Hinduism is a religion which is practiced widely in South Asia. It is one of the oldest religions and often referred to as the Sanatan Dharma. The culture and the way of life of large part of South Asia are influenced by Hinduism. It is also the religion of the majority population in India, Nepal, and there is significant following in other countries of the sub-continent. An Important aspect of the religion is that there is no single founder, no single scripture and has several varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. But all the systems acknowledge the authority of the Vedas. Since ancient times the principles of Hinduism have been studied by many travelers from all across the world and has been accepted by followers of other cultures too.
Travelers from ancient India have carried the message of Hinduism to lands far away and has been widely accepted.Therefore we see imprints of the influence of Hinduism in many countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and many other countries of South East Asia. Later when there was a large-scale migration of people from the sub-continent to countries like Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam and islands in the Caribbean seas they also carried with them the vision, philosophy and beliefs of Hinduism along with them. And the religion has since flourished in these far-away places and also registered a significant increase in the number of followers. These followers of Hinduism have assimilated good values from the local culture and given back equally to the local people.
The festivals and rituals practiced by the migrant have added color and vigor to the local culture. The festivities have also taken a different shade with the influence of the local culture. For example, Gudi padva or Ugadi as celebrated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh marks the beginning of the New Year. Likewise in faraway Bali, in Indonesia, the same day marks at the beginning of the Balinese New year but the festivities are of a different nature. The day is celebrated in Silence with no fire and light being lit up. In Fiji as in parts of the sub-continent, Holi, and Diwali is celebrated with a lot of vigor along with rituals like Fire walking as practiced in southern India.
In Mauritius Maha shivratri, Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali is as much a part of the local culture as it is for the Hindus in the Indian sub-continent. Similar festivities are part of the Hindu culture in Malaysia, Singapore in Asia, Trinidad and Guyana in the Caribbean. And Hinduism has drawn from the local culture to become broader in its outlook and in turn has added value to the life of the local people. And the local culture has been able to draw strength from the Hindu philosophy and way of life. Thus Hinduism remains a strong beacon of Hope, strength and self-belief not just in India but in far-away lands too.