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My Big Fat Indian Wedding

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:47:02 ( 869 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 14, 2002: Of the three great Indian obsessions, politics, cricket and marriage, the third comes first. Of the three great rituals that mark our lives -- birth, marriage and death -- marriage is the biggest and grandest of all. The poorest father will mortgage his house and drown himself in debt to provide for his daughter's wedding, reports Nina Martyris on the great Indian wedding. The weddings of India's wealthy are complete with thousands of guests, an outlandish theme, treasure chests of jewelry, family intrigue, romance and fun. They have long been the meeting ground of power, money and show biz. "Indian weddings are becoming bigger, louder and fancier," says Delhi designer Rohit Bal. "They're vulgar and completely out of control. I think a law needs to be passed to control people who've got so carried away. There was a time in the mid 90s, when I felt that maybe this madness might end, but simplicity is extinct. You have Hawaiian themes, Bollywood nights -- complete madness has overtaken people. Can someone please do a reality check on people spending filthy amounts of money on one evening?" Delhi wedding planner Geeta Samuel, adds that now the middle-class is aspiring to these superrich flash weddings too.

Hindus, The Last Of The Pagans?

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:46:02 ( 919 reads )


UNITED STATES, DECEMBER 9, 2002: What is called paganism, heathenism and polytheism is in fact the Natural religion of humanity, states this article. In areas where it has survived the onslaught of antihuman ideologies with their ego gods, the Natural religion has retained its self-respecting name. In Japan it is Shinto, in Taiwan Confucianism and Taoism, and in India as Hinduism, states this article by the Hindu Human Rights group. This article relates the fate of pagans in Europe after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and manifestations of the natural religion were condemned as sorcery, satanism and witchcraft, to what is happening to Hindus in India today. In Europe today Christianity presents a face, of compassion, equality, multiculturalism and interfaith pluralism. But this has not been the case throughout history. It is not the case now in India. The fundamentalist Christian propaganda machine, losing souls in Europe, portrays Hindus as Nazis, fundamentalists, and satanic followers in India. For the full article see "source" above.

Japan to Give US$87 Million for Ajanta Caves

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:49:02 ( 934 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, December 18, 2002: The Japanese government has okayed the release of US$87 million for restoration of the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad -- the first time a foreign government is aiding an Indian Heritage site. But the aid has not come easy to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), which manages the site. After five years of working hard at sprucing up the area around the caves, the MTDC has managed to satisfy the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, which is funding the restoration. MTDC had approached the bank a few years ago, asking for funds to restore the caves. The bank agreed, only, it said, the money would be released in two phases. The second donation would depend on the MTDC's performance in the first phase, during which it would have to set up the infrastructure (with the $26 million paid in the first phase) for the actual restoration work. MTDC did well, in fact, it even recently won the national award for the best executed conservation project for its infrastructure development near Ajanta and Ellora. The Buddhist murals and frescos of Ajanta, which go back to the 2nd Century BC, are considered to be the most beautiful expressions of Indian Middle Age art. The first mentions of these caves can be found in the writings of Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, who visited India between 629 AD-645 AD. He talks of 30 caves laid out in a massive horseshoe and nestling deep in a gorge in the Sayadri mountain range, whose walls had been converted into exquisite pictorial records of Buddha's life and teachings.

The Non-Western Roots of Science

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:48:02 ( 855 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, December 1, 2002: This very interesting review in the New York Times is of "Lost Discoveries," a book which describes how the West's history of science tends to ignore the contributions of the East. Some examples: The author "has created a very neat chronicle -- and a timely reminder -- of how much of the foundation of modern scientific thought and technological development was built by the mostly overlooked contributions of Arabs, Indians, Chinese, Polynesians and Mesoamericans. .... "The ancient Indians, long before Copernicus, knew that the Earth revolved around the sun and, a thousand years before Kepler, knew that the orbits of the planets were elliptical."

Kerala Organization Seeks Temple Renovation Funds

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:47:02 ( 1013 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, December 21, 2002. HPI has received the following appeal from Sri Vijayaraghavan of Kerala. "I am the Chairman, Kumarapuram Temple Renovation Committee, currently on a fundraising effort for renovating our ancient Siva-Vishnu Temple Complex situated in the suburbs of Trichur in Kerala State, India. The approximate project cost comes to US$31,000. This temple complex is deprived of basic needs and services primarily due to lack of funds. Majority of local community residents are from low-income house-holds. So we are seeking outside help to restore these ancient Hindu temples and preserve our culture for future generations.With this in mind we have brought out an illustrative brochure with brief history and photographs." Kindly e-mail "source" above for additional information.

