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Rajasthan Provides Relief for Gods and Goddesses

Posted on 2003/3/6 8:48:02 ( 814 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 ( 992 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.

Court Orders Ayodhya Site Excavation

Posted on 2003/3/5 8:49:02 ( 845 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, March 5, 2003: In a major development, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out the excavation of the disputed site at Ayodhya within one week. The special full bench comprising Justices Sudhir Narain, S. R. Alam and Bhanwar Singh asked the ASI to excavate the site, except where the statue of Lord Ram is placed, within one week and inform the court on March 24. The bench also directed that the puja darshan (daily worship) should also not be effected during the exercise. Vikas International, the company which had conducted a ground penetrating radar survey of the site has been asked to provide technical assistance to the ASI. The bench passed the order after hearing views from both the parties on a report filed by the Vikas International.

Rare Siva Sculpture Found At Darasuram

Posted on 2003/3/5 8:48:02 ( 867 reads )


THANJAVUR, INDIA, March 2, 2003: A rare sculpture of Lord Siva with a flute in his hands has been found at the Irawadeeswara temple at Darasuram, near Kumbakonam, by Kudavayil Balasubramaniyan, researcher of the Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur. It has been found on a pillar at the Rajakampeeran Thirumantapam of the temple, built by Rajaraja-II, Chola King. "There is no equivalent sculpture available anywhere in Tamil Nadu," claims Dr. Balasubramaniyan. The tradition is to sculpt Vishnu as Krishna with a flute in his hands. But the image at the Darasuram temple bears a deer and an ax in the hands above and a flute in the two hands below. The temple, under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India, is an architectural marvel and mini-form of the Thanjavur Big Temple.

Canadian Minister Requests Military Provide More Diversity

Posted on 2003/3/5 8:47:02 ( 873 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

OTTAWA, CANADA, March 5, 2003: Religious services in the Canadian armed forces are controlled exclusively by a few major Christian groups, discriminating against other faiths and minority Christian churches, a Pentecostal minister has charged in a human rights complaint. The forces have no Jewish, Hindu or Muslim chaplains, says Rev. Sheldon Johnston in the letter of complaint. A defense spokesman admitted the chaplains don't represent modern Canada and said officials are working on the problem, starting with the recruitment of the forces' first Muslim chaplain. There are 144 regular force chaplains, divided about equally between Catholic and Protestant. The Canadian Human Rights Commission says it will refer Johnston's complaint to a human rights tribunal. B'nai B'rith, the Jewish human rights organization, is backing his crusade and is considering intervening in the hearing.

Bharat Keshar Simha is New World Hindu Federation President

Posted on 2003/3/4 8:49:02 ( 1200 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 28, 2003: Bharat Keshar Simha, retired major general of the Royal Nepalese Army and honorary ADC to His Majesty the King, was recently elected unanimously as the president of the World Hindu Federation at their recent meeting in Gorakhpur, India. Asked whether the WHF, being a religious organization, can influence politics, Mr. Simha stated, "Definitely it can. I firmly believe that religion and politics are different. But having said that, I would like to draw attention to the sort of behavior our leaders are conducting and the fact that they are dragging religion into politics, instead of being the other way round. All their actions should be dominated by dharma. Though we translate dharma as religion, it is totally different. I think dharma is more inclusive and more meaningful. Whereas religion merely divides people -- like there are Christians, Muslims, Hindus and so on -- dharma, especially the Sanatana Dharma, actually is for all humankind. Irrespective of any religion, dharma is the way of life for every human being." To read the complete interview go to "source" above.

US Temples Damaged in Attacks

Posted on 2003/3/4 8:48:02 ( 823 reads )


ST. LOUIS, UNITED STATES, February 23, 2003: Security is being stepped up for the Hindu Temple of St. Louis that was firebombed twice in a week. Federal agents are trying to determine if the attacks were youthful mischief or hate-fueled religious bigotry. No one was injured by the attacks as the temple's massive metal doors blocked the first firebomb, and flame-retardant carpeting limited damage from the second, which was thrown through a window. There was no immediate indication if the February 23 attack was related to one that same day at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas, about 250 miles away, where someone broke the glass front door and caused $700 in damage. Temple officials were concerned about whether the violence could escalate, possibly involving someone who wrongly equates Hindus with Islamic extremists. Several mosques and temples across the country and Canada have been vandalized since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Minor Attack on Hindu Temple In US Baffles Police

Posted on 2003/3/3 8:49:02 ( 855 reads )


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, March 1, 2003: The police and FBI are at a loss why a fire bomb was thrown at the Hindu temple in St. Louis, Missouri, on the night of February 22. Officials have registered the attack as a hate crime case. "It seemed to be a crude bomb or Molotov cocktail, which set fire to the front door of the temple," Krishna Reddy, president of the temple trustee board, said. The fire quickly burned itself out, charring a four-foot section of the door. The attack happened after midnight, Reddy thinks. Temple officials discovered the attack when they arrived to open the shrine the next morning. "There are four priests living in the compound a little behind the temple. They did not hear anything that night," Reddy said. "We are getting a lot of support from the police, FBI and other officials. There is no panic in the community," Jiwan Singla, chairman of the temple building committee, said. "Everything is normal, but we are increasing security," he said. Established 13 years ago, it is one of the largest temples in the US, serving more than 8,000 families. "The attack has not changed anything," Singla noted. All the activities will go on as scheduled, he said.

