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Assam's Elephants Promoted for Protection

Posted on 2003/1/27 8:49:02 ( 986 reads )


ASSAM, INDIA, January 13, 2003: Hoping to ease the tension between the local villagers and the elephants, and to promote an appreciation for the pachyderms, a carnival attended by 15,000 people at Kaziranga National Park may have achieved this purpose. The crowds cheered as elephants danced, played football and marched in unison during the two-day festival. Wildlife fans were able to witness first-hand elephants taking a community bath. Organized by the Assam government, the Elephant Festival was intended to promote eco-tourism and impress upon the locals the need to protect the elephants. Of the 10,000 wild elephants in India, 5500 of them call Assam home and 2500 of these have been domesticated. Depleting forest cover has forced some elephants to leave their habitat and this is when the contact with humans has resulted in a least 150 people being trampled to death in the last two years. As a result, the locals resent the elephants. Additionally, some people kill the elephants for meat and sell their tusks in the international market. Paraj Jyoti Das, a tourist attending the carnival says, "I just cannot describe in words the sight of the majestic elephants playing in water, totally oblivious of the outside world." Arun Mali, a mahout, responds to the elephants' impressive performance during the festival, "It all depends on how caring a caretaker you are. If you love him, the elephant would never disobey your commands."

UK's Trinity College Adds Indian Music to its Curriculum

Posted on 2003/1/27 8:48:02 ( 792 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, January 13, 2002: For decades, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has been promoting and spreading the culture and arts of India in its facility. Apparently its efforts have not gone unnoticed as Trinity College of Music has asked the Bhavan to start a course in Indian music at the college in 2004. For Hindu culture this means that western pupils will be exposed to classical ragas. Besides the historic recognition, the Bhavan has completed an extension with new classrooms, an art gallery, and a new modern look.

Papal Documents Record Evidence of the Caste System

Posted on 2003/1/26 8:49:02 ( 939 reads )


TAMIL NADU, INDIA, January 10, 2003: Evidence that the caste system and it perpetuation has been prevalent within the Catholic church in India, has been discovered in various papal documents. Following conversion to Christianity from Hinduism, the Dalits (so called untouchables) were kept separate from the Brahmins in the congregation. In 1623, missionaries requested that the Bull (decree) of Pope Gregory XV allow Brahmins to maintain certain caste practices such as the sacred thread, sandals and ablutions. The pope agreed, providing the converts showed charity towards Dalits. In 1779, the Propagation of Faith wrote, "The separation in the church and at the entrance of the church, also the distinction of cemeteries may actually be tolerated for fear of greater evil." As late as 1985 a court verdict upheld the 80-year-old practice of separate graveyards for Dalit Christians of Trichy, Tamil Nadu.

Indian Villagers Pledge To Fight Extortion By Christian Separatists

Posted on 2003/1/26 8:48:02 ( 851 reads )

Source: Agence France Presse

GUWAHATI, INDIA, December 31, 2002: Hindu villagers in India's restive northeastern state of Tripura have pledged to fight alleged extortion demands by a Christian separatist group, community leaders said. Militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have served extortion notices to hundreds of Hindu tribals and threatened them with death if they do not pay up. "The demand notes were served only to tribal Hindu villagers with warnings of capital punishment to those who violated their diktat," said Aswathama Jamatia, head priest of the Jamatia Hoda, an influential tribal Hindu group. Police have confirmed the extortion demands by the NLFT, which is a predominantly Christian group fighting for an independent tribal homeland. Community leaders say the NLFT has demanded three percent of the annual earnings of all government employees as tax, besides charging anything between US$40.00 to $90.00 from farmers and businessmen. Tribal Hindus also accuse the NLFT of converting people to Christianity at gunpoint.

London's Metropolitan Police Forms Hindu Association

Posted on 2003/1/23 8:49:02 ( 919 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, January 11, 2003: For the first time in the history of London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), its Hindu officers have come together to form the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association (MPHA). The MPS has over 200 Hindu staff members. The chairman of MPHA, Mahesh Nandha, told Hindustan Times that there are already 40 people interested and more are expected. "Our aim is to help the Metropolitan Police and the Hindu staff in recruiting more people from the community and trying to keep them for longer within the service." He said the Association would provide welfare, support and mentoring. It will help improve recruitment and retention of Hindu employees by working in conjunction with police projects, policies and strategies and reduce premature resignation of Hindu employees. The launch of the MPHA follows a major campaign by the Metropolitan Police to stamp out race hate crime. Dissemination and knowledge of Hindu culture, he said, will undoubtedly help and he said he has already had very positive feedback.

