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Think Tank Calls for Repeal of UK's Caste Discrimination Clause

Posted on 2016/7/17 19:52:54 ( 1101 reads )


GREAT BRITAIN, June 2, 2016 (New Asian Post): The influential think tank, the Dharmic Ideas Policy Foundation, is urging Asian voluntary organizations to join it in calling for a repeal of the caste discrimination clause provision in the Equality Act 2010. The Foundation believes that voluntary organizations and community groups are unaware of the huge implications of its effect on their work at a local level.

"Given the persistence in recent months of the groups advocating the enactment of the caste provision in the Equality Act 2010, we have been compelled to re-circulate with some amendments a plea to support our campaign to ensure that MPs and members of the Dharmic communities are fully informed of the need to oppose the caste provision.

Dr. Prakash Shah, Director, Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation (DIPF) has prepared a briefing document for the Anti-Caste Legislation Committee (ACLC). "The Anti-Caste Legislation Committee is there to urge Ministers and Members of Parliament to repeal the current clause and start a full consultation exercise with Dharmic community groups so that we can have effective legislation that protects citizens and still allows the thousands of Dharmic charities and voluntary groups to continue their outstanding contribution to British society."

The Equality Act 2010 now makes caste discrimination unlawful (as part of race discrimination) and potentially opens up voluntary and community organisations to litigation concerning acts amounting to caste discrimination. Some of the risks identified by DIPF in relation to the caste discrimination clause are listed at "source" above.

Bottled Ganga Water Makes a Splash at India's Post Offices

Posted on 2016/7/17 19:52:44 ( 856 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA, July 15, 2016 (Latin American Herald Tribune): Hindu devotees have rushed to post offices across India this week in hopes of snatching up the first deliveries of holy water from the Ganga. The new scheme, which was launched by the central government on Sunday, allows water from the Ganga river, known as Gangajal, to be put up for sale at the nation's post offices and even delivered to people's doorsteps. "If a postman can deliver mobile phones, saris, jewelery and apparel, then why not Ganges water?" the country's Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked in May.

Water from the river is considered sacred by Hindus - who make up around 80 percent of India's population - and it is believed that the closer to the source of the river it is collected, the purer it is. At the General Post Office (GPO) in India's eastern city of Calcutta on Wednesday, demand for the bottled holy water far outweighed supply. The water was collected from the northern city of Rishikesh, around 186 miles from the Ganges' origin. At just 15 Indian rupees ($0.22) for the 200-milliliter bottle and 22 Indian rupees ($0.33) for 500 milliliters, customers lauded the value of the purchase, which also saved them a trip to the river itself.

Residents Turn to Elephant God to End Jumbo Deaths

Posted on 2016/7/17 19:52:33 ( 801 reads )


COIMBATORE, INDIA, July 9, 2016 (The Hindu): When Vikas Muntot wanted to do something, agitated as he was over the frequent elephant deaths in Coimbatore, he looked to none other than the elephant-headed God for help. The 22-year-old businessman from Rajasthan, who has made the city his home, organized a Maha Ganapathy Yagam (special prayer to Lord Vinayaga) on Friday, seeking divine intervention to end the deaths of jumbos

Seven elephants died between June 20 and July 5 in and around Coimbatore, under different circumstances - ranging from train and bus accidents to illness. Five of them died in Coimbatore and two in The Nilgiris. It was not just young Mr. Muntot, but several others who saw the frequent death of elephants as a bad omen. They offered prayers hoping that the bad phase the elephants in the region were going through will end.

Forest and agriculture departments, farmers, non-governmental organisations and line departments are trying to come up with a method to prevent elephant deaths and human-animal conflicts along the vast stretch of agricultural lands and habitations bordering the forests. "On my part, I organized this Maha Ganapathy Yagam ," says Mr. Muntot told The Hindu . With pictures of elephants, the pooja was performed with 108 Mothagam Kozhukattai (sweets), a variety of fruits and sugarcane that the jumbos prefer.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/17 19:52:23 ( 741 reads )


What has learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the Good Feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
-- Tirukkural

Education Board in California Includes Richer Content on Ancient India and Hinduism

Posted on 2016/7/16 20:28:06 ( 987 reads )


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, July 16, 2016 (India Live Today): The State Education Board in California has approved a new school curriculum framework which will include richer content on ancient India and Hinduism for the first time. The framework, which will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in California, was developed over a period of two years, went through several rounds of public hearings, and saw many controversies including the push by a group of top academics to rename ancient India with "South Asia." The board decided in favor of India.

