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University Cancels Suspension of Student Who Displayed Hindu Swastika
Posted on 2015/5/30 17:46:00 ( 64 reads )

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WASHINGTON, May 29, 2015 (Times of India): Following outcry from several groups, a prestigious American university has decided to rescind its suspension order against a student who displayed a Hindu swastika on his residence hall's bulletin board. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) welcomed the move to rescind the interim suspension order by the George Washington University (GWU). HAF associate director of public policy, Harsh Voruganti, said that the decision reflects the facts of this case and the efforts by Hindu organizations to educate campus officials about the sacredness of the Indian swastika.

The small, bronze, swastika was displayed by the student on March 16 on a bulletin board at GWU's International House residence hall, and mistaken by another student for a Nazi swastika -- a distinct symbol used by the German Nazi party and other hate groups. The student intended to educate his friends and co-residents about the symbol's origins, which he learned about during a spring break trip to India. Although the law enforcement authorities had found no violation, the University proceeded with disciplinary actions against him, with the possibility of expulsion.

A number of Hindu, interfaith, and Jewish groups wrote to University President Steven Knapp, educating him about the significance of the swastika for Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, and urging him to avoid expelling the student. "The swastika is one of the most sacred symbols of Hinduism, with a three thousand year history of peace before it was misappropriated by the Nazis," said Samir Kalra, HAF senior director and Human Rights Fellow. "We wanted to ensure that any Hindu, Buddhist, or Jain student who sought to display the symbol as a part of her faith would not be punished for doing so," Kalra said.

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Nepal Earthquake: A Field Report
Posted on 2015/5/30 17:45:54 ( 52 reads )



NEPAL, May 29, 2015 (Hinduism Today): Tenzin Norbu of Sunny Travels in Nepal sent the following email to a donor who was helping with funds to rebuild a village:

"We thank you for the support. We have distributed the funds to the very poor Tamang village of 450 houses. It was not much, but the people were very happy to get anything in such a crises. The good news about the situation is that while nearly 400 houses were destroyed, only five or six died. Most were luckily out in the field working. One major school was closed that day, and others were able to run out of their home in time.

"Now these people have already started to rebuild their houses. The whole village is cooperating, but they will only be able to rebuild 25% of the houses destroyed this year. Instead of tents or food, they want aluminum roofing to build permanent houses. One sheet costs US$20, and to build one normal house they need 12 to 16 sheets for the roof.

"Now the biggest problem is for the tourism Industry. In Nepal, most are farmers. Then we have people working overseas in the Middle East and Malaysia. The tourism industry is very important to the economy, but through August, 90% of all tourist trips have been canceled. More and more people are jobless. We hope the tourist season will peak as usual in September. Visiting Nepal will help rebuild Nepal.

"Praying for you all and thanking you once again.

Tenzin Norbu, Managing Director, sunnytravels.np@gmail.com

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/5/30 17:45:48 ( 50 reads )

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Stop all your attachments to false values. In an ever-changing world there is nothing worthwhile for us to desire or weep for. Joys and sorrows are bound to come in human life; they are just two sides of the same coin.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1992), founder of the Chinmaya Mission

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Indian Center in China Unable to Find Experts
Posted on 2015/5/29 4:24:09 ( 371 reads )

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BEIJING, CHINA, May 21, 2015 (Times of India): The head of Center for Gandhian and Indian Studies (CGIS) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated at Shanghai's Fudan University last week has said he is facing problems in finding Indologists and Gandhian studies experts for it. "Most Indologists in China are experts in Buddhism. We need variety. The best option is to get from India," CGIS dean Liu Zhen told TOI. The situation is stark in the case of Gandhian studies.

Liu said he would push for Hinduism and Jainism studies, but there are no scholars on these subjects in China as well. He said the formation of CGIS is the first step and that an essential framework had been created. "I hope it will evolve into a proper university faculty," Liu said. He said everyone knows the importance of the Center. "There are so many Sinology institutions the world over. But so few Indology faculties although both are countries with similar population sizes and depth of history and culture," he said. "We will work hard to make this Center a success."

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Indonesians Can Now Put Faiths Outside the 6 Officially Recognized Religions on Their ID Cards
Posted on 2015/5/29 4:24:04 ( 328 reads )

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA, May 21, 2015 (Coconuts Jakarta): There are only six religions officially recognized by the Indonesian government: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Indonesian citizens had to put one of those six religions on their ID cards (KTP), regardless of their actual beliefs. Until now, that is. Yesterday, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo announced that faiths outside of the aforementioned six, must be allowed onto ID cards.

Tjahjo said one of the main reason for changing the rule was so that authorities would know what funerary rites needed to be observed and respected when a person died. Tjahjo said it was for that reason that it was important for the government to know exactly what religion each person believes in. While it appears to be mainly an administrative move rather than a philosophical change of heart by the government, it is still a big step forward in the name of religious freedom for Indonesians of all faiths.

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