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Hindu Youth Sought for Conference on Climate Justice

Posted on 2016/4/5 14:59:18 ( 1761 reads )


NEW ORLEANS, April 5, 2016: Applications are now open for young Hindus living in the United States or Canada, age 21-35, for GreenFaith's North American Convergence. Happening in New Orleans, June 20-24, 2016, the Convergence is an interfaith gathering of emerging leaders who want to put their beliefs into action for the environment in meaningful ways. Applications are due by April 18, with successful applicants being notified by May 16. Cost of participation in the Convergence as well as food and lodging will be paid by GreenFaith. Attendees are responsible for travel to and from New Orleans for the four-day event.

To learn more and the apply visit "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/5 14:59:08 ( 1707 reads )


Joys and sorrows are time-born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by these. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within. And when the time is ripe, you will gain mastery over this power.
-- Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), God-intoxicated Bengali saint

Hindu Americans Oppose Textbook Edits by Curriculum Commission

Posted on 2016/4/4 19:14:34 ( 2317 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, March 31, 2016 (India West): Over 100 Hindu Americans staged a silent protest outside the Department of Education building in Sacramento, March 24, to voice their concerns regarding the California Department of Education Instructional Quality Commission's plans to accept edits made by a group of South Asian studies faculty members to California state textbooks from Grade 6-10. The proposed edits seek to remove references to India and Hinduism, and replace them with the terms "South Asia" and "ancient Indian religion," respectively.

Some of the proposed edits, according to the Hindu American Foundation, include eliminating mention of Hinduism's acceptance of religious diversity, and the contributions of Hindu sages from lower socio-economic backgrounds or disadvantaged groups such as Valmiki and Vyasa. The majority of the edits that the faculty group was trying to suggest were negative in nature in relation to Hinduism and India, said Samir Kalra, HAF director and senior fellow for Human Rights. "They were trying to erase a lot of the identity and contribution of Hinduism and ancient Indian civilization," he clarified.

The South Asian studies faculty members, who became involved in the process towards the end of 2015, comprise a small group of scholars from various humanities fields representing different universities, many of whom were not religious scholars, according to Kalra. Kalra added that there was a hearing on March 24 where the IQC met to review many of the suggested edits. Initially, the IQC's writing team had recommended 80 percent of the South Asia faculty group's edits, but during the hearing many of those edits were rejected, he said.

IQC's decision to reverse some of the proposed changes was apparently also influenced by public awareness campaigns, including letters from professors of religion and history who disputed the faculty group's assertions. Prof. Vamsee Juluri, who teaches media studies at the University of San Francisco, circulated a petition along with a number of other professors in order to bring about a public awareness campaign challenging the edits from the South Asia faculty group. The petition, which found supporters in a host of community members and scholars, garnered almost 20,000 signatures.

More at "source".

In Pakistan, Textbook Case of Radicalization in Public Schools

Posted on 2016/4/4 19:09:17 ( 2266 reads )


WASHINGTON, U.S., March 31, 2016 (Christian Science Monitor): The Easter bombing of civilians in a park in Lahore follows a long rise of religious extremism in Pakistan and a poisoning of public opinion towards minority faiths. The jihadist group that claimed responsibility for Sunday's suicide bombing said they had targeted Christians, though most of the 72 killed were Muslims. On the same day, thousands of radicals began a four-day sit-in in Islamabad over the execution of a bodyguard who killed a provincial governor who had been a voice for religious tolerance.

Yet the toxic religious atmosphere in Pakistan can't be blamed entirely on jihadis on the periphery of society, or on the system of religious madrassas. In recent years in government-approved schools, students are using textbooks that teach hostility towards all forms of thought and expression - except orthodox Sunni Islam. Pakistani intellectuals and secular educators argue that the texts present a steady pitter patter of negative views on other faiths, on democracy and the West, that begin at the earliest grades and continue through high school graduation.

The books claim that Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh faiths, and even minority Muslim ethnic groups are inferior if not dangerous and should be opposed. They often present stereotyped images from history - the crusades in the Middle Ages, unjust colonial British civil servants, Jewish moneylenders, or of marauding Sikhs warriors - as if these are current affairs and represent popular views in the West and India today.

Karan Singh's Book on Kashmir Released

Posted on 2016/4/4 19:09:06 ( 1925 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 3, 2016 (Tribune India): Dr. Karan Singh's book on the pristine beauty and spiritual ambience of the Kashmir valley was released here today. Titled "The Mountain of Shiva," the book is the only work of fiction among Dr. Singh's 30-odd books published so far. Describing it as a spiritual novel, the veteran Rajya Sabha member told a gathering at the book release function that the theme was based on the broad Vedanta philosophy.

