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Antony Recalls How He Got Spiritual Solace
Posted on 2001/10/7 22:46:02 ( 773 reads )


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MRITAPURI, INDIA, October 8, 2001: Has the atheist Chief Minister Antony become a devotee of the woman-saint Mata Amritananda Mayi? Antony, a member of the Congress party, would not call himself a devotee but he admitted that he had found solace in the presence of the Mata, who is lovingly called Amma. "I am no believer nor do I practice a religion, but I do not harbor ill will towards any faith or creed," he said at the birthday celebrations of the Mata at Parayakadavu in Kollam district. "I met her for the first time in a Kochi-Delhi flight in1994. I noticed a radiance and love in her visage. Then in 1996, when I was chief minister, I inaugurated the Amrita project for free houses to the poor and widowed women. Ever since that I insist on meeting her whenever possible." Anthony's philosophic origins lay with Nehru socialism, but many of Kerala's communists have similarly shifted back toward their Hindu roots.




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A Call to Action for Area Sikhs:
Posted on 2001/10/7 22:45:02 ( 790 reads )


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YUBA CITY, USA, October 8, 2001: Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Sikhs across America have been the target of hate crimes by misguided bigots who think Sikhs with turbans and beards are linked to Osama bin Laden. A bad situation has become the catalyst for better understanding, said Dr. Jasbir Kang, a Yuba City physician and founder of the Punjabi American Heritage Society. "This woke us up that we had to get involved," Kang said. "And it woke America up to who we are. What's happened in the last few weeks has created a new activism among Sikhs. We want America to know who we are." For more information on Sikhs, look on the Internet at www.sikhnet.com.




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Free Issue of MeeRa E-mail Publication
Posted on 2001/10/7 22:44:02 ( 700 reads )


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October 5, 2001: The goal of a new e-mail service being offered by MeeRa Publications is to provide information, ideas, and analysis to understand and celebrate Indian culture and heritage. The service is especially focused on youth and families with young children. The first issue offers a welcome letter, this year's Diwali Calendar, ten ways to make Diwali memorable to your children, and what to expect in future issues. To subscribe to this free service send an email to mail@meerapublications.com




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State Government Sponsors Prayers for Rain
Posted on 2001/10/6 22:49:02 ( 644 reads )


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ISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PARDESH, INDIA, October 6, 2001: Driven to despair at the unrelenting drought affecting the state this year, the government decided to invite divine intervention. Accordingly, the endowments department directed the executive officers of all temples in its jurisdiction to perform special abhishekams (ritual bathing of the Diety) on October 7 to invoke the blessings of the rain god to save the farming community from the drought. It granted US$104 per temple for this purpose. Just the thought was sufficient, for by the time the executive officers of all Siva temples in the state received the announcement, the state experienced torrential rains. The temples went ahead with the ceremonies anyway, to give thanks. In some of these ceremonies for rain, which are historically quite effective, an icon of the Deity will be immersed in a container of water.




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Encroachment Threatens Archaeological Sites
Posted on 2001/10/6 22:48:02 ( 768 reads )


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SANCHI, INDIA, October 1, 2001: Growing encroachment around places of archaeological importance, including the world heritage sites of Sanchi and Khajuraho, and over-zealous tourists not only pose a threat to their safety but also hamper conservation work. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Superintending Archaeologist S B Ota told UNI that most of these encroachments by influential people have been caught in legal wrangles. Also, tourists, in their zeal, apply vermillion and other ritual pastes to protected statues, affecting their conservation. As a result, monuments in Gwalior, Mandu, Kundalpur and Chanderi are facing neglect, he added. A private hotel has been constructed within the prohibitory zone in Khajuraho in violation of ASI norms. Small shops and other business establishments, as well as new road construction, also pose a serious threat to the the safety of deteriorating heritage sites in Madhya Pradesh.




