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Anti-Hindu Attitudes in American Academia Need to Be Questioned
Posted on 2015/8/26 19:46:34 ( 331 reads )

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UNITED STATES, August 26, 2015 (Vedanet by Vamadeva Shastri): Western academia has had an almost uncritical control of Hindu studies, unlike that of any other religion. There are few practicing Hindus in academic positions in the West, and those that exist rarely challenge the dominant discourse openly in front of their peers. Indians seem to be encouraged if they are Marxists or Non-Hindus. This is very different than Christianity, Judaism and Islam that have many practicing members in the ranks of academic teachers in the West, who openly defend their faith.

There is a new battle over Hindu studies and what Hinduism means in a global context, particularly since India now has what is regarded as a more pro-Hindu government. The popularity of Hindu based movements worldwide like the many different Yoga groups, Vedanta and Ayurveda are part of this issue. While Hinduism is being denigrated at an academic level as backward and superstitious, Hindu-based ideas are at the forefront of much of the new spiritual, healing and ecological thought in the world.

While Americans today have learned to respect the Hindu-American community -- which is one of the most affluent and educated minority groups in the country -- they would be surprised to know that much of American academia, which is supposed to represent tolerance, still treats them in a demeaning manner.

Much more of this interesting article at source.

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Teach India! Program Draws Area Teachers, Highlights Unique Partnership
Posted on 2015/8/26 19:46:24 ( 248 reads )

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WASHINGTON D.C., August 24, 2015 (Hindu American Foundation): Teachers from around the Washington, DC region took part in the three-day Teach India! teacher training workshop organized by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), California State University-Long Beach, and the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple (SSVT), the first ever program featuring a partnership of this kind. The workshop was held from Aug. 20-22.

The workshop focused on applying historical thinking to teaching approaches. Sessions featured HAF's well-regarded Hinduism 101 program, discussions on how to read and interpret primary source documents such as the Upanishads, and lectures on Indian history from the Harappan era to modern times. Though the workshop featured lessons on how to better understand Hinduism and Hindu texts, facilitators also highlighted India's rich cultural and religious history, including the development of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the interactions between Dharmic traditions and Abrahamic ones such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

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Ganesh Statues Immersion Row: And the Argument Continues
Posted on 2015/8/25 19:37:46 ( 452 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, august 22, 2015 (The Hindu): Environmental concerns is an issue that crops up each year in the runup to Vinayak Chaturthi in the city. And like in previous years, immersion of statues in Hussainsagar Lake scheduled in the last week of September grabbed the spotlight this time too. Built in 1562, the lake dividing the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad has pollution of all sorts, from sewage to industrial effluents, flowing in it for several decades converting it into a cesspool of contamination. Various initiatives over the years aimed at cleaning the lake and restoring its glory of being a drinking water source have failed and crores of rupees have gone down the drain.

It's this lake where scores of statues of Lord Ganesha head for immersion after eleven days of festivities. Environmentalists raise objection to the practice on the grounds that the plaster of paris, paint and other material used in statue making pollute the water body. Estimates suggest that at least 25,000 to 30,000 big statues are immersed in the lake, apart from a large number of smaller ones, all put together crossing the 50,000 mark. And each year, cases are filed in courts seeking to stop the immersion. This year too, permission has been given for statue immersion as the festival is just a month away and work on statues has already begun.

Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, however, rejects the contention of statues polluting the lake. Samithi general secretary, Bhagwant Rao, argues that the damage to water body was from the sewage and industrial effluents and not statues. Earlier, High Court had directed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to immediately remove statues after immersion and the same is any way being done, Dr. Rao says.

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Indian Jains Protest Right to Fast Until Death
Posted on 2015/8/25 19:37:35 ( 461 reads )

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JAIPUR, INDIA, August 25, 2015 (Nation): Thousands of members of the austere Jain religion protested across India on Monday for the legal right to take part in an ancient ritual of starving themselves to death. Dressed in traditional white kurtas and trousers and holding banners that read "Suicide is crime, Santhara is religion", they marched silently through the city of Jaipur in the western state of Rajasthan. Jain leader Rajendra Godha said up to 100,000 devotees took part in the protest that snaked through Jaipur for several kilometres and also saw schools and businesses run by Jains close for the day.

Jains have been campaigning after a Rajasthan High Court ruled this month that their voluntary custom of fasting until death or Santhara was a form of suicide, which is illegal under Indian law. "Our peaceful protest is against the judgement pronounced by the high court without understanding the concept and objectives" of the tradition, Godha said. As part of their religion, Jains can take a vow to give up food and water as a way of embracing death.

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Temples Are Not State Property: Andhra Pradesh
Posted on 2015/8/24 19:56:40 ( 697 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 19, 2015 (Deccan Chronicle): The AP endowments department on Tuesday said that Hindu temples and their properties are not government assets. Revenue department principal secretary J.S.V. Prasad said temples were never constructed by the government with taxpayers' money. They were built by Hindu philanthropists, mutts, peetams and zamindars since ancient times.

"The government is only acting as a sacred trustee of temple property and has brought the Endowment Act permitting itself to administer temples," Mr Prasad said. Mr Prasad was reacting to several cases brought to the notice of the government where departments are undertaking programs and projects are taking over temple land and have not paid compensation to the temples after a delay of several years.

He directed all land acquisition officers to pay full compensation for land taken over from temples for irrigation projects in the state. "Some land acquisition officers, as also district collectors and heads of departments are under the mistaken notion that temples properties are government properties and as a consequence they need not pay any compensation to Hindu temples," he said.

HPI note: In general, the temple properties are held in the name of the presiding Deity, who is a legal entity for this purpose.

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