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Development Ruining Bali's Beach Rituals
Posted on 2002/6/13 23:48:02 ( 574 reads )


Source: Jakarta Post





BALI, INDONESIA, June 13, 02: The Balinese consider the sea a holy place that plays a crucial role in their lives, either through religion or culture. They consider the sea as the beginning and the end of one's life cycle. They take tirtha (holy waters) from the sea to be used for purification and rituals. The Balinese people pay homage to the sea and preserve it as a most precious asset. Before many rituals in major Hindu temples or special events, devotees form processions and carry flowers and fruit offerings toward many beaches. Entire beaches and coastlines in Bali were left untouched for centuries, until the province was developed to become Indonesia's most prominent tourist destination in the early 1960s. Investors hunt for beach locations to make way for tourism-related development projects including hotels, villas and golf courses. A former Bali governor, I. B. Oka, issued a decree in the 1990s that allowed investors to develop tourist facilities and manage the coastal areas in front of their properties. The decree also shifted the function of beaches from the social and religious domain to limited and restricted business facilities. Since then, parts of the coastline have been closed to the public. Local Hindus believe the public's right to use, enjoy and to perform religious ceremonies that should be held in beach areas have been denied by government regulation and by developers.




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Youth Meet in California
Posted on 2002/6/13 23:47:02 ( 586 reads )


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SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA, June 14, 2002: The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh of the Greater Bay Area presents the First Annual Summer Hindu Youth Forum on Saturday June 22, 2002 at Serra Park in Sunnyvale, California, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Hindu youth ages 13 to 20 from all over the San Francisco Bay Area will join together to discuss, and understand Indian culture and Hinduism. The Keynote Speaker will be Colleen B. Wilcox, Ph.D., Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. For more information, click "source" above.




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On-Line Video Clip Shows Ancient India Method of Stone Moving
Posted on 2002/6/13 23:46:02 ( 566 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, June 14, 2002: Click "source" above to view a short video clip from the on-going construction of the all-stone Iraivan Temple in Hawaii. It depicts the ancient hand method moving two 4,000 pound stones by just five men.




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First Tamil Bhakti Literature Conference
Posted on 2002/6/13 23:45:02 ( 611 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, June 14, 2002: The World Tamil Elakkiya Bhakti Society will host the First Tamil Bhakti Literature Conference on June 19 to 21 at Narada Gana Sabha, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai, 600 018. The event will be attended by spiritual leaders and Tamil scholars. The objective of the conference is to bring a new awareness to the younger generation in bhakti, culture and literature as a way of life. The three days event includes speech, dialog, and music. For further information please contact Kizhambur Sankarasubramanian at "source" above.




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Puri Chariots to Use Recycled Wood
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:49:02 ( 605 reads )


Source: Aajtak Hindi Channel





PURI, ORISSA, INDIA, June 13, 2002: Like every year the construction of chariots is at peak in Puri, this year it is as well. But the change in tradition this year is that this time even old wood is also being used for construction. The government has banned the unrestrained cutting of trees this year. For the rath yatra (chariot procession) three chariots are made and around 3,000 trees are cut every year for this purpose. This cutting of trees is having an adverse affect on the availability of trees in this area. To avoid this, this time forty percent old wood is being used for the construction of the chariots. According to Maharaja Divya Singhdev, chairman of the Puri Temple Management Committee, most of the wood used in building the chariots goes to the temple kitchen. The Orissa government believes that in the times to come there will not be any shortage of wood for the purpose of building the chariots. They have initiated a plan under which trees have been planted for this purpose in an area of 7,000 hectares. A bank has also been floated to preserve the wood gifted by devotees.




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Tamil Nadu Temple Renovations in Question
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:48:02 ( 365 reads )


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RAMESWARAM, TAMIL NADU, June 10, 2002: The ancient Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram, an island on the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu, stands where Hindu pilgrims from across the country seek to wash away their sins in the 22 wells (teerthas) that dot its corridors. Not many bother to stop by and look at what's happened over the years to the legendary third corridor, the longest in India --1.2 km and 1,212 pillars -- built between 1740 and 1770. Tourism brochures still vouch for the 12th century temple's "magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. Over the years, salty sea breeze had been eating into the limestone pillars. So, its executive officer, a state government employee, simply decided to plaster them with cement. Muthaiah Sthapathi, HR&CE department's official consultant, says he was not aware of this 'Operation Cement.' "Restoration using local masons is unacceptable. Good sculptors/sthapathis must supervise such operations. The whitewashing is also wrong." Sandblasting is the other major threat. Muthaiah is against the use of this technique -- sand at high pressure is directed at the surface in combination with air or water. It destroys the fine details.




