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Main Elephant of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai Dies
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:47:02 ( 834 reads )


Source: The Hindu





MADURAI, INDIA, June 18, 2001: The 70-year-old she-elephant, Meenakshi, of the Meenakshi Sundereshwarar temple, which served the temple for more than five decades, died on Sunday night after a prolonged illness. Old age and its associated symptoms of illness were said to be the main reason for the death. The body was taken to the Devasthanam's garden at Koodal Senkulam, a city suburb, where she was buried. Worship services were cancelled until her remains were removed from the temple premises. The docile animal had been a house-hold name for temple visitors and led all important temple processions. The temple has two more elephants -- Angayarkanni, age 35 and Parvathi, 4.




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Divers Locate Refugee Shipwreck
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:46:02 ( 876 reads )


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SICILY, ITALY, JUNE 16, 2001: A search team has found what is thought to be the wreck of a ship which sank off the Italian coast five years ago with hundreds of illegal immigrants on board, including many Hindus. About 280 people, mainly from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are believed to have drowned when the ship went down in waters off Sicily in December 1996. Investigations by the Italian and Greek authorities at the time failed to find any trace of the alleged disaster. Survivors told police at the time that they had been forced to board the doomed ship from a larger vessel.




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Clinton Encourages East Indian Americans to Support India
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:45:02 ( 742 reads )


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NEW YORK, U.S.A., June 13, 2001: A whopping 1.3 million dollars was raised for the villages in Gujarat at a dinner concert held last Tuesday on Wall Street. At a US$1,000/per plate, the dinner was organized by the American India Foundation. Former President Clinton, an honorary member of the AIF, was a guest speaker at the event.The evening program highlighted Indian music and a fashion show of India's leading designers. However, Clinton was the main attraction at the event and his support was appreciated by the Indian community who gave him a standing ovation when he announced, "What happens in India is one of the three or four most important things that will determine the course of the 21st century."




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Indian Clothes Wow American Audience
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:44:02 ( 679 reads )


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NEW YORK, June 9, 2001: Some time next year, when you walk into Saks on Fifth Avenue, don't be surprised to see clothes by Indian designers Rohit "Gudda" Bal, Rina Dhaka, Vivek Narang, Tarun Tahiliani and Raghavendra Rathore on the shelves. Their exhibition held at the home of Meera and Vikram Gandhi in Manhattan had the Saks' representatives walk in to take a look at their creations. Jacqueline Lundquist, wife of former U.S. ambassador to India Richard Celeste, played a key role in the event. "I was walking down the street one day in a sari, and I was stopped four times in 12 blocks by people who wanted to know what I was wearing and where they could get it. That was when I realized that there was a market potential for Indian clothes and these guys were all my friends so I decided to start off with a small display," she said. The designers were more than thrilled at the prospect.




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River Bathing and the Scriptures
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:43:02 ( 723 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 21, 2001: In an effort to save India's rivers, the Central Pollution Control Board has been doing some research. CPCB chairman, D.K. Biswas, uncovered information in the 8th century scripture called Brahmanda Purana that prohibits 13 actions on the sacred Ganga. Such actions as ablutions, defecation, throwing of used floral offerings, and discarding garments were all mentioned. All of these actions were forbidden so that the purity of the river could be protected. The CPCB Chairman says, "And present day rituals are the exact opposite of what has been prohibited in our scriptures." Intach water expert Manu Bhatnagar comments that after massive bathing at the solar eclipse the river took a long time to cleanse itself and he also adds that cremation on the river banks should be banned as it is not done properly when remains and ashes are left behind.




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Missionaries Face Opposition in India
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:42:02 ( 712 reads )


