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Buddhist Monks Oppose Government Inventory of Temple
Posted on 2002/5/15 9:46:02 ( 750 reads )


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RUMTEK, SIKKIM, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Followers of the 17th Karmapa claimant Urgyen Thinley Dorjee have decided to prevent a Reserve Bank of India official from entering Rumtek monastery to make a court-ordered inventory of its fabulous wealth, a monastery spokesman told reporters here on Saturday. "We will oppose the RBI official tooth and nail if he tries to come here as the very order of the court hurts our sentiments and religious belief," the spokesman said. Buddhists in Sikkim, especially the followers of Dorjee, have termed the court order as "sacrilege" saying the religious articles cannot be touched by a "non-Buddhist." Indian law permits the government to investigate and even take over the financial affairs of religious institutions. While in theory the permission extends to all faiths, in practice it is applied almost exclusively to Hindu institutions.




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Hindu Weddings Make NY Times Society Page
Posted on 2002/5/15 9:45:02 ( 867 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 12, 2002: The NY Times "Fashion And Style" page recently contained the announcements of two Hindu weddings. The "High Society" announcements both appeared in the May 12 edition. Interestingly, both marriages were between Hindu women and non-Hindu men and both ceremonies were conducted by Hindu priests. Dr. Neeta Sharma, daughter of Dr. Usha Sharma and Dr. Madho K. Sharma of Edison, NJ, was married at her parents' house yesterday to Dr. Alfred Trecartin Ogden III. Pandit Anand Mohan performed the Hindu ceremony. Aparna Mukherjee, daughter of Maitreyee and Subir Mukherjee of Fort Washington, PA, was married yesterday at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, NJ, to William B Swarts IV. Suvhendu Bagchi, a Hindu priest, performed the Hindu ceremony with the Rev. Gawain F. deLeeuw, an Episcopal priest. The announcements go on to list the education and occupations of the couples.




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Study Finds Teen Vegetarians Healthier Than Meat-Eaters
Posted on 2002/5/15 9:44:02 ( 668 reads )


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WASHINGTON, USA, May 13, 2002: U.S. Researchers say vegetarian teenagers have a healthier diet than their meat-eating counterparts. "It seems that rather than viewing adolescent vegetarianism as a difficult phase or fad, the dietary pattern could be viewed as a healthy alternative to the traditional American meat-based diet," epidemiologist Cheryl Perry and colleagues wrote in Sunday's issue of the Journal Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. They studied more than 4,500 teenagers in Minnesota. Of them, about 262, or nearly 6 percent, said they were vegetarian. They compared the diets of these teen to the Healthy People 2010 recommendations, which are dietary targets issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services. They include goals of getting less than 30 percent of one's daily calories from fat and less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat, eating more than two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily. "Overall, adolescent vegetarians were significantly more likely to meet the dietary recommendations of Healthy People 2010," Perry's group wrote. "Vegetarian adolescents, similar to their adult counterparts, have dietary patterns that, if maintained, could significantly lower their risk of the leading causes of death as adults," the researchers said.




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Cakes Decorated With Hindu Gods Withdrawn by UK Store
Posted on 2002/5/15 9:43:02 ( 1067 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, May 13, 2002: Selfridges store has stopped selling cakes with icing decoration depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses after complaints that they offended religious sensibilities. The cakes were featured as part of a three-week summer promotion of Indian foods, and were on sale next to a food counter where Hemant Oberoi, the Indian Prime Minister's personal chef for overseas visits, was supervising the preparation of curry recipes. Hindu customers who complained said that Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary seldom appeared as cake decorations. "I think this is depicting the Hindu pantheon in a mocking way," Bimal Krishna Das, of the UK Council of Hindu Temples, said. The cakes came from Seriously Scrumptious of Glastonbury. Its founder, Rita Hraiz, of Indian and Lebanese parentage, said that they were made with love and not intended to offend. She said that the firm gave a fifth of its profits to an Indian charity supporting Indian villages near the Hindu sacred city of Vrindavan.




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San Francisco Bay Area Cuisine has Changed
Posted on 2002/5/15 9:42:02 ( 662 reads )


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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 24, 2002: People from more than 60 countries settling in California in the last ten years have brought with them their customs, beliefs and ethnic food. As a result, Bay area cuisine has changed accordingly. Ethnic cuisine once meant Italian and Chinese food. Now it could be Indian curries, Taiwanese hot pot restaurants, Filipinos and Latinos taquerias and take-out bakeries, Mexican tortillas, Vietnamese and Thai flavors or an Ethiopian menu. The article says, "The numbers of Asian Indians living in the nine-county Bay Area region jumped by a staggering 170% between 1990 and 2000." In the south in the towns of Fremont and Sunnyvale, Indian high-tech workers have settled and the neighborhood is called "Little India." As a result, Beyond Curry, a refined fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisine is part of the menu in South Bay restaurants such as Tumerik. Other establishments cater to Mexican, Japanese and Hawaiian food. Tsegai Berhe, owner of the former Mayes Oster House, now an Ethiopian restaurant, sums it up, "I think people want to try different food these days."