Bihar Hindus Open Closed Mosque

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:49:02 ( 1013 reads )


BIHAR, INDIA, Dec 14, 2002: Muslims are again praying at a mosque in a village in Bihar shut 10 years ago following communal violence, as a result of the initiative taken by a Hindu elder to build religious amity. Hindu residents of Manjor village of Warsaliganj block in Nawada district reopened the mosque that was closed down after the razing of the Babri masjid in neighboring Uttar Pradesh in December, 1992, sparked countrywide violence. Following the trouble, about 40 Muslim families of Manjor village locked up the mosque, deserted their homes and migrated to other villages. The initiative for opening the mosque was taken by Vibhishan Singh, the deputy head of the village council, who contacted Muslims of a neighboring village, surprising them with the news. Singh said, "We invited Muslims of neighboring village to cooperate with us to open the mosque and resume prayers." This happened last week. Muslims gathered at the mosque and lighted candles after accepting the offer. Hindus of the village have also promised to maintain the Islamic shrine.

Methodology Report on Forum of Indian Leftists

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:48:02 ( 902 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 16, 2002: The India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) is a volunteer charitable organization which raises money in the United States for projects in India. It has been in operation since 1989. IDRF's 2001 fundraising of roughly US$2 million is a small fraction of total funds sent to India by the 2 million Indians and Indian-Americans in the USA. IDRF is considered one of the most successful and effective of Indian-American charitable organizations. For several years the Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL) and their associates have been targeting this organization for attacks. This has culminated in the November 2002 release of a 91-page report on the alleged funneling of IDRF money to entities inciting communal riots and persecution of minorities in India. This lengthy article presents a defense to the attack on the IDRF by Sabrang Communications and FOIL. To read the full report, go to "source" above.

Piety At A Price For Gangasagar Pilgrims

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:47:02 ( 889 reads )


GANGASAGAR, INDIA, December 10, 2002: Beginning this year, Gangasagar Mela, one of the largest religious congregations, will no longer be an absolute domain of sadhus and ordinary pilgrims. It will also be a paradise for for a fortunate few, ready to spend thousands of rupees per day for the experience. Thanks to a new idea of the West Bengal government and a consortium of five Kolkata-based tour operators, some 2,000 rich pilgrims will be able to travel to Gangasagar between January 11-15, 2003. These pilgrims can take holy dips in isolated shores and enjoy exclusive pujas at the Kapil Muni Temple as part of a five-star hospitality package. Trying to tap the religious tourism market for the country's rich, five tour operators have arranged separate guided package tours for them during the Mela next year. Tour participants will have access to life guards at the bathing ghat, medical and fire services and cultural programs at night as part of the exclusive services at a cost between US$55 and &75 per day per person.

Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh in UK Not Banned

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:46:02 ( 947 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, December 16, 2002 : An Indian Muslim organization has stated that the British government has turned down its demand to ban the two UK-based charitable groups with close ties with Sangh Pariwar even as the Charity Commission said the allegations against them were under "serious investigation." "We sent a 300-page dossier to the Home Office and the Charity Commission with clear proof that the VHP and its subordinate bodies in the UK had links with the VHP in India and were working for the same fascist mission," Chairman of the Council of Indian Muslims Munaf Zeena said in a statement. "While the matter is under serious investigation by the Charity Commission, unfortunately we have received a disappointing answer from the Home office that these organizations could not be banned," he said. However, Zeena hoped that in the wake of a recent television report asserting that the Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh and SEWA International raised funds in Britain for "anti-minorities programs and pogroms in India", the British government would review its decision.

Bangladesh Minorities Face Repression

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:45:02 ( 890 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA, October 18, 2002: With the media's focus turned to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, some believe their attention has been turned off Bangladesh while Islamic extremism has been on the rise there. Minority Hindus, Buddhist, Christians, Tribals, and liberal Muslims are under threat as religious intolerance takes hold following the victory of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) in the October 2001 elections. The BNP is led by Khaleda Zia, widow of the assassinated military dictator General Zia, who amended the original Constitution, replacing secularism with the "Sovereignty of Allah." The Islamic supremacist Jamaat-e-Islami party is a key constituent in her governing coalition. The party has argued that strict Islamic sharia law should be implemented in Bangladesh, just as it was by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Jamaat collaborated with Pakistan during the bloody 1971 war of liberation, in which 3 million civilians were murdered. A list of human rights violations on members of Bangladesh's minority religious population is being graphically documented by Mayer Dak correspondents based there. Readers may log onto "source" above for the full report.