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ONTARIO, CANADA, June 7, 2001: Two reports appeared recently on the evangelical site, "Persecution.net." The first states, "National and expatriate Christians in India continue to face threats and false accusations, as the Gospel continues to spread throughout the subcontinent. Gladys Staines, widow of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary slain in 1999 along with his two sons, is facing a visa expiration in August and Indian officials have made it clear they do not intend to renew it. The state government is also attempting to repossess the leprosy hospital that Mrs. Staines has been raising funds for, in memory of her husband. Another missionary in the southern state of Karnataka is facing imminent deportation. 79-year-old Francois Marie Godest has served in India since 1948 and has indicated that he wishes to stay in India until he dies. The government, however, is refusing to renew his residence permit." The second says, "On Friday, VOM's Finnish mission, Stephanus-Lahetys Ry, reported that in the last week of May in the village of Funda, Kalahanda area, in Orissa, a Hindu temple was burnt down by an unknown person/persons. The police are investigating the case, but with no results to the present time. Unfortunately, Hindus are accusing Christians of the crime. There are about 100 Christian families living in the area. Shortly after the arson, groups of Hindus began going from one Christian house to another, asking about the incident and threatening the inhabitants. Joseph Senapati, an evangelist who lived in Funda was beaten when, on Monday, June 4th, a Hindu mob came into his house to threaten him. The situation became so dangerous that he had to flee with his family. Four other Christian families have also fled to a safer place, leaving behind their homes, cows and other possessions. There are still nearly a hundred families in the area facing the hatred and violence of Hindu gangs. The Hindus have blocked the roads to prevent Christians from escaping. The police are proving to be of no help to the Christians. Two Christian families have been forced to convert to the Hindu religion."




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Lucknow University Offers Course on Astrology and Vedic Rites
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:41:02 ( 1129 reads )


Source: The Times of India News Service





LUCKNOW, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, May 21, 2001: Lucknow University is leading the way in promoting the ancient science of Astrology and Vedic Rites on its campus. Two hundred university students, many of them girls, have called the three-month long course an unique experience. The curriculum teaches Sanskrit chants, how to perform fire ceremony the correct way and rituals related to birth and cremation, both theoretically and practically.




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Nepal Royal Witnesses Confirm Dispute
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:49:02 ( 706 reads )


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KATMANDU, NEPAL, June 16, 2001: The witnesses' interviews confirmed widely held suspicions that his parent's opposition to his choice of bride was the provocation for Nepal's crown prince gunning. The government released new details from its report on the June 1 mass killing that shocked this Himalayan nation. One of those present during the shooting was Paras, the son of new King Gyanendra. He said Crown Prince Dipendra's choice of bride, Devyani Rana, had divided the family. "This was the main issue,'' Paras told investigators. Paras said that Dipendra appeared intoxicated when he asked Dipendra what was troubling him. Dipendra replied that it was the marriage issue. Supreme Court Chief Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya and House Speaker Taranath Ranabhat investigated the case for a week before confirming on Thursday that Dipendra was the lone gunman. The report said the 29-year-old prince was drunk and high on hashish. A translation of the official report can be found at www.nepalnews.com/.




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Christians Feel Uncertainty in Nepal
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:48:02 ( 763 reads )


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ONTARIO, CANADA, June 14, 2001: The following item appeared on this Christian evangelical website: "Christian Aid Mission's Nepal representative, Sarla Mahara, said there are some concerns about how the recent upheaval in Nepal could affect the church. 'The late king was a pro-democracy guy, so he really had nothing against the Christians; but now, it's so unstable. We don't know if this situation would make the Maoists stronger because the Palace is very weak right now. It's a very tough situation for the Christians.' There are concerns that Maoist rebels, who have been actively fighting the government in western Nepal, could use this situation as an opportunity to make gains in taking over the government. Mahara said, 'The ruling government is totally confused with this new king who is, in my opinion, a real hard-liner. He's just not very much for democracy.' Since the democratic revolution of 1990, there has been a measure of freedom of religion in Nepal. During this time the number of Christian believers has risen dramatically -- over 10 times what it was in 1990. It is estimated that Christians make up 2 percent of Nepal's population." It is illegal to convert to another religion in Nepal, but the law is not enforced.




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Into the Afterlife, Free As a Bird.
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:47:02 ( 684 reads )


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BALI, INDONESIA, June 6, 2001: Although most of Indonesia's provinces are predominantly Muslim, Bali is mainly Hindu. Hindus cremate their dead. In Bali a cremation is an important occasion, lavish and expensive. Sometimes, poor families that cannot afford an immediate ceremony will preserve the body and wait, sometimes for years, so that the body could be cremated along with a rich person. Now several families plan to pool resources and share the cost of a mass cremation.




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The Blessed Get Poorer
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:46:02 ( 723 reads )


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ENGLAND, June 15, 2001: The Church of England is in financial turmoil. It is merging parishes, chopping jobs and relying increasingly on "weekend priests" who are happy to work for nothing. It is squeezing the faithful for donations. Last autumn the Diocese of London admitted that it was raiding its reserves at the rate of US$1.6 million a year. A recent report suggested that the Church of England's 44 dioceses will be $17.6 million in the red within two years. A survey last month revealed that hundreds of priests now rely on State benefits to support their families. With stipends averaging about $27,200 a year, they have little choice. One great paradox about the Church is that although it embraces the principle that worldly possessions are not of great important, it managed to accumulate immense wealth during the Middle Ages. "There is always talk of the state being asked to help," one former cathedral dean says. But perhaps the reluctance to appeal for state help is rooted in a deeper unease: a feeling that the Church of England, far from being at the centre of the "British Establishment" is increasingly marginalized in a society that seems to get more secular by the day.




