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Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Defends BBC Show

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:47:02 ( 1191 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, October 23, 2002: The controversial BBC News feature on the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), shown under its "Business Bizarre" slot, called "The Business of Faith," was shown today to the local media by the TTD's public relations department in a bid to set at rest the controversy it has caused. The July 9 telecast caused a general outcry against the 30-minute feature being that it was in violation of a rule not to allow photography or videography inside the temple beyond the "dhwajasthambham" point. The areas pointed out by the critics were the "potu" where the laddus are prepared and "parakamani" where thousands of dollars in cash and valuables given in the temple hundi are counted and sorted. The TTD today made an attempt to defend the feature and denied that it allowed the BBC to shoot inside the restricted areas. A top TTD official told the local media that the hundi collection which was shown was only a reproduction from the TTD's own CC-TV clippings. Viewers also objected to the portrayal of the temple as a "money making" operation.

Tihar Inmates Join Rest of North India and Celebrate Karva Chauth

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:46:02 ( 982 reads )


NEW DELHI, October 25, 2002: The beauty parlor at Tihar Jail was the scene of unusual rush this week. The effort put in by the parlor staff was evident in Jail No. 6 where the women inmates looked strikingly beautiful this Karva Chauth (Husband's Day). Dressed in their best saris, new back clips and hair specially set for the occasion, they performed the rituals of the festival. "Preparations for Karva Chauth have been going on for weeks in the jail," said Superintendent Sunita Sabharwal. "Most inmates have kept a fast today. Much of the stock of puja items and make-up accessories stored in the canteen has been sold out," Sabharwal said. The jail authorities also got the inmates a cable TV connection as a Karva Chauth gift. As a concession, the fasting women were granted a leave from their work. Since the women inmates are locked up at 6:30 p.m., the moon ritual is done by the head matron, who tells them when the moon rises -- the moment at which they may break their fast. Also, for the first time, this North Indian festival where women worship their husbands will be a holiday in all-girls' schools run by the government of Delhi. Friday's holiday is for the benefit of women teachers, who make up almost the entire teaching staff in the girls' schools. Until last year, Karva Chauth used to be a restricted holiday on which most women teachers skipped work, but this year, the government decided to declare a holiday. Boys' and coeducational schools will, however, remain open.

Hindu Festivals for October/November

Posted on 2002/10/26 8:45:02 ( 1001 reads )

Source: Shrinivas Tilak

October 26, 2002: Following are the major and minor festivals of Hinduism for the next month. October 26, KARVA ( or Karwah) CHAUTH: Married Hindu women of North India observe fast and offer prayers seeking the welfare, prosperity, and a long life of their husbands and families. The fast is broken only after the moon is sighted in reflection in water and special rituals and prayers marking the day have been offered. New brides are encouraged to wear their bridal outfits and others wear outfits woven with gold. Bangles and other jewellery are worn and special mehendi patterns are applied on the hands. Special food delicacies are served and the night is spent in much fun and frolic. November 4, DEEPAVALI, Diwali or Lakshmi Puja: This day is reserved for the worship of Devi in her manifestation as Laksmi. Fortune and good luck will then not leave the house in that year. Presents are given to relatives, friends, and subordinates. All over India houses, temples, and sacred spots are ablaze with thousands of small oil and colorful decorative paper lamps. Children let off firebands and crackers to their hearts' content. Merchants who follow the Vikrama calendar close shops and worship their books today and pray to Laksmi for a prosperous new year. November 15-19, TULSIVIVAHA: The Tulsi plant (Indian Basil) is grown in a special brick enclosure (Vrindavan) and is tenderly cared for and worshipped for its sacredness. In the auspicious month of Karttika Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu, which then marks the opening of the marriage season in India. November 18, VAIKUNTHA CHATURDASI: Vaikuntha, the paradise of Vishnu, is located on southern slopes of Mount Meru flowing through which is the celestial river Ganga. On this day eternal nearness to Vishnu in his paradise is facilitated to all his devotees. Note: Festival dates are calculated according to Hindu astrology and depend upon latitude and longitude. Hence dates for the same festival may differ around the world.

