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AIDS Victim Encourages Potential Couples to be Tested for HIV

Posted on 2003/6/23 9:46:02 ( 903 reads )


ASSAM, INDIA, June 14, 2003: It is common practice in East Indian culture for couples to have their astrology done to see if they will be compatible in marriage. However Goswami, a resident of Assam, feels that the public should be aware that it would be in their best interest if the potential couple go for a blood test to rule out being HIV-positive. From her own sad experience Goswami explains, "Soon after my marriage I found that my husband was often ill, complaining of various ailments from herpes to fever and coughs. A few days before his death, he told me he had AIDS." By that time, Goswami had contracted the disease herself. Rather than hide from her adversity, Goswami went public with her burden in the hopes of making the public aware of the disease and she became a counselor with the AIDS Control Society in Assam. Some 100,000 HIV-positive patients live in the northeast which borders the heroin-producing Golden Triangle of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand and has high rates of intravenous drug use. Goswami herself faced much discrimination after going public about her illness, and she was forced to move more than a dozen times. Her in-laws even accused her of infecting her husband. However, she has persevered, and says, "Today I am targeting students in Assam and trying to make them aware about how to prevent AIDS and how the virus spreads. I want to live a life with dignity and show people how to avoid a silent and painful death."

Mt. Kailash Project

Posted on 2003/6/23 9:45:02 ( 957 reads )


INDIA, June 13, 2003: In 1998 H.H. Chidananda Saraswati (Pujya Muniji) traveled to the holy land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash, in Tibet, with H.H. Swami Gurusharananandji Maharaj and H.H. Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza. While there he saw the desperateness of the local situation; there were no medical facilities for hundreds of miles. People frequently suffered or even died from basic, treatable altitude sickness due to lack of medical attention. There is no indoor place to stay -- all must camp in tents. Pujya Muniji vowed that he would do something for the local people and for all the pilgrims who travel there. After two-and-a-half years spent in discussions with the Chinese government and the Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Tourism for the region, he finally obtained permission for the project. In December, 2000, permission was granted to build an ashram and a hospital in the sacred land. The project is hoped to be a spring board for other, much needed, humanitarian projects in the area, including schools, vocational training programs, etc. July 13, 2003, is Full Moon day -- Guru Purnima Day at Mansarovar. The opening ceremony of the ashram and a special Guru Purnima puja as well as cultural programs will be held at Lake Mansarovar on this auspicious day.

Mahatma Gandhi's Tolstoy Farm to be Renovated

Posted on 2003/6/23 9:44:02 ( 1067 reads )


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, June 15, 2003: The long abandoned Tolstoy Farm in Johannesburg, established by Mahatma Gandhi to promote the philosophy of Satyagraha, peace and harmony, is to get a fresh lease of life with a group of Indian-origin youth volunteering to restore it. The farm, situated about 45 km east of Johannesburg, has become run down and was abandoned after the new owners took over the farm in the 1960s. "The renovation committee was established after it was found that very few children of people of Indian origin knew anything about Gandhi or the famous farm," member of the Gandhi Remembrance Committee, Ms. Sandra Singh said. The committee is made up of 10 people comprising of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and one black African.

Singh said the endeavor is an attempt to revitalize the values of peace, freedom, tolerance and respect for different cultures that Gandhi promoted. She said when tourists come from India, one of the things they look forward to is to retrace the footsteps of Gandhi in the Johannesburg area, and Tolstoy Farm is one of the things they ask about. Tolstoy Farm in Johannesburg and the Phoenix Settlement in Durban are two of the most important features left behind by Gandhi in South Africa after he spent more than 22 years in the country in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

"Celestial Music Radio" Online 24/7

Posted on 2003/6/20 9:49:02 ( 1110 reads )


PLANET EARTH, June 20, 2003: Celestial Music Radio, an internet radio station, is now on the air twenty-four hours a day via your computer. They play an eclectic mix of kirtan, chanting, music and poetry by such celestial musicians as Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, George Harrison and many more. The station also broadcasts talks on Ayurveda and spirituality. Listening is free by registering with the site.

Teachers Warned Against Corporal Punishment

Posted on 2003/6/20 9:48:02 ( 867 reads )


UDUPI, INDIA, June 17, 2003: The Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, B.K. Chandrashekar, said on Monday that the Government would take action against teachers who strike students. He was speaking after inaugurating the Kundapur Education Society's Pre-University College at Kundapur. Prof. Chandrashekar said teachers who used corporal punishment would be dismissed and said it was incumbent upon teachers to teach their subjects creatively.

