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Hindu Press International
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Five Ancient Temples Have Fallen Into Disrepair
Posted on 2002/4/28 23:48:02 ( 657 reads )


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KOLHAPUR, INDIA, April 14, 2002: Due to lack of funding by the state government, five ancient temples in the city are in dire need of attention. The Vitthal Mandir that was constructed around the 5th century ce is a fine example of Jain art. With an intricate carved door frame, carvings on the outer walls, and ornate pillars the Mandir exudes architectural beauty. Along with the Omkareshwar temple, Ram mandir, Ganpati mandir and Dutta mandir, the architectural grandeur of these five temples has suffered. During the last ten years, the state archaeological department and trustees have watched helplessly as the walls and ceilings of these temples have caved in. Black stone interiors have been painted yellow, orange and blue. Courtyards now house goons and gamblers and people often remove stones from the temple to mend their houses. Shamsunder Zanwar, trustee of the main Vitthal temple said his duty was confined only to religious ceremonies. Arjun N. Late, Pune's assistant director of the department of archaeology added, "I visited the temples in 1980-81 and submitted a report to the state department for their repairs. For reasons best known to the authorities concerned, no action has been taken to date."




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Exhibit Honors First Hindus in California
Posted on 2002/4/28 23:47:02 ( 669 reads )


Source: INDIA WEST





SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, April 29, 2002: An exhibit celebrating East Indian-Mexican heritage will open in Sacramento this summer, reports India-West. In the early 1900s, many laborers and farmers from Punjab settled in the United States and, in the absence of Indian women, married women from Mexico. Approximately 50 Mexican-Hindu families remain in Yuba City, all apparently Catholics. "Once we're gone, we're gone," said Isabel Singh Garcia, a Mexican-Hindu from Yuba City. "Our race will be a dead race." An exhibit featuring the families that came from Sikh-Mexican marriages in Yuba City, the Imperial Valley, Fresno and other cities in California will be on display on the second floor of the Rotunda in the State Capitol building during July. A large Sikh community which came from India at the same time maintained its identity and religion.




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Now Swedish Furniture Maker Apologizes for Buddha Toilet Seat
Posted on 2002/4/28 23:46:02 ( 788 reads )


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STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, April 29, 2002: Swedish furniture maker Ikea has apologized for an advertisement showing a glittering toilet seat adorned with a meditating Buddha. The figure, incorrectly identified as the Hindu God Siva, appeared in a section with decoration tips in the latest issue of Ikea Family Magazine, sent to 700,000 households in Sweden. The article, headlined "Make the nicest toilet seat yourself," features a picture of Buddha, with legs crossed and eyes closed, glued on a toilet seat spray-painted in gold. The adjoining text refers to the figure as Siva. Many of the estimated 10,000 Hindus in the Scandinavian country complained and representatives from Hindu groups sent a joint protest letter to the company on Tuesday. Ikea apologized the next day. Protest organizer Shahsi Sharma said he was satisfied with the apology and considered the issue resolved. He added that Ikea conducts a much-appreciated education program to combat the use of child labor in India. Ikea spokesman Tina Paulsson said the company would pay closer attention to pictures with religious and cultural motifs in the future. Two years ago a small business in Seattle attracted Hindu outrage by painting Hindu Deities on toilet seats.




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Indra Devi, First Lady of Yoga, Passes On at Age 102
Posted on 2002/4/28 23:45:02 ( 826 reads )


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BUENOS AIRES, April 26, 2002: Russian-born Indra Devi, known to followers as the ''first lady of yoga'' who taught Hollywood how to stretch its limbs in the 1940s, died at 102 yesterday in Argentina, her home for the past 17 years. Born in 1899, Ms. Devi went to India in 1927, drawn by its spirituality, and 10 years later was admitted to an ashram to study a discipline previously almost closed to women. She opened the first US yoga studio in California in 1947 and introduced the ancient Eastern practice, which blends strenuous physical stretches with spiritual balance, to stars like Gloria Swanson and violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Her popular books ''Forever Young,'' ''Forever Healthy,'' ''Yoga for Americans'' and five others are credited with helping spread hatha yoga, which emphasizes the physical exercises popular with stressed-out urbanites all over the world. Her organization, Fundacion Indra Devi, can be reached at mataji@uol.com.ar.




