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Singapore Hindus Celebrate Pongal

Posted on 2002/1/17 8:48:02 ( 945 reads )


SINGAPORE, Jan 16, 2002: Singapore Hindus of South Indian origin started celebrating the Pongal harvest festival on Monday, thanking the Sun god, Surya, for a good harvest. Celebrations here usually last for four days. On the first day, Pongal rice, a sweet dish of rice boiled with milk, ghee and raw cane sugar, is prepared. Letting it boil over toward the east signifies prosperity, success and happiness. As the milk bubbled over the earthen pots, the devotees cried: 'Pongal, O Pongal!' Pongal also begins the Hindu calendar's auspicious month of Thai.

The Asian Corner Store Numbers are Dropping in the U.K.

Posted on 2002/1/17 8:47:02 ( 921 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, January 5, 2002: After 20 years of running a family Asian corner store in the U.K., Gurdip Sumal is selling the business. In the last ten years the number of corner shops has declined by 25%, greatly impacting a common and family-oriented way of making a living for Hindus here. Competition from 24-hour supermarkets, market diversification of petrol shops that sell snacks and cigarettes, as well as better educated offspring who have sought greener pastures, are all contributing factors of the decline. However, overall self-employment by Asians has increased as they seek other business ventures such as restaurant owners and taxi drivers.

Badri-Kedar Temple's Chief Priest Suspended

Posted on 2002/1/17 8:46:02 ( 1064 reads )

Source: Sandhya Times (Hindi)

BADRINATH, HIMALAYAS, INDIA, January 16, 2002: Badri Kedar Nath Temple's chief priest, Vishnu Nambutri, has been suspended. This information has been provided by the president of the committees of these temples Sri Vinod Prasad Nautiyal. Sri Nautiyal said that Rawal [chief priest] Nambutri was doing his own will for the last many years and that he was even ignoring the suggestions of the temple committee. He was also not forwarding the offerings made by the devotees to the managing committee, Nautiyal alleged. Sri Nautiyal said that a four-member body has been constituted.

Judge Rules Chaplains' Suits May Continue

Posted on 2002/1/17 8:45:02 ( 951 reads )

Source: Religion New Service

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2002: A U.S. District Court judge has determined that two suits by chaplains alleging religious discrimination in the U.S. Navy should continue. Judge Ricardo M. Urbina has denied in part the Navy's motion to dismiss the cases, which accuse the military service of discriminating against evangelical Christian groups. The chaplains allege second-class treatment by the Navy, which they say has "illegal religious quotas" for chaplain promotions and a tendency for bias against nonliturgical Christian Navy chaplains. HPI adds: A "nonliturgical" chaplain is an evangelical Christian who performs no rituals as do, for example, Catholic or Episcopalian ministers. What they do instead, and this is the issue for the Navy, is to preach, appealing to their listeners to adopt their particular form of Christianity. But because one chaplain often ministers to a mixed group and not to just followers of his own denomination, such preaching amounts to a conversion campaign within the ranks. The Navy and other armed forces believe such conversion efforts to be potentially destabilizing and a threat to morale. It is compounded by the fact the ministers are officers and their charges are enlisted personnel. For decades, the military chaplain corps has enforced a ban on conversion attempts, and as a result been been exemplars of religious tolerance and harmony. Should this suit succeed, all the unfortunate consequences of conversion activities that Hindus are familiar with may occur within the US military, and Hindu servicemen and women may find themselves targets of evangelists.

City Older Than Mohenjodaro Unearthed

Posted on 2002/1/16 8:49:02 ( 995 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 16, 2002: Indian scientists have made an archaeological find dating back to 7500 bce suggesting the world's oldest cities came up about 4,000 years earlier than is currently believed, a top government official said on Wednesday. The scientists found pieces of wood, remains of pots, fossil bones and what appeared like construction material just off the coast of Surat, Science and Technology Minister Murli Manohar Joshi told a news conference. "Some of these artifacts recovered by the National Institute of Ocean Technology from the site, such as the log of wood date back to 7500 bce, which is indicative of a very ancient culture in the present Gulf of Cambay, that got submerged subsequently," Joshi said. Current belief is that the first cities appeared around 3500 bce in the valley of Sumer, where Iraq now stands, a statement issued by the government said. "We can safely say from the antiquities and the acoustic images of the geometric structures that there was human activity in the region more than 9,500 years ago (7500 BC)," S.N. Rajguru, an independent archaeologist, said. It is not clear from the article why the scientists considered the findings evidence of a "city."

