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Californian's Realtors Opt For Diversity Training


Posted on 2003/5/21 9:46:02 ( 894 reads )

Source

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, May 18, 2003: Manoj Mathai's hunt for his first house could be a lesson to Silicon Valley real estate professionals. A home must have certain qualities to make the native of India happy. The front door must face east because good fortune comes from a rising sun. "In the back of our minds, we Indians are looking for certain things," Mathai said. "We can talk about it, but some agents will still show us homes with entrances that face the wrong way, not realizing how important things like this are to us." To avoid such mistakes, home builders and real estate agents across the Bay Area are increasingly making it a priority to understand the cultural differences that define the valley. The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors recently began issuing certificates to members who attend cultural diversity training courses approved by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. "We are some of the most cultural diverse areas in the country," said Steve G. Delva, of Standard Pacific Homes. "As an industry, we need to take an interest in different cultures, languages, and different attitudes and perceptions." Delva sent 40 employees to a customized cultural awareness seminar focused on customs and beliefs native to the Philippines, China and India, to learn about the importance of home design, cultural taboos and mannerisms unique to the cultures.




Britain May Ban Muslim And Jewish Animal Slaughter Methods


Posted on 2003/5/21 9:45:02 ( 928 reads )

Source

LONDON, U.K., May 17, 2003: The British Government appears ready to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning them. This would affect the supply of halal meat (animals that are slaughtered according to the Islamic sharia law.) For the last few years, authorities have gone out of their way to accommodate the request by the Muslim community to provide only halal meat for Muslim students in schools and even for Muslim convicts serving jail sentences. Under a new proposal to be put forward next month, Jewish and Muslim communities would lose the legal right to slaughter animals without stunning them. The communities have reacted angrily saying that such a ban would end thousands of years of religious rites. Under the European Union animal welfare regulations, all farm animals must be stunned before slaughter, unless they are killed by religious methods as halal for Muslims and schechita for Jews. Both methods involve religiously trained slaughter men using sharp knives to cut throats and let the animal bleed to death. The Farm Animal Welfare Council, appointed and funded by the government, has concluded a study that finds Jewish and Muslim methods of slaughter inhumane because it takes two minutes or more for the animal to lose consciousness.




India's Women Begin Wearing Pants to Work


Posted on 2003/5/21 9:44:02 ( 808 reads )

Source

NEW DELHI, May 18, 2003: India's working women are all set for an outfit conversion. Though the salwar kameez remains their most-preferred work wear, a strong urge for a shift to Western attire has placed them on the brink of change, according to the responses of 891 participants. Most respondents said they would put on Western wear for the office, but various reasons hold them back from giving up their Indian dresses, according to the fashion trade magazine "Images." Ethnic salwar kameez, the study claimed, accounted for more than one-third of the total office attire, while the salwar kameez, the sari and the Indo-Western kurta constituted little less than half of the work wear in practice in India. "About 17.5 per cent of working women are therefore on the verge of conversion to Western wear, but may have temporarily held back for various reasons," it claimed. A dignified look is the top consideration for the Indian woman while selecting office wear at a retail counter and comfort is secondary followed by exclusivity, feminine touch and sexy looks in that order, the study showed. But the typical Indian love for customs and traditions does not seem to be slipping into oblivion as preference for ethnic wear appeared exceptionally strong -- around 90 percent during festivals and family occasions.




Arrests Follow South Indian Village Killings


Posted on 2003/5/21 9:43:02 ( 845 reads )

Source

CALICUT, INDIA, May 4, 2003: More than 60 people are under arrest in a south Indian fishing village, after nine fishermen were killed and more than 20 people injured. The victims who died in the attack in the state of Kerala, were all Hindus. Marad had been tense since January last year, when five people, including four Muslims, died in communal violence. The Kerala coast has a volatile mix of Muslim, Hindu and Christian fishing communities, most very poor and living very close to one another. Competition between them is heightened by dwindling fish stocks, and they no longer share the same boats.