The book was released by MP Pavan K. Varma, who said the fiction was really impressive. He suggested Dr. Singh should write many more such books. Dr. Singh, however, ruled out another venture on this line. "Any fictional work about Kashmir written now has to revolve around militancy, violence and destruction. That is not my cup of tea," the veteran leader said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/4 19:08:55 ( 1641 reads )


God is with us. It is He only who gives us the strength to work. If we live with this inspiration in our heart, we will surely experience Divinity in our life. Our work will become our devotion, and means of our spiritual progress.
-- Rameshbhai Oza, inspired performer of Vaishnava kathas

Madras High Court Frowns on Loudspeakers at Religious Places

Posted on 2016/4/3 19:56:16 ( 2347 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, March 31, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Castigating the practice of using horn-type loud speakers (funnel-type, used mainly as mosques for the call to prayer) at religious places of various religions, causing noise pollution, the Madras high court observed, "It appears that these institutions (places of worship of different faiths) perceive that the blessing of God cannot be obtained unless there is loud noise. Prayers for all religions have been going on from ancient time even when electricity did not exist".

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M.M. Sundresh directed the authorities to immediately carry out inspection of all these places and ensure action against noise pollution. The Bench was passing orders on a PIL from S. Kumarvelu, a social worker, which sought a direction to the authorities to implement the order passed by the Supreme Court way back in 2005, restricting the use of horn type loud speakers in its letter and spirit in order to control the noise pollution.

"We see no reason why in view of the categorical judgment of the SC, which is now eleven years old, there should be any violation whatsoever. More than enough time has elapsed for implementation. The respondents (authorities) are directed to file the compliance report before the court, the Bench added.

Cornell Study Finds Some People May Be Genetically Programmed to Be Vegetarians

Posted on 2016/4/3 19:56:05 ( 2310 reads )


UNITED STATES, March 30, 2016 (Washington Post): Why is it that some people can stay healthy only by sticking to a strict vegetarian diet? Why is it that others can eat a steak a day, remain slim, avoid heart disease and feel like a million dollars? The answers may lie in your heritage. Cornell University researchers have found a fascinating genetic variation that they said appears to have evolved in populations that favored vegetarian diets over hundreds of generations. The geography of the vegetarian allele is vast and includes people from India, Africa and parts of East Asia who are known to have green diets even today.

Researcher Kaixiong Ye said that the vegetarian adaptation allows people to "efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and convert them into compounds essential for early brain development." Nutritionists believe that getting a good balance of these two types of fatty acids in the diet is essential to staying healthy. The body can't produce these substances naturally, so it must get them from food.

Studies have suggested that humans evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids of 1:1. But this new study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows that different people may need radically different ratios of the substances in their diet depending on their genes, and it supports the growing evidence against a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and for highly personalized advice. The existence of the vegetarian allele implies that, for people with this variation, straying from that diet -- by eating a lot of red meat, for example -- may make them more susceptible to inflammation, because their bodies were optimized for a different mix of inputs.

More of this interesting research recently published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution at "source."

Is Wikipedia Independent?

Posted on 2016/4/3 19:55:55 ( 2024 reads )


INDIA, March 28, 2016 (Jagrit Bharat by Aditya Agrawal): While surfing the internet and searching for information, many users navigate to Wikipedia for a preliminary insight on any topic. Hence Wikipedia articles are extremely important. For a non-academic user, information contained in a Wikipedia article is generally considered to be authentic. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Wiki articles have a much longer shelf life. Once created, these articles stay and can be retrieved whenever required.

This easy availability of wiki articles is the reason that it can be an ideal propaganda tool. The fact that anyone can create an article or can change it, makes a Wikipedia article a starting point for anyone who would like to put his/her point across. Additionally, if an article has to be given a deliberate political twist, it can also be done in a very clandestine manner. This later aspect has been understood quite early by Western opinion makers.

I was an avid user of Wikipedia. Steadily I also learnt to create some articles on Wikipedia. Most of us might be aware that on Wikipedia, anyone can create articles as well as edit existing articles. During my interactions with Wiki articles, I observed that whenever I created or edited a neutral article (on films/ music etc.) there were no issues. However the moment I tried to touch any page related to Hinduism, my changes were either removed partially or completely. I also observed that there were similar persons who were always involved in the monitoring process.

