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Sri Lankan Refugees Eager to Return Home From India

Posted on 2003/1/12 8:48:02 ( 960 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA January 11, 2003: "The mood is upbeat among Sri Lankan refugees in various Tamil Nadu camps and they are all eager to return home," Union Minister of State for Home, C.H. Vidyasagar Rao, said here today. The Minister, who visited some of the camps, said the on-going peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had given the refugees hope. The Indian Government was ready to repatriate those who were willing to return. There were about 69,098 refugees in camps spread over 23 districts and another 24,348 staying with their relatives in Tamil Nadu. Since 1983, the Indian government has spent US$6.1 million on maintenance of the camps.

Sri Tukaram Ganapathi to Tour USA

Posted on 2003/1/12 8:47:02 ( 1044 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, January 11, 2003: Sri Tukaram Ganapathi , a versatile abhang singer in the typical Maharastrian varakari style, is to be featured for a three-hour program at the Cleveland Music Festival on April 24, 2003, as part of a USA tour. All proceeds from the program go to the maintenance of his go-shala (cow protection place). Anyone wishing to organize a musical program in your area kindly contact "source" above for additional information.

Cultural Events Held at U.K. Prison

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:49:02 ( 1120 reads )

Source: Nottingham Evening Post

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND, January 2, 2003: The strains of soul and reggae music are not what you would expect to hear emanating from the gym at Nottingham Prison. And even less, to find among the basketball hoops and badminton courts, about 40 prisoners milling around eating Caribbean food and reading about the development of the Hindu religion. Prison Governor Phil Wragg said, "We've been running a cultural diversity awareness program, to coincide with Black History Month and Ramadan. We have brought in outside organizations and have gotten staff and prisoners involved. We have displayed writings by prisoners, and have had a different menu each night this week." In a prison where 17% of the 535 inmates are from ethnic minorities, and there are myriad religious and culture groups, running this sort of event seemed a logical step to the organizers.

Traditional Indian Dress for Men Has a Revival

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:48:02 ( 1140 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 6, 2003: Sharbari Datta is giving a sartorial flare by reviving the traditional Indian men's garment. She is the first to introduce the concept of colored silk dhotis, angarakhas, achkans, bandhgalas, sherwanis and kurtas and has successfully created a revolution in men's fashion. Datta says, "I sell my designs and not my label. Why shouldn't men of today be dress conscious? They are no less beautiful than our women."

Kiran Bedi Appointed to United Nations

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:47:02 ( 1069 reads )


NEW DELHI, January 11, 2003: After making a mark in India, the country's first lady IPS officer, Kiran Bedi has been appointed Civilian Police Adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping at the U.N. The first woman to hold the post, her appointment was made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. "I am happy while being grateful to God as prayers have worked for me," said Bedi. The assignment involves comprehensive policing, which includes training and legal aspects. Bedi has previously been honored with numerous awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (of Philippines) for Government Service, the Joseph Beus Foundation Award (of Germany) for Holistic and Innovative Management and the Morrison Tom Gitchoff Award (of the USA) for actions that have significantly improved the quality of justice in India. In 1979, she was awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry for conspicuous courage. As warden, she was responsible for implementing reform at Delhi's Tihar jail, the largest in Asia.

New Delhi's Parliamentary Library Based on Hindu Temple Design

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:46:02 ( 1107 reads )

Source: Manchester Guardian Weekly

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 6, 2003 : The New Delhi's Parliamentary Library designed by Raj Rewal, takes its inspiration from a Hindu temple. The library is the first major addition to the old capital since independence and Mr. Rewals' design appears to be adapted from the style and symbolism of the Hindu temple. The Hindu temple, which traditionally stands on a "tirtha" (a crossing place favored by the Gods) is a cosmic junction-box connecting man and God, a symbol of universal enlightenment -- which a library is as well, albeit a secular one.

