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Ganesha Festival to be a Low Key Affair in Visakhapatnam

Posted on 2003/9/1 9:47:02 ( 1008 reads )


VISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, August. 29, 2003: Ganesh Chaturthi celebration committees in the city are disappointed by all the restrictions imposed on them by the police, municipal corporation and the Eastern Power Distribution Company. Most of the festival committees have decided to reduce the celebrations to three or six days, from the regular nine or 11 days. The municipal corporation issued orders to the Ganesh Utsav committees not to dig roads for pegging tents. They can only use tar drums to plant sticks to support the tents. City Planner P. Thimma Reddy told the Deccan Chronicle that the committees would be fined if they damaged the roads. The Eastern Power Distribution Company officials have been warning house-owners against allowing their power connections to be used for the Ganesh Utsav tents. People seeking to celebrate the festival should take Tatkal connections, paying between US$31 and $61 depending on their consumption. While agreeing to obey police orders and take mike permission for $2.08 per day for every pandal (tent), the Utsava committee convenor Baliwada Ravi Kumar said the committees would fight the municipal corporation authorities on not digging roads. He told the Deccan Chronicle that "It is impossible to pitch a pandal for more than a week without standard supporting posts from the ground." The city police has warned Ganesh Utsav committees against dancing to recorded music, using double-meaning dialogue during the Hari Kathas, obstructing traffic or inconveniencing people with noise pollution. Ravi Kumar said donations had decreased due to the rise in the number of Utsav committees, the localized donation system and police restrictions.

Andhra Pradesh Government to Sell Temple Lands

Posted on 2003/9/1 9:46:02 ( 989 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 29, 2003: As a gesture to ryots, (small and marginal farmers), the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to sell temple land now held by ryots under lease to them if they want to purchase the land and if such a deal benefits the temple concerned. The ryots will be asked to pay only two-thirds of the market value prevailing in the village or town and in four installments. The definition for ryot for this purpose has been revised to mean one holding not more than five acres of dry land, including the temple land, or not more than 2.5 acres of wet land and having an income of not more than $20 per month and not owning a building worth $417 or vacant site not exceeding 200 sq. yards in a municipality. The Minister for Endowments, D. Sivarama Raju, denied the allegation that the policy of open auction of temple lands for lease had hit the landless poor and small/marginal farmers, with some of them losing whatever temple land they possessed under the old policy to landlords and the rich who could quote high bids. However, the minister said there was no bar preventing anybody from participating in the auction. What all the department wanted was to improve its earnings for the temple out of their lands

Indians in New Worlds: Study of Mauritius and Trinidad

Posted on 2003/9/1 9:45:02 ( 1078 reads )


MAURITIUS/TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, 1992: Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean and Mauritius off of Africa are both poly-ethnic island-states with large population segments of Indian origin. Brought to British islands colonies, particularly plantation colonies, during the British colonial indentureship scheme from ca 1840 to ca. 1910, the Indians were in both societies politically marginal until the electoral reforms of the post-war years. There are similarities and differences in the situation of Indians in Trinidad and Mauritius. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, the author of this lengthy and informative article, compares the respective positions of Indians in the two nation-states, paying particular attention to the relationship between the wider socio-cultural contexts of daily life and national politics.

Animal Sacrifice In Temples Banned

Posted on 2003/8/31 9:49:02 ( 968 reads )


CHENNAI Aug. 28. In another initiative pleasing to animal rights activists, the Tamil Nadu Government today banned animal and bird sacrifice in temples throughout the State. This is the second time in three days the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, has intervened in the interest of animals. On Tuesday, she ordered that temple elephants be given a one-month holiday every year. The Chief Minister has now written to District Collectors, Superintendents of Police and range Deputy Inspectors-General, asking them to prevent the killing of animals in the name of propitiating gods. Stringent action should be taken against violators, she told them. In her letter to the district authorities, she pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1950, and its subsequent amendment, banned the killing of animals and birds in temples and on their premises.

Saiva Agama Website Announced

Posted on 2003/8/31 9:48:02 ( 1670 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, August 31, 2003: S. Sankaran Sivacharyar, a priest at the Sree Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, has introduced a web site for the Saiva Agamas ("source" above) in both Tamil and English. The Saiva Agamas are the scriptures, equal in authority to the Vedas, which explain many aspects of Saiva philosophy and the details of temple worship, among other subjects.

