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Indian-Americans Give Generously for India's Social Causes


Posted on 2003/2/3 8:44:02 ( 824 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 31, 2003: An average Indian-American contributes up to US$300 a year for social causes in India. If just half the Indian population in the US donated that much, India would receive more than $250 million for social causes every year, says a survey on the giving patterns of the Indian diaspora conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation India. According to R. Gopa Kumar, author of the study, more and more of the 1.7 million Indian Americans are keen to increase their charitable giving to 10 times of what they give now. Among all respondents, 7.3 percent donated more than $3,000 in the past two years and nearly 40 percent donated between $500 and $1,000. The donations came overwhelmingly during times of crises, such as the Kargil war of 1999, the Gujarat quake and other natural calamities. "The study shows that Indians are emerging as a powerful community in the US though they comprise only 0.6 per cent of the total American population."






Malaysia Hosts Third International Conference on Muruga Worship


Posted on 2003/2/3 8:43:02 ( 802 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 21, 2003: The Third International Conference Seminar on Murugan-Skanda will be held in Malaysia, May 1-4, 2003. Scholars and devotees from around the world will be attending the conference as delegates and representatives of the Tamil diaspora from 45 countries are expected to participate. The inaugural function will take place at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. Academic sessions, multimedia and cultural programs, a valedictory function and other related events will take place at the University of Malaysia. For more information and registration forms contact "source" above.






Kerala Minister Urges State to Pass Forcible Conversion Law


Posted on 2003/2/3 8:42:02 ( 791 reads )


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PATHANAMHTITTA, INDIA, February 2, 2003: Union Minister of State for Defense and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Rajagopal urged the Kerala government to pass legislation curbing forcible conversions and check what he termed the "onslaught" against Hinduism. Inaugurating the 91st Annual Hindu Matha Parishad at Cherukolpula on the banks of river Pamba here, he said the government was duty bound to protect and preserve the centuries old spiritual traditions. Referring to the recent attack and deportation of evangelist Mr. Joseph Cooper, Rajagopal said the missionary had no authority to preach religion by visiting the country on a tourist visa or cast a slur on Gods worshiped by the local people. India visa requirements state, "Those traveling to India on behalf of a church or for any missionary purpose must complete an additional application form for Missionaries. Processing time for applications is between two-four months." The Indian Penal Code, Section 1860, makes it a crime to outrage the religious feelings of any class of citizens, or to insult the religion or religious beliefs of any class.






Ayodhya Sadhu Stands for New Temple


Posted on 2003/2/3 8:41:02 ( 841 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 21, 2003: Standing on his feet for thirty days, Pagal Das, a sadhu under personal vows, has attracted huge crowds of pilgrims. Pagal decided to undertake these tapas in Ayodhya near the Sri Ram Janmabhhomi-babri Masjid site and has vowed to keep standing until the proposed Ram Temple has been constructed. Despite cold temperatures at night and sleeping while holding onto the branch of a Pakar tree for support, Pagal Das is unrelenting and calls his quest a peaceful agitation. President of the Sri Ram Janmabhhomi Nyas Trust, 90 year-old Mahant Ram Chandra Das Paramhans, fears that the sadhu may die because he cannot see the government relenting to the sadhu's demands to build the temple.






Tamil Nadu Celebrates Thai Pongal with Huge Kolam


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:49:02 ( 371 reads )


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THANJAVUR, INDIA, January 30, 2003: Tiny Vayacheri village, near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, celebrated Pongal (the season's first rice harvest) in a big way with a king-size 100-meter-long kolam (rangoli, designs drawn on the ground with colored powders) covering an entire street. Residents believed this may have been the longest kolam in the country. A group of 20 women, who started around midnight completed the intricately designed kolam at 7:00 a.m. the next day.






Kerala Debates Syllabus' Focus, Karl Marx or Gandhi?


