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Young Indian American Hindu Joins Marines


Posted on 2003/4/4 8:46:02 ( 898 reads )


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CAMP LEJEUNE, U.S.A., April 4, 2003: Nishkam Gupta, 21, is not like others of his age, his parents will tell you. He is currently at Camp Lejeune, serving in the Marines, and in a few days he will leave to serve in Iraq. Nishkam attended a Marine boot "summer" camp while in high school and later made a 6-year commitment with the US military as a Marine reservist. While at Camp Lejeune, Nishkam's mother said her son refused to go with other soldiers to the Christian Sunday services. "He demanded to be given his own place so he could follow his own religion," she said. At his request, his mother sent him pictures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. "So every Sunday, when other Marines would go to the church, he and 2 or 3 other Indians would pray at this special location given to them. He made sure that Indians kept their identity even in the US military," she said. At the time his reserve unit was called up he was studying mechanical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he founded the local chapter of Hindu Students Council. When packing his bags for going to Iraq he took only four books with him -- the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, The Hindu Mind by Bansi Pandit and The Collected Works of Swami Vivekananda. His parents, who had expressed reluctance at their son's decision, have now adjusted. "Nobody likes their son to go to war," said his father, "but we have no choice but to support him because this is what he really wants."






Haute Khadi Takes the Fashion World


Posted on 2003/4/3 8:49:02 ( 885 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 31, 2003: Khadi is haute and happening. At the Singapore Fashion Week Giorgio Armani himself sang paeans to the stuff of which Indian nationalism is made. "The khadi made in India is among the most skin-friendly fabrics we know. In fact the day isn't far when khadi-based designs will rule the world," he says. No mean praise coming from the man who has defined style for well over four decades. First used by Mahatma Gandhi to make a strong statement of patriotism and self-reliance, hand-spun, hand-woven khadi is today the toast of fashion houses in France and Italy. "It was a Herculean task repackaging khadi for Indian and European tastes while preserving its essential appeal. Designers abroad were completely unaware that a quintessentially Indian material could be used for making Western clothes. Today after two years of rigorous effort, khadi has finally been accepted in the international markets. We now cater to front-line couturiers like Donna Karen, Gucci and Giorgio Armani," says J. Nagarajan, advisor to the Sarvoday Ashram, New Delhi. The ashram caters to over eighty percent of Europe's requirement of khadi. From being a dull, coarse material khadi today bears a multicolored look thanks to vegetable and chemical dyes and can be spun as fine as muslin by weavers in Andhra Pradesh and west Bengal. The West is slowly but surely waking up to the charms of this wonder fabric.






Healing Power Of Gardening


Posted on 2003/4/3 8:48:02 ( 932 reads )


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NEW MARKET, VIRGINIA, April 2, 2003: National Garden Month, observed in April, has taken "Celebrate the power of gardening" as this year's theme. Aside from providing sustenance and beauty, gardens are restorative -- they can transform lives, says Valerie Kelsey, president of the National Gardening Association. "You see it the most with inner-city kids. They can experience it by growing a single strawberry. It's forceful," says Kelsey. "You see it in prison gardening. It's probably the first time in the inmates' lives they've learned how to nurture something. It teaches responsibility." Landscape designer Nicole Kistler formed most of her impressions about horticultural healing several years ago while a graduate student at the University of Washington. She wrote her master's degree thesis around the design methods used for creating some rooftop gardens at the Cancer Lifeline Center in Seattle. "Patients were able to soothe their tensions. In the end, many were able to tell their stories. There was this huge metaphor for healing. They didn't know what they were doing in many cases (with the gardening), but they overcame it." Sanctuary gardens are being designed around hospices, churches, schools and jails, among other places. The catharsis provided by these often vest-pocket sanctuaries impact the healers as well as the afflicted, adds Author Eva Shaw.






Coconut's Healing Powers


Posted on 2003/4/3 8:47:02 ( 1152 reads )


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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 3, 2003: Yesterday's story on coconut's healing powers had the link incorrect. HPI apologizes for any inconvenience. For correct link, use "source" above.






Stone Pillar With Carved Lotus Flower Unearthed At Ayodhya


Posted on 2003/4/2 8:49:02 ( 831 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, April 1, 2003: Archaeologists have uncovered a broken pillar with a carving of a lotus flower at the site of the destroyed 16th century Babri Masjid, a government official said Tuesday. "The finding of a pillar and multilayered flooring suggests there exists a permanent structure beneath the soil," said R.M. Srivastava, the senior government administrator in Ayodhya, where the site is located. "At this point we can only say that remains of a permanent structure lay buried in the soil. It could be anything -- a temple, the masjid or even a kitchen structure." The Babri Masjid at the site was demolished by Hindu radicals in 1992. Hindus claim the site in Ayodhya, 345 miles east of New Delhi, was the birthplace of Rama and that a Hindu temple was on the site before the masjid. The significance of the discovery is still unclear, but officials hope it will eventually help settle the debate about what was originally built on the site. The excavation has been ordered by the court charged with settling the issue.






