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Haryana to Make "No-Dowry" Declarations Mandatory

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:49:02 ( 1021 reads )


CHANDIGARH, INDIA, February 15, 2003: Men working for the Haryana government might soon be required to give a written declaration following their marriage stating they have not taken a dowry. In an attempt to stop this practice, Haryana is planning to appoint a chief dowry prohibition officer whose job will be to collect these declarations and lists of gifts employees receive at their weddings, a government spokesman said. Every employee, within a month of marriage, will have to furnish the declaration to the head of department stating he has not taken any dowry. His in-laws and wife would also be required to sign the declaration. A list of gifts received at the time of marriage would also have to be submitted. The list would include a brief description of each gift, its value, as well as the presenter's name and relationship with the couple. The list would have to be signed by the newlyweds and their parents.

Handloom Saris, the Fashion Rage in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:48:02 ( 853 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, February 16, 2003: A glut of unsold inexpensive handloom saris designed for the poor have become an overnight favorite of college students in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was faced with the task of selling 4.5 million saris after the "Free Sari - Dhoti" distribution plan was scrapped. Following this, the handloom businesses were plunged into an unprecedented crisis with more than 21,000 weavers facing unemployment. However, university women decided to address themselves to the cause of the weavers and started wearing the saris, and the entire stock was sold out in two months. Recently a women's college came out with the plan of celebrating "Handloom Day" by wearing the saris. The entire women staff at the State Secretariat wore them on January 30, and later all women MLAs were seen in handloom saris in the State Assembly. Buoyed by the overwhelming response, Co-optex, in a bid to retain the market, has introduced one million saris in new designs.

Study on India's Medicinal Plants Proposed

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:47:02 ( 966 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, February 17, 2003: Forest Department officials have been asked to take up a comprehensive study on conservation of medicinal plants in South India and document the endangered plants before initiating steps to conserve them. At the inaugural session on "Policy consultation on threatened medicinal plants of Eastern and Western ghats, trading and promoting their cultivation" it was felt that a balance had to be struck between conservation and commercial use of the medicinal plants with a rise in awareness of, and preference for, naturo-therapy. Senior officials shared the view that they have to study more on the plants grown in their forests, their medicinal value and market potential and initiate steps for their controlled commercialization.

Angry Crowd Storms Swaminarayan Temple and Curfew Imposed

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:46:02 ( 1025 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, February 16, 2003: An unruly crowd estimated at 1,500 people stormed the famous Swaminarayan temple on Sunday, damaging furniture and burning posters following a dispute over who will head the trust which runs the shrine. This resulted in an indefinite curfew. District superintendent of police (Kheda) Manoj Agrawal said that the mob in Vadtal village was demanding reinstatement of their former acharya on the highest position of the temple, chairman of the trust who manages its affairs.

VHP Plans Go Ahead with Trisula Distribution

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:45:02 ( 968 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2003: Brushing aside opposition criticism of its program to distribute tridents as a "misinterpretation," the VHP on Wednesday vowed to go ahead with it, describing it as part of religious practice. After distribution of the tridents at Jaipur on Tuesday and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the Sangh Parivar plans to organize programs for its distribution among Bajrang Dal activists in Khera town near Aligarh on Thursday. "Either this has been misunderstood or has been manipulated," VHP senior vice president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters on Wednesday. Terming the trident as a "symbol of religion," he said the government cannot ban the practice of distribution as these were smaller than six inches and blunt objects. The Rajasthan State Government tried to ban the tridents "but failed as it did not fall under the purview of illegal activity as per rules," Kishore said.

Bethesda Murugan Temple Seeks Help for Priests' Contract

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:44:02 ( 914 reads )


BETHESDA, U.S.A., February 22, 2003: The Executive and Religious Committees of the Murugan Temple here are seeking input for rewriting their employment agreement for priests. Their goal is to have a contract that is positive for their priests, fairly ensuring their rights and responsibilities and protection for the temple. If any temple committees have contracts they are willing to share, advise on selection of a labor lawyer or if an attorney skilled in labor law would care to offer his or her services, kindly contact Nigel Siva at "source" above.

