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Hindu Press International
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Journalist Sit Down Leads to Police Violence
Posted on 2001/1/20 22:48:02 ( 848 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 20, 2001: Members of the press from India and other countries of the world suffered abuse at the hands of the police force present at the grand Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Protesting the press facilities available at the sacred event, the journalists sit-down according to a police inspector provoked the police. Several were injured, some critically.




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Kumbh Nagari Focus of VHP Politicking
Posted on 2001/1/20 22:47:02 ( 837 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 18, 2001: Kumbh Nagari has become the focus of intense politicking over the Vishwa Hindu Parishad sponsored Dharam Sansad. The VHP is attempting to use the Maha Kumbh Mela to advance its Ram Temple agenda. By setting up a camp that towers over the camps set up by the akharas (traditional monastic orders, several with tens of thousands of monks), Shankaracharyas and assorted savants, the VHP is attracting lines of pilgrims to view the Ram temple model as 24-hour pujas and non-stop bhajanas are led by VHP-supporting sadhus. The VHP is attempting to use the association of the Kumbh to sanctify the project and win support of religious leaders at the gathering, and this is where the controversy lies. The Akhara Parishad, an apex body of the traditional orders, had decided to boycott the Dharam Sansad. The VHP has been suspected of funding several akharas to gain their support. Earlier this month three senior Shankaracharyas blasted the VHP for politicizing the issue of temple construction and dissociated themselves from the Dharam Sansad. However, the VHP's diplomatic politicking has since weakened their united stance. (see next, more recent HPI item)




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No Dharmacharyas Present
Posted on 2001/1/20 22:46:02 ( 779 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 20, 2001: After attempting to organize an event where the next Sansad would be inaugurated, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was left with a no-show by the established dharmacharyas. Thirteen major akharas refused to attend the Dharam Sansad, meeting of saints, aimed at discussing issues facing the Hindu world. Relenting somewhat in the final moments, the Akhara Parishad did allow 3 or 4 members to attend, but no Shankaracharyas were present. In the background, heads of the various monastic orders and ashrams met on their own to bring about a workable solution or strategy.




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Malaysian State Resorts to Caning to Deter Gambling
Posted on 2001/1/20 22:45:02 ( 839 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 19, 2001: By introducing the consequence of caning for delinquent acts of gambling, swearing or carrying cigarettes, Malaysia's Penang state hopes to deter the bad habits in students. Under the demerit system where 10 points brings one stroke of the cane, even dyeing hair or wearing costume jewelry can earn a student 5 points. An accumulated 50 demerits results in a one-week suspension. Education Minister Musa Mohamed told the media, "Even as a last resort, punishment should be aimed at educating." The action is contrary to numerous studies which show corporal punishment does far more harm than good to children.




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New Zealand Hindus to Celebrate Thai Pusam
Posted on 2001/1/20 22:44:02 ( 819 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, January 21, 2001: The New Zealand Hindu Temple Society will conduct Thai Pusam festival on February 6. Special rituals and pujas to Lord Subramaniya are scheduled at Leichester Hall, 20 Findlay Street, Ellersile, Auckland, New Zealand beginning at 6.00pm. All contributions go towards the temple building fund. For more details email "Source" or write to PO Box 5180, Wellesley Street, Auckland, New Zealand.




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BBC Accused Of Insensitive Coverage On Kumbha Mela
Posted on 2001/1/19 22:49:02 ( 885 reads )


Source: Associated Press





LUCKNOW, INDIA, January 18: The BBC and an independent TV station were accused by state authorities of being insensitive to Hindus when they focused their filming on scantily dressed women bathers and naked holy men at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, northern India. Sadakant, the festival commissioner alleged that the two networks misused their access to the festival by ignoring the religious significance. Sadakant said the Uttar Pradesh government has received complaints from Indians living in Britain protesting the televised coverage of the Kumbha Mela. Festival authorities have asked all the TV networks to submit footage for inspection before airing them and plan to restrict photographers and TV crews to spots at least 200 meters away from the bathing area.




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Encroaching Ashram Demolished
Posted on 2001/1/19 22:48:02 ( 865 reads )


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FARIDABAD, INDIA, January 13: In protest of the demolition of the Sidhdata Ashram, a crowd of over 1,000 devotees marched in angry protest, raising anti-government slogans and snarling traffic on major highways. On January 9, the Faridabad Administration demolished Sidhdata Ashram, a huge temple complex. While the ashram people assert that they had applied for allotment of the disputed land and the application was pending, the HUDA claimed that the application for the land's allotment had already been rejected. An HUDA official stated the ashram was issued a statutory notice to vacate the encroached land, before carrying out the demolition. They stated the ashram illegally encroached on around 6 acres of prime land and it was on this land that the administration demolished the illegal construction.




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Hindu Pundit Uplifts Community
Posted on 2001/1/19 22:47:02 ( 929 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today, Paras Ramoutar





SAN JUAN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: With Gandhian spirit Pundit Rambachan, spiritual leader of the El Socorro Hindu Temple in San Juan, uplifts the Hindu community. At 43 years of age he serves the Hindu faith tirelessly by conducting regular visits to homes, leading satsangs, offering personal guidance, and hosting a radio program. Instilling religious pride in the youth, his humanitarian approach opens the doors for a safe and peaceful nation where Pundit Rambachan's simple philosophy "Love all, serve all" and "Loving God is the quest of life" will be nurtured. His outreach ministry with the personal touch affected at least 100,000 members of the community in 1999.




