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Folk and Tribal Art Preserved at a Privately-Owned Museum


Posted on 2002/8/6 9:44:02 ( 970 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 31, 2002: Precious folk and tribal art from the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh is being preserved and cared for at the House of Folk Art. Originally started by K. C. Aryan, well-known art historian, sculptor and art painter, the museum is now cared for by Mr. Aryan's son and daughter. According to the article, the museum houses a priceless range of folk bronze metal images, precious embroideries, tribal wooden sculptors, folk paintings, playing cards (Ganjifas), manuscript covers, play toys, and potteries in Indus Valley traditions. B. N. Aryan, son of the late K. C. Aryan, says, "My father was concerned with the vanishing heritage of the Indian folk art and initiated to preserve it. People were selling folk items to foreigners for the greed of money without realizing the real value of their national heritage. My father sensed it first and started collecting objects from all over India."






Hindu Professor to Discuss Religious Tolerance at Vatican


Posted on 2002/8/6 9:43:02 ( 860 reads )


Source: The Star Tribune





MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, June 8, 2002: Anant Rambachan, professor of religion at St. Olaf College, is one of ten religious experts worldwide invited to the Vatican to discuss religious tolerance. Rambachan wants to find constructive solutions to the world's violence by encouraging the world's major religions to find common ground, common voices and common values. When genuine interreligious dialogue begins to happen, he says, then much of the religious rationale for hatred and violence will end. Seven major religious traditions, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and indigenous religions have been invited by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to gather at the Vatican. Rambachan is active in the World Council of Churches. Born in Trinidad, he has been a member of the St. Olaf faculty since 1985. According to its mission statement, "St. Olaf, a four-year college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, provides an education committed to the liberal arts, rooted in the Christian Gospel, and incorporating a global perspective."






New York Times Covers Amarnath Pilgrimage


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:49:02 ( 909 reads )


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KASHMIR, INDIA, August 5, 2002: This long New York Times report begins, "Shouting 'Hail Hail Shiva!' thousands of Hindu pilgrims crowded two narrow dirt tracks high in the Himalayan mountains of the disputed territory of Kashmir. Even though the pilgrimage is purely religious, it has not escaped the conflict in this battered territory. The threat of attacks by Muslim separatists who are fighting for an independent Kashmir has turned this once obscure pilgrimage into one of the most closely watched rites in ritual-filled India. In the past two years, Muslim militants have killed more than 40 Hindu pilgrims in attacks on the procession. This year, the Indian government has deployed thousands of policemen and soldiers to protect them."






Four Religions Plan for Multi-Faith School


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:48:02 ( 914 reads )


Source: The Guardian (London)





LONDON, ENGLAND, July 8, 2002: The Church of England has thrown its weight behind an extraordinary proposal to unite Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu children in the country's first multi-faith secondary school. The plans, backed by leading figures from all four of Britain's main religious groups, are aimed at transforming the image of faith-based education which has been criticized in the wake of last summer's race riots. They hope that the 1,000-pupil school planned for the London borough of Westminster will be the first of a series of similar ventures around the country. Few of the day-to-day details have yet been finalized, but the school's promoters are determined that children from the separate religious traditions will learn, eat and play side by side, although there will be some compromise over religious education and collective worship. Muslim and Hindu parents have long been keen to enroll their children at Anglican schools where they feel religion is taken seriously. A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "It's encouraging to see different faiths working together."






Hindu Rituals Give Life to Temple


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:47:02 ( 926 reads )


Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel





PEWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, June 30, 2002: When Prem Sharma came to the United States in the 1960s to study at Marquette University's dental school, the Burma native and a handful of Hindu families would hold prayer meetings in their houses for lack of a space to worship. Having long outgrown gathering in basements, a burgeoning Wisconsin Hindu population now has a temple of its own to call home. Sharma shared his joy with dozens of other Hindus flitting about the wooded grounds, as they prepared for the defining moment in the life of the two-year-old temple -- the pran pratishthapana, or the installation of the deities. "It's a matter of great joy and pride for our community," said Sharma, 70, of Milwaukee. "This has been a long time coming." The temple brought in a dozen Hindu priests from across the country to lead pujas for the different deities in the installation ceremonies, addressing the needs of Hindu communities in every part of India. "It has been a most beautiful thing, to watch the whole community come together," temple board member Manju Shah said. "This temple has become the hub of the Indian community."