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In Defense of Ayurveda
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:45:02 ( 714 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2001: Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine whose treatises date back to the first millennium, has been given a bad rap by a report from the British House of Lord Committee on Science and Technology last November, 2000. In their report, Ayurveda is grouped with other disciplines such as Chinese herbal medicine and naturopathy and classified according to this article as, "an alternative discipline that offer diagnosis as well as treatment but for which scientific evidence is almost completely lacking." Needless to say, the secretary of the Indian government's Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy, Shailaja Chandra, has responded by sending a letter of protest to Lord Walton who headed the British committee. Ayurveda's popularity has grown in the U.K. and the West, and it is feared that if this report is published it could damage the good this form of medicine is doing. With extensive research and clinical trials having already been documented, Chandra is forwarding the results on ailments such as bone healing, menstrual disorders, and anxiety plus many others, back to the British committee. A delegation was also sent to London in March of 2001 to try to alter the views on Ayurveda.




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India Has Less Than 500 Homes For 75 Million Senior Citizens
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:44:02 ( 665 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 13, 2001: A 1998 case filed by four old men in the small town of Kollam in Kerala stresses the problems facing the elderly. The success of Kerala's primary health programs has resulted in a life expectancy here of 70 years, while the whole of India averages 59. A high percentage of younger Keralites work abroad, leaving their parents alone and uncared for. That is one of the reasons why Kerala is India's suicide hub -- every hour, one person commits suicide and nine people try to kill themselves. Three years ago these four men shocked their relatives as they demanded the legalization of assisted suicide in India. Their lawyer's office was flooded with letters from hundreds of senior citizens who supported them. Mukundan Pillai, one of the four, told the court that the elderly are increasingly discarded by their descendants. The government should either help them live, or it should help them die. Today almost 7 percent of India's citizens are elderly -- 75 million people, and the numbers are rising. A directory compiled in 1995 by the Centre for the Welfare of the Aged listed only 492 old age homes. So The nation needs 217,000 more homes to shelter all the elderly, if the young are no longer going to care for their parents.




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At 115, Swami Bua Charms Miami
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:49:02 ( 856 reads )


Source: The Miami Herald





MIAMI, FLORIDA, June 4, 2001: His Holiness Sri Swami Buaji Maharaj, has been in Miami since mid-May teaching hatha yoga at Wayne Krassner's Shakti Yoga Loft, where Madonna and other stars have practiced. "He won't tell you his age if you ask," explains Krassner who said the Swami "indirectly" revealed that he is 115. Krassner met Swami Bua in New York City, where the Swami has lived for three decades and where he founded the Indo-American Yoga-Vedanta Society. He still teaches free yoga and meditation classes every day he's in town. Swami Bua is happy to talk about his lifestyle: He consumes mostly fruit and vegetable juices -- figs, dates, kiwi, grapefruit and oranges are his favorites. The magazine Hinduism Today honored Swami Bua as Hindu of the Year in 1998.




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Genetic Study Indicates Gene Mixing in India
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:48:02 ( 763 reads )


Source: India Express





HYDERABAD, INDIA, May 15, 2001: According to a study in this month's Genome Research Journal, scientists said that India's higher ranking castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, and the lower castes are more similar to Asians. The study, done by an international team, is believed to be the most comprehensive attempt to date, to explore the impact of ancient western migrations on people in India. According to this study, the origins of people living in India are under debate. Some 5,000 years ago, Indo-European speaking people from West Eurasia entered India and purportedly mixed with native Proto-Asian population in the region in an "Aryan Invasion." This research would appear to support such a scenario, which has been under considerable attack recently. However, Prof. Richard Villems, one of the co-authors of the paper, when contacted by HPI, said, "Europe here may mean anything even slightly west from Indus river" and said it is most likely that the genetic material in question arose in the region of Iran and Afghanistan. He concluded, "a more correct interpretation is that in some upper castes, there is a statistically weakly reliable, but still apparent shift of frequencies towards those variants more frequent west of Indus. Europe as such has, however, nothing to do with that."




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