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January Event to Highlight Malaysian Support for International Hindu Sanctuary

Posted on 2003/11/14 8:49:02 ( 876 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, November 14, 2003: Malaysian Hindus, living and believing in one of their national themes, "Malaysia Boleh" (Malaysia Can), have contributed more than US$450,000 towards the San Marga Iraivan Temple project on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, USA. Iraivan Temple, as it is popularly known, is considered an icon of Hinduism's beauty and strength. It is the vision of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927 - 2001), who was one Hinduism's leading modern-day spiritual leaders, founder of the international magazine Hinduism Today and recipient of the U Thant Peace Award at the United Nations.

The temple itself is an engineering marvel. Fully hand-carved out of white granite in Bangalore, South India, the stones are shipped ten thousand miles across several oceans to the small Hawaiian island, to be assembled in a temple architectural style that is more than 2,000 years old. It is the only fully hand-carved Hindu temple outside of Asia. Kauai is one of the world's most lush and unspoiled islands, and the oldest in the Hawaiian chain. The temple is partially constructed now, dramatically situated on the banks of a sacred river and near the foot of an extinct volcano.

Malaysian Hindus have contributed more than one-tenth of the money raised so far, making them the second highest donor country behind the United States. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami will be in Kuala Lumpur in January. He is successor to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami and current spiritual head of Kauai's Hindu Monastery, where the Iraivan temple is being constructed. A public event on January 19, 2004, is planned for Bodhinatha to share the progress of the temple, express his gratitude to the Malaysian Hindus and encourage their continued support.

This event will take place at the Sri Kandaswamy Temple on Scott Road, Brickfields, on the January 19, 2004, starting at 7:30pm. The public is invited to attend. For more information, click "source" above or call Aravindraj Chandrasekaran at 012-2816850.

Break in Bad Astrological Weather Brings 12,000 Weddings in One Day for Delhi

Posted on 2003/11/14 8:48:02 ( 869 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 13, 2003: Some 12,000 couples, taking advantage of a rare auspicious date for weddings in the midsts of months of bad ones, will get married on the same day in the Indian capital New Delhi, a report said today. The huge number of nuptials will take place on November 27, which Hindu priests have said is a lucky day for weddings, The Times of India reported. So many ceremonies are taking place at the same time that hotels are having to turn away people seeking venues and Hindu priests are in short supply, it said. "With so many weddings lined up on November 27, there is a shortage of pandits (priests) to solemnize the marriage ceremonies," Dwarkanath Mishra, a west-Delhi based priest, told the newspaper. The Hindu wedding season runs from May to mid-December, with the bulk of ceremonies taking place once the monsoons are over in September and peaking in November, but has been greatly distorted this year and next by a long series of inauspicious days.

US National Cattlemen's Association Website Discourages Teenage Girls From Going Vegetarian

Posted on 2003/11/14 8:47:02 ( 822 reads )


USA, November 14, 2003: The article at "source" above is called "The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business." The ninth "dumbest moment" caught HPI's attention. It reads: "Because nobody understands 12-year-old girls quite like a cattle rancher. The National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. launches www.cool-2b-real.com, a site designed to 'steer' young girls away from vegetarianism. Featuring enlightening articles and insightful quizzes ('What type of beef do you most like to eat with your friends?'), the tweener-empowerment site also has recipes for snacks like Easy Beef Chili, Nacho Beef Dip, and Beef on Bamboo."

Finding this hard to believe, our researcher click on the site (click here), which is still up, and found such tidbits as, "Variety Always Wins: Girls need about 40 nutrients every day -- to grow, move and have fun. No food contains all 40 of these. So, you need to get a balance of these nutrients from many different foods. For instance, citrus fruits have a lot of Vitamin C but they don't have any Vitamin B12. On the other hand, foods from the meat group, like beef, fish, pork and poultry, have a lot of Vitamin B12 but they don't have any Vitamin C. This is why you need to eat a wide variety of foods every day. One food or type of food can't do the job all by itself. That's why we need to balance the foods we eat."

