, especially in psychology, medicine and physics, openly adopt Hindu theories of human perception, healing and the nature of the physical universe. TM takes credit for this and announces "The Year of the Absolute Enlightenment of Every Member of the Human Race." October, 1992: Computers become the rage among Hindus, who have discovered the Macintosh as the perfect tool for empowering the faith and reaching the youth. HyperCard stacks on yoga, Vedantic philosophy and digitized art of Bharat proliferate. Optical Character Recognition technology allows vast amounts of heretofore unaccessible information to be available to millions, networked by satellite. On just four CD discs one university assembles all Indian history and Hindu scripture, cross-referenced in a rainbow of languages, all automatically translated in the de facto cosmic communication coin - English - and ready to download to your solar 2e12=laptop, direct from space. For the first time ever, Hindus actually know what's in the Vedas, Agamas, Puranas and sundry shastras.

August, 1993: Big news. The ethnic troubles in Sri Lanka are settled. No one is happy about the resolution, but all rejoice that the anguish is over and prepare for an influx of tourists, sorely missed since the 1983 outbreak. The wisdom of ahimsa was never so vivid to Hindus and Buddhists on this island. The temples of South India, every last one, are returned to the control of local priests and administrators as the government is compelled by courts to treat all religions equally under the law.

March, 1994: The International Hotels Association announces in London the completion of a syncretic book. Holy Hymns for Humankind, which will replace the Gideon Bible in all hotel rooms of their 12,500 members, including Hyatt, Sheraton, Oberoi, Intercontinental and Holiday Inn. Each of 12 major faiths is equally articulated in the text, dubbed the Gila Gospel.

November, 1996: The UN wages peace unmercifully and a Hindu is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize based on her complex theorizing regarding the linking of individual and interiorized peace with its universal and exterior counterpart. Elsewhere, a Hindu is lauded for pioneering legislation on animal rights, simultaneously adopted by 78 nations. Under mounting pressure from 500 institutions calling themselves the Vegetarians to Save the Forest Alliance, MacDonald's fast food chain spends Big Bucks marketing their Meatless Mac, and are stunned by avalanche sales. Burger King stock plummets.

June, 1997: The computer revolution reaches into academia, as Motilal announces the publication of the Hindu Encyclopedia, a 25-volume compendium also available on Bubble Chips. A quiet group of wealthy businessmen tells Reuters it has established a fund, sort of a World Bank for Hindu Development, with $1.2 billion available to institutions for Hindu development and modernization. The first university dedicated exclusively to the Sanatana Dharma opens in Delhi, complete with seminary and missionary training center, Ayurveda hospital, Media College, Yoga and Kundalini Research Center and "Sangam," which is described as a resident think tank networking spiritual leaders, strategic thinkers, futurists, analysts and policy makers. Most major conferences begin to gather here to plan for the century ahead. A Western Campus in Colorado is on the drafting table.

December, 1998: India adopts a revolutionary educational system geared to achieve two goals: 1. provide Indian youth with language and math skills unequaled in the world and 2. inculcate students with spiritual values based on Hindu dharma and traditional teachings. Archeologists near Delhi uncover remains of a pre-Mohenjo-Daro empire that forces back the history of India another 4,000 years. FAX is almost as commonplace as TV and you can phone India without waking the neighbors.

February, 1999: Space agencies in the new super-alliance of India, USA and the USSR ratify agreement to teach advanced yoga techniques to all astronauts after studies conducted on the Space Lab show meditation and mind disciplines to correlate to success of long-term extraterrestrial living (not to mention terrestrial). Trend toward allowing larger institutions to represent all of Hinduism reverses as smaller groups, long ignored, band together to reassert their rights. Gold is discovered in Tamil Nadu.

January, 2000: India's population reaches 900 million. Hinduism Today discloses on its 21st anniversary that it has reached one million subscribers and will publish weekly in 25 nations. Editor confesses publicly he failed to foresee the single most profound change of the decade, which turned out to be...

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.


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