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Bhakti Is a Bestseller

Posted on 2003/4/25 9:47:02 ( 997 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 19, 2003: While indipop, bhangra, rap and remix albums come and go in popularity, Indians listen to devotional music morning after morning without getting tired. Believing in God seems the safest bet in the music industry, industry insiders say. While there may be many reasons for the perpetual popularity of devotional songs, a spokeswoman of Music Today says, "There's so much stress that people are increasingly veering towards spiritualism and bhajans/stotras fulfill that need." People of all ages are buying CD recording of just bhajans and kirtans. Pure Sanskrit slokas are also popular. Devotional music stays at the top of the charts, even beyond the festival seasons of Navaratri, Ganesha Chaturthi and Deepavali. The popularity associated with devotional songs is also inspiring singers of other genres of music to venture into this territory.

New York City Celebrates Naba Barsha and Vaishaki

Posted on 2003/4/24 9:49:02 ( 891 reads )


NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A., April 22, 2003: New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Council Member James Gennaro celebrated Naba Barsha (Bengali Hindu New Year) and Vaishaki (Punjabi New Year, harvest and time when the Khalsa Panth was established) were celebrated at City Hall in New York City on Tuesday. Organized by Queens County District Leader Uma Sengupta, the program included dances by acclaimed Oddisi exponent Gargi Chattopadhyay's OMNA Ancient Arts troupe, and Punjabi and Bhangra Folk Dances by the Ranjanee and Neelkanthdham Groups. OMNA Ancient Arts' dance program was entitled "New Year Celebration Through the World -- Peace and Harmony" and included the Vedic Mantra "Shanti Patahah." Rabindranath Tagore's song on New Year in Bengali was sung and his poem "Where the mind is without fear" was read aloud to the 100 plus attendees. Two symbolic candles where lit to mark world peace and for the safety and remembrance of the U.S. troops overseas. Master of Ceremonies Suprabhat Sengupta explained the significance of New Year in India's varied communities and how the community here in the United States is keeping that spirit and heritage alive. Council Member James Gennaro expressed gratitude to the Indian community for its support in his election victory as well as bringing strong cultural values to the melting pot of NYC. Mr. Gennaro was not shy about participating in the Bhangra dance and was enthusiastically cheered on by the audience. City Citations were presented to community leaders as well as the participants in the ceremony and the program ended with a full-course Indian dinner. As one participant noted, "This is the first time that the Indian flag was hung at the Council Chambers in City Hall and 'Jana Gana Mana' reverently sung. Its one big step in gaining recognition as a community, as well as an election block." Readers may kindly contact Ishani Chaudury at "source" above for further information.

How The Bhagavad Gita Influenced Romantic Poets

Posted on 2003/4/24 9:48:02 ( 1631 reads )


ALLAHABAD, INDIA, April 21, 2003: Romantic poets like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Blake, Southey and Walter Scott were influenced by the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, according to a 20-year study undertaken by a scholar of English Literature. "Bhagavad Gita and the English Romantic Movement, a Study in Influence," authored by Dr. Krishan Gopal Srivastava and published by Macmillan India, is receiving rave reviews. It has already sold more than 500 copies following its release last year. The book presents evidence linking romantic poetry with the Gita. Many obscure passages of romantic poets become clear when understood in the light of the Gita. The concept of rebirth, karma, universal soul, immortality and incarnation make the fascination of romantic poets with the Gita apparent. The book establishes that all the great romantics like Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats had not only read Wilkins Gita, but imbibed its spirit, which found creative expression in their great poems.

Bal Panchayats Give Voice To Children's Rights

Posted on 2003/4/24 9:47:02 ( 1259 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 21, 2003: Child power is becoming a reality at grassroots level as a unique concept of 'Bal Panchayat' or Children's Council takes shape in different parts of the country. "In the last 50 years, many schemes have been launched for welfare of our children but in almost all the programs, the decision makers were always adults. But in a bid to involve children in their own development process, the concept of 'Bal Panchayat' came up," says Bhagyashri Dengle, joint executive director, Community Aid and Sponsorship Program (CASP), an NGO working for the welfare of children. "The primary objective of these Bal Panchayats is to provide its members an environment conducive to the healthy exchange of ideas and opinions and also serve as a spring board for action," says S.K. Muttoo, director of the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD). The Bal Panchayat movement has spread from Delhi to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. "Children 10- to 17-years old are eligible to join the Bal Panchayats, and every panchayat has its own president. They ask questions about their rights, fight social evils such as child marriage, birth registration, tree plantation, campaign against children's addiction to tobacco, wage war against social menace like child labor, besides doing many more things," says Dengle.