Hindu Sunday School

Posted on 2003/6/20 9:47:02 ( 929 reads )

Hartford Courant

MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUT, June 16, 2003: More than 50 children who range from ages 4 to 15 fill the Sri Satyanarayana Temple's downstairs room every Sunday. The Temple's Sunday school is one of about a half-dozen Sunday schools within a temple in the country, said Jyotish Parekh, president of VHP of America, a religious and cultural organization based in New York with chapters in 30 states. On a recent afternoon, the kindergartners were on stage, practicing a song in English and Sanskrit for the temple's first Sunday school graduation ceremony. The temple has been a haven for their immigrant parents, but it holds less appeal for American-born Hindu youths. As a result, the temple has been forced to reinvent itself. Temple leaders started the Sunday school a year ago. While the concept of Sunday school is unknown in India, it fits neatly into the American way of life. The curriculum, created by parents and members who act as teachers, is a systematic way of transferring a complex blend of beliefs and practices to the next generation. "It's amazing to me how easy it is for them to understand some really complex, esoteric topics by using artwork, songs and dance," said Divya Jyothi Difazio, who teaches at the temple. "They can now explain these concepts to a Western friend, who might come over to their house and see a shrine with an elephant-headed figure. They can explain the significance, and that they don't worship elephants."

China Clears the Way for Kailash Pilgrimage

Posted on 2003/6/19 9:49:02 ( 898 reads )


New Delhi, INDIA, June 18, 2003: Chinese authorities have cleared the way for people from India wishing to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, officials announced Wednesday. The yatra had been delayed due to concern over SARS. An External Affairs Ministry spokesman said the first batch of 30 persons will go on the pilgrimage next month, followed by nine other batches each consisting of up to 40 people. The Kailash Mansarovar is one of the holiest pilgrimages in the Hindu religion with worshipers undertaking an arduous several-day journey to reach the isolated Kailash mountain and Mansarovar lake.

Lord Nataraja Becoming a 21st Century Global Icon

Posted on 2003/6/19 9:48:02 ( 899 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 17, 2003: It was Fritjof Capra's "Tao of Physics" that launched Lord Nataraja as a global icon. In his book Mr. Capra wrote the dance of Siva was "the dance of subatomic particles." He was not the first in portraying Nataraja as a universal metaphor for the interface between science, spirituality, dance and art, but he definitely helped the idea to catch on. In the 1920's the late art historian, Ananda Coomarasway, coined the now famous adage "The Cosmic Dance of Siva" to describe the Nataraja imagery, hailing the Nataraja icon as "poetry but nonetheless science." Lord Nataraja has made it to the cover of Time Magazine and more recently been appropriated as the logo of a London-based global environmental movement.

Indian Crematorium Offers Live Internet Broadcast

Posted on 2003/6/19 9:47:02 ( 889 reads )

Agence France Presse

AHMEDABAD, INDIA, June 13, 2003: A fully-computerized Hindu crematorium has sprung up in the western Indian state of Gujarat with live Internet broadcasts of funerals. Muktidham crematorium's managers said the facility was set up to enable friends and relations of the deceased in far off places to take part in the ceremony if they were unable to personally attend. "Many times we had people complaining how their close ones were not able to attend the ceremony and that it became a lifelong regret for them," said Ashok Archarya, who manages the crematorium. "We thought that a live Internet broadcast would provide the right facility to these people," he added. Gautam Dave, chairman of the trust which runs the crematorium, said they had installed the camera on a trial basis, but admitted the technology was a little wanting in speed of transmission. He said the technology could be enhanced if there was sufficient demand.

Malaysia to Host 9th World Saiva Conference

Posted on 2003/6/19 9:46:02 ( 928 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, June 19, 2003: The Saiva Siddhanta Mandram, Malaysia, in association with 17 Saiva organizations worldwide, is hosting the ninth annual World Saiva Conference, September 26-28, 2003, in Malaysia. "Saivism for Future Generations" is the theme of this year's conference and their objectives are: to preserve, foster, promote and develop further the Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy and Traditions of the Meikandar School; to initiate programmers and activities for the progress, welfare and solidarity of the Saiva Community throughout the world; To cooperate with other organizations for the furtherance of the aforesaid objectives; to do all such things as may be necessary for the attainment of the above objectives; to hold regular seminars and conferences to gather all the Saivite Community and share the great teaching of Saivism; to standardize the teachings, rituals and traditions of Saivism worldwide; to gather all the Saivite Sat Gurus under one roof for the unity and strength of Saivism. Please contact "source" above for additional information on the conference or http://www.ssmmalaysia.org.

