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Book Released on Ayodhya Archeological Findings


Posted on 2003/10/22 8:47:02 ( 919 reads )

Source

DELHI, INDIA, October 21, 2003: India Today published a book review of "Ayodhya, the Finale" by Koenraad Elst. It reads in part, "Although his academic credentials are quite impressive, Belgian historian Koenraad Elst is known to his Indian readers largely as a polemicist. In his 58-page booklet, Ayodhya, The Finale, he doesn't disappoint those who have come to expect hearty, punch-packed secularist-bashing from his pugnacious pen. The volume has two essays that he wrote after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) brought out the report on the excavation at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Some years ago, Elst caused quite a stir with his robust defence of the Ram mandir movement, bringing his scholarship to bear upon the perverted logic of India's secular fundamentalists, mercilessly exposing their duplicity in the process. To him and countless others, the entire gamut of secularist positions on Ayodhya is truly baffling. Is there any doubt that there existed a temple dedicated to Ram at his birthplace? Can anybody seriously question that a mosque was built after demolishing such a structure after the Muslim conquest of north India to proclaim the military superiority of Islam over the kafirs of Hindustan?" The book is available from Voice of India at "source" above.




Ujjain Mela is Major One of Twelve-Year Cycle


Posted on 2003/10/22 8:46:02 ( 853 reads )

Hinduism Today

DELHI, INDIA, October 17, 2003: At the request of a reader for clarity on the upcoming Kumbha Mela in Ujjain, our Delhi correspondent, Mr. Rajiv Malik, writes that according to information from the Madhya Pradesh government, this is the twelve-year mela, known as Simhastha Kumbha 2004. The question arises because the Melas at other sites, particularly Prayag, are attracting big crowds even on the third-year cycles between the 12 year one. According to our sources, the main bathing dates at Ujjain are April 5, 19, 22, 24 & May 4. May 4 is the day of the new moon and is the Shahi Snan, the most important bath.




Sri Lanka to Celebrate Deepavali


Posted on 2003/10/21 8:49:02 ( 871 reads )

Source

SRI LANKA, October 18, 2003: Sri Lanka's Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry has released US$16,000 for the purchase of new clothes for people in thirty-five orphanages, homes of the aged, children homes and women welfare centers in the north east of the country for Deepavali, said a ministry press release. The Ministry had earlier made an appeal to all Hindu temples and institutions on the island to distribute new clothes to a minimum of ten people each. Accordingly, more than one hundred Hindu religious institutions came forward to distribute new clothes and to hold "annathanam" (free meal) on Deepavali Day. The festival falls on October 24 this year. Deepavali Day celebration will be held in Colombo under the State patronage on Thursday at Bambalapitiya New Kathiresan Hall in Colombo. Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe will be the chief guest. A special postage stamp depicting the importance of Deepavali Festival will be released.




Thousand-Year-Old Siva Temple Found in Tamil Nadu


Posted on 2003/10/21 8:48:02 ( 949 reads )

Kadhiravan Tamil Daily

THUTHUKUDI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA, May 3, 2003: Village Kottamadaikadu in Kayalpattinam block of Thuthukkudi district in Tamilnadu is situated on the sea shore of Bay of Bengal. A major industrial unit, M/s Dharangadhara Chemical Works (DCW), manufacturing caustic soda, was the pride of the village, providing job opportunities to locals. But it rendered itself an eyesore to the people when it sought to dump its acid slurry on a five-acre plot on the beach, which is bound to end up as a threat to the ecosystem, especially the subsoil water table feeding a population of one hundred thousand in the surrounding villages. When DCW men dug up a one square kilometer trench to dump the slurry, statues of deities and remains of 1,000-year temple belonging to the early Chola period surfaced. These icons as well as a few puja utensils, found during the second round of digging in June, were reportedly handed over to a government official at Tiruchendur by the Company officials. But the villagers, some of whom are eyewitnesses to the presence of a six-foot stone icon of Kali at the dug up site, questioned the mysterious disappearance of the same. Later it was found lying in a lake inside a forest nearby. The government official retrieved it and kept it under his custody.




Now East Meets West For Tamil Songstress


Posted on 2003/10/21 8:47:02 ( 918 reads )

Source

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, October 19, 2003: A school clerk will take orchestral music to new heights when she blends it with Indian classical songs. Singer, dancer and choreographer Nirmala Govender, 39, of Malvern, Durban, will be performing with the Gateway Philharmonic Orchestra at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping's Palm Court today. She will be singing Indian devotional songs at a concert entitled "East Meets West." "It is such an honor. The conductor heard my singing on my CD while it was being duplicated for the launch. I will be singing two songs, Nanthalala and Kannan Thiruvadi from my CD, as well as an old favorite, Ragu Pathy Raga," said Govender. "This is something new, having Indian classical with orchestral. I am a little nervous, as I have to make an impression and let it be a stepping stone for others." Philipp Maier, music and artistic director of the Gateway Philharmonic Orchestra, said he wanted to do something new with traditional Indian music.




