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Respected Indian Scientist Questions Claims of Oldest Human Settlement


Posted on 2003/2/10 8:48:02 ( 909 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, February 2, 2003: When the Department of Ocean Development scientists recently announced that they had discovered the world's oldest human settlement in the Gulf of Cambay off the coast of Gujarat, they attracted the attention of renowned marine biologist, S.R. Rao. Rao explains, "Such a flippant and premature announcement to the media prior to publishing the data in a peer-reviewed journal put credibility of Indian science at stake." The DOD have backed up their discovery with acoustic images and dating of the carbon in a piece of wood taken from the site. Rao argues that the wood could have come from anywhere and that the DOD did not send a diver down to the site, nor did they take pictures or consult an archaeologist. However DOD secretary Harsh Guta feels that Westerners are not willing to accept that modern civilization emerged from India. The journal of the Geological Society of India has agreed to publish a paper by DOD scientists provided that they temper their claims. S.R. Rao has written two books about sunken settlements and was instrumental in discovering the ancient Dwaraka settlement, talked about in the epic Mahabharata, off the coast of Gujarat.






India's Pilgrimage Centers Go High Tech


Posted on 2003/2/6 8:49:02 ( 765 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, February 4, 2003 : Many Hindu pilgrimage sites are undergoing a high tech-makeover intended to offer a superior pilgrimage experience. The prominent ones which are sinking in tens of thousand of U.S. dollars in this e-transformation process include Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), Shirdi Sai Baba Devasthanam and Khalsa Heritage, among others. Tirupati will use an integrated system for automation of its various departments. Once ready, the project will benefit pilgrims by giving them access to information about sevas, darshan times and will also help them make the necessary reservations and fee payments online. Shirdi Sai Baba Devasthanam has commissioned a networking project to automate its key departments. The Khalsa Heritage in Punjab and Nirankari Mission in New Delhi are setting up what they term "immersive multimedia theatres," which will offer devotees the latest in digital spiritual experience.






New York's Firefighters Fight Post 9/11 Stress with Yoga


Posted on 2003/2/6 8:48:02 ( 893 reads )


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NEW YORK, U.S.A., February 6, 2003: Told to shut his eyes and shake his body vigorously, Kevin Guy began to reconsider whether he should have signed up for the workshop. "Is this guy for real?" the strapping Bronx-born firefighter wondered as he began Dr. Jim Gordon's program of meditation, yoga and alternative therapies to help firefighters deal with the emotional stress of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. That one-time workshop was offered last summer, not long after the end of a nine-month cleanup of human remains and structural debris at the World Trade Center site. Now, Guy meditates and shakes stress away nearly every day and helped Gordon launch a regular program for city firefighters. The sessions began a week after Mount Sinai Medical Center released preliminary findings from a federal program that screened workers who responded to the terrorist attack and aided in its cleanup. Ten months after the attacks, 52 percent reported mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, doctors said. The findings were based on a random sample of 250 people from the first 500 workers examined; 3,500 people have been screened in six months. Basic techniques include relaxation, meditation, yoga, visual imagery, self-hypnosis and group support. The center also works with cancer patients and people suffering from other chronic illnesses. The challenge was getting a firefighter to stretch out on a mat in a yoga pose, meditate to soft music or learn to do focused breathing -- practices initially deemed "ridiculous and crazy" by most first-timers, Gordon said. However, more than 40 people attended the new class. Guy wants to recruit more by convincing his tough-minded brethren that Gordon's program is a take-charge, independent type of therapy. "You're not on a psychiatrist's couch -- it's just basic things that you can do to help yourself. It really calms you down," Guy said.






The New Marriage Criteria for NRIs


Posted on 2003/2/6 8:47:02 ( 815 reads )


Source: The Telegraph





NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 5, 2003: Apart from nostalgia and money to augment foreign exchange reserves, what is a major involvement with India and her nonresident Indians (NRIs)? The NRIs search for brides and bridegrooms assisted by parents in India and overseas is a top priority. There is an "A list" in India for prospective spouses, with NRIs topping the list, multinational executives, IAS and other central service officers, and then the others, with academics near the bottom. For most parents and their daughters, the well-off overseas boy of Indian origin tops the preferences.






