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Hindu Priests Chant For The Dead Of India's Quake
Posted on 2001/2/10 22:48:02 ( 777 reads )


Source: The Associated Press





BHUJ, INDIA, February 7, 2001: In front of an altar fashioned from shipping crates, Hindu priests prayed for the victims of India's quake Wednesday, chanting Sanskrit verses and name after name into the dusty air, remembering those killed by the worst earthquake to hit India in 50 years. The prayer organizers, followers of the Gujarati saint, Lord Swaminarayan, used newspaper ads to encourage residents to phone in the names of the dead so that they could be read at the daylong service. Since many are not sure when their relatives died -- or have even managed to recover a body for cremation -- the priests decided to hold the service Wednesday for all the dead, said Sadhu Brahmaviharidas. The prayers will end the traditional mourning period observed by the survivors and help people move on with recovery efforts, Brahmaviharidas said. "After the 12th day, the soul goes on to the next life," he explained.




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Villagers Resolve Not To Sin
Posted on 2001/2/10 22:47:02 ( 748 reads )


Source: Deccan Chronicle





DHORI, INDIA, February 4, 2001: Thousands of villagers in quake-stricken Gujarat vowed to lead a more reverent life after local priests declared that the Earth, revered as Mother Goddess, had roared and shuddered under the weight of sin. After the January 26 earthquake, villagers believe they have to be more religious to avoid future disasters. Local priests said the quake was provoked by rampant corruption, rising immorality and neglect of religion. "Bad deeds are blacker than mascara and sins are heavier than the earth," said priest Gosai Haripur. "Why else would our mother cause such destruction?" he asked. The quake devested Dhori, but struck at a time when most of the villagers were in the fields. Only 10 of its inhabitants died. Villagers said they never faced hunger and disease because people had decided to be good to each other since the disaster. People with cows are giving away milk free and those with fields are distributing food.




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Quake Can't Shake Caste System, Claim Catholics
Posted on 2001/2/10 22:46:02 ( 712 reads )


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LAKHOND, INDIA, February 8, 2001: Even though streets are strewn with rubble and houses are useless heaps of stone, one structure that can't be shaken in India, even by a killer earthquake is the caste system, according to this report in the Indian Express. The town has six distinct tent camps for the earthquake homeless - four different Hindu castes, the untouchables and Muslims. All the camps are separate. Relief groups find themselves wrestling with the country's ingrained social hierarchy to get help to everybody. "The whole issue of making sure all the castes are included has been a challenge,'' Graham Saunders of Catholic Relief Services said. "Whatever the distribution of aid, it first goes to the upper castes,'' claimed Mayuri Mistry, a Catholic Relief Services worker in Gujarat. Other reports, however, indicate that villages are working in excellent cooperation across both caste and religious lines.




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Youth Request Swami's Lessons in School
Posted on 2001/2/10 22:45:02 ( 833 reads )


Source: Deccan Chronicle





HYDERABAD, INDIA, February 4, 2001: Over 1,263 youth belonging to an organization called the Andhra Pradesh Yuvajana Sanghala Samithi have presented a proposal to the government requesting that Swami Vivekananda's lessons be included in their school curriculum. Maintaining that the lessons will promote leadership qualities, the members of the samithi have submitted a signature list and a memorandum to Chief Minister N. Chandra Naidu.




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Antiseptic in Toothpaste Kills Malaria Parasite
Posted on 2001/2/10 22:44:02 ( 937 reads )


Source: Times of India





HYDERABAD, INDIA, February 6, 2001: Two Indian scientists, a husband and wife team, discovered that the antiseptic triclosan used in toothpaste kills the parasite responsible for causing malaria. Namita and Avadesha Surolia's finding has been confirmed by both British and American researchers. Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death by disease in the world.




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Krishna Temple Suffered Quake Damage
Posted on 2001/2/9 22:49:02 ( 726 reads )


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JAMNAGAR, INDIA, February 7, 2001: The 5,000-year-old temple at Dwarka in honor of Lord Krishna suffered grave damage as a result of the January 26 earthquake in Gujarat. The Archaeological Survey of India is expected to organize repairs to the temple so that it can be rendered safe for pilgrims. Previous to this natural disaster Lord Krishna's home received around 7,000 pilgrims daily. Stones have fallen and cracks have appeared throughout the structure. Now only locals venture to the temple.