Then there is the list of recipes, which begins with a very veggie one and quickly changes tune: Avocado Garden Salad, Beef on Bamboo, Beef Taco and Cheese Pockets, Cheeseburger Mac, Easy Beef Chili, etc."

In the section called "Hey, Mom and Dad," they finally cut to the meat of the matter: "Statement of Principles Regarding Nutrition and Health. As producers, processors and marketers of the nation's beef supply, we are committed to providing a wholesome, nutritious food and to communicating accurate information about beef's nutritional qualities and the role of beef in a healthful diet. Adopted by Board of Directors, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, August 1997." Most of the other items on the list of 101 Dumbest Moments appear to have been corrected, retracted or died a natural death. The ranchers' problem, of course, is that some 11% of teenage girls are already vegetarian, and one out of four teens believe vegetarianism is "cool," a trend hazardous to their business.

Pakistani Hindu Temple Faces Demolition

Posted on 2003/11/13 8:49:02 ( 867 reads )


PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN, November 13, 2003: This BBC report is on the same situation as our November 11 report, but with additional details: The report by BBC correspondent Haroon Rashid reads, in part, "A 150-year-old Hindu temple in the Pakistani city of Peshawar has become the focus of a property dispute involving the army. This is the most important temple for the Hindus in Peshawar. The Balmiki temple is located in the Kalibari area of the city where a small Hindu community is concentrated. But the Kalibari area is part of the city's military cantonment and is run by the army. The army is saying that the people who run the temple, as well as the owners of some 70 houses in the neighborhood, must leave. They have been served with eviction notices. The army wants to pull down the existing buildings and replace them with a high-rise shopping complex. The army says that Kalibari is the property of the local cantonment board, and it has the right to vacate it. It has been trying to clear the area for the past 15 years, and has met stiff resistance from the Hindu residents. The presence of the Balmiki temple, which is the hub of the Hindu community in this crowded neighborhood, has become a sensitive issue. The head priest, Ramlal, who has looked after the temple for the last 35 years, says the property in Kalibari belongs to the minorities. 'In 1861, four Hindu merchants were the owners of half of the cantonment area. They built the houses in the Kalibari area to house their employees. They have been living here since then,' Ramlal told BBC News Online."

Dutch Hindu Spiritual Welfare Service Established

Posted on 2003/11/13 8:48:02 ( 957 reads )


HAGUE, March 6, 2003: This story originally appears in Dutch and just recently came to HPI's attention. On March 5, 2003, Defence State Secretary Cees van der Knaap formally founded the Hindu Spiritual Welfare Service, by presenting the Chairman of the Hindu Council, Mr. Natoewal, with the new cap badge for the service. The ceremony took place in the Hague. The Hindu Spiritual Welfare Service is the fifth such service in the Defence Organization, alongside the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Humanist services. Religious freedom is one of the most substantial human rights said Cees van der Knaap in his speech. He added that the wishes of religious minorities are important and they would try to take into account religious holidays, observances and, as much as possible, meal preparations. Between 100 and 150 Hindus serve in defence. This is the first time in sixty years that a new Spiritual Welfare Service has been set up at defence. The Hindu Council played an important role in the establishment of the service. A beret emblem was created especially for the two priests of the service. This year Dutch soldiers will celebrate Divali for the first time.

Hinduism Today Needs Text Book Mistakes About Hinduism

Posted on 2003/11/13 8:47:02 ( 932 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, November 13, 2003: Hinduism Today is preparing an article on the subject of common misconceptions and mistakes about Hinduism in the Western world. For this we need quotes from text books used in US, Canadian or UK schools that misrepresent Hinduism, are outright mistakes, or present a Hindu concept in the worst possible light. Here's one example: "By 600 bc, brahmans, or priests, had emerged as the highest caste. They alone could perform the rituals that guided the soul to reunion with the universal soul." That's from World History, Pattern of Civilizations, produced by Prentice Hall and used in US schools. The problem with it, of course, is that Hinduism doesn't hold that reunion with the universal soul is the result of rituals performed by priests, rather it is the result of yoga well performed under the guidance of a guru. We need more such quotes to illustrate the various ways Hinduism is being erroneously presented to Western youth. Please send any you have to "source" above.

