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Pilgrims Make Amarnath Trek Despite Terrorist Threats

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:44:02 ( 1021 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, July 19, 2002: Amidst reports that splinter groups of Pakistan-based militant outfits were planning to sabotage the Amarnath yatra, the first batch of Amarnath-bound pilgrims left under tight security for Nunwan near Pahalgam, base camp to the holy cave shrine. The batch, comprising 2,681 pilgrims will offer prayers inside the holy cave at a height of 3,952 meters in south Kashmir on July 22. Security agencies brought up the rear, head and even the middle portion of the 131-vehicle convoy. Hours before the yatra was officially flagged off, security forces arrested three militants of the Hizb-e-Islami and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Speaking about the unprecedented arrangements, IGP Jammu zone, P.L. Gupta, said security was tighter than previous years because of reports that splinter militant groups would target the yatra.

UK Teacher Honored With Hindu Name

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:43:02 ( 878 reads )


LEICESTER, UK, July 22, 2002: A newly retired Leicester head teacher has been honored with a new name by the renowned Hindu singer and preacher, Rameshbhai Oza, after helping to stage a massive religious festival in the city. Former Rushey Mead School head Steve White now answers to the name "Shiv" in honor of the Hindu deity Shiva. Mr. White was given the title at yesterday's closing ceremony of the 10-day Atma Shanti Katha -- or Hindu recital, a combination of preaching, devotional singing and scriptural recitation -- which attracted an estimated 80,000 people to the school grounds last week. Rameshbhai Oza presented the new name to Mr. White in front of 10,000 people. Mr. White said he was still deciding whether to use Shiv as his first name or as part of his title. He said, "It is a great honor to have this honor bestowed on me." "Out of the blue I had a phone call on Sunday morning from the organizers asking me to be there. When I got there the holy man called me over and announced his thanks for my support and said my new name was Shiv. It's a fantastic retirement present."

Khajuraho-Style Icons Set for Export Seized in India

Posted on 2002/7/27 9:42:02 ( 967 reads )


JODHPUR, INDIA, July 25, 2002: Over 150 idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses resembling the erotic Khajuraho murals and meant for export to United Kingdom have been seized by customs department in Jodhpur, official sources said on Thursday. The statues, included 95 of Lord Ganesha, were seized from a railway container depot, they said. The sources said the statues, each five to six inches tall, were made with a "Khajuraho touch" to attract foreign buyers. Investigations had revealed that a Delhi-based firm had concealed the statues, worth US$10,200, with other handicraft items for shipping abroad, the sources said. Customs officials said trade in statues in such poses had probably been going on for a long time as there was a demand for them in UK and other European countries.

Disciples Worldwide Remember Gurus on Purnima

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:49:02 ( 1087 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: All over India, and throughout the world, satsangs, devotional gatherings, marked Guru Purnima celebrations on Wednesday, the full-moon day in July. Disciples offered prayers to their gurus, with many observing fasts as well. The Sant Sri Asaram Ashram reported a gathering of 50,000 devotees in Delhi alone. Members of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation offered guru puja in 140 countries.

Interfaith Alliance Calls for Reports on Religion and Politics in US

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:48:02 ( 863 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2002: The Interfaith Alliance Foundation here has started a program entitled, "Use of Religion in Campaigns Monitoring Network." They want to "identify and catalog the uses and abuses of religion in this year's national, state and local races" for political office. They ask for anyone encountering what they consider "exploitation of religion" to file a report through their website at "source" above.

Faith, Valor, Joy at Amarnath

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:47:02 ( 962 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: One hundred thousand people, one destination. This year fourteen thousand people have already had darshan, sight of the Deity, at Amarnath, a small cave shrine of Lord Siva high up in the Himalayas. Amarnath yatras, pilgrimages, have been called off due to harsh weather and terrorists ambush. But nothing deters the yatri, pilgrim. Vimla Verma is blessed. "I went the first time for a pilgrimage, and fell in love with scenic Kashmir. So I went back, for God and for sightseeing," reminisces the 70-year-old. "Curiosity" and a sense of adventure made neurosurgeon Dr. Pranab Mishra agree to accompany an aunt. "It was stunning, so scenic. I regret, I did not enjoy it more." said Mishra. In the five days there were two blasts, in Pahalgam and Sheshnag. But that is not the first thing that comes to mind. What does is the "amazing sight of old people, old women in saris and slippers walking up resolutely." said thirty-year-old journalist Aradhna Sharma. Looking at them you would think they couldn't even walk a few steps. But they keep climbing." "I had a strange experience. I had had a foot infection for some time. When I got back to the base camp and soaked my weary feet in hot water, I saw it was completely gone." Faith, valor, joy. They all converge at Amarnath.

