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File:SADF Hindu Chaplain Shoulderboard.jpg

SADF_Hindu_Chaplain_Shoulderboard.jpg(104 × 262 pixels, file size: 11 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)


English: Image of shoulder board worn by Hindu chaplains in the South African Defense Force (military)
Date Image approved Aug 22, 1996
Source Colonel Sybrand van Niekerk, South African Defense Force
Author Official federal government of Republic of South Africa, reproduced on letter from Colonel van Niekerk, with info from his doctoral thesis.
( Reusing this file)
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A description of the meaning behind the symbol, from Colonel van Niekerk's letter dated, May 24, 2011: The Chaplain General asked me to reply to your e-mail concerning the Hindu chaplain’s insignia. You are very welcome to place the information on Wikipedia. The source of the info is: Van Niekerk, S.G. 2002. The History, Role and Influence of the South African Military Chaplaincy: 1914-2002. Doctoral Thesis University of South Africa, p390.

On 1 October 1996 Cpln Kiriti Kamalakantha (Krish) Pillay became the first Hindu military chaplain to be appointed in the SANDF. He has now retired and a second Hindu chaplain has subsequently been appointed. Both chaplains were appointed in the SA Navy and is addressed as “Vipra”, a Sanskrit word similar in meaning to “Reverend”. On 22 August 1996 the Chief of the SANDF authorised the Hindu chaplain badges that had been designed by the Hindu Advisory Board. These badges are unique as all other Hindu chaplains around the world, at the time of development) wore military rank badges. The emblem on these insignia is a clay lamp that represents the human body into which must be introduced the oil of devotion to God. The mind is to be purified like the white wick through character-efficiency and selfless service. When such a mind is saturated with devotion, the Light of God is enkindled within a person. The lamp symbolises the perennial quest of all Hindus: Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya - “O Lord, lead us from darkness to Light”

On May 24, this information from Colonel van Niekerk was sent to Major General Cecil Richardson, the Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force, to help the U.S. Armed Forces Chaplains Board (the board made up of U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of Chaplains) as that board works to make a recommendation for a Hindu chaplain insignia for the U.S. military.


Public domain This work has been released into the public domain by its author, South African Defense Force. This applies worldwide.
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