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Mass Marriages Encouraged in Lucknow

Posted on 2002/5/21 9:47:02 ( 991 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, May 19, 2002: More than 300 girls and boys in the city submitted applications for the match-making process which was conducted at the Sahu Shital Dharmasala on Sunday. The program, organized by the Sahu Rathod Mahila Chetna Samiti, aims at making the marriage ceremony less expensive though the holding of mass marriages. For parents with low incomes, marriages are a big economic problem. The Samiti has organized trips to rural and semi-urban areas of the state to motivate families to save on unnecessary expenditures during marriages and to enroll them in the program. The Samiti charges US$167 from the boy and the girl to arrange for the ceremony, ornaments, bridal wear, furniture and other essentials. Last year, the Samiti arranged eight marriages. This year they made a decision to invite more boys than girls to submit their names for match-making, in order to provide the girls a better selection for a life-partner. As a result, about two hundred boys and one hundred girls applied.

Karnataka Temple Priests Face Exams

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:49:02 ( 1287 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, May 12, 2002: Hindu temple priests in Karnataka have to now qualify by passing an examination in Agama Shastra, including Sanskrit chanting and performance of rituals. This is according to the new rules drafted by the Muzrai officials under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Trust Act of 1997 which received presidential assent in December. The Muzrai department is in charge of Hindu temple trusts in the state. Muzrai Minister Suma Vasanth told The Times of India that the draft rules have been referred to the law department and the opinion of the association of priests is also being sought. Priests are required to undergo an orientation course in chanting of mantras conducted by any private Veda school and obtain a certificate. "However, those who have crossed 40 years of age are exempted from these rules,'' she added. Asked what prompted the department to come out with such a rule now, Vasanth said experts noticed some discrepancies on the part of some priests in a few temples in chanting of mantras.

Kedarnath and Badrinatha Temples Open After Winter

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:48:02 ( 1083 reads )

Source: The Hindu

GOPESHWAR, UTTARANCHAL, INDIA, May 17, 2002: The shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath in the Garhwal Himalayas opened today after winter amid chanting of Vedic hymns and blowing of conches. This is the first time that the doors of the two shrines were opened on the same day for pilgrims. The famed temples, high in the Himalayas, are closed off during winter because of heavy snowfall.

Non-Resident Indian Meeting in New York Seeks Peace in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:47:02 ( 1136 reads )

Source: Press Release

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 12, 2002: A group of thirty-five non-resident Indians from all parts of the United States met for three days from Friday, May 10, to Sunday, May 12, to discuss the massacre of thousands of people in Gujarat and how to restore peace and end to killings in their motherland. The meeting was attended by delegates from California, Michigan, Washington D C, Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. A highlight of the meeting was a presentation of first hand testimony with slides of Gulbarg society of Ahmedabad, where 160 innocent men, women and children were burnt alive by a Hindu mob. The group condemned the killing of all innocent people in the Godhra train burning incident as well as the massive attack on Muslim population and property in Ahmedabad, Baroda and elsewhere in the state. They have vowed to work for restoration of communal harmony, reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims and members of all faiths and not rest until the guilty are brought to justice and secular values are restored in the country. They have announced the goal of raising US$1 million to provide relief and rehabilitation assistance to the over 100,000 survivors herded in over 100 refugee camps in cities and villages of over 20 districts in Gujarat. A national steering committee will coordinate the activities of five separate working committees for fundraising, media, community outreach, research and long-term planning committee from New York and Washington D C. For further information, contact: Najrna Sultana, East Lansing, Michigan 48826-0707 USA. Phone: 212-319-3233.

VHP Recruits Preachers in Kerala

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:46:02 ( 1147 reads )


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, May 9, 2002: The VHP is recruiting dharma pracharaks (preachers) in Kerala to offset the work of Christian missionaries in the area. Interested parties are requested to apply to the VHP's Kochi office. "There are around 29,000 Christian missionaries in Kerala, while Hindu sadhus and sants add up to only around 400," VHP organizing secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said. "There is a cultural and spiritual vacuum we want to fill." The VHP plans to begin by recruiting 100 pracharaks, each of whom would be sponsored. After being trained for a month in the epics, Vedas and Upanishads, the missionaries will fan out to the state's remote corners.