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Nepal Rebels Set Fire to Sanskrit University
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:49:02 ( 739 reads )


Source: Times of India





KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 13, 2002: Some 500 Maoist rebels stormed a Sanskrit university in west Nepal, set the building on fire and destroyed office records, an official said on Monday. District officer Mathur Prasad Yadav said that the guerrillas snapped telephone lines and overpowered the night guard of the Mahendra Sanskrit University in Dang in west Nepal late on Saturday before setting the building ablaze. "No one was injured in the incident," Yadav said, adding that several office rooms had been destroyed. The rebels, who are fighting to topple the constitutional monarchy in the world's only Hindu kingdom, oppose the teaching in schools of Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. HPI adds: Sthaneshwar Timalsina, a Nepali Sanskritist currently at UC Santa Barbara, reports that the rebels reduced to ashes much of Mahendra Sanskrit University's main campus. Dr. Timalsina estimates that the damage is irreparable.




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Asia 2000 and Auckland City Join Hands to Organize Deepavali
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:48:02 ( 753 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, May 14, 2002: Asia 2000 and Auckland City both joined hands and holding an authentic Deepavali festival in Auckland, New Zealand at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on 26 October 2002. An official press release states that the Deepavali Festival of Lights will be the first of its kind on this scale in Auckland. As well as being a celebration for the Indian community, it will be designed to raise awareness and understanding of Indian culture amongst Auckland families in general. Deepavali will feature a wide range of activities, reflecting the richness of Indian culture and the tradition of Deepavali, including a rangoli/kolam competition, traditional performances, sweetmaking and, of course, lights, lamps and candles. This report was filed by Rohit Kumar ("source" above), editor of Bharat Darshan.




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Seattle Lawsuit Claims Pizza Hut's "Veggie Lover's" Not Veggie
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:47:02 ( 761 reads )


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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, May 2, 2002: The Seattle lawyer who successfully forced McDonald's to publicly admit its use of beef extract in its supposedly vegetarian french fries now has set his sights on another popular fast-food chain: Pizza Hut. The proposed class-action suit, filed by attorney Harish Bharti on behalf of 15 million vegetarians and 1 million Hindus throughout the country, claims that Pizza Hut has used beef products in its "Veggie Lover's" pizza, but has been falsely promoting otherwise. "Defendants intentionally market their pizza to the vegetarian community," according to the complaint, "knowing full well that the foods are not vegetarian." "While they claim it's a vegetarian product, they have a beef product in their cheese," Bharti said. The practice, he said, is both deceptive and harmful to vegetarians and fellow Hindus who never knowingly eat beef. Pizza Hut doesn't identify the amount of beef used in its ingredient list, the suit contends, because it is considered to be the "secret ingredient" that is the source of the flavor of its pies. Pizza Hut denied the charge yesterday. "We do not have any beef product in our pizzas," said Patty Sullivan, spokeswoman for Dallas-based Pizza Hut.




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Cymbal of Rhythm: Shivamani Creates Melody in Tandav
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:46:02 ( 727 reads )


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CAMPAL, GOA, INDIA, May 15, 2002: Percussionist Shivamani is recognized as "Shiva" in the world of South Indian percussion in the present day, for he becomes the epitome of Shakti on stage with his assortment of percussion instruments. Shivamani creates magic with just about anything from his conventional cymbals to the timbale to the batajon to the vastly unconventional shells and conches. His trademark is biryani kadai, meant for cooking but used by him for music. Exposure to the world of rhythm started at home for Shiva with his father, S.M. Anandan, who was much-sought-after drummer in the South Indian film industry. He had his first studio break playing for South Indian master creator K.V. Mahadevan. Shiva also played with Carnatic maestros like Kunnaikudi Vaidyanathan, T.V. Gopalakrishnan, Thavil masters Vallayampatti Subramaniam and Pazhani Vel. Even south Indian geniuses like Ilayaraja and A.R. Rehman use Shiva's rhythms extensively. Shiva has a longstanding relationship with Indian Jazz-fusion master Louis Banks, whom he regularly accompanies as part of the world music group.




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Help for Mansarovar Pilgrims
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:45:02 ( 666 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, May 12, 2002: The state government will help pilgrims from Gujarat who have been selected by the Ministry of External Affairs for the June 2002 Kailas-Mansarovar Yatra. Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board chairman, Bhupendra Khatri said that the ministry conducted a drawing to select the participants for the pilgrimage. He said pilgrims from the state should contact the board office at Gandhinagar with a copy of the telegram received by them from the ministry announcing their selection for the Yatra. The board will provide a monetary gift to those completing the journey for spiritual purposes. In addition, the participants will receive mountaineering and trekking gear, train fare to New Delhi and free accommodations. The board office will also provide any additional information or guidance necessary for the pilgrims.