VHP and RSS Said to Face Fund-Raising Issues in UK

Posted on 2003/3/3 8:48:02 ( 845 reads )


LONDON, UK, February 28, 2003: The following material is from the Paknews.com website: "The British Government is under pressure by its Asian nationals to look into reports that funds collected in the name of charity here are being sent to extremists in India. Indian Muslim Federation UK has demanded that VHP and RSS should be banned for their alleged involvement in communal activities and fanning hatred in India. A leading British daily Financial Times investigation has exposed a link between charity being collected from UK-US and said it was being channeled to extremists in India."

Story Planned on Hindus in Myanmar

Posted on 2003/3/3 8:47:02 ( 827 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, March 3, 2003: Hinduism Today is planning for a story on the one-million plus Hindus of Myanmar (formerly Burma). The New York Times story as "source" above gives a lot of information about the country, though little about Hinduism there. If you know someone in Myanmar who can help with the visit of our reporter this year or next, kindly e-mail ar@hindu.org.

Goddess Devi Procession Sparks Unrest

Posted on 2003/2/28 8:49:02 ( 1139 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, February 25, 2003: At least 24 people were injured, along with damage to vehicles and shops, in communal violence that erupted in the Anepalya and Neelasandra areas in the city on Tuesday. The problems began around 8:45 p.m. when devotees of Goddess Annamma Devi, playing music, passed in procession through a masjid in the area. City Police Commissioner M. D. Singh, Joint Commissioner Jeevan Kumar Gaonkar and all the DCPs have held meetings with leaders of both the communities (Hindus and Muslims) and appealed to them to maintain peace.

Toronto Temple Hosts Memorial Service for Dr. Chawla

Posted on 2003/2/28 8:48:02 ( 820 reads )


TORONTO, CANADA, February 28, 2003: A special memorial service honoring Dr. Kalpana Chawla will be held at the Hindu Mandir and Cultural Center, Messissauga, Toronto, March 8, 2003. Dr. Chawla, first Indian woman astronaut, was killed in the recent explosion of the space shuttle Columbia. Kindly contact "source" above for additional information.

Gujarat to Introduce Law Restricting Religious Conversions

Posted on 2003/2/27 8:49:02 ( 1119 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, February 25, 2003: The Gujarati state government has plans to introduce a new law stopping the practice of unethical religious conversion. State Governor Sunder Singh Bhandari declared the Freedom of Religion Bill would be brought before the state assembly during the session that opened on Tuesday. The law -- known as Dharam Swatantrata Vidheya -- will be similar to anti-conversion laws that exist in some other Indian states that ban conversion by inducement or fraud. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ashok Bhatt says the final shape of the new law will be decided at a cabinet meeting next week.

U.K. Hindus Substitute River Thames for Holy Ganga

Posted on 2003/2/27 8:48:02 ( 938 reads )

Source: NewsQuest Media Group Limited

LONDON, ENGLAND, February 18, 2003: Hindus in the U.K. are using a service offered by a ferry company which will send a boat out onto the Thames to perform the ritual of scattering of ashes of the deceased for US$80. City Cruises takes up to 50 friends and relatives on the half-hour trip. Sales manager Ian Faris says, "This is a popular service where predominantly Asian families are taken to a quiet spot on the river to perform the final rites of passage on their loved ones." Strictly speaking, disposing of any waste into rivers is illegal, but the Environment Agency, which is responsible for waterways in Britain, is turning a blind eye to the practice. Environment Agency officer Tessa van den Burghe comments that, "Strictly speaking, it is not allowed as it is considered waste. But it is not a huge amount and we do not consider it a problem." Greenwich Hindu Temple secretary Vidya Misru says, "Ideally the deceased are sent back to their spiritual home in India where their ashes can be cast with a prayer into the holy Ganges. But sometimes this is not possible and in these circumstances the Thames is used as an alternative."

Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization

Posted on 2003/2/27 8:47:02 ( 971 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 27, 2003: Ira Rifkin's new book, "Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization -- Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval," takes the globalization debate global -- exploring how it looks to Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, Baha'is, pagans and Muslims. This look by a noted religion author at globalization from other cultural perspectives helps to understand the phenomenon from their point of view and why some cultures may be less than enthusiastic. The chapter on Hinduism introduces readers to Indian Hindu expatriates working in the Washington suburbs high-tech industry. The author uses their efforts to maintain links to their cultural roots to illustrate the global spread of Vedic thought. But the chapter also delves into the concerns of Hindus who worry that globalization's free-market capitalism and Western-oriented consumer lifestyle undermine Hinduism's traditional emphasis on spiritual advancement over material acquisition. "For traditional Hindus," author Rifkin writes, "both the earth and nonhuman life are sacred, and concern that transnational corporations, abetted by compliant or corrupt governments, have turned both into commodities are cause for additional opposition to globalization."

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