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Keeping Cultures Alive: The Sindhis and Hindus of Chile
Posted on 2015/8/4 19:17:23 ( 182 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 2, 2015 (Hindustan Times by Saaz Aggarwal): Punta Arenas, Chile, is one of the southern-most cities in the world. There was a time when every ship crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan or around Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) halted there. I first saw the name Punta Arenas on a map in a book by the French scholar Claude Markovits, The Global World of Indian Merchants - 1750-1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama.

The map marks places around the world which had branches of trading firms headquartered in Hyderabad, Sind, between 1890 and 1940. I felt surprised and impressed to see that it included about a dozen places in South America. How had Sindhis got so far away from home so long ago?

In 1907, a Sindhi merchant, Harumal, came ashore. The account of how Harumal opened his first store; what happened during the First World War and then the Second; how Partition affected the Sindhis of Punta Arenas, will form part of Sindhi Tapestry, the companion volume to my first book, Sind: Stories from a Vanished Homeland.

More of this interesting history at source.

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India Wins Patent Battle with Europe's Pangaea Lab
Posted on 2015/8/4 19:17:12 ( 202 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 3, 2015 (Daily Pioneer): India has once again successfully protected its traditional knowledge by preventing an attempt by Europe's Pangaea Laboratories to take a patent on a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark, and green tea for treating hair loss. A senior official from the Union Science and Technology Ministry said that the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a Unit of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), had located the patent application filed at European Patent office by Pangaea Laboratories.

It then filed pre-grant opposition along with prior-art evidences from the TKDL, proving that turmeric, pine bark and green tea, have long been used as a treatment for hair loss in Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani. Sharing the details, the official said that the UK based company had filed the patent application at European Patent office in February, 2011. "In response, the CSIR-TKDL Unit filed evidences from TKDL on January 13, 2014 after the patent application got published on website, pursuant to which the patent application is finally deemed to be withdrawn by the applicant on June 29, 2015," the official maintained.

TKDL is a collaborative project between CSIR and Union Ayush Ministry. The official said that after it was estimated that about 2,000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at the international level, efforts were taken making available information contents in into five international languages --English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/8/4 19:17:02 ( 176 reads )

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After death, the soul goes to the next world bearing in mind the subtle impressions of its deeds, and after reaping their harvest returns again to this world of action. Thus, he who has desires continues subject to rebirth.
-- Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.6

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Hindu Temples in the US Growing in Spirit and Scale
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:52 ( 457 reads )

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UNITED STATES, July 26, 2015 (Economic Times): If you read between the lines of the vandalized signboard in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you'll see more than just 60 shotgun pellet holes perforating the blue sans serif lettering that reads 'Hindu Temple'. The punctures, though ominous, do little to threaten the place of the Hindu temple - in Forsyth County, or the rest of America.

For America's growing number of Indian immigrants, a temple is a way to transplant a bit of home in the US. The Hindu demographic is doing quite well economically. According to Pew, 36 per cent say their annual family income exceeds $100,000, compared to 19 per cent of the overall public. As America's three million Hindus grow in stature, so do their symbols of ethnic identity - their temples.

The institution first arrived on America's West Coast in 1906, via Swami Vivekananda's Vedanta Society in San Francisco, writes Karen Pechilis Prentiss for Harvard's Pluralism Project, and it concerned itself chiefly with scriptural study and meditation. It was only in the 70s when the Indian migrant population began to expand on the back of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 that temples for ritualistic worship and cultural incubation developed. This was when Alagappa Alagappan, one of the leaders of the temple movement in late 20th century America, helped establish the Hindu Temple Society in 1970 in Flushing, New York. Today, the temple count in the US touches 800, according Hindu American Foundation (HAF).

In last year's Pew survey that gauged the general American sentiment towards different religions, Hindus score 50 on a 'feeling thermometer' of 1 to 100, two points ahead of Mormons and three below Buddhists, which means the US public is ambivalent towards Hinduism, exhibiting no greater positive or negative attitude toward it.

Much more at source.

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Inside the Mind of a Tyrant
Posted on 2015/8/3 18:55:41 ( 381 reads )

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INDIA, August 2, 2015 (New Indian Express by Anuja Chandramouli): Having successfully completed a quintet of books skilfully chronicling the rise and fall of the Moghul Empire, Alex Rutherford is back with Traitors in the Shadows, which examines the reign of Aurangzeb, one of the most contradictory and vilified figures in Indian history. Rutherford is on familiar terrain and his reverence for the historical material shines through in his narrative as he paints an enduring portrait of the tyrant who was not without redeeming qualities though one clearly has to hunt for them using a powerful microscope.

He was a devout Muslim, whose stern and extreme adherence to the strictures of his religion saw him undo all the hard work put in by his ancestors like Akbar to cultivate the bonds of brotherhood between those of all faiths by adopting a policy of religious intolerance. Aurangzeb banned the celebration of Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali, ordered the destruction of temples and re-imposed the dreaded Jizya--higher taxation for all non-Muslims--to drive home his power over them. His actions were motivated by a misguided sense of political acuity as well and intended to make a strong statement against rebels like Shivaji and later the Jats, Rajputs and Sikhs, to discourage his other subjects from throwing in their lot with them.

More at source.


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