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Hindus Tested For Diabetes At Netherlands Festival

Posted on 2003/8/30 9:47:02 ( 1081 reads )

Rotterdams Dagblad

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, July 29, 2003: A hundred Hindu volunteers were tested for diabetes during the annual Milan celebration in the Hague. Approximately ten percent were found to have mild diabetes reported Karen Bree, project leader of the GGD (Public Health Service), Sunday. The GGD and the Dutch Diabetes Association had chosen the Milan Festival as the starting point of an information offensive about diabetes among the Hindu population of the Netherlands. In comparison with other communities, Hindus in the Netherlands have an increased risk of diabetes as a result of improper diet. The Hague has the largest Hindu community in the Netherlands. Of the 40,000 Hindu inhabitants of the Hague, an astounding forty percent get diabetes. The outcome of the tests during this year's event is not alarming according to Karen Bree. "We had expected this," said Bree. "It is especially our intention to make the people conscious that they are walking around with diabetes and the risks involved. And we can refer them to a general practitioner in the early stage. The sooner you know about it the better." Since 1985, the Milan festival has been celebrated every year to promote the integration of Hindus in the Netherlands. At least ten thousand visitors annually attend "Milan." It is the largest Hindu festival in Europe according to the organizers.

Nallur Chariot Festival Draws Thousands of Devotees

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:49:02 ( 1000 reads )


JAFFNA, SRI LANKA, August 26, 2003: The chariot or "Ther" festival of the historic Nallur Kandasamy Temple in Jaffna town was held Tuesday morning with thousands of devotees from all over the island and from abroad participating, sources attending the festival said. The chief Deity, Lord Murugan, was taken from the temple Tuesday morning around seven to the gaily-decorated chariot, which was surrounded by a large number of devotees. For a great gallery of photos, click "source" above and also follow the links to earlier reports.

On Day of Big Bath, Tragedy Hits Kumbha Mela

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:48:02 ( 966 reads )


NASHIK, INDIA, August 27, 2003: Thirty-seven pilgrims, including 28 women, were killed and 57 injured today in a stampede and drowning at the Kumbh Mela here. The stampede occurred in a narrow, winding bylane leading to the banks of the Godavari in Nashik around 12:40 pm when devotees walking down towards the ghats jostled with those returning after the holy dip. Several explanations are given for the cause. The BBC has seized on one uncorroborated version that has a Hindu "holy man" tossing coins to the crowd caused a stampede. Hinduism Today's reporter, Rajiv Malik, is at the Mela now and reports that poor crowd control measures were to blame, and there was no incident of a holy man tossing coins. He further states that the saints and sadhus at the Mela are upset by the circulation of this story which puts the blame on them instead of on lapses in organization of the massive event. In this case, the lapse was pilgrims streaming toward the river to share a narrow lane with those returning, whereas at the last Mela in Prayag, the flow of pilgrims was carefully channeled through one-way avenues. Hundreds of thousands of devotee continued to arrive on the banks of the Godavari, unfazed by the incidents. Security was later stepped up around the Ramkund bathing area.

Britain Recognizes Need of Romany-Speaking Gypsies

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:47:02 ( 1198 reads )


LONDON, UK, August 26, 2003: There are about 42,000 Gypsy children in British schools, and education authorities have now realized that the education system has largely ignored their special needs. Historically the Gypsies began their journey from the Indus valley in northern India, travelled through Persia, and reached Hungary and other parts of eastern Europe about 1,000 years ago. They are thought to have arrived on English soil about 400 years ago. Their language, known as Romany, is recognizable, but not entirely intelligible, to a Hindi-speaking person. In official records they are known as Romany Gypsies, one of the smallest communities among Britain's ethnic minority population dominated by Asians and Afro-Caribbeans. Britain has ensured that cultures of ethnic minority groups are well catered for in the education system, particularly those of the Asian communities speaking Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali. However, now education authorities have realized that the policy has largely failed to cater to the cultural needs of Romany Gypsy children. They rarely receive specialist support nor is their culture recognized in the curriculum. Schools Minister Stephen Twigg stated: "Gypsy traveller pupils present many challenges for schools. There are issues of racism, discrimination, stereotyping and a need for better links between parents and teachers. Schools must overcome these challenges and make sure that the pupils get as good an education as everyone else."

First-Ever Exhibition of Ganesh Art at the Kala Academy

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:46:02 ( 1096 reads )


GOA, INDIA, August 28, 2003: The Kala Academy of Art, Campal, Goa, is opening an exhibition of Ganesh Art August 28. Fifteen artists of Goan origin, both international and local, will display their works on Lord Ganesh. For more information, click "source" above.

