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Kanchi Shankaracharya Planning Visit to Malaysia
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:45:02 ( 709 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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Town Calls "Timeout" for Overextended Families
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:44:02 ( 669 reads )


Source: New York Times





RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY, March 29, 2002: The people in this suburban town decided they weren't spending enough quality time as families because they were overscheduling their children. They began meeting with community leaders and school officials, and scheduled themselves some free time. Tonight was declared "Family Night," an evening when everyone was encouraged to set aside frenetic agendas and do nothing but relax with their families. Organizers talked the Ridgewood school system into assigning no homework for the night and canceled all athletic practices. Ridgewood, a well-to-do North Jersey suburb, took a lot of ribbing for working so hard to get some down time. But the idea has hit a nerve. It turns out that parents across the country -- suburban, rural and urban feel they have become too wrapped up in the effort to help their children achieve, at the cost of time spent with family. "Family life has been getting out of control as parents become unpaid chauffeurs and what I call the entertainment directors on the cruise ships," said Dr. William J Doherty, author of "Take Back Your Kids." Most parents mean well when they strive to provide their children opportunities to learn new skill like piano or dance, or to take part in sports, Dr. Doherty said. But he said that in the last 15 to 20 years, parents have given in to peer pressure to sign their children up for more activities, and at increasingly young ages, for fear that other children will get ahead of them. That trend squeezes out time for family, or quiet reflection or for children just to use their imaginations.




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Stanford University Hindus Students Start Own Class on Hinduism
Posted on 2002/4/1 22:43:02 ( 677 reads )


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STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, April 2, 2002: Hindu Students Council (HSC) at Stanford University announces a class on "Hinduism in the Modern Era." For the first time in Stanford University history, a class on Hinduism has been created by Hindu students. The class seeks to provide a clearer and more balanced picture of Hinduism, including religious, social, and political movements. Topics that will be covered in the course include Modern Hindu Leaders, The Rise of Hindu Nationalism, Hindu Spiritual Movements, Hindus as persecuted minorities, Misconceptions about Hinduism, Ayodhya and the Future of Hinduism and Hindus in America. The course below seeks to correct misconceptions about Hinduism, and provide a productive forum where all Hindu viewpoints on critical issues are presented. This course was developed independently by the Stanford Hindu Students Council (HSC) team and is sponsored by Professor Carl Bielefeldt of the Religious Studies Department. For more information, e-mail Sumir Meghani at "source" above.




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India's Prime Minister Warns About New Brand of Hindutva
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:49:02 ( 616 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 27, 2002: In disapproval of recent actions of Hindu militants, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday said it would be better to "keep a distance" from the kind of Hindutva being practiced by some now. He said when Swami Vivekananda spoke of Hinduism, nobody called him being communal. "But now, some people have defined Hindutva in such a manner that it is better to keep a distance from it."




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Pondicherry Prisoners Complain of Forced Conversions in Jail
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:48:02 ( 633 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The Pondicherry government has ordered an inquiry into alleged forced conversions of prisoners into Christianity, after six prisoners formally lodged a complaint with the state government. Though there had been allegations that P. David, the jail superintendent of Pondicherry Central Prison, was forcing prisoners to convert and was allowing Christian propagandists free access to the prison. This is the first time the matter has come out into the open. Six prisoners serving varying sentences suddenly found themselves transferred to the sub-jail in Karaikal, an enclave located in Tamil Nadu. Protesting against this, they went on a hunger fast at the Karaikal prison compelling the local superintendent of police to hold an enquiry. They used this opportunity to file a formal complaint accusing David of torturing them at the Central Jail after they refused to be converted to Christianity. A senior bureaucrat of the Pondicherry government admitted that many complaints against David had been received, especially the way he permitted Christian missionaries to enter the prison under the guise of distributing food and sweets. They had used this free access to carry on religious propaganda, which was against prison rules. Another allegation against the jail warden is that he had allowed Sahayaraj, a lifer to jump parole, who is now running a Christian NGO in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. Chief Minister N Rengasamy said that the enquiry would be comprehensive and the prisoners would also be enquired.




