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Hindu Vocabulary Added to Oxford English Dictionary


Posted on 2002/9/9 9:47:02 ( 1012 reads )


Source: SIFY News





NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 25, 2002: As Indian culture has become more popular in the United Kingdom, the influx of Indian vocabulary has become more common. Judy Pearsall, editor of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of English, says, "People are reading Indian authors in English more widely than perhaps they have done before." The article says, "The new tenth revised edition of Comprehensive Oxford English Dictionary, launched in India earlier this week, has massed hundreds of words of Indian origin." Among the 600 new Indian English entries are words such as Hindutva (philosophy of a Hindu nation and life), panchayat (village council), puri (flat bread), dosa (also a flat bread) and chai (spiced tea). The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary was first published in 1884 and about 80% of the 77,000 entries are from British English. The other 20% come from American English, Australia, India and other former British colonies. It is the most authoritative dictionary of the English language.






Rajiv Malhotra's Latest Column of America's Academics of Hinduism


Posted on 2002/9/9 9:46:02 ( 1096 reads )


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September 9, 2002: Excerpt from this very long essay (circa 20,000 words) by Rajiv Malhotra which appears on the Sulekha web site. Rajiv begins by quoting Wendy Doniger, Professor of History of Religions, University of Chicago. Quoted in Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 November, 1999: Prof. Doniger said to the Inquirer, "The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think ... Throughout the Mahabharata ... Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war. ... The Gita is a dishonest book ..." Rajiv then continues his introduction: "In my previous Sulekha column, I pointed out that whereas elite colleges in the West teach great respect for Greek and other Western Classics as being the bedrock of their civilization, it has become fashionable for elitist (i.e. Westernized) Indians to denigrate their own Indian Classics. Furthermore, these Indians see their education in Western literature as validating their Western identity (falsely equating modernization with Westernization), and go out of their way in putting down their Indian heritage. The present essay deals with yet another important discipline, namely, Religious Studies, which is growing rapidly in the US and in many other countries. Unfortunately, this is not so in India, where a peculiar brand of "secularism" has prevented academic Religious Studies from entering the education system in a serious manner. Therefore, most Indians do not have the necessary competence in this academic field to be able to understand how it differs from both (i) religious instruction that one expects to find in a temple, church or mosque, and (ii) political or popular ideological depictions of religion in the media. ... This essay's thrust revolves around the portrayal of India's religions in the West. Being unable to appreciate how and why academic Religious Studies is different from other activities that might appear similar, most Indians are ignorant of the abuses being caused in the West as a result of (a) the negative stereotyping of Indic traditions, and (b) the misappropriation from Indic traditions while erasing the sources."






Helpers Sought for Information Gathering Project


Posted on 2002/9/9 9:45:02 ( 978 reads )


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PUNE, INDIA, September 9, 2002: Prof. G. C. Asnani sends the following request: "We are looking for part-time teachers, students and housewives worldwide, to help us in locating and where possible, themselves providing, through e-mail system, world-wide information on current affairs, recent advances in different branches of science, fine arts, technology, history, Sanskrit, yoga, health, vedic mathematics, climate, environment, Art and science of maintaining a happy home, home-crafts, teaching aids including pictorial animation, sports, etc. Information should be particularly suitable for inspiring young minds including students at various stages. Interested persons may kindly write by e-mail to source above."






VHP Activists Lay Siege To Ranchi Station


Posted on 2002/9/8 9:49:02 ( 974 reads )


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RANCHI, INDIA, September 2, 2002: Hindu organizations led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and dozens of local temple committees today disrupted rail traffic, smashed vehicles, beat up shop-keepers and enforced a strict bandh (general strike) in protest against the Jharkhand High Court's orders to either demolish the Hanuman temple in front of the Ranchi railway station or to relocate it. VHP leader Pramod Kumar Mishra told The Telegraph that irrespective of the consequences, they would not allow the Ranchi station temple to be shifted. Mishra said the district administration was free to demolish the temple, though they would never agree for another location for the temple, which has been in existence for over 25 years at the place.






Hindu Youth Forum Held In California


Posted on 2002/9/8 9:48:02 ( 954 reads )


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NORWALK, CALIFORNIA, September 5, 2002: The Hindu Youth Forum of Southern California successfully organized their first ever Hindu Youth Conference on August 24 at Sanatana Dharma Mandir at Norwalk. This is the first time a conference of its kind held where all the activities were planned and executed by teenagers of the youth forum. A total of thirty southern California youth gathered and discussed issues affecting them. The paper/essay writing covered topics such as Hindu brotherhood, rituals and symbols in Hinduism, being a Hindu in American high school and college. Winners were Niyati Gupta, Rohan Gupta and Amogh Havanur. For more details on the activities of Hindu Youth Forum, contact e-mail source above