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Advani: Two Hundred Policemen Died in Gujarat Riots
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:47:02 ( 655 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, June 13, 2002: The following is excerpted from an interview in the Asia edition of Time Magazine: "Time talks with Krishna Lal Advani, India's Home Minister and the man tipped by many as the hardline hand behind Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. TIME: Why do people call you a hardliner? Advani: It's simple. These phrases, hawkish, hardliner, strongman--they make for good copy. TIME: Turning to your own portfolio, are you happy with what happened in Gujarat? [On February 27, a crowd of Muslims burned nearly 60 Hindu devotees alive in a train at Ghodra, an event that led Hindu extremists to riot across the state of Gujarat. Unofficial death tolls count more than 2,000 dead, the overwhelming majority Muslims, and the violence continues to this day.] Advani: Ghodra was horrible, but what happened afterwards was equally reprehensible. We cannot condone either. But it did give me satisfaction that the government took action against the wrongdoers. TIME: Most people would say the opposite, that the police and the state apparatus stood back and let the violence happen, and that nothing has happened to them. Advani: Nearly 200 policemen died, so I do not think there was any complicity from them. And as for [hardline Hindu nationalist Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra] Modi, if there was any evidence of his complicity or being inactive, he would have been punished. He himself offered to resign, and we all said: Why?"




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The Mango, India's National Fruit, Gets Celebrated
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:46:02 ( 540 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, June 10, 2002: A little over 100 varieties of mangoes were on display as south India's biggest mango festival got under way in the Tamil Nadu town of Krishnagiri. The All-India Mango Exhibition, as the show is known, is an annual event that takes place in different parts of India. It showcases mangoes from all corners of the country. At a seminar, experts will present papers on India's national fruit. A music festival has been organized on the occasion. Authorities at Krishnagari, 400 km west of Chennai, have set up a mango park for children where all decorations resemble mangoes.




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Bangladesh Hindus Protest 1972 Constitution
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:45:02 ( 587 reads )


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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, June 10, 2002: Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikkya Parishad observed Black Day all over the country yesterday. On this day in 1988, Islam as the state religion was incorporated in the Constitution of the Republic through its eighth amendment, said a press release of the organization. On the occasion, at the central Shaheed Minar the parishad organized a rally which the demanded restoration of the 72 constitution that enshrines secularism. Speakers at the rally said that secularism was one of the objectives of the Liberation War. They also condemned what they called continued communal riots in the country. Presided over by Neem Chandra Bhowmik, the rally was addressed among others by Siril Sikder, Bashu Dev Dhar and Parimal Dey.




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Forum for Caribbean Hindu Unity
Posted on 2002/6/12 23:44:02 ( 621 reads )


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RICHMOND HILL, NEW YORK, June 13, 2002: The Forum for Caribbean Unity will hold a meeting Saturday, June 22, from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm at P. S. 161, 101-33 124 Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. The keynote speaker is Pujya Swami Aksharanandaji, a Hindu scholar and monk from Guyana. Other community leaders will speak. As well plans for the Siewdass Sadhu Cultural Centers in Bharat will be explained. For information, agenda and participation call Rajendra Bassit 718-441-5301.




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Short Profile of India's Proposed New President
Posted on 2002/6/11 23:49:02 ( 574 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, June 11, 2002: In his first attempt, he failed the Indian Air Force pilot test. Today, he's all set to become supreme commander of all the armed forces. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Azad, age 71, former principal scientific advisor to the prime minister, is a man of few words. His is an amazing story, which begins as a young boy selling newspapers at Rameshwaram station and is now likely to continue in the corridors of Rashtrapati Bhavan. India's missile man is a reluctant interviewee. When Bombay Times caught up with him a few months ago, his first reaction was: "Why me?" The 30-minute drive from the airport to his lecture venue went in persuading him to talk, after which he agreed. The nuclear man is a simple person -- he doesn't have TV at home, refuses to read newspapers and is only accessible via the net. He never fails to tell his host not to pay for his airfare since he can avail of free air travel, thanks to his Bharat Ratna status, a high state honor. The father of the Indian missile program, Kalam has been busy with his new passion -- teaching. "I want to ignite young minds, which are a powerful resource," he says. As a boy, Kalam was enthralled by the skies. "I will fly one day," he told his mother. He was not only the first boy from Rameshwaram to fly, he also took India's defense capability to new heights. "Dream, dream, dream. Dreams are important, dreams work," he told Mumbai students. This dream has surely come true.