On-line Prayer Services Pay Off


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:46:02 ( 829 reads )


Source: Toronto Star





ONTARIO, CANADA, June 30, 2002: When an astrologer warned Anasuya Dhanrajgir that bad luck was on her horizon, she took the road increasingly travelled by modern Hindus. In the old days, the astrologer's advice might have suggested the 39-year-old Anasuya to take a 900-mile journey to a temple on the southern tip of India. Instead, the stage designer and mother of three logged onto the Internet where Hindu temples offer ceremonies. She found that technology offered an easy way to keep the faith, and a new means of communicating with some of her religion's millions deities. The site -- www.prarthana.com -- is named after the Sanskrit word for worship. It offers to conduct prayer rituals for a fee at some 400 temples across India. With the click of her mouse, Anasuya placed an order for a ceremony or puja, which she was told would cost US$25.00. "We performed the puja on Anasuya's behalf," says K. Ganesan, the Web site's founder. The company sent her an e-mail confirming the ceremony had been completed on the proper day. The temple sent Anasuya a parcel with part of the offerings. Ganesan estimates that the number of Web sites offering similar services to Hindus has swelled to 300. Many customers are overseas Indians unable to pray in person at home temples.






Omaha Restaurant Transformed into Hindu Temple


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:45:02 ( 1013 reads )


Source: Omaha World-Herald





OMAHA, NEBRASKA, July 10, 2002: From sunup to sundown, 11 Indian workers commit themselves to the meticulous duty of crafting a Hindu temple. The visiting temple carvers work in a building tucked away in a corner of southwest Omaha. Slowly, the unique temple architecture is distinguishing itself from the area's common strip malls. The renovation is one of two milestones for the Hindu temple, which has been open at 13010 Arbor St. behind a Target store since 1994. In July, the temple welcomed its first full-time priest, which now allows for daily services. The popularity of the Hindu temple, which draws members from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, is driving the US$1.2 million project. Membership has grown six-fold to 600 families in just five years. To renovate their building, local Hindu leaders turned to India's premier temple architect, V. Ganapati Sthapati. Last March, the carvers, or silpis, took up residence in the Omaha temple, said V. T. Ramakrishnan, the temple's president. Ramakrishnan said a Memorial Day, 2003, service is planned to open the temple.






Paramhans Opposes High Court Suggestion for Excavation in Ayodhya


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:44:02 ( 898 reads )


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AYODHYA, INDIA, August 3, 2002: Ram Janambhoomi Trust president Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans on Saturday opposed the Allahabad high court's suggestion for excavation at the disputed temple site in Ayodhya. "The makeshift temple cannot be shifted to facilitate excavation as it has been existing there for long and no court or government will be allowed to effect shifting of the deities as it goes against the tenets of Hindu religion," he told reporters in Ayodhya. "there should be no doubt about the existence of the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya," the Mahant said. The Mahant stated that old artifacts and a carved black stone structure with engraving of Hindu deities were found in the debris of the demolished structure. "These relics are still kept in the custody of the Faizabad district administration," he said. There are procedures for moving temples, including the Deities, but not for the purpose of archeological excavation.






State-level Autonomous Body Soon to Ensure Temple Rituals


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:43:02 ( 830 reads )


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VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, July 28, 2002: The Endowments Minister, D. Sivarama Raju, on Sunday said that the Government would soon set up an autonomous State level advisory council for ensuring proper conduct of puja, worship, and other rituals in temples as ordained in the scriptures. The proposed advisory council would be filled with Vedic pundits, archakas (priests) and Hindu religious scholars fully conversant with Hindu dharma. The council would advise and supervise the conduct of the rituals that has to be followed by priests in the temples. Speaking to reporters here at Chinna Jeeyar Ashrama, Sitanagaram, the Minister admitted that the need for such an advisory body had become essential in the wake of criticism that many temples were not performing the regular aradhana ceremonies and other rituals as advised in the scripture.






Asian Indians at Greater Risk of Heart Disease


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:42:02 ( 1096 reads )


Source: MSN





BERKLEY, CALIFORNIA, July 28, 2002: Asian-Indians are at a greater risk of contracting heart disease, more so than others of any descent with high cholesterol and even smokers. Researchers from the University of California-Berkley Center for Family and Community Health have concluded that, "Indians around the globe have the highest rate of heart disease, usually two to three times higher than Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Japanese." Susan Ivey, one of the Berkley researchers, says, "Most physicians trained in the U.S. are not aware their Asian-Indian patients are at risk." San Jose Mercury News reports, "About 25 per cent of heart attacks among men of Indian descent occur when they are younger than 40, unheard of in other populations." The article also goes on to say that research done in the UK several years back suggested that there may be a genetic link. However, there is a general lack of awareness of the problem in the U.S. Indo-American Community.






People With Religious Beliefs Recover Quicker From Grief


Posted on 2002/8/5 9:41:02 ( 923 reads )


Source: Reuters





LONDON, ENGLAND, June 29, 2002: A study done in the U.K. at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, indicates that people who practise religion recover more quickly and heal faster when a relative or close friend dies. Dr. Michael King and his colleagues studied 129 relatives and close friends of patients who had a terminal illness. The June 29 issue of the British Medical Journal says, "Forty-three percent of the study group said they had strong religious beliefs, 41% said they had low religious beliefs and the remaining 16% did not report any religious beliefs." Ninety-five individuals from the original control group participated in the follow-up at one month, nine month,and fourteen month intervals. The group with strong spiritual beliefs recovered steadily from their grief and reported progressively less grief at the designated intervals. Those with low religious beliefs started to recover after nine months. However, the nonbelievers still were intensely grieving at fourteen months. King says, "Perhaps people without spiritual beliefs are a vulnerable group, in terms of impact of bereavement."






