The Hindu Maha Sabha of South Africa was established in the year 1921 with the sole aim of promoting Hindu Dharma and strengthening unity amongst all Hindus residing in South Africa. The Hindu Maha Sabha inculcates the best principles of Hindu philosophy, religion, ethics, culture, values etc. into the followers of Hinduism in South Africa. To spread unity and brotherhood amongst all Hindu linguistic groups in South Africa is the main focus behind the formation of the Maha Sabha. It also strives towards building good relations between the Hindus and other religions of the world at local, national and international levels. The Maha Sabha carries out various services with accountability, selfless service, continuous improvement, fairness, respect and unity.
The South African Hindu Maha Sabha has the following objectives to fulfil
- to coordinate and endorse the social, spiritual, religious, moral cultural, and educational development of the whole Hindu community in the Republic of South Africa and across other countries;
- to promote the learning of Hindu religion, philosophy, arts literature, and science;
- to work with other Hindu organizations in order to perform objectives which are of mutual interest;
- to collaborate with other Hindu organizations working on similar lines in order to strengthen Hindu faith;
- to persuade people from different professions and walks of life to volunteer in different activities conducted by Maha Sabha;
- to enlist the assistance of manufacturers and companies for the analysis, investigation and certification of different food and ingredients; to check their acceptability levels as maintained in Hindu scriptures;
- to raise funds required for effective mobilization of resources as per the plans of the Hindu Maha Sabha;
- to promote the learning of vernacular languages;
- to strengthen Hindu belief amongst its followers and to work for the advancement of Hindu Dharma in South Africa;
- to promote and encourage efforts made by Hindu bodies to establish facilities of an educational nature for the advancement of the Hindu Dharma in South Africa;
- to organize conventions, lectures, workshops, seminars, symposia and conferences to further the objects of the Maha Sabha;
- to attend to all such matters as may be necessary or expedient to further the interests of the Maha Sabha;
- to look after social, spiritual, religious, cultural, moral, educational advancement of the Hindu community in South Africa and other parts of the world;
Origin of Hinduism in South Africa
The agricultural labour requirement of colonial Natal around mid 19th century started the Hindu habitation in South Africa. These Hindus were brought as individuals here and were deprived of social status like marriages, right to privacy, etc. The Hindus of those times were also deprived of their social rights. It is well believed that the rich culture of Hindus saved them from political and social onslaughts of the colonials. Slowly and steadily, Hindus living in Africa emerged as a united community and the people of this community adhered to the customs, beliefs, and various traditional and religious practices.
Unfortunately, on the other side, it was also a fact that Indians born on the land of South Africa started getting overwhelmed by the cultural practices of other missionaries. On the face of it, there was a serious call for preservation of the Hindu culture and as part of this initiative, a religious Punjabi living in South Africa, Mr M.C.Varman, persuaded Professor Bhai Paramanand to visit South Africa to disseminate and inculcate the values of Hindu religion and culture.
The Pillar of Maha Sabha
In the year 1905, the first Hindu missionary arrived at South Africa headed by Professor Bhai Parmanand. This visit is today considered as a milestone in establishing the Hindu ethics and culture on the land of this African republic. Professor Parmanand thus set the foundation of Hindu Maha Sabha in Africa. Amongst the people in South Africa, he reignited the passion and enthusiasm required to practice Hindu Dharma. The Hindu Maha Sabha thus formally came into existence and eventually became an integral part of the Hindus residing in South Africa.
SAHMS Shuddha Committee
South African Hindu Maha Sabha has taken the responsibility of promoting Hinduism in South Africa. The institute started taking stern initiatives after receiving serious complains from the Hindu community in South Africa about the possible contamination of animal ingredients in the so called vegetarian food. Few Hindus are strictly vegetarians and during the times of pious occasions and fasts all Hindus are strictly prohibited from eating non-vegetarian items. The Shuddha Logo is the official trademark of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha (SAHMS) and the Shuddha Committee is engaged in providing certificate program in understanding vegetarianism and vegetarian food. The guidelines created by the Shuddha Committee used in accrediting the products were tagged along with the Suddha logo. The SAHMS Shuddha Committee is a non-profit venture and all fees are levied to cover administrative costs of the unit.
To get accredited by the SAHMS Shuddha Committee and to get its logo the following criteria are required to be fulfilled by a particular product.
- Free from, protein, animal meat, fat or tissue (poultry, meat, shellfish or fish), or animal, carcass fats, bone stock, gelatine, insect, extracts from insects and any slaughtered ingredients.
- Any edible or non-edible packaged material used to sell, protect, distribute food should not contain any of the above, e.g. sausage casings, wax coatings on cheese and related foods, etc.
- If the non-vegetarian material is absent from the final product but is used in packaging of vegetarian product, such food should be strictly prohibited.
- The food should –
- Contain no eggs
- Be Cruelty free
- Have No animal testing
- Be free from Alcohol
- Have no cross contamination during the time of production
Headquarters – Lornegrey Building,
cnr Ismail C.Meer (Lorne) and Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Grey) Streets,
(A change in headquarters can be effected only at the Biennial General Meeting)
SAHMS Shuddha Committee
|Physical Address||:||Lornegrey Medical Centre|
|280 Dr Yusuf Dadoo Str (old Grey Street)|
|Contact Number||:||+27 (0)31 309 1951|
|Fax Number||:||+27 (0)31 309 1959|