"While much needs to be done to bring content on Hinduism and Indian civilisation on par with other religions and civilisations, we believe that great progress has been made in the last two years," said Sandeep Dedage, director, Hindu Education Foundation USA, expressing satisfaction over the completion of the process. The framework now has mention of Vedic sages, Hindu teachings and philosophy, bhakti saints, music, dance, art and scientific contributions of India.

Ahead of the final hearing, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom batted for their causes. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a separate statement said the new framework will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. "It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past," he said.

Tulsi Gabbard Asks California Board to Describe Hinduism Accurately

Posted on 2016/7/16 20:27:55 ( 905 reads )


WASHINGTON, U.S., July 12, 2016 (Silicon India): California State Board of Education is in the final stages of revising and updating the K-12 History-Social Science Framework for public schools. Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu elected to the US House of Representatives, has asked a Californian educational board to give Hinduism its due place in school textbooks and not to describe it inaccurately as religions of ancient India.

In a letter ahead of their final hearing on Thursday, Gabbard - a Democrate who represents the Hawaii's second congressional district - urged the board to preserve Hindu history and identity by restoring all references to "Hinduism" that were removed or replaced with the ahistorical and inaccurate phrase, like "religions of Ancient India, including but not limited to early Hinduism". Just as other religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism are given their own separate and distinct space for discussion in the Framework, so should Hinduism.

In the letter, Gabbard also urged the board to acknowledge the positive roles played by women in Ancient Indian and Hindu society. "While it is important to discuss the existence of patriarchies in ancient civilisations, it is also critical to discuss the positive contributions and unique roles played by women in those societies," she noted.

Gabbard asked the California Board to accurately represent the caste-system in the framework by not depicting it as a defining feature or a foundational religious belief of Hinduism. "While caste-based discrimination is a reality that must be dealt with, it goes against the essence of Hindu teachings and scriptures, which posit that divinity is inherent in all beings," she said.

$224 Million Projects for Religious Tourism Okayed

Posted on 2016/7/16 20:27:45 ( 810 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 13, 2016 (Times of India): The government has cleared projects worth over US$ 224 million under three schemes - Ramayana circuit, Krishna circuit and Buddhist circuit - as part of its focus on religious tourism. The projects helmed by the tourism ministry are spread primarily over UP, and Bihar and will develop infrastructure including road and rail linkages, signages, tourist facilitation centres, toilets, changing rooms near ghats, CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi facilities besides re-creating the life and times of the era.

Among the first projects to be started will be one creating an audio visual experience in Ayodhya depicting the life and teachings of Lord Rama. The project also envisages a gallery theme that will have life size sculptures of Valmiki and Tulsidas. The Buddhist circuit will have a light and sound theme park at Shravasti, UP. Lord Buddha is known to have spent 24 rainy seasons in the city's Jetavan monastery built by his disciple Sudatta Anathapindika. For the Krishna circuit spread over several cities including Mathura and Vrindavan, the ministry plans to create yatri sheds, food kiosks, sound and light show and illumination of the Parikrama path.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/16 20:27:34 ( 657 reads )


As to a mountain that's enflamed, deer and birds do not resort--so, with knowers of God, sins find no shelter.
-- Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishads 6.18

Kashmir: Amarnath Yatra Suspended after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander's Death

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:24 ( 1626 reads )


KASHMIR, INDIA, July 9, 2016 (Indian Express): Thousands of Amarnath pilgrims were stranded at Jammu and various other places on Saturday after the state government suspended their movement to Kashmir Valley apprehending trouble as a fall out of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Amidst tight security every morning, pilgrims in a convoy leave Jammu for Pahalgam and Baltal for their onward journey to Amarnath shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas. Apart from this, a large number of pilgrims travel directly to Baltal and Pahalgam.

