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Tabla Wizard at Six
Posted on 2001/6/14 23:46:02 ( 707 reads )


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NAGPUR, INDIA, MAY 29, 2001: Six year-old Shantanu Khardenvis is the youngest tabla player in the world. In a recent performance at the Nagpur Doordarshan he performed with the efficiency of a fifteen-year-old. Shantanu, who started learning tabla at the age of two, practices four hours daily. "I gave my first performance when I was in nursery," said the young player who has made it to the "Guinness Book of World Records" with his talent.




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Yuba City's Sikh Immigrants Success Story
Posted on 2001/6/14 23:45:02 ( 681 reads )


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YUBA CITY, CALIFORNIA, June 11, 2001: Early Sikh immigrants from India planted their seeds of success in the rich agricultural community in this American city located in Sutter County. Of Yuba City's 36,758 residents, 2,360 are Indians. Sutter County boasts of the highest percentage of Indians in any US county. Nearly nine percent of its 79,000 residents are Indian-Americans. Families of many of its Indians date their presence to a century ago when their ancestors arrived from Punjab to work on the railroads and then stayed on to farm the land. The Hindus among them married into the Mexican Catholic community and disappeared from history. The Sikhs maintained their religion.




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Gujarat State Attempts to Control Population Growth
Posted on 2001/6/14 23:44:02 ( 669 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, INDIA, June 10, 2001: With the population increasing in the state of Gujarat year after year, the government has chosen to form a committee to draw up a proposal introducing legislation to limit family size to that of two children per couple. The proposal, which will become law one year after approval has been received by the Gujarat parliament, will provide rewards to couples who have two or less children. Reservations about the legislation have been expressed as it may be aimed at minorities whom the government feels are responsible for the population growth. It could lead to further abortion of female fetuses in a state where there are already 919 females for every thousand men. Nearly every abortion is of a female child now.




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New Temple Opens in Sacramento
Posted on 2001/6/14 23:43:02 ( 724 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, June 10, 2001: On Sunday, June 10th, a new Laxmi-Ganesha Temple opened in Sacramento, California. Hindus from northern California gathered to offer milk abishekam to the Deities, Ganesha, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The temple is located at 4679 Aldona Way, conveniently nearby Interstate 80. For puja times and more information call 925-202-7494.




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Gloom spreads at Puri's Jagannath Temple Due to the Death of Nepalese King
Posted on 2001/6/11 23:49:02 ( 728 reads )


Source: Punjab Kesari (translated from Hindi)





PURI, INDIA, June 11, 2001: One of the holiest cities of India, Puri, has turned gloomy due to the death of Nepal's King Birendra and his family. The king of the only Hindu Kingdom in the world had special right for personally performing puja in the holy Jagannath Temple of Puri. According to the records of rights in Jagannath Temple, the late king of Nepal had a special right to puja which was not available to any other person. Even the local erstwhile prince, Gajapati Maharaj, who is considered the living embodiment of Lord Jagannath, does not have this special right. An old employee of Jagannath Temple said, "We are not able to believe on what we have heard. He was one of the important devotees of the temple." King Birendra accompanied by Queen Aishwarya, had last come to the temple on 12th May 1993. A special priest of the temple is appointed to look after the Nepalese Royal family when they visit. The king also has similar rights at the famed Meenakshi temple in Madurai, South India.




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Indian Subcontinent and Africa Sink Deeper Into Poverty
Posted on 2001/6/11 23:48:02 ( 656 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, June 8, 2001: The world's poor may be sinking deeper into poverty, according to a new report that turns traditional insights into poverty reduction upside down. This is in stark contrast to the widely used -- and potentially misleading -- data based on Gross National Product (GNP) and the Human Development Index. The measure of GNP -- the monetary value of all goods and services provided by the economy -- could be fatally flawed as it disregards vitally important factors such as the depletion of natural resources which have a dramatic impact on the survival ability of the future generations. Pakistan's GNP, for example, grew at a healthy 2.7% per year, implying a more than doubling of living standards between 1965 and 1996. The report's alternative measure of wealth shows that Pakistan's living standards have actually almost halved over this period. The assumption that a steady growth in GNP automatically leads to a reduction in poverty could have led to a decrease in the amount of development aid, loans and grants allocated to any one country.