Ride the Tirukkural Express


Posted on 2003/5/21 9:42:02 ( 1090 reads )

The Hindu

CHENNAI, INDIA, October 19, 2002: There is a train called the Tirukkural Express with weekly routes between Hazarat Nizamuddin to Kanyakumari and back. The Tirukkural is a 2,200-year-old South Indian Dravidian classic on ethical living. Its 1,330 verses were written by a Tamil weaver sage name Tiruvalluvar. Tiru means "holy" or "sacred," and kural describes a brief verse or literary couplet.




Chicago Suburb Home to New Swaminarayan Temple


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:49:02 ( 840 reads )

Source

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, May 17, 2003: Another Hindu temple of grandiose proportions is being built in the U.S. just outside Chicago in Bartlett. Supported by the Swaminarayan Sect (BSS) of the Gujarat community, US$30 million will be spent to erect the temple of Italian marble and Turkish limestone. Spreading over 100,000 square feet, the complex will be built in traditional Indian style with sanctums for Lords Siva, Ram, Krishna, Ganesha and Lord Swaminarayan. Marble craftsmen numbering 450 have already started work carving 108 pillars in Rajasthan. The Swaminarayan sect has already built around 450 temples in 45 countries in the last 100 years. Born in 1781, Lord Swaminarayan started the reformed Hinduism that the sect adheres to.




Violence Intended to Stop Dalits Worshipping at Temples


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:48:02 ( 821 reads )

Source

KOLHAPUR, INDIA, May 14, 2003: A Dalit ("untouchable") movement to allow entry into temples in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra has taken a bloody turn with the upper castes resorting to violence against it. Earlier, upper caste community members had tried ostracizing and threatening Dalit Mahasangh, the group spearheading the movement. The Mahasangh is active in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts. Yesterday, upper caste members pelted stones and blocked roads when a Dalit group was returning after a visit to the Basweshwara temple at Hitni, a village in Kolhapur district. A violent mob also set afire the tehsildar's jeep and two police motorbikes and pelted stones at police on duty. Police took 30 villagers into custody who were later released on bail. The mob turned violent when police led the Dalit activists to safety after their temple visit. Later in the evening, the Dalit community at Gadhinglaj arranged a protest against the violence. The row began when the Dalit community from Madyal in Kolhapur entered the Somlinga temple in the village on Ambedkar Jayanti. Villagers said they are not against temple entrance, but "outsider" Dalits are creating tension. Superintendent of Police R.K. Padmanabhan claimed that police had controlled the situation in Hitni. The Republican Party of India today submitted a memorandum to the district collector and the SP and demanded strict action against those involved in prohibiting Dalits from entering temples.




Ancient Andra Temples to Receive Face Lift


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:47:02 ( 895 reads )

Source

ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, May 12, 2003: Recognizing the need, the Andhra Pradesh government is allocating US$810,000 to restore ancient temples in the state. Minister for Endowments D. Sivaramaraju says, "The state government has decided to provide more facilities for visitors and devotees." At a recent visit to the Swamy Temple, atop Durgamalleswara hill, gold gopurams were installed and the temple grounds will soon have 500 cottages to accommodate pilgrims. The plans were similar to ones already implemented at the Tirumala temple.




Archaeological Survey of India Takes Over Kalkaji Temple


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:46:02 ( 1021 reads )

Source

NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 14, 2003: Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to declare the Kalkaji temple in south Delhi a protected monument. The notification is aimed at protecting the temple from people who misuse the temple's premises and property. The ASI will be empowered to clear the area of all illegal construction that has mushroomed near the shrine with the backing of those who run its affairs. The notification will also allow the ASI to maintain the structure and regulate the admission of devotees to the temple.



The temple attracts large numbers of people from the Capital and neighboring areas. Its earnings, through donations and offerings, run into many thousands of US dollars. But the temple is poorly maintained and in an extremely dilapidated condition. Control over funds and the day-to-day administration of the affairs of the temple are in the hands of the representatives of a brahmin clan, consisting of about 350 families, who own the temple. The notification will not change that. The temple is extremely ancient, dating back likely thousands of years.



