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Tighter Security for New Delhi's Temples

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:49:02 ( 775 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 24, 2002: Temples in the New Delhi area have been put on high alert after terrorists stormed into the Raghunath Temple in Jammu on Sunday evening. Security at all religious places and important government installations across the nation has been stepped up and is especially tight around 50 or so major temples in Delhi including Chattarpur Temple, Kalkaji Mandir, Lotus Temple and Birla Mandir.

Longevity Attributed to Rare Herbs

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:48:02 ( 838 reads )


ATTAPADI, INDIA, November 22, 2002: Mudda Moopan doesn't know how old he is -- not that he cares. What he does know is that he has married 23 times, fathered too many children to remember, has had the distinction of meeting both the first President of India and the latest, and that he still feels young. Mudda Moopan is the Adivasi King of the Karumbha tribe, Kerala, and an authority in tribal medicine. Locals say he is probably one of the oldest men in the world and estimate his age at over 120. Last year, a group of university students collected a sample of Moopan's hair to work out his age and found the tribal chief had long crossed the century mark. Moopan doesn't remember the names of all 23 wives; he can think of only 16. His current wife is in her early thirties and his youngest child is 11. So what is the secret behind Moopan's longevity and virility? He claims the secret lies in a paste made of ten rare medicinal herbs that he takes three times daily, but he won't reveal what the herbs are. However, that hasn't prevented scientists from seeking his help. "He can identify more than 1,000 rare medicinal plants. He is a living legend -- a treasure trove," says a senior agricultural scientist at the Thrissur Agricultural University.

Dowry System Prevails in India

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:47:02 ( 1057 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 20, 2002: The results of a survey on the prevalence of the dowry system, conducted by the All-India Democratic Women's Association, was presented on September 1 and 2 at a two-day national workshop. Previously the dowry system was only thought to be a problem in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, but the survey found it to be practiced in all states and among those with higher literary and prosperity levels. "The worst fears were confirmed in the responses to the 9,000 questionnaires -- that almost all crimes against women, including female foeticide and infanticide were linked to the practice of dowry. The sample population comprised upper, middle and lower castes, but mainly middle and lower-middle class families with monthly incomes of up to US$103." Karminder, an AIDWA activist from Haryana says, "Be it any income group or caste, every section is obliged to spend at least $2,075 on their daughter's wedding." Resolutions passed by the AIDWA workshop included calling upon all citizens to act for the abolition of dowry, launching a national campaign to abolish both the caste system and dowry, appealing to religious leaders of the Hindu community to denounce publicly the "son preference," and encouraging own-choice and nondowry marriages. Legislation prohibiting dowry was first passed in 1961 and amended in the early 1980's to include a fine and imprisonment for offenders. In 1986, the Act empowered states to appoint Dowry Prohibition Officers. However, the social mindset is such that the law has little effect and the reality for unmarried Indian women does not appear to have changed.

Hindu Vivek Kendra Blasts Editors' Guild Report on Gujarat

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:46:02 ( 990 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, November 24, 2002: The Editors Guild sent a team on a fact-finding mission on the riots in Gujarat and the role of the media. The team consisted of B. G. Verghese (a columnist), Dileep Padgaonkar (Executive Managing Editor, The Times of India) and Aakar Patel (Editor, Mid-Day, Mumbai), all respected members of the English language media. The Hindu Vivek Kendra has written a sharp response ("source" above) to the Editors Guild report for the purpose of exposing the bias in the English language media in India. They contend the English media distorts and trivializes issues, which enables journalists to avoid dealing with the essence of those issues. It is also asserts the English media in India is a product of the Macaulay system of education, which sought to produce "a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinion, words and intellect" and cites examples of bias reporting. The RSS and their earthquake relief work, the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane in December, 1999, are some of their examples. The report states, "The Editors Guild Report is yet another example of not doing the necessary analysis of what is happening. Furthermore, it seems to make a special effort of demonizing the Hindu organizations and their supporters."

Nepal's Forests Threatened by Maoist Insurgency

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:45:02 ( 801 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, November 26, 2002: The violent Maoist insurgency in Nepal has killed thousands of people, devastated the economy and is now threatening the Himalayan Kingdom's precious forests, officials say. Guards cannot protect forests from illegal cutting of trees because they are worried about attacks by Maoist rebels, and the government is unable to dedicate enough funds for forest conservation. Some 92 area forest offices and 696 range posts are engaged in conservation programs across the 5.8 million acres of Nepalese land which is covered by forests, about 40 per cent of Nepal's total land area. According to officials, 20 area forest offices and 280 range posts have already been destroyed by the Maoists since they launched their armed insurgency, and in monetary terms, the Maoists have destroyed forestry infrastructure worth US$3.84 million.

