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Training Classes for "Ideal" Wives


Posted on 2003/7/9 9:43:02 ( 809 reads )

Source

BHOPAL, INDIA, July 1, 2003: After completing her class 12 examination, Deepti is now training at the Manju Sanskar Kendra to be an "ideal wife" to a boy she has only seen once. Six days a week, Deepti attends sermons at the Kendra, an institution set up to train women to surrender to the more powerful in the family -- in this case, the husband and in laws. Aildas Hemnani, the Kendra's head, coaches his students in a room that doubles as a prayer hall in a Sindhi-dominated residential area on the outskirts of Bhopal. A retired Madhya Pradesh government employee, Hemnani's idea to set up this unique institution evolved during a discussion with Sant Hridayaram, who is highly revered by the Sindhis. "I was distressed by the constant bickering among families all around me. At times, it led to divorce. I told Sant Hridayaram that families are breaking up because girls nowadays have too much ego. Parents don't have time to train their daughters properly. Girls must shed their egos to build a happy family. Sant Hridayaram suggested I start a training course." Women's groups first heard of the Kendra two years ago when a local newspaper published a feature on it. "All they teach is subjugation," says Kumud Singh, secretary of the Bhopal district committee of the National Federation of Indian Women. Singh feels that boys should also be coached. "Training and restraining boys is necessary. If men learn to respect women, half the problems families face would be solved." Hemnani says he would like to coach would-be husbands as well. "I wanted to train boys, too, but nobody is interested," he said. He has also created a course that would train women to be ideal mothers-in-law, but, like the course for boys that too didn't take off.




"Notice of Appeal" Filed in McDonald's Veggie Suit


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:49:02 ( 861 reads )

Source

CHICAGO, U.S.A., June 18, 2003: Michael B. Hyman, principal with Chicago law firm Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein, P.C. announced that several prominent members of the vegetarian community filed a notice of appeal related to a suit against fast food giant McDonald's. At issue in the appeal is a recent court ruling that allows the allocation of US$6 million in settlement funds to be directed to groups which do not uphold the values of vegetarianism, as required by the settlement agreement. The suit attacked McDonald's use of beef by-products in the preparation of McDonald's French fries and hash browns.



Some members of the vegetarian community (appellants) are not appealing the settlement itself, but assert that the $6 million distribution subverts the spirit and the letter of the settlement agreement by improperly directing funds to non-vegetarian groups, groups hostile to vegetarianism and groups in limited size and geographical reach. It is expected that the appeal could take more than two years to be argued and a decision rendered.



For more information, go to "source" above and click on the additional articles at the bottom of the page.




Alleged Encroachment of Trincomalee Hindu Temple Lands


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:48:02 ( 904 reads )

Source

TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA, July 01, 2003: The Trincomalee District Young Men Hindu Association (TDYMHA) brought to the notice of the Hindu Religious Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr. T. Maheswaran, that lands belonging to several Hindu temples in the Trincomalee district are being unlawfully occupied by the Singhalese, thus depriving the income from the lands to these temples. Mr. Sivapathasundaram says, "Peace will not come to Madathady area in Trincomalee, even though peace prevails elsewhere in the island, due to this encroachment of Hindu temple lands." He requested the minister to take immediate steps to declare the historic Koneswaram temple a sacred area. About four thousand Hindu temples and religious institutions were completely destroyed or damaged in the war in Sri Lanka. The Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry is taking steps to reconstruct the temple and uplift the standards of Hindus.




Kashmir Hosts 25,000 at Martand Shrine


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:47:02 ( 777 reads )

Source

JAMMU AND KASHMIR, July 8, 2003: About 25,000 Hindus prayed for their ancestors at a shrine in Kashmir following an age-old ritual that has not been performed in 14 years. Many came from refugee camps that are home to several thousand Kashmiri Hindus who left their homes after Muslim terrorism against Indian rule began in 1989. They performed the ritual at the historic shrine of Martand, 275 km east of Jammu. For hundreds of years, Hindus from India and abroad have visited Martand on special occasions to perform the ritual of praying for the peace of the souls of their departed ancestors.




