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Ayurvedic Pioneer Passes On
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:44:02 ( 961 reads )


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WILBRAHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, December 15, 2000: The family of Dr. Abhaychandra L. Mehta has requested HPI to inform Hindus that Dr. Mehta passed away on February 28, 2000, two days after his 83rd birthday, of pulmonary fibrosis. An ayurvedic physician, teacher and practitioner of pancha karma, Dr. Mehta was the former principal of Gujarat Ayurveda University Hospital in India and the founder of the Indian Cultural Research and Development Institute in America.




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Illinois Outlaws Sale of "Bedi" Cigarettes
Posted on 2000/12/14 22:49:02 ( 895 reads )


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, December 15, 2000: Illinois has become the first state in the nation to ban the sale of bidi cigarettes, tiny, hand-rolled, flavored cigarettes, which are popular among young teens. "Bidi cigarettes resemble marijuana joints, which may influence their popularity," said the Governor's statement. "The United Stages government's Centers for Disease Control found that bidis produce three times the nicotine and carbon monoxide and five times the tar of regular cigarettes." Bidis are often manufactured in India in sweatshop-like conditions, sometimes by child labor. The cigarettes are given candy-like flavors and colorful packaging that appeal to kids. Some think bidis may be a gateway to drugs because they look like marijuana joints and produce a powerful head rush. From January 1, violators of the ban in Illinois will be fined $100 to $1000. The Christian Science Monitor source above gives a complete story on US policy.




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Nashik To Host Kumbha Mela Festival In July, 2003
Posted on 2000/12/14 22:48:02 ( 844 reads )


Source: Indian Express





MUMBAI, INDIA, December 6, 2000: An estimated 250,000 sadhus and 700,000 pilgrims are expected to visit Trimbakeshwar in the Himalayas for a holy bath between July 30, 2003, and August 26, 2004, when Nashik hosts the Kumbh Mela. Dates will be ratified at a meeting on January 14 at Allahabad. According to the dates declared, the Sinhasta Kumbh period begins at 11:51 am on July 30, 2003, and will conclude at 11:49 pm on August 26, 2004. There will be 20 occasions for holy baths during the 13 months. Along with pilgrims, there are about 19 Mahants and 22 Akhadas of hermits of Vaishnav and Saiva sects who are expected to participate in the mela and government agencies estimate an expenditure of about US$65.2 million to accommodate the crowds, including improvements to the mela area. The Kumbh Mela is held once every four years at one of four holy places in India -- ie, Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nashik. The 2001 gathering in Prayag (Allahabad) is expected to be the largest single gathering of human beings in history.




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Ramakrishna Mission Benefitting Society's Needy
Posted on 2000/12/14 22:47:02 ( 832 reads )


Source: The Hindu





NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2000: The Ramakrishna Mission has incurred an expenditure of over US$22,000,000 on education, health and relief as well as developmental works undertaken during 1999 - 2000. Over $14.8 million, much of it subsidies from the government of India, was spent by the Mission's educational institutions imparting knowledge to nearly 170,000 students. Medical services rendered to more than 5,100,000 people through nine Mission hospitals and dispensaries cost $5,000,000. Relief and rehabilitation programs undertaken by the Mission benefitted nearly 400,000 people in more than 800 villages.




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Flushing Temple Institutes Dress Code
Posted on 2000/12/14 22:46:02 ( 1039 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





FLUSHING, NEW YORK, December 15, 2000: According to the latest bulletin from the Hindu Temple Society of North America which governs the Ganesha Temple in Flushing, a new dress code is in force. "Certain kinds of dress are inappropriate for attending the temple," says the bulletin. "These include shorts for both men and women; very short skirts, ripped or truncated jeans, etc."




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Liberation Through The Sacred Name of Ram
Posted on 2000/12/13 22:49:02 ( 874 reads )


Source: Dainkik Bhaskar, Bhopal





KHILCHIPUR, INDIA, December 5, 2000: To promote world peace Sri Ram Nam Jap, the chanting of Lord Rama's name, has been organized and inspired by religious leader Sri Balyogi Rammilan Das Ji Maharaj of Kashi at the Naharda Hanuman Temple premises. According to Sri Balyogi Maharaj, this was the first huge sacred offering of it's kind where the name of Lord Rama would be repeated in the forms of chanting, writing, speech and offerings. The program commenced November 30 with devotees bearing sacred urns in holy procession around the temple followed by an invocatory prayer to Lord Ganesh. The event concluded on December 6 with the distribution of blessed offerings. Sri Balyogi Ji's intention is to organize 108 such mahayagnas to propagate the well-being of all beings. The high priest, Yagnacharya Pandit Srinath Das Mehta, presided over the well-attended program.