Nathi Ram Bhardwaj, a priest of the temple, says over 100 sweepers clean the huge temple complex. He accuses civic agencies of not providing sewerage and water connection. Bhardwaj also said there is a stay order from the Delhi High Court against the takeover of the temple by the Central government.






A Rare Friendship Between a Leopard and a Cow


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:45:02 ( 1367 reads )

Source

GUJARAT, INDIA, May 12, 2003: A rare phenomena has captured the hearts and minds of inhabitants of a village in Gujarat. It all started last October when a leopard began making regular nocturnal visits to a cow in the village. At first the villagers were leery of the visits, but word soon spread about the unusual relationship. Rohit Vyas explained, "It was unbelievable. They approached each other at very close proximity and the fearless cow would lick the leopard on its head and neck." Efforts by the Forest department to capture the leopard proved fruitless. Soon the villagers were protecting the leopard. Apparently its frequent visits have kept other animals from damaging crops and crop yields have gone up by 30 per cent.




Sindhu Darshan Photo Exhibition In New Delhi


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:44:02 ( 838 reads )

HPI

NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 20 ,2003: The Sindhu Darshan Photo Exhibition was inaugurated by Shri Jagmohan, Minister of Tourism and Culture, on May 18, 2003, at the Tea Lounge of New Delhi's Ashok Hotel. The exhibition will remained open for the public until May 19. Speaking to the journalists on this occasion Sri Jagmohan said the exhibition is connected to the Sindhu Darshan Festival which is celebrated at Leh, Ladakh, from June 1 to the 3 every year and is now entering its sixth year. According to Shri Jagmohan, the festival has imparted a national focus to the river Sindhu which gave India its name and provided a good number of seeds for its rich civilization. This annual festival of national pride is dedicated to the mighty river Indus, from which the name India (and Hindu) has been derived, and to the men and women of the armed forces who protect India's borders. The festival is jointly organized by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India.



The river Sindhu symbolizes the power and permanence of the ancient Indian civilization , which evolved over a period of thousands of years. The river name comes from the Sanskrit word "Sindhu," mentioned in the Rig Veda. The Sindhu Darshan aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony.



A variety of cultural activities awaited the enthusiasts at this three-day festival. A host of renowned artists enthralled visitors with their colorful performances. The Sindhu Darshan Festival 2003 witnessed the august presence of a galaxy of dignitaries, among them His Holiness Kanchi Sankaracharya, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, Minister for Defense George Fernandes, and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayed.



The three-day festival featured an all-religions meeting with participation of leading figures from all faiths, a literary seminar with the presence of prominent writers and literary figures over countrywide, a photographers and painters camp and a grand cultural extravaganza on the inaugural day. A star attraction was a specially choreographed performance on the Sindhu river by the eminent artists Shovna Narayan, Bharati Shivaji and Kiran Sehgal. Another prominent performance was a musical evening by the renowned Shaabri Brothers. A host of artists and performers showcased the best of Ladakhi music, dance and culture.



As part of the process of creating awareness for the festival, a touring exhibition was held at various locations in the country. This brought to light the various aspects of the festival and the beauty of the Ladakh region through the lens of veteran photographer and editor of Panchjanya Sri Tarun Vijay, who was in fact the brain behind it. Sri Tarun Vijay feels that Sindhu Darshan should be a very pious thing for all Indians. Says Tarun, " I think Sindhu Darshan must be treated as a tirtha (pilgrimage), the fifth one, where people of all religions, languages, castes must come and feel the message of national unity."




Washington State Hosts Tyagaraja Music Festival


Posted on 2003/5/20 9:43:02 ( 863 reads )

Associated Press

RICHLAND, WASHINGTON, U.S.A., May 5, 2003: Members of the India Association of the Tri-Cities took part in the 16th annual Tyagaraja Music Festival at Timbers Apartments in Richland, Washington. About a dozen musicians sat on the floor in the clubhouse singing and playing the music of the great composer, Tyagaraja Shishyaparmpara, more commonly known as Saint Tyagaraja. "There is lots of ornamentation in East Indian music" said Shas Mattigod of Richland. "The music we perform here today is from southern India." For nearly 150 years, Hindus around the world have celebrated Saint Tyagaraja's life and music. He wrote more than 900 complete compositions during his lifetime from 1767 to 1847. "Tyagaraja created all forms of music, from love songs to spirituals," Mattigod said. "Like Mozart, he was clearly a genius."




