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Hindu Support Group Formed at Okinawa Bases

Posted on 2003/8/28 9:48:02 ( 826 reads )


CAMP FOSTER, USA, April 14, 2002: Thanks to the efforts of Chaturbhuj N. Gidwani, the Okinawa American Hindu population has formed a Hindu study group and meets twice a week on U.S. military bases at Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster, according to this report from last year. "There are many people in the military with an Indian background. I felt they were missing their cultural heritage," said Gidwani, the chief mechanical engineer for the Marine bases Facilities Engineer Division. Gidwani, a religious lay leader, hopes one day the military will have Hindu chaplains to serve the 3,000 to 4,000 Hindu service members. Gidwani, 64, is a retired sergeant major in the Army Reserve. He grew up in Bombay, India, and immigrated to the United States when he was 28. "Back in 1997 the Pentagon agreed to give full support to a program of having Hindu lay leaders organize study groups on military bases," he said. He was instrumental in starting a group at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., and then, three years later, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The group at Kadena meets at 4 p.m. every Sunday at Chapel One. The Camp Foster group meets at noon Fridays in the Camp Foster Chapel Annex. Gidwani is following a study guide provided in "Self-Unfoldment," by Swami Chinmayanda. "It is well-designed and accepts all the faiths," Gidwani said. "I think anyone can come and sit in with us and gain knowledge from this."

Eight Annual Chariot Festival in Paris Rescheduled for September 7

Posted on 2003/8/28 9:47:02 ( 869 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, August 28, 2003: The Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam temple in Paris is celebrating its annual chariot festival for Lords Ganesha and Murugan on September 7, 2003. Originally scheduled for August 31, around Ganesha Chaturti, it was postponed at the request of the government due to the World Athletic Championships being held in the city that same week. Every year thousands of Hindus pull the chariots through the Paris streets. For more information, click "source" above.

Archeological Society of India Says Temple Existed at Ramjanmabhoomi Site

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:49:02 ( 856 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said a temple-like "massive structure" existed beneath the disputed site in Ayodhya in its 574-page report. The ASI report, submitted on August 22, was opened by the three-member Full Bench, comprising Justice SR Alam, Justice Khem Karan and Justice Bhanwar Singh on Monday. The bench has given six-week time to contesting parties for filing their objections on the sensational revelations made by the ASI in its two-volume report. "Viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with yield of stone and decorated bricks as well mutilated sculpture of divine couple...., fifty pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India," concluded the ASI in its report. The ASI team, led by Hari Manjhi and B R Mani, had excavated the disputed site for nearly five months between March 12 and August 7 2003 on the March 5 order of the High Court. In its report on the famous excavations, the ASI has dwelt at length the period from circa 1000 BCE to 300 BCE and from Sunga (first century BCE) to Kushan, Gupta, Post-Gupta up to Medieval Sultanate level (12-16 century CE). The ASI report mentions a huge structure (11-12th century) on which a massive structure, having a huge pillared hall (or two halls), with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it was constructed later on. "There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum of 50 x 30 meter in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure," states the report.

To prove its point, the report says that during the course of digging, nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstones were found. It also suggests that the center of the central chamber of the disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the makeshift structure. Significantly, the ASI report did not give any weightage to the glazed wares, graves and skeletons of animals and human beings found during the excavations. Rather it suggests that the glazed tiles were used in the construction of original disputed structure. Similarly, the celadon and porcelain shards and animal bones, skeletons recovered from trenches in northern and southern areas belong to late and post-Mughal period, it adds. In drafting its report, the ASI has also given importance to the carbon dating to ascertain the period of soil and artefacts found during digging. About the habitation around the disputed ground, the ASI report observed that "below the disputed site remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal period when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material, including pottery."

The ASI report has come as a rude shock to the Sunni Central Wakf Board and other Muslim organisations. "It is baseless, misinterpreted, based on wrong facts and drafted under intense political pressure," reacted Jafrayab Jilani, counsel for SCWB while announcing that they will challenge the report.

NCERT Scoffs at Historians' Case Against Textbook Error

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:48:02 ( 821 reads )

News Report

DELHI, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The NCERT has dismissed eminent historians' allegations that its new history text books are "saffronised." The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an apex resource organization set up by the Government of India, with headquarters at New Delhi, to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on academic matters related to school education. Adopting a combative stance, the HRD Ministry body described the Indian History Congress (IHC)'s recently published critique as biased. JS Rajput, the NCERT director, said on Wednesday that the IHC's Index of Errors is "the work of scholars with insufficient and colored knowledge whose only purpose is to reduce young Indians' respect for their glorious past. They want us to forget that there was a time when we Indians were world leaders in science, medicine and astronomy. The IHC had blasted the new NCERT texts, which replaced those authored by scholars like Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra and Irfan Habib. The Index of Errors highlighted factual mistakes, which allegedly proved that NCERT was implementing the Sangh Parivar's agenda of "spreading jingoism and communal hatred through falsification of history," in the words of this news report. Habib describes as "woolly headed fantasy" the NCERT text's claim that ancient Indians knew the sphericity of the Earth or had advance knowledge of Pythagoras's theorem. Rajput defended the lines by pointing out that Dick Teresi, the internationally reputed scholar, has written the same things in "Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science," a book published in the United States last year. Following is a point-counterpoint of some of the disputed issues in the new texts:

New Rail Service to Famous Belur Math

Posted on 2003/8/25 9:47:02 ( 795 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, August 18, 2003: Pilgrims and tourists alike now have a third option for transportation if they choose to visit Belur Math in West Bengal. On August 16 of this year, Rail Minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated a rail link service to the historic site where Sri Ramakrishna lived. Previously the article points out, "This architectural splendor of West Bengal was accessible directly by road transport or by ferry service from Kolkata." Taking off from a location near Liluah station and terminating by the side of the Belar Scrapyard, the rail station is located close to the gates of the Math founded by Swami Vivekananda. Built by Eastern Railway, the rail service has a cream and saffron color scheme, runs six times each day, and the fare will be US 8 cents for each ride.

Hindu Women and the Succession Act

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:49:02 ( 869 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 14, 2003: A long-standing controversy in favor of women has been resolved by the Supreme Court. At one time, if a Hindu married woman died intestate (that is, with no written will) or issueless (without children), her husband or father-in-law could lay claim to her estate even if such assets originated from her birth family. In a new ruling the court explained, "If a Hindu female inherited property from her father or mother, neither her husband or his heirs would get such property, but it would revert to the heirs of her own father or mother." The controversy originated from a 30-year dispute over properties left behind by Rajathiammal who died intestate and issueless. Rajathiammal had acquired considerable properties from her maternal aunt. Her brothers and sisters laid claim to the properties left behind by their married sister. At first Rajathiammal's brothers and sisters, who were Chettiars, lost the trial, but the initial ruling was subsequently reversed and Rajathiammal's property reverted back to her birth family. The article further explains, "If the property is inherited from her husband or father-in-law, it would devolve upon the heirs of her husband." In both cases it is important to keep in mind that this law applies only if the Hindu woman has died intestate or issueless.

India to Deport Swede who Built Huge Garuda Statue

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:48:02 ( 790 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, August 22, 2003: A self-styled Swedish holy man who built an ashram in India has been arrested and faces deportation. Harold Davidson, 45, built the ashram illegally on a two-acre plot in Mallayapuram, in southern Tamil Nadu state. It has a massive statue of Garuda, the holy eagle that is associated with the Lord Vishnu. Davidson came to India on six-month tourist visa. He extended it by two years but refused to leave when it expired. He appealed a court decision in 1994, and after eight years of wrangling lost the appeal. Police said Davidson then went into hiding. He was arrested on August 21, 2003 in the southern town of Kanchipuram. Villagers remember Davidson's arrival -- a white man sitting on the top of a rock seemingly unmindful of the scorching heat. He told them he had come to their village to serve them. Police said he was not engaged in any illegal activity, but was resented by some villagers. Davidson opposed the use of noisy public address systems and lodged more than 200 complaints with police over noise pollution.

Prime Minister Appeals to the Public to Stop Female Feticide

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:47:02 ( 870 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 11, 2003: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke candidly about female feticide in the country and appealed to the public at large to stop the practice. Delivering his speech at a function to give away the fifth Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh award, Vajpayee said, "More than 1.5 million cases of female feticide have taken place in the last ten years. This is a blot on our society. Even in some economically advanced states, the number of female population is decreasing as compared to the male population. This is a warning bell." Even though the government has made efforts to stop the practice by forming NGO's to oversee the social aspect of the problem, it has proved ineffective.

Now, A Biotech Avatar For Ganesh

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:46:02 ( 775 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, August 22, 2003: Come Ganesh Chaturthi, and Bangaloreans will be treated to a new interpretation of one of the most popular Hindu Gods next week. This has fired the imagination of Rajeev Bhat, a city biotechnologist and a self-taught artist. He has interpreted Lord Ganesha in his paintings using human genes and chromosome images. He has scientifically presented the protein synthesis of an organism on his canvas, which symbolically takes the form of the outline of Lord Ganesha's trunk. And, according to him, the two are interlinked. "Just as Ganesha is the Omkara or the base for everything, genes are responsible for particular characteristics of a person. While chanting the Omkara during meditation, you achieve single-mindedness. Once you develop control over the mind it reflects in your personality, which becomes evident in behavior and is also related scientifically to your genes. I think this is the first time that such a painting has been created in Bangalore," Bhat, founder of the Riddhi Art Gallery said.

Terrorist Blast in Ayodhya temple, No Casualties

Posted on 2003/8/24 9:45:02 ( 843 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, August 23, 2003: A bomb exploded inside a temple near the Ram Janmabhoomi site here on Friday night damaging its roof and side walls, police said on Saturday. However, no casualties were reported in the explosion inside the Nishad temple in Katra locality at around midnight, they said, adding the temple was situated not far from the acquired land. Senior civil and police officials, including district magistrate Deepak Kumar and SSP Prabhat Kumar, visited the site and an police report has been made. No arrests have been made so far in this connection, police said.