Sadhana Channel Launched in India

Posted on 2003/4/24 9:46:02 ( 865 reads )

Punjab Kesari

NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 23, 2003: The Sadhana channel was recently launched in India with the blessings of numerous religious leaders and the good wishes of politicians. The event began with bhajanas followed by a speech by the Information and Broadcasting Minister Sri Ravi Shankar Prasad. Mr. Prasad announced the channel would originate from India only, as compared with other channels that are seen in India but uplinked from abroad. Also speaking on the occasion Labor Minister Sri Sahib Singh Verma said that Indian civilization has been under attack for the past thousand years, but the fact that Indian civilization is still alive is due to its spiritual power. The managing director of Sadhana Channel, Sri Rakesh Gupta, announced that in addition to religious and spiritual programs, programs will include bhajana evenings, patriotic and religious cartoons.

Don't Ignore Inner Wealth

Posted on 2003/4/24 9:45:02 ( 954 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 22, 2003: At a recent India Financial Summit organized by India Times, one presentation stood out for its simplicity and spontaneity. Times Group Chairman Indu Jain delivered an impromptu talk about her concept of wealth creation, which was warmly received by the audience. Ms Jain urged the delegates not to ignore their true wealth -- their internal resources. "At the World Economic Forum, they cover a large meaning of wealth. Some time ago, the WEF asked me to suggest two-three saints who could enlighten them on the subject. Since then Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been invited there thrice consecutively. Similarly, my humble request to all of you is that at functions like these, you should also call other people who can expound upon other wealths. Money, wealth are outer resources, but these can be used well only when inner resources are strong, and forums like these should also focus on strengthening inner resources," said Mrs. Jain.

Kailash Pilgrims Have New Return Route

Posted on 2003/4/21 9:49:02 ( 764 reads )


DEHRA DUN, INDIA, April 17, 2003: Pilgrims on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra will return on a different route this summer. The yatris will be able, on their way back, to visit the ancient caves of Pataal Bhuvaneswar, but will miss out on the exquisite scenic beauty of Champawat and Lohaghat areas. They will now come back to Dharchula and reach Almora via Pithoragarh after visiting Pataal Bhuvaneswar. In Almora, they can also visit the famous Jageshwar Dham. Last year, the route on the return journey passed through Pithoragarh, Lohaghat and Champawat. According to the district administration of Pithoragarh, 150 personnel of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) will be posted on the yatra route. A team of officials from various departments will also check the various facilities provided for the pilgrims en route. Two doctors will accompany each batch of pilgrims and for the first time the yatris will be allowed to take cooks with them on the 26-day yatra. About 700 pilgrims are expected to undertake the arduous pilgrimage this year, which will be flagged off from New Delhi on May 29 to the famed pilgrimage place in Tibet.

Designer Revives the Art of Herbal Dyeing for his Exhibition

Posted on 2003/4/21 9:48:02 ( 901 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 15, 2003: Reviving the ancient art of herbal dyeing after three years of extensive research, Aura Herbal Wear has introduced a line of garments using 100 percent natural fabrics and dyes. Arun Baid of the Ahmedabad-based company says, "It is anti-allergic, anti-microbial and has antiseptic properties and the dyes used are eco-friendly. After dyeing, the waste can be converted into manure." Using herbs such as tulsi, neem, turmeric, henna and pomegranate rind, the fabrics are even laid in the sun to be bleached. Baid's exhibition is supported by Maneka Gandhi who claims that the herbal wear has medicinal properties.

Conversions Affecting Tamil Culture

Posted on 2003/4/21 9:47:02 ( 925 reads )


PONDICHERRY, INDIA, April 17, 2003: A. Anbalagan of the AIADMK party called upon the government to keep watch on the many conversions apparently taking place in his constituency of Uppalam. He said women were being prevented from wearing tilaks (pottus), mangala sutras (wedding talis) and flowers in their hair. Participating in the debate on social welfare and industries in the Assembly today, he said conversion among women was also contributing to deterioration of Tamil culture. Those who should present themselves as sumangalis (married women, by the presence of the tali) were made to look otherwise in the name of conversion.

Hindu Leaders Represent Sanatana Dharma on American TV

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:49:02 ( 805 reads )


HOUSTON, U.S.A., April 17, 2003: A new chapter in television programming has unfolded here with the inclusion of Hindu religious leaders. Televised roundtable discussions, debates, and other problem-solving forums where issues of local and national interests are discussed have traditionally been held with only Christian and Jewish religious leaders. However, because of 9/11, Islamic leaders have since been included in these forums. Finally last month Hindu leaders have been represented in such forums. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was the first to include a Hindu representative, along with members of the three other major religious, in a recent 30 minute broadcast from the Houston area. The force behind this change in Houston is Swapan Bhattacharjee and he already preparing a "panel of Hindu experts" for other television programs. For additional information kindly contact Mr. Bhattacharjee at "source" above .

