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New Delhi's Parliamentary Library Based on Hindu Temple Design

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:46:02 ( 978 reads )

Source: Manchester Guardian Weekly

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 6, 2003 : The New Delhi's Parliamentary Library designed by Raj Rewal, takes its inspiration from a Hindu temple. The library is the first major addition to the old capital since independence and Mr. Rewals' design appears to be adapted from the style and symbolism of the Hindu temple. The Hindu temple, which traditionally stands on a "tirtha" (a crossing place favored by the Gods) is a cosmic junction-box connecting man and God, a symbol of universal enlightenment -- which a library is as well, albeit a secular one.

Gujarat Muslims Help Build Hindu Temple

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:45:02 ( 1127 reads )

Source: National Network

AHMEDABAD, INDIA, January 5, 2003: Over 50 Muslim artisans from Kapadwanj are camping at Trimandir on Ahmedabad-Mehsana Highway near Adalaj. Their task is to make domes for the temple. They're not the only ones. About 20 Muslim artisans from Kolkata are also at work in a timber godown at Pethapur near Gandhinagar, making pillars and doors for the temple. The Trimandir, which is being constructed by Bhagwan Dada Panth, has murthis of Sri Mandhar Swami, Siva and Krishna. Chandbhai Sattarbhai, a worker from Kapadwanj says, "We make a living out of building domes for temples. The fact that thousands of devotees will come here and offer prayers eggs us on to do our best. When I am on the job, I'm an artisan and not a Muslim. I respect the religion I'm working for. I make it a point to remove my slippers when I climb the roof to work on the dome. We have been working in bare feet even when temperatures rise to 40 degrees (celsius)." Kalu Mehboobbhai, also from Kapadwanj says, "We've been working here for five months and are staying on the temple premises. We make it a point not to cook non-vegetarian food here. I am not bothered about who's Hindu and who's Muslim."

Correction on "Tamil Nadu's Ancient Cities May Predate Mesopotamian Civilization" Story

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:44:02 ( 1207 reads )


INDIA, January 7, 2003: Mr. N.S. Rajaram, organizer of the Mythic Society conference, writes that statements reported in numerous news stories about the conference discussions on Tamil Nadu's ancient cities possibly predating Mesopotamian civilization are not accurate. Mr. Rajaram states, "Mr. Hancock's theory is based on the findings of the National Institute of Ocean Technology on the West Coast. The findings off the East Coast are less extensive. Glenn Milne was also interviewed and he only spoke about the sea level rises and did not confirm Hancock's theory. In fact, Hancock propounded no theory but made only some general observations about Indian flood myths and how civilization is much older than 3000 BC or so accepted by historians. The finds are significant, but we have a long way to go. The genetic findings are also still too tentative for any definite conclusions." Readers wishing further information on this subject kindly contact "source" above.

Rebuttal to a New York Times Op-Ed Piece

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:49:02 ( 1032 reads )


UNITED STATES, January 2, 2003: This lengthy article by Hari Chandra is a well-written rebuttal in response to "Hijacking India's History," an Op-Ed piece by Kay Friese, published in the New York Times on December 30, 2002. Mr. Chandra writes: "India's Hindu nationalists have a rightful quarrel with the official history, which has for long been guided by colonial masters with their own agendas, racial, regional, religious and otherwise." Among the many issues Mr. Chandra takes exception to is the Aryan Invasion Theory. He says, "The Aryan Invasion Theory, a favorite of professional secularists, is largely based on philology of Indo-European languages, and was dated around 1500 BCE by Max Mueller. The dating of the theory was arbitrary, and was acknowledged as such by Max Mueller himself later. Surprisingly, the roots of Aryan Invasion Theory are not found in any oral, written or archeological record of India, but in the European political discourse and more specifically, the German nationalism of the 19th century. There is no way to reconcile the philological assumptions and the anomalies and inconsistencies that crop up with the Aryan Invasion Theory. The alternate Indus-Saraswati civilization theory, on the other hand, posits that the Aryans were indigenous people, and the original habitants of the townships along the Indus, Ravi and Saraswati rivers, and that no invasion from outside took place during the Vedic times. Post-Vedic invasions did occur, and are well documented and are backed up with substantial evidence. This theory is backed by evidence, which is at least consistent, scientific and can stand up to critical scrutiny." Mr. Chandra also addresses issues of religious freedom and the Godhra riots. To read Mr. Chandra's remarks in full and the original Op-Ed piece, go to "source" above.