Vidya Yoga Ashram Inaugurated in Portugal

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:49:02 ( 1038 reads )


LISBON, PORTUGAL, February 21, 2003: The World Philosophical Order Vidya Yoga Ashram inaugurated its international headquarters in Lisbon February 10, 2003. The Ordem Filosofica Mundial Vidya Yoga Ashram is a philosophical-spiritual, cultural, educational and assistance congregation. Established by H.H. Shri Swami Vyaghrananda Pashupᴩ Bhagwan, Master Shri Uberto Gamma and others, their focus is serving as an instrument for worldwide peace and education. Vidya Yoga Ashram was first established in the State of Paran᠅stado do ParanᬠBrazil, having its headquarters in the city of Curitiba, Rua Bar㯠de Guaruna, 645, Bairro Juveve, Brazil. Kindly contact "source" above for further information.

Study Suggests Violent Video Games Cause Adverse Changes in the Brain

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:48:02 ( 900 reads )


CHICAGO, U.S.A., December 2, 2002: Hours of playing violent video games can affect the way the brain works on a cellular level, causing misfiring of signals between nerve cells or slowing brain activity, researchers have discovered. The adverse effects are most apparent among teens that are diagnosed with a condition called disruptive behavior disorder or DBD. These kids, according to Dr. Vincent P. Mathews of the University of Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, are the ones most likely to "act out by harming animals or property or fighting with other kids." When he used a high tech scanning device called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track brain function in adolescents with DBD, he discovered "less activity in the frontal lobes," the area of the brain that controls emotions and impulses as well as attention span. Moreover when the DBD kids were exposed to violent video games, "there was even less activity," Mathews said. The study suggests repeated exposure to the violent video games is "desensitizing the brain ... the result is that the child can no longer understand the real effect of violence," said Dr. Carol Rumach, professor of radiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, who was not involved in the study. Even normal teens who said they frequently watched violent television and movies as well as regularly playing violent games had decreased activity when exposed to the violent video, Mathews said. Moreover, the brain changes were most apparent among "heavy users, meaning those who played for several hours every day," he said.

Zimbabwean War Veterans Target Asian Businesses

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:47:02 ( 886 reads )


ZIMBABWE, AFRICA, February 15, 2003: President Robert Mugabe's "war veteran" militia is changing its land-grabbing campaign in Zimbabwe from white-owned farms to Asian-owned businesses. The move has echoes of the policy pursued by Idi Amin in Uganda 30 years ago, which saw 60,000 Asians expelled while their land, money and businesses were seized. Last week, the veterans accused the 12,000 people of Asian descent in Zimbabwe of being economic criminals. They were ordered to hand over money and computers, which might have recorded transactions that violate the country's foreign-exchange laws, or risk having their homes "nationalized." Leaders of the small but affluent Asian community are considering telling families to prepare to leave. Asian community leaders have said they fear they are being targeted by the militia groups because European farmers have been effectively neutralized following the seizure of white-owned farms over the last two and a half years. Last year Andrew Ndlovu, second in command of the National Liberation War Veterans, told the Herald, a state-controlled newspaper, "We want these Indians to surrender a percentage of their land. They are not here to develop our country or to work with us. They are economic looters." Most of Zimbabwe's Asians were born here. They are descended from families that arrived in east and central Africa at the end of the 19th century, to work as artisans and clerks while the Germans and British built roads and railways.

Designated Area for Fijian Hindus to Scatter Ashes

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:46:02 ( 1079 reads )

Source: The Daily Post, Fiji

SUVA, FIJI, February 18, 2003: The beach along Queen Elizabeth Drive, on the Suva foreshore, is designated to the Hindu community to be used to dispose of the ashes of their loved ones following cremation, Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister George Raj said. Mr. Raj yesterday said he would make a detailed statement on the matter today in response to reports of complaints of human ash residue found in sea shells along the beach by squatters living nearby. Labor Parliamentarian and the national president of one of the largest Hindu organizations in the country, Kamlesh Arya, said the Hindu community had been designated the beach in the area and "there is nothing illegal about them disposing ashes there." Mr. Arya said there was an agreement between the Ports Authority and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Ministry over the disposal of human ashes. "It is the final funeral rite for Hindus and that is why the ministry has designated the area for the Hindu community to use," he said. "It is legal." He said the human ashes or the residue "will not cause pollution as it will be dissolved in the sea." Mr. Arya urged the members of the Hindu community not to dispose of flowers and wreaths along the beach. "This will certainly cause pollution," he said.