Dalai Lama Recovering, Say Doctors

Posted on 2002/1/16 8:48:02 ( 951 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, January 16, 2002: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who was taken ill on Tuesday due to gastro-enteritis and low blood pressure, is feeling better and his condition is stable, doctors attending on him said on Wednesday. The Dalai Lama is feeling much better on Wednesday and his condition improving fast, Patna civil surgeon Dr A K Mishra heading the team of doctors which examined him in the morning said. The 67-year-old Dalai Lama, also suffering from hypertension, has also been advised to stop taking blood pressure lowering medicines.

Professor Deems Holland's Bhojpuri a Distinct Language

Posted on 2002/1/16 8:47:02 ( 1192 reads )

Source: Times of India

ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 14, 2002: According to Professor Theo Damsteegt of Leiden University in the Netherlands, the dialect of Bhojpuri spoken by the country's immigrants from Suriname should be considered a distinct language, "Sarnami." The immigrants from Suriname originally came from the "Bhojpuri Belt" in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar in India. Bhojpuri is a regional dialect of Hindi. Sarnami, explains the professor, has many features in common with Bhojpuri but also contains many words from Dutch. It has now stabilized into a distinct language with its own literature. Many Indians came to the Netherlands from Suriname when the latter was granted independence in 1975.

Shekhar Brings Indian Heritage to Uganda

Posted on 2002/1/16 8:46:02 ( 937 reads )


UGANDA, AFRICA, January 15, 2002: The music of India is one of the oldest unbroken musical traditions in the world with origins in the Vedas, the ancient scripts of the Hindus. Shekhar Chakravarty, General Manager Crane Microfinance, who plays the Indian instrument sitar, says that his major interest is to ensure that second and third Indian generations living in Uganda and Ugandans who have an interest in Indian classical music become familiar with this Indian music. "There are many Indian families here who for generations are settled in Uganda. That group has never known or been exposed to our traditional Indian music." Chakravarty says. He adds that there is need for the Indian High Commissioner and other Indian associations to come together and start affordable, convenient classes for Indian music for interested Indians and Ugandans.

Sabarimala to Offer Free Food to Devotees

Posted on 2002/1/15 8:49:02 ( 928 reads )


SABARIMALA, KERALA, INDIA, January 14, 2002: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which administers the hill shrine of Ayyappa at Sabarimala, will offer food free of cost to all devotees arriving for darshan from the next Mandalam-Makaravilakku season onwards, board president N. Babu said here on Monday. He said an estimated 21,700,000 devotees, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, besides Kerala, had darshan (worship before the Deity) at the temple during the two-month pilgrim season this year.

Afghanistan Said to be Site of Many Mahabharatha Events.

Posted on 2002/1/15 8:48:02 ( 1040 reads )

Source: The Hindu

HYDERABAD, INDIA, January 12, 2002: As Afghanistan continues to be in spotlight, an eminent scholar of ancient Indian astronomy, B. G. Sidharth, Director-General of the B. M. Birla Planetarium and Science Centre, has contended that there is sufficient astronomical and other evidence to suggest that the battle and many of the events of the Mahabharata took place in the regions around that beleaguered country, around 1350 bce. Delivering a lecture on "Dating the Vedas and later literature with the help of astronomy," he said there were a number of astronomical symbols to strengthen this proposition and added that this view of history from "archeao-astronomy scenario" appears very different from the textbooks.

Pilgrims Flock to Holy Cave Shrine Despite Falling Temperatures

Posted on 2002/1/15 8:47:02 ( 938 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, January 2, 2002: Despite falling temperatures at the holy cave shrine, over 123,000 lakh pilgrims from the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of India visited the abode dedicated to Mata Vaishno Devi during the last week of December 2001. On December 31 alone, around 33,000 pilgrims paid their respects to the Goddess. Facilities for devotees at the base camp of Katra have vastly improved since the formation of a shrine board. Pilgrims now have access to accommodations, transportation, banking and medical aid. Launching a detailed campaign, the department of tourism in Katra has organized several programs during the year. In 2001, 5,556,000 pilgrims visited the cave shrine.

