Hindu Press International


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Dolphins Win Survival Battle in Ganges

Posted on 2002/9/16 9:49:02 ( 796 reads )


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PATNA, INDIA, September 4, 2002: Endangered river dolphins are winning a battle for survival in the only sanctuary of its kind in India along a protected stretch of the Ganges river, wildlife officials say. In the last ten years, dolphin numbers have risen to about 100 from 34 in the 60-kilometer-long Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar, said D. N. Chowdhary, a senior professor at Bihar's Bhagalpur University. "This sanctuary has at last proved a safe stretch for river dolphins who are fast becoming extinct in other river systems of the world," Chowdhary said. Of the 40 species of dolphins worldwide, only four are found in fresh water -- in China's Yangtze River, the Amazon river system of South America and the Indus-Ganges river system of South Asia, Chowdhary said. "The Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers now account for the majority of the river dolphins. That is why this project is very important," he said. State officials are hoping the dolphin sanctuary, which lies 300 kilometers southeast of Patna, would become a tourist attraction and give locals one more reason to protect the animals.




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Is There an American Caste System?

Posted on 2002/9/16 9:48:02 ( 771 reads )


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USA, September 15, 2002: Rajiv Malhotra, prolific contributor to www.sulekha.com, gives a provocative look at castism in America. Malhotra's very long article concludes with the belief that American society has its own caste system. A key difference, he says, is that in India, castism is explicitly codified; whereas in America, social structure by ethnicity or family lineage remains uncodified and subliminal. He concludes with a discussion on Hindu identity. "Media, education and public images of Hinduism are often dominated by negative stereotypes. Hence, most Indians have multiple identities, bringing out the one that works best in a given situation. Post-colonialists have written about a phenomenon called 'brown shame' that was encouraged amongst Indians by the British as a way to dominate Indians. But nobody has brought out the more recent phenomenon that I call 'Hindu shame.' To be openly Hindu is often seen as a matter of shame.... This new Hindu American caste needs to learn from the successes of other American castes (Jewish, Irish, Italian). This is especially important as the population of Indians in America is projected to increase to ten million by 2050, and there shall also be many non-Indians who continue to adopt Hinduism."




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Veganism: A Moral Philosophical Practice, Not a Religion, Says Court

Posted on 2002/9/16 9:47:02 ( 715 reads )


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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, September 14, 2002: A California state appellate court ruled Friday that vegans can't sue for religious discrimination. In the nation's first known ruling on the issue, the three-judge Court of Appeal panel in Los Angeles threw out a lawsuit by Jerold Friedman, a vegan, who claimed he was denied a job because he refused a mumps vaccine that was grown in chicken embryos. The 41-page ruling surveyed decades of past cases on religious issues and said a religious creed must address "fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters." The appellate court said veganism does not meet the test, even though Friedman says it shapes his entire way of life and view of the world. Presiding Justice Paul Turner said those beliefs (veganism) do not address "the meaning of human existence; the purpose of life; theories of humankind's nature or its place in the universe; matters of human life and death; or the exercise of faith." HPI adds: It may be that a Hindu vegetarian making a similar case on the basis of Hindu religious beliefs would prevail, as in this case the court appears to have focused on the absence of any formal religious framework for Friedman vegan practice.




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Lord Krishna is Dressed Like a King

Posted on 2002/9/16 9:46:02 ( 762 reads )


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JAIPUR, INDIA, September 1, 2002: The expression "fit for a king" comes to mind when it is realized that Lord Krishna has more than 10,000 sets of clothes that the priests of Jaipur's Govind Devji temple can use to adorn the Lord. Anjan Kumar Goswami, the head priest of the temple, says, "Govinda blesses his devotees with darshan (viewing of the Deity) at seven different times in a day and each time he is adorned in a new dress." The article says, "In fact, of the many designer dresses, one is totally made up of glass while another woven with flowers alone. On his birthday, Lord Krishna puts on a saffron yellow dress." During the 15-day festival of Janamashtami devotees numbering anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 daily seek the Lord's blessings.




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Bhubaneswar Muslims Celebrate Ganesha Festival

Posted on 2002/9/15 9:49:02 ( 756 reads )


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BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, September 12, 2002: Nearly two dozen Muslim businessmen and their families have been performing Ganesha puja for the last 10 years in Bhubaneswar, capital of Orissa. They organize the puja by constructing a huge pandal and installing an idol of Lord Ganesha in keeping with Hindu rituals. "We have formed an organization called the 'Jawan Matshya Byabasai Sangha Puja Committee' and all Muslims are its members," the secretary of the committee, Seikh Mustafa, said. He said the members organize the puja for 20 days, with local Hindu families also contributing. "We immerse the idol in the local Kuakhai River after the conclusion of the puja," he added. While they perform the puja according to Hindu rites, they also recite a few lines from the Quran daily, and conduct Islamic prayers for about two hours while immersing the idol, Mustafa said. Though this endeavor has failed to draw much publicity locally, the puja organizers are encouraged by the response from other places. "We have received more than 9,000 messages from all over the world supporting our attempt," said Mustafa. Along these same lines, HPI learned today that one of our correspondents met an Episcopal (Anglican) minister at the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations at the Ganesha temple in Flushing New York. Asked if he was there as part of an interfaith program, the minister replied that no, he was there because he personally loved Lord Ganesha and wanted to observe His birthday.




