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Indus Era 8,000 Years Old, Not 5,500; Ended Because of Weaker Monsoon


Posted on 2016/5/30 18:42:07 ( 287 reads )

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KOLKATA, INDIA, May 29, 2015 (Times of India): HPI Note: This article says it comes from a report published in Nature journal on May 25, but we're unable to find the report on their web site. So this may need to be taken with a grain of salt until confirmed. If anyone finds the Nature article, or the actual source of this report, please let us know at letters@hindu.org.

It may be time to rewrite history textbooks. Scientists from IIT-Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have uncovered evidence that the Indus Valley Civilization is at least 8,000 years old, and not 5,500 years old, taking root well before the Egyptian (7000BC to 3000BC) and Mesopotamian (6500BC to 3100BC) civilizations. What's more, the researchers have found evidence of a pre-Harappan civilization that existed for at least 1,000 years before this.

The discovery, published in the prestigious Nature journal on May 25, may force a global rethink on the timelines of the so-called cradles of civilization. The scientists believe they also know why the civilization ended about 3,000 years ago -- climate change.

"We have recovered perhaps the oldest pottery from the civilization. We used a technique called optically stimulated luminescence to date pottery shards of the Early Mature Harappan time to nearly 6,000 years ago and the cultural levels of pre-Harappan Hakra phase as far back as 8,000 years," said Anindya Sarkar, head of the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kgp.

More at "source" above.



Ancient Civilization: Cracking the Indus Script


Posted on 2016/5/30 18:41:56 ( 273 reads )

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INDIA, April 7, 2016 (Nature by Andrew Robinson): The Indus civilization flourished for half a millennium from about 2600 bc to 1900 bc. Then it mysteriously declined and vanished from view. It remained invisible for almost 4,000 years until its ruins were discovered by accident in the 1920s by British and Indian archaeologists. Following almost a century of excavation, it is today regarded as a civilization worthy of comparison with those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, as the beginning of Indian civilization and possibly as the origin of Hinduism.

The Indus script is made up of partially pictographic signs and human and animal motifs including a puzzling unicorn. These are inscribed on miniature steatite (soapstone) seal stones, terracotta tablets and occasionally on metal. The designs are "little masterpieces of controlled realism, with a monumental strength in one sense out of all proportion to their size and in another entirely related to it", wrote the best-known excavator of the Indus civilization, Mortimer Wheeler, in 1968.

More than 100 attempts at decipherment have been published by professional scholars and others since the 1920s. Now -- as a result of increased collaboration between archaeologists, linguists and experts in the digital humanities -- it looks possible that the Indus script may yield some of its secrets.

More of this interesting article at "source" above.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/5/30 18:41:46 ( 180 reads )

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There are only two things you can really depend on: one is the changeableness of life, and the other is the unchanging Self within you.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



India's Hampi UNESCO Site Remains Top Tourist Stop


Posted on 2016/5/27 13:37:05 ( 906 reads )

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KARNATAKA, INDIA , May 27, 2016 (Euro News):The site of Hampi, in India's southwestern state of Karnataka, was the capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. The empire prospered between the 14th and 16th centuries until destroyed by Muslim armies. It received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1986. To this day, it remains a very popular destination - over half a million people visit Hampi every year. Some of the temples are still active places of worship. But the growing number of pilgrims and tourists brings new challenges. Deputy Superintending Archaeologist N.C Prakash's main task is to restore the ruined sites but also to ensure the safety of monuments. The biggest problem today is trash.

A group of locals is taking the issue seriously and has decided to get its hands dirty. Kiran Kumar runs a family guesthouse near the Virupaksha Temple. He and his friends join in to help keep the place clean."We have a responsibility to keep Hampi clean," he tells us. "So with my friends here, we clean the place. We've been doing this work for many years. We have an organisation called the Citizens' Rights Protection Forum, which we started in 2003. So we clean places like the riverbed, or the waterfalls area or the area around some other monument." It is not hard to imagine just how magnificent Hampi was in its glory days. It is a mythical site that bears witness to a rich history, whose beauty and integrity must be preserved for future generations.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/5/27 13:36:55 ( 704 reads )

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"Just as a man will use a staff to climb a mountain, so should virtue be used in life."
-- Yogaswami of Jaffna (1872-1964)



Myanmar's Hindu Community


Posted on 2016/5/26 18:28:14 ( 1011 reads )

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MYANMAR, May 18, 2016 (Frontier): Signs of a vibrant Hindu community are everywhere in downtown Yangon; ornate temples peer out from between the tenements, and periodic festivals enliven the streets with rhythmic music, colorful costumes and offerings of sweet masala chai. With their roots in several waves of Indian migration during the British colonial era, Myanmar's Hindus are thoroughly a part of the country's intricate cultural fabric.

