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Conversion Activities in Meghalaya

Posted on 2002/12/28 8:47:02 ( 1332 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA: December 23, 2002: The leader of a vigorous evangelistic Christian church-planting ministry in India spoke recently among hill tribe people in the North Indian state of Meghalaya. According to the article, which may be exaggerated, thousands of people attended the revival sessions, with a night meeting attended by 5,000 people and "over 1,200 people stepped forward to accept Jesus, forsake their sinful life and start a new one." When asked about the success of the revival, the organizers said, "They had read books about the pulling down of strongholds and claiming the land. In April they had gone to a high mountain, which locals believe to be the throne of the Goddess of this hill area, but they could not find it. They fasted and prayed. Then God revealed the secret location of this Goddess to a young man in an open vision. So 39 people climbed that mountain again and searched and found it. That is where the non-Christian tribal people go every year and sacrifice animals. The believers did spiritual warfare and cast out the strong man (which in this case was a female deity). Then they went in groups to the meeting site every Wednesday and walked around the ground in prayer cleansing the area. All this had had gone on before the meetings took place. They said as we worshiped the Lord that Sunday night that they saw the demonic spirit leave the area like a huge, dark bat." Organizers say they are sure that they will be successful converting the entire population. No indication is given if authorities were aware of this group's desecration of a Hindu holy place.

World's Fastest Mehndi Artist

Posted on 2002/12/28 8:46:02 ( 1358 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 23, 2002: He has a degree in forensic science, but at the age of 23, it is as the fastest mehndi artist that Ash Kumar's name appears in the Guinness Book of World Records. If that isn't enough, this London-born counts the likes of Julia Roberts, Madonna, couturier Calvin Klein and British super model Sophie Dahl among his regular clients. At the moment, Kumar is in Mumbai for the ongoing wedding season. It was about two years ago that officials from Guinness Book of World Records got in touch with Kumar for the record. "At that time I didn't know that, not only was I the youngest of the seven contestants, but also the only male," says Kumar with his trademark smile. He literally swept the floor with the new record of 134 hennaed armbands in an hour. "I drew a different design, seven inches across and two inches broad, every 11 seconds." Past clients on the receiving end of his signature style -- bold, traditional-meets-contemporary -- include Victoria Beckham and Demi Moore. Most of Kumar's work is either the regular, bridal mehndi or mehndi as a fashion accessory. Now that Kumar is an established name in the world of fashion, he is hoping that no one breaks his world record for another three years. "If my record is not broken for a total of five years, it would become a golden record, and will also be a part of the record books. What better way of being immortal?" he says.

Maneka Gandhi Removed From Animal Rights Committee

Posted on 2002/12/25 8:49:02 ( 1012 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 24, 2002: Recently removed from the Cabinet after a public disagreement with former Health Minister C. P. Thakur over the use of animals in medical research, Maneka Gandhi has now been relieved as chairperson of the government committee for control and supervision of experimentation on animals. "Her activism had caused problems for medical research. The establishment has taken a view that she's taken it too far," sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forests acknowledged. Gandhi's committee was raiding research institutions and seizing lab animals being abused. Institutes at the receiving end of Miss Gandhi's activism included Delhi's National Institute of Immunology, AIIMS and the Bio-Tech Research Institute in Hyderabad. However, it was her stand on the antidote for snake venom which precipitated Miss Gandhi's removal. The antidote is prepared from the blood of horses and its production had been halted after her committee objected. Horses are injected with nonlethal doses of venom and then develop antibodies to the venom. They are bled -- as often as weekly -- and the antivenom derived from their blood. Horses had died in the process. The antidote now is imported.

Navaratri Reprised on Christmas

Posted on 2002/12/25 8:48:02 ( 1044 reads )

Kerala Delicacies All The Rage In Britain

Posted on 2002/12/24 8:49:02 ( 942 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, December 22, 2002: It was dubbed Britain's Indian summer, a period when all things touched by the Indian subcontinent were deemed to be in vogue, from "Bombay Dreams" and Bollywood, to sari-inspired fashion shows. Now, as winter approaches, the trend shows no signs of abating, thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of Indian cuisine. Kerala restaurants are opening almost daily in Britain, and not only the new restaurants but also many established eateries are adding more South Indian dishes. When direct flights from London to Thiruvananthapuram began a few years ago, knowledge of Kerala's cuisine began to rise in England. That profile will get even more help with direct flights from London to Kochi beginning this month. However, there is something else about Kerala which seems to resonate with the British, who are lovers of India's spicy cuisine. "Our food is very healthy, far more so than the traditional Indian dishes that are served over here," says head chef Sriram of the Taj-owned Quilon. "We don't use cream or butter, and when we use coconut oil, it is always very sparingly. The British have become very health conscious, and our cooking accommodates their needs."

