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Vaishno Devi Pilgrims Increase

Posted on 2003/2/5 8:48:02 ( 1078 reads )


Jammu, Kashmir, February 4, 2003: Over 100,750 pilgrims have visited the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi during January this year, an official spokesman said on Tuesday. At present 4,000 to 5,000 pilgrims are reaching the shrine daily and during the last two weeks of January over 75,000 devotees worshipped at the cave shrine. Extensive arrangements are in place for the devotees such as free accommodations at the shrine board in Adhkunwari and blankets.

Indian Government to Excavate Lost Cities

Posted on 2003/2/5 8:47:02 ( 1085 reads )


KURUKSHETRA, INDIA, February 4, 2003: Jagmohan, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, announced on Tuesday that the Centre has launched a plan to unearth lost cities which once existed along the embankments of Saraswati River, and left a number of signposts of the Saraswati-Indus civilization from Adi Badri near Kurukshetra to Dhola Vira in Gujarat. Addressing the students of Kurukshetra University at the 25th convocation here, he said that "all these signposts are intended to be converted into new centers, all over the country, in which elements of culture, tourism and clean civic life are being synthesized." He added that Kurukshetra (of Mahabharata fame) is being given a top position in the list of such centers to make it a symbol of a resurgent and reawakened India.

Despite Prices, Indians Buy Gold for Weddings

Posted on 2003/2/5 8:46:02 ( 1041 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 29, 2003: India, the world's largest gold consumer, is in the grip of a wedding fever as fears of war in Iraq push the precious metal beyond the reach of many aspiring brides. Domestic prices shot to a record high of US$383.33 an ounce last week due to the war fears. "People with a wedding in the family are rushing to exchange their old gold," said D. Krishnamurthy of Chennai based Astro Matrimonial Services. The annual Hindu wedding market is estimated to be worth a staggering $6,284,038,523 with gold ornaments as gifts to brides. One internet matrimonial site said, "Only yesterday we successfully arranged 10 marriages. The Hindu wedding season is in full swing and will last until May, and in no way are the soaring prices affecting the nuptials because we Indians cannot think of a wedding without gold," said spokeswoman, Vandana Asija. "We registered 200 clients since our launch in December and all of them are in a hurry to marry because of soaring gold costs," said another online matrimonial site.

Correction on Hindu Sadhus Lead Protest Against Ganga Pollution

Posted on 2003/2/5 8:45:02 ( 1138 reads )

Source: Associate Press Worldstream

LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 17, 2003: Several readers have pointed out that the Ganga merges with the Yamuna River in Allahabad, not Lucknow, as written in yesterday's story.

India's Modern Diaspora

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:49:02 ( 1123 reads )

Source: Outlook India

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 12, 2003: Man Mohan Jha, 52, a manager with a steel ropes manufacturer in Patna, is counting the days until July when he will migrate to the U.S. with his wife. Jha is part of the most recent and biggest wave of migrants leaving India. The migrants are mainly white-collar professionals, students, and diploma-holders and they are destined for Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. They will make up part of the 20,000,000 Indians living abroad. According to recent statistics, 246,000 Indians migrated to the U.S. in the last two years and 85,000 skilled computer professionals are leaving India every year, contributing to an annual resource loss of US$2 billion. New Zealand received 11,000 migrant Indians in the last three years, while 5,000 Indians migrated to Canada in 2002. Of the yearly IIT graduates, 50 percent leave India, while 20 percent of the medical school graduates do so. India ranks second among countries exporting people to the U.S. and first among countries exporting students to the U.S.; 90 percent of those students never return.

Hindu Sadhus Lead Protest Against Ganges Pollution

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:48:02 ( 1071 reads )

Source: Associate Press Worldstream

LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 17, 2003 : Hundreds of Hindu holy men and devotees observed a sit-in along the banks of the Ganges River to protest the increasing pollution of the waterway that is sacred to Hindus. Lucknow, a pilgrimage site for millions of Hindus, is located at the spot where the Ganges River merges with the Yamuna. The protesters demanded that more water be released from the Narora Dam upstream to flush out the pollution and raise the river level for tens of thousands of devotees who were expected to bathe in the Ganges near Allahabad. "Not only is the water polluted, it is not enough. How can millions of people take a dip in this water?" said Abhay Chaitanya, a Hindu priest organizing the protest.