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Nepal Hindus Try New Crematorium.
Posted on 2000/12/13 22:48:02 ( 860 reads )


Source: South China Morning Post, November 27, 2000





KATHMANDU, INDIA: To have our last rites performed according to the Vedas is the parting wish of all devout Hindus. With the shortage of wood for many of the crematoria in Kathmandu, Nepal, the government has established an electric crematorium in the area around Pashupatinath Temple. Traditional funerals, with wood and hay for fuel, are performed outdoors. However, the water level of the nearby Bagmati River is insufficient to properly dispose of ashes and remains after these traditional cremations, adding to the already polluted river. A survey of 5,000 citizens of Kathmandu conducted by the Lions Club supports the new electric crematorium. Similar crematoriums have been built in Banaras, India, and are in common use by Hindus elsewhere in the world.




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Essay Competition To Commemorate India's Republic Day
Posted on 2000/12/13 22:47:02 ( 997 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, December, 2000: To commemorate India's Millennium Republic Day Celebrations to be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas, on January 27, 2001, the organizing committee is holding an essay competition covering various aspects of India. Dr. S. Kannappan, co-chairman of the committee, said the purpose of the competition was to generate interest in Indian heritage and culture among the youth. "At the very least, they will feel compelled to open a book and do the research," he said. Suggested topics include a history of India and/or Indian immigrants to North America, economics, culture, performing arts, folklore, impact of Indian immigrants on main stream America, science, technology and engineering. Students from elementary, middle, high school and undergraduates studying in the USA are eligible to submit essays or articles may contact sacommittee@yahoo.com for details. The deadline is December 29th, 2000.




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Indian Workers Win US$160,000 Pay-Out
Posted on 2000/12/12 22:49:02 ( 827 reads )


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ALPERTON, ENGLAND: Indian stonemasons who were paid a mere US$0.96 an hour have won $160,000 in compensation from their employers. The 10 men, all from the same region in India, were working on the construction of a $11.2 million Sanatan Hindu temple in Alperton, North London. Their employers, Shirco Ltd, based in North London, have been ordered to pay the money to the workers following an investigation by the Inland Revenue. The pay, retroactive to their hire date, will bring their salaries up to the minimum wage of $5.92, which is only a fraction of the wage many qualified stonemasons earn. Enticed to work in Britain by promises of high wages the men had their passports taken from them on arrival. They were told that if they disobeyed they would be sacked and have to find their own way back to India. They lived in a shack on the temple site. One stonemason earned just $200 a month while working eight hours a day, six days a week. The case has disturbed many in Britain's one million strong Hindu community.




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Indian State Bans Beauty Contests
Posted on 2000/12/12 22:48:02 ( 893 reads )


Source: Star TV, December 13, 2000





NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a nationwide broadcast, UP Chief Minister Raj Nath Singh, declared, "We will not allow holding of beauty contests in the state of Uttar Pradesh as they are indecent. Showing bare bodies is not a part of our culture and tradition. Beauty is something which is given by nature and there should be no competition about it." For the beauty and fashion trade of Uttar Pradesh the chief minister's announcement has come as a rude shock. Star TV interviewed some such people who condemned the UP chief minister for enforcing this kind of cultural policing in the state. Of late Indian contestants have won several international beauty contests.




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McDonalds Adjusts to India
Posted on 2000/12/12 22:47:02 ( 836 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA: To most North Americans, the golden arches of McDonalds restaurants means beef burgers. Not so in India, where the fast food chain has infiltrated the country since 1996 by using a clever marketing program that avoids offending both the culture of the land and the Indian pocket book. The company sells no beef or pork products and segregates vegetarian and meat preparation and cooking. The outlets sell chicken, fish, and mutton along with their vegetarian selections of potato cutlets and aloo tikki burgers. The restaurant chain got started in Bombay and Delhi and now plans to increase its outlets from 26 to 80. The middle-class customer base is estimated to be at least 100 million in these major cities. By the year 2003, over US$150 million will be invested in India as McDonalds further expands in the west and the north as well as opens outlets in Bangalore, in the traditional south land. In order to stay competitive, the company has focused on volume sales with low pricing. A family of 2 or 3 can eat out for about $1.40. Vikram Bashi, head of Connaught Plaza Restaurants, McDonalds joint venture in Delhi is quoted as saying, "We've proved that there is a place for the burger in India."