Hindu Pundit Advises Against Corporal Punishment


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:49:02 ( 1023 reads )


Source: Ottawa Citizen





OTTAWA, CANADA, June 29, 2002: In a regular column, "Ask the Religion Experts," the Ottawa citizen interviewed Pandit Madhu Sahasrabudhe who is affiliated with the Hindu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton and president of the Capital Region Interfaith Council on the subject of corporal punishment of children. He advised, "To discipline is to train and instruct a child in proper conduct in accordance with established rules. In the Hindu perspective, it is the responsibility of the parent or the guru (teacher) to discipline a child. However, I believe this question refers to disciplining children by punishment to instill proper conduct and that such punishment may take the form of spanking. It is only by inference from what I have read and heard that I can say that, in the Hindu tradition, punishment is not an acceptable form of discipline. As a Hindu, I believe I was born for a divine purpose. My aim in life is to improve myself, body and soul, to the highest level of perfection through a process of self-purification and enlightenment. The Hindu scriptures -- the Veda, the Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and Manu-Smruti -- all deal with proper conduct through rituals and sacraments (Samskars) toward that enlightenment. The ill effects of anger, animosity, hatred and avarice, among others, are clearly described, but there is no reference to punishment to be given to children or even to fellow men if they do not follow the rules. I can also infer that spanking as wilful hurting is an expression of anger and frustration that should be avoided, yet it is prevalent." Write to Ask the Religion Experts to drogers@thecitizen.southam.ca.






Shankaracharya of Puri in Gujarat


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:48:02 ( 881 reads )


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VASAN, GUJARAT, August 4, 2002: The Puri Shankarachrya will be staying in this village for the next two months to promote the feeling of brotherhood among people of Gujarat. The Shankaracharya's stay at Vasania Mahdev temple in Vasan village, about 12 kilometres from Gandhinagar, acquires significance as it is the native village of state Congress chief Shankarsinh Vaghela. A Vaghela trust that runs the temple is his host. The aide expects Governor S.S. Bhandari and chief minister Narendra Modi to pay respects to the seer soon. Vaghela, along with ex-CM Dilip Parikh, met him early this week. The seer says his main purpose during the Chaturmas, rainy season, stay at Vasania Mahedev is to tell the people of Gujarat "how to live in an atmosphere of peace and non-violence." On August 14, the Shankaracharya has called a meeting of 500 sadhus of Gujarat to work out a strategy on how to take the message of peace and nonviolence to the people. After his stay at Vasania Mahadev, he would be making a trip to all over Gujarat with a message of peace. Having refused state commando security, he qualified natural calamities in the state as "God's fury over man's evil deeds."






Fiji Minister Criticises Country's Indians


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:47:02 ( 874 reads )


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SUVA, FIJI, August 3, 2002: A Fiji cabinet minister who likened ethnic Indians to "weeds taking up space" this week came under fierce attack from politicians, Fiji's ethnic Indian community and women's groups. Minister for Women Asenaca Caucau made the remark in Parliament and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's silence over the issue has not helped his government's image. Race relations are tense among Fiji's 830,000 people, 51 percent of whom are indigenous Polynesian or Melanesian, while 44 percent are ethnic Indian. An Indian-dominated government was overthrown in a coup in 1987 and the first Indian Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was overthrown in a 2000 coup. Caucau told Parliament Monday that Indians were like weeds taking up space just as they were doing globally. She was speaking in Fijian. She blamed Chaudhry for the 2000 coup attributing it to his "arrogant leadership style." Later she told television her comments were "not racist." Unlike previous reactions to such widespread outcry against this government, there has been no letter in support of Caucau or the State and no government official has come to her defense.






Fiji Military Recruits Indian Officers For First Time


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:46:02 ( 989 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, March 6, 2002: Ethnic Indians have been admitted to the officer ranks of Fiji's battered military force, 60 years after their grandfathers raised a controversy for not signing up to fight the Japanese during World War II. "It's been my childhood ambition to become a soldier and to serve the nation," Shalesh Kumar, 20, told the Fiji Sun on Wednesday. He was one of 10 ethnic Indians signed into the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) officer cadet corps for the first time. At one press conference during the 2000 coup drama, then RFMF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, referring to World War II, said that rather than fight even when the Japanese were close by, Fiji's Indians went on strike for more pay. Journalist Shubha Singh, whose father served in Fiji as an Indian diplomat, notes the long-term impact in a just-published book, Fiji: A Precarious Coalition. "To this day, the Fijians point to the Indian reluctance to join the armed forces as a negative feature that called into question their loyalty to their new homeland." Around 51 percent of Fijis 800,000 people are indigenous Fijian and 44 percent Indian.




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