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Concern over High Indo-Fijian Suicide Rate

Posted on 2003/12/11 8:47:02 ( 855 reads )


FIJI, December 8, 2003: Indo-Fijians, who make up almost half the population of Fiji, are five times more likely than indigenous Fijians to attempt or commit suicide, recent police statistics indicate. The trend has been consistent for at least five years. Along with the youth of Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Guam, Palau and Samoa, Indo-Fijian youth make up some of the highest youth suicide statistics in the world. While there has been limited research in this subject, one academic believes a combination of cultural tolerance, intergenerational conflict, excessive pressure for academic and career success and the affect of Fiji's political upheavals are all contributing factors to the disproportionately high suicide rates of Indo-Fijians in the country.

Biotechnology Method Has Source in the Ganges River

Posted on 2003/12/11 8:46:02 ( 1034 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, December 02, 2003: GangaGen, a company in the biotechnology industry, is committed to the discovery and development of biologically specific bacteriophage (bacteria eaters) for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of bacterial infection in medical, veterinary, and agricultural applications, says this company website. The biotechnology industry is only just beginning to boom and companies like GangaGen aim to provide infectious disease solutions to the world through their research and development of bacteriophages. Phages are highly specific, naturally occurring agents that invade bacteria and destroy them. Phages can be developed to eradicate any bacterial infection since they specifically target only bacteria. They cannot be used to treat viral infections.

The first observation of phage-activity was made in India in 1896 by Ernest Hanbury Hankin. He noticed a marked anti-bacterial action in the waters of Indian rivers Ganga (Ganges) and Yamuna against Vibrio Cholorae. The activity destroyed cholera bacteria in cultures. He demonstrated that it could pass through fine porcelain filters and was destroyed by boiling. He suggested that this activity might be responsible for restricting the cholera outbreak among the people that consumed the river water. He, however, did not probe the phenomenon any further. Twenty years later Frederick Twort in England, and Felix d'Herell from Canada, working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, reported isolating similar filterable entities capable of destroying bacterial cultures. It was d'Herelle who named these ultra microbes, "bacteriophages."

Organiser Newspaper Reports on Sita Ram Goel

Posted on 2003/12/11 8:45:02 ( 1215 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2003: Noted thinker, renowned scholar and writer Shri Sita Ram Goel passed away in New Delhi on December 3. He was 83. He is survived by his two sons Saroj Kumar Goel and Pradip Kumar Goel. His wife had passed away long back. He was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat. His younger son Pradip Kumar Goel performed the last rites. For the last few years Shri Goel was on bed rest and was not attending office. Union Minister Arun Shourie, columnist Devendra Swaroop and journalist Rajendra Chaddha were among those who attended the funeral.

Born on October 16, 1921, Shri Goel took his MA in History in 1944, from the University of Delhi. He won scholarships and distinctions in schools as well as colleges. Well versed in several languages, he studied the literature, philosophy, religion, history and sociology of several cultures -- ancient, medieval and modern. For his judgements and evaluations, however, he drew inspiration from the Mahabharata, the Suttapitaka, Plato and Sri Aurobindo.

Besides Hindu-Muslim Encounter, Genesis of Nehruism, Shri Goel has written more than 20 books on Communism, Soviet Russia, Red China, Christianity and Islam. Author of eight novels, he has translated into Hindi quite a few titles from English, including some dialogues of Plato and a biography of Shivaji. His other works include compilations from the Mahabharata and the Suttapitaka. He exposed the reality of Islam and the Christian church at a time when nobody had the courage to speak or write against them. Through the Voice of India Publications he published a number of books on such subjects.

Having become a convinced Communist by the time he came out of college, he turned against this criminal ideology in 1949 when he came to know what was happening inside Soviet Russia. From 1950 onwards he participated in a movement for informing the Indian people about the theory as well as the practice of Communism in Stalin's Russia and Mao's China. The numerous studies published by the movement in the fifties exist in many libraries and can be consulted for finding out how the movement anticipated many years earlier the recent revelations about Communist regimes.