Fire in Another Swayambhu Temple in Nepal

Posted on 2003/8/23 9:49:02 ( 1194 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, August 18, 2003: Two weeks after a fire gutted Pratappur temple at Swayambhu (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), another fire Sunday broke out at Tara temple, adjoining the southern side of the main stupa of Swayambhunath, a report said Monday. "The fire was instantly put out before it could cause any major damage," The Himalayan Times reported. Some pilgrims said it was due to some reckless pilgrims who might have thrown burning lamps inside. Others suspect that some mischievous gang, intent on destroying the heritage of Kathmandu, might by behind the fire, the report said.

Festivals Leave Delhi Short On Milk

Posted on 2003/8/23 9:48:02 ( 0 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 20, 2003: Over the last three days, the demand for milk has suddenly shot up, resulting in Mother Dairy outlets running dry. The reason: The dual festivals of Rakhi and Janmashtami have increased the intake of sweets of Delhiites over the last week. On Tuesday, many areas of the city could not get milk and people queued up at Mother Dairy outlets only to return disappointed. A spokesman for Mother Dairy said demand had risen by over 20 percent because of the Rakhi and Janmashtami falling close to each other. He said that supply of milk had, in fact, been increased and assured that the situation would normalize over the next few days. The prices of milk powder and ghee have also shot up in wholesale markets due to the high demand for sweets. At Khari Baoli wholesale market -- the biggest in Delhi for the two products -- milk powder was selling at $1.46 per kg a week ago but currently it is priced at over $1.98 per kg. For comparison, one can buy powdered milk wholesale in the US for $1.65 per kilo. The price of ghee in Delhi has also risen from $2.71 per kg to $3.13 per kg.

Indian Church Claims to be Under Attack

Posted on 2003/8/23 9:47:02 ( 842 reads )


USA, August 21, 2003: The following report appears on the Gospel for Asia web site. "Gospel for Asia church of 51 believers in Jharkhand, India, is under attack as anti-Christian leaders meet to decide its fate! Many in the village have expressed their desire to beat GFA missionary Babuser and the new believers, steal their land and other belongings, and ultimately drive them out of the village. As the village meeting continues, they are pressuring leaders to inflict maximum harm on these believers. Village leaders have already made at least one decision: The Christians must pay a fee to even meet together for church. GFA missionaries from other villages have traveled there to encourage their brothers and sisters in Christ. This persecution follows a mighty move of God. By God's grace, three influential families in the village very recently received Christ! Even as the lives of the Christians in this village are in danger, they ask us to pray they will stand strong in the faith and see the ministry grow. They also request prayer that those opposing the Gospel will be touched by the love of Christ." HPI adds: This account is typical of GFA's reports on India and very difficult to either confirm or refute. If someone in India has direct knowledge of this situation, kindly e-mail hpi@hindu.org.

Fremont Officials Say Festival Of India Can Stay

Posted on 2003/8/22 9:49:02 ( 796 reads )


FREMONT, CALIFORNIA, August 19, 2003: After two days of celebration with none of the major problems that nearly forced its cancellation a year ago, Fremont officials say they expect the city will remain home to the Festival of India for many years to come. Last year, city officials initially denied the festival's permit after persistent litter, scheduling, noise and security problems. But they now agree the event has made positive changes. "It pretty much went off without a hitch," Police chief Craig Steckler said Monday, a day after the city hosted the largest cultural celebration for Indo-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mayor Gus Morrison said he sees the festival being around year after year. Major problems in past years threatened its future here. The series of problems led City Manager Jan Perkins to deny issuing the festival a permit in the spring of 2002. After negotiations with the city, festival organizers were given an 11th-hour reprieve: a one-day permit, or, really a one-shot chance at staging a problem-free event with the help of a professional planer. With a variety of Indian stores, restaurants and other businesses, Fremont has come to be viewed as the most Indo-American urban city in California.

Jalna Musician Enters Guinness Book

Posted on 2003/8/22 9:48:02 ( 1310 reads )


JALNA, INDIA, August 21, 2003: Twenty-eight-year-old music teacher, Prasad Shriram Choudhary, has entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for continuously playing tabla for 46 hours. A certificate and letter were sent congratulating Prasad for successfully setting a new World Record on April 15-16 of this year. He had already been included in India's Limca Book of World Record. Determined to set the record, Prasad practised rigorously to sit continuously for 50 hours. However, he made it up to 46 hours. Prasad, a disciple of Pandit Satishchandra Chaudhary, an artist with the All India Radio, runs Bhagwan Maharaj Pimpalgaonkar Sangeet Vidyalaya where he teaches music to about 100 students. "I will use my experience and achievement for the growth of music in Jalna as well as in Maharashtra," said Prasad. His performance was monitored by at least 13 supervisors, the gazetted officers of the state government and six doctors.

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