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In Assam, Holi Revives Art Forms
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:47:02 ( 665 reads )


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GUWAHATI, INDIA, April 1, 2002: Mixing religion with an initiative to revive dying art forms is what temple authorities at the Dol Gobindo mandir near here did on Saturday on the occasion of Holi. The five-day-long Dol Utsav here -- thronged by thousands, apart from local villagers -- is not just a celebration of religion or the festival of colors, it also showcases of traditional arts fast declining in the state. "It's a kind of mission for us. On the evenings of the Dol Jatra festival, we showcase our traditional art forms together with devotional songs and bhajans,'' Monindra Prasad Baruah, head of the 23-member temple committee, pointed out. Naturally enough, nagranaam and chaitali naam -- holy chantings that are unique only to this central Assam district of Kamrup, are a must here. Paresh Barua, working president of the committee, said: "These naams have been a part of our tradition since 1835, when the temple was first established.'' These apart, ojapali -- a "dance and song performance in praise of Lord Krishna and Lord Bishnu'' -- is also a regular feature of the cultural evenings here, together with the famous bhaona nritya, a kind of dance drama, along with plays on local and traditional themes. The devotees -- even the younger generation -- have responded very positively to the cultural initiative. Encouraged, the temple committee is planning to set up a cultural complex within the temple premises.




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Malaysia Hindu Police Gather for a Day of Prayer
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:46:02 ( 691 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 1, 2002: About 400 Hindu policemen and their families offered prayers at the Arulmigu Sri Ramalingam Eswarar Temple in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar on March 30. The gathering was organized by police personnel in the Klang Valley and was meant to bless them and their families in conjunction with the recent 195th Police Day celebrations. A special fund-raising session was held for three-month-old M. Trahina who needs US$26,000 to undergo heart surgery. Her technician father N. Madavan, 30, said Trahina, one of a pair of twins, was diagnosed with a heart problem since birth. The gathering raised over $800 for the baby.




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Pluralism Project Offers Research Grants
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:45:02 ( 699 reads )


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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, March 31, 2002: The Pluralism Project, a long-term study by Harvard University, is offering small grants for religion departments, college students, and high school teachers to extend their research on America's new religious landscape. The small grants for high school teachers encourages engagement with the religious communities of their own region as an integral part of both research and teaching. For more information and application materials click "source" above.




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Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Tour Updates
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:44:02 ( 701 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, April 1, 2002: Mata Amritanandamayi Devi will be conducting her North Kerala tour from 25 April up to 4 May. There will be two Brahmasthanam Festivals during the tour, one in Palakkad and one in Talssery. The other places she will visit are Vadakara, Kannur and Kanhangad. Amma is now on her trip to Singapore and Australia and will be back in Amritapuri on April 13




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Malaysia Government to Allow Development of Old Temple
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:43:02 ( 615 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 29, 2002: The government has agreed to allow the development proposed by the management of the century-old Marathandavar Temple in Maran, said Malaysia Indian Congress president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. He said there should be no worries as the temple on a 3.6ha site had been gazetted as a heritage site by the Pahang government. "The temple cannot be issued a land title as it is situated in a Malay reserve area," he said. He said there was an urgent need for the development as the temple had been badly affected by the recent floods. "Photographs of the site have been shown to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad," he said. Samy Vellu had raised the matter in the Cabinet after the Selangor Democratic Action Party had raised the temple issue during their campaigns among Indian voters for the Ketari by-election. DAP National Youth Committee member T. Kannan had alleged that the temple had not been given the land title and attempts to seek approval for development of its surroundings had been denied.




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Do the Goddesses Wear the Sacred Thread?
Posted on 2002/3/31 22:42:02 ( 793 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 31, 2002: Hinduism Today is researching an article on the sacred thread ceremony being performed for girls. In the course of the research, we have found paintings and sculptures of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga and other Goddesses both with and without the sacred thread. If someone is familiar with this aspect of Goddess iconography, kindly e-mail "source" above.