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Restoration Slow at Indonesia's Famed Buddhist-Hindu temples

Posted on 2002/9/15 9:48:02 ( 751 reads )


Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur





YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA September 3, 2002: Restoration work on Yogyakarta's world-famous Buddhist/Hindu temples -- Borobudur and Prambanan -- may take decades to finish given Indonesia's continuing economic crisis, experts say. Some work on Prambanan, 33 kilometers east of Borobudur, was completed in 1990. In 1991 both temples were declared World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The reconstructed portion of Prambanan, an 18-temple compound with three looming enclosed alters dedicated to the Brahma, Vishnu and Siva is only the innermost courtyard of what was a sprawling a complex of 37 acres with some 246 unrestored smaller temples. Although the innermost sanctuary was the most awe-inspiring, it only represents five per cent of what needs to be done to restore the temple to its former grandeur, claimed Indonesian archaeologist Bambang Prasetya, chairman of the restoration group of the Yogjakarta Historical and Archeological Heritage Reserve (SPSP) office. Since 1997, when the Asian economic crisis struck, the government budget for restoration work has dried up, as have grants from UNESCO, and former donor nations such as Japan and the Netherlands.




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Texas Program Helps Children Explore Hindu Culture.

Posted on 2002/9/15 9:47:02 ( 717 reads )


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PLANO, TEXAS, September 4, 2002: A circle of 12 parents and children sit cross-legged in a yoga position, begins this report in the Dallas Morning News. They take a deep breath. As they exhale, they say, sonorously, "Ommmmmm." The syllable fades to silence in the conference room at Plano Station, and the circle is still. "Who wants to play tag?" says the teacher, Ashish Chandra. The kids bounce to their feet. Classic Hindu culture and everyday childhood fun: This is Balagokulam, (see "source" above), a free weekly program that helps youth and parents learn about Hindu culture through fables, prayers and games. "We want them to feel comfortable in their culture," says Bindu Patel, a Balagokulam teacher and homemaker. "It's important to learn the facts, especially when you're living in a different environment." "It's a way for kids to play and learn about Hindu religion and culture," says Sandeep Gupta, a software engineer from Richardson who attends the class with his seven-year-old son, Shivam. Gupta says he's glad his son has made friends in the group and hopes he'll feel more comfortable with culturally specific activities, such as taking Indian food for lunch at school after seeing his Balagokulam friends eat it at a temple. Instilling good values. Donations from parents support the chapter in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where about 80,000 Indians live, according to the India Association of North Texas. Most students in Balagokulam moved to the United States within the last 10 years.




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Hindus Eager to Join British Police

Posted on 2002/9/15 9:46:02 ( 709 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, September 8, 2002: The Hindu community here responded overwhelmingly to various job opportunities in the British police force. This was reflected at a specially organized recruitment center at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London, last night where a sea of hands went up from among the 3,000 people gathered to join the police force. Assistant Commissioner Tariq Ghaffur who spoke to the gathering on a wide range of career opportunities available to the prospective applicants asked the audience to raise their hands if they were interested and in response a sea of hands, both young and old, shot up. Ghaffur, who had come to London as a refugee from Uganda in 1974, rose to become the Assistant Commissioner by dint of hard work and commitment to duty. He said the job opportunities available range from constables, special constables, dog handlers, forensic scientists, police cadets and finally civilian staff. Ghaffur who was accompanied by senior Police Officers from the London Borough of Brent was garlanded by the Mahant of the temple, Atmaswarup Swami when he arrived at the Mandir complex.




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RK Mission Swami Speaks in Chennai on 9/11

Posted on 2002/9/12 9:49:02 ( 707 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, September 11, 2002: On the occasion of the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks on America, Swami Gautamananda, president of the Ramakrishna Mission in Chennai was requested to address the gathering. His remarks read in part, "Though we are yet to find out what all ideas worked behind that tragedy of September 11, 2001, we can be sure that an extreme fanatic ideology that considered all other ideologies as worth nothing and itself as the only worth living ideology was behind the dastardly act. The further events have revealed that this fanatic ideology was inculcated into receptive minds of the youth who become the instruments of terror that revealed itself at New York. Fanaticism drives away all reason and thus persons with fanatic ideas act like robots, rather, like animals. Fanaticism is the fuel by which the machine of terrorism works. Fanaticism has been there in human life whenever people have been deprived of their spiritual food. What is this spiritual food? The disciplines or values of life that lead persons to realize their oneness with the Universe and with God and thus come to love humanity and God. The Sages of the Vedas, the oldest available scriptures to humanity, say that all this creation is God alone - 'Sarvam Kalvidham Brahma.' It implies that this Divinity is in every creature as its fundamental, inalienable nature. ... When this idea of the Divinity of man is widely taught, not only in our schools and colleges but also in all churches, mosques, pagodas, tabernacles and temples where most innocent minds throng in millions, then only people will get their highest respect and regard, irrespective of their gender, wealth, intelligence, power etc. Then only the very idea of harming anyone, be it for any cause, would appear abhorring. Then alone can violence be radically uprooted from society." For the complete text, click "source" above.




