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Dance Expressions Portray Role Models for South Asian Women

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:44:02 ( 1139 reads )

Source: New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 4, 2002: Trained in the classical dance art forms of Manipuri, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali from a very young age, Dr. Ananya Chatterjea now uses the dance form of Odissi to express strong woman characters with integrity and high self-esteem. " I think societies are generally afraid of women who are confident, intelligent and in charge of their lives. That is why inhuman practices have been instituted against them in societies across the world, " she says. As artistic director of Women in Motion (a performing company of South Asian women artists) in the United States, Ananya has been able to use the Indian classical Odissi dance to perform art centered around contemporary issues such as how women of color despite everyday struggles are able to assert themselves in as dignified manner. In 1978, she directed a hit performance centered around "A Wife's Letter," a suicide note by a young woman living in Hyderabad. Ananya inspired and instilled confidence in women and children from the surrounding community. Dr. Chatterjea has also portrayed women characters from the Hindu epics such as the Ramayana in a different manner. For example, Sita is depicted as a leader in peace movements. By these depictions, Ananya hopes to create images of strong, confident women as role models for South Asian women.

Beer-Bearing Ganesha Protested in UK

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:43:02 ( 977 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, April 7, 2002: A section of nonresident Indians in the UK are up in arms against the use of the image of Lord Ganesha as a carrier and advertiser of beers. The objectionable photograph appeared under the title "Indian Summer Food and Drink" depicted in the Sunday Observer today shows Lord Ganesha carrying a glass of pale ale in one hand and showing the initials IPA (a beer called "India Pale Ales") in the third of the four-armed image. A spokesman of the Leicester-based Hindu community said the advertisement was bad in taste and affected the religious feelings of Hindus. The write-up under the image said, "As everyone who has stepped inside a pub knows, the hunger created by a few pints can be extinguished only by a meal from the Indian subcontinent."

18th International Ramayana Conference Announced

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:42:02 ( 1145 reads )

Tiruvannamalai Preparing for Kumbabhishekam

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:49:02 ( 1132 reads )

Source: The Hindu

TIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA, April 3, 2002: With the kumbabhishekam, or rededication blessing, of the Sri Arunachaleswara Temple scheduled for June 27, a major portion of the renovation of the sannadhis (structures housing the individual deities), the gopurams (entrance towers) and the Ayirankal Mandapam (1000-pillared hall) has been completed. The kumbabhishekam, to be performed after a gap of 26 years, will follow the the four-year long renovation project. For the first time, panchavarnam (five-color painting) has been done for all the sannadhis. A Narpathinaalu Kal Mandapam (44-pillared hall) is being constructed in front of the eastern gopuram to replace the Padhinaru Kal Mandapam (16-pillared hall), destroyed in a fire five years ago. The entire work is expected to be completed in another 15 days, according to P Jayaraman, executive officer of the temple.

Software for Temple Management Launched

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:48:02 ( 1192 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, April 6, 2002: Ganati, a temple management software was launched by Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi and Mediateck on Saturday. Greater responsibilities of religious institutions that function as trusts or government bodies brought about the development of this software. Ganati was developed to bring in efficiency and transparency in various functions of the temple such as administration, transactions, manpower availability, fund flow, etc. At the launch on Saturday, his Holiness Sri Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji of Sri Pejawar Mutt was the chief guest. According to officials at Mediateck, Ganati will specifically address billing and accounting procedures, documentation of hundi collections, inventory management of utility articles to valuable ornaments, as well as stores maintenance to purchases, HR functions and trust affairs as part of the everyday temple procedures. The software has already been implemented at the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Sanjaynagar.

Report from Puerto Rico

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:47:02 ( 1120 reads )


PUERTO RICO, USA, April 4, 2002: Mathangi Sundararajan ("source" above) sends the following items from Puerto Rico: 1. Swami Yogatmananda, who is at present minister in charge of Vedanta Society of Providence, Rhode Island, USA, visited the island for three days from March 23rd to 26th and addressed formal and informal groups. He left a deep impression in the hearts of many. 2. Swami Atmaroopamanda of the Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely, located in the town of Stone Ridge in the state of New York, US, and currently the Spiritual Director of the Vedanta society of Puerto Rico will be touring the island from April 11 to 16. He will give a formal lecture at Hato Rey on mantra yoga.There will be a informal gathering with question and answer section at Caguas. On the last day, April 15, there will be an early morning meditation, puja and devotional singing to complete the tour. 3. Recently the Satya Sai Baba devotees conducted a program of visiting an old folks home in San Juay, the territory's capital. They donated a large amount of rice to the home, spent time with the residents and helped with chores.

