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Rakhi Bands Get Expensive
Posted on 2001/7/30 23:46:02 ( 904 reads )


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Youth Stands Strong for Religious Expression
Posted on 2001/7/30 23:45:02 ( 679 reads )


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LYNDHURST, CALIFORNIA, July 24, 2001: Four months after a bouncer turned him away at the door, a 15-year-old Sikh youth has won the right to wear his religious headdress inside the Groove Lounge dance club in Lyndhurst. Sarab Singh Thapar, an American citizen born and raised in West Orange, was denied entry because the club's policy prohibited patrons from wearing hats inside the club in order to prevent fighting. Thapar said. After four months of phone calls between lawyers, the club agreed to change its "no hats" policy. Hats are still not allowed, but the ban will exempt religious head coverings. Sikhs have similarly won the right to wear their religious symbols, such as a ceremonial knife, in places where they would usually be banned.




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Nepal Maoists Tell Of World Plans
Posted on 2001/7/29 23:49:02 ( 706 reads )


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NEPAL, JULY 28, 2001: BBC south Asia correspondent Adam Mynott is one of the first Western journalists to travel to the mountainous Rolpa district of west Nepal, a stronghold of the Maoist rebels. They told him of their ambitions for Nepal, the only Hindu nation, and the rest of the world. The village of Holari, in the foothills of the Himalayas, is where the Maoist insurgents in Nepal carried out their most successful attack against Nepali government forces just over two weeks ago. Seventy-two police officers were captured and one was killed. More than 50 policemen are still in Maoist custody. Speaking in a hut in Holeri, Comrade Sizal, local committee secretary, said the current cease-fire between Nepali Government forces and the rebels was not an obstacle to the Maoists' intention to take over the entire country. Maoists currently control eight of more than 70 districts in Nepal. They are in effect running these areas, collecting taxes and organizing education and health care. The rebels often use cultural shows to gather villagers in remote areas. Comrade Sizal recently addressed a mass meeting of more than 5,000 villagers who had come from all over the countryside to listen to speeches about the Maoist rebellion and watch musical entertainment with a Maoist theme.




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Kashmir and Jammu Ban the Word "Widow"
Posted on 2001/7/29 23:48:02 ( 769 reads )


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JAMMU AND KASHMIR,INDIA, July 26,2001: Twelve years of armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir has left over 54,000 women without husbands, many of them under the age of 40. In an effort to give these bereaved souls a new status, India's National Human Rights Commission issued a proposal that the word "widow" be replaced with a more honorable phrase such as "wife of deceased". Orders were issued last May to all provincial governments to adopt this proposal. So far the states of Jammu and Kashmir have embraced the directive and widows in these two states have found a new sense of respectability.




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Buddhists in Malaysia Call for Action Against Cult
Posted on 2001/7/29 23:47:02 ( 935 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, July 29, 2001: The Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA) has called on the authorities to clamp down on a widespread deviant religious cult which it says uses a Buddhist name but practices black magic, which is contrary to the teachings of Buddhism. The call followed the reported torture of a nine-year-old boy at a Chinese temple here. The MBA said the cult had existed for at least 10 years with its followers in housing estates in many states, especially Malacca. The Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia president said Buddhists practice compassion, patience and kindness and would not condone abuse. The Rev K. Dharmaratana, chief high priest of Malaysia of the Buddhist Mahavihara temple in Brickfields, said there was no system of physical punishment in Buddhism.




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Golden Kalasam for Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain
Posted on 2001/7/29 23:46:02 ( 953 reads )


Source: Aaj Tak Hindi News Channel





UJJAIN, INDIA, July 27, 2001: A one hundred kilograms golden kalasam has been installed on top of the famed Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain recently. Before installation, the pitcher-shaped spire was taken in a procession in the streets of Indore. It is reported that a business man based in Calcutta donated a sum of US$217,000 for this kalasam, which has been made with gold, brass and iron. Interestingly a thirty-four-gun salute was given by the police force in honor.




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Eco-Friendly Ganesha Festival
Posted on 2001/7/29 23:45:02 ( 759 reads )


Source: Aaj Tak Hindi News Channel





MUMBAI, INDIA, July 28, 2001: Massive preparations are now underway for the annual Ganasha festival in this city. A big change for this year is the use of environmentally sound materials for the huge temporary Ganesha statues which are placed in the ocean at the festival's end. The use of non-biodegradable building materials and toxic paint was polluting the water.




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Hidden Apartheid Against Dalits in India, Says Amnesty International
Posted on 2001/7/28 23:49:02 ( 778 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, July 26, 2001: A condemning Amnesty International report on racism around the world has attacked India for its "hidden apartheid" against 160 million Dalits. "Despite the abolition by law of untouchability, Dalits continue to be discriminated against on the basis of their descent," Amnesty said in its report, released the day Phoolan Devi was shot dead. "They are marginalized, particularly in rural areas," the report said. "Among the violations persistently reported are torture including rape, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions." Amnesty said Dalits also suffer violence in the community. "Abuses against Dalits frequently go unpunished, with local police frequently refusing to record complaints by Dalits," Amnesty said. The report comes ahead of the world conference on racism in Durbaqn due in the first week of September and days before a preparatory meeting in Geneva.




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More Hindus Killed in Kashmir
Posted on 2001/7/28 23:48:02 ( 740 reads )


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DODA, INDIA, July 22, 2001: Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say that at least 15 Hindus have been killed by suspected Islamic militants in the remote district of Doda. The massacre on Sunday came a day after at least 13 people were killed when militants attacked Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir. The pilgrimage - which sees up to 100,000 Hindus trekking to the Amarnath shrine 14,000 feet up in the Himalayan mountains - was immediately suspended but has since been allowed to resume. Details about Sunday's attack in Doda are still sketchy as the area can only be reached after a 15-hour trek through the mountains.