RSS chief, K. S. Sudarshan, said, "The news that Sita Ram Goel was no more reached me in Akola, and my memory goes 30 years back. Sita Ramji had long ceased to be an individual; he had grown into an institution by himself. He was a veritable giant of an intellectual impossible to vanquish. Coming in contact with the great thinker and scholar the late Ram Swarup, Sita Ram Goel, an erstwhile Communist, became a true blue Hindu by conviction. Today Hindutva is under attack from all quarters and the absence of this super-intellectual fighter will be keenly felt. The need of the hour is to have similar intellectual combatants in substantial numbers who can draw inspiration from his life. That indeed would be true tribute to the departed soul. I offer my heartfelt homage to this indefatigable intellectual stalwart, who was dedicated to the cause of Hindutva."

World's Largest Replica of Balaji Temple Opens

Posted on 2003/12/10 8:49:02 ( 1188 reads )

News Report

PUNE, INDIA, DECEMBER 8, 2003: The magnificent Lord Venkateshwara Temple at Ketkawale village, about 40 kilometers from Pune, was inaugurated recently. Spread over 10 acres, the new, full-fledged, temple with the grandeur of its original is the biggest replica of the world famous Tirumala Tirupathi Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh. More than 6,000 devotees and farmers flocked to see the temple, for darshan (sight) of the Lord Balaji. The marvelous temple has become a pilgrim center for devotees in Maharashtra. It is a boon for those poor farmers and devotees who can not afford to make a pilgrimage to the Tirupathi temple in the south. The selection of the spot to its final execution was been undertaken under the guidelines of the head priest of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam taking vaastu shastra (Hindu temple architecture) into consideration. Even the black stones and other building material were brought from Kanchi, Tamil Nadu. Elaborate religious ceremony of yagnas and other rituals were performed at the temple by priests from the Tirupati temple witnessed by approximately 4,000 people daily. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Sri Jayendra Saraswati, also worshipped. The work for the temple began seven years ago. There are eight main temples in the premises dedicated to different deities. Built at an estimated cost between US$3 to $5 million, the temple also provides living rooms and kitchen facilities for visiting devotees.

Flushing Ganesha Temple Faces Dispute Over Board Elections

Posted on 2003/12/10 8:48:02 ( 1055 reads )


FLUSHING, NEW YORK, December 5, 2003: "For three decades, the Hindu Temple Society of North America has been a peaceful refuge," reads this prominent article in the New York Times. "Every weekend, thousands of devotees stream to this sanctuary on Bowne Street in Flushing, New York. A recent dispute has shattered the temple's calm. The dispute has nothing do with Hindu theology or ritual. Instead, it is about who should run the temple, and whether the messy business of democracy has any place in a house of worship. On one side are six members who say the temple is run too autocratically. They are demanding the right to vote for the board of trustees. In August, a state appeals court sided with the six members, ordering elections to be held for the first time. On the other side are the temples's trustees, who call the court's ruling an outrageous invasion. They say the lawsuit is just a power play by disaffected members who would like to run the temple themselves.

"The six plaintiffs say they have no interest in changing the roles or rituals performed by the temple's 10 priests, who have not taken sides. In all likelihood, daily life of the temple would probably be unaffected. But when it comes to elections, both sides are adamant. Dr. Uma Mysorekar, the temple's president, says forcing an election among hundreds or thousands of members could turn a sacred space into a circus. 'We want a system that prevails based on dedication and commitment, not based on popularity,' Dr. Mysorekar said. The current system, in which the temple's unpaid 11-member board manages the temple's affairs and votes on its own members when their terms come up, is democratic enough, she says. The plaintiffs say they deserve to have a voice in the affairs of the temple, which has grown over the years to include a community center, a school and a cafeteria. The temple has too much debt, they say, and should be more conservative in its spending. They also admit to having a personal grudge against Dr. Mysorekar, whom they accuse of forcing out dissenting board members over the years to maintain her control over the the temple.

"A lawyer for the plaintiffs discovered a copy of the temple's original by-laws filed with the federal government when the temple was founded in 1970 which was apparently lost soon afterwards. The 1970 by-laws say the members have voting rights. And though the temple trustees wrote new, more restrictive rules soon afterward, they never followed the proper procedure in amending the old by-laws, because they were not aware of them. That failure was the basis of the legal ruling requiring the temple to reinstate the 1970 by-laws and hold elections.