Trinidad And Tobago Prime Minister Appears at Krishna Leela Festival

Posted on 2003/8/28 9:49:02 ( 933 reads )


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, August 25, 2003: Addressing the final leg of a nine-day religious drama festival entitled "Krishna Leela" yesterday, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning, said one of the major reasons why he attended the function was that he "fully recognized that the Prime Minister of this country is not just the Prime Minister of his political party, or of those who elected him, but Prime Minister of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago." "Notwithstanding our diversity of religion or diversity of culture and any other diversity, my main concern is to ensure T&T moves forward as one country, one people." Receiving repeated cheers from the hundreds gathered at the Comets Recreation Ground on Pierre Road, yesterday afternoon, Manning said he chose to surprise the people by accepting the invitation to the community festival.

Hindu Support Group Formed at Okinawa Bases

Posted on 2003/8/28 9:48:02 ( 1001 reads )


CAMP FOSTER, USA, April 14, 2002: Thanks to the efforts of Chaturbhuj N. Gidwani, the Okinawa American Hindu population has formed a Hindu study group and meets twice a week on U.S. military bases at Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster, according to this report from last year. "There are many people in the military with an Indian background. I felt they were missing their cultural heritage," said Gidwani, the chief mechanical engineer for the Marine bases Facilities Engineer Division. Gidwani, a religious lay leader, hopes one day the military will have Hindu chaplains to serve the 3,000 to 4,000 Hindu service members. Gidwani, 64, is a retired sergeant major in the Army Reserve. He grew up in Bombay, India, and immigrated to the United States when he was 28. "Back in 1997 the Pentagon agreed to give full support to a program of having Hindu lay leaders organize study groups on military bases," he said. He was instrumental in starting a group at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., and then, three years later, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The group at Kadena meets at 4 p.m. every Sunday at Chapel One. The Camp Foster group meets at noon Fridays in the Camp Foster Chapel Annex. Gidwani is following a study guide provided in "Self-Unfoldment," by Swami Chinmayanda. "It is well-designed and accepts all the faiths," Gidwani said. "I think anyone can come and sit in with us and gain knowledge from this."

Eight Annual Chariot Festival in Paris Rescheduled for September 7

Posted on 2003/8/28 9:47:02 ( 1039 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, August 28, 2003: The Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam temple in Paris is celebrating its annual chariot festival for Lords Ganesha and Murugan on September 7, 2003. Originally scheduled for August 31, around Ganesha Chaturti, it was postponed at the request of the government due to the World Athletic Championships being held in the city that same week. Every year thousands of Hindus pull the chariots through the Paris streets. For more information, click "source" above.

Archeological Society of India Says Temple Existed at Ramjanmabhoomi Site

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:49:02 ( 1012 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said a temple-like "massive structure" existed beneath the disputed site in Ayodhya in its 574-page report. The ASI report, submitted on August 22, was opened by the three-member Full Bench, comprising Justice SR Alam, Justice Khem Karan and Justice Bhanwar Singh on Monday. The bench has given six-week time to contesting parties for filing their objections on the sensational revelations made by the ASI in its two-volume report. "Viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with yield of stone and decorated bricks as well mutilated sculpture of divine couple...., fifty pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India," concluded the ASI in its report. The ASI team, led by Hari Manjhi and B R Mani, had excavated the disputed site for nearly five months between March 12 and August 7 2003 on the March 5 order of the High Court. In its report on the famous excavations, the ASI has dwelt at length the period from circa 1000 BCE to 300 BCE and from Sunga (first century BCE) to Kushan, Gupta, Post-Gupta up to Medieval Sultanate level (12-16 century CE). The ASI report mentions a huge structure (11-12th century) on which a massive structure, having a huge pillared hall (or two halls), with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it was constructed later on. "There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum of 50 x 30 meter in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure," states the report.

To prove its point, the report says that during the course of digging, nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstones were found. It also suggests that the center of the central chamber of the disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the makeshift structure. Significantly, the ASI report did not give any weightage to the glazed wares, graves and skeletons of animals and human beings found during the excavations. Rather it suggests that the glazed tiles were used in the construction of original disputed structure. Similarly, the celadon and porcelain shards and animal bones, skeletons recovered from trenches in northern and southern areas belong to late and post-Mughal period, it adds. In drafting its report, the ASI has also given importance to the carbon dating to ascertain the period of soil and artefacts found during digging. About the habitation around the disputed ground, the ASI report observed that "below the disputed site remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal period when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material, including pottery."

The ASI report has come as a rude shock to the Sunni Central Wakf Board and other Muslim organisations. "It is baseless, misinterpreted, based on wrong facts and drafted under intense political pressure," reacted Jafrayab Jilani, counsel for SCWB while announcing that they will challenge the report.