Tech Slow Down Hits U.S. Indian Movie Houses

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:48:02 ( 937 reads )

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES, January 8, 2003: It's a small sign of a big change for California's Indian-Americans. Once busy showing Bollywood blockbusters, a Fremont theater specializing in Indian films, relocated to a smaller home this week after attendance dropped along with the tech economy. The theater, which serves South Asians hungry for a taste of home in the films and at the snack bar, which sold spiced tea, samosas and other traditional food, went from a high of 20,000 moviegoers per week in 2000, to less than half of that, said owner Shiraz Jivani. In 2000 there were 98,699 immigrants from India in the Bay Area, 10,035 from Pakistan and 1,402 from Bangladesh, according to the U.S. Census. Sanjay Tandon, co-president of NetIP, a South Asian networking group, recalled the theater's popularity. Moviegoers would come from all over Northern California, some staying for all-day film marathons. "It had the ambiance of an Indian movie theater. Indian movies tend to be a family affair, with everyone from grandparents to kids, laughing and crying." However, in the downturn, many Indian tech workers lost their jobs and their H-1B visas. "H-1Bs used to be more homesick than the people who made their home here. We counted on those," Jivani said. "Unfortunately, as the dot-coms busted, so did our business."

Indian Prison Superintendent Accused of Converting Inmates

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:47:02 ( 924 reads )


PONDICHERRY, INDIA, January 8, 2003: The chief superintendent of prisons at India's Pondicherry Central Jail, Mr. G. David, is facing a judicial inquiry after being accused of forcibly converting inmates to Christianity. A Hindu organization called Munanni is also asking for his suspension and calling upon state legislators to adopt an anti-conversion law similar to that in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Munanni alleges that at least three prisoners were baptized in the prison in recent weeks. While David makes no attempt to hide his Christian faith, he denies being involved in conversions.

Kashmir's Sharda Script Endangered

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:49:02 ( 998 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, January 4, 2003: In a place where hundreds of people have died in terrorist attacks for over a decade, the death of a script has gone unnoticed. Sharda, the script that gave Kashmir its former name, Sharda Desha, is understood by few Kashmiris today. One of the last Sharda scholars in Srinagar, Professor T. N. Kunju, cannot keep pace with the documentation required -- 300 books need to be catalogued. The last man who could read the script in the Srinagar University library retired 30 years ago. "I had to carry an apron and duster to go through the works in Sharda in the library. Very little of it remains," says Prof. Kunju. "Most of the rare books could be found in the libraries of Kashmiri Pandits. They left the books behind. These were later sold by the kilos," he added. Sharda evolved as a direct descendant of Brahmi and has been in use in Kashmir from the ninth century AD until recently. It's the script in which Kashmiri language came to be written and until 30 years ago, horoscopes and birth records were written in Sharda. Today, the young write Kashmiri in Urdu and Devanagiri. It is hoped that perhaps temple priests can read Sharda. however, a trip to the Mata Khir Bhawaniji temple in Ganderbal north of Srinagar tells another story. No one there has heard of Sharda. A visit to the Sankaracharya temple in Srinagar is little different. As part of a Discovery Channel-UNESCO effort to increase awareness about endangered languages in the world, Discovery will air its dying languages series beginning February. Sharda is part of this project and hopefully, someone will be inspired to take up its cause.

Malaysia Celebrates Thai Pusam

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:48:02 ( 963 reads )

Source: News Reports

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 7, 2003: Thai Pusam celebrations at Malaysia's famous Batu Caves Murugan Temple will be held January 18 to 20. Approximately one million devotees will gather at Batu Caves and half a million in Penang to worship Lord Muruga.

Kerala Muslim Minister Criticized for Wearing Tilak

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:47:02 ( 1033 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, January 3, 2003: Muslim organizations have demanded Kerala's Minister for Local Government, Cherkalam Abdullah, a Muslim, should do penance for wearing a tilak at a function in Sringeri Mutt recently. As a result of Mr. Abdullah's actions, The Sunni Youth League has barred the minister from entering mosques. "It is nothing but blasphemy. A true Muslim is not supposed to observe the customs of another religion. Since he has defied the Muslim tenet he is not supposed to enter the mosque," League president Syed Ummarali Tangal said. "He can salvage the situation by observing a strict penance," another leader said. The minister, a Muslim League nominee in the government, responded, "I went along with the Chief Minister to attend a function. Everyone was welcomed with tilak and arati. They applied tilak on my forehead (the traditional greeting). I did nothing on my own."

Villagers Reconvert to the Hindu Fold

Posted on 2003/1/6 8:49:02 ( 883 reads )


KHALLARI, INDIA, December 30, 2002: One hundred Christian families from Saraipali village along with another one hundred families participated in a ceremony whereby they were brought back into the Hindu fold. Hailing from the Mahasamund District, each Hindu devotee had their feet washed and tilak applied. Dileep Singh Judev, a member of the Hindu Sangam organizing the reconversion, said, "Conversion in the country is being managed by powerful conspirators from across the seven seas, but these people are being countered even with our limited resources."