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Amnesty International Details Attacks
Posted on 2001/10/6 22:47:02 ( 750 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, October 4, 2001: Despite calls for tolerance and restraint by the authorities, at least 200 attacks on Sikhs and 540 on Arab-Americans have been reported in the USA in the week following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, international human rights watchdog Amnesty International has said. "Mosques, Hindu temples and community centers have been attacked and vandalized in countries as diverse as India, the UK, Poland and Denmark," Amnesty said in a report. Amnesty International documents evidence of a backlash against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern or Asian origin or appearance in at least 10 countries.




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American Native Indians Want End to Columbus Day
Posted on 2001/10/6 22:46:02 ( 698 reads )


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DENVER, COLORADO, October 6, 2001: About 1,500 marchers converged at the state capitol Saturday, beating drums and waving flags as they called for the end of Columbus Day. The "Transform Columbus Day" rally was organized by American Indians and other activists who say Christopher Columbus was a slave trader whose explorations set off centuries of abuse for indigenous people. "The legacy of Columbus is something Indian people live with every day: the federal laws, the loss of 96 percent of our land base,'' said Glenn Morris, a member of the American Indian Movement. The Native American Indians also lost their religions as a result of the Christian missionary activity which began with Columbus.




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Walter Cronkite Criticizes Falwell and Robertson
Posted on 2001/10/5 23:49:02 ( 732 reads )


Source: TV Guide





USA, October 1, 2001: TV Guide, the most widely circulated magazine in the world, published this report in its most recent edition. "Legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, a paragon of fairness and restraint when he was known as 'the most trusted man in America,' says he believes that remarks made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on TV's The 700 Club two days after the attacks 'may be the most abominable thing I've every heard.' In remarks for which he later apologized, Falwell blamed 'pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals, the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way' for the devastation. 'It makes you wonder,' says Cronkite, 'if [Falwell and Robertson are] worshiping the same God as the people who bombed the Trade Centers and the Pentagon.' "




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Burger King Workers Get Hot Feet in Firewalking Attempt
Posted on 2001/10/5 23:48:02 ( 816 reads )


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MIAMI, FLORIDA, October 6, 2001: About a dozen Burger King marketing-department workers burned their feet when they walked over white-hot coals at a meeting intended to promote bonding. One woman was taken to a hospital emergency room, and Burger King brought in a doctor to treat others whose feet were blistered. Some workers used wheelchairs the next day when they went to the airport to leave for another company retreat. More than 100 employees at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo participated Wednesday in the firewalking, a ritual with origins in religions of the Far East, and one which is popular among some Hindus. The Burger King workers had to sign a waiver acknowledging they might get hurt. The injured employees suffered first- and second-degree burns. Mildred Morse, a Burger King administrative assistant, was the most seriously hurt. She was released from Baptist Hospital on Thursday. "You're walking over hot coals, and something can happen," said Robert Kallen, owner of The Achievement Group, which ran the event. "The majority of the people get through it without a nick or a blister." A certified instructor [the article does not say by whom], Kallen has led thousands of participants over coals that can be as hot as 1,200 degrees. Dana Frydman, vice president of product marketing for Burger King, was injured but had no regrets about the event she helped organize. "It made you feel a sense of empowerment," Frydman said, "and that you can accomplish anything."




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What's Life Without Spice?? Kerala's Campaign for Cardamom
Posted on 2001/10/5 23:47:02 ( 631 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, October 1, 2001: With a view to avoid any adverse impact of the terrorist attack on the United States and a possible counter attack, the Spices Board, under the Government of India, has embarked on a massive promotion campaign for cardamom, especially in the Gulf countries. Gulf countries are a major market for Indian cardamom. The nutritive and medicinal value of Indian cardamom and the Indian variety's aroma is also coveted. The need is to cash in on the encouraging trend in the Gulf market calls for aggressive promotion efforts to enlarge the market scope. The growing quality consciousness in the Gulf was expected to be complementary to the spices board's promotional efforts.