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250 Ganesh Icons Damaged Mysteriously In Vadodara

Posted on 2002/9/12 9:48:02 ( 837 reads )


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VADODARA, INDIA, September 10, 2002: Nearly 250 Ganesh icons were damaged mysteriously at Ranchhod Rai temple near Madan Zampa here on Sunday. All of the icons prepared for Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations were on display at the temple. They all cracked within seconds of each other. The event was being largely construed as a bad omen even as scores flocked the temple to see the broken icons. The maker of the icons claimed there was no technical fault in making them, many reasoned that the "strange phenomenon" was because of the "politicization" of Lord Ganesha and the festival. However, rationalists -- without having inspected the damaged icons -- believe the damage might have been due to a technical fault. "An icon gets damaged because of contraction and expansion of the material used in making it," said noted sculptor and a former member the MSU's fine arts department, Mahendra Pandya. He did not offer an explanation as to why they cracked happened all at once.




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Tamil Politician Wants Temple Mantras in Tamil

Posted on 2002/9/12 9:47:02 ( 467 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, September 12, 2002: DMK party president M. Karunanidhi on Thursday condemned the criticisms for conducting the temple consecrations by chanting mantras in Tamil. "Those who criticized conducting the consecrations with mantras being chanted in Tamil have no place in Tamil Nadu," he said while participating at a marriage function. At a recent temple consecration at Karur, mantras were chanted in Tamil, which was disapproved by Kanchi Sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, who had said it was against Agamas. Karunanidhi said if the Gods could not understand the mantras in Tamil, They also did not have any place in the state. He said it was a superstition that the Gods would not understand mantras, if they were not rendered in Sanskrit. "I am not against Gods. But why should we worship a God who does not understand Tamil?" he asked. The DMK party, originally atheistic and anti-religious, has in recent years softened its stance toward religion.




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NRI Team Finds 50 Million Gujaratis Affected by Riots

Posted on 2002/9/11 9:49:02 ( 726 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, September 9, 2002: NRI Sadbhavna Mission to India has collected $1 million from the NRIs living in the US, of which 80% has already been distributed for the riot-affected people. Names of the organizations through which these funds were disbursed, cannot be revealed "because some of them have been threatened," says Shrikumar Poddar of the NRI Sadbhavna Mission to India, which is visiting Gujarat for the first time since the riots. Aditi Desai, a member of the delegation and UN consultant based in New York, said, "We have come as human beings, and we have not slept nights thinking about what was going on here. We could not face the humiliation abroad when people told us this is happening in your country. The strong Hindutva influences, as spread by the spokespersons of Hinduism, had spread even in the US, where attempts were being made to interpret history in a different way," she told TNN.




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Lord Ganesha Links to Websites for Chaturthi

Posted on 2002/9/11 9:48:02 ( 762 reads )


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September 9, 2002: Rediff's web guide has compiled what they believe are the best links for Ganesha Chaturthi. From a short history of the festival to virtual worship, a link to the famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai and photos of Ganesha immersions are a few of their picks. Check them out at "source" and enjoy Ganesha's darshan.




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Dada Vaswani to Visit Puerto Rico

Posted on 2002/9/11 9:47:02 ( 853 reads )


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PUERTO RICO, September 11, 2002: Dada J.P. Vaswani is visiting Puerto Rico, as he does almost each year. Dada was just named Hinduism Today's "Hindu of the Year" for 2002. He gives spiritual talks to local Hindus and the general populace. On September 25, he will be speaking on, "Change Your Attitude, and Change Your Life" at the Caribe Hilton Ballroom. Admission Free. Confirmation or Reservation is not required. Simultaneous Spanish Translation Available. For more information give e-mail "source" above.




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Swimmers to Help Ganesh Immersion

Posted on 2002/9/11 9:46:02 ( 740 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, September 9: Environmentalists, take heart: the Lalbagh Horticultural Department is planning to employ five expert swimmers to immerse Ganesha idols in water for a nominal fee. The department's aim is to control reckless immersion of idols, which is causing damage to the Lalbagh lake, Joint Director of the Department of Horticulture, Lalbagh, S. Ashwath says. ''This will put an end to contamination of the lake to a large extent,'' Ashwath said. "The swimmers will be given strict instructions not to allow anything other than icons inside the lake. Before immersion, they will remove all puja material, including garlands and eatables, from the icons."




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