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US Supreme Court Approves School Religious Meetings
Posted on 2001/6/11 23:47:02 ( 652 reads )


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WASHINGTON, USA, June 11, 2001: In a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court ruled for a Christian youth group and lowered the figurative wall of separation between church and state. The justices said a New York public school district must let the Good News Club hold after-school meetings for grade-school children to pray and study the Bible. The majority found that excluding the club was an unconstitutional discrimination based on the club's views. Letting the meeting take place would not be an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, the court ruled.




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Center Helps Ensure Future of Traditions
Posted on 2001/6/11 23:46:02 ( 721 reads )


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NORTH JERSEY, USA, June 5, 2001: Hindu Samaj, an Indian cultural and religious organization in North Jersey, has taken a key step to help face the challenge that older generations of Indians in the United States often face in conveying to their children and grandchildren the importance of cultural and religious traditions. The group celebrated the renovation of a Victorian home in Mahwah that will serve as its home base while it raises some US$3 million to build a Hindu temple and community center nearby. At a time when the 2000 census figures show the Asian Indian population in the state soared 113 percent, to 169,180, since 1990, many Indians in North Jersey hope that the new home of Hindu Samaj will serve not only as a community center, but as a community builder. Hindu Samaj, which started six years ago with ten families based in a Quaker church the group rented in Ridgewood, has grown to some 400 members.




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Legendary Tree Uprooted
Posted on 2001/6/11 23:45:02 ( 718 reads )


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TRICHUR, INDIA, JUNE 9, 2001: A strong monsoon squall uprooted a gigantic elanji tree on the grounds of the ancient temple of Vadakkunnathan. The tree has been a key feature adding to the colorful atmosphere of one of the states most celebrated temple festivals. A three-hour percussion concert conducted by 140 odd artist under the shade of the sprawling elanj is so synonymous with the tree that the concert itself is popularly called "elanjithara melam" ("thara" meaning "base"). Temple managers are planning to plant a new elanji sapling. Old timers remember that such an uprooting had taken place 40 years ago, when the present tree was then planted. Elanji is an integral part of Siva temples in the state and the uprooting of the tree is considered to be an inauspicious omen.




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Arson Damages Hindu Festival Site in Trinidad
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:49:02 ( 782 reads )


Source: Paras Ramoutar, Hinduism Today





CHAGUANAS, TRINIDAD, June 6, 2001: The Divali Nagar Site, Chaguanas, Central Trinidad, was hit by arson on June 5. Cost of the damage in estimated at over US$80,000.00. Divali Nagar is an annual festival hosted to mark Divali. Officials visiting the site shook their heads in dismay when the extent of the damage was revealed. "There are some fundamentalists out there who could do something like this," said one official. "An act of pure malice," is how one official of the National Council for Indian Culture, (NCIC) described a fire. A half full keg of gasoline and a pair of rubber gloves remained on the compound up to Wednesday at the feet of a 20-foot statue of Swami Vivekananda which was also nearly burnt down. No one has been held yet in connection with the fire. Among the items destroyed were more than a dozen paintings of Hindu scriptures created especially for the NCIC by Indian artist Satyanarayan Mourya. Religious items were the main target leaving some members of the NCIC to believe the fire was an expression of religious intolerance by someone who was familiar with the layout of the building. Paintings have been described as priceless because of their sentimental value.




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Hampi Site Needs Protection
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:48:02 ( 710 reads )


Source: The Hindu





BELLARY, INDIA, June 10, 2001: The Cabinet will take a final decision on the formation of the Hampi Development Authority, according to the Minister for Tourism and Haj, Mr. Roshan Baig. The formation of the authority has become necessary following the fiat from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that Hampi would be deleted from the list of World Heritage Sites if steps are not taken to protect the ancient monuments. The UNESCO has included Hampi in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger'' following the construction of two bridges, encroachments on ancient monuments, and construction of "Janata" houses near the major monuments. The functions of the authority will include systematic development of Hampi, conservation of the monuments, clearing the encroachments and providing facilities for tourists.