Coconut's Healing Powers


Posted on 2003/4/2 8:48:02 ( 1040 reads )


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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 26, 2003: Coconut milk and cream are full of healthy values. In Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Thai medicine, the coconut is considered a healing food. Western medicine is beginning to understand that the fats in coconut milk, although saturated, contain at least 50 percent lauric acid, which carries antimicrobial and antiviral properties. In addition, according to lipid scientist Mary Enig, coconut oil converts directly into energy without being stored as fat. In traditional Thai cuisine, the fat of choice is palm oil while coconut milk and cream is the "milk" of choice. Dietary scientists find the Thai diet an enigma because while Thais generally consume these saturated "tropical" fats, they score low rates of obesity and heart disease, according to Enig. This lengthy article is devoted to the use of coconut milk in Thai cooking and includes recipes for several Thai desserts.






Correction: Hot Cross Buns Not Banned in Tower Hamlet's Schools


Posted on 2003/4/2 8:47:02 ( 1117 reads )


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TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL, ENGLAND, April 2, 2003: The following correction was received from Mr. Donald Neam, Head of Communications, Tower Hamlets, regarding the Sunday Telegraph article on "Hot Cross Buns" summarized in the March 21 HPI: "The basis of your news report is an article on page 11 of the March 16, 2003 edition of British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, entitled 'Hot cross banned: councils decree buns could be "offensive" to non-Christians.' The article was wrong and is without merit or foundation. Tower Hamlets Council has never ordered schools not to serve hot cross buns at Easter. We are requesting the immediate removal of the article (and any related response(s)/commentary) from the Hinduism Today web site and a correction with the same prominence given to the original comments. As the Local Education Authority, the council has a recommended Religious Education curriculum which encourages schools to celebrate the full range of religious festivals. That said, the Local Education Authority is not in a position to give orders to any school on its religious requirements for food. That is a decision to be taken by each school. We believe that the continued existence of the comment piece on your website has the potential to incite racial hatred, especially during these very sensitive times. Tower Hamlets Council celebrates the rich cultural diversity of its community and the benefits that this brings. The council has written to the Sunday Telegraph to demand a retraction and an apology and questioned the veracity of their quotes. We have passed on the matter to our legal department to pursue." HPI apologizes for passing on this incorrect information published by the Telegraph and has duly removed the article from its archives.






Christians Petition Against Survey by Gujarat Police


Posted on 2003/4/2 8:46:02 ( 1055 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 2, 2003: The Straits Times link was incorrect on an earlier story of Gujarat police surveying Christians. For correct link use "source" above.






Neem Day Celebration Today


Posted on 2003/4/2 8:45:02 ( 915 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, April 2, 2003: The Maharashtra Nature Park, in collaboration with the Neem Foundation, is celebrating April, 2 2003, (Gudi Padwa day) as Neem Day. The program was held at Kalapradarshini Udyan in Mumbai. The program included a workshop on using Neem for health and happiness and Free Healing session of Cosmopathy. In addition to this, solar cooking demonstrations, a Neem products display and an exhibition of Medicinal plants and herbs. For additional information on neem or other medicinal plants and herbs, kindly contact Dr. Dhiren M. Pania at "source" above.






Nepalese Monarchs Donate Gold and Silver Ornaments to Jagannath Temple


Posted on 2003/3/30 8:49:02 ( 958 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, March 29, 2003: Gold ornaments, including rings, coins and decorative pieces and expensive clothes were among the gifts the King of Nepal, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, and Queen Komal Rajalaxmi Devi offered to the Deities of the Sri Jagannath temple here on Saturday. A gold coin, a gold thread, three golden eyes, a small gold idol of Laxminarayan, a gold lotus, a silver umbrella, a silver lamp, other decorative silver ornaments and silver footwear were presented to Lord Jagannath by the royal couple, temple administration sources said. A pair of gold ear rings, a gold ring, three golden eyes, a silver garland with 108 tulsi leaves were offered to Lord Balabhadra while a gold nose ring, a pair of gold ear tops, a gold coin, a gold thread, three golden eyes and a silver lamp were offered to Devi Subhadra. The King of Nepal has hereditary rights at this temple to make special offerings to the Deities.