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:48:02 ( 876 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, November 19, 2002: Politically-conscious Kerala is in the midst of a debate on who should get prominence in college courses, Gandhi or Marx. The controversy has been extended to the Kerala Assembly where Congress member Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan wondered how Gandhism could be relegated to the background to give prominence to Marxism in the revised syllabus of the MA (Political Science) course of the Kerala University. Education Minister Nalakath Soopy expressed the Government's displeasure at the prominence given to Marxism and said the Government viewed the issue seriously. The issue will be considered by a special meeting of the Board of Studies of the University and any changes in the curriculum would be done based on decisions made at the meeting. Kerala's communist party has long been prominent in the State.






Cambodia and Thailand Claim Ownership of Same Temples


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:47:02 ( 859 reads )


Source: The Nation (Thailand)





BANGKOK, THAILAND, January 17, 2003: Thailand authorities have asked Fine Arts Department Deputy Director General Sod Daeng-iad to suspend renovations on two ancient Hindu Temples as Cambodia believes the temples are in Cambodia. Both countries have set up a joint demarcation committee which will survey the 798 kilometer border to clear up the question of exactly where the border is. Thailand's Fine Arts Department has already spent US$292,637 on the Sdok Kok Thom temple and $749,151 on the Ta Muen Thom temple. Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai explains that Cambodia has not asked for the return of the temples but he cannot guarantee that the temples will never go to Cambodia. In 1961, Thailand and Cambodia had a similar conflict over the ownership of another temple. The question was taken to the International Court of Justice who ruled in favor of Cambodia. Riots and a breakoff of diplomatic relations have occurred since this first report.






Canadian Multi-Faith Community Comes Together to Stop Racism


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:46:02 ( 894 reads )


Source: The Hamilton Spectator





ONTARIO, CANADA, January 20, 2003: In the aftermath of 9-11 the Hindu Samaj Temple in Hamilton was subjected to arson. Misguided and racist individuals made an incorrect assumption that the Hindu community associated with the Hamilton temple was connected to the tragedy in New York. Since the burning of the temple, the Hamilton multi-faith community has joined together to support Hindu and Muslim families and to take steps to eliminate racism in the city by educating the community. Hamilton does not want to be known as the city of racists says Rama Singh, writer for The Hamilton Spectator, and she appeals to the Hindu community to forgive the perpetrators of the arson.






New Jersey Greets Ganesha in a Theatrical Performance


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:45:02 ( 840 reads )


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NEW JERSEY, USA, January 27, 2003: Terrence McNally's play, "A Perfect Ganesh," originally produced in England, is now playing at 12 Miles West Theater Company in Montclair, New Jersey. In the play two middle-age women friends decide to vacation in India without their husbands. Both women have endured challenging personal tragedies, and have come to India because they've been told it's a place that heals the soul. They have to endure a great many challenges before that happens, but Lord Ganesha, as the Remover of Obstacles, guides them and they emerge stronger and wiser for the experience. Greg T. Parente's portrays Lord Ganesha. He spends the entire 160 minutes of the play wearing an elephant's head that's covered with pink velour.






H.H. Swami Jeevan Mukhthananda to Visit Malaysia


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:44:02 ( 904 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 2, 2003: H.H. Swami Jeevan Mukhthananda, Secretary General of the Divine Life Society Headquarters in Rishikesh, India, is visiting Malaysia during February. His Holiness will give a special address in connection with the Malaysian Hindu Sangam's Hindu Renaissance program on Friday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m., at the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple Hall, located in Lorong Kasipillay 51200, Kuala Lumpur. For additional information kindly contact A. Vaitilingam, President of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, at "source" above.






Sri Ravishankar Speaks Out Against Religious Conversion


Posted on 2003/2/2 8:43:02 ( 825 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, January 21, 2003: Founder of The Art of Living Foundation, Sri Ravishankar, made quite an impression at the World Conference on Spiritual Regeneration and Human Values. He denounced religious conversion as the defamation of one religion in favor of another and proposed instead that different faiths enter into dialogue to find tolerance. He also called war the worst action of reason and suggested that political leaders turn to spirituality for answers. Attended by many government leaders from around the world and people representing a variety of social groups, the conference carried the common thread of the need for spirituality. Sri Ravishankar called it an opportunity for politicians to go back to their roots and connect with their karma.