Joint Families May Be More Environmentally Sound

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:47:02 ( 1127 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, January 14, 2003: Living with mom and dad, rather than venturing out on your own may actually contribute to saving the planet. A study, conducted by ecologist Jianguo Liu and his Michigan University team, targeted a biodiversity hotspot -- a region where large numbers of species are endangered or threatened by human activity. India took the honors as the hotspot chosen by the team. Liu said, "During 2000-2015, the average annual rate of growth in population size in India is projected to be 1.3%, while the rate of growth in household numbers is projected to be 2.4%." Liu predicts that the major reason for the increase in number of households will be divorce and that during that same fifteen-year period the average Indian household size will be reduced from 5.5 to about 4.8 persons. Liu based his predictions on the previous fifteen-year period before the year 2000 when the number of Indian households grew 30% faster than the population. From an environmental stance, as the number of households with one, two, or three occupants increase, proportionately so too will energy consumption, land and water use and construction materials. Other experts, such as sociologists, agree that more households means more energy use. However they are not convinced that extended families are the "greenest" on the planet. Liu calls the study a wake-up call.

A Peace Movement for India's Women

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:46:02 ( 1248 reads )

Source: The Hamilton Spectator

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 21, 2003 : Hindu scriptures are full of wonderful female role models, and there are thousands of Hindu temples devoted to Goddesses throughout India. If society in India reflected what Hinduism believes, women would have the upper hand in India. However in India, as elsewhere, for women life hasn't always been easy. Women are beginning to find their political voice for change, however. Last February, the Center for Peace Studies at McMaster University cosponsored a peace conference in India, helped start a peace movement known as Vaishali Sabha (People's Assembly) and a peace organization known as Women Shanti Sena (Women Peace Soldiers). Membership in the Women Shanti Sena has grown to 3,000 and continues to expand says Acharya Ramamurti, a prominent Gandhian, the man behind movement. The basic idea of Women Shanti Sena is to seed India with 50,000 trained women peacemakers by 2005. There are two kinds of peacemaking, according to Ramamurti. "The usual kind is making peace after war. The other kind is making peace so we can avoid war. Our effort in India is of the second kind. Women Shanti Sena is teaching women how to get involved in peaceful community-building. They consider themselves on the road to peace through democracy and development."

Book Details Institutionalized Missionary Work in Korea

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:45:02 ( 1009 reads )

Source: Korean Buddhism at the Crossroads

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 6, 2001: Dr. Frank M. Tedesco, a well-known social activist, expert on Korean Buddhism and author of "Korean Buddhism at the Crossroads," was invited to Malaysia for a series of talks in May, 2001. Dr. Tedesco noted that after the Korean War (1950-1953) the entire country was in ruins and the people were demoralized. The country needed foreign aid and the U.S. poured in money to rebuild South Korea. In the process the US government used Christian missionaries to administer aid because they had been in the country for nearly a hundred years and understood the local customs and language. The missionaries came to be seen as saviors of the Korean people as the local people associated Christianity with development, self-help, advanced Western technology and medicine. During this time the Buddhist monastic community was largely uneducated and fragmented, and there was no strong and organized lay Buddhist leadership. Buddhism began to lose followers to the missionaries who were able to capitalize on these weaknesses. Some Korean Christians have been very zealous, using every opportunity to bring others to their faith. Also a number of attacks on Buddhist temples by extremist Christians have also occurred over the years. In 1900 .5 percent of Koreans were Christians. Today, it is 21%. Christians consider it a success story and hope to repeat it across Asia, with Nepal as the immediate next target.

Indian Folk Art, a Delight in Anonymity

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:44:02 ( 1066 reads )

Source: The Nation, Thailand

BANGKOK, THAILAND, February 4, 2003: The Indian Embassy recently brought 40 Madhubani paintings from India to display at Bangkok's National Gallery where they were on display until January 30. This exhibition by women from the Indian state of Bihar, highlighted centuries of a folk art tradition Madhubani women have created for religious and secular ceremonies. All pieces are unsigned as the artists have not sought fame, but instead use their talents to honor a timeless tradition. When drought struck the state of Bihar in the late 1960s, the Indian government, hoping to create a new source of income for the villagers, encouraged the artists to market their pieces.