Arun Toke Honored with 2002 Writer Award

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:45:02 ( 1287 reads )


EUGENE, U.S.A., February 21, 2003: Arun N. Toke, executive editor of Skipping Stones Magazine, has been honored by The Writer magazine with the 2002 Writer Award. The Writer Awards celebrate and recognize writers who, through their work, contribute to the community of writers, bring about changes in the publishing field, or use their writing to make a difference by informing, inspiring and motivating others. Mr. Toke, a Hindu who was born and raised in India, published the first issue of Skipping Stones in 1988 in Oregon. Arun was honored for his work with Skipping Stones, which plants seeds of peace and tolerance by weaving together writing and art work by youth with issues of peace, social justice and ecological awareness. Readers may visit "source" above for additional information.

Elders Renew Marriage Vows On Valentine's Day

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:44:02 ( 1241 reads )


JAIPUR, INDIA, February 14, 2003: In a unique Valentine's Day celebration, eleven couples married for more than 50 years renewed their marriage vows in front of the holy fire, reaffirming their love for each other. Brain child of Mitroday Gandhi, President Rashtriya Yuva Chetna Parishad, the decision to celebrate these couples was taken to motivate the younger generation to view marriage as a relationship of love, trust and devotion that involved sacrifice and service to nurture a family. "It is an attempt to harmonize a Western ethos with Indian morality and customs," said Gandhi, especially when "relationships break at the drop of a hat. Valentine's Day has come to signify loud exhibitionism and commercialization of a tender feeling, it is necessary that we learn from the example of these people who've spent a lifetime with one another in building a home and a family." The significance of such a lasting bond was not lost on the younger generation who attended the celebrations in droves. Said young Sadhana Agnihotri, eyeing her grand parents' remarriage with admiration, "Their trust and fondness for each other is an eye opener. Their love has helped us grow into a united family."

An Attempt to Define Secularism

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:43:02 ( 1096 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 21, 2003: This very extensive website offers insight into India's secular constitution and what it means to be a secular nation as compared to a nation where religion and government power reside in the same hand. The authors comment that "the word Secular has not been defined or explained under the Constitution in 1950 or in 1976 when it was made part of the preamble. A Secular State means that the one that protects all religions equally and does not uphold any religion as the State religion. Unlike in England where the Queen is the Head of the Protestant Church, in India there is no provision to make any religion the 'established Church.' The state observes an attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religions." German, British, Turkish and American writers give their input on what it means to be a secular state from their particular national point of view. HPI adds: It is not correct to state, as the site does, that India observes "neutrality and impartiality towards all religions" because minority religion are allowed to teach their religion in schools funded with government money, while majority religion, that is Hindu, schools are not allowed to teach religion. Further, there is not a common civil code for all citizens, but personal codes adjusted to the traditions of each major faith and different for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. Countries such as the US allow only minor exceptions to the civil code by reason of religion.

Swami Maheshwarananda and President of India Meet

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:49:02 ( 924 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 30, 2003: An historical meeting of the mind and heart took place between His Excellency Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic of India, and His Holiness, Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. The President welcomed Swamiji by reciting the Peace Mantra from the Vedas and commending Swamiji's worldwide service to humanity in order to bring inner and outer peace. Summarizing on three main points, His Excellency felt that children should have education that includes ethical and moral values, that religious leaders should seek harmony amongst themselves and that poverty should be fought. When Swamiji was asked by the President why people go to war, the conclusion after discussion was, "If you want peace remove the I and the Me, then hatred will vanish from mind and body and then peace will come."

Indian-Americans Honor Saraswati

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:48:02 ( 988 reads )

Source: The Morning Call

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, USA, February 11, 2003: At the Hindu Temple on N. Airport Road, the icon of Goddess Saraswati was given Her own gold altar. Devotees placed offerings around the icon and a special priest, Mohan Bhattacharya of New Jersey, versed in the Bengali language and imbued with the rites of the Saraswati celebration, led the service. Following the early afternoon worship ceremony, worshippers gathered in the temple's social hall for an Indian lunch and live entertainment. The society encourages non-Hindus to attend the temple's services and cultural events. On Saturday, 10 members of the confirmation class and several adults from Bethany United Church of Christ visited. "It is part of their curriculum to experience other religions," said Berta Busocker, Bethany's director of Christian education. "We want them to understand we're not that different."

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