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NASA Photos Reveal Bridge to Lanka


Posted on 2002/9/24 9:47:02 ( 965 reads )


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USA, September 24, 2002: Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge, clearly visible in the NASA photos, is made of a chain of underwater shoals 18 miles long. This article claims the bridge appears "manmade," but does not say how that conclusion was arrived at, nor if NASA agreed. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama built a bridge to Lanka in ancient times, and the new photos greatly intrigue Hindus.






Miracle Reported in Gujarat Siva Temples


Posted on 2002/9/23 9:49:02 ( 829 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, September 23, 2002: Reports of a miracle have people thronging to Siva temples across the state. People have sighted "Om" on Siva Lingams in temples and observed water was flowing out of the icon. Crowds thronged Siva temples at Hatkeshwar, Amraiwadi, Vatva, and Navrangpura in Ahmedabad, and Karelibaug, Makarpura and other places in Vadodara. In Ahmedabad, the crowds got so unwieldy that police reinforcements had to be rushed to control them. According to reports, the Somnath temple, which is among the 12 Jyotir Lingams, was also thrown open and people were seen performing arati (worship with lights) at the temple, hoping to witness the miracle.






New Zealand to Honor India with Expo on Weddings


Posted on 2002/9/23 9:48:02 ( 900 reads )


Source: Sify News





WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND, September 20, 2002: New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, will launch a two-year long exhibition on Indian weddings as a way of honoring Indian migration to the country, a museum official said. "Aainaa -- Reflections Through Indian Wedding" marks weddings here with photos, talks, dancing and music. Hindu, Sikh and Muslim weddings will all be displayed, Te Papa ("Our Place") concept leader Robyn Anderson said. Although Indians have been coming here since the late 19th Century, both from India and from the sugarcane fields of Fiji, Anderson said the first Indian wedding did not take place until after World War II. Before then men went back to India to find partners and marry. Today the weddings are mostly held in New Zealand with a lot more mixed marriage couples choosing to have both a religious service, usually Hindu, and a civil one. Astrological charts are still consulted and the associated ceremonies may still last several days. The color of saris, the gold and the garlands make Indian weddings easy work for display, although Anderson says it is much more than just a lavish display. "It has a very serious element to it, as the wedding is a framework of engagement with the host society."






Ganesha Festival More Popular This Year


Posted on 2002/9/23 9:47:02 ( 898 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, September 20, 2002: Signs of religious revival are evident, especially with regard to Ganesha festivities. The trend is especially evident in areas affected by the riots earlier this year. Ahmedabad, the Panchmahals, Dahod, Vadodara and areas of North Gujarat, which saw large-scale disturbances earlier this year, have also witnessed a significant rise in the number of Ganesha icons during the yearly festival. According to figures available with Vadodara city police, as many as 320 more Ganesha icons were installed in the city this year. Vadodara commissioner of police D D Tuteja said the increase had come to the department's notice and arrangements were made accordingly. An increase in the number of Ganesha pandals (temporary temples along the street) has also been seen in riot-affected areas like Fatehpura and Limkheda. Sources informed that the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad had distributed as many as 578 icons this year in the district. In Ahmedabad, the number of Ganesha celebrations has jumped by at least 100. Records of the city police commissioner show that while 480 pujas were registered in 2001, there are more than 580 this time around. All these localities were severely hit during riots. Parag Naik, organizer of the Ganesha Puja at Dakshini Society in Maninagar, says: There are at least 390 large Ganesha Puja celebrations this year, which is more than last year. Maninagar alone has recorded jump from 75 to 150 pujas.






VHP National Secretary: Gujarat riots "Not a Matter of Shame, But a Matter of Pride"


Posted on 2002/9/23 9:46:02 ( 874 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





SHIMLA, INDIA, September 17, 2002: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad yesterday criticized the remarks of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New York that Gujarat riots were a "shame" for the country and said what had happened in the State after the Godhra killings was "not a matter of shame, but a matter of pride." There were other more "important" issues like migration of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley which the country should be ashamed of and the Prime Minister should have focussed on such issues also, VHP National Secretary Surendra Jain told reporters on September 16. Contacted directly by HPI, Jain confirmed that he had been quoted correctly. He also said that the number of madrasas (Islamic schools) had multiplied from 464 in 1947 to one hundred thousand now and alleged that Dev Bandh in Saharahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh was emerging as one of the biggest centers of Islamic fundamentalism. Referring to the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, he said the temple was already there and no one could remove it. He said it was not only a temple but "a symbol of our determination to fight oppression and atrocities."