While there had been no convoys leaving for Kashmir Valley from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the morning, the vehicles carrying pilgrims directly to Valley have been asked to stop at safe places along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Similarly pilgrims returning to base camps at Baltal and Pahalgam after having darshan of the ice-lingam too are being stopped at those places in view of the apprehensions of violence over Burhan's killing.

A decision over resumption in movement of pilgrims between Jammu and Valley will be taken after assessment of the situation on ground tomorrow, sources added. Over 100,000 pilgrims so far have performed darshan of the ice-lingam at the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas ever since the beginning of yatra on July 2.

Amarnath Yatra Stays Suspended as Kashmir Remains Tense

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:13 ( 1251 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, July 10, 2016 (Hindustan Times): The Amarnath Yatra remained suspended for the second day on Sunday due to security measures in the valley following the death of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on Friday.

"No yatri will be allowed to move from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu to the Kashmir Valley on Sunday due to the prevailing law and order situation there," a senior police officer said in Jammu. "Although the passage of yatris from Jammu to the valley was disallowed due to security reasons, those who had already reached the yatra base camps of Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam), continued the yatra on Saturday," the officer added.

Meanwhile, authorities on Sunday suspended mobile internet services in the entire Jammu region to check the spread of rumors following heightened tensions in the Kashmir Valley, after Hizbul's poster boy and 21-year old separatist leader Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Anantnag. "There is complete peace in the entire Jammu region. Mobile internet services have been suspended as a precautionary measure," the police officer said.

Statues Falling off Temple Gopurams Cause Panic

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:34:03 ( 1246 reads )


ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, July 7, 2016 (The Hindu): While the free fall of statues from various towers in the Srikalahastheeswara temple over the last few months, though brushed aside as sporadic instances, continues unabated, a similar incident witnessed in the Pallikondeswara Swamy temple in Surutupalle village of Nagalapuram mandal triggered further panic. The latest incident was attributed to heavy rains and lightning that struck the tower last night.

The year 2010 is unforgettable in the history of Srikalahasti, as the Raja Gopuram built on the banks of Swarnamukhi river by the Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishna Devaraya crashed, triggering alarm among the devout across the world. Even three days back, a huge portion of a statue crashed from the Bikshala Gopuram in Srikalahasti.

According to temple accounts, devotees from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who form a huge percentage of visitors here, stopped visiting the temple for the next two months, either assuming that the temple itself had crashed or treating it as bad omen. Even as the incident started fading from people's memory and the tower is being re-built now, there is palpable apprehension over the frequent fall of statues from other gopurams.

Meat is Horrible

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:33:53 ( 1253 reads )


USA, July 10, 2016 (by Rachel Premack, Washington Post): It may be delicious, but the evidence is accumulating that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment -- and not so great for human beings, too. By 2050, scientists forecast that emissions from agriculture alone will account for how much carbon dioxide the world can use to avoid catastrophic global warming. It already accounts for one-third of emissions today--and half of that comes from livestock. That's a driving reason why members of a United Nations panel last month urged its environmental assembly to consider recommending a tax on meat producers and sellers. By raising the cost of buying meat, it would ultimately aim to reduce production and the demand for it.

Maarten Hajer, professor at the Netherlands Utrecht University, led the environment and food report that recommended the meat tax. "All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products," said Hajer, who is a member of U.N.'s International Resource Panel, which comprises 34 top scientists and 30 governments. "I think it is extremely urgent." But, he added, "Food is very political. In countries where meat is a cultural mainstay and income inequality already breeds a lack of food access, it could be a difficult argument. But, governments must soon move to limit major carbon producers, Hajer said. Food companies will naturally be part of that.

