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Ancient Art of Spinning Receives New Recognition
Posted on 2001/10/5 23:46:02 ( 799 reads )


Source: Telegraph India





KUKUDAKHANDI, INDIA, October 2, 2001: To honor Mahatma Gandi, the spinning of cotton on charkhas, the small hand spinning wheel popularized by Gandhi, has been recognized by the Olympic Association of Berhampur as a sport. Ranging in age from 11 to 99 years of age, over 70 women gathered in the village of Kukudakhandi to participate in the event. Ninety-nine-year old P.Chinnamma said, "she had started spinning on the charkha from the age of 20 years. She recalled the days when spinning on the charkha was considered a holy duty by the Mahatma." Presently the Orissa government has ignored the plight of charkha spinners who are forced to sell premium quality thread to handloomers in Andra Pradesh. By declaring charkha spinning an olympic event, this may be the impetus needed for the government to recognize the art and the community of Patasila in Kukudakhandi may receive a handloom unit in their village.




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Dalai Lama Against Conversions
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:49:02 ( 700 reads )


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DHARMASALA, INDIA, October 4, 2001: In his first-ever reaction to media reports about the Dalai Lama planning to convert a million Hindus to Buddhism, Tibetan in-exile Prime Minister Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin today said the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate had never converted any Hindu and did not intend to do so in the future. "In fact, the Dalai Lama is always against the conversion of people from one religion to another. Nor has he encouraged anyone, including the Hindus, to convert into our religion," he stated. Mr Samdhong said though such reports had been appearing in the media for the past some time, but there was no reaction from Tibet. He said it was only after his meeting with Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri yesterday that he became aware of such news reports regarding conversions being circulated [see HPI October 1]. "Hearing from the Jagadguru, I was deeply shocked and I felt that it was necessary to give our clarification," he said. Two days ago, the Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati, had accused the Dalai Lama of converting Hindus. Interacting with mediapersons at Brajeshwar Temple in Kangra, he had stated that the Dalai Lama would convert one million Hindus to Buddhism in New Delhi. Media reports had indicated that the plans of the Dalai Lama on mass conversion had been postponed and now the conversions would take place in Delhi on a specified date.




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Ammachi's Followers Institute Award
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:48:02 ( 821 reads )


Source: Press Release





AMRITAPURI, INDIA, October 1, 2001: A group of devotees of Mata Amritanandamayi have instituted an award, "Amritakeertti Puraskar" in the name of Her Holiness, on distinguished persons who have made significant contributions in diverse fields. At present, two types of persons are chosen for the above award: those engaged in writing original, in-depth studies of great Indian Spiritual Classics, and those dedicated to constructive social or national service.




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Hindu Students Council Announces "Dharma Life Project"
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:47:02 ( 644 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, September 29, 2001: The Dharma Life Project was launched by Hindu Students Council (HSC) with a ceremony in the Hindu Worship Society temple blessed by Pundit Rajendra Sharma. Dharma Life is a year-long effort to bring the powerful messages of the sages of Sanatana Hindu Dharma to students and youth all across the world, especially to college campuses. "For quite some time in the world history," says Rakhi Israni, the Dharma Life project coordinator, "we have only witnessed war, terrorism and bloodshed. Through this project we aim to make the young people around the world belonging to various Indic traditions such as Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Vaishnavas, Sivas etc., proud of their culture and aware of the vastness of their religions."




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Elephant Chasers Jobless
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:46:02 ( 728 reads )


Source: The Statesman





KOLKATA, INDIA, October 2, 2001: The state forest department has stopped recruiting villagers to drive away elephants, after some of the animals went on a rampage in Bankura as a fall-out of an operation to catch them. The forest department believes that the hulla or driving parties, drive away the elephants only to drive them back again later. Many hulla parties double-crossed the department to continue getting work for a longer period, a senior official said, for the income of the driving party members would dry up if the elephant herds didn't attack the crop fields at regular intervals. No wonder, a 45-elephant herd, now roaming in Bankura and Midnapore, has no hulla party to drive it out of villages. Besides, the elephants trekking to south Bengal forests have grown immune to the sound and fury of the drum beats and explosives.




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$400 Million Suit Against Hare Krishnas Dismissed
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:45:02 ( 759 reads )


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DALLAS, TEXAS, October 4, 2001: The Honorable Sam A. Lindsay, Judge of the United States District Court in Dallas, in a decision filed September 28, has permanently dismissed a lawsuit seeking $400 million dollars in damages from several dozen temples, entities and individuals affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), better known as the Hare Krishna movement, a Vaishnava denomination claiming no connection with Hinduism. The suit, originally filed on June 12, 2000, was a result of rampant child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s at several parochial schools and temples affiliated with ISKCON. The organization did not deny the abuse took place, but felt the individuals responsible should be pursued and not the organization as a whole. The case was unique in attempting to invoke the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).