Hindus Seek Redress for Tampa Tribune Article

Posted on 2003/6/19 9:45:02 ( 1145 reads )


TAMPA, FLORIDA, June 19, 2003: Leaders of the Hindu Community here met with the editors of the Tampa Tribune in a continuing effort to deal with an article (see HPI, June 5, 2003) published in their newspaper called "Voyages into Madness" which cast Hinduism in a very bad light. HPI applauds the intelligent and controlled dealings of the community leaders with the Tribune, as recounted in this letter which followed their meeting of June 16. It sets an excellent standard for resolution of incidents of unfair reporting through positive remedies and not recriminations and threats.

June 17, 2003

Donna Reed, Managing Editor

Lawrence Fletcher, Deputy Managing Editor

c/o The Tampa Tribune

202 South Parker Street

Tampa, Florida 33606

Re: Meeting with Members of Tampa Bay Hindu Community

Re. Voyages into Madness, By George Coryell

Dear Ms. Reed and Mr. Fletcher:

On behalf of the Tampa Bay Hindu community, which includes over twenty (20) diverse organizations, we want to thank you for the opportunity to discuss frankly with you the sensationalized, error-filled article titled Voyages into Madness, the significant adverse impact of this specious article on the Hindu community of Tampa Bay, and the array of options for rehabilitating and exemplifying our community's proud, peaceful, nonviolent image.

As discussed, the adverse impact of Coryell's article on the Hindu diaspora cannot be underestimated. Regionally, since the publication of the article, law-abiding Hindus have faced harmful repercussions such as offensive slurs shouted at them to hard boiled eggs and other objects thrown at their property. Globally, militant, anti-Hindu mediums such as the Pakistan Tribune have published this nonsensical article, except under the libelous, incendiary headline Voyages into Hindu Madness, thus painting all Hindus with the same blood-tainted brush used to portray the extremist Aghori sect. These are but two examples of the widespread damage caused by the article.

Your sincere acknowledgement at yesterday's meeting of the damage inflicted upon our community by the article is certainly welcomed. Your frank acknowledgement that the article was admittedly not organized thoughtfully and was dubiously sourced, at best, is also accepted. That said, as discussed, we in the Hindu community of Tampa Bay reasonably expect more. We expect the Tampa Tribune to follow through on the various options discussed at our meeting to address the Hindu community's interests in seeking the advancement of the Hindu community and its many nurturing, positive characteristics.

The options discussed include the following remedial and relationship-building steps:

1. The Tampa Tribune will follow through on its commitment to thoroughly investigate and evaluate again the content of the article for factual inaccuracies. The Tampa Tribune will then publish a correction on page 2A. The Tribune will allow us to first review the draft correction prepared by you prior to publication.

2. The Tampa Tribune will make its best, good faith efforts to publish at various times during the year as determined by the Tribune certain positive articles on the local Hindu community and/or celebrated local or global Hindu/Indian events.

3. The Tampa Tribune will welcome members of the Hindu community to participate on its Diversity committee for the purposes of exposing members of the Tribune's staff to the local Hindu community, its positive characteristics and the issues involving or impacting Hindus.

4. To facilitate the above objectives, the local Hindu community, led by Nainan Desai and the others signed below, will provide to you a list of names, telephone numbers and addresses of individuals knowledgeable about Hindu culture, history and related issues. The purpose of this list is to establish a communications link between the Tampa Tribune and the local, national and international Hindu community of scholars, academics and community activists in order to increase the Tribune's awareness of issues impacting our community as a whole.

5. The local Hindu community will also make available speakers for a lunch time educational series for the staff journalists at the Tribune. Lunch will be provided by the community.

6. The local Hindu community will also provide the Tribune with ideas and topics for articles on upcoming Indian cultural events or other human interest topics relating to Hinduism.

These identified steps are among the many that were discussed, but reflect those steps that the parties agreed to proceed upon. Other issues discussed that we would eventually like addressed by the Tribune include:

1. Answers to the many questions posed, including questions about the author of the article and his apparent lack of due diligence. These questions were posed to the Tribune in Nainan Desai's emails to you, including the email sent on June 16, 2003.

2. A good-faith effort to recruit candidates of Indian background for journalist positions and other staff positions.

3. The scheduling of a follow up meeting within 30 to 60 days to discuss the progress made on the steps outlined above.

In sum, we accept and appreciate your commitment to work with the local Hindu community to build a harmonious relationship. By implementing the steps discussed above and through the establishment of a bilateral, mutually beneficial relationship, we hope the Tribune will work studiously to present the Hindu community in a positive light based on the legendary Hindu ethos of hard work, nonviolence, peace and love for all living beings. By doing so, we believe the Tribune will at the very least avert another published voyage into madness.


