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Vandals Target Temple Site

Posted on 2000/12/7 8:49:02 ( 1623 reads )

Source: Express & Star News Paper, November 30, 2000

SMETHWICK, ENGLAND: Vandals have smashed down the walls of a US$1.6 million temple and community centre being built in Smethwick, causing damage put at $16,000. Community leaders have condemned the "misguided, weak minded" thugs and say they are very much hurt by the attack on the Durga Bhawan site in Spon Lane south. The vandals used scaffolding poles stored on the site to demolish the six-foot-high, partially-built walls of the Hindu temple last night. It followed the theft of tools worth $8,000 from the building site two months ago. Work on the building started in August, and the Hindu Cultural Resource Sandwell, which spent ten years planning the community facility, hoped to open in August, 2001. The temple and community center complex will house exhibition, conference, wedding, leisure and sports facilities, a day centre for the elderly, a youth wing, and counselling and legal services. Classes will also be run in a range of subjects, including History, English, music, languages and literacy.

Birmingham Loves Ramayana

Posted on 2000/12/7 8:48:02 ( 1675 reads )


BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, October 26, 2000: Epics are everywhere. Theatre critic Micheal Billington was captivated by a new version of the legendary Sanskrit saga, the "Ramayana," adapted by Peter Oswald and produced by Indhu Rubasingham, hailing it "witty and inventive" delighting the large, multiracial audience. He wrote, "What struck me was its blend of the spiritual and the secular. It is an adventure story, but the basic themes are universal: sacrifice, fidelity, sexual and fraternal love, the conflict of good and evil. What is impressive about Oswald's version is the way it captures both the story's Hindu origins and its cross-cultural appeal. If the narrative leaps lightly over East-West barriers so, too, does Rubasingham's production, which is characterized by its merry eclecticism. In an age of parsimony it is also astonishing to see 21 actors and two musicians on stage. From a vast company, I would single out Gerald Kyd as a stately, turquoise Rama, Andrew French as the rapacious Ravana, Miltos Yerolemou as a hairy, Pan-like Lord Hanuman and Charlotte Bicknell, who has a remarkable capacity to stay in character while dangling upside down from a rope. Erratic lighting aside, this is a totally charming show that gives us access to an Indian classic and combines uplifting spiritual odyssey with old-fashioned magic."

Hindu Books Now Available in Zulu

Posted on 2000/12/7 8:47:02 ( 1649 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: The first two in a series of books on Hinduism in indigenous languages were released at a conference focusing on commonalities in Indian and African culture. The books written in Zulu and several pamphlets in Xhosa were launched as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Africa's Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (APS). For the first time, the South Africans of African culture have the opportunity to discover the cultural background of the Indian people and the basic tenets of Hinduism in their own languages. South Africa Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi lauded the books and the Indian community for its cross-cultural exchange and promoting a greater tolerance, acceptance and affinity among the people of South Africa.

Pepsi's High-Profile Indian Executive

Posted on 2000/12/7 8:46:02 ( 1525 reads )

Source: Reuters, December 4, 2000

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: PepsiCo's current chief, Roger Enrico, announced that Indra Nooyi will expand her duties as PepsiCo's chief financial officer and assume the additional post of president. The change is connected with PepsiCo's US$13.4 billion acquisition of Quaker Oats Co. next year. This will make her the highest-ranking Indian-born woman in corporate America. Born in India, Nooyi, 44, came to the United States in 1978 to attend Yale University's Graduate School of Management. Since joining PepsiCo six years ago, she has been directly involved in all major strategy moves the company has made. Nooyi, maintains a "puja" (Hindu prayer) room in the Greenwich, Connecticut home she shares with her husband and two daughters. Her family and her Hindu faith provide a balance for her high-powered business career.