India Moves to Protect Traditional Medicines


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:46:02 ( 800 reads )

Source

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 8, 2003: After losing the patents of neem, bitter gourd and basmati rice, the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) have now decided to strengthen the Indian claim about its traditional knowledge in this area and also help in countering the attempts of other countries to acquire a patent on Indian system of medicine. Most Ayurvedic drugs prevalent in India have not been patented and no effort has been made towards standardizing these drugs according to the international standard of World Health Organization, pointed out Dr. N. Singh, director of the International Institute of Herbal Medicine. At a time when the world is witnessing a paradigm shift in health culture, with more and more people turning to herbal remedies because of harmful side effects caused by synthetic chemical medicines, the need of the hour is to adopt an integrated approach that combines the best of the great Indian herbal heritage with the modern scientific knowledge for revitalizing herbal medicine, Dr. Pushpangadan said.




Quakes Caused Ancient Civilizations' Demise


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:45:02 ( 955 reads )

Source

PALO ALTO, U.S.A., December 17, 2001: New research by Stanford University scientists in Palo Alto, California, has revealed that earthquakes were the likely cause for the mysterious disappearance of ancient civilizations like the Harappan in India and the Mayan in Central America. The Harappan civilization disappeared in 1900 BCE, after almost 2,000 years of continuous existence. Most researchers could not explain how a city that bustled with activity one day could be buried under several feet of silt the next? Or how rows of heavy stone columns were all toppled in the same direction? Until recently, they blamed it on fires or flash floods. New research, conducted by Manika Prasad and Amos Nur at Stanford University, blames earthquakes. In 1819, a similar earthquake raised an 80 to 100-kilometer ridge of earth about 20 feet, creating an artificial dam. The evidence of seismic activity in the region, combined with the recent discovery of the ancient Saraswati riverbed at the center of the former Harappan region, offers a possible explanation for the civilization's decline.



The cities of Quirigua and Benque Viejo (Xunantunich), now located in Guatemala and Belize, were suddenly abandoned when the Mayan Classic Period ended in the late 9th century CE. Research conducted by Robert Kovach, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford, show that the cities could have been destroyed by a single earthquake centered on the Chixoy-Polochic and Motagua fault zones.




Unique Temple to Snake Deity Discovered in Orissa


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:44:02 ( 837 reads )

Source

BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, July 4, 2003: A temple built in 10 A.D. to Nagi has been discovered in the village of Ghasiandhuti, in Khurda district of Orissa. The villagers worshipped the Deity as "Uttarayani" not knowing that it was a Nagi (female Snake Deity) image. The Superintendent of the State Archaeological Department, Dr. B. K. Rath says the site was being inspected for conservation under the funds from the 11th Finance Commission. He said that, in the past, Naga (male) and Nagi sculptures have been found on the outer wall of temples such as the Rajarani Temple, the Megheswari temple and the Mukteswar temple but this is the first temple that has Nagi as the presiding Deity. Dr. Rath said the upper part of the three feet high sculpture inside the temple depicts a female Goddess in human form from waist upwards. The discovery of the Nagi temple indicates the prevalence of Naga cult in the area during 10th century CE.




The American Family Decision -- Who Will Raise the Children?


Posted on 2003/7/8 9:43:02 ( 801 reads )