Third Annual International Lord Murugan Conference Set for November 2 to 5 in Malaysia

Posted on 2003/8/31 9:47:02 ( 1016 reads )


MALAYSIA, August 31, 2003: In 1998, many scholars and devotees of Lord Murugan convened in Chennai to exchange findings about the Lord Murugan and His worship from prehistoric times to present. That was the First International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murugan which was remarkable both for the sheer size, board range of research topics and expertise of scholars and devotees. At the end of the need for greater dialogue among scholars of Murugan and the community of informed devotees. Thus, the Second International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murugan was held in Mauritius in 2001. The Third International Arulmigu Murukan Conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia under the distinguished patronage of His Excellency Dato' Seri Dr. S. Samy Vellu, Minister of Works, Malaysia and President of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), in collaboration with International Centre for the Study of Murukan-Skanda.

The main objectives of the conference are:

1. To know the importance of Lord Murugan worship in Hinduism.

2. To promote devotion through religious literature on Murugan worship.

3. To promote research on Murugan worship.

4. To promote Murugan worship amongst the younger generation.

5. To standardize Murugan worship.

Everything to Know About Water Purification

Posted on 2003/8/31 9:46:02 ( 1071 reads )


USA, August 31, 2003: Click "source" above to learn several effective methods to treat water. The material was assembled for trekkers, but is useful for any world traveler. The introduction states, "Dipping your head into a cold mountain stream and taking a long refreshing drink is an experience that has basically vanished from the wilderness areas of America. With the increased use of the wilderness, there has also been an increase in the amount of bacteriological contamination of backcountry water supplies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 90 percent of the world's water is contaminated in some way. There are a variety of microscopic organisms that can contaminate water supplies and cause potentially serious, even fatal, illnesses among wilderness travelers." The site then goes on to describe various methods of purification including boiling, chlorine, iodine and filters. It offers one "trick of the trail" for iodine purification. Iodine works very well but the resulting purified water tastes strongly of iodine. The addition of vitamin C to the water after the purification process is finished will eliminate both the color and taste of iodine.

Festivals of September

Posted on 2003/8/31 9:45:02 ( 0 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, August 31, 2003: Our thanks to M.P. Bhattathiry for providing this festival information for September:

September 1 is Rishi Panchami, 8 is Onam, 25 is Sarva Pitra and Navratri begins on 27.

For a website on Onam, click here

For the significance of Navaratri, click here

Spiritual History May be Part of Your Next Medical Exam

Posted on 2003/8/30 9:49:02 ( 965 reads )

Religion News Service

USA, August 29, 2003: When you visit a doctor for the first time, besides being asked about your health history, your doctor might ask you your religious beliefs as well. A number of physicians are taking patients "spiritual histories," according to Dr. Harold G. Koenig of Duke University. He believes by doing so it can help patients rally spiritual resources to aid healing. "Neglecting a patients spiritual dimension results in failure to treat the 'whole person,'" Koenig said. He described this technique in a manual for health care professionals, "Spirituality in Patients Care." A spiritual history might include questions like: Does the patient rely on religion or spirituality to help cope with illness? Is the patient a member of a supportive spiritual community? What spiritual questions does the patient find most troubling? Dr. Robert Fine, director of clinical ethics at Baylor Healthcare Systems in Dallas, cited an example of a patient who insisted on aggressive treatment, even though her advanced breast cancer was clearly terminal. Fine learned that fear of going to hell kept her from accepting the inevitable. After a conversation with a chaplain, she was able to face death peacefully. Not everyone agrees with the notion of physicians delving into the spiritual. Some worry that doctors aren't equipped to navigate the gray areas between faith and medicine. Dr. Jeffery P. Bishop, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says that the ends of spirituality and medicine don't always agree -- such as the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, who refuse blood transfusions even in life-threatening situations. Koenig believes using spiritual intervention might bring comfort to with patients facing surgery or life-threatening, chronic or disabling conditions. Koenig cited a study suggesting that patients struggling with spiritual crises tend not to heal as well. "Sometimes just listening and validating will give comfort and will make the patient more likely to accept a referral to a chaplain who can help," he said.

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Honored in 125 portraits

Posted on 2003/8/30 9:48:02 ( 1026 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, August 29, 2003: The Amritavarsham 50 Celebration which is dedicated to world peace -- Embracing the World for Peace and Harmony -- has inspired 125 national and international artists to portray the life and teachings of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi in a grand exhibition in Kochi. The 125 portraits, ranging from realistic to abstract, will be on display in the International Stadium in Kochi from September 24 to 27. The exhibition forms part of the celebrations honouring the charitable and humanitarian works on the 50th birthday of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. Amma, as she is lovingly known by her followers, is guru to millions all over the world. The name of the exhibition is "Colours of Compassion." Participating in the exhibition are artists of world renown, including fifteen National Award winners and thirty-two State Award Winners. Sixteen traditional Indian styles of painting are incorporated. Styles range from realistic portraits of Amma to the abstract.