Doubt, Shock Greet Cloning Pregnancy

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:46:02 ( 1108 reads )


LONDON, UK, April 6, 2002: Scientists reacted with skepticism and shock to a report that a woman taking part in a controversial human cloning program for infertile couples was eight weeks pregnant. Italian fertility specialist Severino Antinori, who last year announced his intention to create the world's first human clone, has been quoted as saying one woman in his program was pregnant -- but he has since refused to confirm or deny this. "Our project is at a very advanced stage. One woman among the thousands of infertile couples in the program is eight weeks pregnant." It was unclear if Antinori had clearly stated that the woman's pregnancy was a result of cloning. There was no information as to where the woman was, or from whom the alleged foetus was cloned, if it was. Cloning and fertility experts expressed strong doubts over the report. Dr Ehab Kelada, clinical director at the London Fertility Centre, said Antinori must clarify the report immediately. "The scientific community will be very alarmed," he said. "It is shocking. We don't know how safe cloning is for humans and it is dangerous to embark on this path without proper regulations or guidelines."

Corporal Punishment Banned in Andhra Pradesh Schools

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:45:02 ( 1277 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, April 2, 2002: The state government of Andhra Pradesh has recently issued a government order banning corporal punishment in schools. School education secretary I. V. Subba Rao said, "Imposition of corporal punishment was not in keeping with a child's dignity, and it is cruel to subject a child to physical violence in school in the name of discipline and education." This newest government order replaces an earlier one issued in 1966 that had allowed a provision for corporal punishment such as six hits with a cane on the hand of a student. Completely prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment, the new GO also outlines that offenders are liable for prosecution under the Indian Penal Code. Teachers unions in the state as well as students have been asking for a new GO eliminating corporal punishment. Panchayat Raj Teachers Union president B. Mohan Reddy said, "The ban will help cement the bond between the teachers and the students."

Gujarat Hindus Taunted With Bangles

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:49:02 ( 994 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, April 8, 2002: Intelligence reports from various districts in Gujarat reveal that Hindu activists are stoking the communal tension prevailing in the state by sending bangles to cadres in areas where the level of violence did not match the death and mayhem witnessed elsewhere in the state. The gift of women's bangles are meant as an insult, an accusation of cowardice. Perhaps as a consequence, in the past few days, new areas -- like Gomtipur in Ahmedabad city and Ankwaleshwar in Baruch district -- have seen a sharp increase in violence. Bangles have also reportedly been sent to Kutch and Saurashtra. Intelligence reports indicate that the radical Muslim Students Islamic Front of India (SIMI) has begun cashing in on the anti-Muslim activities. The organization has been earning a good name by offering sanctuary to Muslims being cleansed out of Hindu-dominated areas.

Tourists to Follow Vivekananda's Steps

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:48:02 ( 989 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, April 6, 2002: The tourism ministry is considering a move to start a "Vivekananda Yatra" for tourists, which would encompass all the places Swami Vivekananda visited spreading his message, Union culture and tourism minister Jagmohan announced. The minister was speaking at the annual convocation of the Ramakrishna Institute of Culture. "In these troubled times, it is through spreading words of wisdom like Swami Vivekananda's messages that sanity can return," Jagmohan said. The circuit shall encompass almost the entire country. "Swamiji had visited almost all important places in the country, so it is very difficult to select the places. but we shall finalize the circuit soon," he said.

Five Planets Will Cluster Together From April 15

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:47:02 ( 1232 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, April 6, 2002: This month Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury will be clearly visible between April 15 and 30, with Mercury joining in to shine in the night sky in the month-end. The best time to see these planets is around seven in the evening, just after sunset in the Western sky. "It will be a rare opportunity for all people to identify planets," says Dr B. S. Shylaja, Educator of the Bangalore Association for Science Education, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. "It is being dubbed as a rare alignment, but the planets will not be in alignment (in one straight line)," says Dr Shylaja. But they will all be visible in a cluster, making them easy to spot. One easy way to identify the planets will be to keep the Moon as your mark. On April 14, the planet that appears closest to the Moon will be Venus, on 15 - Mars, on 16 - Saturn, on 17 - Jupiter. Venus will be the brightest of them all and Mars the dullest. In 1997 this phenomenon occurred in November and was a wash-out because of clouds.

