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Hindu Press International
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"No Thanks" to British Grant for Indian Farming
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:45:02 ( 681 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 4, 2002: A British government grant of US$90 million to fund farming development in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) will throw millions of farmers out of work, MPs in London have been told. The massive grant is being given to the state government to consolidate small farms into large ones, buy huge machines to sow and harvest crops, introduce new pesticides to promote the growth of produce and to start the growing of genetically-modified (GM) crops. But the funding for the project, known as Vision 2020, from Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), has provoked fury from farmers and international charities. A delegation of farmers and agricultural scientists from the Indian state has flown to London and has already met scores of MPs, demanding that the grant be cancelled. The powerful environmental and human rights organizations Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth and the Small Farms Alliance are supporting the farmers. The Institute of Development Studies and the International Institute for Environment are also supporting the campaign by the farmers' delegation against British interference in traditional and family farming in the huge, but poor Indian state. Delegation leader P.V. Satheesh said: "Vision 2020 is an aid package for big farmers and corporations who supply machines, pesticides and who want to promote untested GM crops. The British grant will result in huge corporation-owned farms, instead of hundreds of small ones which give a livelihood and jobs to millions of peasant farmers and their families. These farmers will be thrown off their land and in AP, there is no other work for them."




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Jammu Temple Closes Doors for Purification First Time in 150 Years
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:49:02 ( 684 reads )


Source: The Hindu





SRINAGAR, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The gory incident of Saturday at Jammu's historic Raghunath temple led to the closure of its doors for the first time in 150 years. Upset over what happened at the place of worship the head priest, Pandit V. Shastri, said, "The doors had to be closed for the first time in 150 years for devotees and the common public.'' The priest was busy with the puja when he heard the gun shots. "I could not believe that the three SSB jawans posted there were dead. I had shook hands with them a few moments before,'' he told this correspondent over the phone. One priest had an encounter with one of the militants who blew himself off within the compound. A large number of priests and devotees gathered at the temple to pray for peace.




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Constitutional Panel Recommends Change in Definition of Hinduism
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:48:02 ( 726 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 3, 2002: In a recognition of their separate identity, the Constitution Review Commission has recommended that Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism should be treated as religions distinct from Hinduism. Presently, a constitutional provision groups them together. The existing explanation II of Article 25 of the Constitution (Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion) says reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly. "Explanation II to Article 25 should be omitted," according to Justice M. N. Venkatachalian Commission, which submitted its report to the government on Sunday. It appears such a change would allow Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists to claim minority religion status in India, presently only granted to Christians and Muslims, with the attendant privileges to operate their institutions without government interference, and to teach their religion in their schools operated with government funds.




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Officials Stop Child Marriage
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:47:02 ( 635 reads )


Source: The Hindu





KARIMNAGAR, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The local administration prevented the marriage of a 15-year-old girl here. The authorities got the marriage postponed while they explain to the family that there are laws against marriage at that age in India. The legal age for marriage for girls in India is 18 and for boys 21. In the State of Hawaii, USA, the legal age for both boys and girls is 18. They can marry at 16 or 17 with the consent of the parents, and at 15 with the consent of the parents and a family court judge. In Iran, the legal age for girls is nine.




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New Zealand Census Shows Hindu Numbers Increasing
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:46:02 ( 692 reads )


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NEW ZEALAND, March 30, 2002: As Christians celebrate Easter, latest census figures show there are fewer of them, but the diversity of faiths among New Zealanders is growing. Over a million people (27.5 per cent) described themselves as having no religion in the 2001 census compared with about 670,000 people a decade ago. New Zealand's changing population is increasingly reflected in the variety of religions. The number of Hindus has more than doubled since 1991 to 38,769, and the number of Buddhists has more than tripled. At the same time, most of the major Christian denominations experienced drops in the tens of thousands. Peter Lineham, associate professor of history in the school of social and cultural studies at Massey University's Albany campus, said that in the past half century the percentage of New Zealanders who described themselves as Christian had dropped by a third to just over 60 percent. The growth in "other world religions" had not made up for the decrease. "It's not a collapse. What's happened is there has been this massive decline in Christian support, but it is still the majority religion." Other faiths, such as Hindu and Baha'i had grown from less than 0.5 per cent of the population in 1951 to 3.5 per cent today.




