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Government To Resettle Displaced Kashmir Pandits

Posted on 2003/3/9 8:49:02 ( 840 reads )

Source: NDTV.com

NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 6, 2003: The Jammu and Kashmir government is working on a plan to develop an area in Anantnag district, in the Kashmir Valley and 40 miles southeast of Srinigar, for resettling around 300,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. The government plans to build around 500 apartment flats with provision of security and essential facilities in the vicinity of Mattan temple, a pilgrimage center in Anantnag, for the Pandits to stay until they can repair their own houses. If the experiment succeeds here, it will be replicated at another prominent pilgrimage center -- Kheer Bhavani. The Mufti Sayeed-led state government is also making efforts to persuade the displaced people to return. About 300,000 Pandits, constituting almost the entire community, moved out of Kashmir valley in late 1989 after militancy erupted there. Many have been living in squalid camps around Jammu for more than a decade.

Ban On Smoking Fails To Reverse Cigarette Sales

Posted on 2003/3/9 8:48:02 ( 1196 reads )

Source: NDTV.com

HYDERABAD, INDIA, March 5, 2003: The number of cigarettes being smoked in India is going up, despite the ban on smoking in public places. The consumption has increased by seven billion cigarettes this year -- from 87 billion sticks in 2001-2002. "People who have been smoking bidis may graduate from bidi smoking to cigarette smoking if their economic condition improves. My fear is that some college-going youth may also resort to smoking. That is another kind of new entry," said P. Dayachari, Tobacco Board Chairman. The Supreme court's directive banning smoking in public places had an immediate impact and the sale of cigarettes was reduced by 15 percent in 2001-2002. But the reversal of the trend this year has worried health activists. Today many people can be seen smoking in public places as there is little policing and no punitive measures -- just a $2 fine. India's tobacco industry is the second largest in the world and accounts for one-third of the total three million tobacco-related deaths in the world.

UK "Crisps" Ads Stereotype Indians

Posted on 2003/3/9 8:47:02 ( 754 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, March 8, 2003: Southall, the British capital's mini India, was taken aback to see British soccer star Gary Lineker dressed as an Indian bridegroom, with his hair dyed black and sitting on a white horse. There were women in saris dressed for the wedding, and a proper baraat, or marriage party, in tow. So was he marrying a girl from Southall? Not quite, he was modeling as an Indian bridegroom for an advertisement for crisps (potato chips.) Going to the bride's house, he discovers her to be an elderly woman, but she has a dowry for him -- the keys to a corner shop with crisps inside. Not everyone in Southall, located in west London, was pleased. "It is bizarre and terribly stereotyped to suggest that the bridegroom would never have seen the bride before because it is an arranged marriage," said Piara Singh. "And it gives the idea that Indians marry only for dowry, whatever the woman may be like." Many in the UK wish the "Indian flavor" was something other than the Bollywood advertising image of elephants, curries and arranged marriages.

Contacts Needed for Angor Wat Research

Posted on 2003/3/9 8:46:02 ( 949 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, March 9, 2003: HPI has been asked to help find someone in Cambodia, or closely associated with the Angor Wat temple, who could assist with the visit of a renowned Hindu temple architect of South India who will be there visit June 11 and 12 of this year. If you could help, or could suggest a contact, kindly e-mail "source" above.

Ten Reasons Why the English Language is So Hard to Learn

Posted on 2003/3/9 8:45:02 ( 892 reads )

Source: HPI

UNITED STATES, March 9, 2003: Learning a new language can be challenging, but here are ten reasons why English is so confusing. 1. The bandage was wound around the wound. 2. The farm was used to produce produce. 3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse. 4. We must polish the Polish furniture. 5. He'd be able to lead if he would get the lead out. 6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert. 7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present. 8. He thought of a subject to subject on his friends. 9. They're flying their plane over their plain. 10. He threw the ball through the window.

Ganga River Clean Up Campaign Set for March

Posted on 2003/3/8 8:49:02 ( 862 reads )


KANPUR, INDIA, March 3, 2003: The United Nations has declared 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater and March 22 is the World Water Day. The environmental group, Eco Friends, is launching a massive Ganga cleanup campaign in Kanpur from March 16 to March 22, 2003. The objective behind this campaign is to make the six-mile stretch of Kanpur Ganga visibly clean. It also aims to focus awareness on the Ganga River as a national heritage and foster a sense of responsibility to keep it clean. Eco Friends, with support from the Ganga communities, plan to physically clean the river in Kanpur by removing carcasses, polythene bags and other sources of pollution. The cleaning of the river is planned in three phases and will be accompanied by a series of educational and mobilization programs to bring public awareness on the issue of cleaning the Ganga River and keeping it free of pollution.

