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Women and Hinduism in U.S. Textbooks


Posted on 2003/2/25 8:47:02 ( 882 reads )


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UNITED STATES, February 5, 2003: In a recent article on Sulekha, Sankrant Sanu examined Microsoft Encarta's treatment of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. He concluded that Encarta's portrayal of Hinduism was biased and negative in comparison to the more evenhanded and sophisticated treatments granted Islam and Christianity. Sanu's article prompted a closer at a world religions textbook, Mary Pat Fisher's "Living Religions" (5th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002), published by one of the largest textbook publishers in the U.S. and is an often-used text in American colleges, universities and prep schools. It was found to contain biases and misrepresentations on how women are portrayed within Hindu society. The author believes "It is clear that religion and theology can be and is often used to sustain and reinforce patriarchal attitudes in societies, whether they be Hindu, Christian or Muslim. It is also clear that religion and theology can and have been used in ways to challenge, break down and replace patriarchal attitudes in these same societies."






U.S. Vegetarian School Lunches


Posted on 2003/2/25 8:46:02 ( 831 reads )


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CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., February 25, 2003: Letters of support are needed for a vegetarian school lunch bill recently introduced in California. Assemblyman Joe Nation of Marin County, California, has introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 16 calling for schools to offer a daily plant-based vegetarian option on the daily lunch menu. If you represent a recognized institution, religious community, or are an individual committed to children's health and/or vegetarian issues, please consider writing a letter of support. Send letters to your California state legislators and to the Resolution's author: Assemblyman Joe Nation, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814 or fax to 916-319-2106. On March 5 at 1:30, California State Capitol, Sacramento, a meeting is scheduled of the education committee hearing on ACR 16. For more information and to review the resolution in it's entirety see "source" above and click on "State Resolution."






Correction for Indian Sangam Convention in Fiji


Posted on 2003/2/25 8:45:02 ( 949 reads )


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SUVA, FIJI, February 24, 2003: The e-mail contact for Mr. N. K. Naidu in Fiji was incorrect in HPI's recent summary regarding the Sangam Convention in Fiji. For correct e-mail see "source" above.






Haryana to Make "No-Dowry" Declarations Mandatory


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:49:02 ( 911 reads )


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CHANDIGARH, INDIA, February 15, 2003: Men working for the Haryana government might soon be required to give a written declaration following their marriage stating they have not taken a dowry. In an attempt to stop this practice, Haryana is planning to appoint a chief dowry prohibition officer whose job will be to collect these declarations and lists of gifts employees receive at their weddings, a government spokesman said. Every employee, within a month of marriage, will have to furnish the declaration to the head of department stating he has not taken any dowry. His in-laws and wife would also be required to sign the declaration. A list of gifts received at the time of marriage would also have to be submitted. The list would include a brief description of each gift, its value, as well as the presenter's name and relationship with the couple. The list would have to be signed by the newlyweds and their parents.






Handloom Saris, the Fashion Rage in Tamil Nadu


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:48:02 ( 773 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, February 16, 2003: A glut of unsold inexpensive handloom saris designed for the poor have become an overnight favorite of college students in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was faced with the task of selling 4.5 million saris after the "Free Sari - Dhoti" distribution plan was scrapped. Following this, the handloom businesses were plunged into an unprecedented crisis with more than 21,000 weavers facing unemployment. However, university women decided to address themselves to the cause of the weavers and started wearing the saris, and the entire stock was sold out in two months. Recently a women's college came out with the plan of celebrating "Handloom Day" by wearing the saris. The entire women staff at the State Secretariat wore them on January 30, and later all women MLAs were seen in handloom saris in the State Assembly. Buoyed by the overwhelming response, Co-optex, in a bid to retain the market, has introduced one million saris in new designs.






Study on India's Medicinal Plants Proposed


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:47:02 ( 858 reads )


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TIRUPATI, INDIA, February 17, 2003: Forest Department officials have been asked to take up a comprehensive study on conservation of medicinal plants in South India and document the endangered plants before initiating steps to conserve them. At the inaugural session on "Policy consultation on threatened medicinal plants of Eastern and Western ghats, trading and promoting their cultivation" it was felt that a balance had to be struck between conservation and commercial use of the medicinal plants with a rise in awareness of, and preference for, naturo-therapy. Senior officials shared the view that they have to study more on the plants grown in their forests, their medicinal value and market potential and initiate steps for their controlled commercialization.