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Gyanvapi Masjid Stringently Guarded
Posted on 2000/12/11 22:49:02 ( 887 reads )


Source: India Today, December 9, 2000





BANARAS, INDIA: It was the early morning of December 6 when journalist Priya Solomon tried to photograph the ancient 16th century Gyanvapi Masjid, standing in the premises of the Baba Vishwanath Mandir in Banaras, a policeman prevented her from doing so. Her initial irritation vanished when realization dawned that the restrictions were meant to protect the location and to avert a situation like the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, as speculation has it that the Gyanvapi mosque is one of two other targets (the other is in Mathura) the Sangh Parivar would like to see obliterated. Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's statements supporting the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya has given impetus to the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir movement in India's holy city. One may ask "Why Gyanvapi?" According to Hindu organizations, the original Siva Lingam is inside the Gyanvapi Masjid, and since the Masjid is not being used for worship, it should be handed over to them. The Masjid is built upon the site of the ancient Kasi Vishwanath Siva Temple; its lower walls in fact can be clearly identified as the original walls of the temple, which is one reason police try to prevent the photographs. Unlike Ayodhya, there is no dispute at all that the Masjid was built upon the temple foundation. The Masjid is under 24-hour vigil throughout the year by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), security is further beefed up every year on December 6, the date of the Babri Masjid demolition. The nature of this town by the Ganges is volatile and vulnerable to religious tension with its 40:60 Muslim-Hindu ratio. "It is a religious town and people of this city are very sensitive," says Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith vice-chancellor R.J. Singh.




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Tension in Village When Dalits Insist On Entering Temple
Posted on 2000/12/11 22:48:02 ( 809 reads )


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PERAMBALUR, INDIA, December 12, 2000: Tension prevailed for over three hours this morning in Alagapuram village, 25 km from Jayamkondam, when over 2,000 upper caste Vanniyars blocked the streets leading to the Alageeswarar temple, to prevent the proposed march to the temple by "untouchable" Dalits who had been denied entry to the temple for the past several decades. Police posted on all approach roads, and around the temple, enabled the Dalits, headed by Mr. S. Thirunavukkarasu, state general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Workers Union to march and press their right for entry into the temple, as guaranteed under India's constitution. Peace talks were held between the leaders of the Vanniyar community and the Dalit leaders. Mr. R. Perunargili, headquarters speaker of the PMK, said he would impress upon the villagers that it was illegal to prevent the Dalits from entering the temple. Both groups agreed to further talks on December 21 at Jayamkondam. The temple, built by Rajaraja Chola, was under the care of hereditary trustees belonging to the Vanniyar community for decades until three years ago when the HRCE department took over administration. Until recently, the Dalits were not insisting on entering the temple, but during the past week, with support of Marxist leaders, they claimed the right to entry, and posters announced the decision of the Dalits to enter the temple today. Today both groups attended the peace committee meeting and decided not to precipitate the issue until the next round of talks.




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Hindu Prime Minister Re-elected in Trinidad
Posted on 2000/12/11 22:47:02 ( 889 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today, Anil Mahabir,





PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, December 11, 2000: The United National Congress (UNC) secured another term in office when it won the general election. The UNC with its Hindu leader Basdeo Panday got 19 seats as opposed to 16 which was won by the Christian party, the Peoples' National Movement (PNM). The thrust of the UNC campaign was equality of all before the law in a cosmopolitan society. The UNC leader, in his victory speech, has vowed to continue to take the country along the road of "respect for all, animosity towards none," and has even, in an unprecedented move, called upon his opponents to join his government, in a "goverment of national unity." Government Minister Sadiq Baksh, a Muslim, who held a Ganesh Puja when the new airport was opened, said last night that he intended to have another Ganesh Puja to mark his victory. Baksh won a seat that was never lost by the PNM since the country gained independence from British Colonial rule in 1962. Speaking to Hinduism Today correspondent Anil Mahabir yesterday, Baksh admitted that, on a daily basis, he is becoming more and more partial towards Lord Ganesh, and even attributed his victory, in large measure, to the Mahaganapati.




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Women's College to Train Priests
Posted on 2000/12/8 22:49:02 ( 862 reads )


Source: Star TV, December 10, 2000





KANPUR, INDIA: Mrs. Asha Rani Rai of Vidya Mandir Women's College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has started training girls as purohits, Hindu priests, based on the curriculum of University Grant Commission [UGC]'s Sanskrit course. Everyday for seven hours these would-be female pundits learn about Vedic rituals. In an interview to Star, Asha Rani Rai said that she herself is an expert in Vedic rituals and has performed over two dozen marriages and several cremation rites as per scriptures. As in the case with other training programs for women as priests, the cause is dissatisfaction with the existing men, who many people feel display little devotion or knowledge. The female pundits are also being taught astrology and vaastu shastra. They will be taught all the sixteen sanskaras of Hinduism ranging from and related to, birth and death. Asha says that it is incorrect to state that Vedas cannot be studied by women and this has no sanction from scriptures. Rather Asha feels that women are purer and can do the job of a pundit in a better manner. The development of women priests in Hinduism, where men traditionally fulfill this roll is often regarded as a challenge to orthodoxy. However, the women say they would not want to do the priest's job if the men themselves were handling the responsibility correctly.




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