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Ancient Art of Spinning Receives New Recognition
Posted on 2001/10/5 23:46:02 ( 830 reads )


Source: Telegraph India





KUKUDAKHANDI, INDIA, October 2, 2001: To honor Mahatma Gandi, the spinning of cotton on charkhas, the small hand spinning wheel popularized by Gandhi, has been recognized by the Olympic Association of Berhampur as a sport. Ranging in age from 11 to 99 years of age, over 70 women gathered in the village of Kukudakhandi to participate in the event. Ninety-nine-year old P.Chinnamma said, "she had started spinning on the charkha from the age of 20 years. She recalled the days when spinning on the charkha was considered a holy duty by the Mahatma." Presently the Orissa government has ignored the plight of charkha spinners who are forced to sell premium quality thread to handloomers in Andra Pradesh. By declaring charkha spinning an olympic event, this may be the impetus needed for the government to recognize the art and the community of Patasila in Kukudakhandi may receive a handloom unit in their village.




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Dalai Lama Against Conversions
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:49:02 ( 733 reads )


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DHARMASALA, INDIA, October 4, 2001: In his first-ever reaction to media reports about the Dalai Lama planning to convert a million Hindus to Buddhism, Tibetan in-exile Prime Minister Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin today said the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate had never converted any Hindu and did not intend to do so in the future. "In fact, the Dalai Lama is always against the conversion of people from one religion to another. Nor has he encouraged anyone, including the Hindus, to convert into our religion," he stated. Mr Samdhong said though such reports had been appearing in the media for the past some time, but there was no reaction from Tibet. He said it was only after his meeting with Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri yesterday that he became aware of such news reports regarding conversions being circulated [see HPI October 1]. "Hearing from the Jagadguru, I was deeply shocked and I felt that it was necessary to give our clarification," he said. Two days ago, the Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati, had accused the Dalai Lama of converting Hindus. Interacting with mediapersons at Brajeshwar Temple in Kangra, he had stated that the Dalai Lama would convert one million Hindus to Buddhism in New Delhi. Media reports had indicated that the plans of the Dalai Lama on mass conversion had been postponed and now the conversions would take place in Delhi on a specified date.




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Ammachi's Followers Institute Award
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:48:02 ( 867 reads )


Source: Press Release





AMRITAPURI, INDIA, October 1, 2001: A group of devotees of Mata Amritanandamayi have instituted an award, "Amritakeertti Puraskar" in the name of Her Holiness, on distinguished persons who have made significant contributions in diverse fields. At present, two types of persons are chosen for the above award: those engaged in writing original, in-depth studies of great Indian Spiritual Classics, and those dedicated to constructive social or national service.




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Hindu Students Council Announces "Dharma Life Project"
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:47:02 ( 677 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, September 29, 2001: The Dharma Life Project was launched by Hindu Students Council (HSC) with a ceremony in the Hindu Worship Society temple blessed by Pundit Rajendra Sharma. Dharma Life is a year-long effort to bring the powerful messages of the sages of Sanatana Hindu Dharma to students and youth all across the world, especially to college campuses. "For quite some time in the world history," says Rakhi Israni, the Dharma Life project coordinator, "we have only witnessed war, terrorism and bloodshed. Through this project we aim to make the young people around the world belonging to various Indic traditions such as Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Vaishnavas, Sivas etc., proud of their culture and aware of the vastness of their religions."




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Elephant Chasers Jobless
Posted on 2001/10/4 23:46:02 ( 764 reads )


Source: The Statesman





KOLKATA, INDIA, October 2, 2001: The state forest department has stopped recruiting villagers to drive away elephants, after some of the animals went on a rampage in Bankura as a fall-out of an operation to catch them. The forest department believes that the hulla or driving parties, drive away the elephants only to drive them back again later. Many hulla parties double-crossed the department to continue getting work for a longer period, a senior official said, for the income of the driving party members would dry up if the elephant herds didn't attack the crop fields at regular intervals. No wonder, a 45-elephant herd, now roaming in Bankura and Midnapore, has no hulla party to drive it out of villages. Besides, the elephants trekking to south Bengal forests have grown immune to the sound and fury of the drum beats and explosives.




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