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Asian Migrants Flocking to New Zealand
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:45:02 ( 657 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, Mar 23, 2002: Asians are coming to New Zealand in numbers not seen since the mid-1990s and the latest figures show that most of the migrants are Chinese or Indian. In a reversal of trends, the inflow of people outnumbers the outflow, sparking a real estate boom. According to Statistics New Zealand, the number of people coming to live in New Zealand outnumbered those leaving by 22,000 in the year to February 2002, the Dominion newspaper reported. The immigrants included 11,900 from China, 4,800 from India, 3,000 from South Africa and 2,900 from Britain. However, the composition of Asian immigrants had changed. The middle-aged wealthy couples, who were keen on buying houses in the 1990s, have been replaced by 15- to 30-year-old students wanting to rent. The rental demand has affected the Auckland property market and bidding wars are now common among people wanting to rent in inner-city Auckland. The turnaround in migration figures followed last year's 'brain-drain' outcry which fuelled debate and resulted in a national Knowledge Wave conference that discussed ways to solve the problem.




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Nice To Meet You. Will You Marry Me?
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:44:02 ( 639 reads )


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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, March 30, 2002: In Indian culture, societal and family pressures to find someone of similar backgrounds and sometimes caste often produce quick nuptials, reports the Boston Daily Globe in this insightful article. Arranged marriages, in which teenagers are introduced on their wedding day, are declining among a new generation of Indians. But the alternative is hardly easier: How can young, single Indians living in a Western world satisfy parents espousing Eastern values, including a desire to get married to people with the perfect pedigrees? And be quick about it? "The pressure starts right out of college," said Sonali Ganti, 32, of Newton, who got married in 1999. "No one's mother wants them to be over 29, ...But most of my friends went to grad school, medical school; their careers came first. And all of a sudden they realize that they're pushing 30." Recent films like "Monsoon Wedding" and the forthcoming "American Chai," explore these issues. But for real-life young Indians, Vijay Prashad, director of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, sees more at work: modern interpretations of an ancient culture that emphasizes ancestry, class, and marriage as an improvement of parents' social status. It creates what Prashad calls an "anxiety soup" for Indians raising their children in the United States. Their forebears might have sought members of the priestly Brahmin caste for their daughter's hand; today, they'll ask for doctors or lawyers. "Arranged relationships are not something new or old," said Prashad, author of "The Karma of Brown Folk." "They just take on different forms."




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Religious Freedom in China
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:43:02 ( 641 reads )


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CHINA, April 1, 2002: During the annual week-long Chinese New Year holiday, Buddhist and Taoist temples across China are always brimming with worshippers burning joss-sticks and praying to Buddha and other deities for good fortune. Come Christmas, young Chinese pack the Nantang Catholic Church in Beijing to soak in the Christmas feel and listen to carollers. Religious books on stories from the Bible or the Quran are readily available at China's state-run book stores. These scenes of public religious devotion and access to religious information appear to contradict Western criticism of religious oppression in China where the ruling Communist Party is staunchly atheist. Dr Lai Hongyi, of the National University of Singapore's East Asian Institute, explained that religious freedom had been allowed since 1979 under a liberalization program. As well, after almost two decades of economic reforms, communism is fast losing its glitter, leading to the declining appeal of official ideology. The people's inherent need for spiritual solace is also a contributing factor. According to official records, China's officially sanctioned religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity, have attracted more than 140 million followers. Western observers say the actual figure may be higher. However, not all religious activities are condoned by the government, which requires religious followers to be loyal first to their country and to the Communist Party. Orthodox religions and certain indigenous folk religious practices such as ancestor worship are left untamed. But those that fail to register with the government or which link their activities to political issues such as Tibetan and Xinjiang independence are regarded as threats to social stability. President Jiang Zemin has said religious faith is protected in China but devotees must abide by Chinese laws.




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Shri Anandi Ma Tours America and Europe
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:42:02 ( 705 reads )

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Book Released on Hindu Temple of Australia
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:41:02 ( 689 reads )


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STRATHFIELD SOUTH, AUSTRALIA, April 3, 2002: Dr A. Kandiah, a Tamil scholar and a prolific writer has taken up the task of publishing a book, "Hindu Temples in Australia." This is the first book published cataloguing the Hindu Temples in Australia with a brief description of each temple. In the conclusion Dr Kandiah states: "From our survey we can reasonably conclude that the worship of Siva, Murugan, Vishnu and Vinayakar in Australia was originally initiated in the form of congregational prayer. Later, those who participated in the prayer meetings formed associations to build temples for the Lord. The Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are in the forefront of initiating and building temples for Lord Murugan and the Indian Hindu communities are mainly in the forefront for Siva and Vishnu Temples. The worship of Murugan is more prevalent among the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus." For more information, click "source" above.