Interfaith Awareness Week Declared by Wisconsin Governor

Posted on 2003/12/10 8:47:02 ( 911 reads )


MADISON, WISCONSIN, U.S.A., December 8, 2003: The Governor of Wisconsin has declared the week of December 8-12 as "Interfaith Awareness Week," with the main purpose of the celebration to develop awareness and establish mutual understanding and respect among religions. The American Hindu Association, along with other faith groups, is participating. The inaugurating events will be on Wednesday, December 10 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of the State Capital. Wisconsin's Governor, the County Executive and the Mayor of Madison will send their proclamation on the inauguration day. Exhibits from all faiths, including the Hindu Association, will be on display. In addition, AHA will present a brief introduction of Hinduism and Meenakshi Ganesan will perform a dance on behalf of the American Hindu Association. Readers may contact "source" above for additional information.

Shri Sita Ram Goel: A Pioneer of Hindu Renaissance in India

Posted on 2003/12/10 8:46:02 ( 1011 reads )


TUSTIN, CALIFORNIA, December 10, 2003: Vishal Agarwal ("source") of the Hindu Mahasabha of America submits the following article:

India is currently witnessing a Hindu revival that is attributed by most political commentators to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate organizations. Such reductionism ignores the pioneering work of Sita Ram Goel, who practically lead an independent movement for the intellectual defense of the Hindu society for several decades. After a long illness, during which he was bed-ridden most of the time, but was mentally alert till the end, Mr. Goel passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 3, 2003.

A millennium of intolerant Islamic rule, followed by two centuries of British colonial exploitation and missionary propaganda have created a Stockholm Syndrome in the minds of several Hindus. It has become very fashionable these days to attribute all ills of Indian society and economy to Hindu Dharma. Self-alienated, elitist Indian intellectuals, primarily owing allegiance to Marxism, but working in tandem with Islamist elements in India and abroad, tend to denounce any public expression of Hindu faith as "fascism." Political correctness is slowly squeezing out Hindu Dharma from all public arenas even though the faith forms the essence of Indian culture, and is the oldest and one of the few continuous spiritual traditions in the world. In the name of "secularism" and "social harmony," Leftist historians have been distorting India"s history on a large-scale. Professional "secularists" and "liberals" have been opposing resistance of Hindus to their impending physical extermination in large parts of South Asia (Pakistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh, North East India) in numerous ways. In short, every effort is being made to transform Hindu Dharma from a vibrant, living faith into a museum artifact meant for posthumous "scholarly" study.

Through his writings, Mr. Goel vehemently opposed this progressive vilification and marginalization of Hindu Dharma in India. He argued that Hindu Dharma would cease to exist if Hindus themselves become just non-thinking brown clones of the secularized West. Mr. Goel believed that Hindu Dharma has much to offer to contemporary human civilization, just as it has enriched the world in the past in many different ways. He pleaded that in order to understand human suffering, we must do a first hand study and evaluation of totalitarian ideologies masquerading as religions, instead of indulging in cliched explanations.

Owing to a systematic censorship of his views by the English media in India, he set up his own small publishing house, "The Voice of India." This publishing house has tried to present a Hindu view of other religions and ideologies, and has supported fledgling but brave authors whose work has questioned the dominant paradigms of Indian history. Mr. Goel's work inspired an entire generation of writers to fight for truth at great personal cost and it will continue to motivate many more competent scholars for several decades to come. The Bharatvani Institute, with its website here, is proud to acknowledge him as one of its main sources of inspiration. The website hosts many of his own writings and has a more detailed saga of his life.

Living the Religious Life of a "None"

Posted on 2003/12/10 8:45:02 ( 977 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, December 4, 2003: A growing number of Americans simply answer "none" or "no religion" when pollsters ask them their religious affiliation. Some "nones" identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, but the vast majority believe in God, pray and often describe themselves as "spiritual, but not religious." Nones are one of the fastest growing religious categories in the United States. According to a recent survey, their ranks have more than doubled in a decade and include 29 million Americans. They're easy to find in the West and are the single largest religious group in Oregon and Washington, where they make up 21 and 25 percent of the population, respectively. In California nearly one in five people (19 percent) say they are nones. The sharp increase in the number of Americans nationwide who now claim no loyalty to a single faith has gotten the attention of many scholars. The shift has been noted in several polls, including the American religious Identification Survey of 2001, conducted by the city University of New York. This telephone survey of 50,000 Americans, which was also conducted in 1990, asked the open-ended question, "What is your religion, if any." Based on those answers, the study estimated that the number of "no religion" Americans had jumped from 14 million in 1990 to 29 million in 2001. Out of that 29 million, only 900,000 would call themselves atheists. Those 29 million nones are outnumbered only by the 51 million Americans who call themselves Catholic and 34 million who say they are Baptist.