Angry Crowd Storms Swaminarayan Temple and Curfew Imposed


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:46:02 ( 916 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, February 16, 2003: An unruly crowd estimated at 1,500 people stormed the famous Swaminarayan temple on Sunday, damaging furniture and burning posters following a dispute over who will head the trust which runs the shrine. This resulted in an indefinite curfew. District superintendent of police (Kheda) Manoj Agrawal said that the mob in Vadtal village was demanding reinstatement of their former acharya on the highest position of the temple, chairman of the trust who manages its affairs.






VHP Plans Go Ahead with Trisula Distribution


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:45:02 ( 863 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2003: Brushing aside opposition criticism of its program to distribute tridents as a "misinterpretation," the VHP on Wednesday vowed to go ahead with it, describing it as part of religious practice. After distribution of the tridents at Jaipur on Tuesday and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the Sangh Parivar plans to organize programs for its distribution among Bajrang Dal activists in Khera town near Aligarh on Thursday. "Either this has been misunderstood or has been manipulated," VHP senior vice president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters on Wednesday. Terming the trident as a "symbol of religion," he said the government cannot ban the practice of distribution as these were smaller than six inches and blunt objects. The Rajasthan State Government tried to ban the tridents "but failed as it did not fall under the purview of illegal activity as per rules," Kishore said.






Bethesda Murugan Temple Seeks Help for Priests' Contract


Posted on 2003/2/22 8:44:02 ( 831 reads )


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BETHESDA, U.S.A., February 22, 2003: The Executive and Religious Committees of the Murugan Temple here are seeking input for rewriting their employment agreement for priests. Their goal is to have a contract that is positive for their priests, fairly ensuring their rights and responsibilities and protection for the temple. If any temple committees have contracts they are willing to share, advise on selection of a labor lawyer or if an attorney skilled in labor law would care to offer his or her services, kindly contact Nigel Siva at "source" above.






Vidya Yoga Ashram Inaugurated in Portugal


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:49:02 ( 900 reads )


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LISBON, PORTUGAL, February 21, 2003: The World Philosophical Order Vidya Yoga Ashram inaugurated its international headquarters in Lisbon February 10, 2003. The Ordem Filosofica Mundial Vidya Yoga Ashram is a philosophical-spiritual, cultural, educational and assistance congregation. Established by H.H. Shri Swami Vyaghrananda Pashupᴩ Bhagwan, Master Shri Uberto Gamma and others, their focus is serving as an instrument for worldwide peace and education. Vidya Yoga Ashram was first established in the State of Paran᠅stado do ParanᬠBrazil, having its headquarters in the city of Curitiba, Rua Bar㯠de Guaruna, 645, Bairro Juveve, Brazil. Kindly contact "source" above for further information.
/P




Study Suggests Violent Video Games Cause Adverse Changes in the Brain


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:48:02 ( 791 reads )


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CHICAGO, U.S.A., December 2, 2002: Hours of playing violent video games can affect the way the brain works on a cellular level, causing misfiring of signals between nerve cells or slowing brain activity, researchers have discovered. The adverse effects are most apparent among teens that are diagnosed with a condition called disruptive behavior disorder or DBD. These kids, according to Dr. Vincent P. Mathews of the University of Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, are the ones most likely to "act out by harming animals or property or fighting with other kids." When he used a high tech scanning device called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track brain function in adolescents with DBD, he discovered "less activity in the frontal lobes," the area of the brain that controls emotions and impulses as well as attention span. Moreover when the DBD kids were exposed to violent video games, "there was even less activity," Mathews said. The study suggests repeated exposure to the violent video games is "desensitizing the brain ... the result is that the child can no longer understand the real effect of violence," said Dr. Carol Rumach, professor of radiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, who was not involved in the study. Even normal teens who said they frequently watched violent television and movies as well as regularly playing violent games had decreased activity when exposed to the violent video, Mathews said. Moreover, the brain changes were most apparent among "heavy users, meaning those who played for several hours every day," he said.






