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

Posted on 2002/12/23 8:48:02 ( 1053 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 ( 1103 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 ( 1066 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 ( 1101 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 ( 1187 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 ( 1024 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.

My Big Fat Indian Wedding

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:47:02 ( 1016 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 14, 2002: Of the three great Indian obsessions, politics, cricket and marriage, the third comes first. Of the three great rituals that mark our lives -- birth, marriage and death -- marriage is the biggest and grandest of all. The poorest father will mortgage his house and drown himself in debt to provide for his daughter's wedding, reports Nina Martyris on the great Indian wedding. The weddings of India's wealthy are complete with thousands of guests, an outlandish theme, treasure chests of jewelry, family intrigue, romance and fun. They have long been the meeting ground of power, money and show biz. "Indian weddings are becoming bigger, louder and fancier," says Delhi designer Rohit Bal. "They're vulgar and completely out of control. I think a law needs to be passed to control people who've got so carried away. There was a time in the mid 90s, when I felt that maybe this madness might end, but simplicity is extinct. You have Hawaiian themes, Bollywood nights -- complete madness has overtaken people. Can someone please do a reality check on people spending filthy amounts of money on one evening?" Delhi wedding planner Geeta Samuel, adds that now the middle-class is aspiring to these superrich flash weddings too.

Hindus, The Last Of The Pagans?

Posted on 2002/12/22 8:46:02 ( 1142 reads )


UNITED STATES, DECEMBER 9, 2002: What is called paganism, heathenism and polytheism is in fact the Natural religion of humanity, states this article. In areas where it has survived the onslaught of antihuman ideologies with their ego gods, the Natural religion has retained its self-respecting name. In Japan it is Shinto, in Taiwan Confucianism and Taoism, and in India as Hinduism, states this article by the Hindu Human Rights group. This article relates the fate of pagans in Europe after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and manifestations of the natural religion were condemned as sorcery, satanism and witchcraft, to what is happening to Hindus in India today. In Europe today Christianity presents a face, of compassion, equality, multiculturalism and interfaith pluralism. But this has not been the case throughout history. It is not the case now in India. The fundamentalist Christian propaganda machine, losing souls in Europe, portrays Hindus as Nazis, fundamentalists, and satanic followers in India. For the full article see "source" above.

Japan to Give US$87 Million for Ajanta Caves

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:49:02 ( 1107 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, December 18, 2002: The Japanese government has okayed the release of US$87 million for restoration of the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad -- the first time a foreign government is aiding an Indian Heritage site. But the aid has not come easy to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), which manages the site. After five years of working hard at sprucing up the area around the caves, the MTDC has managed to satisfy the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, which is funding the restoration. MTDC had approached the bank a few years ago, asking for funds to restore the caves. The bank agreed, only, it said, the money would be released in two phases. The second donation would depend on the MTDC's performance in the first phase, during which it would have to set up the infrastructure (with the $26 million paid in the first phase) for the actual restoration work. MTDC did well, in fact, it even recently won the national award for the best executed conservation project for its infrastructure development near Ajanta and Ellora. The Buddhist murals and frescos of Ajanta, which go back to the 2nd Century BC, are considered to be the most beautiful expressions of Indian Middle Age art. The first mentions of these caves can be found in the writings of Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, who visited India between 629 AD-645 AD. He talks of 30 caves laid out in a massive horseshoe and nestling deep in a gorge in the Sayadri mountain range, whose walls had been converted into exquisite pictorial records of Buddha's life and teachings.

The Non-Western Roots of Science

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:48:02 ( 1014 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, December 1, 2002: This very interesting review in the New York Times is of "Lost Discoveries," a book which describes how the West's history of science tends to ignore the contributions of the East. Some examples: The author "has created a very neat chronicle -- and a timely reminder -- of how much of the foundation of modern scientific thought and technological development was built by the mostly overlooked contributions of Arabs, Indians, Chinese, Polynesians and Mesoamericans. .... "The ancient Indians, long before Copernicus, knew that the Earth revolved around the sun and, a thousand years before Kepler, knew that the orbits of the planets were elliptical."

