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Hindu Press International
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India Keeps Caste Off Agenda
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:49:02 ( 698 reads )


Source: The Hindu





GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, August 10, 2001: With the backing of China, South Korea and some other countries, India frustrated the attempts of non-government organizations to get the issue of caste discrimination included on the agenda for the coming conference on racism. Despite consistent efforts by the Human Rights Watch and several NGOs, the issue of caste-based discrimination failed to get the support of the member-countries at the meeting of the U.N. subcommission of human rights. Countries such as Britain were inclined to have a debate on the issue. But Mauritius lauded the Indian Government for taking measures to safeguard the rights of Dalits and poor sections. It also referred to safeguards provided by the Indian Constitution which enabled a person from the lower caste to hold the highest constitutional post in the country. India's permanent representative to the U.N. office, Ms. Savitri Kunadi, said the Indian Government had taken a number of steps and provided constitutional safeguards to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and weaker sections.




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Hindu Outfit Forces Girl to End Life
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:48:02 ( 672 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, August 10, 2001: Coming on the heels of a young couple being publicly hanged in Uttar Pradesh over caste differences, a young girl Bharti Barot, 19, committed suicide in the Hindu Mahasabha office here following pressure from one of its activists, Dasrath Soni, to desert her husband and reconvert to Hinduism. Bharti and Salim were married in a mosque after she converted to Islam. Though the marriage was duly registered, Bharti's parents refused to give up and lodged a complaint with the police. When separated from her husband, Bharti set herself afire. Ahmedabad police have registered a case of accidental death. But Police Commissioner P.C. Pande said a case of abetment to suicide against the Hindu Mahasabha activist couldn't be ruled out.




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Hindu Priests on Government Payroll in Gujarat
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:47:02 ( 830 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, August 11, 2001: The BJP-ruled Gujarat Government will soon pay monthly salaries to priests of Hindu temples in the State. In the first phase, one priest of the 354 Government-controlled "devasthans" temples would be entitled to a monthly salary of US$21.74 from September. When queried why Hindu priests were singled out for this provision, Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya who holds charge of pilgrimage development and cow protection told the Hindustan Times that priests of other religions in any case get paid either from the Waqf Board or trusts managing the place of worship. "It is to give justice to the feelings of the Hindu society that salaries are being paid to them," the minister said. The minister, however, clarified that before paying the salaries some aspects like the priests, antecedents, the managing committee's activities, the "aarti" and "darshan" timings followed, the temple's income-expense position would be ascertained. The State government had recently introduced a group insurance cover of $2,174 for pilgrims from the State going to the Amarnath shrine. The insurance scheme, for which the bulk premium has been paid by the the government, insures the pilgrims against accidents, terrorist strikes and natural calamities. A budgetary provision has also been made to pay a subsidy of $435 for every pilgrim joining the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra. The government also proposes to ban sale of non-vegetarian food in the periphery of temple towns like Somnath, Dwaraka, Ambaji and Dakor, Pandya added.




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Thousands Devotees Flock for Gogamadi Mela
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:46:02 ( 750 reads )


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GOGAMADI, INDIA, August 11, 2001: Thousands of devotees flocked to one of the prominent fairs of Northern India, Gogamadi Fair, on Saturday evening. Devotees donning yellow clothes could be spotted separately in the rush of mela. They first of all had a bath in the sacred Gogana pond and then had a one-and-a-half kilometers round of the dhuni of Guru Gorakhnath Ji. This was done by them bare-footed. After this they did their worship, etc. in a traditional manner. Many devotees were seen doing full prostrations between the Gorakh Tila and Goga Ji's Temple.




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UK Sikh Priests Condemn Female Foeticide
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:45:02 ( 667 reads )


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PUNJAB, INDIA, August 11, 2001: Dozens of Sikh priests in the district of Fatehgarh Sahib in the northern Indian state of Punjab joined forces with aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations today, to start a campaign against the practice of aborting female foetuses. Clerics representing some 450 villages in the Fatehgarh Sahib district listened to health workers and senior priests describe the dangers of imbalanced sex ratios in the population. The district has the lowest ratio of female-to-male births in India. A senior Sikh clergyman, Jathedar Manjit Singh, told the conference that aborting a female foetus was prohibited in Sikhism, and issued a call to socially boycott families that were known to have done such a thing. The head of the Akal Takht -- Sikhism's highest religious body -- had issued an edict last April condemning the practice.