Michael Jackson Coming To India for Hanuman Film Debut

Posted on 2002/12/24 8:48:02 ( 1021 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, December 21, 2002: After a gap of seven years since his last visit, Michael Jackson is coming once again to Mumbai. Confirming the news, Raju Patel announced that Mr. Jackson would come to India in February or March for the launching of "Hanuman," a film produced by Mr. Patel under the banner of Film Club. "Michael loves India and expressed an interest to visit the country again, so I suggested that this was a good occasion. Since the project intrigued him, he agreed." Michael Jackson is Mr. Patel's partner in the production company, Never Land Entertainment

Indic Journalists Association International Founded

Posted on 2002/12/24 8:47:02 ( 894 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 11, 2002: The Indic Journalists Association International has recently been founded by Francois Gautier and Rajeev Srinivasan. The association is open to any journalist or writer who is dedicated to the promotion and defense of India. The charter of the association states it is, "An Association of Journalists and Writers friendly to India." One of their tasks will be to monitor the manner in which India is reported abroad and, if necessary, to intervene when they believe India is unfairly maligned. Readers seeking information on membership may contact "source" above.

Did Columbus Really Name the Indians "Indians"?

Posted on 2002/12/24 8:46:02 ( 982 reads )


New York, U.S.A., December 18, 2002: There has always been confusion on how exactly to describe the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Tim Giago, editor and publisher of The Lakota Journal, in a recent article writes that the term Native American as opposed to Indian happened during the age of "political correctness." It was at the time when African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic-American came into vogue. "For as long as I can remember, we have always referred to ourselves as 'Indian.' Many elders will tell you that 'Indian' is not a bad word. They do not believe it was a word uttered by Christopher Columbus because he thought he was in India when he landed on the islands of the Western Hemisphere. Rather they attribute it to the Spanish Conquistadors and the padres who accompanied them to a land they dubbed 'The New World.' The Spanish padres saw the indigenous people as innocents. They called them Ninos in Dios (Children of God)," writes Mr. Giago. As the words became words of common usage they were shortened to "Indios," and the word "Indios" soon became "Indian" when repeated by the settlers from other European nations. Referring to this article, the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) would welcome any further information on this interpretation of the origin of "Indian" to refer to indigenous Americans. Readers wishing to offer input may contact "source" above.

India's Children's Temple is Not Child's Play

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:49:02 ( 1238 reads )

Source: Press Reports

KOLLAM, INDIA, December 17, 2002: At an age when most children play house, five school children in Kollam have built a temple and even manage its day-to-day affairs entirely on their own. In a profession where geriatrics rule, the head priest is a 14-year-old and the manager is all of 13. Initially, the people of Kollam shooed away the children, and their makeshift temple was demolished many times. But each time the children rebuilt it with renewed vigor. Their devotion didn't go unrequited for those who opposed and ridiculed it are today sworn devotees of the Velithuruthy Siva Temple. It all started two years ago when Jayan, Arun, Aji, Akhil and Sreejan, all students at the Guhanandapuram High School, made a mud Sivalinga. They placed it on a barren piece of land and put a thatched roof over it. The primitive structure was demolished by the panchayat (village ruling council.) But when the children, all in the age group of 12-15, kept rebuilding the temple, the elders held a Deva Prasnam (a meeting of astrologers) which endorsed the project. Soon people rallied behind the children, a plot of land was purchased and funds collected to build a permanent structure. Temple architects have been summoned from Tamil Nadu. "We have already collected US$10,400," says temple committee secretary K. Raghu, who is an adult and a bank manager.

U.S. Children's Museum Exhibit Teaches About Other Cultures

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:48:02 ( 973 reads )

Source: The Richmond Times-Dispatch

RICHMOND, USA, December 10, 2002: Seven-year-old Alana Amrose stood entranced, looking at the fruits, animals, faces, symbols and writing of the Hindu calendar -- a Nakara Chaturdasi. She glowed with excitement at the Children's Museum of Richmond's "Our Community, One World in Celebration" exhibit featuring six miniature houses decorated with symbols of holidays observed around the end or beginning of the year. The girl's first stop last week was the Deepavali display. Alana Amrose also breezed through the Ramadan and the Chinese Lunar New Year exhibits to the display for Hanukkah. Amrose said the exhibition provided educational entertainment for parents and children. "I think it is a good way of exposing people to different cultures, all at once, in a small space without a lot of navigation," she said. "The exhibitions are in little houses, and kids love little houses."