South Florida Hindu Community Honors Dr. Arvind Sharma

Posted on 2003/3/8 8:48:02 ( 908 reads )


FORT LAUDERDALE, UNITED STATES, March 8, 2003: The Hindu Community of South Florida has honored Dr. Arvind Sharma, Ph.D., Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University, Montreal, as its "Hindu Of the Year." Dr. Sharma was presented with this award at a special ceremony sponsored by the South Florida Hindu Temple, Fort Lauderdale, on the occasion of the Fourth Annual Hindu Heritage Month in Broward County. A plaque was presented to him for "for his long-standing dedication to the pursuit of Truth, for popularizing Hindu religion and philosophy, for instilling faith, hope and values, for his relentless service to the community, and most of all, for his commitment to promoting the true essence of Sanatana Dharma." For additional information kindly contact Gopi Nath Raina, Editor, Sanatana Sandesh at "source" above.

Study Demonstrates People Are Happier When They Feel Grateful

Posted on 2003/3/8 8:47:02 ( 855 reads )

Source: HPI

SACRAMENTO, UNITED STATES, March 4, 2003: A groundbreaking series of experiments at the University of California at Davis suggests that counting your blessings makes you happier. "When people consciously practice grateful living, their happiness will go up and their ability to withstand negative events will improve, as does their immunity to anger, envy, resentment and depression," says UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, who has been studying what makes people happy for nearly 20 years. Rather than objective life circumstances, individual happiness is a function of outlook and perception, according to Emmons. He published his findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in February regarding a number of experiments he has conducted over the past four years. In experiments that used college students, subjects kept a diary. Some recorded how they felt grateful, while others listed life hassles or neutral life events. The gratitude group experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness, reduced daily negative emotions, better quality of sleep and increased overall life satisfaction.

Italy Hosts Indian Festival

Posted on 2003/3/7 8:49:02 ( 916 reads )


MILAN, ITALY, March 7, 2003: An Indian festival "East Meets West" is being planned from March 13 to 16, 2003, at the Filaforum of Assago, Milan. The festival's programs include screenings of Indian movies, Indian dance performances and talks on Indian music, ayurveda and the Vedas. There will also be exhibitions on Indian musical instruments and various art forms. Workshops on folk dances, ayurvedic cooking and yoga will also be conducted. Kindly contact "source" above for additional information.

Surinam To Host World Hindi Conference

Posted on 2003/3/7 8:48:02 ( 964 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, SURINAM, March 7, 2003: The main agenda of the World Hindi Conference to be held in Surinam in June, 2003, is to get the United Nation to accord official language status for Hindi, the second most spoken language in the world, Kendriya Hindi Samithi member Y. Lakshmiprasad said. Mr. Lakshmiprasad said at present Hindi is being used by people in 76 countries. The samithi, headed by Prime Minister Vajpayee, who made the first-ever address to the UN in Hindi, wanted the people of these countries to persuade their respective governments to confer this status for the language and accordingly pass resolutions. Stating that English had attained the status of an international language only due to its sheer capacity to adopt words from other languages, he called upon Indian linguists to adopt foreign language words and compile a new dictionary on the lines of the Oxford University Press. "It will be easier for people to pronounce words like subway instead of the Hindi word Bhumigatha Paithal Paripath," he said.

Hindu Life in Myanmar, a Reader Responds

Posted on 2003/3/7 8:47:02 ( 1238 reads )