Saints Protest Ganga Pollution


Posted on 2003/2/5 8:49:02 ( 878 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 1, 2003 : Prominent sadhus and Dharamacharyas are protesting the government's failure to release additional water from Tehri Dam into River Ganga to enable millions of devotees to take a holy dip before Mauni Amavasya on Sunday. The religious leaders also protested the government's "apathetic attitude" towards the increasing pollution of Ganga and sought immediate steps to clean the river. Pandit N. K. Sharma, Chief Organizer of the Universal Association of Spiritual Awareness, said in a statement on Saturday that thousands of pilgrims had returned to their homes without taking bath during the Magh Mela of Prayag (Allahabad) due to the polluted water. He said the saints have also been demanding, since the beginning of the Magh Mela, a check on the effluents from the tanneries at Kanpur and the dirty drains of Fatehpur area. The Ganga river at Allahabad where the annual Magh Mela was held was highly polluted and the water was not fit for bathing.






Vaishno Devi Pilgrims Increase


Posted on 2003/2/5 8:48:02 ( 890 reads )


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Jammu, Kashmir, February 4, 2003: Over 100,750 pilgrims have visited the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi during January this year, an official spokesman said on Tuesday. At present 4,000 to 5,000 pilgrims are reaching the shrine daily and during the last two weeks of January over 75,000 devotees worshipped at the cave shrine. Extensive arrangements are in place for the devotees such as free accommodations at the shrine board in Adhkunwari and blankets.






Indian Government to Excavate Lost Cities


Posted on 2003/2/5 8:47:02 ( 872 reads )


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KURUKSHETRA, INDIA, February 4, 2003: Jagmohan, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, announced on Tuesday that the Centre has launched a plan to unearth lost cities which once existed along the embankments of Saraswati River, and left a number of signposts of the Saraswati-Indus civilization from Adi Badri near Kurukshetra to Dhola Vira in Gujarat. Addressing the students of Kurukshetra University at the 25th convocation here, he said that "all these signposts are intended to be converted into new centers, all over the country, in which elements of culture, tourism and clean civic life are being synthesized." He added that Kurukshetra (of Mahabharata fame) is being given a top position in the list of such centers to make it a symbol of a resurgent and reawakened India.






Despite Prices, Indians Buy Gold for Weddings


Posted on 2003/2/5 8:46:02 ( 881 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 29, 2003: India, the world's largest gold consumer, is in the grip of a wedding fever as fears of war in Iraq push the precious metal beyond the reach of many aspiring brides. Domestic prices shot to a record high of US$383.33 an ounce last week due to the war fears. "People with a wedding in the family are rushing to exchange their old gold," said D. Krishnamurthy of Chennai based Astro Matrimonial Services. The annual Hindu wedding market is estimated to be worth a staggering $6,284,038,523 with gold ornaments as gifts to brides. One internet matrimonial site said, "Only yesterday we successfully arranged 10 marriages. The Hindu wedding season is in full swing and will last until May, and in no way are the soaring prices affecting the nuptials because we Indians cannot think of a wedding without gold," said spokeswoman, Vandana Asija. "We registered 200 clients since our launch in December and all of them are in a hurry to marry because of soaring gold costs," said another online matrimonial site.






Correction on Hindu Sadhus Lead Protest Against Ganga Pollution


Posted on 2003/2/5 8:45:02 ( 909 reads )


Source: Associate Press Worldstream





LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 17, 2003: Several readers have pointed out that the Ganga merges with the Yamuna River in Allahabad, not Lucknow, as written in yesterday's story.






India's Modern Diaspora


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:49:02 ( 868 reads )


Source: Outlook India





NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 12, 2003: Man Mohan Jha, 52, a manager with a steel ropes manufacturer in Patna, is counting the days until July when he will migrate to the U.S. with his wife. Jha is part of the most recent and biggest wave of migrants leaving India. The migrants are mainly white-collar professionals, students, and diploma-holders and they are destined for Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. They will make up part of the 20,000,000 Indians living abroad. According to recent statistics, 246,000 Indians migrated to the U.S. in the last two years and 85,000 skilled computer professionals are leaving India every year, contributing to an annual resource loss of US$2 billion. New Zealand received 11,000 migrant Indians in the last three years, while 5,000 Indians migrated to Canada in 2002. Of the yearly IIT graduates, 50 percent leave India, while 20 percent of the medical school graduates do so. India ranks second among countries exporting people to the U.S. and first among countries exporting students to the U.S.; 90 percent of those students never return.






Hindu Sadhus Lead Protest Against Ganges Pollution


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:48:02 ( 839 reads )


Source: Associate Press Worldstream





LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 17, 2003 : Hundreds of Hindu holy men and devotees observed a sit-in along the banks of the Ganges River to protest the increasing pollution of the waterway that is sacred to Hindus. Lucknow, a pilgrimage site for millions of Hindus, is located at the spot where the Ganges River merges with the Yamuna. The protesters demanded that more water be released from the Narora Dam upstream to flush out the pollution and raise the river level for tens of thousands of devotees who were expected to bathe in the Ganges near Allahabad. "Not only is the water polluted, it is not enough. How can millions of people take a dip in this water?" said Abhay Chaitanya, a Hindu priest organizing the protest.






