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HAF Applauds Textbook Publishers for Transformational Changes in Depiction of Hinduism in Texas
Posted on 2014/11/26 17:41:02 ( 149 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 24, 2014 (Press Release): In a landmark moment for the Hindu American community, the Texas State Board of Education voted late last week to adopt new textbooks that dramatically improve the way Hinduism is depicted. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) was involved in the adoption process from the beginning, working with scholars and historians to ensure a constructive and accurate understanding of Hinduism. As a result of the changes made by publishers in response to HAF's reviews, the textbooks now present a picture of Hinduism that emphasizes the religion's core philosophies with accurate explanations of key concepts.

"This is a game-changing moment for our community," said Houston-based HAF Board Member Rishi Bhutada. "This is the first time that this type of textbook reform has ever been accomplished on a statewide level anywhere in the US, and to do it in Texas, one of the two biggest textbook markets in the country, is amazing." Educators, several publishers, and other advocacy groups worked closely with HAF to make sure the representations of Hinduism were not steeped in the archaic and inaccurate "caste, cows, and karma" approach that has dominated textbook content for years. "This is transformational for the Hindu American community," Dr. Balaji said.

The textbook vote is final, and the textbook changes will reflect in materials next year. The Hindu American Foundation's evidence-based efforts in education reform have been acknowledged in Texas and across the country, including prominent social studies and history organizations such as the National Council for Social Studies.

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Tobago Hindus get Land Deed
Posted on 2014/11/26 17:40:57 ( 245 reads )

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TOBAGO, November 26, 2014 (Newsday): HPI Note: Tobago is the latter part of Trinidad and Tobago. It is 120 square miles, 6% of the country's total land area and holds 4% of its population. We can't find a statistic for how many Hindus live there, but the entire country has a population of 1,328,019 of which 18.2% are Hindus, or 241,699, of which 4%, in theory, live in Tobago or nearly 10,000--but that is just a guess.

The Tobago Hindu Society (THS) received a deed for four lots of land in Signal Hill from Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London on Tuesday. In a statement, the THA said this land, located opposite the Scarborough General Hospital, will be used for the construction of a Hindu temple. Previously, members of the THS had been worshipping at a private home.

"It is the first step in securing a Hindu mandir in Tobago. It is the first that is going to be built here and we hope it will benefit all the people of Trinidad and Tobago," said Deosaran Sinanan, THS public relations officer.

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Yeshu Puja - a How to Guide
Posted on 2014/11/26 17:40:51 ( 301 reads )

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UNITED STATES, November 26, 2014 (YouTube): This rather odd YouTube video is a how-to guide to perform a Yeshu, or Jesus puja. It is an example of "inculturation," a deceptive missionary practice in which the religious rites of another faith are adapted to Christian worship. In this video, puja articles, Sanskrit chants, bhajans, and even the breaking of a coconut are all given Christian connotations.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/26 17:40:46 ( 166 reads )

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Man needs a guru. But a man must have faith in the guru's words. He succeeds in spiritual life by looking on his guru as God Himself. Therefore the Vaishnavas speak of guru, Krishna and Vishnu equally.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)

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"Gita My Basis for Counselling Hindus in U.S. Military," Says Dharm
Posted on 2014/11/25 16:06:23 ( 306 reads )

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UNITED STATES, November 17, 2014 (The Hindu): Indian-American Pratima Dharm has been a pioneer on multiple counts - last month she was appointed as the first ever Hindu chaplain of a U.S. university and in 2011 she made history after the Pentagon named her as its first Hindu and inter-faith chaplain.

She served in the U.S. military through some of the hardest times faced by its soldiers in the battlefields of Iraq, and she counseled many of them afflicted by PTSD, steering them away from suicide, and helping them reclaim their familial relationships. She also participated in humanitarian aid missions into the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq, an experience that left her with a lasting ties to the people there.

