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Nepalese Monarchs Donate Gold and Silver Ornaments to Jagannath Temple

Posted on 2003/3/30 8:49:02 ( 1116 reads )


PURI, INDIA, March 29, 2003: Gold ornaments, including rings, coins and decorative pieces and expensive clothes were among the gifts the King of Nepal, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, and Queen Komal Rajalaxmi Devi offered to the Deities of the Sri Jagannath temple here on Saturday. A gold coin, a gold thread, three golden eyes, a small gold idol of Laxminarayan, a gold lotus, a silver umbrella, a silver lamp, other decorative silver ornaments and silver footwear were presented to Lord Jagannath by the royal couple, temple administration sources said. A pair of gold ear rings, a gold ring, three golden eyes, a silver garland with 108 tulsi leaves were offered to Lord Balabhadra while a gold nose ring, a pair of gold ear tops, a gold coin, a gold thread, three golden eyes and a silver lamp were offered to Devi Subhadra. The King of Nepal has hereditary rights at this temple to make special offerings to the Deities.

Christians Petition Against Survey by Gujarat Police

Posted on 2003/3/30 8:48:02 ( 1026 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 29, 2003: A group of Christian organizations has petitioned the Gujarat state High Court to halt a government survey of Christians on the grounds that it "unlawfully targets" the minority group. The All-India Christian Council said the Christians are being "victimized in the name of collecting census information." For the past two weeks, police have been visiting Christians across this western state. The questionnaire asks, "Were you a Hindu earlier? When and why did you convert? Are you getting any money every month from Christians? Do you read the Bible? Why did you convert? Do you want to be reconverted to Hinduism?" The High Court gave police until April 10 to explain why the survey is not illegal. Another petition, filed with the Supreme Court, will be heard on April 6. The state government says the survey is being conducted to answer a question by a lawmaker in India's federal Parliament about the financing of Christian and nongovernmental organizations.

Traditional Medicines Enter the Mainstream with Quality Control

Posted on 2003/3/29 8:49:02 ( 1003 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 29, 2003: Many people opt for traditional medicines because they are affordable and believed to be less harmful. As a result, the market is flooded with scores of Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha cures, but there is no official machinery to give them accreditation. Experts have voiced concerns about their safety, quality, licensing of providers and standards of training in connection with traditional medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently come out with a traditional medicine strategy for 2002-2005, which focuses on these issues. According to WHO, 70 percent of the Indian population use traditional medicine for their primary health needs. Last week, a group of experts met here to plan out an adequate strategy for integration of traditional medicine with the health care system in India. They have recommended a separate set of standards for regulating traditional medicine and the setting up of a body to provide accreditation to medicinal claims.

Ayodhya Excavation Uncovers 150 Conches and Other Artifacts

Posted on 2003/3/29 8:48:02 ( 1399 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, March 28, 2003: At least 150 small conches, a stucco stone, a sandstone structure, pieces of bangles, a mud-stove (chulha) and some articles of glazed terra cotta were found during the 13th day of excavation at Ayodhya today. Sources here said five articles were found in the J5 trench, and one each in J3, K6 and K7 trench, where digging was done up to 16 feet in depth. Sources also claimed the findings to be of archaeological significance. As many as 40 laborers, including seven Muslims, were deployed for digging today in the presence of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team members and representatives of 13 contesting parties. The dig is attempting to find evidence of an ancient Hindu temple on the site of the now demolished Babri Masjid.

Ramakrishna's Goddess Kali Receives New Silver and Burmese Teak Throne

Posted on 2003/3/29 8:47:02 ( 1076 reads )


KALICOT, INDIA, March 29, 2003: The 148-year-old throne of Goddess Kali at the Dakshineswar temple, where both Ramakrishna and Vivekananda meditated for hours, will be replaced by a new one on Saturday. The new 10-foot-high throne will replace the old wooden structure encased in silver. Kusal Chowdhury, secretary of Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Debottar Estate said, "Devotees will witnesses a historic moment tomorrow. The process of replacing the throne will be accompanied by day-long rituals." The temple authorities have decided to display the original throne, which was first installed in 1855 when Rani Rashmoni established the temple. The artisans took three years to make the new throne, as they meticulously maintained the design and detailing of the original one. "All the 12 columns are encased in silver. We have used Burma teak for the frame on top. So, it is expected to last another century without any problem," the secretary added.