Kerala Organization Seeks Temple Renovation Funds

Posted on 2002/12/21 8:47:02 ( 1198 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, December 21, 2002. HPI has received the following appeal from Sri Vijayaraghavan of Kerala. "I am the Chairman, Kumarapuram Temple Renovation Committee, currently on a fundraising effort for renovating our ancient Siva-Vishnu Temple Complex situated in the suburbs of Trichur in Kerala State, India. The approximate project cost comes to US$31,000. This temple complex is deprived of basic needs and services primarily due to lack of funds. Majority of local community residents are from low-income house-holds. So we are seeking outside help to restore these ancient Hindu temples and preserve our culture for future generations.With this in mind we have brought out an illustrative brochure with brief history and photographs." Kindly e-mail "source" above for additional information.

Bihar Hindus Open Closed Mosque

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:49:02 ( 1191 reads )


BIHAR, INDIA, Dec 14, 2002: Muslims are again praying at a mosque in a village in Bihar shut 10 years ago following communal violence, as a result of the initiative taken by a Hindu elder to build religious amity. Hindu residents of Manjor village of Warsaliganj block in Nawada district reopened the mosque that was closed down after the razing of the Babri masjid in neighboring Uttar Pradesh in December, 1992, sparked countrywide violence. Following the trouble, about 40 Muslim families of Manjor village locked up the mosque, deserted their homes and migrated to other villages. The initiative for opening the mosque was taken by Vibhishan Singh, the deputy head of the village council, who contacted Muslims of a neighboring village, surprising them with the news. Singh said, "We invited Muslims of neighboring village to cooperate with us to open the mosque and resume prayers." This happened last week. Muslims gathered at the mosque and lighted candles after accepting the offer. Hindus of the village have also promised to maintain the Islamic shrine.

Methodology Report on Forum of Indian Leftists

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:48:02 ( 1070 reads )


UNITED STATES, December 16, 2002: The India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) is a volunteer charitable organization which raises money in the United States for projects in India. It has been in operation since 1989. IDRF's 2001 fundraising of roughly US$2 million is a small fraction of total funds sent to India by the 2 million Indians and Indian-Americans in the USA. IDRF is considered one of the most successful and effective of Indian-American charitable organizations. For several years the Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL) and their associates have been targeting this organization for attacks. This has culminated in the November 2002 release of a 91-page report on the alleged funneling of IDRF money to entities inciting communal riots and persecution of minorities in India. This lengthy article presents a defense to the attack on the IDRF by Sabrang Communications and FOIL. To read the full report, go to "source" above.

Piety At A Price For Gangasagar Pilgrims

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:47:02 ( 1082 reads )


GANGASAGAR, INDIA, December 10, 2002: Beginning this year, Gangasagar Mela, one of the largest religious congregations, will no longer be an absolute domain of sadhus and ordinary pilgrims. It will also be a paradise for for a fortunate few, ready to spend thousands of rupees per day for the experience. Thanks to a new idea of the West Bengal government and a consortium of five Kolkata-based tour operators, some 2,000 rich pilgrims will be able to travel to Gangasagar between January 11-15, 2003. These pilgrims can take holy dips in isolated shores and enjoy exclusive pujas at the Kapil Muni Temple as part of a five-star hospitality package. Trying to tap the religious tourism market for the country's rich, five tour operators have arranged separate guided package tours for them during the Mela next year. Tour participants will have access to life guards at the bathing ghat, medical and fire services and cultural programs at night as part of the exclusive services at a cost between US$55 and &75 per day per person.

Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh in UK Not Banned

Posted on 2002/12/18 8:46:02 ( 1152 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, December 16, 2002 : An Indian Muslim organization has stated that the British government has turned down its demand to ban the two UK-based charitable groups with close ties with Sangh Pariwar even as the Charity Commission said the allegations against them were under "serious investigation." "We sent a 300-page dossier to the Home Office and the Charity Commission with clear proof that the VHP and its subordinate bodies in the UK had links with the VHP in India and were working for the same fascist mission," Chairman of the Council of Indian Muslims Munaf Zeena said in a statement. "While the matter is under serious investigation by the Charity Commission, unfortunately we have received a disappointing answer from the Home office that these organizations could not be banned," he said. However, Zeena hoped that in the wake of a recent television report asserting that the Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh and SEWA International raised funds in Britain for "anti-minorities programs and pogroms in India", the British government would review its decision.

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