Gujarat Muslims Help Build Hindu Temple

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:45:02 ( 1277 reads )

Source: National Network

AHMEDABAD, INDIA, January 5, 2003: Over 50 Muslim artisans from Kapadwanj are camping at Trimandir on Ahmedabad-Mehsana Highway near Adalaj. Their task is to make domes for the temple. They're not the only ones. About 20 Muslim artisans from Kolkata are also at work in a timber godown at Pethapur near Gandhinagar, making pillars and doors for the temple. The Trimandir, which is being constructed by Bhagwan Dada Panth, has murthis of Sri Mandhar Swami, Siva and Krishna. Chandbhai Sattarbhai, a worker from Kapadwanj says, "We make a living out of building domes for temples. The fact that thousands of devotees will come here and offer prayers eggs us on to do our best. When I am on the job, I'm an artisan and not a Muslim. I respect the religion I'm working for. I make it a point to remove my slippers when I climb the roof to work on the dome. We have been working in bare feet even when temperatures rise to 40 degrees (celsius)." Kalu Mehboobbhai, also from Kapadwanj says, "We've been working here for five months and are staying on the temple premises. We make it a point not to cook non-vegetarian food here. I am not bothered about who's Hindu and who's Muslim."

Correction on "Tamil Nadu's Ancient Cities May Predate Mesopotamian Civilization" Story

Posted on 2003/1/11 8:44:02 ( 1311 reads )


INDIA, January 7, 2003: Mr. N.S. Rajaram, organizer of the Mythic Society conference, writes that statements reported in numerous news stories about the conference discussions on Tamil Nadu's ancient cities possibly predating Mesopotamian civilization are not accurate. Mr. Rajaram states, "Mr. Hancock's theory is based on the findings of the National Institute of Ocean Technology on the West Coast. The findings off the East Coast are less extensive. Glenn Milne was also interviewed and he only spoke about the sea level rises and did not confirm Hancock's theory. In fact, Hancock propounded no theory but made only some general observations about Indian flood myths and how civilization is much older than 3000 BC or so accepted by historians. The finds are significant, but we have a long way to go. The genetic findings are also still too tentative for any definite conclusions." Readers wishing further information on this subject kindly contact "source" above.

Rebuttal to a New York Times Op-Ed Piece

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:49:02 ( 1171 reads )


UNITED STATES, January 2, 2003: This lengthy article by Hari Chandra is a well-written rebuttal in response to "Hijacking India's History," an Op-Ed piece by Kay Friese, published in the New York Times on December 30, 2002. Mr. Chandra writes: "India's Hindu nationalists have a rightful quarrel with the official history, which has for long been guided by colonial masters with their own agendas, racial, regional, religious and otherwise." Among the many issues Mr. Chandra takes exception to is the Aryan Invasion Theory. He says, "The Aryan Invasion Theory, a favorite of professional secularists, is largely based on philology of Indo-European languages, and was dated around 1500 BCE by Max Mueller. The dating of the theory was arbitrary, and was acknowledged as such by Max Mueller himself later. Surprisingly, the roots of Aryan Invasion Theory are not found in any oral, written or archeological record of India, but in the European political discourse and more specifically, the German nationalism of the 19th century. There is no way to reconcile the philological assumptions and the anomalies and inconsistencies that crop up with the Aryan Invasion Theory. The alternate Indus-Saraswati civilization theory, on the other hand, posits that the Aryans were indigenous people, and the original habitants of the townships along the Indus, Ravi and Saraswati rivers, and that no invasion from outside took place during the Vedic times. Post-Vedic invasions did occur, and are well documented and are backed up with substantial evidence. This theory is backed by evidence, which is at least consistent, scientific and can stand up to critical scrutiny." Mr. Chandra also addresses issues of religious freedom and the Godhra riots. To read Mr. Chandra's remarks in full and the original Op-Ed piece, go to "source" above.

Tech Slow Down Hits U.S. Indian Movie Houses

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:48:02 ( 1069 reads )

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES, January 8, 2003: It's a small sign of a big change for California's Indian-Americans. Once busy showing Bollywood blockbusters, a Fremont theater specializing in Indian films, relocated to a smaller home this week after attendance dropped along with the tech economy. The theater, which serves South Asians hungry for a taste of home in the films and at the snack bar, which sold spiced tea, samosas and other traditional food, went from a high of 20,000 moviegoers per week in 2000, to less than half of that, said owner Shiraz Jivani. In 2000 there were 98,699 immigrants from India in the Bay Area, 10,035 from Pakistan and 1,402 from Bangladesh, according to the U.S. Census. Sanjay Tandon, co-president of NetIP, a South Asian networking group, recalled the theater's popularity. Moviegoers would come from all over Northern California, some staying for all-day film marathons. "It had the ambiance of an Indian movie theater. Indian movies tend to be a family affair, with everyone from grandparents to kids, laughing and crying." However, in the downturn, many Indian tech workers lost their jobs and their H-1B visas. "H-1Bs used to be more homesick than the people who made their home here. We counted on those," Jivani said. "Unfortunately, as the dot-coms busted, so did our business."

