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US Faces Criticism Over Schoolbooks Given to Afghans
Posted on 2002/3/24 8:44:02 ( 632 reads )


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AFGHANISTAN, March 24, 2002: After the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollar to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation. The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks, wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers. The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Others challenge the government's right to promote any religion in any circumstance. The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise.




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Trinidad Considers Cultural Center in India
Posted on 2002/3/23 8:49:02 ( 686 reads )


Source: Paras Ramoutar





TRINIDAD, March 23, 2002: During the colonial days, thousands of Hindus were transported to various parts of the world by the British, as Indentured laborers or "Girmitia" or "Jahaji" people. The countries included Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji and Trinidad. The majority of the people who were taken to the other shores were from Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Tamilnadu. One of the great sons of India, Siewdass Sadhu, was a great saintly person from the Girmitia population in Trinidad. The colonial masters in those days demolished a mandir built on their lands by Siewdass Sadhu. He was jailed and fined a hefty sum of money. Determined to carry on his devotion, Siewdass ji declared that since he was not allowed to build his temple on the mainland, then he would build it in the sea. Single-handedly he proceeded with the construction, transporting stones on his bicycle until he had built a small temple for our Hindu brethren. Now on the very site the Hindu community assisted by the government of Trinidad and Tobago, has built a beautiful temple to replace the one built by Siewdass ji which was damaged over time by the sea. It has become a pilgrimage centre for the Hindus. Unfortunately, very little is known about the sacrifice of our girmitia brothers and sisters and their glorious history of struggle in preserving their dharma and culture. For the Trinidadians Siewdass Sadhu has become the symbol of determination, sacrifice and devotion to the God. It is proposed that the year 2002, the centenary year of his birth, be declared as Siewdass Sadhu Centenary Year. A committee is being formed to spread information about the great contribution of Siewdass Sadhu and other great ancestors of the Girmitias, to build a fitting memorial for the sadhu and to develop a permanent center for Girmitia history in India itself. The center would serve to help Girmitias connect with their roots in India and even reunite with the descendants of their ancestors. For further information, write paras_ramoutar@yahoo.com.




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HSC Successful Retreat in Pittsburgh
Posted on 2002/3/23 8:48:02 ( 672 reads )


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PITTSBURGH, USA, March 21, 2002: From February 22 through 24, 2002, the University of Pittsburgh chapter of Hindu Students Council hosted the annual HSC Lower Midwest Regional Retreat. The Retreat was attended by 84 people representing seven regional schools: University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, University of Michigan, Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon University, West Virginia University and Thomas Jefferson College of Medicine. There were a variety of workshops, cultural and religious programs all geared toward strengthening Hindu unity. Hinduism 101: Dharma, Domestic Violence in Hindu Society, Kashmir is Bleeding, Modern Physics and Classical Hinduism and Freedom Fighter or Terrorist? were some of the workshops. Classical art forms were also performed in the workshops: Nadh Brahma: Indian Music and Spirituality and Kuchipudi Dancing. It is the goal of HSC to promote and foster a Hindu family.




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Hindu Human Rights Group Announces Protest
Posted on 2002/3/23 8:47:02 ( 663 reads )


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LONDON, March 22, 3003: In a press release, the Hindu Human rights group (HHR) announced its deep concern for the anti-Hindu bias recently displayed by the entire British media and in particular by the Independent Newspaper and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The Independent shamelessly declared, "The Myth of Ram's Temple Gives A Licence to Kill" while the BBC holds a poll on its website to decide whether Hindus should be allowed to build a monument to Lord Ram. When referring to current events in India, the media has taken it upon itself to label Hindus as "fascist," "ultra-nationalist" and "right-wing," building up an image of a primitive barbarian race. HHR has scheduled protests at the Independent House on March 30 and at the BBC Television Center on April 6. For details click "source" above.




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Bala Sankaracharya Jayanti Celebrated in New Jersey
Posted on 2002/3/23 8:46:02 ( 770 reads )


Source: Prakash M. Swamy





BRIDGEWATER, March 9, 2002: Over 100 devotees from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland gathered on March 9 at Bridgewater Temple Community Center, New Jersey, braving morning cold, to take part in the 33rd Jayanti Celebrations of Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamiji, the junior seer of Kanchi Kamakoti Peeth in Tamil Nadu. Sri Shankara Vijayendra Saraswathi's "Anugraha Bashanam," recorded in Kancheepuram and brought to the US, was played from a laptop/projector. In his speech, the young acharya stressed that when dharma, righteous living, is firm, there comes shanti, peace.