Believers Insist Religion Not Cause of Violence


Posted on 2003/10/21 8:46:02 ( 931 reads )

Source

WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., OCTOBER 16, 2003: Followers of the world's major faiths, including those in countries torn by sectarian violence, say that religion is not the cause of unrest, according to a global survey on religion recently released. The thousands of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims surveyed in Israel, India, South Korea, the United States and other areas, said they thought that more piety would improve their countries. "There is so much association of religion with strife in the news," said William Green, a religion professor at the University of Rochester in New York, and a leader of the study. This survey indicates "we may be missing a broader dimension" of the picture, he said. "The notion that people think the more religious society will help a country certainly suggests that they're not afraid of religion," Green said at a news conference. In India, torn by frequent Hindu-Muslim violence, 65 percent of Muslims and 55 percent of Hindus said they disagreed that religion was the source of trouble and unrest. The poll was conducted in eleven countries by the University of Rochester and Zogby International. More than 4,000 self-described Jews and Muslims in Israel and Hindus and Muslims in India, as well as Christians and Buddhists in South Korea and Roman Catholics and Protestants in the United States were among those surveyed for the study.




President Bush Extends Diwali Greetings


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:49:02 ( 936 reads )

Source

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20, 2003: President George W. Bush has sent greetings to Hindus in the U.S. and around the world for the festival of Diwali. In a White House press statement Thursday, Bush said that by "marking the beginning of the Hindu New Year, Diwali provides an opportunity to give thanks for the renewal of life, reflect on lessons learned and anticipate future blessings. By celebrating their beliefs, ancestry, and culture, Hindus in America and around the world enrich communities and ensure that important values and customs are passed on to future generations." He said: "Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a joyous Diwali. May the coming year be filled with hope and happiness." Overjoyed Indian Americans said perhaps this was the first time a U.S. president had acknowledged Diwali as a festival that celebrates the culture and ancestry of the Hindus. The festival will be observed across the world on October 25. Many of them had earlier complained that Bush remembers every festival and sends greetings on the occasion of Eid, Hanukkah and Christmas, but has not been able to say anything on Diwali, the most important festival observed by Hindus. But with a bit of lobbying and letter writing, Indian Americans have triumphed in their quest for recognition of Diwali as the festival of the Hindus.




M.P. Chief Minister Extends Invitations For Ujjain Kumbha


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:48:02 ( 823 reads )

Press Release

UJJAIN, INDIA, October 18, 2003: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Digvijay Singh praised the arrangements made for the Kumbha Mela at Nashik and he announced that the Ujjain Kumbha Mela scheduled for next year will be in line with the Nashik Kumbha Mela. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister visited the Sadhu Gram at Tapovan in Nashik on August 22, 2003, to personally invite the Sadhus and Mahants for next year's Kumbha Mela at Ujjain. Speaking to the reporters after paying a visit to the Godavari River, Digvijay Singh said that all preparations for the mega event at Ujjain have been finished and he was in Nashik to invite the sadhus and mahants. Singh further said that he will follow the foot steps of Nashik administration in the preparation if there are any lacunas in his own. Sadhus and Mahants were also very happy with this initiative of the chief minister, and he was offered a traditional welcome by the sadhus with elephants and drums.




Toronto Star Apologizes -- Sort of -- for Unclothed Durga


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:47:02 ( 865 reads )

Source

TORONTO, CANADA, August 20, 2003: The Toronto Star's Ombudsman, Don Steller, issued the following statement in response to Hindu complaints about a picture of an unclothed statue of the Goddess Durga run prominently in their newspaper: "UNDRAPED GODDESS. Durga is the multi-armed, Hindu goddess of power. Each fall, statues of Durga are worshipped for nine days at prayer festivals, and immersed in water. Last Saturday, the Star ran a Reuters photo of a craftsman in India making a statue of Durga. It ran with a feature on Hindu festival preparations here. The idol in the large color photo was unclothed, dramatically so. The picture stirred strong protests from some Hindu readers who said the undraped, frontal view was at least disrespectful, at worst 'blasphemous.' Said an editor: 'We're sorry if this representation of the goddess offended some readers. It was unintentional.' An effort to photograph a local statue being built had failed, she explained. So the wire photo was used. Apparently, the Star didn't understand the idol would never appear unclothed. When asked, several Hindus said the photo didn't offend them. Still, it's a reminder that matters of faith are delicate. Editors need to guard against insensitivity." India Cause, which led the protest, called the apology, "half-hearted." HPI adds: It is useful for people and organizations working to educate the Western press in Hinduism that reporters are trained to be very careful with terminology. Leave aside sensitive religious issues, the average reporter knows such minute details that one has to capitalize Jeep and Rollerblades because those terms are trademarks. So it is reasonable for Hindus to request news organizations to learn in detail what is and isn't offensive to Hindus, and to ask knowledgeable sources when they don't know.




