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Pandit Ravi Shankar Takes Issue With Today's Fusion Music

Posted on 2003/3/20 8:46:02 ( 1000 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 17, 2003: Sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar, often praised for pioneering collaborations with musicians from the West, does not identify with the fusion music of today. "I was never involved in fusion music as it is understood today," he said at a press conference to announce a concert with daughter Anoushka on March 22. Shankar, called the "father of world music" by the late Beatle George Harrison, maintained his musical collaborations with Harrison, British violinist Yehudi Menuhin, French flautist Jean Pierre Rampal, Japanese musicians and symphony orchestras the world over were "experiments." "I have experimented, but the compositions were always based on Indian classical music," Shankar said. He felt fusion music of today was more of a commercial attraction and a gimmick. "But I do agree there are many brilliant musicians doing a lot of good work in the area." The maestro plans to teach the nuances of classical music to talented students through the Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts that will be fully operational in the capital later this year.

U.S. Scholar Seeks Input for Anthropological Study of Diaspora Hindus

Posted on 2003/3/20 8:45:02 ( 1185 reads )


CLEVELAND, U.S.A., March 17, 2003: For the purpose of studying the Hindu identity in the United States diaspora community, Vimal Bhatnagar, Ph.D. candidate at Case Western Reserve University, is seeking contacts with various Hindu temples, community organizations, magazines, and web pages around the U.S. that serve the Hindu diaspora community here. Kindly contact Ms. Bhatnagar at "source" above if you care to participate in the research.

Registry Says Hindu Gods and Goddesses May Be Advertising Trademarks

Posted on 2003/3/16 8:49:02 ( 1100 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 16, 2003: Does the display of Gods and Goddesses on commercial goods like tobacco products hurt the religious sentiments of people? No, says the office of Trademarks Registry. In an affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court, the Trademarks Registry has said that Hinduism has innumerable Gods and Goddesses and to put them all in the schedule of Emblems and Names (prevention of improper use) Act, would be "misconceived and unsustainable." This decision was a response to a petition filed in the High Court, which called for immediate withdrawal of trademarks that hurt the religious sentiments of the people. The petition, filed by Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal, submitted that the Registrar of Trademarks has granted registration using Lord Ganesha, Lord Krishna, Lord Siva and others for products like tobacco, zarda, jute products etc. "This is an insult to the sanctity of the revered Gods," the petition said. The Trademarks Registry's affidavit stated, "The Emblems and Names Act, of 1950 does not envisage inclusion of names of Gods and Goddesses in the schedule of the act. Only emblems of national importance and of secular institutions are sought to be protected."

"Paradise Tree" Promises Immense Potential

Posted on 2003/3/16 8:48:02 ( 1057 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, March 5, 2003: Simarouba (Simarouba Glauca), also known as the "Paradise tree," a native of El Salvador, Central America, was first introduced in Amravati, Maharashtra, in 1966. Syamasundar Joshi, a scientist in the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, who has studied the tree, believes apart from edible purposes, it could be a promising ingredient in the manufacture of soaps, lubricants, paints, polishes and pharmaceuticals. Not only the seed, but every part of the tree is useful in some way. The oil cake makes a valuable organic manure as it is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. The shells form the raw material for the hardboard industry. The fruit pulp can be used in the beverage and fermentation industry as it contains 11 percent sugar. The leaf and bark contains simarubin, a chemical used in curing diarrhea and malaria. The insect-resistant wood is okay for light furniture industry, toys, packing material, paper pulp and matches. The Forest Department's Biotechnology Research Center (Biotrim) at Tirupati has been growing the tree for the last six years on a demonstration plot, without actually knowing its potential. Given the perennial drought in the State and that the tree requires no maintenance, it is believed it offers great potential for farmers.