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Maha Ganapati Temple in Arizona
Posted on 2002/3/20 8:49:02 ( 691 reads )


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MARICOPA, ARIZONA, March 16, 2002: Although the current building is a beige, modular structure, a 15-acre site in Maricopa will be the first place in Arizona where a traditional-looking Hindu temple will be built. The grand opening for the Maha Ganapati Temple of Arizona took place in February, and 500 devotees made the trip. Temple leaders have hired a full-time priest from India, Sri Raman Sastrigal. The turnout is a sign of the growth in the Indian community in Arizona. "God will give grace, and, therefore, this temple will grow and the community will grow," the priest said through an interpreter. "The peace will grow. Everybody will be happy." The site also will have a community center, but the temple will be built first. The community members are planning the design and raising money for the temple. They expect to finish raising the $500,000 cost of the temple in a year or so and will start construction then. "All the Hindus want the temple to look like the temples in India, to bring a good vibration," said Dave Mahadeven, an engineer and Mesa resident who serves on the Maha Ganapati board of directors. He came to Arizona 19 years ago. "There was no temple at all in Arizona when I came. Now there are three." The Valley has other Hindu temples, including one in Scottsdale, housed in a former church.




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Traditional Medicine Being Exploited
Posted on 2002/3/20 8:48:02 ( 742 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, March 19, 2002: Unqualified doctors are exploiting the boom in traditional Indian massage treatments, say some experts. Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced in India for thousands of years. But interest in the technique has been growing in other parts of the world with the general trend towards holistic medicines. It has become a big tourist attraction in the south Indian state of Kerala. Some doctors say the ayurveda offered to tourists is often not genuine -- and as well as damaging ayurveda's reputation, could even harm the patients themselves. Most tourist centers seem geared towards one-hour massages, using oils, and most of the tourists here seem to see it as a chance to relax rather than a real medical treatment. However, the relaxed attitude is not shared by Dr. P. M. Warrier, who leads the medical team of Arya Vaidya Sala, a major ayurvedic hospital in Kerala. The hospital uses massage, but only as part of a holistic approach that also includes changes to diet, lifestyle and meditation. Treatments and medicated oils are prescribed like medicine, tailored to each case -- and patients stay for two to four weeks of intensive treatment. Ayurvedic herbs are studied scientifically, and students take seven years to qualify. Dr. Sudha Kumari is a post-graduate student who says a less medical approach could even harm tourists. "According to ayurveda, the treatment differs between each patient and each medicine that we are giving differs with each patient. So I think it will have some ill effect on the patient if the treatment is not handled properly."




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Company Town Keeps Indians at Home
Posted on 2002/3/20 8:47:02 ( 761 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, March 18, 2002: In late January the Indian subsidiary of an American company, Catalytic Software, moved into New Oroville, Catalytic's township of dome-shaped dwellings an hour's drive south of the technology city of Hyderabad in southern India. Ashok Kumar Madugula, a software developer who is one of the township's first residents, has quickly adapted to the New Oroville lifestyle. He does not need to cook because he eats his meals in the company's makeshift cafeteria. And he no longer needs to commute in the traffic in Hyderabad, a city of 4.2 million. Madugula, 25, graduated two years ago from Nagarjuna University in nearby Guntur. In an earlier era, like thousands of bright Indian developers before him, he would probably have migrated to the United States in search of a bank balance, Western work culture and material comfort, perhaps never to return. But Catalytic, in an effort to keep Indian talent at home or lure it back from abroad, has created New Oroville, offering many comforts of the West. Its proximity to Hyderabad is no accident. The city is famous for exporting thousands of programmers to the United States and is now an up-and-coming technology hub in its own right.