American Employers Adjust to Multiple Religious Holiday Schedules


Posted on 2002/9/19 9:49:02 ( 1108 reads )


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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, September 19, 2002: Few U.S. employers list the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur as employee holidays. The same goes for Ramadan, the most religiously significant time of year for the world's 1 billion Muslims. But as the workplace has become more racially, ethnically and religiously diverse, firms have tried to devise ways for their Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto Muslim, Jewish or Baha'i employees -- indeed, all non-Christians -- to take time off to observe their holidays. "Most organizations today have become pretty good about handling non-Christian holidays, and certainly Jewish holidays are not a new issue in the American workplace," said Julie O'Mara, principal of O'Mara & Associates in Castro Valley, which works with major employers on issues of diversity. Most companies, especially large ones, offer what she refers to as "PTO" days -- personal time off -- that can be used by employees for any reason. Typically two to four days a year, the time off could be used, for instance, to observe Yom Kippur. "We still live in a Christian-dominated culture at the same time our workplaces have become increasingly diverse," O'Mara said. "Sometimes, non-Christian holidays or observances are just not on the radar of a company's human resources department or senior management." That's why she is a big fan of "diversity calendars" distributed by some employers to either managers or their entire work force. Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. is one of those companies. Each year, Safeway passes out calendars that include up to two dozen well-known, as well as more obscure, religious observances each month. In highly diverse high-tech, being respectful of all religious traditions is vital, said Joe Gabbert, executive vice president of worldwide human resources for Documentum Inc. The Pleasanton-based software firm gives its nearly 1,000 employees worldwide two "floating holidays" yearly -- and they are very popular. "We have many Hindu and Muslim employees, and they definitely make use of these days for religious observances," he said.






Vajpayee Hails India Supreme Court Decision on Textbook Changes


Posted on 2002/9/19 9:48:02 ( 908 reads )


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New York, New York, September 15, 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has hailed the verdict of the Supreme Court that the BJP-led NDA government was not "saffronising" education and said it was good the matter came up in the apex court. "Saffronizing" is a term used in a negative sense by the Indian press to mean changing or adapting something to match the views and teachings of Hindus in general or the RSS in particular. Vajpayee said ever since his government came to power, allegations were being levelled against his government that it was "saffronising" education. "It was good that the matter came up in the Supreme Court which turned down the plea that the education was being saffronised," Vajpayee said at a function organized by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in memory of Swami Vivekananda. The Supreme Court had on September 12 upheld the National Curriculum Framework for Secondary education (NCFSE) rejecting the contention that it was an attempt to saffronise education. In the context of saffronisation of education, Vajpayee in a lighter vein wondered what was wrong with this. "If saffronisation is taking place, what is wrong in it," he said amid laughter. Vajpayee went on to say "Bhagwa (Saffron) is a good color and it is associated with the battlefields for ages. The color has a long history." The Prime Minister said people in India must be made aware of the country's rich cultural heritage.






PBS Modifies Program on Gujarat Riots


Posted on 2002/9/18 9:49:02 ( 873 reads )


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USA, September 18, 2002: IndiaCause issued a press release today which states in part, "Major plans of Anti-Hindu propaganda using PBS program defeated. The program projected the Gujarat riots as genocide and is to be aired tomorrow throughout USA. Last Thursday IndiaCause launched a campaign of protest with PBS. As a result, in two days PBS has considerably diluted the description about this documentary. In fact, they removed all misleading objectionable propaganda information from their website. We have received an assurance from PBS Executive Director that the show will not be anti-India propaganda." For example, the statement on the PBS website, "Will the nation be split -- by a Hindu fundamentalist movement hoping to rise to power by fanning the winds of religious extremism?" Was changed to "Will the nation be split by an increasingly powerful Hindu nationalist movement?" For details, click "source" above.






Annual Ganesha Festival Good for Business


Posted on 2002/9/18 9:48:02 ( 899 reads )


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PUNE, INDIA, September 15, 2002: The 10-day long Ganesha celebrations in Maharashtra are known to affect industrial production in and around Pune due to lack of worker attendance. But, for small businessmen, Ganapati may be another form of Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) as they do more business during the ten days than the rest of the year. A 50-year-old sweet shop in a busy Pune market gets nearly 2,500 customers during the 10-day Ganapati festival each year as compared to just over 500 on other days. The booming business is evident with high sales in sweets, flowers, decorations, religious books, cassettes and extravagant jewellery. "While, I earn US$10 on a regular day, during Ganesha festival, it goes up to $100 a day," says a local florist. "The sale of imitation gold jewellery is very important during this period. And I earn my entire year's profit in these four days," adds a local jeweller. While efforts are on to make Pune a city of festivals, with the kind of business being generated during the Ganesha festival, it may be possible sooner than expected.






Puranic Encyclopedia CD Issued


Posted on 2002/9/18 9:47:02 ( 1101 reads )


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ORISSA, INDIA, September 18, 2002: An exhaustive work covering ancient Indian culture in all aspects: history, geography, religion, myths, beliefs and practices as depicted in the epics and puranas. Based on Motilal Banarsidass' "The Puranic Encyclopedia," with thousands of pages of searchable data, stories, definitions and descriptions. The CD contains information on virtually every person, place, or thing mentioned in the Puranas, a category of secondary Hindu scripture. The complete reference source for students of Vedic and Hindu thought. Introductory price of $9.95. To order, go to "source" above.