Vaishno Devi Temple Crosses Five Million Pilgrim Mark for 2003

Posted on 2003/12/6 8:49:02 ( 896 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, December 6, 2003: Simultaneous with thaw in Indo-Pak relations, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims in record breaking numbers are pouring into Jammu and Kashmir. For the first time in the month of November, the number of pilgrims visiting the revered Hindu shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills in north of Jammu has crossed the five million mark. This mark is otherwise crossed either in mid-December or later. "We are expecting to break all the previous records," said Rohit Kansal, Additional Chief Executive Officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Board that looks after the affairs of the shrine since 1986.

The Board is expecting to break the highest record of 5.02 million pilgrims of 2002, this year. The five million mark has turned out despite the terrorists strike in August this year in Banganga en route to the cave shrine. The objective was to spread fear among Hindu pilgrims, which would in turn lead to decline in the pilgrim rush to Mata Vaishno Devi. However, the undeterred pilgrims turned up in larger numbers, showing their faith in the Goddess Vaishno Devi.

In the year 1986, when the board took over the management of the shrine, the pilgrims arrival was 1.4 million. However, as the management improved upon the route and facilities, the number has gone up to more than five million.

In Unprecedented Sale, Mother Teresa Women's University Buys Meenakshi Temple Land in Madurai

Posted on 2003/12/6 8:48:02 ( 1017 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, December 5, 2003: The Tamil Nadu Government's Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) has approved the unprecedented sale of lands of the famed Arulmighu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple to the Mother Teresa Women's University, Kodaikanal. The university has purchased 2.29 acres of lands owned by the temple in Valayangulam at a cost of US$20,000 to house its extension center in Madurai where several post-graduate programs are offered to the girl-students under the regular stream. Speaking at a joint press conference convened by University Vice-Chancellor Anandavalli Mahadevan and HR&CE Joint Commissioner P Baskaran on Thursday, the VC said that a proposal on land acquisition was sent in July, 2002, and the orders were received in September last facilitating registration process, which was completed on Thursday. Baskaran defended the sale, "For the very first time, some land of the Meenakshi temple has been sold, but for a cause. The sale was done as per guidelines. The proposal got a nod as it would help women's empowerment. The land yielded an annual revenue of $87 from tamarind trees."

Malaysia Government Eases Restrictions on Foreign Priests

Posted on 2003/12/6 8:47:02 ( 874 reads )


PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, December 4, 2003: Beginning next year, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Christian priests on visit passes need not make fresh applications to extend their services after serving in the country for one year, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said Wednesday. Instead, they only need to inform State immigration directors and they would be given extensions automatically, he said. The move was to ease the workload of immigration officers, he said. Previously, such extensions could be made only at the Immigration Department headquarters, he told reporters after meeting representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Sikh Consultative Council. Chor said: "For year-to-year service extensions for foreign priests, the Immigration Department has agreed to give the approvals at State level, the State directors can approve the extensions," he said. He, however, said foreign priests are not allowed to serve in the country for more than five years. He said applications for replacement priests would be processed in a month. At present, there are 772 foreign priests, including musicians, serving in various places of worship in the country as compared to 404 last year, he said. He said they are mainly from India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China and Myanmar. Chor said the Government still maintained the five-year maximum service term for foreign priests although there were requests to extend their tenure up to 10 years as was done previously. He said the Government had also asked the religious consultative council to train Malaysians or find priests from among locals so as not to rely too much on foreigners. "But this seem difficult as the salaries of priests working in Malaysia is quite low and hence, Malaysians are not keen to take up priesthood as their career. "Only foreign priests are willing to come here even though the salaries are not very high," he added.