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Nine Killed in Fresh Violence in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/3/30 22:49:02 ( 617 reads )


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AHMEDABAD/VADODARA, INDIA, March 31, 2002: Hours after chief minister Narendra Modi claimed in Mumbai on Saturday that Gujarat was returning to normal, violence broke out in many parts of the state late in the night claiming at least nine lives. The incidents come four days prior to Prime Minister Vajpayee's scheduled visit to the state amid frantic attempts by the government to show a semblance of normal functioning. Meanwhile, Modi has arrived in Delhi following a summons by the PM. The toll in the riots and violence in the state since February 28 has risen to 800. Violence has claimed 325 lives in Ahmedabad alone. The most vicious clashes were reported in the labor-dominated Gomtipur in which at least three persons were killed and 18 injured. Deaths in communal clashes overnight were also reported from Kadi in Mehsana district and Khambhat and Petlad in Anand. There were reports that at least two persons were still missing in Gomtipur and this could trigger more violence on Sunday evening. In the Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad, violence was reported from 10 pm onwards and the frenzy continued till well past midnight when army columns were called in. Heavy stone-throwing, firing and arson were reported from the area. Miscreants also set ablaze houses and shops in Samsherbagh on Nagri Mill Road and other areas like Mohanlal ni Chawl, Jhulta Minara, Sutharwada and Hauz Wali Masjid.




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Was Godhra Attack Planned?
Posted on 2002/3/30 22:48:02 ( 687 reads )


Source: India Today





GODHRA, INDIA, March 25, 2002: On the night of March 3, as a grim Godhra resigned itself to an extended curfew, a crack team of the state's anti-terrorist squad was closing in on some citizens. Having made vital arrests in Godhra's Polan Bazar in connection with the burning of the Sabarmati Express, it was waiting for information from a reconnaissance group that had visited Mithikhan Mohalla, Polan's thickly populated and predominantly Muslim section. The Mithikhan raid netted Mohammed Husain Abdul Rahim Kalota, president of the Godhra Municipal Council. With two other councillors--Abdul Rehman Abdul Majid Dhantia alias Kan-katta and Salim Abdul Gaffer Shaikh-arrested earlier in the day, the investigation was making brisk progress. The interrogation of Kalota confirmed hidden "dubious outsiders" in Polan Bazar a few days before the train massacre. It is believed that SIMI activists helped in the Sabarmati Express operation, according to this report, and that the intent was to burn the entire train.




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India Allows Use of Modified Cotton
Posted on 2002/3/30 22:47:02 ( 638 reads )


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GUJARAT, INDIA, MARCH 25, 2002: India's environment regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), has approved the use of a genetically modified (GM) cotton for commercial production. Agriculture minister Agit Singh told the BBC's World Business Report he was very much in favor of GM cotton. "Farmers are clamoring for GM seeds. You cannot stop it and put a blanket ban on it. I don't think any country can avoid it for long," he said. But Greenpeace claims GM crops could cross pollinate and contaminate non-GM crops. India has the world's largest cotton-growing area but yields only about 300kg per hectare, under half the global average of about 650kg. Just as in the US, the government is going to insist on certain conditions for the planting, specifically that there be a buffer zone between the GM crop and other crops and that a certain amount of non-GM cotton also be planted. It is this latter condition which will be difficult to enforce, as the purpose of that non-GM cotton is to allow a place for the cotton bollworm to thrive and reproduce, destroying its host cotton crop in the process. Without such a provision, it is expected the bollworm will rapidly adapt resistance to the toxin produced by the GM cotton, rendering the crop ultimately just as prone to destruction by the pest as non-GM cotton is now. This would be similar to the rapid development of resistance to DDT and other pesticides by destructive pests.




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Spanish Priest Jams Cell Phones at Mass
Posted on 2002/3/30 22:46:02 ( 368 reads )


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MORAIRA, SPAIN, March 26, 2002: A priest fed up with mobile phones ringing during Mass has installed an electronic jammer to keep his flock in tune with God. Perhaps Hindu temples will need such a device in the future. Reverend Francisco Llopis, pastor of the Church of the Defenseless, said the beeps, tunes and other digital noise emitted by cell phones are incompatible with quiet worship. Llopis' church in the coastal town of Moraira is the first in Spain to install such a device, which transmits low-power radio signals that sever communications between cellular handsets and cellular base-stations. The controversial technology is designed to create quiet zones in places like restaurants, movie theaters and libraries. Commercial jamming systems are illegal in the United States, Canada and Britain, but some countries such as Australia and Japan allow limited use.




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