Hindus Tested For Diabetes At Netherlands Festival

Posted on 2003/8/30 9:47:02 ( 1065 reads )

Rotterdams Dagblad

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, July 29, 2003: A hundred Hindu volunteers were tested for diabetes during the annual Milan celebration in the Hague. Approximately ten percent were found to have mild diabetes reported Karen Bree, project leader of the GGD (Public Health Service), Sunday. The GGD and the Dutch Diabetes Association had chosen the Milan Festival as the starting point of an information offensive about diabetes among the Hindu population of the Netherlands. In comparison with other communities, Hindus in the Netherlands have an increased risk of diabetes as a result of improper diet. The Hague has the largest Hindu community in the Netherlands. Of the 40,000 Hindu inhabitants of the Hague, an astounding forty percent get diabetes. The outcome of the tests during this year's event is not alarming according to Karen Bree. "We had expected this," said Bree. "It is especially our intention to make the people conscious that they are walking around with diabetes and the risks involved. And we can refer them to a general practitioner in the early stage. The sooner you know about it the better." Since 1985, the Milan festival has been celebrated every year to promote the integration of Hindus in the Netherlands. At least ten thousand visitors annually attend "Milan." It is the largest Hindu festival in Europe according to the organizers.

Nallur Chariot Festival Draws Thousands of Devotees

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:49:02 ( 982 reads )


JAFFNA, SRI LANKA, August 26, 2003: The chariot or "Ther" festival of the historic Nallur Kandasamy Temple in Jaffna town was held Tuesday morning with thousands of devotees from all over the island and from abroad participating, sources attending the festival said. The chief Deity, Lord Murugan, was taken from the temple Tuesday morning around seven to the gaily-decorated chariot, which was surrounded by a large number of devotees. For a great gallery of photos, click "source" above and also follow the links to earlier reports.

On Day of Big Bath, Tragedy Hits Kumbha Mela

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:48:02 ( 950 reads )


NASHIK, INDIA, August 27, 2003: Thirty-seven pilgrims, including 28 women, were killed and 57 injured today in a stampede and drowning at the Kumbh Mela here. The stampede occurred in a narrow, winding bylane leading to the banks of the Godavari in Nashik around 12:40 pm when devotees walking down towards the ghats jostled with those returning after the holy dip. Several explanations are given for the cause. The BBC has seized on one uncorroborated version that has a Hindu "holy man" tossing coins to the crowd caused a stampede. Hinduism Today's reporter, Rajiv Malik, is at the Mela now and reports that poor crowd control measures were to blame, and there was no incident of a holy man tossing coins. He further states that the saints and sadhus at the Mela are upset by the circulation of this story which puts the blame on them instead of on lapses in organization of the massive event. In this case, the lapse was pilgrims streaming toward the river to share a narrow lane with those returning, whereas at the last Mela in Prayag, the flow of pilgrims was carefully channeled through one-way avenues. Hundreds of thousands of devotee continued to arrive on the banks of the Godavari, unfazed by the incidents. Security was later stepped up around the Ramkund bathing area.

Britain Recognizes Need of Romany-Speaking Gypsies

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:47:02 ( 1184 reads )


LONDON, UK, August 26, 2003: There are about 42,000 Gypsy children in British schools, and education authorities have now realized that the education system has largely ignored their special needs. Historically the Gypsies began their journey from the Indus valley in northern India, travelled through Persia, and reached Hungary and other parts of eastern Europe about 1,000 years ago. They are thought to have arrived on English soil about 400 years ago. Their language, known as Romany, is recognizable, but not entirely intelligible, to a Hindi-speaking person. In official records they are known as Romany Gypsies, one of the smallest communities among Britain's ethnic minority population dominated by Asians and Afro-Caribbeans. Britain has ensured that cultures of ethnic minority groups are well catered for in the education system, particularly those of the Asian communities speaking Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali. However, now education authorities have realized that the policy has largely failed to cater to the cultural needs of Romany Gypsy children. They rarely receive specialist support nor is their culture recognized in the curriculum. Schools Minister Stephen Twigg stated: "Gypsy traveller pupils present many challenges for schools. There are issues of racism, discrimination, stereotyping and a need for better links between parents and teachers. Schools must overcome these challenges and make sure that the pupils get as good an education as everyone else."

First-Ever Exhibition of Ganesh Art at the Kala Academy

Posted on 2003/8/29 9:46:02 ( 1076 reads )


GOA, INDIA, August 28, 2003: The Kala Academy of Art, Campal, Goa, is opening an exhibition of Ganesh Art August 28. Fifteen artists of Goan origin, both international and local, will display their works on Lord Ganesh. For more information, click "source" above.

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