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Rice: 250 Patents Have Been Granted
Posted on 2002/3/20 8:46:02 ( 708 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, March 19, 2002: A row has broken out over public access to the complete DNA sequence of the rice plant. Scientists fear there will be restrictions over who can use the data when it is published in an academic journal. Leading geneticists, including two British Nobel Prize winners, have written to the journal Science to complain. They claim the multinational company Swiss-based agrochemicals giant, Syngenta, will have control over the most important food crop in the developing world if an alleged publication deal goes ahead. Dr. Michael Ashburner of Cambridge University, UK, is among 20 scientists who have signed the letter saying DNA information on rice should be freely available to all researchers. Alex Wijeratna, a campaigner for the development agency ActionAid, said the charity supported the scientists' calls. Syngenta announced last year that it had decoded the rice genome. It said it would make the information freely available to all scientists. According to ActionAid, 250 patents in rice have been granted so far. Eleven of these belong to Syngenta.




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Fresh Violence in Gujarat Towns, Four Dead
Posted on 2002/3/19 8:49:02 ( 711 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 19, 2002: In a fresh outbreak of violence in Bharuch and Modasa towns of Gujarat, four persons were killed and five injured on Tuesday when police opened fire to disperse a rioting mob. Trouble began when a mob gathered at Dandia Bazar and other old city area and indulged in rioting at around1.30 pm. Police had to open fire to quell the mob. "Four persons have been killed and five are injured. Curfew has been imposed in A-Division police station area," Bharuch Collector Anju Sharma said. Bharuch B-Division police station area is already under curfew. In Gandhinagar, the state Home Minister Gordhan Zadaphia said he was sending reinforcements to Bharuch and Modasda in view of the fresh violence. Rioting and subsequent police firing in A-Division police station area of Bharuch left two dead and five injured in Bharuch on Tuesday. Meanwhile, on Monday evening an 18-year-old school student was killed near Shaktinath Mahadev area while he was returning home after appearing for the school board exams. Miscreants pulled out the boy from the autorickshaw and hit him on the head. The boy died of serious head injuries. In Modasa town of Sabarkantha district, widespread arson and looting was reported on Tuesday morning. The superintendent of police of Sabarkantha, Nitiraj Solanki said several shops had been burnt in the violence. "Two persons have been killed in police firing," Solanki said. Violence also broke our in Dhobhidal area of Gandhiwada area of Modasa where a monetary dispute between two groups flared up and resulted in widespread violence. One state transport bus was stoned and several shops set on fire by the rampaging mobs, sources said. The mobs also fired at each other with private weapons in which, according to unconfirmed reports, several persons had been injured.




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Hindus Also Displaced After Riots
Posted on 2002/3/19 8:48:02 ( 705 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 17, 2002: Recent riots in Ahmedabad have affected Hindus as well as Muslims. It is estimated that more then 10,000 people in the Hindu community have also become homeless. "There seems to be some confusion about the people affected in recent riots. You will not find them in government rolls because they never registered with the district collectorate," says Narendra Patel, a local relief worker revealing that most of them have taken refuge at various community-sponsored camps. He added that rather than approaching the state government-aided camps the riot-affected Hindu families received shelter and support from their own community members and relatives. Most of the affected families were living as micro-minority in some of the Muslim-dominated areas around the city. "Hindus who have been blamed more often for actively supporting hooliganism and triggering post-Godhra riots have actually found themselves at the receiving end," says Kalpesh Jha, a relief worker at Hiralal Ni Chali in Jamalpur.




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Hindu Literature in Latvia
Posted on 2002/3/19 8:47:02 ( 882 reads )


Source: The Hindu





LATVIA, March 8, 2002: Hindu literature has found an unlikely niche in the Northern European country of Latvia. As far back as the middle of the 19th century, scholars of Latvia discovered that their native language and Sanskrit had commonalities, and that their traditional folklore was similar to Indian mythology. A special interest was cultivated in the works of Rabindranath Tagore. In a fourteen-year span between 1925 and 1939, nine of Tagore's works were translated and then published into Latvia. To this day Professor Viktors Ivbulis still writes articles about Tagore and has been doing so for over thirty years. Quoting the article, "In 1986, Tagore's 125th birth anniversary was celebrated with great fanfare by writers and artists of Latvia. Elza Radzian, a famous stage actress recited on stage Tagore's lines (from 'The Gardener') and hold your breath, she was wearing saris during her recitations." Ivbulis's love for Indian literature has continued and he is now translating the works of R.K. Narayan and Arundhati Roy into Latvian. Besides translating and writing, Ivbulis also teaches Literary Theory and heads the chair of Oriental Studies at the University of Latvia. Fluent in Russian, he has written a prize winning work called 'The Creative Writings of Rabindranath Tagore'. Having a deep attachment to the Indian culture, Ivbulis frequently travels to India so that he can mingle with the people of the land on trains and buses."