Balinese Hindus Hold Religious Rites for Bombing Victims

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:49:02 ( 905 reads )

Source: Agence France Presse

KUTA, INDONESIA, October 18, 2002: Hindu priests led hundreds of villagers and tourists in a solemn ceremony at the site of a massive car bomb explosion where nearly 200 were killed. Crowds carrying flowers and wreaths walked along the narrow Raya Legian Street to Bali's "Ground Zero." They were allowed inside a police cordon to say prayers and lay the flowers outside the ruins. In the afternoon ceremony, hundreds of residents from Bali's districts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak jammed the street for the rites aimed at seeking forgiveness and pleading for a better life after the October 12 blast. Although a part of largely Muslim Indonesia, most of Bali's three million people are Hindus. Before the ceremony the priests walked towards the site, followed by local political leaders and Balinese women carrying trays of fruit, incense, flower petals and holy water. The trays were laid on a table in front of the flattened Padi's bar which was the main target of the bomb as the priests and other religious leaders intoned sacred chants. Hindu priests then toured the devastated block, sprinkling holy water on the ruins of buildings, burnt cars and other debris. "I am very satisfied with the turnout. Not only Hindus attended but also Christians and Muslims," said Made Sumer, the vice regent of the Badung Regency, which covers the district of Kuta. "I hope this will speed up the healing process after this bitter tragedy," he said.

Hindu Immigrant Struggles in Early 20th Century America

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:48:02 ( 1006 reads )


UNITED STATES, October 25, 2002: As the United States moves toward a more multicultural and multi-faith society at the beginning of the 21st century, "Hindu-Bashing in Early 20th Century U.S.A.," brings to light some unpleasant realities early Hindu immigrants faced in America. By 1920, 6,400 Asian Indians, mostly Sikhs from the Punjab, had immigrated to America. They were not particularly welcomed. Early in the 20th century, white workers in Bellingham, Washington, instigated a riot against Indian laborers, causing them to flee to Canada. The United States government sided with the Asian Exclusion League, doing virtually nothing to support the Indian workers. By 1923, the Supreme Court had upheld a law terminating Asian Indian immigration. It was not until 1965 that immigration from India resumed. Katherine Mayo's 1927 book, "Mother India," referred to India as a dying nation with a slave mentality. In between this and other negative publicity, Swami Vivekananda made a positive impact in Chicago in 1893 at the Congress of Religion. His Vedantic teachings instilled an intellectual appreciation of India. For additional information on the struggles encountered by early Hindu immigrants, readers can read the full article at "source" above.

Dayanita Singh Visits Kanyapeeth Gurukulam for Girls in Banaras

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:47:02 ( 1283 reads )

Source: Outlook India

BANARAS INDIA, October 20,2002: Dayanita Singh, renowned photographer whose ground breaking work showing middle class India has helped redefine the Western view of India, recently visited Anandamaya Ma's Kanyapeeth in Banaras. One of the 20th century's most important saints, Anandamaya Ma, who attained Mahasamadhi in 1982, set up what is probably still the only gurukulam for girls in India. During her visit Singh said,"My father had wanted one of his four daughters to study in Kanyapeeth, but my mother wondered how we, city girls, would adapt to a life so severe -- girls cooked on coal fires and did their own laundry and cleaning, secluded from the rest of the world. As I left the ashram, my cousin, who runs the Kanyapeeth, asked: 'So, who do you think has had the better life?' I was silent. I wondered if I had a daughter, would I've wanted her to spend a few years in the ashram?" Singh's work has been published in several international publications including Time and Le Monde. The photograph of the jumping girl, taken on the day of that memorable visit, has gone on to become one of Singh's most well-known images. When the work was to be exhibited at the Ikon gallery in England Singh said, "I had to think of a title, and I remembered what seemed as Ma's essence to me as a child. She used to say, 'I am as I am.' "

International Conference on Science and Meditation in Rishikesh

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:46:02 ( 929 reads )