U.S. House Resolution for Deepavali Stamps

Posted on 2003/3/16 8:47:02 ( 927 reads )

Source: Office of Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)

WASHINGTON, D.C. USA, March 6, 2003: U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives asking Congress to request the United States Postal Service to issue a stamp honoring the holiday of Deepavali. The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Commission, under the U.S. Postal Service, currently issues many stamps with holiday themes, including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and most recently Eid. Pallone said he is hopeful that there will soon be a postage stamp commemorating this beautiful festival celebrated in India and throughout the world. "The rich culture associated with the Deepavali tradition includes observation of this holiday by Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Muslims and Buddhists," Pallone said. "Deepavali is a time for communal gatherings and spiritual enlightenment. People from across the world make an effort to visit their family, friends and neighbors on this wonderful holiday. The spirit of Deepavali has survived political, economic and social vicissitudes throughout history, while always carrying the universal symbolism of the triumph of light, goodness, knowledge and truth."

Vijayanagar Icons Unearthed

Posted on 2003/3/16 8:46:02 ( 1021 reads )


TIRUCHI, INDIA, March 2 , 2003: Six stone statues, including those of Mahavira, Jeyshtadevi and Muruga, have been unearthed from a field in Gundur near here where it is believed there was once a temple. The two and a half feet high by two feet wide icon of Mahavira, seated on a throne in a meditative posture, was said to be rare. The idols of Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Vishnu indicated that a temple dedicated to Vishnu existed in the past at the site, a view supported by the presence of a Siva temple in the vicinity. The presence of "nilothpala" in hand suggested that the three idols belonged to the early Vijayanagar period. The site was identified about two years ago and permission had been granted for the unearthing and safe custody of the statues in the museum.

H.H. Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi to Visit Malaysia

Posted on 2003/3/15 8:49:02 ( 1114 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 14, 2003: Her Holiness, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) will be in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 28 - 29, 2003, at Mid Valley Exhibition Center, Level 3, Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. Beginning at 7:30 pm each evening, there will be satsang, bhajans and darshan, which in Her Holiness' context refers to a warm embrace, by Her Holiness. This is Amma's second visit to Malaysia, where last year over 45,000 people came for satsang and 35,000 received her darshan. Readers kindly contact "source" above for additional information on Amma's visit to Malaysia.

Nepal's King and Queen to Visit India

Posted on 2003/3/15 8:48:02 ( 1023 reads )

Source: www.ndtv.com

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, March 15, 2003: Nepal's King Gyanendra and Queen Komal will visit India next week to pray at temples and take part in religious festivities, state-run Radio Nepal said on Saturday. The royal couple will leave for southern India on March 20, returning home March 30. During the trip the king and queen will visit Hindu temples and shrines and take part in religious ceremonies -- a journey that is considered important for Hindus in Nepal. The king was also expected to meet Indian leaders in New Delhi. The King has hereditary rights at a number of temples, including Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and Jaganath in Puri, where he is the only person aside from the priests allowed to perform worship of the Diety.

Yoga Used in Austrian Schools

Posted on 2003/3/15 8:47:02 ( 914 reads )


VIENNA, AUSTRIA, March 11, 2003: A conference and action day of the "Viennese Center of Health Promotion" was held in the historical rooms of the Viennese Town Hall. More than 20 exhibitors gave a summary of their efforts to improve the health situation especially for pupils and students. One of the most frequented stands was "Yoga In Daily Life." Developed by Sri Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, this practice is becoming successful now in Austrian schools. It is part of a special project for school-development called "Learning by Movements" that gives accents for better health making the youngsters to better balanced persons. "Yoga In Daily Life" also offers special seminars for teachers at all levels. Many speakers emphasized the importance of yoga as a perfect balancing principle for the western industrial society.

The Ayodhya Dispute Discussed

Posted on 2003/3/15 8:46:02 ( 1312 reads )

Indian Govt Says Holi on March 19, But Priests Say March 18

Posted on 2003/3/14 8:49:02 ( 1029 reads )


NEW DELHI, March 14, 2003: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs may have declared March 19 as the official holiday for Holi, but confusion continues. Several religious organizations have announced that they will celebrate Holi on March 18. Officials say that date for Holi was decided about a year ago after consulting the panchangam (the Hindu religious calender.) However priests differ. "Holi cannot be celebrated on March 19. Holika Dahan is on March 17, the Puranmashi (the full moon) night. Therefore, Dhulendi (the festival of colour) has to be celebrated the next day," said Laxmi Narayan Shastri, chief priest of Birla Temple. He also said that the religious texts do not ban people from celebrating Holi on Puranmashi. "The fuss is unnecessary. Holi has coincided with Puranmashi on earlier occasions as well," he said. The problem this year is that Puranmashi starts at 7:21 p.m. on March 17 and ends on 9:45 a.m. on March 18 and some say that Holi cannot be celebrated on March 18 because of this. HPI would like anyone with an expert opinion on this issue to share with our readers to please contact ar@hindu.org.

