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150 People Embrace Buddhism In Chandigarh

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:48:02 ( 1317 reads )


CHANDIGARH, INDIA, April 14, 2003: On the occasion of the 112 birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, around 150 Dalits converted to Buddhism in what they termed a mass protest against the rising violence and atrocities against their community in Haryana. A Buddhist monk gave diksha to over 150 people in the presence of the All India Confederation of SC and ST Organizations national chairman Udit Raj. Ten children also converted to Christianity and nine people shaved their heads to become monks. Vowing to shun cow worship, the Dalits held a buffalo-worship program. Many of the converts did not seem to know what conversion is all about. However, Shyam Lal from Chandigarh said he and his three daughters had converted for self-respect. Others had no answer why they had decided to convert. In a related article, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has asked Dalits to embrace Buddhism if they can no longer endure exploitation under Hinduism. At a massive rally on Monday CM Mayawati said she was willing to lead the way as she had spent her life fighting "manuvadi Hinduism." Mayawati said Dalits had suffered trying to enter temples, but this would no longer be tolerated, and if Hindu religious leaders did not mend their ways, she would lead her followers into the "Buddhist fold" to protect their "social dignity."

Minister Promotes NCERT Syllabus

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:47:02 ( 920 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, April 14, 2003: A few states are resisting efforts made by HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi to implement reforms in the field of education. Using "value education" as a starting point, he initiated what he hopes will stimulate a campaign to encourage the Marxist government of West Bengal to accept the new NCERT curriculum, a Hindu-friendly revision of the national school curriculum by the BJP government. Addressing a meeting organized on Monday by the West Bengal Education and Educationalists' Association, Joshi set aside Hindutva to promote value education's secular goals. Though the Leftist lost their case against the religion-value linkage in the NCERT curriculum, the Bengal government has nevertheless decided not to implement it. "I don't know of any religion which does not say it is wrong to lie or steal. It is a tragedy that the country which taught universal humanism to the whole world does not teach values in its schools," Joshi said. Joshi described the Marxists' turnaround to the NCERT curriculum as "unfortunate" and pointed out that a nationwide consultation had preceded its adoption. The suggestion to include value education in the school curriculum, he said, was made by a parliamentary subcommittee and had specifically asked for teaching the main tenets of all religions. Joshi faces a challenge as West Bengal's Marxist government has always followed an independent track when it came to deciding on the school curriculum.

English-Hindi Translation Request

Posted on 2003/4/20 9:46:02 ( 990 reads )


MALAYSIA, April 18, 2003: If any readers know of free online translation services for English to Hindi, similar to what is available for German, French, etc., kindly contact Jhoree S. at "source" above.

House-Hunting Woes For Mumbai's Nonvegetarians

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:49:02 ( 838 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, April 13, 2003: Militantly vegetarian housing societies are turning away non-vegetarians by the dozens, all over the city. The hardest hit are the traditionally meat-eating Maharashtrans. Some are offering to pay extra to set off their culinary disadvantage, but no luck. Other societies are even asking buyers to submit notarized statements declaring their veggie inclinations. Where commercial space is available, hotel and restaurant owners also can buy space only for pure-vegetarian eateries. Of course, nothing is on paper. These societies' bylaws are mum on this enforced vegetarianism. "They're playing safe. This way, no one can challenge them," says Greta Tauro, a consumer activist who was turned away by a Santacruz society. "They wouldn't sell me a flat because I eat meat. The builder simply refused to listen. Just kept asking if I'd give an undertaking that I will not cook, bring or eat nonvegetarian food in the premises of the society," she says. Ashok R. Khamkar was also shown the door. "I was refused a flat in a housing society in Chivda Galli, Lalbaug, because I am a nonvegetarian Maharashtran. Jains, Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are buying up the area, but local Maharashtrans can't shift to better homes," he says

Zambia's First Lady Calls for More India Contacts

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:48:02 ( 817 reads )

The Times of Zambia

ZAMBIA, AFRICA, April 10, 2003: First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa of Zambia has called for more cultural exchange programs between Zambia and India, saying this will strengthen ties between the two countries. Mrs. Mwanawasa's remarks were made when she officiated at a cultural night of a visiting Indian dance troupe at Lusaka's Hindu Hall on Tuesday. She said there was need to support those involved in strengthening ties between different peoples through the cultural exchange programs. "If you love culture, then you need to support programs like this which bring two different peoples together. These are important because they go a long way in strengthening ties between the two peoples. It is good to learn that the Indian high commission in Zambia has lined up a number of programs this year that will go a long way in strengthening the relations between the two peoples," Mrs. Mwanawasa said.