Source

CHICAGO, U.S.A., July 1, 2003: At the beginning of the last century, American families did not have one major decision to make when starting a family. Wives and future mothers were already at home, and the decision whether to continue working or not, was not there. However, in today's families many young Americans marry but have children later, and by that time have gotten used to two paychecks. When the first child has been conceived, the all important question arises, "Who will take care of the child." Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School says, "The single biggest economic shift in the American family over the last century, and even in the last thirty years, is that mothers continue to work. The two-paycheck family is more vulnerable because it has adjusted its expenses upward because of the second salary." Financial Advisor Brian Ashe helps couples to look at their finances and develop a budget. Ashe explains, "They need to know how much income and expenses they have monthly so they understand where they can cut back if one stops working. Too many think the second income allows them to increase their lifestyle as opposed to savings." Paul and Laura Koch, both 41 and parents of 4 children, made the adjustment from the two paycheck family to one income. Laura Koch says, "My company offered me a part-time management job. We decided it was more important to raise our family ourselves so we made a lifestyle change. I used to spend $15 on lunch, now it's a sandwich from the refrigerator." The Weiss family decided that Ellen would stay home until all the children were of school age. Ellen Weiss says, "My working takes pressure off my husband, and our life overall is better since we're not strapped for cash. We could cover bills on one salary but savings, lessons and other extras would stop." Still others have explored the option of the stay-at-home, parent-earning, income. Andy and Radha Sharma formed a company called Cozy Spaces Ltd. that offers affordable furniture from their native India. They have invested US$20,000 and are confident that this decision will allow them to make money while raising their own children at home.




President A. Vaithilingam Addresses Annual Malaysian Hindu Sangam Conference


Posted on 2003/7/5 9:49:02 ( 853 reads )

Source

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, June 29, 2003: The Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) recently held their 26th annual national meeting where Datuk Vaithilingam, president, outlined a "Renaissance Plan" for the Sangam's continuing religious work in Malaysia. What follows is a summation of his remarks:



Improving religious education among the youth is at the top of our list. "Only then can they have the basic tools in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with other religious and ethnic groups." Implanting in all Hindus a spirit of service to the community using the "ATMAH project," already implemented in some areas of Malaysia. Nurturing and helping Hindu cultural values flourish again within the Hindu community. Enhancing the roles of temples beyond traditional worship and making them powerful cultural and community centers where Hindus can join together for religious entertainment and in service of others. In order to fulfill these goals, Hindus must use science and technology. "The whole array of modern media and a variety of languages should be made use of to make the message of Hinduism more accessible to all. Language should not be a stumbling block for religious activities." Create a Hindu Academy with modern facilities to train religious teachers, counselors and youth. And, in order to make these visions possible, the Malaysian Hindu Sangam must raise funds from a variety of sources.



"The issue of land for temples is a very long outstanding issue. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam calls upon the Federal Government, and all State Governments, to grant the land on which they (temples) are situated to all existing temples... Places of worship must be respected no matter which religion they belong to...demolishing of temples including the destruction of Deities placed in these temples" shows a lack of respect for the religious sensibilities of the Malaysian Hindu community. The MHS asks everyone "solve these problems with discussion rather than destruction. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam is a responsible organization which has always cooperated with governmental and nongovernmental organizations. We, therefore, appeal to all concerned to liaise or contact us with whatever issues faced and we shall do everything possible within our means to assist." Also, the Sangam has worked together with Yayasan Strategik Sosial of the MIC on many projects, like pre-marriage courses, Youth Training Programs, and Community Service Projects, to overcome the social problems facing the Hindu community. "We hope this cooperation continues and gains in strength."



In conclusion, Datuk Vaithilingam urged "all Hindus in Malaysia to unite and work together for the progress and upliftment of the Indian community in general and the Hindu community in particular."




"Om" as Sock Decoration Makes U.S. Hindus Unhappy


Posted on 2003/7/5 9:48:02 ( 1151 reads )

Source

NEW YORK, U.S.A., July 3, 2003: India Cause, a watch dog group of Hindus in America, is unhappy over the use of the Om symbol as decoration on socks. "We are outraged seeing such repetitive insults and attack on Indian culture," India Cause coordinator Sanjeev Dahiwadkar said. Gold Medal Hosiery in New York, which distributes the offending socks, declined to comment.



Dahiwadkar said there had been at least three instances where India and Indian culture were shown disrespect in the past by using Hindu Gods as toilet seat decorations, a magazine picture mocking Mahatma Gandhi by having him beaten up by a muscular man, and images of Lord Ganesha as slippers (sandals) decoration. "India Cause is planning to send letters to US distributors and manufacturers about how such products affect the feeling of Indians in general."