UNESCO Declares Vedic Chanting a "Heritage of Humanity"

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:49:02 ( 870 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, November 12, 2003: The oral tradition of Vedic chanting has been declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. In a meeting of jury members on November 7, 2003, at Paris, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, declared the chanting of Vedas in India an outstanding example of heritage and form of cultural expressions. The proclamation says that in the age of globalization and modernization when cultural diversity is under pressure, the preservation of oral tradition of Vedic chanting, a unique cultural heritage, has great significance. The jury members included Dr. Richard Kurin, Director of the Center for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution (United Nations), Mr. Juan Goytisolo, Writer (Spain), Mr. Yoshikazu Hasegawa (Japan), Ms. Olive W.M. Lewin. Pianist, ethnomusicologist, Director of the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth (Jamaica). The UNESCO declaration will bring international recognition to the excellence of the Vedic chanting tradition of India, which has survived for centuries encoding the wisdom contained in the Vedas through an extraordinary effort of memorization and through elaborately worked out mnemonic methods. The purity and fail-safe technique devised for Vedic chanting in the olden days led to access to one of the ancient literatures of humanity in its entirety today. The Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, took the initiative to put up the candidature of the Vedic chanting to UNESCO. A presentation was prepared by Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts. The Department has also prepared a five-year action plan to safeguard, protect, promote and disseminate the oral tradition of Vedas in terms of their uniqueness and distinctiveness, encourage scholars and practitioners to preserve, revitalize and promote their own branch of Vedic recitation as the custodians of their own traditions and direct the efforts primarily to making the tradition survive in its own context.

Sanskrit has Regained Popularity at Universities and Schools

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:48:02 ( 1023 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, November 4, 2003: The ancient language of Sanskrit has become prevalent once again at schools and universities in the country. At Mumbai University, this article says that the number of students registered for courses at the University's Sanskrit department has gone up from 175 to 260 in the last 4 years. Dr. G.P. Mahulikar, head of the University's Sanskrit department says, "I am amazed to see the kind of response from students. When I did my MA in 1975, there were around 10 students in the post-graduate class. Now, the number of students is 30." The number of students studying Sanskrit as part of a certificate or diploma program has also grown to full capacity. All age groups seem to want to learn the language as it opens up doors to study ancient epics and disciplines such as Ayurveda. Dr. Kalplata Mahajan, a 56-year-old general practitioner says, "I learnt Sanskrit in school but could not pursue it as I took up medicine in college." Rajashri Barve, a Kathak dancer from Malad adds, "Since the language is also becoming popular in schools, there is a demand for Sanskrit teachers. That is another reason more students are learning the language." For Prasad Akolkar, a Ayurveda practitioner, the language will help her in understanding ancient Ayurveda. The demand for learning Sanskrit has increased for three reasons; firstly it has become popular as an optional language in schools and Sanskrit teachers are in demand, secondly it is now offered as a course on the Civil Services examination and students usually score well on the test, and thirdly as students attempt to discover their roots by studying ancient Indian epics, the language of the literature is Sanskrit.

Bihar State Passes New Anti-Dowry Law

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:47:02 ( 1088 reads )


BIHAR, INDIA, November 5, 2003: In an attempt to dissuade the practise of dowry in a state that has witnessed a rise in dowry death cases, the Rabri Devi government requires any of its male employees who get married to declare in writing that they never received any dowry. To back up the statement, it also has to be signed by the spouse, father and the father-in-law. The government recently passed the Bihar State Prohibition of Dowry Rules 2003. As government employees are in great demand in Bihar as potential marriage partners, they often demanded exorbitant dowries. Also according to the this article, the new law requires that the bridegroom's father submit a list of all gift items, including ornaments, received by the newly-weds to the district dowry prohibition officer within a month of the wedding ceremony. Welfare officers in various districts in the state have been assigned the additional duty of dowry prohibition officers. So far the welfare officers can carry out any investigations but, if they suspect foul play, the case is turned over to the police.