Yoga, New Mantra for the Indian Air Force

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:49:02 ( 960 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA December 1, 2002: Yoga may soon become the new "mantra" for Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots to cope with the stress of flying fighter jets. The proposal for introducing yoga in the IAF was suggested by IAF Chief, Marshal S. Krishnaswamy. Addressing the International Conference on Aerospace Medicine here recently, Krishnaswamy noted that yoga is a great stress reliever and lamented the fact that it was not being used as extensively as it should be to grapple with various mental and psychological problems. Quoting examples from some Western Air Forces manuals, the Air Chief said they had included yoga as a stress reducer. "India, which gave this scientific art to the world, is unfortunately neglecting it," he said. Krishnaswamy felt it was high time that the IAF pilots practiced asanas to combat gravitational pull related problems. He also said research done in the field of aviation medicine should not only cover pilots but air traffic controllers, radar controllers and others involved in flying fighter jets.

Religious Leaders of Other Faiths Rejoice With Christians

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:48:02 ( 896 reads )

Source: Vancouver Sun

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, December 11, 2002: The following is a letter to the editor, Vancouver Sun: "We, 40 clergy of diverse historic faiths in the Greater Vancouver regional district, have banded together as the Clergy for Compassion and Harmony (CCH). We would like to state categorically that we, religious leaders of many of the Buddhist, visible minority Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Kabir, Konko, Sikh and Zoroastrian faith communities, do not support any letters to the editor claiming to be concerned that the celebration of Christmas is embarrassing to or disrespectful of the religious sensitivities of the people of other faiths. A few self-appointed individuals, at this time of Advent and the Christmas season, may voice disapproval of joyous public celebration of Christmas as offensive to the people of other faiths. We do not believe they really represent the people of minority faiths. The CCH rejoices with the Christian majority peoples in their celebration of the birth of their savior. May Christians receive special blessings and renewal in their faith and life through all their joyous reflection and celebration at this season. We trust that Christians in their turn respect and accept the joyous celebration of festivals of other faiths. Acharya S.P. Dwivedi, President, Clergy for Compassion and Harmony."

Mantras For Expectant Mothers

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:47:02 ( 1275 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 13, 2002: Not many music companies give a thought to motherhood, but Dhadkan, along with Sony Music has released an album entitled "Garbham Dehi" for expectant mothers at US$1.35. At this sensitive and important phase in a woman's life, an expectant mother needs care and attention in many areas, including spiritual, they believe. The mantras on the album are divided into three sections: those to be heard before conceiving a child, those listened to during pregnancy for the safety of the mother and child and mantras to be heard after delivery for the safety and overall development of the child. The slokas have been sung by Raghunandan Panshikar, while music has been composed by Bhupal Panshikar. The script is by Dr. B.P. Vyas. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.

Militants Accused of Forcible Conversion on Tripura Tribals

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:46:02 ( 879 reads )


TRIPURA, INDIA, December 8, 2002: Tribal Hindus in Tripura have formed vigilante groups, claiming militants are attempting to convert people at gunpoint to Christianity. Rampada Jamatia, a leader of the Jamatia tribal community, said that the forced conversions were being carried out by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). "We believe up to 5,000 tribal villagers were coerced into converting to Christianity by the NLFT during the past couple of years," Jamatia said in Jirania, 25 kilometers east of Agartala. Community chiefs and religious heads of 19 tribes met recently and formed a platform called the Tribal Culture Protection Committee to counter the militant threat. "The committee will discuss ways and means on how best to tackle the threat to our religion and culture, besides lobbying the local government to ensure protection for the religious rights of the tribes people," said tribal chieftain Bikram Bahadur Jamatia.

Chinese-Born Ethnic Indian Receives Chinese Citizenship

Posted on 2002/12/17 8:45:02 ( 981 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

HONG KONG, CHINA, December 8, 2002: East Indians in Hong Kong may now have an opportunity to become Chinese citizens. Fifteen-year-old Vehka Harjani, born in Hong Kong, has been granted Chinese nationality and a Hong Kong passport. She is the first recorded case where an Ethnic Indian with no Chinese blood or relatives has obtained these documents. In the past, ethnic Indians applying for Chinese citizenship were denied. A top Indian consular official says, "It is a pointer towards a new approach towards ethnic minorities." Indian businessman and social activist Ravi Gidumal adds, "The move is an important milestone for Hong Kong Indians."

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