Hindus have long lived peacefully in Myanmar, U. Brajesh Verma, chairman of the Myanmar-Hindu Literature Association, said, because they "never interfere in anything." Because of their cordial relationship with the country's other diverse peoples, authorities have offered Hindus the freedom to practice their religion and preserve their culture through public festivals and ceremonies.

But while Hindus are relatively free to practice their faith, they remain political and economic outsiders in Myanmar. In a general election last November, Myanmar's first freely elected poll in decades, not a single Hindu lawmaker was elected to Parliament or appointed to senior executive positions. This economic and political exclusion leads some to return to their ancestral grounds.

Much more at "source" above, as well as Hinduism Today's feature story on Myanmar: http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/ ... tion/item.php?itemid=5647



Harvard to Offer On-Line Course in Hinduism Starting in July


Posted on 2016/5/26 18:28:03 ( 1039 reads )

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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, May 26, 2016 (edx.org): This religion course introduces the rich and diverse textual sources from which millions of Hindus have drawn religious inspiration for millennia. The Bhagavad Gita has offered philosophical insights to a number of modern thinkers. This course will introduce important passages from important Hindu sacred texts, their interpretations by moderns and will give you an opportunity to engage with them. This course is part of the World Religions Through Their Scripture XSeries Program. It will be conducted by Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, Associate Professor, Wellesley College.

HPI Note: If you take this course, we'd appreciate a review of it.




Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/5/26 18:27:53 ( 774 reads )

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Love is the source of understanding. You know intellectually that within you resides the potential, expressed or not, for all human emotion, thought and action. Yet, you no doubt meet or observe people occasionally whose life and actions are repellent or unacceptable to you. The absence of love has created a vacuum of understanding. For the meditating person, there should not be a single human being whose actions, habits, opinions or conduct lies beyond your ability to love and understand.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami(1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today



Delhi Firm to Manage Prime Minister Modi's Yoga Show


Posted on 2016/5/25 19:42:01 ( 1344 reads )

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CHANDIGARH, INDIA May 23, 2016 (by Nitin Jain, Tribune News Service): A Delhi-based private firm will make the massive logistic arrangements for the mega show being held on International Yoga Day in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform yoga along with 30,000 participants in the presence of 500-odd VVIP guests at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh on June 21. The agency was selected after it made the lowest bid of US$430,000. The selected firm had also made arrangements for the maiden International Yoga Day event held in New Delhi last year. The private agency has to design, install and operationalize the sprawling venue, spread over 1.2 million sq ft, for mass yoga demonstrations and provide event management services in all respects. For the one-hour event to be held from 7 am to 8 am, the Chandigarh Administration has pulled all stops to ensure foolproof arrangements.



High Court: A Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe Ceases to be so After Conversion to Another Religion


Posted on 2016/5/25 19:41:51 ( 1414 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, May 23, 2016 (by R. Rajashekar Rao, News India): The Hyderabad High Court has made it clear that once a member of Schedule Caste or Scheduled Tribe converts to Christianity or some other religion, such a person ceases to be a member of SC or ST and is no longer covered under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Rao, his wife and their son moved the High Court seeking quashing of proceedings against them in a case before the second additional judicial first class magistrate, Anakapalli, Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. The case was registered against them for offenses punishable under various sections of IPC and Section 3(1)(x) of SC/ST (POA) Act, basing on a complaint lodged by their neighbor (de facto complainant) Srinivas who claimed that he had been abused in the name of his caste. He said he belonged to the SC Mala community and was pastor at a church. Police said in their report after investigation that his wife and others categorically deposed that Srinivas was professing Christianity.

It is clear that they converted to Christianity and were running a church and Srinivas was serving as pastor by professing Christianity though he was basically a Hindu SC by caste. Further, the caste certificate issued in favor of Srinivas as 'SC Mala' had been cancelled, the police said. Rao and his family urged the High Court to quash the case against them pending before the lower court, saying that Srinivas had made false allegations to implicate them by abusing the SC/ST Act. After hearing both sides and perusing the material on record and various court judgments, justice B Siva Sankara Rao said, "The disabilities and handicaps do not continue after conversion. Thus, if a Scheduled Caste Hindu converts to another religion, except Sikh and Buddhist, that person ceases to be a member of the Scheduled Caste and cannot invoke the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989."