India Considers World Trade Center Steel Scrap Inauspicious


Posted on 2002/9/8 9:47:02 ( 1050 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 4, 2002: Indians are shying away from World Trade Center scrap steel shipped to the country to be recycled, afraid its history makes it "inauspicious." But it may be more than that -- it may be lethal. Critics say India has become the developed world's dumping ground, rapidly poisoning itself and its billion-plus people with toxins from both the waste and the pollution from the sometimes dangerous methods used to recycle it. The world's second-most populous country combines low wages, lax environmental laws and a huge domestic market for the recycled products, says Suneel Pandey, a researcher with the Tata Research Energy Institute. About 70,000 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center was shipped to India before it was stopped by objections from environmentalists and unions, says Greenpeace India. Greenpeace says the scrap is contaminated by asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, plastics and the lead, mercury and other contaminants in the computers and fittings inside the twin towers destroyed last year. A preliminary study in India found no toxins, but Greenpeace and other environmental groups question the study's accuracy. Indian scrap dealers are now having trouble selling the WTC steel for other reasons. "People are having some reservations. It's a sentimental matter," said O. P. Bajpai, an adviser to the Indian Steel Alliance lobby group. "In India, it's a matter of belief," he said, refusing to comment on other issues about the WTC scrap.






Opulent Indian Wedding Dazzles Europe


Posted on 2002/9/5 9:49:02 ( 928 reads )


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BELGIUM, EUROPE, September 4, 2002: A US$15.6 million Indian wedding in Belgium has hit headlines in Europe for setting a new benchmark for "opulence and innovation." For a few days, Antwerp became a Bollywood fantasy for the double wedding of Vishal and Priya Shah, son and daughter of Vijay Shah, one of the biggest diamond dealers in the world, and brother of Bollywood producer Bharat Shah. Bollywood set designer Nitin Desai transformed an entire exhibition building, Nekkerhal, into a Rajasthani palace 1,000 feet long, 300 feet wide and 60 feet tall. The fiberglass moulding took 250 workers six weeks to make at Film City in Mumbai. The food was strictly vegetarian, but guests had a choice of Chinese, Italian, Lebanese and Indian. "Vijay Shah basically gave me a free hand," Desai told the Daily Telegraph. "He told me, 'We want the best.' "






Gurukul Houses Archery Academy


Posted on 2002/9/5 9:48:02 ( 1184 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





MEERUT, INDIA, August 28, 2002: Gurukul Prabhat Ashram, Gram Tikri, is the surprising home of an archery academy. About 40 to 50 miles outside of New Delhi, past the city of Meerut, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, dozens of barefoot young boys clad in yellow, chatter away in Sanskrit. Some of these boys also train six hours a day at the archery academy housed in the Gurukul (a traditional school). They live, study and train according to old Gurukul traditions and are convinced that the lifestyle will give them the focus required to bring home the medals. Their philosophy is that the future of Indian sport lies in an ancient past. "The Army, SAI and others are convinced they can get an Olympic medal, so we can at least dream in that direction," says Ajay Gupta, who runs the UP Archery Association. The idea for an archery academy came about in 1994, during a chance discussion on India's dismal performance in the 1992 Olympics. "My brother, the late Subhash Gupta, was talking to Swami Vivekanand Saraswati, who runs the Gurukul, and we wondered if we could do our bit for Indian sport," recalls Gupta. "Swamiji offered the Gurukul land and we decided that we could try and tackle archery, in keeping with tradition." Three of the four members of India's current Asian Games team trained at the academy. Students at the academy are trained in both the traditional Indian method (using native wooden bows) for national events and with foreign equipment for advanced competition.






India's National Green Corps Appeal for Ganesha's Without Color


Posted on 2002/9/5 9:47:02 ( 877 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, September 2, 2002: National Green Corps, comprising school children, along with the Andra Pradesh Pollution Control Board have urged people to make Ganesha icons only with clay and not from other materials such as plaster of Paris. They also asked people to not to install Ganesha icons painted with colors nor to immerse the Ganesha icons after the festivities in infiltration tanks, rivers, lakes and seas. In a statement, the NGC and the APPCB said that the colors used to paint the icons contain heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. "They pollute our water bodies, so please do not use colored icons of Lord Ganesha," they said. Lead paint, long banned in Western countries, is still used in India.






Churches, Local Governments Clash Over Zoning


Posted on 2002/9/5 9:46:02 ( 891 reads )


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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, September 4, 2002: A growing number of churches and other religious institutions are utilizing a two-year-old civil rights law to fight local government officials over zoning disputes. The churches claim the zoning laws are being used to violate their religious freedoms. The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed an appeal last week with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to reverse a decision by a lower federal court that prevented a California Christian college from moving its campus from San Jose to Morgan Hill. "If we prevail, we'll be establishing new case law for churches and using RLUIPA -- the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- to set them apart from some of these onerous requirements that ... create a substantial burden on their ability to grow as they feel called," said Brad Dacus, president and chief counsel of the PJI. The PJI took up the case against the city of Morgan Hill after city officials told San Jose Christian College that it could not move its growing student body to the site of a defunct hospital it had purchased in 2000. Although a deed restriction barred the use of the facility as a hospital, the city council "voted to deny a zoning change from hospital use to educational use," according to a website run by the college. The website also states the city council reached its decision despite a city-funded study that had concluded Morgan Hill would not need a hospital for another ten to 15 years. RLUIPA imparts important rights to all religious institutions in America, including Hindu temples, and should be thoroughly understood by temple committees.