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Milk-Feast for Snakes on Nagpanchami
Posted on 2001/7/28 23:47:02 ( 727 reads )


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ETA, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, July 25, 2001: Snakes are worshiped and offered milk on one day in the month of Shravan known as Nagpanchami. In this whole district of Eta, people carefully coaxed snakes from their hiding places and offered them milk. More cautious souls drew figures of snakes for worship. On this day a large number of saperas, who rear snakes professionally, were out in the streets with their collection of snakes. Devotees could safely offer their worship, and the saperas make a substantial amount of money on this day. (from Hindi)




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Chilies Are So Hot, Birds Love Them!
Posted on 2001/7/28 23:46:02 ( 766 reads )


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ARIZONA, USA, July 25, 2001: Scientists Joshua Tewksbury and Gary Nabhan from the University of Montana and the Northern Arizona University have discovered why chilies are so hot, a question anyone first sampling a South Indian dish might ponder. They say the burning taste is an evolutionary ploy to stop mammals eating the pods and destroying the seeds. The researchers suggest that chili plants have evolved to produce capsicum as a repellent for animals (obviously unsuccessful when it came to humans), while still allowing birds to eat the fruits and disperse the seeds.




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Sydney Temple Disallowed Public Worship
Posted on 2001/7/27 23:49:02 ( 900 reads )


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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, July 28, 2001: A newly constructed Hindu temple, Mukti-Gupteshwar Temple in Minto, has been denied permission for public worship or social functions under a city council decision labeled as blatant racism. The Campbelltown council decided against allowing conversion of this massive "private" shrine for public worship. Mayor Jim Kremmer opposed the rejection of the application, describing it as "racism." "It is absurd as 95 percent of the building is finished," Rama Misra, whose husband Prem Misra owns the temple said. Besides the "traffic congestion" and "blight on landscape" pleas, the objecting councillors have said the Misras tried to deceive the Campbelltown City Council by constructing a religious shrine on a land lot which they intended to use personally. One councillor, Bob Thompson said that the application did not comply with zoning laws. The Misras hope a peaceful demonstration would urge the council to reconsider.




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Restraining Order For New York Ganesha Temple Trustees
Posted on 2001/7/27 23:48:02 ( 753 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, July 28, 2001: The Hindu Temple Society of North America (HTSNA), which oversees the operations of the Ganesha temple in Bowne Street, Flushing, New York, has been issued a restraining order and a show-cause notice by the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, with a hearing date set for August 15. The driving force behind the case are two men, Sambasiva Venigalla and Venkaiah Dama, who alleged that the Society has flouted State Laws pertaining to not-for-profit religious corporations. Along with a few other like-minded souls, they have formed the Committee for Securing Voting Rights. In the opinion of the dissenters, not only is the Board of Trustees run in violation of state laws, but that it is often a law unto itself. Dr Uma Mysorekar, President of the HTSNA, said "all the allegations are false and we completely deny them." For now, both sides are awaiting the court's decision. In his order dated June 28, court Judge Joseph G. Golia has restrained the Society, and its Board of Trustees, who are the respondents, from encumbering the assets of the temple unless authorized by the members; from entering into any contract for expansion or construction of facilities; from incurring any expenditure other than for daily religious activities; from destroying or transferring any business or financial records; and providing to the petitioners a complete list of all members enrolled since 1995, with duly completed membership application forms together with proof of payment of membership dues.




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Attack Doesn't Dampen Amarnath Pilgrimage
Posted on 2001/7/27 23:47:02 ( 741 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





AMARNATH, INDIA, July 25, 2001: The collection boxes at Amarnath double up as mail boxes where pilgrims drop in their requests to Lord Siva. From the troubled housewife to the aspiring executive, these boxes get letters from everybody. And playing mailmen are the staff of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank who not only collect the money but also the letters from the boxes. They don't mind playing secretaries to God either. "If the letters have a return address, we write back on behalf of Bhole Nath (Lord Siva) and advise people," said Satish Raina, a bank employee. A commando who had lost his fingers and vision during a training course made a pilgrimage here in the hope that Bhole Nath would restore his vision. "I have to do well in my personal and professional life," he wrote to Lord Siva. "I know God makes the impossible possible." If the commando had come with an appeal, sisters Mohini and Madhuri in their early 30s were here on a thanksgiving mission. Dressed in new clothes bought for the darbar, their heads covered with red chunnis, they were here because their prayers had been answered. "My brother was involved in a dowry case for the past 20 years. With Bhole Nath's help, the case was finally disposed," said Mohini. She had an offering to make: a brass bell to offer at the altar. It hasn't been a safe yatra this year either. But the militant attacks and the unfriendly terrain has only made the pilgrims tougher. Newlyweds Ekta and Deepak Jindal from Kotkapura chose the pilgrimage for a honeymoon. Deepak is a die-hard devotee of Lord Siva. He has been here before and knows he would be safe.




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Texas Temple Receives a Traditional Facelift
Posted on 2001/7/27 23:46:02 ( 651 reads )


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DALLAS, TEXAS, July 22, 2001: For over ten years the North and South Indian congregation have worshipped at the Hindu Temple in Irving. Deciding that the building needed to reflect their culture, the devotees expect to spend US$2.1 million dollars in the next few years. The first significant addition is a gopuram in honor of Lord Ganesha. Twelve other Gopurams will be constructed in the future including ones dedicated to Lord Muruga, Vishnu, Brahma, and Lord Siva. Internally, ornate archways are being constructed in front of the temple Murthis. Skilled craftsmen from India (silpis) are transforming the temple into a traditional structure. Other future plans include a youth center, meditation hall and a senior citizen centre.




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