American Advice Columnist Responds to a Hindu's Concern

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:47:02 ( 1030 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 21, 2002: The following letter appeared in "Dear Abby," a syndicated column published in hundreds of U.S. newspapers: "Dear Abby, I am a Hindu woman living in the 'Bible Belt' [southern USA]. Many of my friends and acquaintances are Christian, and they are all wonderful -- except for one thing. Some try in small, subtle ways to convert me to their faith. With Christmas approaching, I know what's coming -- boxes of baked goodies with little brochures and pamphlets tucked inside all about Jesus and the Christian faith. I wish you would remind people that all of us in this diverse nation should respect the faiths of others. To try to convert someone to your faith implies that you consider your religious beliefs superior, and that is just plain wrong. I know these gestures are well meant, but I wouldn't dream of sending Hindu brochures with my holiday goodies. Abby, what is a tactful, but firm, way of dealing with this?" signed, Happy Hindu In The Bible Belt. Abby's response: Dear Happy Hindu, Much as you would like, you are not going to change people who feel it's part of their religious commitment to "save" you. Ignore the brochures and enjoy the goodies.

"Shahi Snan" Dates for Kumbha Mela Announced

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:46:02 ( 1000 reads )


NASIK, INDIA, December 22, 2002: The dates for "Shahi Snan" (royal bath) during the Kumbha Mela of 2003, to be held at Trimbakeshwar, will take place on August 12. The auspicious dates for the second and third bathing will be August 27 and September 7 respectively, Swami Sagaranand and Mahant Govindananda Bramhachari announced. An estimated 1.1 million pilgrims are expected to pilgrimage to Trimbakeshwar for the 2003 Kumbha Mela.

Christmas Catching On in India

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:45:02 ( 1054 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 24, 2002: A recent New York Times article describes Hindus in India taking to the Christian holiday of Christmas. While devout Hindus never start their day without lighting at least an incense stick and offering prayers to their chosen Hindu deity, come December many begin planning for Christmas. "It doesn't matter if I'm a Hindu. Christmas stands for love, affection, sharing, renewing family bonds. It's a festival for everyone," said one of the Hindus interviewed, as she shopped for tree decorations at New Delhi's upscale Ansal Plaza mall. Not surprisingly are the many echoes of complaints heard in the West about Christmas becoming commercialized. The popularity of Christmas does not extend to the religious themes associated with the festival. It's only Christians who attend midnight church services on Christmas Eve and nativity scenes can be seen only in Christian institutions and churches. For a Hindu perspective during this season of worldwide celebrations, see "source" above for a description of Pancha Ganapati, a modern festival or "Hindu Christmas," that is a time of gift giving and home religious observances honoring a family's love and togetherness, community harmony and cultural celebrations.

Teach Yoga to Children, Just Make It Fun

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:49:02 ( 1137 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, December 11, 2002: Mini Thapar, who studied yoga at Kerala's Sivananda Ashram, has teamed up with TV actress, Nisha Singh, to develop a creative way of teaching both hatha and ashtanga yoga to young children. Thapar says, "Children have to be taught in a fun way, with stories interlaced and by presenting the experience as something interesting rather than a daily chore." Nisha Singh adds, "Everything is done in a story format. We make it a creative process by weaving in stories with asanas." The partners began by teaching the postures as animal postures and later added a story theme. Children in their classes range in age from 3-11 years. Thapar concludes, "In the humdrum of routine, we often lose sight of our body, but with yoga you can never go wrong."

Yoga Heads the List in Helping Cancer Patients

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:48:02 ( 961 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., December 7, 2002: After three years spent reviewing more than 400 published studies on alternative treatments for cancer, Wendy A. Weiger and her colleagues at Harvard's Osher Institute have published their conclusions in the December 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The article says, "Only one form of treatment -- so called mind-body therapies, such as relaxation training, yoga, support groups or similar interventions that ease the psychological stress of living with cancer -- was found to be beneficial; it was recommended by the authors 'without reservation'." Seven other treatments such as moderate exercise, acupuncture for nausea, and soy supplements for prostrate cancer were mentioned but were only reasonably recommended. Nine treatments were found to have adverse affects such as high vitamin supplements and St. John's wort.

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