Doctor Collects 480 Ganeshas, and Wants More

Posted on 2003/12/6 8:46:02 ( 890 reads )

Sify News

LUCKNOW, INDIA: December 2003: Dr. Chandra Balasubramanium's living room looks like a museum. She boasts of having the largest collection of Lord Ganesha idols in India -- 480 exquisite Ganeshas collected over 22 years. The collection includes Lord Ganesha's icons made in gold, silver, copper, ivory, marble, amethyst, plastic, mud, rose wood, fibre, sandal, crystal, Bohemian glass, log wood, wax, khus and white wood. Every statue is different from the other in shape, size, use of material and "Bhavas" or "Mudras" of the Lord. There are 32 divine forms of Lord Ganesha according to religious scriptures and she can recall all of them on her finger tips. This Diwali she has enriched her collection with a unique Lord Ganesha made of supari (betel-nut) and Haldi (turmeric). She also has Ganeshas made of tiger-eye, agate, turquoise, soft stone, serpentine stone, jade, God stone, coral and pearl. The largest one weighs 50 kgs while the smallest one measures just one centimeter and is as light as a feather. Dr. Subramanium has travelled all over India and around the world to enrich her collection. She once met an American couple who told her that although they were Christians, they worshipped Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxshmi. They were willing to offer a huge sum of money for just one exquisite piece which she had, but Dr. Balasubramanium refused the handsome offer. Dr. Subramanium hopes that in the next 20 years her collection will grow to over 5,000. "Lord Ganesh is my passion. I don't mind that a large part of my earnings are spent in buying Lord Ganeshas," she says. She believes that positive energies from so many Ganeshas make her house vibrant. She says that the sanctified ambience of her living room can keep ailments away provided one has deep faith in Lord Ganesha.

Diabetes Afflicts Gujarat Teens

Posted on 2003/12/6 8:45:02 ( 959 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, December 6, 2003: Junk food, obesity and lifestyle diseases are not confined only to hamburger-eating US but have spread to vegetarian Gujarat as well, with a staggering 7.5 million people suffering from diabetes. The statistics are intimidating. Of Gujarat's 50 million people, 15 percent suffer from diabetes. Of these, 10 percent are in urban areas and five percent in rural areas. And of every 10 patients in towns and cities, four are teenagers. The advent of the fast food culture in Gujarat is seen as the chief culprit. Now thousands of children are bearing the brunt every single day of their lives. Many children are being deprived of their favourite foods and being put on strict exercise regimens to save them from more complicating trouble in the future.

Parag Shah, consultant diabetologist and endocrinologist at the Gujarat Endocrine Centre, said "The fast food culture in Gujarat is leading to increase in diabetes. Parents think their kids are eating high-calorie food in the form of pizza, burgers, bhaji-pav or chips, but it proves to be more dangerous than cigarettes."

There are some movements happening to arrest the disturbing trend. The Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA), the Gujarat chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) comprising 5,000 physicians, is planning a massive health drive to spread awareness about diabetes. "Only last month we organized a week-long yoga camp in Ahmedabad in which over 5,000 people participated," said AMA president Yogendra Shah.

Hindu Monks Form New Organization at Chennai Meeting

Posted on 2003/12/5 8:49:02 ( 1000 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, December 2, 2003: The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, an apex body comprising all acharyas and mandaleswars (both leaders within Hindu monastic orders), was formed here today with the objective of having a coordinated effort on issues concerning Hindus. The convener of the Acharya Sabha, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, talking to newsmen here today, said the monastery leaders were for a uniform civil code. The Constitution, he said, provided for a Uniform Civil Code but it was yet to be enacted. Similarly, the Sabha wanted the Centre to ban slaughter of cows as the animal was a symbol of worship for Hindus. Demanding that the States hand over the temple administration to autonomous bodies, he said that at present there was government interference in the administration of temples and donations to temples were utilized for other purposes. Temple funds should be utilized only for religious purposes, he said. The meet congratulated Tamil Nadu for enacting a legislation to ban conversion and urged the Centre and the States to follow suit.

Health Experts Warn of Diabetes

Posted on 2003/12/5 8:48:02 ( 990 reads )


USA, November 30, 2003: To the dismay of health experts, diabetes is becoming a global problem. In the next couple of decades, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to triple in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, to double in the western Pacific and to nearly double in Europe. With an estimated 33 million cases, India has the most people with diabetes; China has 23 million. Read the full Time magazine article at "source" above.

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