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Fear Grips Residents of Jammu After Temple Attack
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:49:02 ( 669 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Saturday's terrorist attack on the historic Raghunath Temple, the first major strike by the Kashmiri militants in past 12 years, has shaken the residents of Jammu. The attack, which killed ten persons, stopped business activity in the winter capital on Sunday, with people preferring to stay indoors. The 150-year-old Raghunath Temple has been the main attraction for pilgrims returning after visiting the Vaishno Devi Shrine. Following the attack, the state administration has increased security at the railway station and bus stand for the pilgrims returning from Vaishno Devi shrine. "The continued communal tension in Gujarat has also badly affected the flow of pilgrims," said a police spokesman. It is notable that this horrendous attack has attracted almost no international media attention.




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Purification Performed at Raghunath Temple
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:48:02 ( 652 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Hundreds of devotees and priests on Sunday performed mass purification and joint prayers at the Raghunath temple complex here desecrated by two militants who opened indiscriminate fire and exploded a grenade killing three securitymen and five civilians on Saturday. About 40 priests from different temples across Jammu city, assisted by over 500 devotees, this morning cleaned the temple complex, which houses nearly 20 temples of different Gods and Goddesses. After conclusion of mass prayers, a massive protest rally was taken out in the city from Raghunath temple complex. The protesters, joined by passers-by raised slogans against terrorists, Pakistan and Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. It was a peaceful rally, with police escort.




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VHP Tells India Prime Minister to Confine Himself to Politics
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:47:02 ( 630 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 2, 2002: The VHP on Monday, states this article in the Hindustan Times, advised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to confine himself to politics and leave matters of faith to religious leaders. "It is better if he (Vajpayee) confines himself to politics and leaves matters of faith to religious leaders," VHP senior vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters when asked about the Prime Minister's statement seeking to distance himself from hardline "Hindutva" proponents. The article states that the VHP also sought to justify the continuing violence in Gujarat describing it as a "popular upsurge and people's answer to jehadi terrorism." "The Indian state and (pseudo) secularism has failed to protect Hindus and control jehadi terrorism and hence people are making up their mind to defend themselves. What is happening in Gujarat is not communal riots but people's answer to Islamic jehad," VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadiya said. He alleged that Indian polity, including NDA, has been practicing "one-way secularism" and acting as a defendant of jehadi terrorism. While asserting that the VHP was not justifying the violence in Gujarat, he said, "What is happening in Gujarat is an upsurge, a rebellion."




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Malaysian Indians Plan Conference
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:46:02 ( 736 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 2, 2002: A conference entitled "The Malaysian Indian in the New Millennium -- Rebuilding Community" is planned here June 1 and 2, 2002. The main aim of the conference is to reflect upon the position of Malaysian Indians at the beginning of the new millennium, taking into account the many challenges facing the community and the directions it should take for the future. The Indian community in Malaysia, state the organizers, is an extraordinary force that has not only made significant contributions to the development of the nation but has also infused it with civilizational values and cultures. The community is however, fragmented and development within it, grossly uneven. Its share of poverty and social ills is disproportionate to its position in the larger Malaysian community. The loss of self esteem within the community, external derision and the absence of unifying factors to forge a single identity are some of the problems that have to be addressed urgently. The community has to be rebuilt and its respect regained so that its members may be vested with a more purposeful sense of identity. Click "source" above for more information.




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Kanchi Shankaracharya Planning Visit to Malaysia
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:45:02 ( 696 reads )


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KAULA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 2, 2002: The Malaysia Hindu Sangam announced today that Dr. Srinivasan, representative of the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, is visiting Malaysia to arrange a visit by the Shankaracharya in the near future. He is meeting with Hindu leaders April 4 at 7:30 pm at Kalaamandapam, Lorong Scott, off Jalan Scott in KL. It is not known how Jayendra would travel to Malaysia, but if he flies, it would be the first time one of the Shankaracharyas has "crossed the ocean" to another country. Previously he has flown to Nepal. On the April 5, 2002, the Shankaracharya will offer "Yegnyopaveetam" to Lord Venkateswara at the famed Tirumala temple in Andrha Pradesh. The Yegnyopaveetam is made of three and a half kilos gold and is studded with diamonds and other navaratna gem stones.




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