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Tamil Nadu Temple Renovations in Question

Posted on 2002/6/13 9:48:02 ( 365 reads )


RAMESWARAM, TAMIL NADU, June 10, 2002: The ancient Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram, an island on the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu, stands where Hindu pilgrims from across the country seek to wash away their sins in the 22 wells (teerthas) that dot its corridors. Not many bother to stop by and look at what's happened over the years to the legendary third corridor, the longest in India --1.2 km and 1,212 pillars -- built between 1740 and 1770. Tourism brochures still vouch for the 12th century temple's "magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. Over the years, salty sea breeze had been eating into the limestone pillars. So, its executive officer, a state government employee, simply decided to plaster them with cement. Muthaiah Sthapathi, HR&CE department's official consultant, says he was not aware of this 'Operation Cement.' "Restoration using local masons is unacceptable. Good sculptors/sthapathis must supervise such operations. The whitewashing is also wrong." Sandblasting is the other major threat. Muthaiah is against the use of this technique -- sand at high pressure is directed at the surface in combination with air or water. It destroys the fine details.

Advani: Two Hundred Policemen Died in Gujarat Riots

Posted on 2002/6/13 9:47:02 ( 1205 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, June 13, 2002: The following is excerpted from an interview in the Asia edition of Time Magazine: "Time talks with Krishna Lal Advani, India's Home Minister and the man tipped by many as the hardline hand behind Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. TIME: Why do people call you a hardliner? Advani: It's simple. These phrases, hawkish, hardliner, strongman--they make for good copy. TIME: Turning to your own portfolio, are you happy with what happened in Gujarat? [On February 27, a crowd of Muslims burned nearly 60 Hindu devotees alive in a train at Ghodra, an event that led Hindu extremists to riot across the state of Gujarat. Unofficial death tolls count more than 2,000 dead, the overwhelming majority Muslims, and the violence continues to this day.] Advani: Ghodra was horrible, but what happened afterwards was equally reprehensible. We cannot condone either. But it did give me satisfaction that the government took action against the wrongdoers. TIME: Most people would say the opposite, that the police and the state apparatus stood back and let the violence happen, and that nothing has happened to them. Advani: Nearly 200 policemen died, so I do not think there was any complicity from them. And as for [hardline Hindu nationalist Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra] Modi, if there was any evidence of his complicity or being inactive, he would have been punished. He himself offered to resign, and we all said: Why?"

The Mango, India's National Fruit, Gets Celebrated

Posted on 2002/6/13 9:46:02 ( 948 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, June 10, 2002: A little over 100 varieties of mangoes were on display as south India's biggest mango festival got under way in the Tamil Nadu town of Krishnagiri. The All-India Mango Exhibition, as the show is known, is an annual event that takes place in different parts of India. It showcases mangoes from all corners of the country. At a seminar, experts will present papers on India's national fruit. A music festival has been organized on the occasion. Authorities at Krishnagari, 400 km west of Chennai, have set up a mango park for children where all decorations resemble mangoes.

Bangladesh Hindus Protest 1972 Constitution

Posted on 2002/6/13 9:45:02 ( 1046 reads )


DHAKA, BANGLADESH, June 10, 2002: Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikkya Parishad observed Black Day all over the country yesterday. On this day in 1988, Islam as the state religion was incorporated in the Constitution of the Republic through its eighth amendment, said a press release of the organization. On the occasion, at the central Shaheed Minar the parishad organized a rally which the demanded restoration of the 72 constitution that enshrines secularism. Speakers at the rally said that secularism was one of the objectives of the Liberation War. They also condemned what they called continued communal riots in the country. Presided over by Neem Chandra Bhowmik, the rally was addressed among others by Siril Sikder, Bashu Dev Dhar and Parimal Dey.

Forum for Caribbean Hindu Unity

Posted on 2002/6/13 9:44:02 ( 1103 reads )


RICHMOND HILL, NEW YORK, June 13, 2002: The Forum for Caribbean Unity will hold a meeting Saturday, June 22, from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm at P. S. 161, 101-33 124 Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. The keynote speaker is Pujya Swami Aksharanandaji, a Hindu scholar and monk from Guyana. Other community leaders will speak. As well plans for the Siewdass Sadhu Cultural Centers in Bharat will be explained. For information, agenda and participation call Rajendra Bassit 718-441-5301.