Voice of India Books Available On-Line

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:46:02 ( 3495 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, November 11, 2003: The Voice of India, founded by Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel, has published a number of highly influential books on Hinduism. Twenty-seven have now been digitized and put on-line at "source." They include: Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society by Koenraad Elst; Collapsing Pakistan by N.S. Rajaram; Defence of Hindu Society by Sita Ram Goel; Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders by Sita Ram Goel; Hindu Society Under Siege by Sita Ram Goel; Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them Vol. 1 by Sita Ram Goel; Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them Vol. 2 by Sita Ram Goel; Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations by David Frawley; How I became a Hindu by Sita Ram Goel; India's Rebirth by Sri Aurobindo; Indian Muslims Who Are They by K.S. Lal; Jihad: The Islamic Doctrine of Permanent War by Suhas Majumdar; Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947 by S. Gurbachan Singh Talib; Muslim Separatism: Causes and Consequences by Sita Ram Goel; Nationalism And Distortions In Indian History by Dr. N.S. Rajaram; Negationaism in India - Concealing the Record of Islam by Koenraad Elst; Perversion of India's Political Parlance by Sita Ram Goel; Psychology of Prophetism - A Secular Look at the Bible by Koenraad Elst; The Calcutta Quran Petition by Sita Ram Goel; The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India by K.S. Lal; The Rigveda - A Historical Analysis by Shrikant Talageri; The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India by Sita Ram Goel; Time for Stock Taking- Whither Sangh Parivar? by Various Authors; Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate by Koenraad Elst; Vindicated by Time - The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities with introduction by Sita Ram Goel; and Understanding Islam Through Hadis: Religious faith or Fanaticism? by Sri Ram Swarup.

Muslims Turn To Home Schooling

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:45:02 ( 1105 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2, 2003: As a Muslim, Priscilla Martinez wanted her children to learn as much about their faith as they did about reading and math. For help, she turned to Christian resources. Martinez joined the Christian-based Home school Legal Defense Association, which helped her with the paperwork for a religious exemption allowing her to teach her children at home rather than sending them to public school. She talked to Christian families for advice on home-schooling methods and lesson ideas. "That's something that's drawn us together, as people of all faiths, to stand together and preserve our right to educate our children," Martinez said. For the past two decades, home schooling has largely been a trend among evangelical Christians who have felt marginalized by the public schools and wanted to have a more active role in their children's education. But increasingly, the option has become attractive to Muslims, particularly with the scrutiny they have experienced since 9/11. Many Muslim families say they worry that their children, especially girls wearing hijabs, may be subjected to harassment or bad influences. Although Islamic schools offer an alternative, some parents find that the schools are too far away, have too few classes or emphasize a branch of Islam that the family doesn't subscribe to. The increase in Muslim home-schoolers can be measured in the Muslim-specific home-school networks, clubs and resources that have developed in the past few years. One such group, the Muslim Home Educators Network, an e-mail list, started in 1999 in San Antonio with 25 families and has grown to 2,000 families nationwide.

Home schooling is also a viable option for Hindu families, though only a few have tried it. The fact that several of the recent winners of the National Spelling Bee were home schooled and that home-schooled children score well on standarized tests show a good education is possible to receive at home.

Correction on the God of Wind

Posted on 2003/11/12 8:44:02 ( 934 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, November 12, 2003: Our apologies for letting slip by a statement in yesterday's report that called Varuna the "Hindu God of the Wind" in the article Wind Power in Tamil Nadu. Vayu is the God of the Wind, and Varuna is God of the Sea.