For Agrawal's detailed analysis of this issue, go to "source".

Hinduism Highlighted: Beautiful Hindu Temples of Australia

Posted on 2016/4/3 19:55:44 ( 2036 reads )


AUSTRALIA, March 30, 2016 (Newsgram): Australia is one of those continents with which India shares not only a sport tie of cricket, hockey or others, but the land serves as a strong threshold for Indian students to pursue their studies with immense scope in the later years of their life. Recently, a survey suggested how Australia is becoming the most favourite destination for Indians who seek to settle abroad. Thus, it becomes crucial for such a place to have religious centres for almost 17% of its population and when this population carries a cultural baggage of a rich religious background.

Among the most renowned temples highlighted are the Murugan Temple and the Shiva Vishnu Temple in Melbourne, the Durga Temple, Sydney Murugan Temple, and Sri Shakti Temple in Sydney, and the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Helensburgh.

Photos at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/3 19:55:33 ( 1951 reads )


The mind alone is man's cause of bondage or release: it leads to bondage when attached to the sense objects, and to release when freed from them.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitri Upanishad

Bombay High Court Backs Entry of Women in Temples

Posted on 2016/4/2 19:53:37 ( 2596 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, March 31, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Giving its opinion in favor of gender equality, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday observed that no law prevents women from entering any place. If men are allowed in a place of worship then women should also be permitted. Underlining the need for giving equal access to women, the High Court stated that any temple or person imposing such restrictions can face a six-month jail term under a Maharashtra law, and asked the government to make a statement if it is worried about the sanctity of a deity.

The observations were made by a Division Bench of Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice M.S. Sonak during the hearing of a PIL by senior advocate Nilima Vartak and activist Vidya Bal, challenging the bar on entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Women from Bhumata Brigade made efforts to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Shani temple. However, they were prevented by the police. Also, the state government was reluctant to intervene in the entire matter.

Piecing the Ahar Puzzle: Predecessor of Harappan Civilization

Posted on 2016/4/2 19:53:27 ( 2000 reads )


INDIA, March 12, 2016 (India Today): That it existed at all was a surprise - a fortified enclosure of mud and brick, comparable to the citadels of the Harappans, spread over 500 sq m. It was filled with ash and cowdung. A people called the Ahars had built it in Balathal near modern Udaipur some 4,500 years ago.

Carbon dating established that they had lived in and around the Mewar region in Rajasthan between 3,500 and 1,800 B.C. They were Mewar's first farmers, older even than the Harappans. But why had they built a fort only to fill it with ash and cowdung? To solve the mystery, a team of Indian archaeologists excavating the site went on removing layer after layer of civilisation.

There are 90 sites of Ahar - a rural society. The recent round of excavations is establishing that Ahar culture and Harappan civilisation were different though contemporary and related. This village life emerged much before the mature Harappan era. Ahar culture flourished predominantly in the Mewar region of Rajasthan, on the eastern side of the Aravallis, and in undulating rocky plateaus and plains along the Banas river and its tributaries.

Much more of the Ahar history at "source".

University Tells Students Britain Invaded Australia

Posted on 2016/4/2 19:53:16 ( 1852 reads )


AUSTRALIA, March 31, 2016 (BBC): A top Australian university has rejected claims it is trying to rewrite the nation's colonial history. Students are being encouraged to use the term "invaded" rather than "settled" or "discovered", and avoid the word "Aborigines." The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Indigenous Terminology guide states that Australia was "invaded, occupied and colonized." But UNSW says it does not mandate what language can and cannot be used.

"The guide suggests referring to Captain [James] Cook as the first Englishman to map the continent's East Coast is 'more appropriate' than referring to his 'discovery' of Australia," a UNSW spokesperson said in a statement to the BBC. Captain James Cook claimed possession of the east coast of what is now Australia on behalf of the British crown in 1770, following more than 160 years of mapping and exploration mainly by the Dutch.

There were already more than 250 tribes of Aboriginal people living on the land, each with their own language, customs and territories. Then began a process of colonisation and land confiscation which denied Aboriginal rights to land, citizenship and equal status - rights which in many cases were only finally bestowed in recent decades.

The authors of the terminology guide explain their approach at the start, saying that while all staff and students rely heavily upon language, it "is also a vehicle for the expression of discrimination and prejudice... [and] cannot be regarded as a neutral or unproblematic medium".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/4/2 19:53:06 ( 1808 reads )


According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action.
-- Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5

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