150 People Embrace Buddhism In Chandigarh

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:48:02 ( 1220 reads )


CHANDIGARH, INDIA, April 14, 2003: On the occasion of the 112 birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, around 150 Dalits converted to Buddhism in what they termed a mass protest against the rising violence and atrocities against their community in Haryana. A Buddhist monk gave diksha to over 150 people in the presence of the All India Confederation of SC and ST Organizations national chairman Udit Raj. Ten children also converted to Christianity and nine people shaved their heads to become monks. Vowing to shun cow worship, the Dalits held a buffalo-worship program. Many of the converts did not seem to know what conversion is all about. However, Shyam Lal from Chandigarh said he and his three daughters had converted for self-respect. Others had no answer why they had decided to convert. In a related article, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has asked Dalits to embrace Buddhism if they can no longer endure exploitation under Hinduism. At a massive rally on Monday CM Mayawati said she was willing to lead the way as she had spent her life fighting "manuvadi Hinduism." Mayawati said Dalits had suffered trying to enter temples, but this would no longer be tolerated, and if Hindu religious leaders did not mend their ways, she would lead her followers into the "Buddhist fold" to protect their "social dignity."

Minister Promotes NCERT Syllabus

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:47:02 ( 849 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, April 14, 2003: A few states are resisting efforts made by HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi to implement reforms in the field of education. Using "value education" as a starting point, he initiated what he hopes will stimulate a campaign to encourage the Marxist government of West Bengal to accept the new NCERT curriculum, a Hindu-friendly revision of the national school curriculum by the BJP government. Addressing a meeting organized on Monday by the West Bengal Education and Educationalists' Association, Joshi set aside Hindutva to promote value education's secular goals. Though the Leftist lost their case against the religion-value linkage in the NCERT curriculum, the Bengal government has nevertheless decided not to implement it. "I don't know of any religion which does not say it is wrong to lie or steal. It is a tragedy that the country which taught universal humanism to the whole world does not teach values in its schools," Joshi said. Joshi described the Marxists' turnaround to the NCERT curriculum as "unfortunate" and pointed out that a nationwide consultation had preceded its adoption. The suggestion to include value education in the school curriculum, he said, was made by a parliamentary subcommittee and had specifically asked for teaching the main tenets of all religions. Joshi faces a challenge as West Bengal's Marxist government has always followed an independent track when it came to deciding on the school curriculum.

English-Hindi Translation Request

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:46:02 ( 932 reads )


MALAYSIA, April 18, 2003: If any readers know of free online translation services for English to Hindi, similar to what is available for German, French, etc., kindly contact Jhoree S. at "source" above.

House-Hunting Woes For Mumbai's Nonvegetarians

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:49:02 ( 785 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, April 13, 2003: Militantly vegetarian housing societies are turning away non-vegetarians by the dozens, all over the city. The hardest hit are the traditionally meat-eating Maharashtrans. Some are offering to pay extra to set off their culinary disadvantage, but no luck. Other societies are even asking buyers to submit notarized statements declaring their veggie inclinations. Where commercial space is available, hotel and restaurant owners also can buy space only for pure-vegetarian eateries. Of course, nothing is on paper. These societies' bylaws are mum on this enforced vegetarianism. "They're playing safe. This way, no one can challenge them," says Greta Tauro, a consumer activist who was turned away by a Santacruz society. "They wouldn't sell me a flat because I eat meat. The builder simply refused to listen. Just kept asking if I'd give an undertaking that I will not cook, bring or eat nonvegetarian food in the premises of the society," she says. Ashok R. Khamkar was also shown the door. "I was refused a flat in a housing society in Chivda Galli, Lalbaug, because I am a nonvegetarian Maharashtran. Jains, Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are buying up the area, but local Maharashtrans can't shift to better homes," he says

Zambia's First Lady Calls for More India Contacts

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:48:02 ( 757 reads )

The Times of Zambia

ZAMBIA, AFRICA, April 10, 2003: First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa of Zambia has called for more cultural exchange programs between Zambia and India, saying this will strengthen ties between the two countries. Mrs. Mwanawasa's remarks were made when she officiated at a cultural night of a visiting Indian dance troupe at Lusaka's Hindu Hall on Tuesday. She said there was need to support those involved in strengthening ties between different peoples through the cultural exchange programs. "If you love culture, then you need to support programs like this which bring two different peoples together. These are important because they go a long way in strengthening ties between the two peoples. It is good to learn that the Indian high commission in Zambia has lined up a number of programs this year that will go a long way in strengthening the relations between the two peoples," Mrs. Mwanawasa said.

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