Hindus Attacked and Killed In Kashmir

Posted on 2003/3/28 8:49:02 ( 1168 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 24, 2003: When an Islamic insurgency began in Indian Kashmir in 1989, the area's Hindus became the prime target. Muslim terrorists directed a campaign of assassinations and intimidation against Kashmiri Pandits, as the area's Hindu brahmins are known, and most of them were forced out of Kashmir. Eleven families stayed on in the mountain hamlet of Nadimarg, about 35 miles south of Srinagar, with the encouragement of their Muslim neighbors. On Sunday night, at least eight gunmen, dressed in Indian Army uniforms, arrived at the village and ordered its residents outside. They opened fire with automatic weapons on those who complied, killing 24 Pandits, out of the 52 living in the village, including women and children. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic terrorists backed by Pakistan, fighting for Kashmir's independence or accession to Pakistan, have stepped up attacks on Hindus in recent years. The Pandits were the elite of Kashmir, filling the medical and education professions. In the early 1990's close to 60,000 Pandits were driven out. Some have resettled and started new lives, while others remain in refugee camps outside Jammu.

Conversion Bill Passed in Gujarat State Assembly

Posted on 2003/3/28 8:48:02 ( 1009 reads )


GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, March 26, 2003: The Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill, 2003, passed in the state assembly on Wednesday. It states anyone found converting a person from one religion to another "by force or any fraudulent means" can be fined up to US$2,000 or face up to three year's imprisonment. The imprisonment period would be four years in the case of force or fraudulent means used against a minor, a woman, or a person belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. The bill requires a person performing the conversion ceremony to obtain prior permission from the district magistrate, and the person being converted inform the district magistrate after adopting a different religion. For anyone violating either of the two provisions the fine is US$20 and imprisonment for a year. Minister of State for Home Amit Shah said, "Reports have been received by the government that conversions from one religion to another are made by use of force or allurement or by fraudulent means." The bill, he added, would act as a "deterrent against the antisocial and vested interest groups exploiting innocent people belonging to the depressed classes."

Eggs Add Cost, But No Significant Nutritional Benefits, say Indian Nutritionists

Posted on 2003/3/28 8:47:02 ( 978 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 25, 2003: The scientific community has rejected the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's proposal to include eggs as part of their midday meal in the capital. They say eggs have few nutritional benefits and even the protein content in wheat flour is almost the same. All eggs do, they say, is add to the cost of the program. "The purpose of midday meals is to make up for calorie-deficit, so a cereal-based diet remains the best choice," says Dr. Umesh Kapil, professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, AIIMS. Compared to eggs, both wheat flour and rice have twice the calorie content for the same amount. Then cost has to be factored in, with eggs costing the government six times more than the same amount in cereals. "Whole wheat flour chapatis served with legumes or vegetables are healthier than eggs as the protein content of wheat flour is not significantly lower than egg," explains Kapil. HPI adds: Eggs contained an average of 213 mg of cholesterol, which is a major factor in the development of atherosclerotic plaque and coronary artery disease. Cereal-based foods contain no cholesterol.

Nepal's Hindu Monarch Mixes Pilgrimage and State Business

Posted on 2003/3/27 8:49:02 ( 1118 reads )

Source: HPI

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, March 22, 2003: King Gyanendra and Queen Komal of Nepal began an 11-day Indian pilgrimage last Thursday, visiting a number of Hindu shrines in southern India. This is King Gyanendra's first religious trip abroad. H. H. Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchipuram invited the world's only Hindu monarch to a festival of kotihom (sacred fire) and the royal couple is visiting temples, some of which have a tradition of extending the King of Nepal privileged access to the inner sanctum, an area normally restricted to the priests. King Gyanendra's itinerary began in New Delhi, where he met President Kalam, Prime Minister Vajpayee and other Indian leaders.

H.H. Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati's Help Sought on Ayodhya Issue

Posted on 2003/3/27 8:48:02 ( 1077 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, March 22, 2003: Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani met with His Holiness Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchipuram and urged him to pursue the initiative taken by him to help reach an agreement among concerned parties regarding Ayodhya. The Sankaracharya had earlier held discussions with leaders from both the Muslim and Hindu communities, but without results. The Deputy Prime Minister, attending the golden jubilee celebrations on the ascension to the Peedam of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt by the Sankaracharya said, "I believe that an agreement among the communities will be more enduring" as there was a possibility of some people challenging court orders.