Hindus Protest PBS Documentary


Posted on 2002/9/17 9:49:02 ( 1237 reads )


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USA, September 17, 2002: An HPI reader writes, "Dear Hindu Brother/Sister: Namaste. You may have come to know that the Public Broadcasting Service TV channel is airing a documentary on September 19 under its Wide Angle program titled "Soul of India." The program extract on PBS website sounds ominously prejudicial to Hindus. Here is the extract: PBS documentary examines Hindu fundamentalism, program airs Thursday, September 19 at 9 P.M. Eastern Time. "The bloody conflict between Hindus and Muslims in North Western India is at the forefront of a struggle for India's identity, led by an increasingly powerful Hindu fundamentalist movement whose goal is to turn India into a Hindu nation. Over the last three months, some 2,000 Muslims have been killed in the Province of Gujarat, and more than 100,000 Muslims have been forced to flee to refugee camps. Meanwhile extremist Hindu private schools are spreading rapidly across India. Will India, home to more than a billion people, continue to be the multi-ethnic, religiously diverse, secular, and tolerant society that Gujarat's Mahatma Gandhi attempted to create? Or will the nation be split -- by a Hindu fundamentalist movement hoping to rise to power by fanning the winds of religious extremism?" Go to "source" above for more information.






Ancient Hindu Temple Discovered in Indonesia


Posted on 2002/9/17 9:48:02 ( 952 reads )


Source: Deutsche Press - Agentur





WEST JAVA, INDONESIA, September 3, 2002: A Cangkuang villager hunting for termites under a tree discovered a sharp hand-carved stone. Further investigation revealed that the location was the site of an ancient Hindu temple. The site is especially significant as the archeologists are hoping to obtain more information about the Sundanese kingdoms in West Java. Tony Djubiantono, head of West Java's Bandung Archeology Agency says, "Based on a preliminary finding of various remains there are indications that this is a Hindu temple built in the seventh or eighth century." The article says, "Buddhism and Hinduism were Indonesia's first world religions, popular among the first kingdoms of Java until the 14th and 15th centuries when Islam started to gain a greater foothold in the archipelago." Djubiantono further describes the finding of such a temple, "as spectacular and very significant for recovering the missing history of the so-called Tatar Sunda, or Sunda territory."






Tune Into Your Favorite Tamil Drama in America


Posted on 2002/9/17 9:47:02 ( 791 reads )


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USA, September 16, 2002: Tamil music, news and information, the popular serials (soaps) that are enjoyed by the Tamil communities throughout Europe, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia and more are now available 24/7 in the United States. A satellite receiver, dish antenna and a $20 monthly fee will deliver TVI to your television. Browsing through the TVI website, "source" above, will provide you with all the information needed to sign up.






Dolphins Win Survival Battle in Ganges


Posted on 2002/9/16 9:49:02 ( 933 reads )


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PATNA, INDIA, September 4, 2002: Endangered river dolphins are winning a battle for survival in the only sanctuary of its kind in India along a protected stretch of the Ganges river, wildlife officials say. In the last ten years, dolphin numbers have risen to about 100 from 34 in the 60-kilometer-long Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar, said D. N. Chowdhary, a senior professor at Bihar's Bhagalpur University. "This sanctuary has at last proved a safe stretch for river dolphins who are fast becoming extinct in other river systems of the world," Chowdhary said. Of the 40 species of dolphins worldwide, only four are found in fresh water -- in China's Yangtze River, the Amazon river system of South America and the Indus-Ganges river system of South Asia, Chowdhary said. "The Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers now account for the majority of the river dolphins. That is why this project is very important," he said. State officials are hoping the dolphin sanctuary, which lies 300 kilometers southeast of Patna, would become a tourist attraction and give locals one more reason to protect the animals.






Is There an American Caste System?


Posted on 2002/9/16 9:48:02 ( 923 reads )


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USA, September 15, 2002: Rajiv Malhotra, prolific contributor to www.sulekha.com, gives a provocative look at castism in America. Malhotra's very long article concludes with the belief that American society has its own caste system. A key difference, he says, is that in India, castism is explicitly codified; whereas in America, social structure by ethnicity or family lineage remains uncodified and subliminal. He concludes with a discussion on Hindu identity. "Media, education and public images of Hinduism are often dominated by negative stereotypes. Hence, most Indians have multiple identities, bringing out the one that works best in a given situation. Post-colonialists have written about a phenomenon called 'brown shame' that was encouraged amongst Indians by the British as a way to dominate Indians. But nobody has brought out the more recent phenomenon that I call 'Hindu shame.' To be openly Hindu is often seen as a matter of shame.... This new Hindu American caste needs to learn from the successes of other American castes (Jewish, Irish, Italian). This is especially important as the population of Indians in America is projected to increase to ten million by 2050, and there shall also be many non-Indians who continue to adopt Hinduism."




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