In a conversation with Narayan Lakshman Ms. Dharm spoke of her deep links with India and the principles of Hinduism that she associates with her upbringing in the country, and also shared her thoughts on Hindus in the U.S. military and the kind of leader she hopes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be.

Much more of this interesting article at 'source.'

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World Hindu Congress Concludes in Delhi
Posted on 2014/11/25 16:06:17 ( 279 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 25, 2014 (World Hindu News): World Hindu Congress 2014 was completed successfully with more than 1600 Hindu leaders from 50 countries participating. The mammoth congress had seven conference agendas, 45 sessions, 1500 delegates and 200 speakers from 50 countries. The conference reverberated the Hindu resurgence globally and enabled Hindu leaders and representatives from across the globe to share solution models for Hindu social, political, youth, women, business and media requirements.

The conference was held at Ashoka Hotel New Delhi under World Hindu Foundation (WHF). Swami Vigyanananda, president of World Hindu Foundation, thanked all participants and wished all the best of learning and development from World Hindu Congress 2014. The next World Hindu Congress 2018 is planned in United States under the stewardship of Dr. Abhaya Asthana.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/25 16:06:11 ( 261 reads )

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The atman in you is that which indwells all things." "Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things." "It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.5

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Pupils Will Study Two Religions in New UK Program
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:56 ( 387 reads )

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ENGLAND, November 19, 2014 (BBC): Pupils in England will have to study two faiths under government proposals for a new "more academically rigorous" religious studies GCSE. The aim is to ensure pupils have a strong understanding of the central role of religion on British culture, says the government. The Department for Education says it has worked closely with experts from "all the major faith groups" to develop the qualification which is due for first teaching in September 2016.

Under the proposals, pupils will study "the beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom" of at least two religions for the first half of their GCSE. The second half of the syllabus will allow pupils to study one or both in depth: looking at religious practice, religious texts and how faiths tackle philosophical and ethical issues.

Students may choose from Buddhism, Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism. The option to study a humanist or non-religious world view is not included in this list.

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How Hema Ramaswamy Found Healing Through Traditional Indian Dance
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:50 ( 307 reads )

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USA, November 19, 2014 (By Arun Venugopal, WNYC): Hema Ramaswamy, a young Indian-American woman with Down syndrome, performs her arangetram. After many years of preparation, Hema Ramaswamy of Middletown, N.J., is ready to unveil her arangetram, which literally means "ascending the stage." It is a major accomplishment that takes years of preparation. This moment, when a student of dance or music asserts her artistic independence, usually happens in the teen years. Ramaswamy is 23.

Ramaswamy, who has Down syndrome, originally began dancing for health reasons. "But then it became part of her, and she really loves and enjoys it, and it took her 13 years with a lot of challenges, midway, to complete this," explained her father, Ram. "And now today is a perfect day for her -- her graduating in this art." She was able to achieve this despite her diagnosis and despite two major surgeries for a dangerous leak of cerebrospinal fluid. Her father said dance has strengthened Ramaswamy's muscles and given her fine motor skills she simply didn't have before."I feel so happy in dancing," she beams, surrounded by a flurry of doting aunties while preparing for her performance.

Her father tells the crowd that Ramaswamy's arangetram was more than a dance graduation; it was the day she became, in the eyes of the world, a full individual. Having achieved this goal, Ramaswamy says, she now plans to go to college.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/24 18:25:43 ( 319 reads )

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It is far easier to conquer others than to conquer oneself, because the former can be attained by recourse to outside means, while the latter can be achieved only with one's own mind.
-- Mahatma Gandhi(1869-1948)

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Three-day Global Hindu Conference Set to Begin in Delhi
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:30:00 ( 658 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA , November 20, 2014 (by Deeptiman Tiwari, Times of India): HPI Note: Hinduism Today's editor, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, will be making a presentation on Hindu media at this conference.

With the objective of bringing together Hindus at a time "when the community is beset by very serious challenges and is standing at a critical crossroad," a three-day conference will kick off on Friday with the blessings of the Sangh Parivar. Called World Hindu Congress (WHC), the event will have RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Dalai Lama as part of the inaugural ceremony, while BJP president Amit Shah, Union ministers Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman will be key speakers among others.