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Honolulu School Returns Lord Siva Sculpture to Cambodia
Posted on 2002/4/24 23:49:02 ( 721 reads )


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HONOLULU, April 25, 2002: Two ancient sculptures stolen from a temple in Cambodia during the civil unrest of the 1970s and donated to the Honolulu Academy of Arts are back in their homeland. The 9th century, 15-inch stone head of Lord Siva and a 12th century, 19-inch head of a deva were flown from Honolulu on Tuesday and are expected to be presented during ceremonies Friday in Phnom Penh. After reading an article in a 1996 publication on looting in the Angkor area of Cambodia and extensive research, the academy confirmed that the two sculptures were among those stolen. George Ellis, director of the academy, and a group of about 25 academy officials and members accompanied the artifacts on the Cambodia flight.




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UK Opens Doors to Indian Doctors
Posted on 2002/4/24 23:48:02 ( 675 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 19, 2002: Thousands of senior resident Indian doctors in Britain could benefit from an initiative launched by the UK government to induct medical specialists directly from India into top, permanent posts in British hospitals. The initiative to recruit doctors working in India directly to UK consultant posts in psychiatry, radiology, cancer and cardiology, will end years of alleged discrimination against Indians, whose training and experience back home has so far been disregarded when they applied for top jobs. The ending of the so-called "ethnic penalty" for Indian doctors, who make up nearly a quarter of Britain's state-funded National Health Service (NHS), comes with the launch earlier this month of the UK's first India recruitment drive for 1,000 consultants. One problem with this plan is that it drains India of skiled people, just as does the UK plan to hire teachers from India.




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Racism in Europe
Posted on 2002/4/24 23:47:02 ( 665 reads )


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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, April 25, 2002: The latest report from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) said that racism was on the increase across the continent. With the surprisingly strong showing of far-right politicians like France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, who will face off in the May 5 presidential polls with incumbent Jacques Chirac, ethnic minorities and immigrants fear they could be in for more difficult times. Apart from violence, threats and intimidation, they charge that racism and discrimination on the continent come in more subtle forms, such as in the labor market and the work place. The Belgian Centre for Equality of Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism said reports of discrimination increased by at least 10 per cent last year, and one-fifth were directed against the public services. But the EUMC does say that there are positive developments taking place in the European Union. It notes that anti-discrimination laws have been introduced and that governments and other agencies have increased efforts to protect minorities and immigrants.




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Stay-at-Home Dads Face Health Risks
Posted on 2002/4/24 23:46:02 ( 661 reads )


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ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 25, 2002: A study being released at a meeting of the American Heart Association found that men who decide to become househusbands and take care of children at home may be putting their health and hearts in danger. In fact, researchers conducting the study in Framingham, Massachusetts, for the National Institutes for Health found men who have been stay-at-home dads most of their adult lives have an 82 percent higher risk of death from heart disease than men who work outside the home. They also found the women in high-powered jobs were also much more prone to heart disease. CNN's Rhonda Rowland, in an April 24 American Heart Association report, says that potential health problems for role reversal parents are indicated.




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Request for Toshio Yamanouchi's Books
Posted on 2002/4/24 23:45:02 ( 771 reads )


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USA, April 25, 2002: If anyone knows where to acquire the books by Toshio Yamanouchi and Hindu Gods in Japan, mentioned in HPI on April 22, kindly contact us at "source" above.