The idea of a meat tax has developed over the past 25 years as a "completely obvious" measure to economists and environmentalists, Hajer said, as knowledge of the environmental toll of meat emerged. Agriculture consumes 80 percent of water in the United States. For a kilogram of red meat, you need considerably more water than for plant products. Governments are starting to take notice. China, which consumes half of the world's pork and more than a quarter of its overall meat, announced new dietary guidelines last week that advises the average citizen to reduce their meat consumption by one-half.

Denmark went a little further in May. The Danish government is considering a recommendation from its ethics council that all red meats should be taxed. Red meat accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the council argued that Danes were "ethically obliged" to reduce their consumption. Countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland have dramatically reduced their agricultural carbon output, as much as a half. But countries that are expanding their meat-lovers' impulses are doing so at much larger jumps. Brazil's carbon output from food production has increased by 47 percent from 2000 to 2012--that's an increase of 150 million tons of carbon dioxide. In China, a 35-percent jump from 1994 to 2005 means 220 million more tons of carbon dioxide.

Much of that is meat production, which contributes an estimated 14.5 percent to annual greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than emissions from every car, train, ship and airplane combined. Of that, 65 percent is enteric fermentation [google it] and manure, according to a 2014 Chatham House analysis. Feed constitutes one-fifth of that, followed by land-use change, energy use and post-farm activities. Along with a tax, a meat cutback could be achieved by making plant-based diets more appealing and less expensive. People in the West often think that vegetarianism is a diet for wealthier folks, Wellesley said. The United States could slash its health-care spending the most by phasing out meat for vegetables.

For much more, go to source

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/7/10 20:33:42 ( 1183 reads )


If you have not seen your own Self, if you have not pierced the knots of your Heart and washed away the filth of your mind, then what does it matter if you are a human being?
-- Kabir

Seers Object to Godavari in Krishna

Posted on 2016/7/8 20:09:10 ( 1460 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, July 7, 2016 (Deccan Chronicle): Seers from across the state have suggested that pilgrims avoid the Pavitra Sangamam -- where the Godavari water from the Pattiseema project meets the Krishna -- and areas downstream of the river from that point during Krishna Pushkaralu festival. They raised the issue after the government's decision to release Godavari waters into the Polvaram right canal, through the Pattiseema project, which will ultimately merge with the Krishna. The waters will be released to the Krishna delta for 80 days at the rate of 8.5 cusecs per day.

Though the government says that the Godavari flood water would be diverted to support the west Krishna delta, the same water will end up at the Pavitra sangamam at Ibrahimpatnam, and from there it will reach the Prakasham barrage. Given this, the seers and pundits have urged the government to arrange pushkar ghats in areas like Vedadri and Amaravati, as they are geographically it would be upstream of the Pavitra Sangamam, where the water will be only that of Krishna and not mixed with Godavari waters.

Muhurtha pundit Guntupalli Sairam stated that waters from the "artificial Pavitra Sangamam" can't be considered holy. Devotees who want to have holy bath during the Pushkaralu at Vijayawada will not get desired results as the sangama snana is against "the wishes of Pitru Devathas." He also suggested that devotees opt for the banks of the Krishna in Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra for holy Pushkarlu baths.

Over 71,000 Perform Amarnath Yatra in 5 days

Posted on 2016/7/8 20:09:00 ( 1344 reads )


JAMMU KASHMIR, INDIA July 8, 2016 (Sahara Samay News): Over 71,000 pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra so far as another batch of 1,612 pilgrims left Jammu on Thursday. An official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage said, "A total of 1,612 pilgrims comprising 1,266 males and 346 females left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Thursday in 35 buses and 22 light motor vehicles in a convoy escorted by security forces for the Valley."

An ice stalagmite structure inside the cave situated at 3,888 feet above the sea level wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure is a Siva Lingam symbolizing mythical powers of Lord Shiva. Pilgrims use the north Kashmir Baltal and the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps to reach the cave Shrine. Due to heightened militant activities in the Valley this year, extra security measures have been taken to provide protection to the pilgrims. A three-tier security cover manned by the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and state police are in place to secure the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is the only surface link used by the pilgrims. The 48-day long Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

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