Solar Tower to be built in Australian Outback

Posted on 2003/1/23 8:48:02 ( 934 reads )


NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, January 5, 2003: History will be made in 2006, if everything goes as planned, with the completion of a 3300 foot tall solar tower in the Australian Outback. Conceived in Germany by structural engineers Schlaich Bergerman, the tower has the financial backing of the Australian and New South Wales governments to the tune of US $593 million dollars. Upon completion, the structure could provide enough electricity for 200,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gases by more than 700,000 tones. The proposed structure will have a width similar in size to a football field and will stand in the centre of a huge glass roof spanning 7km (4.3 miles). The sun will heat the air under the glass roof, and as it rises an updraft will be created in the tower, allowing air to be sucked through 32 turbines. The turbines will then spin, generating power 24 hours a day. Hopefully other countries that have intense sunlight, such as India, will follow in Australia's footsteps by using solar energy as a power source.

Spiritual Fashion Could Revive Passion

Posted on 2003/1/22 8:49:02 ( 928 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 6, 2002: Fashion designer Lorain Chopra is amazing her clients with garments which evoke spiritual ecstasy and enhance sensual elegance. Since spirituality dressing is fast becoming a trend among youth in most European countries, Lorain's latest collection uses symbols like the Siva Lingam, chakras, angels, yantras and the naga. Priced between US$18 to $178, Chopra's ensembles are available in blue, maroon, off-white and beige. "Recently, I bought a top with a black cobra embossed on its front. Whenever I put it on, it makes me feel so ecstatic and sensuous that either I get into a trance or I feel like rediscovering my passion all over again," says Bonnie Baker, an American tour consultant who is a fan of Lorain's clothes. "I draw inspiration from my close encounters which I experience during the state of deep meditation," says Lorain, who practices meditation on a daily basis. "I feel that the American mind, being naturally inquisitive, is more open to such experiments. I am looking for aesthetic and spiritual acknowledgement rather than financial gains. That's why I chose New York for the display of my creativity," adds Lorain.

Hindus Love to Buy Gold as an Investment

Posted on 2003/1/21 8:49:02 ( 1536 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, May 15, 2002: While western cultures on the
planet watch the stock market and various indexes to decide when to invest; East Indian culture turns to astrology and the stars. Investing in gold has been a time-honored tradition in India and last May 15th jewelery stores in Chennai were swamped with people wanting to buy gold pieces. It was Akshaya Tritiya and according to Indian Astrology, it is a must to buy gold on this day as purchases on this day are most auspicious. One shopper says, "Buying gold on Akshaya Tritiya is a family tradition of ours. Although I am not able to afford anything heavy or grand, it is still a very exciting experience. I like it because shops display new designs and there is such an air of celebration about the whole experience."

Cambodia's Baphon Temple, Worlds Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

Posted on 2003/1/20 8:49:02 ( 1114 reads )


SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA, January 1, 2003: Forty years ago, a team of French archaeologists decided the best way to save Baphuon temple, part of the huge Angkor Hindu temple complex, was to destroy it. They began to take apart the fragile temple, block by block, keeping meticulous records of their work, planning to put it back together again as a more stable structure. However when the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1972 the restorers were forced to flee leaving most of the documents behind, all of which were destroyed in the years that followed. When they returned in 1995, all they found were 300,000 heavy stone blocks strewn over 25 acres among the trees and the biggest jigsaw puzzle in the world. When it was built in the 11th-century, the multi-tiered sandstone pyramid was the most impressive building of its day, "a truly astonishing spectacle," according to a 13th-century Chinese traveler, Zhou Daguan.

Christians Modify Worship Practices for Ease of Conversion

Posted on 2003/1/20 8:48:02 ( 849 reads )


INDIA, November 27, 2002: An array of practices is being employed by Christian faiths when converting Hindus to Christianity, which are designed for Indians to be more comfortable with Christian worship practices. A letter written from Vatican City to an Archbishop in India in 1969 which was in response to a set of proposals from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India, seeking adaptation of Hindu religious practices for worship by the newly enrolled faithful. Among the proposals were: The posture during Mass, both for the priests and the faithful, may be adapted to local usage, that is, sitting on the floor, standing and the like; footwear may be removed also. Genuflecting may be replaced by the profound bow with the anjali mudra, holding hands together. Oil lamps could be used instead of candles. In the offertory rites, the Indian form of worship may be integrated, that is, double or triple "arati" of flowers and incense. To read the full report, go to "source" above.