RISHIKESH, INDIA, October 25, 2002: Swami Rama Sadhana Mandir Trust and Swami Rama's Himalayan Institute Hospital will convene an International Conference on Science and Meditation, November 10 through the 12, 2002, near Rishikesh, India. The ICSM offers a unique opportunity for dialogue between practitioners of various meditative traditions and with scientists, whose expertise in meditation research is authentic and difficult to refute. Swami Rama's Disciple, Mahamandaleshwara Sri Swami Veda Bharati, Spiritual Guide of the HIHT has inspired this conference to benefit both researchers and practitioners at all levels. The fee for the conference to be paid before September 15, is US$180, after September 15, $220. This will includes room, board, ground transportation from Delhi and all conference events. For conference details readers may contact "source" above.

Second Edition of "The Beauty of Carnatic Music" Released

Posted on 2002/10/25 8:45:02 ( 933 reads )

Source: The Hindu

BANGALORE, INDIA, October 12, 2002: Upon retirement as the Director of Pasteur Institute of India at Coonoor, Dr. Prasada Rao Gandlur conceived the idea of producing a virtual music tutor on the "Beauty of Carnatic Music." The second edition of this two-volume CD has just been launched by Blue Lotus Informatics in Bangalore. The first CD outlines the history of Carnatic music, the science of ragas, details of the seven notes, a live musical keyboard, a search facility, a section on rhythms and talas, as well as interactive vocal lessons. The second CD has compositions that cover most of the masterpieces in Carnatic music such as Krithis of Thyagaraja, Deekshitar, Swathi Tirunal and Mysore Vasudevachar.

RSS Rejects Call for Hindu Suicide Squads

Posted on 2002/10/24 8:49:02 ( 799 reads )

Source: Agence France Presse

NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 21, 2002: The RSS, ideological mentor of India's ruling nationalist BJP party, Monday rejected calls by a radical leader for Hindu suicide squads, according to a report in Agence France Presse, the French wire service. Shiv Sena party leader, Bal Thackeray, leading political power of Gujarat, last week said Hindus must make the "supreme sacrifice" to combat "Islamic terrorism" by forming "suicide squads." But the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said Monday that while Thackeray's proposal was "a reaction to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that has played havoc in the country," it ran counter to the tenets of Hinduism. "Hindu suicide squads are not permissible. No Hindu scripture gives sanction to such terrorist activities," RSS spokesman M. G. Vaidya told the Press Trust of India news agency.

US Embassy in Delhi Withdraws US Marine T-Shirts with Durga Motif

Posted on 2002/10/24 8:48:02 ( 982 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 18, 2002: The VHP is upset with the United States Embassy for ordering T-shirts for its security personnel which portray a caricature of Hindu Goddess Durga with the Taj Mahal in the backdrop. The Embassy had ordered the T-Shirts from a local supplier and upon receiving the shirts with the controversial designs, was quick to confiscate them to avoid ill sentiments. The Goddess had been portrayed with a bottle of liquor in one of Her eight hands, modern weapons and a shield bearing the US emblem in the others. Printed on the T-shirts are the words "Marine Security Guard Detachment -- American Embassy, New Delhi, India." The VHP has demanded an apology, but the embassy apparently is not yet aware of any demand.

Catholics Consider Including Sanskrit in Prayers

Posted on 2002/10/24 8:47:02 ( 960 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, October 21, 2002: Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church said Monday they were considering adding a Sanskrit word to liturgical prayers to make Christianity more acceptable to Hindi speakers. A synod of archbishops and bishops from India and Philippines, which began Sunday in Patina, was studying a proposal to include the word "Sachidanand" in liturgical prayers. B.J. Osta, the archbishop of Patna, stated "The word 'Sachidanand,' meaning the Trinity of Gods, also conforms to the Christian precept of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." In India, Christians generally say prayers in English or in literal translations into local languages. Osta said the church was also considering publishing a Hindi-language magazine and setting up a press to publish liturgical books in Hindi. The three-day meeting was called to find ways to make Christianity more amenable to Hindi-speakers in the wake of increasing criticism of Christian conversion activities in India. HPI adds: The word "sachidanand" or, more properly "Satchidananda" or "Sachchidananda," means literally "Existence-consciousness-bliss," a state which can be experienced in the deepest meditation. One definition is, "A synonym for Parashakti. Lord Siva's Divine Mind and simultaneously the pure superconscious mind of each individual soul. It is perfect love and omniscient, omnipotent consciousness, the fountainhead of all existence, yet containing and permeating all existence. It is also called pure consciousness, pure form, substratum of existence, and more." This Hindu concept has no relationship to the Catholic concept of the Trinity of God.