Plans to Make Malaysia's Batu Caves An International Tourist Destination


Posted on 2002/9/4 9:49:02 ( 880 reads )


Source: New Straits Times





BATU CAVES, MALAYSIA, August 26, 2002: The natural and cultural attractions of Batu Caves will be enhanced to make the place an international tourist destination, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said today. With its caves, tunnels, streams and a Hindu temple which attracted millions of devotees and tourists each year, Batu Caves was a strategic place with plenty of tourism potential, he said. "Nearly 2,000 visitors, both local and foreign, come here each day," he said. "A concerted effort must be made to develop Batu Caves further." For a start, he said, lights would be strung up around the area and sign-boards explaining the history of the caves put up. He said the temple committee and Selayang Municipal Council had agreed. "Earlier today, I discussed this with them and they agreed that more should be done to make Batu Caves an international tourist attraction." Batu Caves is also known for attracting nature lovers and sportsmen. Its steep limestone faces are a favorite among rock-climbers. Cave exploration and guided tours are conducted by the Malaysian Nature Society for the Dark Cave, which is below the main temple cave. The entire Batu Cave system is said to have 30 caves and is about 150 million years old.






Sandblasting Banned in Temples


Posted on 2002/9/4 9:48:02 ( 975 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, Aug. 24, 2002: Concerned at the incalculable damage done to priceless and ancient sculptures and the structural stability of various temples, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department has placed a blanket ban on sandblasting, adopted to clean icons and walls. This directive is a sequel to objections raised by conservationists, historians and culture-lovers in the context of the sandblasting work at the Meenakshi temple, Madurai. Intended to remove oily substance or whitewash, sandblasting is a process of spraying sand at high air pressure on sculptures, walls and pillars. Though it gives a "clean look" immediately, delicate features of the sculptures such as face, nose or lip gradually become flattened. Also, inscriptions get obliterated. As numerous temples in the State are an important link with the past, the mindless use of sandblasting may result in the loss of vital clues the sculptures or inscriptions may offer to unraveling the history of the temples or the surrounding areas or even the prevalence of land tenures in such places in the past. The superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, K.T. Narasimhan, says diluted chemicals can be used for cleaning sculptures. Besides using chemicals, traditional poulticing methods such as sandalwood paste and vibhuti (holy ash) for sculptures in interior parts of the temple and application of fermented rice-flower paste for the rest can be adopted, say the experts.






Hindus in England Want to Distribute Ashes into the River Aire


Posted on 2002/9/4 9:47:02 ( 902 reads )


Source: The Guardian





LONDON, ENGLAND, August 21, 2002: Bradford's Hindu Cultural Society has submitted a proposal to Bradford Council to allow a small stretch of the River Aire at Apperley Bridge to be used for the scattering of ashes after a traditional Hindu funeral. A spokesman for the cultural society says, "Most of our community still travel to India for the purpose. But using the river Aire would allow those who can't afford it to also scatter ashes. Whether the river is the Aire, the Congo, the Nile or the Ganges, they all flow into the sea. Hindu scriptures portray the sea as carrying the ashes -- which have the consistency of fine dust -- to their final, heavenly destination." Jane Glaister, director of arts, heritage and leisure for Bradford says, "We have been approached by representatives of the local Hindu and Sikh communities about the possibility of allowing part of the Aire, and we are talking to both groups and the environmental agency."






Niagara Falls Hindus to Now Have a Temple


Posted on 2002/9/4 9:46:02 ( 992 reads )


Source: The Standard (St. Catherines)





NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO, CANADA, August 23, 2002: Hindu families in Niagara Falls, approximately 200 in number, now have a place to worship each week. Three years ago the Hindu Samaj purchased the Moose Lodge and converted it into a temple. Previous to that, families had taken turns worshipping at each other's homes since 1982. The Samaj has hired a priest to perform pujas at the temple. Anamitra Shome, a member of the temple, says, "While I see Hindus are just going to become more and more integrated with the rest of the community in the Niagara region, I also feel that they will be able to retain their ancient values." Kanchan Rege, one of the directors of the temple says, "Hinduism is a way of life. The final goal of a Hindu is to mold with the absolute. You will become one with God." Shome further explains, "Every Hindu basically strives to be free or emancipated from the cycle of birth and death and to be one with the universal soul."






Vivekananda Family Camp in New England


Posted on 2002/9/4 9:45:02 ( 860 reads )


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MASSACHUSETTS, USA, September 2, 2002: Two hundred participants attended the Vivekananda Family Camp in August. The camp was held in beautiful, lakeside facilities in the western Massachusetts town of Tolland. At this week-long residential camp, youth learned about and practiced Hindu values while participating in a variety of fun activities. Campers enjoyed yoga, crafts, games, classes on Hindu philosophy, Eastern and Western games (kabaddi and volleyball), cultural programs put on by the campers and campfire discussions. The family camp has become a very popular event in the community in the Northeast where it has been organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America since 1979. Campers came from New England states, New York, New Jersey as well as Canada. Further information about the camp can be obtained from "source" above.




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