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Astrology Mela a Big Hit
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:44:02 ( 845 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, May 13, 2002: An Astrology-Mela, organized at Sanatam Ashram on Sunday to mark its 42nd foundation day, drew people from all walks of life to enquire about their health, career and marriage with renowned astrologers of the country who had assembled there for the two-day conference. As one entered the Sanatan Ashram, stalls full of books and literature on astrology welcomed them. Inside, the halls were packed with people coming to take free astrology consultations. Pundits and astrologers were busy drawing natal charts and helping people with their future plans, those having proficiency in vastu-shastra were directing curious people with suggestions about changes to be made in their houses. Earlier, the camp was inaugurated by Swami Sanatan Shri, chief astrologer at Sanatan Ashram. Over 500 enthusiastic participants attended the camp which continued on Monday.




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Hinduism Today Correspondent Honored
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:43:02 ( 718 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





HOUSTON, TEXAS, May 13, 2002: Hinduism Today magazine's Houston-based correspondent, Kalyani Giri, was one of fifteen Asian women journalists honored at a luncheon held on May 13 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. The event was initiated for the first time by the newly-devised Asia Houston Network, a nonprofit organization affiliated to the Mayor's office created to help build stronger ties between the Asian and mainstream American cultures. Titled "Beauty, Brains, Power: Asian Women In Media" the award recognized honorees for their contribution to print, radio and television media. Giri was honored for her commitment to community coverage in the local publication Indo-American News, as well as for her affiliation to the celebrated award-winning international magazine, Kauai-based Hinduism Today.




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Hindus Threatened in Holland
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:49:02 ( 745 reads )


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HOLLAND, May 13, 2002: Twenty Hindu organizations here were greatly alarmed at the receipt of threatening letters containing a yellow powder (harmless, as it turned out). The obscenity-laced letter read in part, "Death to all Hindu dogs. We demand the following from you: 1. Stop your Hindu organizations and cancel all organization activity. 2. Deposit within three weeks all your cashflow in name of our Islamic mosque in your town. There are many, so search yourself and contact them. We want to receive more than 10,000 EURO from you within three weeks. 3. Close your building and stop all activities. Hindus may not have a religion here, because The Netherlands has now become a Muslim nation, Mecca of the Western world, of Europe. This is your punishment for Hindus who vote for Pim Fortuyn." The original letter is available in Dutch at www.agni.nl/dreigbrieven/secretcell.htm. One organization that received a letter is Agni, info@agni.nl. Our contacts in Holland said that a TV news show reported Hindu organizations had asked their members to vote for Pim Fortuyn, a far-right politician running for parliament in the May 15 elections who was assassinated May 6 by a leftist. However, direct inquiries with Hindu organizations have not found any who recommended their members vote for Fortuyn. He advocated strict immigration limits and integration of admitted immigrants with Dutch society. His party platform singled out Muslims as having culture aspects "diametrically opposed to the desired integration and emancipation, such as arranged marriages and honor revenges." The police are taking the matter very seriously and investigating.




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"Hinduism is India"
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:48:02 ( 819 reads )


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INDIA, May 13, 2002: Francois Gautier's latest essay, "Hinduism is India," is available at "source" above. It begins, "Since the Gujarat riots, it looks as if a battle between two radically different Indias is happening right now, under our own eyes; and the outcome of this battle will decide what kind of India we will have in the 21st century. India's human rights groups, many of India's finest intellectuals, the communists, the Congress, many politicians -- in fact a major chunk of India's elite population -- assert in the strongest terms that on one side you find an India which is communal, mistreats, or even kills minorities; tries to impose its majority feelings and way of life on the others and is generally attempting to create a Hindu state; on the other, they continue, you have the secular and democratic forces of this country, the journalists, activists, Catholic priests, Muslim liberals, who truly believe that circumstances have come to such a boil after the Ayodhya episode and the Gujarat massacre, that India has to be saved from Hindu fundamentalists for its own good. This is on the surface, because history shows us that what appears as truthful, is often false and misleading and what popular opinion holds as false is time and again the truth, which is attacked by dark forces by decrying it, denying it, or belittling it. Thus, if you examine closely the theory of the good secular Muslim/ Christian/Marxist, versus the bad/dangerous/ fundamentalist Hindu, you are bound to come-up against several deep contradictions. First, historically, Hindus have been the least fundamentalist people in the world: Never trying to impose their creed upon others by the power of the sword, like Christianity or Islam, or even by the non-violent means of preaching, like Buddhism. Hinduism has also proved over the ages its infinite tolerance towards other religions, giving refuge to all persecuted minorities in the world, whether Parsis, Syrian Christians, Jews, or Tibetans today."




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Book by Toshio Yamanouchi
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:47:02 ( 770 reads )


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TOKYO, JAPAN, May 13, 2002: Ramachandra Tantry of Japan kindly informs us that Toshio Yamanouchi's book on Hindu Gods in Japan is available by contacting Mr. Yamanouchi at "source" above. The book is in Japanese. It has beautiful photographs, and is priced at Yen 4,800 plus tax, about US$50. There is presently a display of his work at the Okura Museum, in front of Hotel Okura, in Tokyo, until May 26.




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