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E-auction of Tiger Skin Protested
Posted on 2002/3/19 8:46:02 ( 712 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 19, 2002: For Bazee.com, it was probably just another item. But a tiger skin under the hammer at this e-auction website signalled a chain reaction which has made the site modify its terms and conditions to specifically exclude any trading in animal skins. The issue blew up when the Wildlife Trust of India, a group of conservationists, noticed a tiger skin, touted as the world's largest at 11 ft 7 inches, up for $1 million on this site. Union animal welfare minister Maneka Gandhi promptly shot off a letter to the site managers. Eventually, it turned out that the Meerut-based owner of the skin was not doing anything illegal by putting up the item for sale. Many others do, however, sell skins without legally valid certificates. So, Bazee.com has now decided to add items covered by the Wildlife Protection Act to its list of items forbidden for sale on the site, irrespective of the legal position. "We scan the site daily for such things," says Bazee.com's Avinash Bajaj. "Nothing of this sort will be allowed." It is, therefore, modifying its terms of use, agreed upon by anyone using the site, to specifically exclude trading in animal skins. Bajaj says they also plan to meet officials of Mumbai police's cyber crime cell to see if they can help with action against possible offenders.




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Living with Siva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's Final Book, Now Available
Posted on 2002/3/19 8:45:02 ( 988 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 18, 2002: The inspired works of contemporary Hindu swamis is often regarded as sacred texts by millions of Hindus around the world. Among the newest of such books is "Living with Siva, Hinduism's Contemporary Culture" by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (who's known to his devotees as Gurudeva.) The final book of a trilogy, Living with Siva was completed just before his passing in November 2001. Living with Siva contains an in-depth look at the ethics and cultural refinements of the ancient Hindu tradition that are necessary to cultivate in modern life in order to establish a firm foundation for successful spiritual life, meditation and eventual deep realization. In 365 daily lessons, Gurudeva addresses frankly the problematic areas of modern living and offers sound, proven advice based on his 50 years of ministry. The power in Gurudeva's words strikes a chord in the heart allowing the reader to realize that "yes, I know that too!" The special spiritual quality which permeates Living with Siva has been recognized by the American press. "The lessons are elegantly simple, well-stated, and cross-culturally appealing." wrote Napra Review. Publishers Weekly, America's premier publication about newly published literature, said that they found the book "Useful and practical ... Readers may not agree with all of his forthright and opinionated reflections ... but they will appreciate his unswerving emphasis on infusing daily life with Hindu spirituality." At the command of Sage Yogaswami of Sri Lanka, Gurudeva worked his entire life to build a bridge between the East and the West. His noble presence, enlightened bearing and down to earth practicality earned the admiration of all who met him. Order a copy of Living with Siva at Barnes and Noble, Borders or your favorite metaphysical bookstore. Living with Siva, 2nd edition, hardcover, ISBN: 0-945497-98-9, US$59.95. To order online click "source" above.




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Temple Attacked in Fiji
Posted on 2002/3/18 8:49:02 ( 705 reads )


Source: Fiji Times





LABASA, FIJI, March 18, 2002: A group of youth has been blamed for an attack on Hindu temples here March 14. One temple said six statues of Deities worth US$1,300 were stolen by thugs who also dismantled prayer items. The temple manager said the priests went to the temple and found it a mess with the statues missing. A group of Christian youths who had been attending a mission training session nearby are suspected. "We are doing our mission and it is better for our youth leader, who is in town, to comment on the dismantling of the prayer items," one said. Several Christian organizations condemned the attack. An Assemblies of God spokesperson said, "We should not impose our Christian religion on anyone, the only thing we should do is pray for our Indian friends to know God. We should not condone violence because it cannot change anyone."




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