India's Minorities Have Special Rights Over Their Institutions

Posted on 2002/7/26 9:46:02 ( 919 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 25, 2002: Taking a view very different from that of the Centre (that is, India's central or federal government) on Minority Educational Institutions (MEIs), Attorney General Soli Sorabjee on Thursday told the Supreme Court that minority's right to establish and administer educational institutions under the Constitution was absolute. "The fundamental right of administration of a minority educational institution under Article 30, on its terms and language, is absolute," Sorabjee submitted before an 11-Judge constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice B N Kirpal hearing arguments on several aspects of the MEIs. Solicitor General Harish Salve, appearing for the Centre, had contended last week that in the constitutional framework of schemes no right was absolute and hence the right to establish and administer and educational institutions by the minority community could not be an absolute right. When the Bench asked how a right could be absolute, Sorabjee promptly clarified although no right could be absolute, the right of the minority communities to manage their own schools should not be tinkered by an outside agency. These minority schools receive government funds for teacher's salaries and other expenses, may manage their own affairs and may teach their religion. Hindu schools similarly funded may not teach religion and may be run by a government-appointed administrator.

Amarnath Pilgrimage Temporarily Suspended Due to Weather

Posted on 2002/7/22 9:49:02 ( 959 reads )


KASHMIR, INDIA, July 22, 2002: The Amarnath Yatra was temporarily suspended on Sunday following heavy rains on the Baltal-Cave and the Pahalgam-Amarnath route, official sources said. Authorities later allowed pilgrims to resume their journey on the Pahalgam-Amarnath route. The Yatra remained suspended on the Baltal-Cave route, the shortest route to the cave shrine located at an altitude of 3,880 meters in the Himalayas. 3,838 pilgrims who left Jammu on Sunday arrived safely in Pahalgam, sources said. Meanwhile, the first group of Yatris who left Jammu on July 19 were likely to reach the shrine on Monday morning to worship Lord Shiva.

Bangalore Named One of World's Top Intelligent Communities

Posted on 2002/7/22 9:48:02 ( 989 reads )

Source: Times of India

BANGALORE, INDIA, July 21, 2002: Bangalore has been named one of the top seven intelligent communities in the world for 2002 by Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a project of the World Teleport Association. An ICF report says Bangalore is one of the world's top centers of technology development and "since the mid-1990's, there has been a creation of fast-growing and affluent community of software professionals." "Bangalore's success is due to the effective economic development marketing of a government agency, software technology parks of India to the grassroots efforts of Indian software engineers and entrepreneurs in the US, who have opened eyes to the potential in their native country and to a local commitment to education and training that has made Bangalore the home of nearly 20 percent of Indian's total institutions of higher education," the report says. Bangalore has more than 100 research universities and technical colleges and employs about 80,000 people in the high-tech industry. ICF notes hundreds of international companies, including IBM, Microsoft, and American Express, have set up software development centers or contracted with local firms in order to take advantage of Bangalore's highly-trained, English-speaking computer graduates. The other six intelligent communities named by ICF are: Calgary in Canada, Florida High Tech Corridor Council and LaGrange in the US, Seoul in South Korea, Singapore, and Sunderland in the UK.

Cow's Urine Product Patented for Therapeutic Use

Posted on 2002/7/22 9:47:02 ( 1188 reads )


INDIA, August 21, 1989: For centuries, Indian medicine has been using cow's urine as an active ingredient in many preparations. Giving further acceptance to its efficiency is a US patent for an Indian product which contains distilled portions of cow's urine. Chemicals in this distilled portion, popularly known as Arka, enhance the activity of antibiotics and anti-cancer agents. Developed by a team of scientists at Lucknow's Center for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants affiliated to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, it helps reduce the dosage of the drug, its side-effects and the cost of treatment. Its main area of research has been plants of medicinal or aromatic value. The scientists studied the ancient Ayurvedic texts Shushrut Samhita and Ashtanga Samgraha. The two ancient texts provide information about various combinations of natural substances. In these texts, cow's urine (go mutra) is mentioned as an animal secretion with therapeutic properties. The team then heard of a product which is a distillate of go mutra called Arka. Initial research on the distillate showed it could enhance the effects of a drug. The US Patent and Trade Office has granted a patent to the team for the pharmaceutical composition containing cow's urine distillate and an antibiotic (which can be anything from an antifungal agent to an anti-cancer drug). the patent report says: "The invention relates to an absolutely novel use of cow urine distillate as activity enhancer and availability facilitator for bioactive molecules including anti-infective and anti-cancer agents."