NCERT Scoffs at Historians' Case Against Textbook Error

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:48:02 ( 1029 reads )

News Report

DELHI, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The NCERT has dismissed eminent historians' allegations that its new history text books are "saffronised." The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an apex resource organization set up by the Government of India, with headquarters at New Delhi, to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on academic matters related to school education. Adopting a combative stance, the HRD Ministry body described the Indian History Congress (IHC)'s recently published critique as biased. JS Rajput, the NCERT director, said on Wednesday that the IHC's Index of Errors is "the work of scholars with insufficient and colored knowledge whose only purpose is to reduce young Indians' respect for their glorious past. They want us to forget that there was a time when we Indians were world leaders in science, medicine and astronomy. The IHC had blasted the new NCERT texts, which replaced those authored by scholars like Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra and Irfan Habib. The Index of Errors highlighted factual mistakes, which allegedly proved that NCERT was implementing the Sangh Parivar's agenda of "spreading jingoism and communal hatred through falsification of history," in the words of this news report. Habib describes as "woolly headed fantasy" the NCERT text's claim that ancient Indians knew the sphericity of the Earth or had advance knowledge of Pythagoras's theorem. Rajput defended the lines by pointing out that Dick Teresi, the internationally reputed scholar, has written the same things in "Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science," a book published in the United States last year. Following is a point-counterpoint of some of the disputed issues in the new texts:

New Rail Service to Famous Belur Math

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:47:02 ( 948 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, August 18, 2003: Pilgrims and tourists alike now have a third option for transportation if they choose to visit Belur Math in West Bengal. On August 16 of this year, Rail Minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated a rail link service to the historic site where Sri Ramakrishna lived. Previously the article points out, "This architectural splendor of West Bengal was accessible directly by road transport or by ferry service from Kolkata." Taking off from a location near Liluah station and terminating by the side of the Belar Scrapyard, the rail station is located close to the gates of the Math founded by Swami Vivekananda. Built by Eastern Railway, the rail service has a cream and saffron color scheme, runs six times each day, and the fare will be US 8 cents for each ride.

Hindu Women and the Succession Act

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:49:02 ( 1067 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 14, 2003: A long-standing controversy in favor of women has been resolved by the Supreme Court. At one time, if a Hindu married woman died intestate (that is, with no written will) or issueless (without children), her husband or father-in-law could lay claim to her estate even if such assets originated from her birth family. In a new ruling the court explained, "If a Hindu female inherited property from her father or mother, neither her husband or his heirs would get such property, but it would revert to the heirs of her own father or mother." The controversy originated from a 30-year dispute over properties left behind by Rajathiammal who died intestate and issueless. Rajathiammal had acquired considerable properties from her maternal aunt. Her brothers and sisters laid claim to the properties left behind by their married sister. At first Rajathiammal's brothers and sisters, who were Chettiars, lost the trial, but the initial ruling was subsequently reversed and Rajathiammal's property reverted back to her birth family. The article further explains, "If the property is inherited from her husband or father-in-law, it would devolve upon the heirs of her husband." In both cases it is important to keep in mind that this law applies only if the Hindu woman has died intestate or issueless.

India to Deport Swede who Built Huge Garuda Statue

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:48:02 ( 975 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, August 22, 2003: A self-styled Swedish holy man who built an ashram in India has been arrested and faces deportation. Harold Davidson, 45, built the ashram illegally on a two-acre plot in Mallayapuram, in southern Tamil Nadu state. It has a massive statue of Garuda, the holy eagle that is associated with the Lord Vishnu. Davidson came to India on six-month tourist visa. He extended it by two years but refused to leave when it expired. He appealed a court decision in 1994, and after eight years of wrangling lost the appeal. Police said Davidson then went into hiding. He was arrested on August 21, 2003 in the southern town of Kanchipuram. Villagers remember Davidson's arrival -- a white man sitting on the top of a rock seemingly unmindful of the scorching heat. He told them he had come to their village to serve them. Police said he was not engaged in any illegal activity, but was resented by some villagers. Davidson opposed the use of noisy public address systems and lodged more than 200 complaints with police over noise pollution.

Prime Minister Appeals to the Public to Stop Female Feticide

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:47:02 ( 1052 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 11, 2003: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke candidly about female feticide in the country and appealed to the public at large to stop the practice. Delivering his speech at a function to give away the fifth Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh award, Vajpayee said, "More than 1.5 million cases of female feticide have taken place in the last ten years. This is a blot on our society. Even in some economically advanced states, the number of female population is decreasing as compared to the male population. This is a warning bell." Even though the government has made efforts to stop the practice by forming NGO's to oversee the social aspect of the problem, it has proved ineffective.

Now, A Biotech Avatar For Ganesh

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:46:02 ( 942 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, August 22, 2003: Come Ganesh Chaturthi, and Bangaloreans will be treated to a new interpretation of one of the most popular Hindu Gods next week. This has fired the imagination of Rajeev Bhat, a city biotechnologist and a self-taught artist. He has interpreted Lord Ganesha in his paintings using human genes and chromosome images. He has scientifically presented the protein synthesis of an organism on his canvas, which symbolically takes the form of the outline of Lord Ganesha's trunk. And, according to him, the two are interlinked. "Just as Ganesha is the Omkara or the base for everything, genes are responsible for particular characteristics of a person. While chanting the Omkara during meditation, you achieve single-mindedness. Once you develop control over the mind it reflects in your personality, which becomes evident in behavior and is also related scientifically to your genes. I think this is the first time that such a painting has been created in Bangalore," Bhat, founder of the Riddhi Art Gallery said.

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