Announcement - Murugan Conference in Malaysia

Posted on 2003/1/6 8:48:02 ( 998 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, December 30, 2002: The third International Murugan-Skanda Seminar will be held this year on May 1-4, 2003 in Kuala Lumpar. Devotees of Lord Murugan from around the world are invited to attend. Registration for the event is US$100 and includes accommodation and meals. Participants in the formal program are requested to submit their presentations to the organizers by February 15, 2003. The conference will be inaugurated at the famous Batu Cave Shrine on May 1 at 10 a.m. Contact 'source' above for a more detailed outline of the conference's events.

Hinduism Today Seeks Contacts in Bangkok

Posted on 2003/1/6 8:47:02 ( 1018 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, January 6, 2003: Hinduism Today is seeking a Hindu organization or individual in Bangkok to assist with the visit of our correspondent to the country in the beginning of February. We are in need of contacts among the local Hindu population. Kindly e-mail "source" above.

Tamil Nadu's Ancient Gene Pool Discovered

Posted on 2003/1/5 8:49:02 ( 828 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, January 5, 2003: India's East Coast, especially along Tamil Nadu, is increasingly drawing the attention of archaeologists and anthropologists from across the world for its evolutionary and historical secrets. The focus has sharpened after genetic scientist Spencer Wells found strains of genes in some communities of Tamil Nadu that were present in the early man of Africa. In the "Journey of Man" aired by the National Geographic channel, Wells says the first wave of migration of early man from Africa took place 60,000 years ago along the continent's east coast to India. Genetic mapping of local populations provided the evidence. R.M. Pitchappan, a professor of Madurai Kamaraj University in Tamil Nadu, helped Wells collect the gene evidence from Tamil Nadu's Piramalai Kallar people, inhabiting the Madurai and Usilampatti areas 500 km south of Chennai. The community was once quite strong and independent. Their genes have the amino acid bands found in the gene map of the original man from Africa, and similar to bands in the Australian aborigines. Says Pitchappan, "The ancestors of the Kallar community may have come into India from the Middle East." Wells believes there were three waves of migration that early man undertook. According to Mr. Wells and his Indian collaborator, early man went from Africa to the Middle East, on to Kutch on India's west coast, all the around to the peninsula's east coast and then on to Australia. "These gene pools are unique and very accurately map the path a population has taken, leaving behind original communities to grow into independent groups but with a common ancestor," explains Pitchappan.

Tamil Nadu's Ancient Cities May Predate Mesopotamian Civilization

Posted on 2003/1/5 8:48:02 ( 422 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, January 5, 2003: A British marine archaeologist Graham Hancock has been examining a submerged city on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu. Mr. Hancock says a civilization thriving there may predate the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia in present-day Iraq and definitely existed before the Harappan civilization in India and Pakistan. He has been excavating the site off the coast of Poompuhar, near Nagapattinam, 400 km south of Chennai. At a meeting of the Mythic Society in Bangalore in early December, Mr. Hancock said underwater explorations in 2001 provided evidence that corroborated Tamil mythological stories of ancient floods. He said tidal waves of 400 feet or more could have swallowed this flourishing port city any time between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago, the date of the last Ice Age. The Gulf of Cambay was also submerged, taking with it evidence of early man's migration. The populations Mr. Wells and Mr. Pitchappan (see previous article) mapped settled on India's East Coast 50,000 to 35,000 years ago and developed into modern man. According to Hancock, "the Poompuhar underwater site could well provide evidence that it was the cradle of modern civilization." Hancock's theory is strengthened by findings of India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), which has explored the site since the 1980s. Man-made structures like well rims, horseshoe-shaped building sites are some of the lost city's secrets. At low tide, some brick structures from the Sangam era are still visible in places like Vanagiri. The region, archaeologists say, has been built over and over again through the ages and some of its past is now being revealed. Mr. Glenn Milne, a British geologist from Durham University, has confirmed Hancock's theory.

Deepavali in Birmingham an Interfaith Event

Posted on 2003/1/5 8:47:02 ( 957 reads )

Source: Press Reports

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, December 24, 2002: In an effort to promote cross-cultural links, the city of Birmingham, England, connected the annual Deepavali celebration with the lighting of the towns' Christmas lights. Held in November the annual event attracted over 5000 people, three quarters of whom were Hindu or Sikh. Indian music, prayer, dance and fireworks plus children's rides and food tents filled Centenary Square, with exhibitions by students at the Repertory Theater. The exhibitions included a cultural zone where a mock Indian wedding was held using a Manap (traditional four-poster carriage), a "spiritual zone" with classical Indian music and meditation and a children's area.

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