Zambia's Hindus Donate Food to the Needy

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:47:02 ( 980 reads )

The Times of Zambia

ZAMBIA, AFRICA, April 15, 2003: The Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI) has received another boost of 50 tons of relief food for distribution to hunger-stricken Chibombo district. Presenting the donation, Hindu Association of Zambia president Ashok Oza said the donation was the second consignment. The first batch of 50 tons was received in January and was distributed in Gwembe and Sinanzongwe in Southern Province. MMCI chairperson, First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, thanked the association for the continued assistance rendered to her organization and commended the association for fulfilling its commitment. "My association hopes that other organizations will emulate the Hindu Association of Zambia in the fight against hunger.

Gujarats New Anti-Conversion Law Perplexes Missionaries

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:46:02 ( 863 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 18, 2003: The Rt. Rev. Vinodkumar Malaviya, a Protestant bishop in western India, is accustomed to providing food, cattle fodder, clothes and medical care to anyone in need. But the new Gujarat law establishes prison sentences of up to four years, along with fines, for converting someone by force, fraud or allurement. Christians say it also sets up such broad definitions of what constitutes "force" and "allurement" that their mission to serve the poor and sick is threatened. For instance, the law says "any gift" or "material benefit" is an allurement to convert. "So from now on you can't help a person?" asks Malaviya. "I don't know how to deal with it." Sermons may also be affected. The law says that warning someone about "divine displeasure" -- telling them that God hates sin -- is a threat, and therefore an illegal use of force. HPI adds: Much of this New York Times article is anti-Hindu and pro-Christian.

Project Gutenberg Reports on Hindu Texts

Posted on 2003/4/19 9:45:02 ( 879 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 19, 2003: The Mahabharata, Vol. 1, has been proofread and is currently undergoing post-processing before being released by the Gutenberg Project, which is posting public domain manuscripts on the web with public help in the form of proofreading.

The Complete Valmiki Ramayana is currently being post-processed. Early releases of these maybe found at http://www.sacred-texts.com. The two books that are currently being proofread are Vol. 34 & 38 of the Sacred Books of the East, i.e. Vols. 1 & 2 of the Vedanta-Sutras with the commentary of Sankaracarya. The remaining volumes of the Mahabharata and other works are in the pipeline. The first book taken through this process, Sacred Books of the East Vol. 48 - Vedanta-Sutras with the commentary of Ramanuja - Translated by G. Thibaut, has been released and can be downloaded for free at zip file or for the text format go to text.

"Bhakti Utsav" Concerts Hosted in New Delhi

Posted on 2003/4/18 9:49:02 ( 1045 reads )


NEW DELHI, April 18, 2003: A blend of bhakti sangeet and classical Indian music, which even youth can enjoy, is the main attraction of the three-day Bhakti Utsav at Nehru Park that began on April 18. The show, first of its kind in Delhi, is organized by the Delhi Government and the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture with support of the Hindustan Times. The Hindustan Times website will also present five hours of the show after April 20. Brain child of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the idea behind the Bhakti Utsav is to overcome religious bigotry and bring different forms of bhakti music on one platform. "We are experimenting with the idea. I pray that it works. It is true Indian music which we are offering to people," Dikshit said. A huge champa tree in Nehru Park will form the background of the festival stage. "About 300 meters of fabric will be draped around the tree and earthen pots with flames will be placed around. The idea is to play on the synergy between flames from earthen pots and bhakti," said Sanjeev Bhargav, one of the organizers. Many famous singers will be offering their talents, including Anup Jalota, Prahlad Singh Tipanya, and Vasundhara and Kalapini Komkali. One may hear the rare haveli sangeet, a form of Krishna Bhakti, from Pandjit Jasraj, while Gundecha Bandhu will perform dhrupad. Sufiana Qawwali will be rendered by Nizami Bandhu and mantras will be recited by girls from Varanasi Kanyapeeth.