Joint Families May Be More Environmentally Sound


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:47:02 ( 874 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, January 14, 2003: Living with mom and dad, rather than venturing out on your own may actually contribute to saving the planet. A study, conducted by ecologist Jianguo Liu and his Michigan University team, targeted a biodiversity hotspot -- a region where large numbers of species are endangered or threatened by human activity. India took the honors as the hotspot chosen by the team. Liu said, "During 2000-2015, the average annual rate of growth in population size in India is projected to be 1.3%, while the rate of growth in household numbers is projected to be 2.4%." Liu predicts that the major reason for the increase in number of households will be divorce and that during that same fifteen-year period the average Indian household size will be reduced from 5.5 to about 4.8 persons. Liu based his predictions on the previous fifteen-year period before the year 2000 when the number of Indian households grew 30% faster than the population. From an environmental stance, as the number of households with one, two, or three occupants increase, proportionately so too will energy consumption, land and water use and construction materials. Other experts, such as sociologists, agree that more households means more energy use. However they are not convinced that extended families are the "greenest" on the planet. Liu calls the study a wake-up call.






A Peace Movement for India's Women


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:46:02 ( 1007 reads )


Source: The Hamilton Spectator





NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 21, 2003 : Hindu scriptures are full of wonderful female role models, and there are thousands of Hindu temples devoted to Goddesses throughout India. If society in India reflected what Hinduism believes, women would have the upper hand in India. However in India, as elsewhere, for women life hasn't always been easy. Women are beginning to find their political voice for change, however. Last February, the Center for Peace Studies at McMaster University cosponsored a peace conference in India, helped start a peace movement known as Vaishali Sabha (People's Assembly) and a peace organization known as Women Shanti Sena (Women Peace Soldiers). Membership in the Women Shanti Sena has grown to 3,000 and continues to expand says Acharya Ramamurti, a prominent Gandhian, the man behind movement. The basic idea of Women Shanti Sena is to seed India with 50,000 trained women peacemakers by 2005. There are two kinds of peacemaking, according to Ramamurti. "The usual kind is making peace after war. The other kind is making peace so we can avoid war. Our effort in India is of the second kind. Women Shanti Sena is teaching women how to get involved in peaceful community-building. They consider themselves on the road to peace through democracy and development."






Book Details Institutionalized Missionary Work in Korea


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:45:02 ( 801 reads )


Source: Korean Buddhism at the Crossroads





SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 6, 2001: Dr. Frank M. Tedesco, a well-known social activist, expert on Korean Buddhism and author of "Korean Buddhism at the Crossroads," was invited to Malaysia for a series of talks in May, 2001. Dr. Tedesco noted that after the Korean War (1950-1953) the entire country was in ruins and the people were demoralized. The country needed foreign aid and the U.S. poured in money to rebuild South Korea. In the process the US government used Christian missionaries to administer aid because they had been in the country for nearly a hundred years and understood the local customs and language. The missionaries came to be seen as saviors of the Korean people as the local people associated Christianity with development, self-help, advanced Western technology and medicine. During this time the Buddhist monastic community was largely uneducated and fragmented, and there was no strong and organized lay Buddhist leadership. Buddhism began to lose followers to the missionaries who were able to capitalize on these weaknesses. Some Korean Christians have been very zealous, using every opportunity to bring others to their faith. Also a number of attacks on Buddhist temples by extremist Christians have also occurred over the years. In 1900 .5 percent of Koreans were Christians. Today, it is 21%. Christians consider it a success story and hope to repeat it across Asia, with Nepal as the immediate next target.






Indian Folk Art, a Delight in Anonymity


Posted on 2003/2/4 8:44:02 ( 861 reads )


Source: The Nation, Thailand





BANGKOK, THAILAND, February 4, 2003: The Indian Embassy recently brought 40 Madhubani paintings from India to display at Bangkok's National Gallery where they were on display until January 30. This exhibition by women from the Indian state of Bihar, highlighted centuries of a folk art tradition Madhubani women have created for religious and secular ceremonies. All pieces are unsigned as the artists have not sought fame, but instead use their talents to honor a timeless tradition. When drought struck the state of Bihar in the late 1960s, the Indian government, hoping to create a new source of income for the villagers, encouraged the artists to market their pieces.




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