Did a Piece of "Quark Matter" Go Right Through the Earth?

Posted on 2002/11/26 8:44:02 ( 909 reads )


DALLAS, TEXAS, November 26, 2002: Here's a news item that will give you pause for thought: a group of researchers at Southern Methodist University have identified two seismic events that they think provide the first evidence of a previously undetected form of matter blasting its way right through the Earth. They can't prove that this was the strange "quark matter," but it is the only explanation offered so far. The so-called strange quark matter is so dense that a piece the size of a human cell would weigh a ton. The two events under study both took place in 1993. The first event was recorded at seven monitoring stations in India, Australia, Bolivia and Turkey, and the second event was recorded at nine monitoring stations in Australia and Bolivia. The first event occurred on October 22, 1993, when something entered the Earth off Antarctica and left it south of India .73 of a second later. The other occurred on November 24, 1993, when an object entered south of Australia and exited the Earth near Antarctica .15 of a second later.

Raghunath Temple Complex Siege Ends

Posted on 2002/11/25 8:49:02 ( 816 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, November 25, 2002: At least thirteen people were killed, including two terrorists, following the raid at the Raghunath Temple complex in the city of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state. By the time the siege ended Monday, two Indian security personnel and nine civilians had been killed and more than 50 people wounded. The siege at the Raghunath temple -- a 150-year-old institution -- marked the third straight day of violence in Kashmir. The attack was the second this year on the temple, where thousands of Hindus come every day to worship.

Thousands Worship at Pushkar Lake

Posted on 2002/11/25 8:48:02 ( 842 reads )


PUSHKAR, INDIA, November 19, 2002: The annual full-moon festival was attended by devotees who took a holy dip in Pushkar Lake while temple bells rang and Vedic mantras were chanted. Despite the cold winds, an estimated 100,000 devotees participated in the pilgrimage that coincides with the Pushkar Fair. After bathing, food was distributed to sadhus and pilgrims worshipped at various temples located around the lake. The highlight of the festivity was worshipping at the Brahma temple which is the only temple in the country honoring Brahma, the Hindu God of creation.

Ganesha Devotee Builds Temple Dedicated to "Cricket Ganesha"

Posted on 2002/11/25 8:47:02 ( 840 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, November 22, 2002: Field hockey may be India's national game but ask any Indian which sport is the national obsession, and he would say cricket. Everything comes to a standstill when the Indian team is playing. And if India wins, which of late has not been often, it becomes a cause for national celebration. In the latest indication of how Indian fans' love for cricket borders on obsession, a devotee of Lord Ganesha has installed a "cricket icon" for all Hindus to worship. The temple in Chennai, which is dedicated to cricket Lord Ganesha, was consecrated by Ramakrishnan, a Hindu devotee of Lord Ganesha. Ramakrishnan claims that the temple came up as a result of a vow he had taken during a match. There is one Ganesha icon with a trunk pointing to the right for good luck to right-handed batsmen and another with its trunk pointed to the left for good luck to left-handed batsmen. And such is the faith of cricket enthusiasts that many come to the temple before an Indian match to pray for the team's success.

Hindu Spirituality Conference Announced

Posted on 2002/11/25 8:46:02 ( 901 reads )


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, November 25, 2002: A Hindu Spirituality Conference, sponsored by the Edinburgh International Center for World Spiritualities, is planned for Saturday, December 21, 2002. The Consulate General of India, Edinburgh, will host the conference from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. According to organizers, this is one of a series of conferences that "celebrates the strength and diversity of the world's spiritual traditions in Scotland and internationally." For additional information readers may contact Neill Walker at "source" above.

Militants Attack Jammu's Raghunath Temple

Posted on 2002/11/24 8:49:02 ( 843 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, November 24, 2002: A group of heavily armed militants stormed the Raghunath temple in Jammu which was packed with Sunday evening devotees. Throwing grenades and firing from guns, seven people were killed, including one of the attackers, and 28 injured. The militants were still holed up inside the temple and a fierce gun battle with security forces was on amid reports that another terrorist was hiding in a nearby Rupewallah temple and that simultaneous firing was going on there too. Police said an unspecified number of militants entered the temple at around 7 p.m., lobbed 12 grenades and fired at random after they struck at two places in quick succession. The militants first struck at Shaheedi chowk opposite the Congress headquarters and later triggered a blast near a hotel in the market area from where thousands of pilgrims set off to the Vaishnodevi shrine. Earlier, local residents, armed with homemade weapons, had taken to the streets in an attempt to take on the raiders, while the National Security Guard commandos are leaving Delhi for Jammu. The Raghunath temple was the scene of a similar attack on March 30, in which ten people, including three soldiers and two militants, were killed. The temple is visited by hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims from across the country every year.