The Essence Of A Spiritual Singer

Posted on 2003/4/18 9:48:02 ( 875 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 18, 2003: Though he is equally proficient in most classical and light classical forms of music, it is the Ramayana Path that Pandit Chhannulal Mishra will concentrate on at Nehru Park concerts on April 18. "I have given many classical performances," says Mishra, whose recitation is part of the Bhakti Utsav (see previous article), "but this is the first time that I will be concentrating entirely on Bhakti Sangeet." Mishra, who was initiated into music by his father, Pandit Badri Prasad Mishra, and later studied with Ustad Abdul Ghani Khan, will start his one-hour recital with Durga Stuti, followed by a Banaras ki thumri and then bhajanas from the Ramcharitmanas. "I have chosen those parts where the bhakti bhav is more prominent, like Kevat Ka Anurag and Ram Nam ka Mahatva," says Mishra.

Ready To Eat Curry Meals Gain Popularity in India

Posted on 2003/4/18 9:47:02 ( 844 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 13, 2003: In a growing number of middle-class homes in the cities, the ritual of people cooking painstakingly elaborate meals is increasingly a memory. "Ready-to-eat is the future of food, with the growing number of double-income nuclear families," says celebrity chef Jiggs Kalra. When both partners go to work, it is so much simpler to have a ready-made packaged meal "which you just put into boiling water and serve," he says. The business in India is only beginning to pick up now. Processed foods account for less than two percent of total food consumption in the country. ITC, a giant in the food industry, estimates the current size of the ready-to-eat food market at around US$6 to 10 million. "It's convenience food," says Monojit Chintey of the Confederation of Indian Industry's agribusiness desk. There is growing acceptance for the genre, he says. "You just have to visit the local grocer to see the change." Shop shelves are stacked with a variety of cans, sachets and retort pouches of one-minute foods, and there are chains of supermarkets that have a wide range of ready-to-eat items. There's one aspect in India's food business that the West does not have, mainly cheap labor. People can, and do, hire cooks because it costs little. However, companies are marketing the "high-class gourmet" aspect of their products to get past this.

Deranged Man Damages Hindu Temple in Houston

Posted on 2003/4/18 9:46:02 ( 1020 reads )


HOUSTON, U.S.A., April 13, 2003: An apprently deranged man drove his car into a Hindu temple in southwest Houston this morning, set a small fire and began smashing statues inside the temple. The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he is being treated for possible psychiatric disorders. The man crashed into the Dharma Mandir Temple about 7:45 a.m., police said. Witnesses told police the man got out of his car, took off his clothes, set a small fire inside the temple, then smashed the temple's marble statues. Police arrested the man as firefighters put out the fire. Significant damage was sustained to the Temple and the Deities, but no one was injured.

Hindu Hospitality Correction

Posted on 2003/4/18 9:45:02 ( 1018 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, April 18, 2003: In our April 14 request for assistance on a major article on the subject of "Hindu Hospitality," the contact address was left out. Those interested in helping may e-mail ar@hindu.org.

Bangladesh Hindus Take Holy Dip in Brahmaputra

Posted on 2003/4/14 9:49:02 ( 967 reads )


DHAKA, BANGLADESH, April 10, 2003: Thousands of Hindus on Wednesday took a dip in the Brahmaputra river at Langalbandh, near Dhaka, in an annual event. It was estimated around 30,000 devotees had converged to bathe in an offshoot of the Brahmaputra river. "We are taking a dip to wash away sin, and the atmosphere is festive as more and more people are arriving," one devotee said. Organizers said usually more than 100,000 Hindus from around the country as well as neighboring India, Nepal and Sri Lanka join in the two-day ceremony.

Tirumala To Build Temples For Scheduled Castes and Tribal Colonies

Posted on 2003/4/14 9:48:02 ( 888 reads )

Deccan Herald

TIRUMALA,INDIA, April7, 2003: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam chairman P. Chalapathi Rao on Monday said the TTD Board of Trustees had approved the proposed construction of Geeta Mandirams in Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe ("untouchable") colonies across the state. Rao said the decision followed a two-day meeting of the Board members. As planned earlier, a total of 7,200 new temples will come up in the State with the government spending around US$3,000 on construction of each temple. The TTD will invite donations for the purpose and local residents are expected to share 10 percent of the cost incurred on the temple construction.

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