According to the organizers, the event is expected to have 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries. This will include politicians from Mauritius, the Caribbean, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, where the Hindu population is significant. Organizers say the necessity for the event was felt because Hindus were not only being persecuted in countries such as Malaysia, Mauritius and Bangladesh, they were also discriminated against in their own country.

"World over, Christians and Muslims and even Jews have organized themselves and have global platforms to address their issues. We are one billion strong, but we don't have such a platform. Pandit said it was time the elite and the intellectuals among Hindus came together and introspected on the challenges facing the community and found a solution irrespective of the government. "We have realized, governments have political compulsions. It can only do as much," Pandit said. "Society needs revamped education that is not aping the West blindly, it needs impetus to business, market access, women's empowerment. That's what this conference aims to do by bringing together CEOs, engineers, doctors, politicians and economists on one platform," Pandit said.

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First Bhutanese American Advocacy Day
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:27 ( 588 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2014 (Hindu American Foundation): A delegation of nearly 30 Bhutanese Hindus from across the country made history on Capitol Hill on Monday with the first ever Bhutanese American Advocacy Day. The unprecedented event, organized by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), featured a congressional briefing along with meetings with the State Department and several House and Senate offices.

"The Hindu American Foundation is honored to have provided a platform to give voice to some 80,000 Bhutanese refugees resettling in the U.S., and the entire Diaspora in exile worldwide," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF's Executive Director. "Equally notable is the documentary, The Refugees of Shangri La, that has given international focus to an otherwise untold story."

The briefing, titled Casualties of Gross National Happiness, was held in conjunction with the Congressional Nepal Caucus co-chairs Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Panelists sought to educate policy makers on the challenges endured by Bhutanese Hindus resettling here in the U.S., as well as the ongoing human rights concerns in Bhutan. The day was capped off with a meeting between the entire delegation and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the first and only Hindu in the United States Congress.

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Youths Clean up Streets around Meenakshi Temple
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:21 ( 586 reads )

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INDIA, November 19, 2014 (The Hindu): While most of the city was just about starting a calm and peaceful Sunday morning, a group of youngsters got ready at the crack of dawn with brooms and dustpans. The members of Maatralaam, a city-based youth organisation, organized a clean-up of the streets around Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here. Speaking about the initiative, G. Sriraman, one of the founders of the organization, said that they wanted to focus on cleanliness around the temple which was a world-renowned tourist site and one of the city's most important landmarks.

M. Pradeepa, a city-based software engineer and a founder of Maatralaam, said that they were joined by nearly 35 volunteers. "From students of class XII to teachers and professionals, most of the volunteers joined us after seeing a post on Facebook. They were very enthusiastic and we expect more support for such future initiatives as people are rearing to contribute towards helping their city progress," she said. The members of Maatralaam further said that they hoped to carry out more clean-up drives through the city.


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/11/20 17:24:14 ( 538 reads )

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Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.
-- Tirukkural 350

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India Appoints Minister Of Yoga
Posted on 2014/11/19 16:03:18 ( 750 reads )

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INDIA, November 13, 2014 (The Huffington post): Living up to his promise to promote India's therapeutic traditions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a ministry of yoga and alternative therapies for the country this week. Reuters reports that the AAYUSH portfolio will include traditional medicines and practices of ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. Shripad Yesso Naik was appointed to head the ministry. "This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses," Naik said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

India's prime minister is known as an avid yoga fan. Modi used his September address to the United Nations General Assembly to promote the practice and call on member countries to mark June 21 as International Yoga Day. "Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature," Modi said at the U.N. "It should bring a change in our lifestyle and create awareness in us, and it can help fighting against climate change."

India's mission to the U.N. has started preparing a draft resolution on the topic of International Yoga Day and will push for its adoption by the end of the year. So far, the resolution has received support from countries like the United States, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Canada.

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