A Million Devotees Bathe in the Ganges

Posted on 2002/11/24 8:48:02 ( 898 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, November 19, 2002 : About one million Hindu devotees bathed in the holy Ganges in Bihar to mark the festival of Kartika Purnima. Pilgrims filled Patna, most having come from rural areas all over the state and neighboring Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of Hindus from neighboring Nepal also reached Sonepur to participate in the pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands raised slogans such as "Har Har Mahadev" at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers at Sonepur, about 40 km from Patna. Many devotees later visited the Sonepur Fair where Asia's largest cattle fair commenced on Monday, with owners bringing an estimated 50,000 animals including elephants, camels, cows, bulls and horses for sale. The fair is held over an area of nearly 200 acres. Not only Hindus, but people from all communities throng the fair.

Aging Population Changing Traditional Indian Family

Posted on 2002/11/24 8:47:02 ( 907 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 20, 2002: According to the United Nations almost 80 million people in India are over 60, and by the year 2021 that number will increase to 137 million. That means India's population is aging, resulting in several implications on health, economic security, family life and well-being of people. The responsibility of a larger group of older people has to be borne by a relatively smaller, younger group of adult workers. The state does not have adequate sources to meet the demand on its services. In India, parents were once honored as Gods and it was the duty of the sons, to respect and care for his parents. Even now, in most homes, older parents live with their sons and families. If there is more than one son, the eldest son bears the responsibility of caring for the aged parents. This tradition is practiced by both the rich and the poor. The tradition assured that old people were not only looked after, but they had a role to play in the family by taking care of the grandchildren and providing guidance to the younger generation on matters of customs and traditions. But that is all changing. The joint family has broken down and older people are considered a burden by the younger generation. Quality old age homes are few and they can only be found in India's major metropolitan areas. Serviced apartments are also not easily available to senior citizens.

Effort to Rename California Street Sparks Cultural Debate

Posted on 2002/11/24 8:46:02 ( 923 reads )

Source: San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, U.S.A., November 20, 2002: When leaders of the Hindu Temple and Community Center asked the city to abandon Persian Drive and rename it Mandir Drive after the Hindi name for "temple," it started an emotional feud of national pride between local Indian and Iranian Americans. Stunned by a sudden outburst of objections by local Iranians, the temple withdrew its proposal last week at a city council hearing, but temple officials still plan to pursue their request. Both sides say they want a compromise, but they are also equally adamant that their heritage and cultural contributions somehow be represented along the nondescript, two-lane road. The Hindu Temple has occupied an office building at 430 Persian Drive for a decade. "We are 11 percent of the population of Sunnyvale, and this is one of the largest community centers in Northern California," said Naranji Patel, president of the temple that serves 5,300 families. "We thought we could get recognition from the city for this, and that might bring more people to the temple, and we could leave a legacy for our children." More than a week ago, local Iranians heard of the proposal to banish the historical name of their homeland from city maps. Iran was called Persia for centuries until 1935, and "Persian" is still used to refer to a language and ethnicity. "The word Persian resonates with profound meaning to Iranians, the way Thomas Jefferson resonates with Americans," said Shahin Tabrizi, former president of the Persian Center in Berkeley. "Persian has deep emotions for us." Iranian-Americans say they are especially sensitive to the name change because of anti-Middle Eastern sentiment in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Temple officials say they meant no disrespect. While local Iranians are grateful the temple withdrew its request, both sides are trying hard to be conciliatory and polite and to work out a solution.

"India" as a Common First Name in Britain and USA

Posted on 2002/11/24 8:45:02 ( 853 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 18, 2002: In March 2003, Oxford Reference Online will be available to internet users. Of interest to Hindus is the Oxford Dictionary of First Names where India is listed as a common first name for children in Britain and the United States. The dictionary says, "India as a first name is presumably from the name of the subcontinent, and apparently taken into regular use as a result of its occurrence in 'Gone with the Wind' (India Wilkes, a character in this 1939 classic movie on the American Civil War)." Along with the dictionary of first names, 99 other dictionaries, usage, quotations and subject reference books of the Oxford University Press will be available on the internet.

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