Hindu Press International

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Hindu Group Willing to Loosen Grip on UCI Donations

Posted on 2016/2/10 18:14:26 ( 131 reads )


IRVINE, CALIFORNIA, February 9, 2016 (Orange County Register by Teri Sforza): When donors gift millions of dollars to universities, it's no surprise that they want to keep as close an eye on the money as possible. But how close is too close? A review of major donor agreements with UC Irvine suggests that the level of control sought by the controversial Dharma Civilization Foundation - in exchange for gifts of $3 million - is greater than that sought by other big donors with names like Samueli, Merage, Beckman and Bren.

The Dharma agreements fund professorships in the study of Eastern religions, and create advisory councils so Dharma can keep an eye on who UCI hires and what is accomplished. Some agreements specify the skills successful academics must possess - such as facility with Sanskrit - and effectively narrow the applicant pool to what some faculty members fear is Dharma's own, hand-picked candidates.

(HPI Note: The article fails to explain why facility in Sanskrit should be considered an unreasonable requirement for a chair in Indian studies. A very informative analysis of the issue of university chairs, this from the Sikh perspective, is: https://archive.org/stream/ChairsInSik ... lemsAndSolutions_djvu.txt)

Hundreds of critics, including UCI faculty and students, have gone on record demanding that UCI reject Dharma's gifts. A university committee is reviewing those gifts, and is on the verge of recommending what to do.

All of which confounds the donors at Dharma, who say they are willing to consider rewriting clauses that people are uncomfortable with and are eager to meet face-to-face with their critics. "When we wrote the agreements, we did not consult other agreements," said Kalyan Viswanathan, executive vice president for the Dharma Civilization Foundation. "We didn't ask for any, and we didn't compare any. We wrote what we thought we wanted, and the university administration guided us toward language that was acceptable to them. It went through several levels of review."

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Head of Kashi Math Passes On

Posted on 2016/2/10 18:14:16 ( 135 reads )


INDIA, January 18, 2016 (The Hindu): Swami Sudheendra Theertha died after a brief illness at Hardwar on Sunday. As the spiritual leader of the Kashi Math, Swami Sudheendra Theertha, headed the Math for 70 years as the 20th guru in succession.

Born as Sadasiva Shenoy in 1926 as the fourth son of Draupadi and Ramadas Shenoy of Kappasseri House, near T. D. Temple, the Swami took up Sanyasa as a 17-year-old at the behest of his guru Sukritheendra Swami.

His spiritual leadership in combination with a social outlook led the Swami to leave a mark in charitable acts that serve the people with a missionary zeal. The Sudheendra Medical Mission Hospital established in 1971 here and later taking over the Royal College of Homeopathic Physicians at Chottanikkara and renaming it in the memory of the founders as Dr. Padiyar Memorial Homoepathic Memorial College, are two landmark institutions here.

He was a saint who kept in touch with the pulse of the people, remembers Bhaskara Shenoy, president of the Anugraha Charitable Trust here. His mastery in Sanskrit and many other Indian languages was well-known and he was a true follower of traditions and rituals throughout his life.

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Digitized Manuscripts Available Online

Posted on 2016/2/10 18:14:05 ( 143 reads )


INDIA, February 9, 2016 (dharmathatrustJK): Ancient manuscripts from the Raghunath Temple are now available online at source above.

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In Supreme Court, Kerala Supports Ban on Women's Entry at Sabarimala Temple

Posted on 2016/2/9 20:03:39 ( 355 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 6, 2016 (Times of India): The Kerala government has told the Supreme Court that banning entry of women of menstrual age in historic Sabarimala temple in the state is a "matter of religion" and it is duty bound to "protect the right to practice the religion of these devotees".

In an affidavit, the state government said, "In the context of Sabarimala, the administration vests with the Travancore Devaswom Board under the provisions of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950. Under the Act, there is a statutory duty cast on the Board to arrange worship in temples in accordance with the usage. Therefore, in matters of religion, it is the opinion of the priests that is final," the affidavit filed by state chief secretary Jiji Thomson said.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice NV Ramana would take up the matter on February 8.

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Why Teachers Should Not Ask Students to Try on the Hijab

Posted on 2016/2/9 20:03:29 ( 315 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 9, 2016 (Religion News Service): Eager to support a Muslim student's effort to dispel stereotypes, teachers at a public high school in Rochester, N.Y., last week helped non-Muslim students try on a hijab for a day. Predictably, there were protests. The school system received about two dozen calls opposing the activity. Residents, many of them parents, told local news stations that they saw the activity as forcing a religion on students.

While some opponents laced objections with anti-Muslim comments, they were right to question the appropriateness of public school teachers' appearing to endorse a religious article of clothing. The school system and the school approved the day, and 150 scarves were donated for the occasion.

The World of Inquiry, a K through 12 school, likes experiential approaches, but religion requires special handling. Besides weighing the effect on the religion being represented, teachers also have to consider whether an activity simulates ritual, makes students uncomfortable or creates the appearance of promoting a particular faith.

More at "source".

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