Hindu Encyclopedia Seeks Editor

Posted on 2003/2/4 8:43:02 ( 1176 reads )


RISHIKESH, INDIA, February 4, 2003: The Encyclopedia of Hinduism is seeking an editor based in India to professionally review thousands of articles and edit the English to a uniform excellence. Those interested, or with recommendations, may email "source" above.

Houston's Meenakshi Temple Remembers Astronaut Kalpana Chawla

Posted on 2003/2/3 8:49:02 ( 1425 reads )


HOUSTON, USA, February 2, 2003: Mr. B.L. Chawla lit a kuththuvilakku (oil lamp) at the Meenakshi Temple in Pearland, Texas, Sunday in memory of his daughter Kalpana, one of the astronauts who died aboard Columbia. More than 1,000 members of Houston's Indian community gathered Sunday to mourn and celebrate the life of NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla. Chawla, a 41-year-old flight engineer who died aboard the shuttle Columbia on Saturday, was described as an inspiration to her fellow Indians and Indian-Americans, especially the youth. Chawla, a first-generation immigrant who became an astronaut in 1994, was the first Indian-born woman to fly into space. The tribute was mult- denominational and drew Indian-Americans of all persuasions. Many participated who subscribe to the Sikh faith and hail from the Punjab region of India, Chawla's birthplace. Chawla's religious affiliation is unclear, and HPI requests anyone with a definitive answer to e-mail ar@hindu.org.

Gandhi Peace Prize Awarded to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Posted on 2003/2/3 8:48:02 ( 1268 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 30, 2003: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, established with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, has been awarded the coveted Gandhi Peace Prize for 2002. A five-member jury, headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, chose Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan because of its "significant contribution towards spreading peace and harmony among all religions and communities on the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and also integration of the best of ancient and modern values." The recipients receive a cash prize of US$209,226 and a citation, to be awarded at a later date by President Kalam. The Bhavan currently has over 90 centers in the India, with 45 schools where special emphasis is placed on ethical and cultural education, promotion of religious interfaith and understanding, mutual respect and peace. They also have a number of centers worldwide with major cultural centers in London, New York, Lisbon and Mexico.

Magazine Apologizes for Offensive Gandhi Representation

Posted on 2003/2/3 8:47:02 ( 1014 reads )


WASHINGTON, USA, January 31, 2003: A massive online protest by Indians and pacifists from many countries has forced Maxim, a British and American soft-porn magazine, to apologize for its literal Gandhi-bashing caricatures in its latest issue. In that issue, a martial arts expert is show in a series of cartoons "exercising" by beating up a character that looks like Gandhi. The apology from editor-in-chief Keith Blanchard came after more than 5,000 Indians clogged the magazine's e-mail addresses with protest messages. Many of them followed up the online protest with angry telephone calls. Maxim vacillated a great deal before coming out with the apology, however what seems to have finally worked was a threat by IndiaCause, a US-based activist group, to approach advertisers with appeals to stop giving ads to a publication that has "insulted the apostle of peace." It even put out a sample letter to corporate heads on its website. Issuing the apology late Thursday, Blanchard said: "We apologize if our cartoon depicting Mahatma Gandhi...was interpreted as offensive. An edgy sense of humor, laced with irony, has always been a central element of Maxim's editorial. For some people, this piece may have gone one step too far."

India McDonald's Controversy Over "No Beef" Posters

Posted on 2003/2/3 8:46:02 ( 2113 reads )


VADODARA, INDIA, February 2, 2003: It seems to be a no-win situation for the US fast food chain McDonald's which has now stirred up activists here for posters saying beef is not sold in its outlets. Sarvadharm Jivdaya Samiti activists entered an outlet on Saturday, asking that the display boards be removed. SJS activists said the boards implied that beef was consumable, although not sold at the restaurant. They forcibly removed one sign and asked employees working there to remove the others. Deepak Gandhi, SJS member, said the fact that McDonald's had to make such an announcement indicated something was wrong. He said no other restaurant in the city felt the need to make such an announcement. McDonald's representatives here said, "It (the sign) was for dispelling apprehensions among those who come to eat here. However, it has been misunderstood. The issue is being raked up unnecessarily." A McDonald's spokesperson in Mumbai said,"...we have been maintaining total segregation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian material from the suppliers. It is also true that we do not serve beef in India and have always taken care not to hurt religious sentiments."

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