EPPSTEIN, WEST GERMANY, March 7, 2003: HPI's short piece yesterday on Myanmar lamented the lack of news about that country. Indrajit Ganguli, "source" above, responded with this personal travelogue: "I was born in Myanmar and always wanted to visit the place of my birth, but it was not possible due to restrictions. However, the government of Myanmar relaxed these restrictions and we flew from Kolkata to Yangon (previously Rangoon), the capital city of Myanmar. We visited Shwe dagon pagoda, the biggest Buddhist temple in the world and were very glad to see the devotees there, the discipline, calmness and cleanliness. This pagoda is something worth seeing; the architecture is overwhelming. In the afternoon we visited a Hindu temple run by the local Tamil population. Here also we were glad to see the cleanliness and discipline. From Yangon we went to Mandalay, which is situated about 600 km north of Yangon. Mandalay was once the capital on Myanmar and definitely the cultural capital of Myanmar. Here we visited several Buddhist pagodas and quite a few Hindu temples. There is also a Kali temple run by the local Bengali population. It is of interest to note that the Myanmarese people also visit the Hindu temples and the Hindus visit the pagodas. This is a perfect example of total tolerance and understanding. The nicest thing is to experience the calm and quietness at these temples and pagodas where one really has the complete feeling of peace. Praying in these temples and pagodas is an experience of contemplation. From Mandalay we went to Pagan, the old capital of Myanmar. Once upon a time there were about 5,000 temples here, today around 2,600 temples are still existing. Pagan is an open museum. There are several temples dedicated to Vishnu and Siva and a large number naturally dedicated to Buddha. The architecture of these temples are fascinating -- North Indian type, South Indian Chola, Mon Khmer, Thai and several other types -- and pujas (Hindu worship) is offered in many of these temples. From Pagan we went to Taunggyi, the place of my birth, up in the Shan mountains. It is here that my father and a few others from the Bengali community started the Durgabari temple in the thirties. It was a temporary wooden structure in those days, but I was proud to see that the Durga temple now is a permanent structure with the permanent Durgadevi murthi with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh. A Nepalese brahmin is appointed as a pujari (priest), and daily puja services are conducted. Apart from the Durga temple, there are three other Hindu temples in this town, dedicated to Radha-Krishna, Siva and Vishnu. Also there is a small Arya Samaj prayer hall. The Myanmarese people are very religious, and by that I do not mean that they just go to temple and offer puja etc. Religion can be seen in their everyday life and in every action. As one single group of Indian origin, Tamils are a majority and are very active and dedicated in continuing our Hindu religious tradition in Myanmar. Myanmar is still isolated and perhaps this splendid isolation allowed them to keep their culture."

Thai Monks Connect With Cyberspace

Posted on 2003/3/7 8:46:02 ( 840 reads )


BANGKOK, THAILAND, March 4, 2003: A new project from Thailand's Ministry of Education aimed at networking monastic communities in remote areas will bring 100 Buddhist monks to the capital next month for training in information technology and the internet. Apart from linking temples nationwide, the idea is to leverage on the teaching role that monks have traditionally played in Thai society, passing on the new skills that they acquire. After a week-long workshop, the monks will return to their monasteries and train others, the ministry's Religious Affairs Department said. One in two temples from each province is slotted to join the pilot project, and each temple will be given between three and five computers. Free internet access would be provided via telephones or satellite. Currently only some monasteries in the major cities have internet access, while remote monasteries often do not. Many Thais believe this will be a boost for the religion, which is one of the pillars of the Thai state. The project finds favor with those who believe that education in Buddhism should be reoriented to be more in touch with the real world and that the clergy's inertia and insularity are hurting Thai Buddhism.

US Secretary of State Rejects Plea to Name India for "Religious Violations"

Posted on 2003/3/6 8:49:02 ( 807 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2003: The Bush administration has rejected the recommendation of a US commission to brand India a violator of religious freedom. Following the Gujarat riots, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had recommended India's inclusion in a list of "countries of particular concern." Acting on the commission's omnibus report, Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday designated six nations -- China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Sudan -- as "countries of particular concern" -- North Korea being the only new addition to last year's list. He, however, declined to include India and five other countries in the classification. Hindus were astounded by the Commission's recommendations, which put India, a nation with a long history of religious tolerance, in the same camp as oppressive regimes such as North Korea, or even the other five rejected for listing, which included Saudi Arabia, where freedom of religion is almost non-existent. The Commission report included the complaint that the State Department routinely ignored its recommendations, which carry no weight unless adopted by the Secretary of State. The Commission appears in its reports to be primarily concerned with the rights of Christians and Christian missionaries in foreign countries.

Rajasthan Provides Relief for Gods and Goddesses

Posted on 2003/3/6 8:48:02 ( 816 reads )


JAIPUR, INDIA, March 5, 2003: Even Gods and Goddesses will receive relief in drought-hit Rajasthan's annual budget for the next fiscal year. Presenting the budget in the state assembly on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pradyuman Singh said temples were falling to ruins in the absence of proper maintenance. Many temples were not in a position to manage rituals, pujas and "bhog" (prasadam, food offered to the Deity) due to the paucity of funds, he said. "For such temples, the government has made an additional provision of US$210,000," he said. The government announced a similar amount for the "Gau Seva Ayog" for cow protection measures. An additional allocation of $100,000 was made for the Waqf Board and Madarsa Board for the maintenance of Waqf Properties (mosques) and for modern education in madarsas (Muslim schools).

Hindu Activities in Myanmar

Posted on 2003/3/6 8:47:02 ( 993 reads )


YANGON, MYANMAR, March 5, 2003: The celebration of Deepavali by the All Myanmar Tamil Hindu Foundation and donations given to the "Thanantana Dhammapala (Hindu) Association in Pabedan Township" are two Hindu events that took place in Myanmar recently. Readers may contact "source" above for news on Hindu activities in Myanmar. The stories are a bit dated, however, HPI rarely sees any news from Myanmar.

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