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Hindus Unite to Form Sangam in Texas
Posted on 2001/8/12 23:44:02 ( 696 reads )


Source: INDIA HERALD





HOUSTON, TEXAS, August 4, 2001: At a gathering of over 1,000 Hindus, Hindu Dharma and culture were advocated by the formation of the "Hindu Sangam." Representatives from Chinmaya Mission Houston and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were speakers at the inauguration. Coordinator of the RSS activities, Shankarrao Tattvavadi, expounded on several points. His remarks included the fact that Hindu culture is spreading, with over one million Hindus in the U.K. and Malaysia and 1.8 million in the U.S. He further added, "To live as a Hindu, each one should follow the duty or dharma, which includes daily study of the scriptures and to pass on the essence of scriptures to others." K.S. Sudarshan, president of the RSS spoke positively about, "All of us are individuals with some good qualities and use them for the welfare of the whole universe and this philosophy needs the backing of a strong society. Hindus have inherited the great principle of dharma. We must come together to form a strong Hindu society."




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Discrimination of Non-Catholics Alleged in Mannar
Posted on 2001/8/9 23:49:02 ( 747 reads )


Source: Sunday Leader





SRI LANKA, August 5, 2001: In response to humanitarian disasters both natural and man-made, victims are usually resettled in their place of origin, or at least compensated for their loss. One project has created a furor, bringing to light divisions among religious communities in Mannar, Sri Lanka. The 300-320 families to be resettled under this project are inmates of the Pesalai open relief camp. The program involves the government providing the infrastructure and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, which builds houses for settlers. The Catholic Church got involved as the bishop of Mannar had offered church land in Thotaveli where 300 families could be resettled. Settlers were distributed a document that basically excluded everyone who is not a Catholic from settling on this land. The agreement expects all settlers to acknowledge that they have been settled in the land belonging to the church and those who avail themselves of this benefit have to abide within the Catholic faith. The victims wrote in protest to the government telling of this demand that violates their right to religious beliefs and the standards enshrined in the UN guiding principles on resettling internally displaced persons.




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Beef Book Sparks Hindu Protest
Posted on 2001/8/9 23:48:02 ( 669 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, Aug. 9, 2001: A spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) have strongly protested against the publication of a book which says that ancient Indians ate beef. the VHP claimed that the motive behind the book was to insult Hindus, who revere cows as part of their religion. But experts say the book only adds to existing evidence that beef was widely eaten in India hundreds of years ago. The author, Professor DN Jha, of "Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions," said he was seeking legal advice to ensure publication soon and knows of the court case in Hyderabad which seeks to prevent the book from being published. Two religious groups, the All Jain Sewak Sangh and the All Gowd Sangh, are said to have sought the ban because they argue that the book damages their faith.




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Hindu Leaders Forum to Meet in Los Angeles
Posted on 2001/8/9 23:47:02 ( 718 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 10, 2001: Dr. B.K. Modi announced today that a group of Hindu leaders traveling to 40 counties and 50 cities will be in Los Angeles on August 26 at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. According to the press release, "The Forum is a global network of prominent women and men of Hindu background representing a wide variety of professions and from all regions of the world which convenes globally to address issues affecting the Hindu community as well as to present the Hindu perspective on and Hindu response to key issues of global concern." For more information, contact "source" above by e-mail.




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Italian Scientist to Try Human Cloning
Posted on 2001/8/8 23:49:02 ( 651 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, August 1, 2001: A controversial Italian embryologist Professor Severino Antinori is preparing to impregnate up to 200 women with cloned embryos in November. The move will reignite a debate about the ethics and safety of cloning as an infertility treatment. Antinori, whose clinic in Rome enabled a 62-year-old woman to have a baby in 1994, said that up to 200 couples from several countries, including eight from Britain, were being selected for the cloning project and would be treated free of charge. The Sunday Times reported that he intended to use a technique which involved taking a nucleus from a cell belonging to the man which is inserted into a woman's egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed. The embryo is then implanted in her womb. Antinori acknowledged that international hostility to cloning meant that he could be forced to work in a remote country, or even on a ship in international waters.