Pilgrimage on Grand Scale

Posted on 2000/12/6 8:49:02 ( 1567 reads )

Source: Free Press Journal, November 30, 2000

ALLAHABAD, INDIA: Once every 12 years, a pilgrimage takes place on a grand scale at the confluence, "Sangam," of the Rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and celestial Saraswati in Allahabad. The months-long Maha Kumbha Mela will bring 70 million devotees from all over India and many other countries to bathe in the Sangam for purification. In the past, devotional fervor has led to injuries on main bathing days. To compensate, the army has offered to build helipads for emergency landing of helicopters. However, the Kumbh Mela committee felt that a helicopter landing would only escalate any emergency situation. In preparation for the pilgrims, ponds have been created to collect sewer water so that the River Ganga has pollution-free water. Pontoon bridges are being built across the Yamuna and 50 additional trains will be transporting people to and from Allahabad -- but this number of trains is acknowledged to be insufficient to handle the massive crowds expected on the main bathing days.

Bali Hindu Priest Protests Sea Turtle Massacre

Posted on 2000/12/6 8:48:02 ( 1833 reads )

Source: http//:article archives0,4273,4095631,00html

TANJUNG, BALI (November 24, 2000): Tanjung Benoa is a fishing village on the idyllic south-east coast of Bali with fishermen tending their ageing boats and small Hindu temples on the shoreline. But underneath this veneer of normality, Tanjung is the centre of a deadly illegal trade in tortoise shell and meat that is threatening to exterminate one of the world's most ancient species. Dozens of majestic green sea turtles are being brutally slaughtered, many of them for export to Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Turtle experts based in Australia believe that at the turn of the last century the region was home to up to one third of the world's turtles -- a time when sailors claimed one could walk from one island to another on the backs of turtles. The scale of the slaughter in recent decades, especially the past 10 years, has been so great that the figure is now down to five percent. The government gave special dispensation to Bali, in the form of a 5,000-animal annual quota for religious and traditional village ceremonies that are part of Balinese culture. But the quota was abused, say the Indonesian campaigning group, Animal Conservation For Life. Responding to pressure, the Balinese governor withdrew the quota and banned turtle trading and consumption. Far more threatening to illegal traders are the calls from Balinese religious leaders to stop the turtle trade altogether. Hindu high priests such as Ida Pedanda Gede Ngurah Kaleran are now admitting that turtles are not crucial for religious or traditional rituals. "Substitutes can be used," he says. "Either other animals or even virtual animals in the form of drawings or models. Nowhere does it say that the actual animal has to be killed." Such slaughter of turtles goes against Hindu teaching, he says. "Hindus are not allowed to be violent against others of God's creatures. What is going on with the turtles certainly contravenes that teaching."

New College-Level Online Course On Vegetarianism

Posted on 2000/12/6 8:47:02 ( 1404 reads )


A college-level online course on vegetarianism is now available, according to Vegetarian Resource Group. It is taught by Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD. Originally designed as an advanced nutrition class for culinary students, the course has been expanded to include topics of interest for everyone interested in food, health, small business and vegetarianism. Consumers can learn more about vegetarian cooking; institutional food service staff and managers can expand their knowledge about new products and cooking styles and restaurateurs will certainly be better able to please their vegan diners. Topics will include types of vegetarians, recipe and menu design, careers in vegetarian food services, ethnic cuisines, ingredient selection, vegetarian nutrition and health trends and vegetarian business topics. College credit is optional and the course is open to the public. The cost for the course is $100. There is an additional cost to receive college credit.

Priests and People Pray for Rain

Posted on 2000/12/5 8:49:02 ( 1645 reads )

Source: Nai Duniya [Hindi], November 28, 2000

INDORE, MADHYA PRADESH: From November 13 to 23, massive ceremonies were heldd in Tarana area to alleviate a drought. Eleven brahmins brought from Ujjain did 121 ceremonial bathings of Lord Siva at the local Shri Tilbhandeshwar Mahadev Temple. They also did 121 rudrabhishekas in praise of Lord Siva, as well as chanted the famed Mahamrityunjaya mantra to Siva 250,001 times. Revenue officials helped organize the chanting of "Om Namah Sivaya" more than 100 million times by priests of five hundred temples, as well as people of the villages and cities. People also sang bhajana every night. One 12-year-old boy did Om Nama Sivaya 70,000 times in two days. In another instance, local Muslims participated in the chanting.