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/5/25 19:41:40 ( 949 reads )

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It is far easier to conquer others than to conquer oneself, because the former can be attained by recourse to outside means, while the latter can be achieved only with one's own mind.
-- Mahatma Gandhi(1869-1948)



US Textbook Row: Victory for Indian-Americans as California Not to Replace "India" with "South Asia"


Posted on 2016/5/24 19:35:10 ( 1229 reads )

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WASHINGTON D.C., US., May 20, 2016 (First Post): A California commission -- mandated with recommendation and revision of school textbooks -- has rejected demands of replacing India with South Asia for pre-1947 references, which had become a major bone of contention from various academic groups in the US.

The California Department of Education's (CDE) Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), at its hearing on Thursday -- which was marked by presence of a large number of parents and students from both sides -- decided not to replace mentions of India with South Asia in the new framework for History Social Science textbooks in California. Over a hundred Indian-American children and parents testified at the public hearing at the CDE, opposing the proposal, and seeking restoration of the word India'.

Earlier this year, the Commission had proposed to replace instances of "India" by "South Asia" in its school textbooks at the behest of South Asia Faculty Group (SAFG), led by top academicians like professors Kamala Visweswaran of University of California at San Diego, Lawrence Cohen and Robert Goldman of University of California at Berkeley. The group had suggested that many mentions of "India" before 1947 had to be replaced with "South Asia."

The suggestions were opposed by another group of 41 academics led by professors Barbara McGraw of Saint Mary's College of California, and including Diana Eck of Harvard University who called the proposal "anachronistic" and "not historical." "Hinduism should be represented in California K-12 textbooks in a manner comparable to other religions "fairly, accurately and equitably," said McGraw.



India 'Survives' in California Textbooks


Posted on 2016/5/24 19:34:59 ( 1151 reads )

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WASHINGTION, D.C., US, May 21, 2016 (Times of India by Chidanand Rajghatta): India has survived in California school textbooks. Nothing calamitous was going happen to the country itself, but a pedagogical and academic battle over use of the term "India" over "South Asia" has been resolved to the satisfaction of overseas Indian nationalistic groups and Indophiles.

At the heart of the battle was a tussle between the nationalist groups and a few academics over using the term "South Asia" in place of India in certain contexts in school textbooks in California. Some leftist historians had petitioned for a change, maintaining among other views, that "India" was a post-colonial entity, and the term "South Asia" would be better suited while teaching ancient history of the region.

Eventually, many of the edits petitioned by the South Asia Faculty Group, including a demand to delete "Hinduism" and replace it with "religion of ancient India," were rejected. "For years, the American perception of Hinduism and India has been overly simplistic and inaccurate, in part due to the content of California textbooks," said Samir Kalra, senior director for the Hindu American Foundation, which joined nationalist groups in challenging efforts to "South Asianise" the region's history. "There are nearly a million Indian and Hindu Americans who call California home, so it's important for them to see their cultural and religious heritage represented with accuracy and parity."



Rare Discovery Pushes Back Iron Age in India


Posted on 2016/5/24 19:34:49 ( 1159 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, May 18, 2015 (Times of India): The Iron Age may have come into existence in Telangana much before the rest of the world. At least that's the conclusion reached by archaeologists excavating the University of Hyderabad campus who found iron artefacts dating back to roughly 2,200 BC.

The team of archaeologists, led by professor KP Rao, has found several artefacts, including small knives and blades besides earthen pots. "The implements that were found were tested at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) using a method called Optically Simulated Luminescence (OSL). The metal objects were dated to anywhere between 1800 BC and 2,400 BC. So we are assuming they were made during 2200 BC," Prof KP Rao told TOI.

This, he said, predates the existing understanding about the advent of the Iron Age in the country. Worldwide, experts have put the dawn of the age around 1200 BC, marking the time when humans started exploiting metals to make basic tools.



Daily Inspiration


Posted on 2016/5/24 19:34:38 ( 1070 reads )

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Eternal, pure, groundless, death-and-birth free, pervasive, ever immaculate, distant, near, enveloping effulgence of void, the support of all, the fullness of bliss, the consciousness-form beyond thought and speech, That which thus stood, the expanse vast that generates bliss, let us contemplate.
-- Tayumanavar (1706-1744), South Indian devotional poet

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