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Ganga River Theme for Trindad's Coming Diwali Nagar

Posted on 2016/9/24 17:56:15 ( 98 reads )

Paras Ramoutar

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, September 23, 2016 (Paras Ramoutar): "Mother Ganga--Mother of the Oceans and Rivers" will be the theme for the 30th edition of Diwali Nagar in Trinidad and Tobago, according to Dr. Deokienanan Sharma, president of the National Council of Indian Culture(NCIC). "This year's theme has serious and profound religious meaning as Lord Shiva is reputed to hold the Ganga River on His Head," Sharma said. Sharma said that this year's show will run from Thursday October 20 to Friday October 29 at a projected cost of US $800,000. "Diwali Nagar has grown to be a huge economic and business enterprise with over 70 large, medium and small enterprises participating locally, the Caribbean and India, among other places".

"Diwali Nagar which started in 1986 has now become a national, and probably an international institution in terms of its total presentation, glamour, originality and content. "Diwali Nagar has been able to foster further ethnic unity in our land, and other countries are taking a page from our social, religious and cultural disposition, all of which augur well for the unity and brotherhood of all mankind. Diwali Nagar fosters social mobility and it is an interactive model, worthy of emulation worldwide." Mangaroo said.

Religion Data of Census 2011: XXIX Northeast States

Posted on 2016/9/24 17:56:04 ( 100 reads )


INDIA, September 18, 2016 (Center for Policy Studies): Christianity in the Northeast has spread mainly through the conversion of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) of the region. There are numerous tribes that live here; specific tribes often dominate a specific district or even a sub-district. It is fascinating and instructive to look into how the religious demography of different tribes has changed over time; how and when they have moved away from their native religions--which in their doctrine and practice fall within the Hindu fold--to Christianity. In this and the following notes, we discuss the spread of Christianity among the specific individual tribes of the Northeast.

We begin with Assam, where the situation is very different from other States of the region. The spread of Christianity in Assam has been limited and, more surprisingly, less than 20 percent of the Christians in the State are from the Scheduled Tribes. This is very unusual. Elsewhere in the Northeast, the Christians are almost entirely tribal. The peculiar situation of Assam is because several essentially tribal communities of Assam have not been included in the ST list. Such communities include the tea-tribes, one-fifth of whom are said to be have been converted. Estimates indicate that perhaps all of the non-ST Christians of Assam are from the tea-tribes.

Christians form 12.8 percent of the current ST population of the State. Their share has risen to this level from 7.6 percent in 1991 and 8.8 percent in 2001. There are two separate ST lists for Assam, one for the autonomous hill districts and the other for the rest of Assam. The proportion of Christians among the hill STs is higher at 27.4 percent; among the STs of the plains, the share of Christians is lower at 9.7 percent.

To read more of the spread of Christianity among the individual Scheduled Tribes of Assam, Tripura, and Sikkim, see "source."

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/9/24 17:55:54 ( 85 reads )


Everyone has willpower. It is inherent to the makeup of the physical-astral-mental-emotional body. The center of willpower is the manipura chakra, located at the solar plexus. Unlike other energies, the more willpower we use, the more willpower we have to use. This happens when we work a little harder than we think we can, do a little more than we think we can do. By putting forth that extra effort, we build up a great willpower that we will always have with us, even in our next life, the next and the next.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today

Canada Mints Diwali Gold and Silver Coins

Posted on 2016/9/21 19:19:18 ( 276 reads )


CANADA, September 20, 2016 (Canada Mint): The Canadian Mint has issued a Diwali coin by Canadian artist Meera Sethi. The coin is inspired by the colorful Indian folk art of Rangoli, which traditionally adorns entrances and floors during Diwali. Within the geometric and floral-inspired pattern lie numerous cultural symbols that represent the "Festival of Lights" as a cherished multi-ethnic celebration--one that is very much at home in Canada, where it is celebrated by Indo-Canadians across the country.

Roughly 51% of Indo-Canadians reside in the Greater Toronto Area, while Vancouver is home to Canada's second-largest population; these important communities are represented by each province's official floral emblem: the trillium and the Pacific dogwood, respectively. Key spiritual symbols--such as those associated with Sikhism and Jainism--surround a ring of clay lamps, which light up homes and hearts during Diwali. The most widely known Canadian symbol, the beloved maple leaf, forms an inner ring around the sacred symbol "OM"--that eternal sound of creation--which is positioned in the centre to release spiritual energy in all directions. [The queen, naturally, is on the other side, in case you're wondering.]

The one ounce coin issued in gold (US$2,119.84) and the differently designed coin in silver ($69.62), can be ordered at "source" above. (The spot price today for an ounce of gold is $1,336.20, and for silver $19.96.)

US Veterans Administration Revises Policy on Religious Expression

Posted on 2016/9/21 19:19:07 ( 406 reads )

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016 (Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty): Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is expressing gratitude to the Department of Veterans Affairs for its recent memorandum to key officials that updates the policy guidance on religious exercise and expression in VA facilities and property.

The updated policy guidance allows outside groups and individuals to sing religious songs during holidays on VA property. As the policy guidance states, "Once the director authorizes holiday singing in a designated location, VA must remain neutral regarding the views expressed by the group or individual generally or in its holiday songs." The policy guidance also clarifies that church groups may sing Christmas carols, and the VA cannot restrict the religious content of songs.

The policy also allows Veteran Service Organizations to set up displays with religious items on VA property. For example, the VA must remain neutral regarding the use of any religious item, such as a Bible, in a display recognizing prisoners of war or those missing in action.

[HPI adds: While this press release is coming from a Christian organization and dealing mainly with Christmas, the revised policy allows all religious groups the same privileges, for example, Hindus could perform bhajan for Hindu soldiers at a VA hospital.]

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