Indian Prison Superintendent Accused of Converting Inmates

Posted on 2003/1/8 8:47:02 ( 1011 reads )


PONDICHERRY, INDIA, January 8, 2003: The chief superintendent of prisons at India's Pondicherry Central Jail, Mr. G. David, is facing a judicial inquiry after being accused of forcibly converting inmates to Christianity. A Hindu organization called Munanni is also asking for his suspension and calling upon state legislators to adopt an anti-conversion law similar to that in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Munanni alleges that at least three prisoners were baptized in the prison in recent weeks. While David makes no attempt to hide his Christian faith, he denies being involved in conversions.

Kashmir's Sharda Script Endangered

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:49:02 ( 1134 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, January 4, 2003: In a place where hundreds of people have died in terrorist attacks for over a decade, the death of a script has gone unnoticed. Sharda, the script that gave Kashmir its former name, Sharda Desha, is understood by few Kashmiris today. One of the last Sharda scholars in Srinagar, Professor T. N. Kunju, cannot keep pace with the documentation required -- 300 books need to be catalogued. The last man who could read the script in the Srinagar University library retired 30 years ago. "I had to carry an apron and duster to go through the works in Sharda in the library. Very little of it remains," says Prof. Kunju. "Most of the rare books could be found in the libraries of Kashmiri Pandits. They left the books behind. These were later sold by the kilos," he added. Sharda evolved as a direct descendant of Brahmi and has been in use in Kashmir from the ninth century AD until recently. It's the script in which Kashmiri language came to be written and until 30 years ago, horoscopes and birth records were written in Sharda. Today, the young write Kashmiri in Urdu and Devanagiri. It is hoped that perhaps temple priests can read Sharda. however, a trip to the Mata Khir Bhawaniji temple in Ganderbal north of Srinagar tells another story. No one there has heard of Sharda. A visit to the Sankaracharya temple in Srinagar is little different. As part of a Discovery Channel-UNESCO effort to increase awareness about endangered languages in the world, Discovery will air its dying languages series beginning February. Sharda is part of this project and hopefully, someone will be inspired to take up its cause.

Malaysia Celebrates Thai Pusam

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:48:02 ( 1108 reads )

Source: News Reports

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 7, 2003: Thai Pusam celebrations at Malaysia's famous Batu Caves Murugan Temple will be held January 18 to 20. Approximately one million devotees will gather at Batu Caves and half a million in Penang to worship Lord Muruga.

Kerala Muslim Minister Criticized for Wearing Tilak

Posted on 2003/1/7 8:47:02 ( 1178 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, January 3, 2003: Muslim organizations have demanded Kerala's Minister for Local Government, Cherkalam Abdullah, a Muslim, should do penance for wearing a tilak at a function in Sringeri Mutt recently. As a result of Mr. Abdullah's actions, The Sunni Youth League has barred the minister from entering mosques. "It is nothing but blasphemy. A true Muslim is not supposed to observe the customs of another religion. Since he has defied the Muslim tenet he is not supposed to enter the mosque," League president Syed Ummarali Tangal said. "He can salvage the situation by observing a strict penance," another leader said. The minister, a Muslim League nominee in the government, responded, "I went along with the Chief Minister to attend a function. Everyone was welcomed with tilak and arati. They applied tilak on my forehead (the traditional greeting). I did nothing on my own."

Villagers Reconvert to the Hindu Fold

Posted on 2003/1/6 8:49:02 ( 990 reads )


KHALLARI, INDIA, December 30, 2002: One hundred Christian families from Saraipali village along with another one hundred families participated in a ceremony whereby they were brought back into the Hindu fold. Hailing from the Mahasamund District, each Hindu devotee had their feet washed and tilak applied. Dileep Singh Judev, a member of the Hindu Sangam organizing the reconversion, said, "Conversion in the country is being managed by powerful conspirators from across the seven seas, but these people are being countered even with our limited resources."

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