2002 Summer Hindu Heritage Camp in India

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:45:02 ( 1121 reads )


KARNATAKA, INDIA, May 15, 2002: The Vikasan Foundation is organizing a summer camp for Hindu children from the US between the ages of 12 and 18, to be held at gurukulas, traditional religious schools, throughout Karnataka. Through the gurukula system the organizers hope to blend the Vedic wisdom of the ancients with the technology of the modern, namely computers/internet. The camp is being billed as a one of a kind, unique and wonderful opportunity to attend a summer camp that exposes US-raised Hindu children to the vast heritage of the Hindu culture. Daily activities will include yoga classes, Sanskrit chants, group activities and Indian games. Indian art workshops and performances are being planned for the campers, as well as field trips to historic sites in Karnataka. For more details on the summer camp and the Vikasan Foundation click on "source" above.

Christian Colleges Dominate Education in India

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:44:02 ( 1082 reads )

Source: India Today

DELHI, INDIA, May 18, 2002: A recent India Today has rankings of the top 10 colleges in India in various disciplines. While the exact rankings are not very significant, what is noteworthy is the large number of top-ranked colleges run by Christian --mostly Catholic -- organizations, even though Christians are just a few percent of the population. Five out of the top ten art schools are Christian-run, six of the top ten science schools and four of the top ten commerce schools.

Ten Years of Hinduism Today Goes Online

Posted on 2002/5/18 9:43:02 ( 1007 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, May 18, 2002: Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the addition of ten years to its on-line archives, from 1979 through to 1989. Click "source" above to reach the archives, and scroll down for the earlier years. The magazine hopes to complete its archives, which currently have a gap from 1990 to 1993, within a few months. Click your way through the years and explore the history of Hinduism as it unfolded to our readers.

Kailas Pilgrimage Route Cut by Landslides

Posted on 2002/5/17 9:49:02 ( 1140 reads )


UTTARANCHAL, INDIA, May 16, 2002: The Kailash-Mansarovar route along the Pithoragarh-Dharchoola road in Uttaranchal has been cut off following landslides triggered by heavy rains disrupting vehicular traffic, officials said in Pithoragarh on Thursday. Heavy rains, accompanied by a hailstorm, lashed Pithoragarh district on Wednesday evening causing the landslides, which blocked a four-metre stretch of the road, they said. Pithoragarh District Magistrate Rajiv Joshi told PTI that Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel were working round the clock to clear the landslides. BRO officials said it would take about one week to clear the road for heavy traffic. No casualties have been reported in the area, Joshi added. Landslides along this route are common and one year resulted in the death of many pilgrims. Indian citizens are allowed to enter China to reach Kailas by this road, while nationals of other countries trek through Nepal.

Maneka Gandhi Halts "Horse Sacrifice"

Posted on 2002/5/17 9:48:02 ( 1111 reads )


ORISSA, INDIA, May 17, 2002: A scheduled "horse sacrifice" in the village of Juna Padia, about 430 km southwest of Calcutta was stopped by India minister of Minister for Culture and Animal Care, Maneka Gandhi. She, along with local officials, confiscated the horses. The Washington Times ("source" above) and the South China Morning Post reported April 15 that the sacrifice, scheduled for March 29, had actually occurred, but in a direct communication to HPI, Gandhi said it had not. Other details of these questionable news reports could not be independently confirmed. The kings of ancient India occassionally performed the sacrifice as a demonstration of their power, but there is no provision in scripture for anyone but a king to perform it.

India Considers Vegetarian Label Policy

Posted on 2002/5/17 9:47:02 ( 1144 reads )


DELHI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Officials in India are considering categorizing and labeling all cosmetics and personal hygiene products as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The practicalities of implementing the idea are now being considered by a technical committee and the courts. Many Hindus in India are strictly vegetarian for religious reasons -- and some pro-Hindu political groups often express concern about non-vegetarian ingredients in food, especially products imported from the West. If approved, all personal hygiene products and cosmetics would be tested by officials, categorized as vegetarian and non-vegetarian and labeled accordingly. Advocates of the plan stress that consumers have the right to make an informed choice. Critics cite the effect on business, particularly on imports and exports, and the expense of comprehensive testing and labeling. A similar plan to categorize medicines in the same way was earlier rejected, partly, from concerns that if critical drugs were classed as non-vegetarian, strict vegetarians might be deterred from accepting them.