Endowment Bill has Tamil Brahmins in the State Protesting

Posted on 2002/1/15 8:46:02 ( 922 reads )

Source: The Hindu

KERALA, INDIA, January 2, 2002: Tamil minority Brahmins in the state recently organized a march and protest against the State Government's Malabar Hindu Religions and Charitable Institutions and Endowments Bill, 2001. Hundreds of women and even the elderly who normally do not leave their homes, walked down the main streets of Palakkad town. Belonging primarily to an organization called the Brahmin Sabha, the protesters feel that the bill has targeted over 96 temples and settlements run by its members. Apparently, endowments and trusts have already been set up to run these temples. The new bill will provide for a meagre government annuity and take over of the temples and their endowments. Mr. N.N. Ramachandram, the action committee chairman said, "the Kerala High Court order was meant for ensuring wages and welfare measures for the temple employees of Malabar." However, the government has used the provisions of the bill to take over temples already run by various Hindu religious groups. Currently the Charitable Societies and Trusts Act provides for the welfare measures of its temple employees. Any breach of this act would result in action against the institution failing to dispense its duties.

High-Tech Bangalore Leads in Suicides

Posted on 2002/1/15 8:45:02 ( 938 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, Jan 11, 2002: Bangalore, India's high-tech capital and one of the world's leading technology hubs, tops the nation in the number of suicides. A team of researchers headed by Dr. G. Gururaj and Dr. Mohan Isaac from the Bangalore-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences found that the city's suicide rate is 35 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 11 per 100,000. Their study, Epidemiology of Suicides In Bangalore, also found that the cases of attempted suicides were 10 times that of actual suicides. The five major causes of suicide in Bangalore are chronic physical illness, conflicts and disturbances within the family, alcohol-related problems, financial problems and unemployment. Underlying all these causes, Dr Gururaj points out, is the phenomenal change that the city has undergone in the past ten years. Just a little over a decade back, Bangalore, with a population of less than four million, had a laid-back lifestyle. But today, it is one of the world's most dynamic technology hubs with a population of over six million. Indeed, it is the only city in India to have undergone such a tremendous transformation during the last decade. This change, says Dr. Gururaj, has been accompanied by a high degree of migration, resulting in cultural alienation and a lack of social support network. There have also been tremendous changes in lifestyle and values. These have led to conflicts within people that are manifested in different ways such as illness, alcoholism and financial problems. The availability of alcohol is a significant contributory factor to the high suicide rate. Also known as the Pub City, Bangalore is estimated to have 3,500 outlets selling alcohol. Dr Gururaj says that 27 per cent of suicide attempts are made under the influence of alcohol. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, the suicide rate in the US is 19.3 per hundred thousand, 11 per hundred thousand in the UK and 8.2 per hundred thousand in Israel.

50,000 Pilgrims Arrive for Ganga Sagar Festival

Posted on 2002/1/12 8:49:02 ( 958 reads )


GANGA SAGAR, INDIA, January 13, 2002: Security precautions are unprecedented here where the Ganga River enters the Bay of Bengal during the annual Ganga Sagar festival. Already 50,000 pilgrims have arrived and hundreds of thousands more are expected for the main bathing day on the January 14. The state government has requested help from the nation's Coast Guard in light of the December 13 attack on India's Parliament. The Shankaracharya of Puri also arrived on Saturday evening and went round the mela. Residents of this island venue have complained about getting charged pilgrim's rate for the ferry service -- US$1.50 compared to the normal nine cents.

500-year-old Icon of Lord Mahavir Recovered in Uttaranchal

Posted on 2002/1/12 8:48:02 ( 1151 reads )


UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, January 12, 2001: The Uttaranchal police on Tuesday claimed to have busted an international smuggling racket by arresting two persons and recovering a 500-year-old icon of the Jain saint, Lord Mahavir, from them. The duo, members of a gang, were arrested with the 2.75 kg icon, made of ashta dhatu (an alloy of eight metals) and worth US$128,000 in the international market, from Khatima area in Udhamsingh Nagar on Monday, police said.

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