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Ganges Priests Bless Foundation Stone for UK Temple
Posted on 2002/4/22 23:49:02 ( 685 reads )


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BRADFORD, ENGLAND, April 20, 2002: More than 1,000 people congregated in Bradford for ceremonial prayers at the construction site where a US$4.4 million Hindu temple is to be built. Among the number were priests of the Ganges shrine of Haridwar, who flew to Britain to bless the foundation stone of one of Britain's biggest and most unique temples. A monumental fundraising effort has secured half the total cost of the temple in just one month. Dayal Sharma, president of the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford, says he is overwhelmed by the extreme generosity of the Hindu community in raising the money. The speed with which the donations were collected was attributed to a rebirth in interest in religion in the area. Mr Sharma said: "We are witnessing youngsters beginning to take a greater part in activities of the temple as well as the Hindu ceremonies and festivals. An increasing number of the Hindu population are reinforcing their faith." The new Leeds Road-based temple, which will house an exhibition center, conference and sporting facilities, is set to be one of the largest in the country when it is completed in 2004.




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Christians Target Sikkim Hindus for Conversion
Posted on 2002/4/22 23:48:02 ( 876 reads )


Source: Francois Gautier





GANGTOK, SIKKIM, April 23, 2002: A special program is being organized in Gangtok, in Northeast India, which is called "Gangtok Prayer Festival 2002." This is being conducted by Dr. Paul Dhinakaran (famous for his "miracle" prayer meetings all over India) and a team from Chennai at Gaurds Ground, Gangtok, from April 26 to 28, 2002. Christians from all around Sikkim are coming as well as others from North Bengal -- Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Most of the big Christian schools in these areas are involved into it. This will be a show of strength for them. Gangtok is full of banners announcing the program. The Sikkim Government is unable to do much, as many Christian government ministers are involved. Conversions have been happening often this year. Earlier, the North District of Sikkim was targeted in places like Janghu where the Lepcha community lives. But it is happening now in all the districts of Sikkim (West-Sombaria/Soreng, South-Namchi, East-Gangtok). It is especially the Hindus living below the poverty line who are targeted. One such move in Sichey Busty in Gangtok was stopped by the Satya Sai Sammity organization of Gangtok. The Governor, Sri Kedar Nath Sahani, is very concerned about this, as is the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, but nothing much is being done.




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Hindu Support Group Forms on Okinawa Base
Posted on 2002/4/22 23:47:02 ( 824 reads )


Source: Stars and Stripes Magazine





CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, JAPAN, April 13, 2002: Okinawa's small American Hindu population meets twice a week on US military bases to get in touch with their spirituality. Chaturbhuj N. Gidwani helped establish a Hindu study group at Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster after moving to Okinawa, Japan, six months ago. "There are many people in the military with an Indian background. I felt they were missing their cultural heritage," said Gidwani, the chief mechanical engineer for the Marine base's Facilities Engineer Division. Gidwani, a lay religious leader, hopes one day the military will have Hindu chaplains to serve the 3,000 to 4,000 Hindu service members. Gidwani, 64, is a retired sergeant major in the Army reserve. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and immigrated to the United States when he was 28. He became a US citizen, and joined the Army Reserve when he was 35, just two months shy of the cut-off date for new recruits. "Back in 1997, the Pentagon agreed to give full support to a program of having Hindu lay leaders organize study groups on military bases," he said. He was instrumental in starting a group at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC, and then, three years later, at Masawa Air Base, Japan. Gidwani said there are about ten Hindu families on Okinawa, but the meetings are not just for those who follow the Hindu faith. "We are not preaching. We are a support group. Perhaps someday the military will have Hindu chaplains. What we are doing is providing support for Indians who are continuing their spiritual journey and sharing our beliefs with others who are interested," said Gidwani.