UK's National Hindu Students Forum Has Annual Conference


Posted on 2003/1/30 8:49:02 ( 875 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, January 23, 2003: The National Hindu Students Forum in their nationwide campaign states, "We all have a talent or skill -- something to give to British Society. The best way that we can 'be British' and contribute to our host community, is by gaining inspiration from our eternal principled Hindu values and retaining our Hindu culture in the western world. The west is only just realising the rich heritage of our Hindu Dharma. We should promote these great benefits instead of discarding them. We should be proud to be Hindu and not satisfied to continue to be labelled under the 'Asian' umbrella. We are British and we are Hindu." Join talented youth and renowned speakers from across the country to an event that is designed to give Hindu Youth the opportunity to consider issues of importance and relevance in today's ever changing world. This years Youth Conference, entitled Apne Aap Ko Pahechaano -- "Be British Be Hindu" -- is scheduled for February 22, from 10:30 A.M -- 5:30 P.M. Kindly see "source" above for further information.






US Hosts Global Dharma Conference


Posted on 2003/1/30 8:48:02 ( 812 reads )


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NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES, January 23, 2003: Over 3000 people from around the world are expected to attend The Global Dharma Conference, from July 25th - 27th at the Raritan Exposition and Convention Center, Edison, New Jersey, USA. The three-day conference will feature H.H. Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Dr. V. S. Naipaul. Organizations such as Hindu Students Council and Network of Hindu Minds from North America, Hindu Student Forum Netherlands, National Hindu Students Forum from UK, National Hindu Youth Federation of South Africa, World Organization of Students and Youth from India and Young Jains of America are co-sponsoring the event. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Chinmaya Mission, Indian Council of Religious Leaders, International Center for Cultural Studies, Ramakrishna Mission, Sikh Sangathan, World Buddhist Association and World Council of Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures are supporting the event. For additional information readers may contact "source" above.






1.2 Million Devotees Throng Malaysia's Batu Caves During Thai Pusam


Posted on 2003/1/29 8:49:02 ( 891 reads )


Source: Malaysian National News Agency





KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 19, 2003: While there were a number of Thai Pusam venues around Malaysia, none could rival Batu Caves for it's size and religious spectacle. Thai Pusam is among the biggest Hindu festivals in Malaysia and throughout the country, fifteen thousand kavadis, 10,000 milk-pot bearers, and hundreds of shaven-head worshippers paid homage to Lord Muruga - the Thai Pusam Deity. At Batu Caves, kavadi bearers, with palms together and prayer on their lips, inched their way up the 272-steps to the cave-temple -- the abode of Lord Muruga. Foreign tourists gasped in awe and the uniniated stared in disbelief as spike-pierced flesh and metal-skewed tongue defied logic and refused to bleed. Works Minister and MIC President Datuk S. Samy Vellu told reporters the Pahang and Kedah MIC would continue discussions to have Thaipusam declared a public holiday in the two States. This would give the Federal government the opportunity to declare a public holiday in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. So far only five States are given a public holiday for Thaipusam -- Penang, Selangor, Johore, Perak and Negeri Sembilan.






UK Indians Prosper Generally, But One-Third in Poverty


Posted on 2003/1/29 8:48:02 ( 809 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, January 23, 2003: In a conundrum few have been able to unravel, Britain's 1.3 million Indians are newly revealed to be doing better than all other community groups, but still remaining poorer than the white mainstream population. "An astonishing 75 per cent of the Indians are in full-time education by the time they are 18 years old," says sociologist Lucinda Platt, author of a landmark new study. "That compares very favorably with the general British population, just 42 per cent of which is in full-time education by age 18". And yet, said Platt, "One-third of all British Indians are in poverty, compared to less than a quarter of the general population." Wednesday's revelations are contained in "Parallel Lives," an eponymous book published on Wednesday by the campaigning Child Poverty Action Group. The book, which looks at poverty levels and its causes across the British population, is described as the first comprehensive survey of the problem. Platt insisted, "Indians are just not doing as well as they should do given their incredibly high levels of education and skills. There is a glass ceiling effect even in this community which has so many success stories at the top." Analysts said that the book underlined a grim truth, namely that the commonly-used term "Asian" for people from the Indian sub-continent covered many key differences.




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