HPI adds: Western people are often unaware of the significance of feet for many Asians (not only Hindus). Some years ago, the first president Bush presented the Chinese president with a pair of Texas cowboy boots upon which had been set the Chinese flag. Aides quietly explained to the president's entourage that this was considered a most demeaning placement for the flag. Scenes in Bollywood movies of the villain being beaten or garlanded with shoes are completely lost on the average American. So in these protests, it is necessary to take a step back and explain the broader context. For example, one could say that touching something with the feet is, to a Hindu, about as insulting as spitting on it would be to an American.




Vietnam to Preserve Champa Kingdom Temple Towers


Posted on 2003/7/5 9:47:02 ( 768 reads )

Asia Pulse

HANOI, VIETNAM, June 30, 2003: Another US$812,000 has been invested in preserving a cluster of five Champa temple towers at My Son, the Hindu holy land of the old Champa Kingdom, 70 km southwest of central Da Nang City. The project is being jointly carried out by the Vietnamese government, UNESCO and the Italian University of Milan. The towers feature the most impressive and ornate decorations of all in the My Son complex, each with hundreds of brick God masks attached to its base.



Located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district of central coastal Quang Nam province, with more than 70 architectural structures built of stone and bricks between the 7th and 13th centuries, My Son was considered the kingdom's largest center of architecture. Through studies of stelas and chronicles of the kingdom, historians have found that My Son used to be the most important holy land of the Champa between the 4th and 15th century. They also discovered the structure of the complex that included the central temple devoted to Lord Siva was surrounded by temples in honor of gods and kings. The major temples in the complex were all dedicated to Lord Siva -- the guardian of Champa kings and Bhadesvara who was the first king of the Amaravati region in the late 4th century.



Each temple group is characterized by a gate tower, a main tower symbolizing the heaven, a long tower, shaped like a house, providing lodging for pilgrims, a storage tower for objects of worship and smaller towers in honor of the Gods of direction and the stars. The towers are symmetrical and in the shape of a mountain, symbolic of Meru Mount, kingdom of God Siva. They also feature elaborate engravings of many Gods. Inscription on the oldest stela, dating back to the fourth century, reads that King Bhadresvara built the first temple in honor of God Siva-Bhadresvara. Two centuries later, the wooden temple was burned down. In the early 7th century, King Sambhuvarman rebuilt the temple with more durable materials and the remnants remain until today. The following dynasties restored the temple and added new ones.




Kenyan National Motto Controversial to Some


Posted on 2003/7/5 9:46:02 ( 1046 reads )

African Church Information Service

NAIROBI, KENYA, June 30, 2003: Controversy is brewing in Kenya between Christians and members of the public over the country's national motto Kenya's had for 40 years, "Harambee." A number of Christians, drawn mainly from the Pentecostal churches, want the motto erased from the country's coat of arms, alleging that Harambee gives honor to a Hindu Goddess called Ambee (Kali). "As committed Christians and patriotic Kenyans, we are disturbed by the realization that our national motto gives honor and glory to a Hindu Goddess, yet as Christians, we are aware that honor and glory belong to God alone," Linda Agalo-Achieng of Alpha Kenya, a Christian organization, told a commission here, on June 24.



But some members of the public have challenged this view, saying that they have grown up knowing that Harambee means "pooling together for development." "We should not ignore the fact that Harambee as our motto has helped build schools in this country. We must not narrow it down to a spirit since it is deeply entrenched in our culture," said Wafula Buke, a human rights activist.



Investigations into the origin of the Gujarati word, according to the Christians, indicates that Indian workers, while working on the Mombasa-Kampala railway more than a century ago, lightened their work by chanting "Haree Ambee," which in their words meant "Hail, Ambee." With time, the words came to be assimilated into Kiswahili, Kenya's national language, to mean "pooling together."



"There is a spirit behind the word. When Kenyans shout the motto, they get into contact with that spirit. This is offending to Christians," says a local pastor. But Mr. Kabacia Gatu says Kenyans should see Harambee from its original meaning of pooling resources together for development.