Peshawar Cantonment Board in Pakistan Orders Hindus to Vacate Houses

Posted on 2003/11/11 8:49:02 ( 925 reads )


PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN, October 31, 2003: The Peshawar Cantonment Board (PCB) has served a notice on the Hindu minority members to vacate houses occupied by them for 130 years in cantonment areas. The notice, Hindu leader Ram Lal told Daily Times, gave the Kali Bari residents till Friday (October 31, 2003) to vacate around 70 homes and a Hindu temple. However, a meeting between the Hindu community leaders and the board authorities on Thursday gave them one month to discuss the issue after Eid. The PCB has accused the inhabitants of occupying the area "illegally" and encroaching on government land. The notice was a threat that force would be used if the inhabitants did not meet the deadline. Mr Lal denied the CBP charges and said they had valid papers to prove the land was not PCB's property. "This property is owned by Mahar Chand Khanna. He (Khanna) purchased this property in the 18th century and the temple was built in 1861," Mr Lal said. "We are worried and do not know where to go if the authorities use force," Aslam Siraj, a Muslim living in the Hindu-dominated areas, told Daily Times. The inhabitants approached the federal government through minority member of the National Assembly Gayan Singh to take up the matter at top government level. Meanwhile, the authorities in Islamabad have assured the Hindus that justice will be done. (HPI adds: The Daily Times web site which reported this item is not the government-run news service. Still, any reports out of Pakistan on Hindus, good or bad, are rarely possible to verify.)

Himalayan Art Exhibit in Washington

Posted on 2003/11/11 8:48:02 ( 835 reads )


WASHINGTON, U.S.A., October 25, 2003: Known as "A Stairway to Heaven" the ancient Himalayas, including the regions of present-day Nepal, Kashmir and Tibet, produced religious art that was a hybrid of the Buddhist and Hindu religions. An art exhibit of 163 objects from this region is now showing at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery until January 11. Incorporating icons that are a hybrid of Indian and Tibetan civilizations, the Bodhisattvas on display feature certain cultural expressions. For example, the article explains the Bodhisattva Manjusri as, "A suavely modeled 12th-century gilded bronze from Nepal. It exudes the youthful, smooth and restrained sensuality of the Nepalese style." The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, representing the Kashmiri aesthetic, is described as follows, "As the bodhisattva of compassion, he offers one hand in the gesture of giving while the other holds a lotus in full bloom." This exhibit of Himalayan art captures the essence of it all with its presentation of various icons. The article sums it up, "Don't be fazed by the many foreign names and concepts that crop up in this magnificent exhibit of Himalayan art. You don't need to know the names because each individual piece displays a beauty that is universal."

Wind Power in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2003/11/11 8:47:02 ( 883 reads )


MUPPANDAL, TAMIL NADU, November 1, 2003: It has been ten years since the first 80-foot blade windmill was installed at Muppandal. Since that time income for the villagers has risen and thousands of new jobs have been created to accomodate the wind energy producers. Koilpillai Gopal, a barber explains, "In 10 years my daily income has gone up to 450 rupees ($10) from 45 rupees." Muppandal is a hilly region where wind farms have sprung up along a 19-mile road where the wind races in from the Arabian Sea through gaps between the mountains. Ajay Vikram Singh, secretary in the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources told Reuters, "The outlook is optimistic. India has the potential to generate 45,000 megawatts from wind energy." Presently the industry in Tamil Nadu generates about half of India's 2,000 megawatts of wind energy and the government expects that by 2012 the sector will expand to 5,000 megawatts. India's total electrical production is 102,000 megawatts. Wind power and other sources such as biogas and solar energy are important to the country as it imports 70% of its crude oil at a cost of US$17 billion a year. When less coal is burned in India, this means reduced emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide with cleaner air as a bonus. The villagers of Muppandal are giving their thanks to Varuna, the Hindu God of the Wind, for the windmills.

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