Delhi Bride Gains Worldwide Attention by Calling the Cops on Groom


Posted on 2003/5/19 9:49:02 ( 806 reads )

Source

NOIDA, INDIA, May 16, 2003: The musicians were playing, the 2,000 guests were dining, the Hindu priest was preparing the ceremony and the bride was dressed in red, her hands and feet festively painted with henna. Then, the bride's family says, the groom's family moved in for the kill. The dowry of two televisions, two home theater sets, two refrigerators, two air-conditioners and one car was too cheap. They wanted US$25,000 in rupees, now, under the wedding tent. As a free-for-all erupted between the two families, the bartered bride put her hennaed foot down. She reached for her royal blue cellphone and dialed 100. By calling the police, Nisha Sharma, a 21-year-old computer student, saw her potential groom land in jail and herself land in the national spotlight as India's new overnight sensation. "Are they marrying with money, or marrying with me?" Ms. Sharma asked today, her dark eyes glaring under arched eyebrows. In the next room a fresh wave of reporters waited to interview her, sitting next to the unopened boxes of her wedding trousseau. Her father, a believer in arranged marriages, found the groom by placing a classified ad in two of Delhi's elite English-language newspapers, a common practice here.



Today he recommended that fathers of brides check the bona fides of prospective in-laws. His potential son-in-law was not a computer engineer, he said, but a computer instructor. The mother was not a vice principal of a private school, but a gym teacher. That fact came home to him on Sunday night when Mrs. Dalal slapped him across the face for refusing her demand for cash. "The finger marks of her slap, later, after four hours, figured in my medical legal examination. Then Savitry Devi spit on my face," he continued, referring to the groom's aunt. "This was dowry cum blackmailing. I wanted to call police and dial my mobile, but it was snatched by somebody." Instead, his daughter called the police.




Man Struggles to Keep Oasis for Cows in Gujarat


Posted on 2003/5/19 9:48:02 ( 793 reads )

www.ndtv.com (archive)

GUJARAT, INDIA, May 11, 2003: Wells in north Gujarat have run dry but there is one cattle camp in Surendranagar district with nearly 30,000 cattle still in operation. Veja Bhagat, who has been running the place for over 30 years has to buy 50 tankers of water a day, 600 kilos of bajra and 180 tons of dry grass, which add up to a daily expense of US$9,500. As a result he's $63,615 in debt. "I don't have any wealth. I took loans, borrowed money and mortgaged land to run this place," he said. The money for his camp also comes from donations from all over the state. Despite the huge debt, Veja Bhagat says he will never shut the camp. "Any man would beg, borrow to run his home. These animals cannot speak for themselves. I will do anything for them," he says. His huge kitchen employs 100 people and feeds any cattle that walk in. While cattle in many parts of Gujarat are dying of starvation, this is one place where people come to ensure they can survive another year of drought.




Rajasthan Seeks Sadhus' Help to Build University


Posted on 2003/5/19 9:47:02 ( 824 reads )

Source

JAIPUR, INDIA, May 9, 2003: Strapped for money, the Rajasthan Government approached the sadhus of the state to raise US$297,526.87 for a new university. "We have entered into an agreement with the sadhus of Triveni Ashram in Shahpura (near Jaipur) for collecting money for a new Sanskrit University," Deputy Chief Minister Kamla said. "According to the agreement, the sadhus, led by Mahant Narayan Das, would collect money and build a new complex for the university," the Deputy CM said. The project would be completed within two years. The sadhus aren't asking for much in return. "They have asked us to name the university after 16th century saint, Guru Ramananda. We will do this as soon as the new complex is handed over to us," Kamla said. The project is already on the roll. "The government has identified over 200 acres of land. And the Mahant and his followers have started pumping in the money," she said. HPI adds: The Sanskrit University project, financially supported by the sadhus, was recently launched by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.


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