The Bhagavad Gita on "Fiction" Bestseller List

Posted on 2000/12/5 8:48:02 ( 1591 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: It's not a question at the heart of human existence. But if Krishna and Arjuna could resume their Bhagavad Gita dialogue, perhaps they'd take up a query that rumbled through the Hindu community this week: Can a sacred text be called a work of fiction? And, if so, is it worth any less? The discussion was first sparked last Sunday, November 26, 2000, when the San Francisco Chronicle published its weekly bestseller list. Stephen Mitchell's new translation of the Gita took a coveted spot-number 15 in the "fiction" category. Most Indians were delighted it made the prestigious list at all but were surprised it was classed as fiction. David Kipen, the editor of the Chronicle's book review section, confirmed that the holy text didn't slip into the wrong category by accident. "I'd like to think that we would place the Bible or the Koran, or any other holy book under fiction, judging them to be closer to mythology than history." But author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni deemed it worthy of battle. "The Bhagavad Gita is a philosophical text; it's not fiction." Beth Kulkarni on the advisory board of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was unperturbed, "The underlying spiritual truths are important, not the historical truths." And the reaction of the translator of the work in question? Responding to an e-mail query, Mitchell confessed to some surprise but didn't see a major snafu. "It does seem odd that they put it in the fiction category. The categorization of the Gita as fiction has nothing to do with its wisdom or its validity. The opposite of truth is untruth, not fiction."

Teenager Encourages Peers to Pursue Spirituality

Posted on 2000/12/5 8:47:02 ( 1483 reads )


EAST ELMHURST, NEW YORK (July 13, 2000): A select few are born in every century to light the spark of love, devotion, and selfless service among their communities. Young Kavindra Jaganan, age 16, is doing that very thing at the recently completed Hindu Sanatan temple in East Elmhurst, New York. Following in the steps of his priestly forefathers, he encourages the youth of the Indo-Caribbean community to get in touch with themselves so that they become better people. The mandir, costing in excess of one million U.S. dollars, is a reflection of the community's determination, hard work, and sheer devotion. The end result is an ornate structure of ancient tradition where the area's Hindu worshippers can be spiritually uplifted. Devotees are descendants of early immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bengal in India. Operating with volunteer priests, the temple is open for morning and evening pujas. The temple group's future goals include development of youth religiously and culturally by sponsoring trips to India, establishing scholarships for underprivileged children, and promoting programs to help senior citizens, to name only a few.

Pakistani Hindu Community will boycott the local elections

Posted on 2000/12/5 8:46:02 ( 1610 reads )

Source: Punjab Kesari (Hindi), December 3, 2000

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: The Pakistani Hindu community has decided to boycott the local elections. These residents of the southern sector of Sindh province are opposing the electoral system that deprives the minorities of its voting rights. The decision to boycott the election was taken at a meeting held at Jakokabad in which more than 35 Hindu organizations participated. In the meeting, addressing over five hundred delegates coming from the whole province, former members of parliament Hari Ram, Kishori Ram and Pitambar Ray said that the minorities were being denied the right to vote granted to them by the constitution. The representatives participating in the meeting said that they will not accept the ordinance under which a different electoral process has been proposed which deprives them of their voting rights.

Anti-smoking Program Linked To Cancer Decline

Posted on 2000/12/5 8:45:02 ( 1504 reads )


CALIFORNIA, USA: A decade after California initiated the nation's most comprehensive and aggressive anti-smoking program, the incidence of deadly lung and bronchial cancer has dropped far more dramatically there than it has nationwide. California lung cancer rates were found to have dropped 14 percent between 1988 and 1997, while the estimated drop nationwide was 2.7 percent, according to a report released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the strongest evidence yet that aggressive anti-smoking programs will save people's lives. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is responsible for about 85 percent of lung and bronchial cancers, most of which are fatal. In 1989, California increased the price of cigarettes by 25 cents a pack and dedicated the money to fund the state's smoking prevention program. Analysts say that the high price of cigarettes has contributed greatly to a steep decline in California smoking rates. Many states are still determining how to spend the money they will receive under the $246 million 1998 national settlement with the tobacco industry, and Fleming said he hoped the new findings would persuade states to fully fund anti-tobacco programs.