Tiruvannamalai Temple Renovation Nears Completion

Posted on 2002/5/17 9:46:02 ( 1096 reads )

Source: The Hindu

TIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Ninety percent of the renovation work has been completed on the famed Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiruvannamalai and arrangements are being made for the kumbhabhishekam, or rededication ceremony, to be held on June 27. Presiding over a meeting on Saturday to review the arrangements for the kumbhabhishekam, PC Ramasamy, Minister for the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, estimated the total cost of the renovation work at US$865,000. Funding for the renovation included specific contributions from donors and a special renovation fund created through general contributions. The "Alankara Mandapam" was constructed with the help of a grant from the government. Meetings are being conducted regularly to review the progress of the various works undertaken by the departments of health, PWD and highways, and local agencies to provide infrastructure and amenities to the pilgrims. The temple's last kumbhabhishekam was held 25 years ago. Nearby the temple is the ashram of Ramana Maharshi.

South India Dance Gets Center Stage in Geneva

Posted on 2002/5/17 9:45:02 ( 1102 reads )


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 17, 2002: From May 8 to November 17, 2002, the Musee d'ethnographie of Geneva Switzerland presents Bharatanatyam: The Dance of the Gods. The exhibit, the first of its kind in Europe, includes interactive displays, workshops and dance performance by Manjula Lusti Narasimhan and her school Silambam a Geneve. At the exhibit the museum launches its newest publication (in collaboration with Adam Biro), "Bharatanatyam, la Danse Classique de l'Inde", a 176-page book of the dance by Manjula Narasimahan with photos by Johnathan Watts. See "source" above for museum hours, dance performance dates and for information on how to order the book.

Gunmen Kill 30, Including Ten Children, in Kashmir

Posted on 2002/5/16 9:49:02 ( 1118 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 17, 2002: In one of the deadliest attacks India has witnessed in recent years, three men disguised in army fatigues killed 30 people and wounded 48 with sprays of automatic gunfire in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim. The attack could provoke a military retaliation by India, which massed troops on the border after it blamed Pakistan-based militants for a suicide attack on its Parliament last December. In the attack, which took place at Kaluchak, on the outskirts of Jammu, Kashmir's capital, the gunmen first opened fire on a busload of people, killing seven. They killed 23 more people, including 10 children, most of them ages 7 to 10, who were in a camp for families of the soldiers. The assailants were killed by soldiers in an hours-long siege. Indian intelligence officials said the attack was probably carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of two Pakistan-based militant groups that they also accused in the December attack on Parliament, which left 14 people dead.

Hindu Nationalists are Enlisting India's Poor

Posted on 2002/5/16 9:48:02 ( 1068 reads )


ANDOLI, INDIA, May 16, 2002: This New York Times article is an example of the Western media picking up the biases of the Indian press. Originally HPI had not planned to include it, but as several readers mentioned it to us in both a positive and negative light, we include it here in part: "Just beyond the bustle of this nation's capital, is a microcosm of some of India's most destitute: children from pockets of poor. The nearly 300 boys here at the Sewa Dham school, most of them from what are called the tribal belts of central and northeastern India, hew to a rigorous daily schedule from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. They learn Hindu chants in the ancient language, Sanskrit. They are taught to give up their meat-eating ways and to become vegetarians. Patriotic to some, frightening to others, this school represents a central project of the increasingly militant and powerful Hindu right in this country. It is substantially bankrolled by Indians in the United States and run by a charity affiliated with the oldest and most prominent of the Hindu nationalist groups, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the National Voluntary Service, known as the R.S.S. Education is a centerpiece of the Hindu revivalist campaign, which is natural, considering its cause: to build a Hindu nation out of what is officially a secular country with rights accorded to religious minorities."

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