Short Profile of India's Proposed New President

Posted on 2002/6/12 9:49:02 ( 955 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, June 11, 2002: In his first attempt, he failed the Indian Air Force pilot test. Today, he's all set to become supreme commander of all the armed forces. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Azad, age 71, former principal scientific advisor to the prime minister, is a man of few words. His is an amazing story, which begins as a young boy selling newspapers at Rameshwaram station and is now likely to continue in the corridors of Rashtrapati Bhavan. India's missile man is a reluctant interviewee. When Bombay Times caught up with him a few months ago, his first reaction was: "Why me?" The 30-minute drive from the airport to his lecture venue went in persuading him to talk, after which he agreed. The nuclear man is a simple person -- he doesn't have TV at home, refuses to read newspapers and is only accessible via the net. He never fails to tell his host not to pay for his airfare since he can avail of free air travel, thanks to his Bharat Ratna status, a high state honor. The father of the Indian missile program, Kalam has been busy with his new passion -- teaching. "I want to ignite young minds, which are a powerful resource," he says. As a boy, Kalam was enthralled by the skies. "I will fly one day," he told his mother. He was not only the first boy from Rameshwaram to fly, he also took India's defense capability to new heights. "Dream, dream, dream. Dreams are important, dreams work," he told Mumbai students. This dream has surely come true.

Fewer Hindus in Nepal's Latest Census

Posted on 2002/6/12 9:48:02 ( 984 reads )

Source: www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/210502/detFOR07.asp

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, June 11, 2002: A six-percent drop in Nepal's Hindu population in the last decade has evoked a mixed reaction in the sole Hindu kingdom. The recently published census report for 2001 shows Hindus make up 80.6 per cent of the population as against 86.5 per cent in 1991. Compared to this, the number of Buddhists rose to 10.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent while that of Muslims went up to 4.2 per cent from 3.5 per cent over the same period. During enumeration, Buddhist and kirat (tribal) organizations had called upon their people not to classify themselves as Hindus, as in the past, despite the fact that differences between them and Hindus are indistinguishable as both have common temples and festivals. The population of Christians, who numbered about 100 five decades ago, is slightly over one 100,000 today, even though conversion is illegal.

Popular Festival Hits Snag in California

Posted on 2002/6/12 9:47:02 ( 1001 reads )


FREMONT, CALIFORNIA, June 10, 2002: Some organizers of the annual Festival of India (India's independence day) celebration in Fremont suggested that the city's reluctance to grant a permit for this year's event may reflect a hint of racial discrimination. But when the dust settled, it was pretty clear to both sides that the festival's biggest problem was its own success. If the city approves the latest proposal, the Festival of India will be held again in the parking lot of Fremont's Hall of Justice this year, but with some drastic changes. The festival will run for only one day instead of two. The second day's events -- cultural dances, a banquet and an appearance by Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan -- will be held at the San Jose Convention Center, said festival sponsor Dr. Romesh Japra, president of the Federation of Indo-American Associations of the Bay Area. Since the August celebration began nine years ago, each festival has grown a little larger. But planning for the event, which attracts crowds as large as 70,000 people and is one of the largest Indian festivals in the United States, has not kept pace. The lack of a comprehensive plan loomed large on closing night last year when a poorly organized concert nearly caused a stampede. The concert fiasco was the last straw for many city officials, who had privately complained for years about the lack of planning for the increasingly popular festival. Organizers also didn't understand -- or honor -- their permit's requirement to close the festival by 9:00 p.m. Instead, much to the chagrin of nearby residents, they started the concert at 9:00 p.m. Despite the logistical problems and zero-tolerance policy adopted by the city, many Indian immigrants view Fremont as the center of life in the Bay Area's Indian community. And the festival is a key staple of Indian culture brought to America. While the Festival of India, which features ethnic cuisine, dance, art and cultural exhibits, will remain in Fremont this year, there is little chance the festival will be held in the city next year unless a larger venue is selected.

Francois Gautier in Boston

Posted on 2002/6/12 9:46:02 ( 1082 reads )


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, June 12, 2002: The Hindu Students Council and NetOHM- Boston announces that Francois Gautier will discuss "Misrepresentations of India by Indian and Western Media" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, July 6. Francois Gautier, who has lived in India for 30 years, is a French journalist, the correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France's largest circulated newspaper. He has published "Rewriting Indian History" and "Arise O India." For more information please contact "source" above.

Nuclear Scientist Likely to be India's Next President

Posted on 2002/6/11 9:49:02 ( 876 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, June 11, 2002: India's governing coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, has chosen a leading defense scientist and a Muslim, A P J Abdul Kalam, as its new presidential candidate. The selection of the man who headed India's guided missile program and nuclear weapons tests four years ago follows days of intense deliberations by coalition leaders. Analysts say that Mr. Kalam's nomination is an attempt by the NDA to ensure a presidential election free of bitter party rivalry. Mr Kalam would become India's third Muslim president, a largely ceremonial post, if elected in next month's poll. The voting is done by the several thousand legislators of all States and the Federal government.