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Historian Held For Derogatory Remarks Against Hindu Gods
Posted on 2001/10/3 23:49:02 ( 681 reads )


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NAGPUR, INDIA, July 19,2001: A Nagpur-based historian and an activist of Bahujan Samaj Party, M M Deshmukh, was arrested from his residence on Monday by Umari police for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the Hindu God Brahmadev and Goddess Saraswati. According to reports, Deshmukh delivered a public speech on April 23 at Umari on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and allegedly made remarks against the Hindu Gods. Deshmukh was arrested after a complaint was lodged by an Umari resident, Sanjay Kulkarni. Kulkarni said that the brahmin community were hurt due to the remarks of Deshmukh, and sought a stern action against him.




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Sharjah Bans Saris
Posted on 2001/10/3 23:48:02 ( 726 reads )


Source: Times of India





DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, October 4, 2001: A new dress code to be enforced in the Sharjah Emirate under the "decency law" frowns upon the sari for women and shortpants for men. The local order, No. 1 for 2001, enunciating the code came into effect on September 26 and thousands of multi-lingual leaflets in Malayalam, Urdu, Arabic, English, French, Russian and German are being distributed throughout Sharjah. Sharjah covers 2,590 sq.km and lies in the heart of the UAE, a federation of states. The Emirates won "The Cultural Capital of the Arab World" Award for the year 1998.




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US Military Calls Chaplains to Duty
Posted on 2001/10/3 23:47:02 ( 653 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2001: More than a hundred military chaplains may be called up to active duty along with reserve units, according to this report. US military chaplains for more than 200 years have conducted worship services, provided pastoral counseling and religious and moral education, as well as support in family services. They are also active in crisis intervention, community services and humanitarian programs. They may serve at the front lines, but do not engage in combat. There are chaplains serving in the US military of the Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Hinduism Today magazine has reported on the military's efforts to enlist a Hindu chaplain, and can assist anyone who might be interested. Many of the reserve chaplains are full-time church pastors, such as the Rev. Bill Wildhack, a chaplain and lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve, and a co-pastor of a Presbyterian church near St. Petersburg, Fla. "After the president said, 'Be ready,' we talked about what it will mean if the call comes - as to my family and also the congregation."




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Join the Presidential Prayer Team
Posted on 2001/10/3 23:46:02 ( 708 reads )


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SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, October 4, 2001: A new effort called the Presidential Prayer Team is registering tens of thousands of Americans of all religions to pray for President Bush and the nation in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We have 140,000 people that have come over the Internet, signing up their commitment to pray daily for the president," William Hunter, president and founder of the initiative, told Religion News Service on Monday (October 1). The team's work is endorsed by Christian leaders and Mission America, a consortium of evangelical denominations and ministries, but Hunter hopes it will be an interfaith prayer effort. "From the very get-go, we have set it up to be for all faiths," he said. "We want anybody involved that prays to the God of our universe to be involved in prayer." During the last week of September, as many as 25,000 people signed up in one day. "Our goal is to have 2.8 million -- that's 1 percent of the U.S. population -- praying for the president each day," Hunter said. Click "source" above to access the site.




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Psychics May be Employed in the Fight Against Terrorism
Posted on 2001/10/3 23:45:02 ( 713 reads )


Source: Deccan Herald





WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2001: In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks led by Osama bin Laden on the U.S., America may be employing psychic spies to determine their course of action. According to this article, it was during the cold war that these psychics were able to detect the top secret Typhoon submarine of the Soviet Union, hidden defense equipment in many remote places, file titles in top secret facilities and more. They used a process called "remote viewing" in which they tried to imagine what a distant place looked like, and then drew a picture of it. Despite the scorn of skeptics, the research was conducted in collaboration with the Stanford Research Institute and shown to work, even if few of the scientists would publicly venture an explanation. The work was terminated in the U.S. after the Cold War.




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300 Million Hindus to Convert to Christianity??
Posted on 2001/9/30 23:49:02 ( 732 reads )