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South India's Kumbha Mela Held at Mysore
Posted on 2001/2/9 22:48:02 ( 794 reads )


Source: The Hindu





MYSORE, INDIA, February 4, 2001: With the approaching Maha Sivaratri celebrations, the Kumbha Mela at Allahabad where millions have taken a purifying dip will soon end. Devout Hindus are now focused on a three-day Mela from February 6-8 in Mysore District at Tirumakudala Narsipura. This site, where three sacred rivers also join, has gained significance since 1989. When the Swamjis of Kailas Ashrama Mahasamsthana Math, Adichunchanagiri Math, Suttur Math and Omkarashrama Mahasamsthana Mathi in the region realized that sages Agastya, Gargamuni and Markandeya had worshiped and done penance at the confluence, the Mela at T. Narsipura has been well attended, especially by those who can't make it to the mela in the north.




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Kanchi Sankaracharya Limits Agni Hotra Practice
Posted on 2001/2/9 22:47:02 ( 816 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today Press Release





KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 10, 2001: On receiving complaints from the public and religious organizations regarding the wrong practice of "agni hotra," the Malaysia Hindu Sangam wrote to the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Peetham in Tamil Nadu, South India for advice. His Holiness, Sri Jayendra Saraswati, replied, "Agni hotra should not be done by everybody. There are lots of achara anusthana, rules and regulations. If everybody does it as they like, it will end up with ill effects. Therefore, the Hindu Sangam should make an effort to stop it". A copy of the letter from Sri Jayendra was published by Sangam president A.Vaithilingam. The Sangam's Hindu Religious Advisory Council advised the public that only those who are well versed with the knowledge of the rules and regulations and who have their guru's initiation should do the agni hotra. A simplified version of the agni hotra, or fire worship ceremony, has been promoted in Malaysia and other parts of the world in recent years as something which could be done by anyone, regardless of training or initiation.




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Corporal Punishment Goes On Despite Ban
Posted on 2001/2/9 22:46:02 ( 810 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





New Delhi, February 2, 2001: Though it has been two months since corporal punishment was banned by the Delhi Court, some teachers and parents still hold to the adage, "spare the rod and spoil the child." According to a study by psychiatrists Dr. Samir Parikh and Geeta Kapoor, 80 percent of the 1,000 public school students surveyed reveal that the teachers still resort to "physical or severe punishment." Only one out of ten schools has a counselor on their rolls even though it is now compulsory. Counselors not only help the child with academic related anxiety but also personal problems. Dr. Parikh believes that corporal punishment may lead to psychiatric illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It increases the tendency for aggressiveness and violent behavior. In children approaching adolescence the sexual instincts are more pronounced, which might lead to an increased tendency toward aggressiveness and violence if aggravated through physical punishment. One also needs to take a sympathetic look at teachers who are put under great pressure to produce high grades. "Whether we like it or not, the quality of teachers as well as parenting has gone down," adds Dr. Parikh.




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Smoking In Public Taboo
Posted on 2001/2/9 22:45:02 ( 780 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, Feb. 6, 2001: A comprehensive legislation by the Union Cabinet today decided to curb smoking in public places. It would also seek to ban sale of tobacco products to minors under the age of 18 and to ban sponsorship of sports and cultural events by tobacco-product companies. The Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson, Mr. Pramod Mahajan, said the legislation would ensure that warnings on the package would be of the same size as that of the largest panel of the package, with warnings in both English and the local language of the territory where it was sold. Smoking in public places and sale to minors would attract a fine up to US$2.17. For other convictions, the punishment proposed was imprisonment up to three years and fine up to $2,174. It was estimated that India accounts for one-third of the three million deaths which occurred around the world every year due to tobacco-related ailments.