Elephant Saver Raman Sukumar Fourth Indian in a Row to Win "Green Oscar"

Posted on 2003/3/14 8:48:02 ( 1175 reads )

Source: www.ndtv.com

LONDON, ENGLAND, March 14, 2003: Founder and Director of the Bangalore-based Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Center, Professor Raman Sukumar, has won the Whitley Golden Award, the most prestigious international award in the field of environment conservation, for his work in saving endangered Asian elephants. Sukumar received the award popularly known as the "Green Oscar" along with a cash prize of US$79,000 from Princess Anne at the Royal Geographical Society. This is the fourth year in succession that an Indian has won the award. Last year, a Pune scientist, Dr. Anand Karve won the award for developing a technique to produce clean fuel from sugarcane waste. In 2001, Vivek Menon, chief of the Wildlife Trust of India, was chosen for the award for his fight against poaching of elephants and in 2000, Gargi Banerji, a botanist, won the Golden Award for work in conserving medicinal plants in Himachal Pradesh. Sukumar said he planned to spend the cash prize to provide support to local farmers to mitigate the impact of elephants on their lands, as well as to help his field research team which acts as a "watchdog" -- identifying threats such as poaching for ivory and monitoring the health of the elephant population.

Old Dancers Loose to Youth in Delhi High Court

Posted on 2003/3/14 8:47:02 ( 1006 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 12, 2003: How old is too old when it comes to dancing on stage? Do age, weight and fitness matter? And who should be the final arbiter? All it has taken for these questions to come bouncing to the surface is one court case where the Delhi High Court rejected Bharatanatyam dancer Komala Varadan's plea in her 1997 case against Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The ICCR sends artistes in the 18-45 age-group for stage performances abroad. Those who are 45-plus are considered for lecture demonstrations, workshops and seminars. Varadan, who was 56 when she went to court, took this as an affront and wished to continue performing. Varadan's lawyer, R. K. Saini, had a simple argument, "You can be a good dancer even at the age of 60. She has good credentials, and if she didn't then why was she put even in the lec-dem section?" While everyone agrees that age and appearance do matter, the extent to which they are important is a highly contentious issue. Kelucharan Mohapatra, Birju Maharaj and T. Balasaraswati are repeatedly cited as examples of those who have transcended the age barrier. "At 65, I may have less stamina, but I compensate with other aspects like natya or my expressions which evolve with age," says Chennai-based Bharatanatyam dancer V. P. Dhananjayan.

New Temple Hall Opens in UK

Posted on 2003/3/14 8:46:02 ( 1165 reads )


HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND, February 18, 2003: Hindus in Huddersfield, England, celebrated the opening of an extension at their Huddersfield temple. The new wing doubles the size of the hall, located on Zetland Street. Officially unveiled by the Mayor of Kirklees Margaret Bates, Mayor Bates was garlanded by Kiran Bali, secretary of the temple's executive committee. Representatives from all other major religions were invited to the event and Ms Bali said, "The room was for all members of the community to use, not just Hindus."

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Speaks on Hinduism

Posted on 2003/3/13 8:49:02 ( 1053 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, March 13, 2003: The following comments made by Mata Amritanandamayi Devi are excerpted from the interview at source: "Hinduism is not about one God. It is about seeing God in every manifestation of nature, be it an ant, bird, cow or snake. Don't we have temples for nature's creations? Other religions may believe in one God, but Hindus see Eeswaran in all His creation. Even an ant can teach us a lesson or two. ... Hinduism is perhaps the only religion that offers devotees a choice to worship the female Deity in a codified form. The Devi is worshipped by millions in India, but despite this, the status of woman in society has not changed. I would blame men for it, as women have been mentally conditioned to subservience for centuries. If a baby elephant's legs are chained, it carries the impression of the chains on its legs even when it grows up. So do Indian women."

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