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Singapore Recycles Its Cemeteries
Posted on 2002/4/22 23:46:02 ( 658 reads )


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SINGAPORE, April 20, 2002: L. F. Yong starts digging bodies just after dawn. On an average day, Yong and his team of 20 workers will have cracked open 40 graves and emptied them of their bones by noon. Yong is responsible for the hands-on work behind a government project to clear the Bidadari Cemetery, one of the largest Christian burial plots in Southeast Asia. The project will convert the tranquil resting ground for 58,000 dead into 12,000 centrally located, high-rise apartments for the living. The project is fueled by crowded Singapore's hunger for land. The tiny Southeast Asian island, nestled between Malaysia and Indonesia, covers 650 km and has 4 million residents. Another 68,000 bodies will be exhumed from a neighboring Muslim section and reburied elsewhere. All unclaimed Christian bodies will be cremated by the government and, unless the ashes are claimed within a year, they will be scattered at sea. Since March, 2001, Singapore has published numerous notices about the exhumation in newspapers here and in Australia, England and Malaysia, but only 9,449 bodies have been claimed. The remaining 48,551 bodies will be cremated.




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Hindu-Muslim Violence Continues in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/4/21 23:49:02 ( 663 reads )


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AHMADABAD, INDIA, April 22, 2002: Two people were killed Monday in religious strife between Hindus and Muslims in western India, bring to 20 the number of dead in two days of clashes. At least 105 have been injured since Sunday. Several neighborhoods in Ahmadabad, the commercial hub of the state of Gujarat, were under siege Monday as Hindus and Muslims clashed and set homes and businesses on fire. Two Muslim men were killed in Ahmadabad. One was stabbed to death by a Hindu throng and the other died after a mob pelted him with stones, police said. An assistant commissioner of police, Keshav Kumar, said 14 people suffered bullet wounds when police opened fire to disperse a mob in Ahmedabad's old walled city of Shahpur. Those killed Sunday included 10 Muslims in Ahmadabad, when police fired into a swelling crowd on the Hindu festival of Ramnavami, the birthday of the religion's supreme deity, Rama. Eight other people were killed in clashes between the two groups -- including at least three Hindus. At least 91 people were seriously injured Sunday with burns and bullet wounds, police said. The two days of violence raised the death toll from India's worst religious rioting in a decade to 853. Some police officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the firing at Muslims was a reaction to the killing of a police officer, who was stabbed by Muslims in the crowd.




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A Link Between Hindu Gods and Japan
Posted on 2002/4/21 23:48:02 ( 748 reads )


Source: Japan Times





TOKYO, JAPAN, April 10, 2002: An exhibition called "Gods Derived From India to Japan" is showing at the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts until May 26. The story behind the showing is a fascinating one. It all started 51 years ago when Toshio Yamanouchi's job took him to India as general manager for an iron importer company. His passion for religious art took him all across the country and in twenty-five years he built up his collection. In northern Uttar Pradesh, he discovered a miniature painting of "Govardhana Krishna." In Madhya Pradesh, he purchased a 18th century three-headed Ganesha made of ivory. A sandalwood Saraswati was found in the NW state of Rajasthan. Yamanouchi's entire collection, which he has donated to the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts, consists of 350 statues, sculptures, reliefs and paintings. Seventy of these pieces are part of the present exhibition. Indian law would now prohibit the export of any historical object more than 100 years old. This law was passed in the early 70's. However, by this time, the collection had already been brought back to Japan. Diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 73, Yamanouchi chose to utilize what he thought might be his final years to write three books about how India and Japan are bound by their roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. The article says, "Yamanouchi identifies Benzaiten, the Japanese goddess of good fortune, with Saraswati; Seiten of the Jogan Period with Ganesha; and Enma, the Japanese lord of hell, with his Indian counterpart Yama." Interestingly, Yamanouchi was fascinated with the Hindu gods that he saw during weekly visits to Buddhist temples when he was a young boy. He recalls, "My parents were very religious. I saw many Buddhas at the temples, but I also noticed many Indian Gods protecting the central Buddha figure."




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