Rice Plants Have More Genes than Human Beings

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:46:02 ( 964 reads )


WASHINGTON, U.S.A., April 4, 2002: Two research teams, one from the West and one from the East, have collaborated their efforts as part of an international rice project to determine the genetic makeup of the grain. Both teams, the one in California located at Syngenta International Inc. in San Diego and led by Steven Briggs and Stephen Goff, and the one in Beijing led by Huanming Yang, used a scientific technique pioneered by Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville. This technique, using the power of computers, "shreds an organisms genetic material into bits, reads the genetic letters making up each tiny piece, and puts the whole thing back together, like a jigsaw puzzle." Amazingly the results of the new papers have determined that a rice plant can have a many as 55,000 genes whereas a human being has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 genes. One rice expert consulted by HPI said this didn't mean much as large sections of the genes have no active function.

India's PM Consoles Muslims

Posted on 2002/4/7 9:49:02 ( 1007 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday told Muslims of Gujarat that they were not alone at this time of crisis and the entire country was behind them. "You are not alone at this time of crisis. We all are with you. The entire country is with you," he told the riot victims at the Shah Alam Relief camp where nearly 8,000 Muslims affected by the communal violence have taken shelter. In a hard-hitting and emotional outburst, Vajpayee said, "Apne desh mein refugee ho jana, yeh dil ko cheerane wali baat hai ("Becoming a refugee in ones own country is something that pierces the heart). He said India had prestige in the comity of nations for its pluralistic character which has been badly affected by this communal violence. He said "with what face, I do not know, I will go abroad after what all has happened here."

Attack Ends Hindu-Muslim Harmony in Abasana Village

Posted on 2002/4/7 9:48:02 ( 1026 reads )


ABASANA, GUJARAT, INDIA, April 3, 2002: "You are welcome to Hindu nation's village....." -- such "welcome" boards can be seen lined all along the road as one drives down to this village in Gujarat State. But Abasana is an exception as no such proclamation of Hindutva greets you to it, states this report in the Hindustan Times. This village was peaceful till Tuesday, when "outsiders" attacked two Muslim families, roasted alive five people in the dead of the night, just prior to the visit of India's Prime Minister to Gujarat. The families of Ismailbhai, 50 and Dawoodbhai, 45, had been living in this village, about 85 km from Ahmedabad, for at least two generations. They had no enmity with any one, said the villagers, who appeared too shocked to express their anguish. Madar Singh, the village panchayat sarpanch (like a mayor), told this correspondent that the village had always enjoyed complete harmony. And though only four minority families lived among the 2000-odd population of Durbars and Patels, they had never felt insecure. Even after the statewide turmoil following the Godhra train massacre, there was no trouble in this village. But, some unknown elements ridiculed the villagers for their harmony by sending them parcels containing bangles with a note attached saying, "You cowards could not finish the few......". Following this, the villagers had themselves organized night patrolling on two sides of the village for at least 20 days as a precautionary measure. Night patrolling had been called off only three or four days ago, the sarpanch said. The police, who are stationed at Detroj taluka eight kilometers away, said that they have no clue as to who could be behind the gruesome attack.

Peacock Sparks Row Over Kavadi Flag in South Africa

Posted on 2002/4/7 9:47:02 ( 1919 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 31, 2002: Feathers have been ruffled in the Hindu community in this country because some temples used a symbol of a peacock rather than a rooster on their flags for Kavadi festivals. The rooster symbol has been widely used for more than a century, but some temples have upset devotees by replacing it with the peacock. Three Hindu temples, including the Shri Vaithianatha Easvarar Alayam, the oldest and largest in the county, used the peacock. The festival of Kavad is celebrated at scores of temples in South Africa and Asia during January and February to honor the Lord Muruga. Hundreds of devotees carry heavy wooden structures, called kavadi, decorated with rows of marigolds. The kavadi is a portable shrine and offering. The Devasthanam foundation of South African Indian Temples -- an organization representing most temples in the country -- recently convened at an urgent meeting after complaints over the use of the peacock flag. Gonaseelan Moopanar, chairman of the foundation, said at the meeting that his organization was working towards bringing about unification in the Hindu religion regarding religious practices. "We have received complaints from devotees who were confused about what was happening with the different flags being raised, especially the replacing of the traditional image of a rooster with a peacock. According to religious scriptures and the teaching of our elders, the rooster is the correct symbol. It has been the symbol for many years. The peacock symbolizes the transport for Lord Muruga, but the rooster is the victory flag," said Moopanar.

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