Source: Source: http://www.gfa.org/revival





CARROLLTON, TEXAS, October 1, 2001: The Gospel for Asia and the All-India Christian Council issued the following press release today. No other information has appeared in the press reports monitored by HPI, and there no independent confirmation of what might simply be wishful thinking from The Gospel for Asia, a zealous evangelical organization run by an Indian Christian out of Texas. The release reads: "Dear Friends in Christ, I can't over estimate the importance and urgency of this email regarding the probability of a revival that could begin in India on November 4, 2001. Three-hundred-million Dalits (low-caste "untouchables") [actually he appears to mean 200 million Dalits and 100 million tribals] are on the verge of turning to the Christian faith. Over the past few months, high level leaders representing no less than 300 million Dalitshave been in dialogue with the All India Christian Council. (The AICC is the largest Evangelical network in India with membership of over 2,000 Mission organizations, denominations and other Christian entities.) Their simple request was: 'The only way for our people to find freedom from 3,000 years of slavery is to quit Hinduism and Castism and embrace another faith. Christianity offers hope for us. We would be happy if our people would become Christians... can you help us?' This request culminated in a historic meeting on September 7, 2001 in Hyberabad, India where over 740 top Evangelical leaders from across India met with 26 top Dalit leaders to discuss how this movement should be handled. Dr. Joseph D'Souza and Dr. K.P. Yohannan give leadership to the AICC which is committed to mobilize the Church body to respond to this most urgent challenge. Gospel for Asia is one of the largest Church planting movement in the subcontinent and has been busy in taking concrete steps to respond to this move of God. This mass exodus begins on November 4, 2001. At this time, one million low-caste Dalits are expected to meet in Delhi, India for a mass conversion event to Buddhism. Originally, these 1 million low-caste Dalits were to be asked to convert only to Bhuddism. Now, by God's grace, the option of finding freedom in Christ will also be presented on November 4th, 2001. Will you please stand in the gap and get involved on behalf of millions who are about to follow the Lord Jesus? Please visit our website at www.gfa.org/revival for more information on how you can get involved."




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Meet God at the American Museum of Natural History
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:49:02 ( 737 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 30, 2001: Stephen Huyler's other-worldly exhibit "Meeting God, Elements of Hindu Devotion" (see Hinduism Today, Dec 1996) which began five years ago at the Sackler Museum in Washington, D.C., has been taken to new dimensions at its present location in the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The renowned venue, considered the root of modern anthropological science, boasts some of the most highly skilled presentation designers and craftsmen in the world. When the exhibit arrived for installation, 100 museum staff members turned their creative powers from dinosaurs to spiritual display -- showing to the world the ways of Hindu worship at home, village, temple and in personal experience. New York Hindus are full of praise. Jyotirmoy Datta wrote in India Abroad, "After visiting the stunning exhibition, one is .... inclined to murmur, 'Why travel to Tirupati or Hardwar when you can spend enchanting hours at this great institution in Manhattan getting glimpses of the world's most ancient religion still practiced today by almost a billion inhabitants of this planet?' " Stephen Huyler, the visionary behind the exhibit, has managed to convey his own "awe that the Divine permeates the daily lives of hundreds of millions of human beings in almost every aspect of their existence." He even had the exhibit consecrated by a priest. After the events of September 11, people are coming not only to see but to pray, for solace and to make offerings.




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India Fears Flare-up Between Hindus and Muslims
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:48:02 ( 685 reads )


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ALIGARH, INDIA, September 28, 2001: One of the biggest fears for Indian authorities since the attacks on New York and Washington has been that the fallout could trigger a fresh flare-up between the country's Hindus and Muslims. Fully 85% of India's more than one billion people are Hindu, but the population includes 12% or 120 million Muslims, and tensions between the two communities, which live side by side across the heartland of the nation, are never far from the surface. Places such as Aligarh, 75 miles southeast of New Delhi in the midst of the mustard and wheat fields of the fertile Ganges floodplain, have in the past been torn by weeks of pitched sectarian battles, often triggered by something as innocuous as a squabble among children. "There have been so many riots here in the past that people now know the reality - only innocents suffer," Brij Bhushan, the chief of police for Aligarh district, said this week. "We can pray for the Muslims in Afghanistan, but that's it, [that is, no political activism is allowed]," said Rehan Salim, a Muslim resident who said he had witnessed riots in the town in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Scores were killed in that fighting and Aligarh, a city of 800,000, was often placed under 24-hour curfew. "No one - Hindu or Muslim - wants to go through that again," Salim said. "People now are more educated, prosperous. They are more interdependent; they don't want to disturb the balance." "The artisans are Muslims, most of the traders are Hindus - they cannot live without each other," said Bhushan, the police chief. "A riot throws this whole thing out of balance." The spread of cable television, with its blanket coverage of American soap operas and Hollywood glamour, has also made sectarian strife seem outdated. "Our children eat onions and meat now," said R.C. Aggarwal, a Hindu. Many Hindus are vegetarian, and some also do not eat garlic and onions; most Muslims eat meat. "The Muslims are becoming more like us and we are becoming more like them," he said. "We all watch television . . . we are all becoming Americanized."




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Pandit Roop Sukhram at Prayer for America September 23
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:47:02 ( 1015 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 30, 2001: Our thanks to several readers who informed us that the Hindu priest at the September 23 gathering, Prayer for America, at Yankee Stadium, New York was Pandit Roop Sukhram of the Hindu Sharam Temple in Brooklyn. His said to the assembled mourners, most relatives of victims of the attack, "On September 11, we have seen two kinds of humans. We have seen the humankind who would go to any length, giving their own lives to hurt others. And yes, we have seen kinder humans, who sacrificed their lives in an effort to save others." HPI reader Pradip Sagdeo said, "Pandit was the last religious leader to speak and gave a very eloquent speech in fluent English. I was very happy to hear and see him on TV."




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