Zimbabwean War Veterans Target Asian Businesses


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:47:02 ( 756 reads )


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ZIMBABWE, AFRICA, February 15, 2003: President Robert Mugabe's "war veteran" militia is changing its land-grabbing campaign in Zimbabwe from white-owned farms to Asian-owned businesses. The move has echoes of the policy pursued by Idi Amin in Uganda 30 years ago, which saw 60,000 Asians expelled while their land, money and businesses were seized. Last week, the veterans accused the 12,000 people of Asian descent in Zimbabwe of being economic criminals. They were ordered to hand over money and computers, which might have recorded transactions that violate the country's foreign-exchange laws, or risk having their homes "nationalized." Leaders of the small but affluent Asian community are considering telling families to prepare to leave. Asian community leaders have said they fear they are being targeted by the militia groups because European farmers have been effectively neutralized following the seizure of white-owned farms over the last two and a half years. Last year Andrew Ndlovu, second in command of the National Liberation War Veterans, told the Herald, a state-controlled newspaper, "We want these Indians to surrender a percentage of their land. They are not here to develop our country or to work with us. They are economic looters." Most of Zimbabwe's Asians were born here. They are descended from families that arrived in east and central Africa at the end of the 19th century, to work as artisans and clerks while the Germans and British built roads and railways.






Designated Area for Fijian Hindus to Scatter Ashes


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:46:02 ( 979 reads )


Source: The Daily Post, Fiji





SUVA, FIJI, February 18, 2003: The beach along Queen Elizabeth Drive, on the Suva foreshore, is designated to the Hindu community to be used to dispose of the ashes of their loved ones following cremation, Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister George Raj said. Mr. Raj yesterday said he would make a detailed statement on the matter today in response to reports of complaints of human ash residue found in sea shells along the beach by squatters living nearby. Labor Parliamentarian and the national president of one of the largest Hindu organizations in the country, Kamlesh Arya, said the Hindu community had been designated the beach in the area and "there is nothing illegal about them disposing ashes there." Mr. Arya said there was an agreement between the Ports Authority and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Ministry over the disposal of human ashes. "It is the final funeral rite for Hindus and that is why the ministry has designated the area for the Hindu community to use," he said. "It is legal." He said the human ashes or the residue "will not cause pollution as it will be dissolved in the sea." Mr. Arya urged the members of the Hindu community not to dispose of flowers and wreaths along the beach. "This will certainly cause pollution," he said.






Arun Toke Honored with 2002 Writer Award


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:45:02 ( 1182 reads )


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EUGENE, U.S.A., February 21, 2003: Arun N. Toke, executive editor of Skipping Stones Magazine, has been honored by The Writer magazine with the 2002 Writer Award. The Writer Awards celebrate and recognize writers who, through their work, contribute to the community of writers, bring about changes in the publishing field, or use their writing to make a difference by informing, inspiring and motivating others. Mr. Toke, a Hindu who was born and raised in India, published the first issue of Skipping Stones in 1988 in Oregon. Arun was honored for his work with Skipping Stones, which plants seeds of peace and tolerance by weaving together writing and art work by youth with issues of peace, social justice and ecological awareness. Readers may visit "source" above for additional information.






Elders Renew Marriage Vows On Valentine's Day


Posted on 2003/2/21 8:44:02 ( 1120 reads )


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JAIPUR, INDIA, February 14, 2003: In a unique Valentine's Day celebration, eleven couples married for more than 50 years renewed their marriage vows in front of the holy fire, reaffirming their love for each other. Brain child of Mitroday Gandhi, President Rashtriya Yuva Chetna Parishad, the decision to celebrate these couples was taken to motivate the younger generation to view marriage as a relationship of love, trust and devotion that involved sacrifice and service to nurture a family. "It is an attempt to harmonize a Western ethos with Indian morality and customs," said Gandhi, especially when "relationships break at the drop of a hat. Valentine's Day has come to signify loud exhibitionism and commercialization of a tender feeling, it is necessary that we learn from the example of these people who've spent a lifetime with one another in building a home and a family." The significance of such a lasting bond was not lost on the younger generation who attended the celebrations in droves. Said young Sadhana Agnihotri, eyeing her grand parents' remarriage with admiration, "Their trust and fondness for each other is an eye opener. Their love has helped us grow into a united family."




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