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Major Beautification Drive At Basar Temple

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:47:02 ( 1026 reads )


BASAR, INDIA, July 7, 2003: The temple town of Basar in Adilabad district, famous for the only temple of Goddess Saraswati in South India, is getting a massive facelift thanks to the combined efforts of various departments which have taken up projects to the tune of over US$200,000. The Forest Department, Panchayat Raj, Roads & Buildings Department, the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, and the Endowments Department have come forward to beautify the famous temple. The Gnana Saraswati Devasthanam is spending a major share of its earnings towards providing amenities and additional facilities to the pilgrims. The temple has taken care to cater to the increasing number of pilgrims thronging the place. Among the many projects are new roads and the laying of new pipelines to provide safe drinking water. Thirty acres of land around the temple hills have been developed with greenery and gardens. The entire facade of the temple has changed after the beautification process added planters, soft landscaping and ornamental plants. The temple attracts around 5 million pilgrims every year.

World Hindu Federation Opposes Move to Declare Nepal a Secular State

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:46:02 ( 992 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, July 9, 2003: The World Hindu Federation has opposed any move to declare Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation, a secular state. A country, where 90 percent of its population including Buddhists, Vedic, Jain and Sikhs are the followers of the Arya Sanatan Hindu religion, a secular state is both "ridiculous and against the principles of democracy," WHF President Bharat Keshar Singh said in a statement here.

A meeting of members of the dissolved House of Representatives adopted an 18-point agenda on Saturday, which said equal status be given to all religions by amending the constitution. However, Nepali Congress spokesman Arjun Narsingh K C denied that the agitating parties have passed any resolution demanding to declare Nepal a secular state. "We have not mentioned the word secularism in our agenda. We have only voiced for treating all the religions in an equal manner. We emphasized on protecting all the religions," he added.

HPI adds: Nepal is the special target of Christian missionaries, who pour millions of dollars a year into conversion efforts in the country, even though coversion is illegal. The proposal to make Nepal a "secular" state would greatly further their efforts.

Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust Aids Chennai Water Supply

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:45:02 ( 964 reads )

The Hindu

CHENNAI, INDIA, July 9, 2003: Even as the taps run dry following the hottest summer in 93 years, Chennai-ites have reason to celebrate. The Chennai Water Project of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is nearly 70% complete at the Andhra end. On January 19, 2002, after Sri Sathya Sai Baba announced that he would do something to provide drinking water to Chennai the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, a non-denominational, nonpolitical, nonprofit organization, swung into action. The project, which began in October 2002 and involved over 4,000 workers and 50 site engineers, is slated to be completed by August this year. The project is enormous in magnitude for a private trust to have undertaken.

Kashmir Again Becomes a Tourist Destination

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:44:02 ( 957 reads )


PAHALGAM, KASHMIR, June 27, 2003: Kashmir has once again become the destination for Indian families trying to escape blistering summer heat. Kashmir is a stunningly beautiful swath of Himalayan territory, but has been the scene of a brutal 13-year terrorist action and the focus of two wars between India and Pakistan. However, by June 24, 64,000 Indian and 800 foreign tourists had visited the Kashmir Valley this year, six times the number who arrived in the same period last year, according to state officials. The unexpected explosion in tourism has booked hotels solid and jammed flights. "I've never seen this many Western tourists," said Eileen Salzig, a Manhattan copywriter who said she had been coming to Kashmir for the last three years. "I think it's good for Kashmir." There are many reasons for the turnaround. In April Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee began a peace initiative with Pakistan that reduced war fears. Killings in the state are down 20 percent this year, and a newly elected state government has started a "healing touch" policy intended to ease tensions and project an air of normalcy. However, away from the tourists spots, thousands of soldiers, militants and civilians are involved in countering the cross-border terrorism.

Training Classes for "Ideal" Wives

Posted on 2003/7/9 9:43:02 ( 980 reads )


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 ( 1010 reads )


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 ( 1066 reads )


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 ( 910 reads )


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 ( 1006 reads )


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 ( 1204 reads )


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 ( 1076 reads )


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 ( 1108 reads )


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 ( 1073 reads )


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 ( 1305 reads )


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 ( 930 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.

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