Ashram Appeals for Rajasthan Drought Assistance

Posted on 2002/10/23 8:49:02 ( 903 reads )


JADAN, INDIA, October 17, 2002: The Sri Vishwa Deep Gurukul Swami Maheshwarananda Ashram Education & Research Center in Jadan, Pali district, Rajasthan is sending a humanitarian appeal on behalf of the people living in the drought areas of Pali, Rajasthan. At present, many parts of India are suffering a severe drought and sufficient rain has not fallen, especially in the Pali district of Rajasthan, for seven years. Due to the lack of rain, there is an extreme shortage of drinking water, particularly in the rural areas and small villages, where both humans and animals have nothing to drink. There is also a lack of fodder for the animals to eat. The ashram's fire-truck has been delivering water to remote village communities since April and has organized some extra tractor-tankers to transport water, but it is still not enough. For information about the drought and how to contribute financially, please visit their website at "source" above.

Japanese Funds to Improve Ajanta-Ellora Caves and Other Monuments in Maharashtra

Posted on 2002/10/23 8:48:02 ( 1189 reads )

Source: Sify.com

MUMBAI, INDIA, October 9, 2002: The Japanese Government has approved funding amounting to US$88 million to further preserve and develop the famous Ajanta-Ellora Caves. Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal says, "They were impressed with the development work at the caves completed under the first phase of the project, which has been completed with the Japan aid. Under the second phase, 13 projects would be undertaken for preservation and development, including Ajanta-Ellora Caves, Daulatabad Forts, Bi Bi Ka Maqbara, Anva temple and Patana Devi temple." The Japanese aid will also be used to improve other monuments in Maharashtra such as Elephanta caves, Junner forts and others, as well as make improvements at Aurangabad airport.

Tirupati Temple Installs World's Largest Solar Cooking System

Posted on 2002/10/23 8:47:02 ( 1022 reads )

Source: The Press Trust of India

HYDERABAD, INDIA, October 1, 2002: The popular Hindu temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, has set up a cooking system that is reputed to be the largest solar powered stove in the world. Deepak Gadhia, managing director of Gujarat-based Gadhia Solar Energy System Pvt Ltd which installed the system, says, "The system has been designed to cook 30,000 meals per day with steam generated by solar energy." The Devasthanam expects to save US$35,000 annually by using the energy-efficient design invented by Wolfgang Scheffer of Germany.

Corporal Punishment Still Legal in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2002/10/23 8:46:02 ( 928 reads )


CHENNAI,INDIA, October 17, 2002: According to this article, some Tamil Nadu Education rules are out of step with reality, including one that deals with corporal punishment. Never mind the campaign against corporal punishment for children in schools, it says, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. As far as the law is concerned, in Tamil Nadu, corporal punishment is legal by exception. Rule 51 specifies: "Corporal punishment shall not be inflicted, except in a case of moral delinquency such as deliberate lying, obscenity of word or act or flagrant insubordination, and it shall be limited to six cuts on the hand and be administered only by or under the supervision of the headmaster." Therefore, a headmaster can "legally" beat a student by merely quoting the circumstances specified in rule 51. S.S. Rajagopalan, educationalist, asks, "What is the point of introducing progressive methods of teaching as long as ancient/draconian laws exist?" These rules not only reflect scant respect for human rights but hardly seem to have kept in touch with advancements.

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