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Preparations for Janamashtami in Full Swing
Posted on 2001/8/8 23:48:02 ( 672 reads )


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JAIPUR, INDIA, August 7, 2001: Though there are five days for Janamashtami to arrive, in this city of Jaipur widespread preparations for the festival have started. The main festival is celebrated in Govind Dev Ji. Here the material of display is being prepared and programs of religious music/bhajans are being held. To celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna, people are busy in preparations in their own unique manner with special food dishes and decorations for the temples. (translated from Hindi)




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2001 Ramayana Conference and Fair in Illinois
Posted on 2001/8/8 23:47:02 ( 770 reads )


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DEKALB, ILLINOIS, USA, July 28, 2001: The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois and the International Ramayana Institute of North America will present an Artistic, Cultural and Literary Conference on Ramayana Worldwide, September 21-22, 2001. The International Ramayana Fair, which will include Ramayana performances and workshops for the entire family, will be held on September 23, 2001. The countries currently represented include Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and India. International Ramayana Institute of North America brings together communities of different religion, different language, and different region by sharing Ramayana related culture through conferences and performances. For more information see "source" above.




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American Hindus Against Defamation Profiled
Posted on 2001/8/7 23:49:02 ( 795 reads )


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SAN DIEGO, USA, Aug 4, 2001: Ajay Shah's family had been associated with the RSS for many decades. Nearly 35 years later, Shah, a scientist with an American firm in San Diego, proudly declares his continuing association with the RSS, and is known for his passionate role in the formation of the watchdog group, American Hindus Against Defamation. Some of AHAD's campaigns have caught the attention of mainstream media, and articles about the organization have appeared in several American publications. Its campaign against fictionalizing Hindu Gods in an episode of the TV series Xena got a lot of coverage. And then there was the orgy sequence in Stanley Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut that used a Sanskrit shloka, and AHAD prevailed in the protest. "We were able to do all this without having an office, expensive attorneys or funding, says an exultant Shah. "What we do is purely a labor of love and for the cause of dharma." Some people have challenged him to think about the First Amendment. "I firmly believe in the First Amendment," he says. But he also believes in the right to oppose.




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Dancing to Aid Community
Posted on 2001/8/7 23:48:02 ( 664 reads )


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CALIFORNIA, USA, Aug. 4, 2001: Last weekend,14-year-old Sharanya Mukhopadhyay performed an Odissi dance at the Federation of Hindus Association's temple in Diamond Bar, California, to raise funds for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake. Last year, she helped raise funds for the Orissa cyclone and has performed three other times for different causes. "Basically, I want to help people through my dance." More than $3,000 was raised last Saturday and donations will also be matched by Intel Corporation. One of the crowning moments of Sharanya's budding dance career came last year when she won the prestigious Princess Grace Award, which recognizes and assists young talent in theater, dance and film. Sharanya went to New York to receive a $5,000 prize. Her latest charity performance had an added significance for Sharanya since she danced under the tutelage of her guru Nandita Behera.




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Parapsychology Foundation Honored
Posted on 2001/8/7 23:47:02 ( 676 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, Aug 4, 2001: Nearly 200 members of the Parapsychological Association, a group of active researchers, honored the foundation's 50th anniversary this week at an annual convention. Parapsychology is the study of unexplained or paranormal phenomenon. It mostly focuses on dream research, but also includes the study of hauntings, clairvoyance and the occult. Founded in 1951 by Eileen Garrett and Frances Payne Bolton, a wealthy congresswoman from Ohio, the Parapsychology Foundation was created to help further the study of a field, which, at the time, had not been heavily researched. The field of parapsychology has changed throughout the years and has evolved in a highly refined scientific pursuit.




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