Lord Ganesha Invoked for Cricket Players

Posted on 2002/7/21 9:49:02 ( 943 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 18, 2002: Road side temples for Lord Ganesha are a common site in this city. One temple of Lord Ganesha has now been built in the city by a cricket fan to remove obstacles in the way of the Indian cricket team. Ramakrishnan got a granite icon of Ganesh installed with the trunk pointing to the right. This is so because he believes that it helped the right-handed batsmen. Another icon has the trunk pointing to the left, which he believes helped the performance of left-handed players in the team. He claims that Ganesa changed the fortunes of Indian cricket dramatically, and the Indian team went on to win the series against Australia.

Computer Touch Screen for Meenakshi Temple

Posted on 2002/7/21 9:48:02 ( 1086 reads )


MADURAI, INDIA, July 18, 2002: The famous Sri Meenakshi Temple here will have computer touch screen facility from August 1 which will provide information regarding the temple, including its history, festival and puja rates. The screen would be open to the public from 5:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm, temple sources said. The devotees would have to pay US two cents for accessing the touch screen facility and could get details about the temple in Hindi, Tamil or English.

Diamonds First Mined in India

Posted on 2002/7/21 9:47:02 ( 1106 reads )


USA, July 16, 2002: "Diamond" comes from the Greek "adamao" meaning, "I tame" or "I subdue," according to this story which appeared on the CBS program, "60 Minutes II." The adjective "adamas" was used to describe the hardest substance known, and eventually became synonymous with diamond. Knowledge of diamond starts in India, where it was first mined. The word most generally used for diamond in Sanskrit is "vajra," "thunderbolt," and "Indrayudha," "Indra's weapon." Because Indra is the warrior God from Vedic scriptures, the foundation of Hinduism, the thunderbolt symbol indicates much about the Indian conception of diamond. Early descriptions of diamond date to the 4th century BCE. By then diamond was a valued material. The earliest known reference to diamond is a Sanskrit manuscript by a minister in a northern Indian dynasty. The work is dated from 320-296 BCE. Today diamonds are mined in about 25 countries, on every continent but Europe and Antarctica. For 1,000 years, starting in roughly the 4th century BCE, India was the only source of diamonds. Diamond production has increased enormously in the 20th century. India's maximum production, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 carats annually in the 16th century, is very small compared to the current production of around 100 million carats. Major production is now dominated by Australia, Botswana, Russia, and Congo Republic (Zaire), but South Africa is still a major producer, in both volume and value.

Christian "Cross Farming" Causes Tensions

Posted on 2002/7/21 9:46:02 ( 1072 reads )

Source: Rediff

KERALA, INDIA, July 8, 2002: The cross is continuing to be used physically by Christianity in Kerala in its centuries-old effort to seize more and more Hindu territories. Official Christian spokesperson Mathew Vadakkemuriyil publicly admitted that crosses have indeed been "set up" in forest lands in Kerala that select parishioners have occupied over the years. The admission came in the context of disclosures by land officials that the Christian encroachers could not produce titles to the precious forest tracts that they had annexed. Encroachers level the forest trees that have bred over uncountable years, sell the priceless timber and use the money to put up buildings and raise novel "cash crops." The money is also invested to build chapels and churches. Hindu writer P.R.J. Pradeep wrote that thousands of acres of land had been plundered by Roman Catholic Christians in the State over the past years. A land department official confessed that officials were helpless in stopping the plunder. He added: "They choose government holidays and arrive for the strike with arms."

Spilled Holy Ash Empties US Post Office

Posted on 2002/7/20 9:49:02 ( 994 reads )


PAOLI, PENNSYLVANIA, July 19, 2002: A leaky envelope of Hindu ceremonial ashes closed down the Paoli Post Office yesterday morning, as police and postal officials worried about anthrax. But it turned out to be just a scare. After an hour and a half evacuation, while postal inspectors confirmed that the package was not dangerous, the office resumed operation, a few minutes after 9:30 a.m. "No mail was delayed," said Debra Whyte, spokeswoman for the Postal Inspection Service. Whyte said postal workers started worrying after they noticed that a letter mailed to a local woman from a temple in India started leaking a "powdery substance" while it was bundled for delivery, about 7:55 a.m. yesterday. The workers called the police, who evacuated the building, and postal inspectors, who determined the powder was ceremonial ash from burnt wood (vibhuti, which is actually burnt cow dung). Hindu temples in America have been careful about mailing vibhuti for concern about just such an incident.

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