Teaching Hinduism in US Schools


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:46:02 ( 1033 reads )

Source

U.S.A., 2001: "Stereotypes about India and Hinduism when taught as fact in American classrooms may negatively impact students of South Asian origin who are struggling to work out their identity in a multicultural, predominately Anglo-Christian environment," begins this very long article by Yvette C. Rosser. The author explores the reactions of Hindu students who have studied about India in social studies classes in American secondary schools. Data was taken from surveys distributed at the University of Texas at Austin to students of South Asian descent who attended high school in the USA, as well as from personal interviews with several American-educated students of Indian heritage. The author also discusses the coverage of India in world history textbooks and analyses the preparedness of secondary social studies educators to teach about India and other non-Western regions. The full text of the article is at "source" above.




Hundreds Of Dalits Embrace Buddhism In Bangalore


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:45:02 ( 823 reads )

Source

BANGALORE, INDIA, October 14, 2003: Coinciding with this day in 1956, when the architect of Indian Constitution, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, hundreds of Dalits ("untouchables") from various parts of Karnataka today converted to the same religion, after taking a pledge to renounce Hinduism. They took the 22-point oath that Ambedkar administered at "dhamma" initiation to embrace Buddhism at Nagpur in 1956 at the function organized by the Boudha Dhamma Deeksha Committee, including different Dalit bodies and International Buddhist Youth Organization. In their oath, they renounced Hinduism and said they "firmly believe that dhamma of Buddha is the only true religion." The number of conversions fell very much short of the claims of the organizers who had projected that 50,000 would embrace Buddhism. The exact number of people who embraced Buddhism at the gathering, where there were participants from various districts of Karnataka, was not available. Organizers said they were in the process of compiling the number of registrations. Speakers at the function claimed Dalits were suffering because of the caste hierarchy in Hinduism and today's move was to restore their self-respect.




Pundit Krishna Maharaj Passes Away


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:44:02 ( 1947 reads )

Source

TRINIDAD, October 15, 2003: Devant Maharaj of Trinidad's Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha sends this report: "On the eve of 2003 Divali celebrations Pundit Krishna Maharaj, the Dharmacharya of Trinidad & Tobago, died today. Pundit Krishna, as he was fondly called, was the spiritual leader of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha of Trinidad & Tobago and considered the most revered Hindu pundit on the island regardless of Hindu sect. Pundit Krishna has been a pundit for over 40 years and has conducted pujas not only in Trinidad but also the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. Pundit Krishna raised the spirits nationally in 1996 when he refused the Trinity Cross -- Trinidad's Highest National Award. Pundit Krishna accepted the honor but respectfully refused the award. For years Hindus have been lobbying to change the award. Pundit Krishna leaves behind two sons both of whom are respected pundits. Pundit Krishna's death will leave a deep void in the Hindu community.




Australian Court Hears Muslim Complaint Against Christian Evangelists


Posted on 2003/10/20 8:43:02 ( 887 reads )

Source

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, October 2003: A court case seen to be legal challenge to Christians' freedom to question the validity of other religions is now underway in Australia. It is worth following as Hindus may also be able to prevent attacks under the same laws. Two Christian pastors accused of vilifying Islam at a seminar to explain the teachings of Islam to Christians appeared before a tribunal in the state of Victoria on October 15, 2003. Muslims who attended the seminar organized by a Christian organization, Catch the Fire Ministries, claimed they were horrified by what they heard and took up the matter with the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) which then took the case, under new anti-discrimination legislation, to a state body called the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC). EOC mediation efforts failed, and the ICV and the three individual Muslims took the pastors to a tribunal set up under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. In their response, the pastors said, "Many of the complaints were about statements that are in fact part of the foundations of Islam, some taken straight from the Quran." Some statements were taken out of context, while others were inaccurate, when compared to recordings of the seminar. A Christian ethical action group called Saltshakers is closely following the case. Executive officer Peter Stokes said all Christians in the state were affected by the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act "if they stand up and declare the truth." "The Christian gospel -- that Jesus died to save the world and there is no other way to gain eternal life -- is going to be offensive to followers of other faiths because it exposes their religions as "false," he said. Click here for the Catch the Fire Ministries home page, and here for a description of the group and the related "Toronto Blessing" movement, considered a "cult" by some Christians.




Navaratri Celebrated in Malaysia


Posted on 2003/10/19 8:49:02 ( 766 reads )

Source

PENANG, MALAYSIA, October 13, 2003: Malaysian Hindus have been celebrating the festival Navaratri in their country since the early 1920's. With each successive year, the festival has attracted more participants to the nine-day celebration in honor of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. This year the festival culminated with a 4 km chariot procession starting at 7 p.m. from Penang Street and ending at midnight. Devotees followed the wooden chariot while singing bhajans and offering coconuts, fruits and flowers to the Goddess. A priest accompanying the murthi distributed holy ash to one and all.




Bihar Prisons Go Vegetarian


Posted on 2003/10/19 8:48:02 ( 933 reads )

Source

BIHAR, INDIA, October 13, 2003: Bihar prison inmates may be in for a surprise in the next few weeks. State Jail Minister Basawan Bhagat announced at a meeting attended by senior officials, "The prisons have decided to stop providing nonvegetarian food to prisoners and bring about a qualitative change in the vegetarian food. High-quality rice, dal and vegetables will be provided to the prisoners." Up to this point, Bihar was the only state in India that provided nonvegetarian food such as mutton, fish and chicken to the inmates.


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