Heart Disease May Be More Prevalent in Hindus

Posted on 2002/6/11 9:48:02 ( 1033 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 2, 2002: A recent study conducted by a team from the Department of Medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi National Institute of Medical Sciences would seem to indicate that Hindus are more likely to develop coronary heart disease than Muslims. Upon closer scrutiny of the subjects used to determine these results, it was determined that 1,415 males and 797 females participated in the study. The report said, "Among the males 1,092 were Hindus and 272 Muslims, while of the females, 685 were Hindus and 91 Muslims." Dr. Anoop Misra, a visiting faculty at the centre for Human Nutrition, University of Texas South Western Medical Centre said, " A proper sample size was needed and any conclusion could be drawn only by doing a case central study, say taking 200 each of Muslims and Hindus, and comparing them with another population." Dr. Misra further adds that a study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India comparing CHD in 1000 adults indicated, "The prevalence per 1000 adults was 47.3 in Sikhs, lowest in Muslims at 22.8 and nearly identical in both Hindus and Christians at 31.8 and 31.2 respectively." The difference in CHD among the religious groups could not be explained.

Badrinath Shrine Goes Green

Posted on 2002/6/11 9:47:02 ( 988 reads )


DEHRADUN, INDIA, June 2, 2002: A pilgrim visiting the famous Badrinath shrine will now take prasad, blessed food, home in an environmentally friendly basket made of bamboo. The temple committee has ordered 5,000 baskets from the Rooria community. Anil Joshi, director of a NGO associated with the project said, "The idea behind this step is to create a souvenir for thousands of pilgrims visiting Badrinath, open a new source of income for the Rooria community, and revive traditional art skills." The bamboo baskets replace plastic bags that have proven harmful to the environment. Prevalent use of plastic has deprived the community of an income source.

Gujarat Government Says No Funds To Be Provided for Rebuilding Religious Shrines

Posted on 2002/6/11 9:46:02 ( 896 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, June 9, 2002: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in a change of policy, has said that the government would provide no funds for rebuilding the shrines that were damaged in the post-Godhra riots. Contrary to his assurances to the Minorities Commission and Muslim leaders last month, the Chief Minister has now claimed that giving money for such a purpose was against India's constitution. Modi, who met about 100 representatives from the riot-hit areas of Naroda Patiya, Best Bakery and Panwad on Friday, was back to his earlier stand that nonpolitical organizations would be involved in raising funds for rebuilding damaged shrines, mostly Muslim places of worship and teaching.

Fourth Annual National Gandhi Day of Service

Posted on 2002/6/11 9:45:02 ( 1042 reads )


USA, June 11, 2002: On October 5, 2002, your organization can join the Foruth Annual National Gandi Day of Service. To register send an email to "source" above. The goal of the day of service is for the prosperous South Asian Community in America to give back to their community, to integrate themselves into the community, to follow Mahatma K. Gandi's example of tireless service and to have fun. Past volunteers have planted trees, supported victims of domestic violence, cleaned parks and served at local soup kitchens.

Amarnath Pilgrims to Get Insurance Coverage

Posted on 2002/6/8 9:49:02 ( 972 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, June 6, 2002: The state government is thinking of allowing those who want to undertake the Amarnath pilgrimage to register their names through any of the branches of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank spread all over the country. Besides registration, there is a move to insure pilgrims for US$1,042 against death or physical disability suffered during the course of the pilgrimage through Metlife of J&K Bank. There will be a one-time premium of $0.42 for this insurance cover. The proposal is to make this facility available at all the 80 branches of the bank spread all over the country In the past, people were required to report at Jammu for registration and permission to undertake the pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave. Even if a counter would be functioning at Kashmir House in Delhi, there would be a law and order problem at the registration counter in Jammu. According to district development commissioner (DDC) Abdul Hamid Allaqaband, the yatra would commence on July 22 and end on August 22 with the carrying of Chadi Mubarak from Srinagar to the holy cave on Raksha Bandhan. Most of the pilgrims are allowed by the government to take the Pahalgam route. The Baltal route terrain is difficult and only some of the pilgrims take the Baltal route in Sonmarg. The DDC said the Baltal route track would be barricaded and fenced by iron-chains this year. Besides, the pony track would be widened. He said the joint control room of the core group will start functioning from July 10 at Ganderbal, Manigam, Kangan and Sonmarg Baltal. Hamid said that the number of pilgrims who take the Baltal route may go up to 1,500 this year from 800 last year. The yatra officer will earmark space for langers (kitchens) so that there is no confusion in setting up kitchens along the route, said Hamid.

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