Fiji Holds 100th Anniversary of the Arrival of South Indians from Chennai

Posted on 2003/3/27 8:47:02 ( 1091 reads )


LAUTOKA, FIJI, March 27, 2003: The 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the arrival of Fiji's south Indians will be held on Friday, April 11, with an Inauguration Ceremony at the newly established Lautoka Sangam Village in Lovu. Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam will hold its 77th Annual Convention in Lautoka, Fiji, on April 18, 2003. The Convention will be inaugurated by Hon. Justice Jai Ram Reddy at Churchill Park, Lautoka, attended by invited guests and over seven thousand Sangam members and supporters from all over Fiji, North America, New Zealand and Australia. A cultural program, arts and crafts expo, children's festival, food festival, fashion show, student's cultural night and the annual soccer tournament are some of the week's planned activities. Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam runs 26 primary and secondary schools, a Sangam Institute of Technology in Nadi, kindergartens and temples all over Fiji, the largest being the Sri Siva Subramuniya Swami Temple in Nadi. Kindly contact "source" above for additional information regarding the anniversary celebration and convention.

Two Teens Charged in Fire Bombings of Missouri Hindu Temple

Posted on 2003/3/27 8:46:02 ( 993 reads )


CLAYTON, U.S.A., March 25, 2003: Two 17-year-old boys are charged with firebombing attacks at a Hindu temple in suburban St. Louis, investigators said Monday. The youths are charged with second-degree arson and criminal possession of a weapon in the attacks on the temple. St. Louis County Police said temple officials initially wondered if the attacks were crimes committed by ill-informed people who thought they were attacking a Muslim mosque. Although police looked into the possibility of a hate crime, the attacks apparently stemmed from boredom. "They wanted some attention, excitement," he said. The FBI is conducting its own investigation into the late-February fire bombings, which damaged the temple but caused no injuries.

Orissa to Stop Commercial Use of Lord Jagannath

Posted on 2003/3/26 8:49:02 ( 945 reads )


BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, March 22, 2003: The Orissa Government will soon come up with a "culture policy" designed to stop the blatant commercialization of Lord Jagannath of Puri, state Panchayatiraj Minister Damodar Rout told the assembly today. The minister's announcement came after Speaker Sarat Kumar Kar directed the state government to take necessary steps to stop the "desecration and commercialization" of Lord Jagannath. "The Government would take some definite measures immediately to stop commercial use of the Lord Jagannath's name," Rout said, adding it would soon come out with a culture policy which would include banning vulgar displays of the Lord. The speaker's direction came in response to pleas by many members about the blatant misuse of Lord Jagannath's name in cheap cassettes and albums telecast by Doordarshan. This move comes on the heels of the Office of Trademarks Registry recent statement before the Delhi High Court saying, "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."

Specially Trained Priests Give More Meaning to Hindu Rituals

Posted on 2003/3/26 8:48:02 ( 1211 reads )

Source: HPI

PUNE, INDIA, March 22, 2003: The inclusion of scientific understanding has added a deeper meaning to traditional Hindu ceremonies, thanks to specially trained priests by the Jnana Prabodhini's Santrika section. The head of Jnana Prabodhini, Yeshwant Lele says, "More and more people are curious about the rituals they have been performing blindly over the years. The priests trained by the society explain the mantras to the gathering and make the ceremonies move lively." Thirty people, mainly from a scientific background, irrespective of caste and sex, have recently finished their four-month course on how to conduct Hindu marriages, naming ceremony, thread ceremony, last rites and other ceremonies. Lele says, "Our Marathi and English booklets enable every family member to chant the mantras. The booklet gives the requirements for each ceremony and has an introduction and translation of each mantra. Our gurujis and purohitas involve everyone present. So, instead of only the yajman (the man who performs the ceremony) repeating the mantras, everyone present takes part. Explanations of certain rituals involve physics, chemistry, logic, philosophy and psychology."

Nepalese Hindu Monarchs Worship at Meenakshi Temple

Posted on 2003/3/26 8:47:02 ( 1026 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, March 24, 2003: Nepal King Gyanendra and Queen Komal Rajalakshmi Devi offered prayers and had "archana" at the Sri Meenakshi Amman-Sundareswar temple in Madurai on Monday. The King and his entourage, accompanied by the officials from the External Affairs ministry, were given a traditional welcome by folk dancers at the entrance of the temple. Later they were received by the temple priests with "Poornakumbha Mariadai" at the temple's south Gopuram. Goddess Meenakshi, the temple's main deity, was bedecked with the diamond crown, traditionally worn only three times a year. The King spent about an hour going around the temple where his majesty was presented with a silk shawl, books on temple history, and prasadam near the temple's Golden chariot, where the King and Queen were seated.

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