Christians Petition Against Survey by Gujarat Police


Posted on 2003/3/30 8:48:02 ( 885 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 29, 2003: A group of Christian organizations has petitioned the Gujarat state High Court to halt a government survey of Christians on the grounds that it "unlawfully targets" the minority group. The All-India Christian Council said the Christians are being "victimized in the name of collecting census information." For the past two weeks, police have been visiting Christians across this western state. The questionnaire asks, "Were you a Hindu earlier? When and why did you convert? Are you getting any money every month from Christians? Do you read the Bible? Why did you convert? Do you want to be reconverted to Hinduism?" The High Court gave police until April 10 to explain why the survey is not illegal. Another petition, filed with the Supreme Court, will be heard on April 6. The state government says the survey is being conducted to answer a question by a lawmaker in India's federal Parliament about the financing of Christian and nongovernmental organizations.






Traditional Medicines Enter the Mainstream with Quality Control


Posted on 2003/3/29 8:49:02 ( 828 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 29, 2003: Many people opt for traditional medicines because they are affordable and believed to be less harmful. As a result, the market is flooded with scores of Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha cures, but there is no official machinery to give them accreditation. Experts have voiced concerns about their safety, quality, licensing of providers and standards of training in connection with traditional medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently come out with a traditional medicine strategy for 2002-2005, which focuses on these issues. According to WHO, 70 percent of the Indian population use traditional medicine for their primary health needs. Last week, a group of experts met here to plan out an adequate strategy for integration of traditional medicine with the health care system in India. They have recommended a separate set of standards for regulating traditional medicine and the setting up of a body to provide accreditation to medicinal claims.






Ayodhya Excavation Uncovers 150 Conches and Other Artifacts


Posted on 2003/3/29 8:48:02 ( 1238 reads )


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AYODHYA, INDIA, March 28, 2003: At least 150 small conches, a stucco stone, a sandstone structure, pieces of bangles, a mud-stove (chulha) and some articles of glazed terra cotta were found during the 13th day of excavation at Ayodhya today. Sources here said five articles were found in the J5 trench, and one each in J3, K6 and K7 trench, where digging was done up to 16 feet in depth. Sources also claimed the findings to be of archaeological significance. As many as 40 laborers, including seven Muslims, were deployed for digging today in the presence of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team members and representatives of 13 contesting parties. The dig is attempting to find evidence of an ancient Hindu temple on the site of the now demolished Babri Masjid.






Ramakrishna's Goddess Kali Receives New Silver and Burmese Teak Throne


Posted on 2003/3/29 8:47:02 ( 931 reads )


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KALICOT, INDIA, March 29, 2003: The 148-year-old throne of Goddess Kali at the Dakshineswar temple, where both Ramakrishna and Vivekananda meditated for hours, will be replaced by a new one on Saturday. The new 10-foot-high throne will replace the old wooden structure encased in silver. Kusal Chowdhury, secretary of Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Debottar Estate said, "Devotees will witnesses a historic moment tomorrow. The process of replacing the throne will be accompanied by day-long rituals." The temple authorities have decided to display the original throne, which was first installed in 1855 when Rani Rashmoni established the temple. The artisans took three years to make the new throne, as they meticulously maintained the design and detailing of the original one. "All the 12 columns are encased in silver. We have used Burma teak for the frame on top. So, it is expected to last another century without any problem," the secretary added.






Hindus Attacked and Killed In Kashmir


Posted on 2003/3/28 8:49:02 ( 995 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 24, 2003: When an Islamic insurgency began in Indian Kashmir in 1989, the area's Hindus became the prime target. Muslim terrorists directed a campaign of assassinations and intimidation against Kashmiri Pandits, as the area's Hindu brahmins are known, and most of them were forced out of Kashmir. Eleven families stayed on in the mountain hamlet of Nadimarg, about 35 miles south of Srinagar, with the encouragement of their Muslim neighbors. On Sunday night, at least eight gunmen, dressed in Indian Army uniforms, arrived at the village and ordered its residents outside. They opened fire with automatic weapons on those who complied, killing 24 Pandits, out of the 52 living in the village, including women and children. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic terrorists backed by Pakistan, fighting for Kashmir's independence or accession to Pakistan, have stepped up attacks on Hindus in recent years. The Pandits were the elite of Kashmir, filling the medical and education professions. In the early 1990's close to 60,000 Pandits were driven out. Some have resettled and started new lives, while others remain in refugee camps outside Jammu.




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