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Salman Rushdie on India and Pakistan in New York Times

Posted on 2002/5/30 9:44:02 ( 1066 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 30, 2001: Author Salman Rushdie offers his analysis and approach to tensions between India and Pakistan in this New York Times editorial, which is, at least in comparison to a lot of editorials on the situation, relatively well-informed on the ground realities. An excerpt, "This time President Musharraf is the one being pressed by the United States to stamp out Kashmiri terrorism. He has been playing a double game, arresting hundreds of members of the groups he once fostered but quietly freeing most of them soon afterward. Caught between two necessities -- placating his major international sponsor and playing to the home audience -- he may well in the end follow his deepest political instincts: to support (overtly or covertly) the Islamist radicals who have terrorized the once idyllic valley of Kashmir for well over a decade."

Editorial Cartoon Outrages Australian Hindus

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:49:02 ( 1144 reads )


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, May 27, 2002: Hindus in Australia have reacted angrily to the publishing of a cartoon of Lord Ganesha in the Financial Express. The cartoon shows a caricature of Lord Ganesha with four arms standing on a map of India. One hand juggles an atomic bomb, another sticks of dynamite, a third a chicken and the fourth gestures obscenely in the direction of Pakistan. The editors of the publication apparently believe that India is the instigator of the current tensions between the two countries, which are in fact a result of an attack by terrorists upon an army camp which resulted in the deaths of thirty people, mostly women and children, families of the soldiers. India blames Pakistan for the attack. The Hindu Council of Australia wrote the following letter to the Financial Times: "On behalf of the Hindu community in Australia, we wish to express our outrage at the cartoon depicting Lord Ganesha in the Australian Financial Review on May 27, 2002. Whenever there is the likelihood of war between India and Pakistan or even when India launches a missile test, the Fairfax Press manages in these ludicrous caricatures of a Hindu God who is worshipped and adored by millions of Hindus all over the world. What, may we ask, is the relevance of this cartoon to the current situation on the sub-continent? Since Pakistan is Muslim, are you insinuating that India is provoking this war? I would like to remind you that India is a secular state without any state religion, mentioned in its constitution. How can you depict Lord Ganesha who symbolizes everything that is good and sacred as someone who throws around bombs and sticks of gelignite? As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time that the Fairfax Press has been responsible for insulting the Hindu religion and its symbols. We have complained every time but it seems our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Since your cartoonists would benefit from a brief explanation of the symbolism of Lord Ganesha, we are attaching the same to this letter. Please inform him not to confuse India with Hinduism. Dr A. Balasubramaniam, Chairman." To contact the Hindu Council or view the cartoon, click "source" above. Letters may be sent to the Financial Times at edletters@afr.com.au.

Preacher Morari Bapu Tours Mauritius

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:48:02 ( 1238 reads )

Source: Le Mauricien

PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS, May 27, 2002: Nine days of Ram Katha, sacred songs and discourses on the life of Lord Rama, by the famous Pujya Sant Morari Bapu was concluded on May 27 at the Hindu House in Port Louis. Veerendra Ramdhun, president of Hindu House, reported that an average of 3,000 devotees attended each of the four-hour musical presentations of the life and teachings of Lord Rama. At the Saturday morning Ram Katha session the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Paul Berenger, welcomed Morari Bapu to Mauritius saying that the country has been eagerly awaiting his coming for the past twenty years and that Bapu's messages of peace and love are sorely needed at this time when there's so much tension and terror in the world. During his stay in Mauritius, in addition to the installation of the first stone of Radha Krishna Mandir to Montagne-Ory, Bapu visited the temple of the Hindu Maha Sabha at Grand-Basin, the Venkateshwara Temple of La-Laura, the temple of Gujratis in Le Hochet and the Human Service Trust of Swami Krishnanand in Calebasses. He was accompanied in his visit to Mauritius by 300 devotees from India.

Cable TV Changes Bhutan

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:47:02 ( 1171 reads )


BHUTAN, May 27, 2002: This PBS report shows how television, introduced in 1998 to this remote country, has already changed many lives. "Here is an excerpt from the show, "In the capital city of Thimphu, Rinzy's children sit home alone, glued to the set, neglecting their homework. And previously gentle boys from good Buddhist families are now practicing body slams, imitating their new TV heroes from the World Wrestling Federation. Entranced by TV, even some Buddhist monks neglect their religious duties. One child said, 'When we had no TV, I used to play with my dog a lot. But now I prefer to watch television.'" "Professional" wrestling -- which is actually staged -- is the most popular show among the children.