Malaysia Priest Calls for Increased Roll of Hindu Temples

Posted on 2003/1/16 8:49:02 ( 858 reads )

Source: News Reports

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 10, 2003: A high priest is convinced that Hindu temples have a role in tackling criminal-related problems of Indian youths. Unorthodox and determined, Muthu Kumara Gurukal, 56, gets dejected when he reads the newspapers or hears news about Indian youths getting involved in street fights, crimes and drugs, wants the temples to share their wealth in uplifting and restructuring the Indian community. "Don't see the problem. Look for a solution.The solution lies solely with the temples," he told his audience at an evening temple sermon recently. Muthu Kumara Gurukal, who is able to relate the ancient Vedic scriptures to present-day situations, is highly recognised for his credentials and qualifications from leading Indian temples. The Hindu high priest is a highly sought-after speaker and a selfless community worker. He is part of the new wave of Hindu Renaissance, which the Malaysian Hindu Society is propagating nationwide, in a bid to awaken and educate Hindus on the importance of right action through spiritualism. "Use about one-third of the temple collection to provide food and clothing to the poorer Indians, and to increase the number of educated Indians. Temples should allocate 30% of their collections and donations to community service projects. The money could be used to turn the temples into community center to serve the poor, provide tuition to the students and enlighten them on Hinduism so that they could understand and adopt noble human values. Hinduism has a rich and diverse philosophy, and is an all-encompassing way of life. Our sacred rites and rituals are tools. They are the means through which devotees seek spiritual satisfaction." To spread the knowledge of Hinduism, Muthu Kumara is planning to set up a school to train Hindu youths who want to be priests. Being well-versed and having worked as a priest for the past 40 years, Muthu Kumara is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as the Malaysian Hindu Sangam has expressed full support of his move to help the community. Its president, A. Vaithialingam, said the objective was for Hindus to play an active role in affirming and reinforcing the strength of Malaysia's multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. "Practically all Hindu temples and organizations have come together to support the Master Plan for the Hindu Renaissance in Malaysia.

A Celebration of Hinduism in North America

Posted on 2003/1/16 8:48:02 ( 1028 reads )


UNITED STATES, January 12, 2003: "Hindu Temples In North America: A Celebration of Life" by Mahalingum Kolapen is more than compendium of North American Temples. Apart from being informative, the tome also preserves the Hindu legacy and informs the reader about the ancient Indian culture and art form. And more than that, the book showcases the changing face of America and the journey of Hindus in North America. "The learning curve while working on the book was great, and I have tried to incorporate all that information in the book," says Mahalingum Kolapen. The author spent four years researching and collecting material. The book brings to light the significance of Hindu Temples and their relevance in contemporary North American society. "It fills a wide gap in the availability of authentic, credible materials addressing the cultural issues related to Hindus in North America, a fast-growing minority," says Mahalingum Kolapen. With the current project, Mahalingum says he "saw an opportunity to help place America's large Hindu community in perspective."

Call to Revive Bhajana Groups Gets Good Response in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2003/1/15 8:49:02 ( 1071 reads )


KANCHEEPURAM, INDIA, January 8, 2003 : In response to the Kancheepuram ashram's call to start bhajana programs in villages, over 5,000 applications have come in to the ashram. H.H. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi said that bhajana singing was an ancient practice, but has been on the decline over the last few years. So far representatives from 2,000 villages have come to the ashram and collected percussion and ensemble instruments. A group from Walajabad also asked for pictures for their bhajana hall and books on traditional songs. His Holiness said the movements like Harinama Japavali and Harikatha were the most vibrant forms of rural worship and bound communities together.

Jodhpur Hosts International Conference on Yoga

Posted on 2003/1/15 8:48:02 ( 914 reads )

Redefine "Hindutva" Say Some Indian Religious Leaders

Posted on 2003/1/15 8:47:02 ( 854 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, January 12, 2003: The concept of "Hindutva" should be redefined on a broader perspective, salvaging it from what some believe are the "narrow confines" of a particular religion, two religious leaders said. "Love for all fellow beings, refraining from causing any harm to anybody with a spirit of sacrifice and dedication to come closer to the 'Supreme Soul' through spiritualism and meditation are the essence of the concept of 'Hindutva'," says Acharya Kishore Kunal and Ratan Lal Singh. They considered Hindutva as synonymous with an ideal lifestyle, devoid of greed, anger and feelings of revenge. They opposed intermingling of the pious approach of 'Hindutva' with nationalism of a particular country.

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