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Untouchable Villagers In Madurai To Take To Islam
Posted on 2001/2/5 22:49:02 ( 760 reads )


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MADURAI, INDIA, January 16, 2001: Dalit (untouchable) residents in a village in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu plan to convert to Islam, blaming it on social stigma and the state government's failure to meet their economic demands. "All Dalits in the village intend converting to Islam," said the local panchayat (village governing body) president, Murthy. "The upper castes don't respect us and untouchability is a curse when it comes to eking out a living," he explained. It is not only the illiterate among the Dalits who feel ostracized. Even a post-graduate from the village says that conversion is the only way out to ''buy social respect.'' Murthy said that over 25 Dalit families in the village intend to convert to Islam on Friday.




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To Keep Peace Malaysia Needs to Honor Minority Groups
Posted on 2001/2/5 22:48:02 ( 782 reads )


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GEORGETOWN, MALAYSIA, January 23, 2001: "We don't want an angry confrontation with the Malays because we know that racial harmony is the key to our country's peace and success," so expounds Khoo Huck Cheong, a Chinese tourist guide. Until recently Malaysia's Chinese minority population of 6.6 million have been content to cultivate their culture and live peacefully on the northern island of Penang. For over 30 years the Chinese have graciously tolerated a law that guarantees Malays, the Muslim ethnic majority, cheaper loan rates, better jobs and preferred acceptance into universities. Backing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the recent 1999 election, the Chinese were hoping the Malay party leader would abolish the affirmative action policies. Threatening a Muslim holy war, a Malay student group and other Malays have forced the Prime Minister to back down in helping the Chinese. Mahathir, Malaysia's Prime Minister of 19 years has pressured the Chinese to accept racially integrated schools with Malay, Chinese and Indians. In their own schools, the minority Chinese have been able to preserve their language and history. Elsewhere in the region, Singapore, with its predominantly Chinese culture, is watching the situation. Hindus, the other racial minority in Malaysia, have also accommodated the Malay Muslim majority rule. In 1998, a Hindu Temple was relocated when Muslims protested that the temple bells disrupted Muslim prayers.




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Cabinet Approves Subsidy for Haj Pilgrims
Posted on 2001/2/5 22:47:02 ( 832 reads )


Source: Press Trust of India





INDRAPRASTH, INDIA, February 6, 2001: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved a US$32 million to enable 72,000 Indian Muslim pilgrims to undertake the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca this year. Pilgrims are expected to pay for $260 out of the total air fare of $717. They can depart from Delhi Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, with flights to Saudi Arabia all departing and arriving from Shrinagar and Jammu. Devout Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Government funds covered much of the cost of the Hindus' Kumbha Mela, and Christians in India have approached the government for subsidies for pilgrimage to Jerusalem.




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Indians Of The Century
Posted on 2001/2/5 22:46:02 ( 734 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, Feb 4, 2001: Their deeds affected the lives of millions throughout the world. They belonged to different streams of life with one thing in common: True greatness. The Times of India Online's Indians of the Century poll was the most comprehensive to be undertaken in this country with 881,772 votes naming Mahatma Gandhi, Dhirubhai Ambani (founder of Reliance company), Lata Mangeshkar (the great singer) and Swami Vivekananda as the four Indians who made the greatest impact on India this century in four categories respectively -- Leaders and Politicians, Creators of Wealth, Artists and Entertainers and Great Minds and Spiritual Lights. All of them are self-made individuals without the advantages of wealth, aristocracy or caste; they fought adversity and believed in action -- karma yogis in the true sense.




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Sri Chinmoy Presents U Thant Award To PM
Posted on 2001/2/4 22:49:02 ( 973 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, January 13, 2001: International peace leader Sri Chinmoy presented the prestigious U Thant Peace Award to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in recognition of his lifetime service to Mother India recently, according to a New India-Times report. The award is named after for late Secretary General of the United Nations and has been presented to Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela and Hinduism Today publisher Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. During their meeting, Sri Chinmoy sang a song in the praise of the prime minister. The prime minister was deeply moved and appreciated the song. Prime Minister Vajpayee was also held the Sri Chinmoy Peace Torch by Sri Chinmoy. The torch is carried by millions of people all over the world as part of history's longest and largest relay run, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. Sri Chinmoy was in Bali recently on his annual two month peace goodwill visits to different countries.




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