Zulu Song Allegedly Inciting Racism Against Indians Being Probed

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:46:02 ( 1162 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, May 24, 2002: A Zulu song by a South African playwright Mbongeni Ngema allegedly inciting racism against the country's 1.2 million people of Indian origin has caused consternation within members of the Indian community with the Human Rights Commission saying it will probe the matter. The song, released in February this year, was played during a talk show program on the Zulu language radio station, Ukhozi FM, and accuses people of Indian origin of oppressing black African people and taking over most of the business in Durban. It alleges that Indians were dominate everywhere, including the politics of the country. The song says Nelson Mandela, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President Thabo Mbeki and other leaders have failed and calls for a "brave leader" to "deal with Indians." Jody Kollapan, National Commissioner of the Human Rights, said that hate speech that sparks racism will not be tolerated, and the matter will be investigated. The playwright, Ngema, denied he was promoting racial incitement against the Indians. "I'm only putting into words what thousands of Africans are talking," he said. The song has been pulled off the airwaves.

A Vegetarian Diet Ensures Healthier Heart

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:45:02 ( 1101 reads )

Source: Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, March 25, 2002: With the benefits of a vegetarian diet you are less likely to have heart disease. In fact, according to this article, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 found that, "Folks who eat fish but no other animal flesh and those who eat eggs and diary products but no meat or fish had a 34% lower risk of heart disease." Eva Obarzanek, research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says, "We've known for a long time that people who ate vegetarian diets had lower risk factors as well as a lower rate of heart disease. It's hard to pinpoint why, although their body weight is lower and their blood pressure is lower." As a result, U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet rich in plant foods as does the American Heart Association, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Diabetes Association.

Meenakshi Temple Now Has Its Own Web Site

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:44:02 ( 1036 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, March 20, 2002: Since March of this year, information about the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, one of the most revered temples in India, can be found online at "source." By clicking on any one of the 26 selections, information can be found about daily pujas, temple location, religious festivals, lodging, temple lore and more. The site, which has been sponsored by the ICICI Bank at the cost of US$1,200, provides all the necessary facts to pilgrims.

Designer Links Fashion and Spirituality

Posted on 2002/5/29 9:43:02 ( 1110 reads )


RISHIKESH, INDIA, April 10, 2002: Believing that what you wear should reflect how you feel on the inside spiritually, fashion designer Sunil Mehra launched his spring-summer men's wear collection in April of this year. At one time Sunil was wrapped up in a life of parties and hangovers. However, in 1996 he took a two-year break from the fast track he was on and pilgrimaged to ashrams in Rishikesh and Hardwar. He returned to the fashion industry in 1998 with new ideas and enthusiasm. "I wanted to give fashion a new meaning. Clothes, after all, are a vehicle of communication. I decided to go spiritual and incorporated religious imagery onto fashion garments," says Mehra. His linen Kurta collections, modeled by women, are aptly titled Truth, Peace, and Devotion and feature motifs such as rudrakshas, swastikas, yantras, peacock feathers and other religious images.

Queen's First Visit to UK Hindu Temple

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:49:02 ( 1173 reads )


GREAT BRITAIN, May 23, 2002: Highgatehill Murugan Temple is to become the first Hindu temple in Britain to be visited by the queen in her 50-year reign. The temple was picked to welcome the Queen as part of her wish to recognize each of Britain's many faiths during her Golden Jubilee tour of the country. The Queen and Prince Phillip will visit the temple on June 6. Alongside worshipers at the temple will be representatives from the wider Hindu community in Britain, which has grown from just a handful of followers 50 years ago to an estimated 1.5 million today. The small temple was chosen because it is like many of the growing number of Hindu places of worship across Britain: relatively small and adapted from an existing building. When the Queen arrives, she will show respect for Hindu practice by taking off her shoes before walking into the temple. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen will obviously follow all the customs of the temple and the Hindu faith." Royal aides have attempted to recognize every one of Britain's faith groups during the Golden Jubilee tour, culminating in a reception for leaders of every religious group at Buckingham Palace on June 10.

Dalits Convert to Buddhism

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:48:02 ( 1112 reads )


THIRUVANANTHAPPURAM, INDIA, May 26, 2002: According to this Times of India article, more than 200 people belonging to scheduled castes and tribes (or dalits, the lowest strata of Indian society) on Sunday embraced the Buddhist religion in a mass conversion program organized by the SC/ST All India Confederation, Kerala, and the Lord Buddha Universal Society. However, a report from HPI correspondent G.K. Nair in Kerala states only a few dozen converted in a function held on Buddha Purnima day. One dalit leader said that by embracing Buddhism, the dalits who had been denied justice all these years had chosen the path of awakening.