Delhi Schoolkids To Be Spared The Rod

Posted on 2000/12/2 8:49:02 ( 1590 reads )


NEW DELHI,INDIA, December 2, 2000: Spare the rod and spoil the child. Even in this, the 21st century, the Christian slogan still has many champions among school teachers, school administrators and even parents. But the Delhi High Court on Friday may have forced them to rethink. In a landmark judgement, the Delhi High Court struck down the provision for corporal punishment provided under the Delhi School Education Act. The court held that the provision violated the constitutional right guaranteeing equality and protection of life and personal liberty. The ruling came in the wake of a petition filed by the Parents Forum For Meaningful Education. A division bench of Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice M.K. Sharma, in their 23-page judgement, also struck down other provisions in the Act that run contrary to the National Policy on Education adopted by the Centre in 1992. "The national policy, in tune with the International Convention on Children, has adopted a child-centered approach, where corporal punishment has no place in the system of education. India, being a signatory to the Convention, is obliged to protect the child from physical or mental violence or injury while the child is in the care of any person, be it educational institution, parents or legal guardian," the bench held. The Act provided for awarding corporal punishment to a student above 14 for up to ten cane strokes on the palms. On the use of physical force against children by teachers, the court said: "It defeats the very purpose for which the punishment is applied. Infliction of body pain as penalty for indiscipline on a child may make him submissive, while others may learn that the punishment is an accepted mode of ensuring compliance of one's wisdom by others."

Demise of Tulsi Plant Critical to Science and Religion

Posted on 2000/12/2 8:48:02 ( 1616 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times, November 23, 2000

PATNA, INDIA: Lord Vishnu's beloved is now down to the path of obscurity. Falling victim to neglect and the coming up of concrete jungles all around the city, the plant species with the richest cultural heritage is vanishing from sight. Tulsi, the plant which once enjoyed a high position in the flora of Bihar now finds it hard to survive in the present socio-climatic condition of the state. Noted environmentalist Dr. R.N. Trivedi found only three species of this medicinal plant in Patna. Tulsi, meaning "matchless," earned the status of a living deity in Hindu pantheon and is considered a symbol of good luck. Researchers are of the opinion that the adoption of ornamental plants in kitchen gardens coupled with the decline in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as well as the lack of awareness in the preservation of flora resulted in the extinction of many species. The rise in the mosquito menace is also directly related to the loss of tulsi plants as it has been scientifically proven that tulsi has repellent properties. The departure of the Deity's form spells an irreparable loss in terms of science and religious heritage.

Are New Delhi's Crematoria Receiving Their Fair Share?

Posted on 2000/12/2 8:47:02 ( 2019 reads )

Source: The Hindu, November 28, 2000

NEW DELHI,INDIA: The populace of New Delhi lacks proper facilities for the honorable disposal of our mortal encasement after the soul continues its journey. Of the 271 crematoria available in the city, only three well-maintained ones, Nigambodh Ghat, Punjabi Bagh and Lodi Road, are primarily used. Most of the other crematoria lack adequate lighting, boundary walls, approach roads, and in most cases wood to fuel the funeral pyre. Even though the Municipal Corporation of Delhi runs 60 of the crematoria, only eight have acceptable standards. In residential areas over 210 are below sub-standard. The government appears to be making no effect to rectify the situation. However, according to New Delhi mayor, Mr. Shanti Desai, the goal of the MCD is to provide well-kept facilities across the Capital every three square kilometers. This would ensure that families do not have to pay exorbitant fees to have bodies transferred to an acceptable crematorium. Funding of US$391,000 was provided to the MCD for development of the crematoria in the year 2000.

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