Nikhil N. Joshi (njoshi@tampabay.rr.com)

Nainan Desai (ndesai@tampabay.rr.com)

Shan Shikarpuri (shan@bconsultants.net)

Abhinav Dwivedi (ad1045@vsnl.com)

Yashwant Belsare (belsarey@hotmail.com)

and on behalf of the Coalition of Hindu and Indian Organizations of Tampa Bay

cc: Coalition of Hindu and Indian Organizations of Tampa Bay


Ajay Shah, Hindu Anti-Defamation League

Mihir Meghani, Hindu-American Foundation

India Abroad

Hinduism Today

Wisconsin Temple Ceremony To Attract Thousands

Posted on 2003/6/18 9:49:02 ( 1053 reads )

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WISCONSIN, U.S.A., June 14, 2003: Some 2,000 to 4,000 Hindus from southeastern Wisconsin are expected to gather at the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin this weekend for phase two of what is known as the prana pratishthapana, or installation and consecration of deities. The main shrine in this temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. The granite or marble murthis of Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi were part of the temple's initial installations last year. Among the nine murthis being installed this weekend are those of Hanuman, Durga, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and Lord Satyanarayana. The icons will be awakened to consciousness with ancient rituals that infuse them with prana, or "life force," said Raghuchandra Bhat, one of the Wisconsin temple's three priests. Non-Hindus also are invited to attend. The temple can be reached at http://www.hindutemplewis.com for more information.

Africa's First White Tiger Cubs to be Named by Hindu Council

Posted on 2003/6/18 9:48:02 ( 1021 reads )


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, June 17, 2003: Three white tiger cubs with blue eyes and chocolate-brown stripes were born at a South African wildlife ranch. They were the first such cubs to be born in Africa, which has no indigenous tigers. The ranch will ask South Africa's Hindu Council to suggest names for them. White tigers were once found in the wild in India, but have been hunted to extinction there. They are genetic throwbacks, not a distinct species, and therefore do not qualify for any endangered list. They differ from albino tigers, which have red eyes and no stripes. About 250 white tigers are in captivity around the world.

Pushakaram Ritual Kits Available

Posted on 2003/6/18 9:47:02 ( 1059 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 17, 2003: The Hyndava Dharma Peethamu, a body which guides people on Hindu rituals, has devised unique ritual kits for people participating in the Godavari Pushkarams beginning July 30. It is a once-in-twelve-years ritual of worship along the Godavari River. An executive committee member of the Peetham, K. Sudhakar, told reporters on Monday that the ritual kit for Pitru danam cost US$9.67, Brahmana danam $2.16 and Godavari danam $7.53. People can use the facilities only through advance booking which will be available in 185 towns, he said. Booking counters were already open in Nalgonda, Miryalguda, Suryapet, Choutuppal and Vijayawada. The delivery of ritual kits will be made at 12 different locations namely Basara, Sone (Nirmal), Manchariyala, Dharmapuri, Manthani, Kaaleswaram, Bhadrachalam, Kovvuru, Narsapuram, Rajahmundry, Dhavaleswaram and Antarvedi for the execution of danams. "Our aim is to reach out to people who cannot reach Godavari and also those who reach Godavari. We will guide people to perform rituals as per the Vedas. We have adopted many scientific techniques to anticipate crowds and have plans in place for successful manpower management at all the 12 places. Nearly 700 brahmin pujaris have registered with us to offer their services for the rituals at the Pushkarams." The ritual kit for Pitru Danam contain 27 items, Brahmana Danam seven and 29 items for Godavari Danam respectively. Readers may contact the Hyndava Dharma Peethamu through their website at: http://www.hdp2003.com and order the kits.

Priests Unhappy As Jharkhand Temple Enters Cyber Age

Posted on 2003/6/18 9:46:02 ( 896 reads )

Daily Pioneer

NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 15, 2003: The administration of Deogarh, about 215 miles from the state capital, has taken the Baba Vaidyanath Shiv temple online so devotees can seek the Deity's blessings without actually visiting the shrine. "People living in other parts of the country and abroad requested me to put the temple online as has been done with the famous temple of Tirupati (in Andhra Pradesh). It will help devotees," said Shailesh Kumar Singh, Deogarh deputy commissioner. This has some temple priests upset. "The district administration has done wrong by us," complained Durlabha Mishra, general secretary of the Panda Dharmarakshi Sabha, an association of priests. "They are gradually depriving priests of their right to conduct rituals." The administration says it has done nothing wrong. "Only people in faraway places will offer puja on the internet. Devotees coming to the temple will still seek the help of priests to offer puja," said Kaushal Kishore, a magistrate. The shrine receives about three million devotees every year.

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