The current debate centers on the government's instituted commission to evaluate whether public fundraising, also known as Harambee should be retained or scrapped. The commission has been gathering views from the public and not yet come to a conclusion.




Hindu Temple in Bothell Becomes Pacific Northwest's Meeting Place


Posted on 2003/7/4 9:49:02 ( 791 reads )

Source

BOTHELL, UNITED STATES, July 2, 2003: For Hindus in Seattle, and as far a way as Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Canada, the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center has become the central place to worship. Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Lakshmi Devi are the main Deities presiding in the temple, which serves not only as a place of worship, but also as a place for young and old, immigrant and American-born, to be part of a community.



The dream for a temple started 18 years ago when local Hindus began gathering in area homes to pray. Their worship has manifested a 6,000-square-foot temple on four acres that used to house a nursery. Should you wish to visit, the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center is located at 3818 212th St. S.E., Bothel, Washington. For additional information kindly log onto the temple's website at link.




Lord Jagannath's Devotional Chariot Makers


Posted on 2003/7/4 9:48:02 ( 776 reads )

Source

PURI, INDIA, July 1, 2003: They are chariot makers for the Gods, and millions of devotees depend on them to help make the festival, dedicated to Lord Jagannath, successful. The 10 artisan families in the temple town of Puri have been making the chariots of devotion for hundreds of years. They are known as Maharana, or carpenters, and are given their due status in society. The artisans do other jobs for ten months, then in May they become very busy making the chariots from the rare fashi wood. "We get a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction because we are making cars for the Gods after working throughout the year for men. The temple officials give us US$1.72 a day, which is less than what we get for any other work that we do, but it doesn't matter," said 81-year-old Damodar Moharana. "We wait for the occasion because it provides us fixed money as well as gives us God's blessings. We work day and night to meet the deadline given to us by the temple authorities so that the chariot rolling festival begins on the scheduled date. There has been no delay ever as far I know. This is our hereditary tradition, and we have been doing this for hundreds of years," he added.



The three gigantic chariots, Nandighosh, Taladhwaja and Deva Dalana of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, pulled by devotees, are built in front of the famous Jagannath temple. The Nandighosh is the biggest with a height of 15.20 meters and 16 wheels. The Taladhwaja chariot is 14.81 meters tall and the Deva Dalana chariot is the smallest at 14.32 meters. The cost to build the chariots is $97,296.56.



But all is not well with the hard-working artisan families. "The erstwhile king of Puri provided us land and houses. We still have the homes but have lost the cultivable lands because of a 1963 law. As a result, we are forced to work for others," said Moharana.




New Amarnath Cave to be Opened for Pilgrims


Posted on 2003/7/4 9:47:02 ( 772 reads )

Source

JAMMU AND KASHMIR, June 30, 2003. Set amidst rocky terrain and picturesque pine trees, the sacred cave shrine of Lord Siva in Chandanwari hills of South Kashmir is all set to redefine the annual Amarnath Yatra with the Jammu and Kashmir Government making efforts to open it for pilgrims this year.



"Work on the construction of metaled foot path to the 4,000-meters-high, three-mouthed cave shrine is going on a war footing, and efforts are on to open it for pilgrims this year," Minister of State for Tourism Gulam Ahmed Mir said here today. The cave temple complex is surrounded by thick birch trees, and comprises three caves, all dedicated to Lord Siva. Located just above the tree line, the main Siva statue is sculpted from black marble and is two feet high. On both sides of Lord Siva's murthi are nearly a dozen lingams.



The contents of the third cave continues to be a "mystery" due to darkness within, according to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Parvez Dewan, who along with a shepherd, Haji Mohammed Rafique Bocken, discovered it two years ago. He pointed out that Amarnath Yatra pilgrims could have been using this route years back however, topographical changes may have later blocked it. He said the recent rediscovery of the Hapatgandh and Shiv Marg has given a new dimension to the belief that the Amarnath Yatra dates back to even before 1750 A.D. "We want people to know about this cave. Devotees can visit this shrine nearly eight to nine months a year, and this could help alleviate the problem of unemployment in the area," the commissioner said.


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