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VHP Activists Lay Siege To Ranchi Station

Posted on 2002/9/8 9:49:02 ( 1016 reads )


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 ( 1003 reads )


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 ( 1095 reads )


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 ( 957 reads )


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 ( 1231 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 ( 903 reads )


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 ( 925 reads )


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 ( 916 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 ( 1006 reads )


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 ( 946 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 ( 1031 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 ( 894 reads )


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.

Temple Arson in Fiji

Posted on 2002/9/3 9:49:02 ( 1019 reads )

Source: Daily Post

SUVA, FIJI, September 2, 2002: Amid racial slurs and religious backstabbing in the Senate, a temple was attacked here. A Hindu temple at Naila, along Bau Road in Nausori, was the target of vandals who ransacked and set it alight. Fortunately the smoke was spotted by a neighbor and the fire extinguished with minor damage. Other temples in Fiji similarly torched at night have burned completely. Religious groups and political parties have condemned the act. Interfaith Search Fiji says that ever since the formation of Interfaith Search it has continuously witnessed the wrecking, burning and looting of religious buildings, particularly those of the non-Christian faith traditions. Shree Sanatan Dharam Prathinidhi Sabha national president Harish Sharma said such acts should not be condoned and should be put to a stop. Arya Prathinidhi Sabha of Fiji national president Kamlesh Arya said the burning of the items in the temple is a clear indication that some extreme elements against reconciliation still exist in the country. Mr. Arya believes recent racist remarks in Fiji's parliament seemed to encourage such extreme elements to carry out such acts of sacrilege. Fiji Senator Mitieli Bulanauca said in parliament a few days earlier that public holidays marking Deepavali and Prophet Mohammed's Birthday should be scrapped. Senator Bulanauca said that by having those public holidays, "Fijian people are forced to bow to other Gods in their own land." And that, he said, was unconstitutional. He said Deepavali and Prophet Mohammed's Birthday "can be special days for believers." He then tried to compare Christianity with other religions, making references to false gods.

Indo-Canadian Community in Vancouver Builds a Crematorium

Posted on 2002/9/3 9:48:02 ( 948 reads )

Source: Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, August 19, 2002: Hindus and Sikhs in the Province of British Columbia, Canada, can now rest assured that their loved ones will have their last rites performed according to tradition. Riverside Funeral Home and Crematorium located near the Fraser River at 7410 Hopcott Road is operated by a non-profit society. Mourners are able to bathe the body of the deceased person with water and yogurt in a specially-built room. The actual crematorium will accommodate up to a 1,000 people who can witness the cremation through a large glass window, similar to the customary funeral pyre in India. Also, the eldest son of the deceased person is able to start the fire of cremation himself by pressing a black button surrounded by a red circle which starts the blue gas flames. Amrik Nijjar, president of the non-profit society, hopes to obtain permission from the government in the future to drop small boxes of ashes in the Fraser River. Right now, because of environmental laws, it is illegal to do so. As a result many Indo-Canadians fly their loved ones' ashes back to India where the remains are distributed into a sacred river.

Reclaiming the Real Hinduism

Posted on 2002/9/3 9:47:02 ( 881 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, August 17, 2002: This opinion piece by Vijay Rana reads in part, "The first time I was forced to declare myself as a devout Hindu was when I approached one of the finest schools in London for the admission of my daughter. The priest lectured me on the advantages of regular temple visits. He reluctantly signed the form the school required on my religious practice, putting a tick in the last category of occasional visitors. That day a vital part of my Hinduism was taken away from me -- my freedom to be a Hindu without going to the temple. Until now I had freedom to pray where I wanted. I had freedom to choose among the numerous Hindu gods. When rampaging mobs, chanting the name of my Lord Rama, kill innocent women and children. I say, "No! That's not the Hinduism I was taught. My Hinduism promised to ensure freedom from fear, not for Hindus alone, but for all living being." The Hinduism I knew was a compassionate creed, a set of values caring for all the living beings, including plants and animals. Gandhi's tolerance was written on his heart. Benevolence, generosity, compassion were the central traits of his mental make up. That was the Hinduism I grew up with. Yes, I would welcome a Rama temple in Ayodhya, a temple of compassion and social harmony. I do not need a temple made with the shilas (bricks) of hatred, a temple that is cemented by communal intolerance. In a democratic, forward-looking, modern, 21st century India the hijacking of Hinduism must not be allowed. Let sane and sensible Hindus speak. Let us reclaim the real Hinduism."

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