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The Future of Indian Classical Music is in Good Hands
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:47:02 ( 659 reads )


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KASHMIR, INDIA June 9, 2001: With discipline, fortitude, commitment, and flexibility, a new generation of Indian musicians is emerging. Some, following in the footsteps of famous parents are expected to perform outstandingly, while others under the guidance of devoted gurus have had to work extra hard to chart and make a place for themselves in the music world. Indian classical music is in good hands with Anoushka (Ravi Shankar) playing the sitar, Rakesh Chaurasia (Hari Prasad) playing the flute, and Rabul Sharma (Shiv Kumar) charming audiences with the santoor. All three young artists have performed well in their parents' shadows. Anoushka learned the sitar well from her father. Rakesh Chaurasia has perfected his technique on the flute and plays classical, semi-classical, light or folk music. He also does work for radio and accompaniment in Hindi films. Rabul Sharma has developed a style distinct from his father's lyrical and folksy pieces. Those who have made it on their own while receiving continuous instruction from devoted gurus include Tabla artists Anuradha Pal and sought after Mukundraj Dev who plays the tabla as an accompaniment to vocal, instrumental or dance music. Charming and talented female vocalists such as Asha Parasnis, Devki Pandit and Meeta Pandit have all perfected different classical traditions while Sanjeev Abhyankor, has been a major hit in the concert circuit with his effortless gayaki and pleasant voice.




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Twist and Shout
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:46:02 ( 735 reads )


Source: Straits Times





SINGAPORE, June 3, 2001: The ancient Hindu science of yoga is catching on fast here, mostly as a means of improving health. Almost all the more popular fitness centers here, including Planet Fitness and California Fitness, offer variations of yoga and yoga-based classes. Hotel clubs, swimming clubs as well as community clubs also offer yoga classes. A number of neighborhood Sports & Fitness Centers have started Learn-to-Play Yoga classes. According to a People's Association spokesman, there were 3,767 participants, mainly housewives and working women, in the community club courses last year, compared to 2,580 in 1999, an increase of 46 per cent. He attributes the rise to an increased health consciousness among the people. Men are also getting into the act. Some companies have even hired freelance yoga teachers to teach staff at the office itself. Some doctors are also recommending yoga to their patients to promote relaxation.




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Demand for Clergy is Rising Across America
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:45:02 ( 663 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 9, 2001: Pursuit by potential candidates of more lucrative and less emotionally demanding careers in a booming economy has led to a shortage of clergy to serve in Christian congregations across America. Seminary graduates are often teaching spirituality outside the confines of institutional religion at seminars, retreats and in lay Bible study groups. The average mean age of most seminary students is 35 and even though this age group brings professional experience, they often lack the flexibility needed for this career. In 1994, 944 Presbyterian congregations were able to choose from a possible 1697 candidates in selecting a pastor. However, in May of 2001, 1450 congregations looking for a new pastor soon found out that the new clergy was interviewing them for suitability as only 1277 members of the clergy were available. Unlike the Roman Catholic church that has had problems for years attracting new priests and keeping existent priests who often opt to marry and leave the priesthood, most Protestant denominations have not felt the impact of declining numbers of clergy until recently. Orthodox Jews are also feeling the pinch, especially in smaller communities. According to Rabbi Steven Dworken, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, "We have taught our children and imparted the message all too well that you can be a Jew at home and in the marketplace. They went to Wall Street, they went to law school, they went to advertising." As a result, 50-75 synagogues are without a rabbi this year. Evangelical churches have tackled the shortage problem by training lay people to serve as pastors. The United Methodist Church with 8.2 million members has increased the number of people serving as local pastors, those who complete a special study, non-seminary in nature and serve a congregation. Similar problems are occurring with the clergy of all religions of the world.




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Indian Government Contributes Funds to Temples
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:49:02 ( 715 reads )


Source: The Hindu





THANJAVUR, INDIA, June 5, 2001: Low-income temples in India are at long last receiving help from the government. Each qualifying temple will receive US$357 and contribute an additional $53 from their own coffers. Priests of the each of nearly 2,000 temples will conduct a grand "Kala Puja" that will generate shakti to attract devotees and additional funds for upkeep. As as result, it is hoped the temples will be able to get back on their feet. Temples who are struggling to come up with the $53 will be waived this amount and given the full $425 by the government. The new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms. J. Jaylalitha, has announced that an additional 250-500 temples in Adi Dravida colonies are being renovated with $532 being allotted for each temple.




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