Ancient Art Included the Pleiades

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:47:02 ( 1283 reads )


FRANCE, May 28, 2002: What could be the oldest lifelike drawings of human faces have been uncovered in a cave in southern France. The images were first recognized over 50 years ago, but were then lost after doubts were cast on their authenticity. The drawings were found on the floor of prehistoric painted caves. Over 1,500 slabs were found on which images were etched. Of interest to HPI was the discovery of a series of pits in one floor arranged in the shape of the Pleiades star cluster. Drawings of the Pleiades have been found by Dr. Rappenglueck on the walls of many Neolithic caves in several parts of Europe, but until now no cosmic marks had been found on cave floors. He speculates that the small holes could have been filled with animal fat and set alight mimicking the flickering stars in the sky. "Perhaps this is the origin of the candlelit festivals of the Far East where lighted candles are held in the shape of the Pleiades. Perhaps it is a tradition that stretches back tens of thousands of years into our Stone Age past." It is part of Hindu tradition that Lord Muruga came from the Pleiades, and that souls living on this Earth came from the Pleiades with Him.

Tamils preying on Tamils

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:46:02 ( 369 reads )


LONDON, UK, May 25, 2002: Spiralling violence between gangs in London's Sri Lankan Tamil community has led to four violent deaths and up to 200 other incidents in the last two years. Commander Richard Bryan, whose patch in north west London has witnessed much of the violence, has set up a cross-London co-ordinating group in an attempt to root out the gang culture. He said: "The vast majority of the Tamil community in London are law-abiding and want to get on with their lives in peace but a significant minority represent a problem which needs to be addressed." The UN estimates 917,000 people have left Sri Lanka since 1993 and many of the diaspora have come to Britain. A similar gang problem in the Tamil community in Toronto has subsided after aggressive police intervention.

Shri Shivarudra Balayogi to Visit Malaysia

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:45:02 ( 1078 reads )


MALAYSIA, May 28, 2002: Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj will be visiting Malaysia June 1-14, 2002. His itinerary will take him to several states and diverse segments of the Indian population in Malaysia ranging from the privileged to the mentally handicapped. The Venerable Yogi requested that he be brought to the poor and the forgotten members of this society and the organizers are taking every effort to fulfil this request of this Great Soul, according to the organizers. For more information, click "source" above. For those living in Malaysia, the visit of the Venerable Yogi allows Malaysian Hindus to receive darshan and instruction directly from the spiritual successor of the Great Siddha Purusha, Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. Babaji's programs will consist of a short talk on a spiritual topic, the opportunity for initiation into Dhyana Yoga Meditation, bhajanas and the chance to ask questions of, as time allows. All programs are free of charge.

Catholic Priest from India Charged with Molestation in New York

Posted on 2002/5/28 9:44:02 ( 1203 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 24, 2002: Investigators arrested the first Roman Catholic priest yesterday to be charged in New York based on the old case files that the church recently turned over to sex-abuse prosecutors, according to this article in the New York Times. The priest, the Rev. Francis X. Nelson, 38, was handcuffed near his Harlem church and charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl at her home in Brooklyn three years ago. The church officials supervising the priest had been aware of the allegations in 1999 and considered them credible, but he was allowed to transfer from Brooklyn to the Archdiocese of New York, where officials say they first learned of the accusation on Wednesday. Father Nelson was charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanor charges that each carry a penalty of up to one year in prison, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said. Father Nelson is a native of India. Catholic diocese officials investigated the allegation three years ago. They did not believe Father Nelson's denial and ordered him out of the diocese, said a spokesman for the diocese, Frank DeRosa. On July 21, 1999, Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn told Father Nelson's bishop in India, Leon A. Tharmaraj, of his decision, Mr. DeRosa said. Bishop Tharmaraj, of the Diocese of Kottar in the region of Tamil Nadu, happened to be in New York and agreed to Father Nelson's departure, the spokesman said. Three days after meeting with Bishop Daily, Bishop Tharmaraj signed a document declaring Father Nelson in good standing and free of allegations, said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York. The document is necessary for priests to work in a diocese not their own. Further, Mr. Zwilling said that St. Mary's pastor, Thomas Doyle, wrote a letter on Aug. 3 "attesting to his good character and his good work in the parish, with no indication of any difficulties."

World Religions Project Within Metropolitan Detroit

Posted on 2002/5/24 9:49:02 ( 1156 reads )


DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, May 22, 2002: The Pluralism Project was developed by Diana L Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities. The affliated Pluralism Project at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is a co-sponsor of the summer seminar "Worldviews: Foundations for Inter-religious Dialogue for Students of Christian Ministry" which will be offered in Detroit/Dearborn June 10-15, 2002. This course will "introduce people engaged in ministry in a multi-religious society to the beliefs and practices of several of the world's religions." While geared towards Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, anyone may attend. The Pluralism Project is currently sponsoring "World Religions in Metropolitan Detroit," an exhibition of 55 photographs presenting the ongoing research of the Pluralism Project and the University. The exhibition shows the diversity of Metropolitan Detroit's religious landscape and is designed for a general audience. The photographs and text are intended to encourage dialogue and foster a greater sense of community among the residents of Michigan. For a slide show of the photos, including several of Hindu temples and ceremonies, click on "source" above.

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