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Fewer Hindus in Nepal's Latest Census
Posted on 2002/6/11 23:48:02 ( 607 reads )


Source: www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/210502/detFOR07.asp





KATHMANDU, NEPAL, June 11, 2002: A six-percent drop in Nepal's Hindu population in the last decade has evoked a mixed reaction in the sole Hindu kingdom. The recently published census report for 2001 shows Hindus make up 80.6 per cent of the population as against 86.5 per cent in 1991. Compared to this, the number of Buddhists rose to 10.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent while that of Muslims went up to 4.2 per cent from 3.5 per cent over the same period. During enumeration, Buddhist and kirat (tribal) organizations had called upon their people not to classify themselves as Hindus, as in the past, despite the fact that differences between them and Hindus are indistinguishable as both have common temples and festivals. The population of Christians, who numbered about 100 five decades ago, is slightly over one 100,000 today, even though conversion is illegal.




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Popular Festival Hits Snag in California
Posted on 2002/6/11 23:47:02 ( 554 reads )


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FREMONT, CALIFORNIA, June 10, 2002: Some organizers of the annual Festival of India (India's independence day) celebration in Fremont suggested that the city's reluctance to grant a permit for this year's event may reflect a hint of racial discrimination. But when the dust settled, it was pretty clear to both sides that the festival's biggest problem was its own success. If the city approves the latest proposal, the Festival of India will be held again in the parking lot of Fremont's Hall of Justice this year, but with some drastic changes. The festival will run for only one day instead of two. The second day's events -- cultural dances, a banquet and an appearance by Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan -- will be held at the San Jose Convention Center, said festival sponsor Dr. Romesh Japra, president of the Federation of Indo-American Associations of the Bay Area. Since the August celebration began nine years ago, each festival has grown a little larger. But planning for the event, which attracts crowds as large as 70,000 people and is one of the largest Indian festivals in the United States, has not kept pace. The lack of a comprehensive plan loomed large on closing night last year when a poorly organized concert nearly caused a stampede. The concert fiasco was the last straw for many city officials, who had privately complained for years about the lack of planning for the increasingly popular festival. Organizers also didn't understand -- or honor -- their permit's requirement to close the festival by 9:00 p.m. Instead, much to the chagrin of nearby residents, they started the concert at 9:00 p.m. Despite the logistical problems and zero-tolerance policy adopted by the city, many Indian immigrants view Fremont as the center of life in the Bay Area's Indian community. And the festival is a key staple of Indian culture brought to America. While the Festival of India, which features ethnic cuisine, dance, art and cultural exhibits, will remain in Fremont this year, there is little chance the festival will be held in the city next year unless a larger venue is selected.




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Francois Gautier in Boston
Posted on 2002/6/11 23:46:02 ( 606 reads )


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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, June 12, 2002: The Hindu Students Council and NetOHM- Boston announces that Francois Gautier will discuss "Misrepresentations of India by Indian and Western Media" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, July 6. Francois Gautier, who has lived in India for 30 years, is a French journalist, the correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France's largest circulated newspaper. He has published "Rewriting Indian History" and "Arise O India." For more information please contact "source" above.




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Nuclear Scientist Likely to be India's Next President
Posted on 2002/6/10 23:49:02 ( 506 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, June 11, 2002: India's governing coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, has chosen a leading defense scientist and a Muslim, A P J Abdul Kalam, as its new presidential candidate. The selection of the man who headed India's guided missile program and nuclear weapons tests four years ago follows days of intense deliberations by coalition leaders. Analysts say that Mr. Kalam's nomination is an attempt by the NDA to ensure a presidential election free of bitter party rivalry. Mr Kalam would become India's third Muslim president, a largely ceremonial post, if elected in next month's poll. The voting is done by the several thousand legislators of all States and the Federal government.




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