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New Regulations for Biotech Industry
Posted on 2001/1/19 22:46:02 ( 725 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 17, 2001: Biotech companies that produce genetically modified foods will now have to operate under more stringent guidelines, albeit those endorsed by the companies themselves. New government rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration require companies to give four months advance notice before marketing new products. Description of the genetic modification used and any potential reactions would be posted on the internet during the FDA review. Biotech businesses are also being asked to label products as "promote biotech ingredients." Openly inviting the regulations, the industry hopes to instill confidence in the public about their products and to defer the recent negative publicity when taco shells were recalled because the gene-altered corn had not been approved for human use. By comparison, in Europe, governments have completely banned human consumption of any genetically modified foods.




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Shankaracharyas' meet to counter VHP moves
Posted on 2001/1/18 22:49:02 ( 822 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January, 16, 2001: Four Shankaracharyas are planning to announce their own sant sansad (meeting of saints) ahead of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's dharam sansad scheduled to start on January 19 at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Reports suggest that VHP leaders have become frantic for if they were to take the Shankaracharyas head-on, their claim to speak on behalf of the Hindus or their religious leaders will be compromised. The credibility of the dharam sansad will be in grave danger. At a meeting to be held January 17, a decision is expected to be taken to call a sant sansad some time later this month, said Swami Govindanand, information minister of the Akhara Parishad. Efforts were being made to ensure the participation of all the four Shankaracharyas in the sant sansad and the date is to be fixed to suit their convenience.




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Sparse Numbers at Ganga Mela
Posted on 2001/1/18 22:48:02 ( 845 reads )


Source: The Telegraph, Calcutta





MAIDAN, INDIA, January 9, 2001: Compared to the expected annual 50,000 sadhus that pilgrimage to Maiden for Ganga Sagar Mela, a mere 5,000 are present. Small numbers are attributed to the Maha Kumbh Mela, a rare sacred event coinciding with Ganga Mela this year.Volunteer organizations are disappointed with the turnout at Maidan after preparation for a larger attendance has resulted in food being wasted and accommodations being sparsely filled. Government administration employees assigned to take care of pilgrims are idle. However, each day orchestrators of the Ganga Mela patiently await the arrival of more sadhus.




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Ahmedabad May have Name Change
Posted on 2001/1/18 22:47:02 ( 1195 reads )


Source: Madhya Pradesh Chronicle





AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, January 8, 2001: Other major cities have reverted to their pre-colonial names, Bombay to Mumbai and Madras to Chennai. Now major Hindu organizations in Gujarat's city of Ahmedabad are pushing for a name change from Ahmedabad to Karnavati. Karna Deva was the name of a Hindu sovereign that defeated a tribal ruler in the 11th century and the city became known as Karnavati. Subsequently in the 1400's, a Moslem ruler named Ahmed Shah conquered the territory and the city was named after him.




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Wicca On The Rise
Posted on 2001/1/18 22:46:02 ( 854 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, January 2001: Wicca, also known as the Goddess movement, Goddess spirituality, or the Craft, appears to be the fastest-growing religion in America, according to this article in The Atlantic. It is estimated that there are now more than 200,000 adherents of Wicca and related "neopagan" faiths in the United States. Wiccans often call themselves Witches, using a capital W to distinguish themselves from the word's negative associations of Satan worship and malicious magic, or just plain pagans. They tend to be white, middle-class, and highly educated. About a third of them are men. Wiccan services have been held on at least fifteen U.S. military bases and ships.




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Makara Sankrati Comes to Houston
Posted on 2001/1/18 22:45:02 ( 859 reads )


Source: Vishwa Hindu Parishad Press Release





HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 15, 2001: More than 2,500 of Houston's Hindu children women, and men, a record number, turned out for the annual Makara Sankranti Kite Flying Celebration sponsored by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America's Houston chapter members, Gujarati Samaj of Houston and Leuva Patidar Samaj. The event correspondents to Pongal in South India and this year coincided with Swami Vivekanada's birthday. A famous kite festival occurs in India on this date.




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The Kumbha Mela Of Allahabad: A Freak Fair?
Posted on 2001/1/17 22:49:02 ( 905 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today, Francois Gautier, Correspondent





PONDICHERRY, INDIA, January 17, 2001: The Kumbha Mela, which is taking place at the moment in Allahabad, demonstrates once again to what extent Western journalism, when it is applied to India, harps on the anecdotal, the superfluous, the derogatory, deforms everything and transforms what is beautiful and noble into a show of freaks and fanatics. And wasn't that the headline of the Independent of London "A freak fair"? News agencies in Europe and the US are only interested in the photos of Hollywood stars (Madonna, Demi Moore, Richard Gere, Pierce Brosnan, etc.) who are going to descend on the Kumbha Mela, even if they will be totally lost amongst the millions of (real) devotees. Western newspapers and magazines do not know by which end to take this gigantic mela and and are content to talk about uninteresting angles: sadhus and mobile phones, luxury tents for foreigners in search of spirituality, or the "Indian nationalists" trying to capitalize on the mela. Isn't it strange that at the time of globalization and standardization of the whole world, at a time when the civilization of Coca-Cola and MTV reigns supreme from Rio de Janeiro to Manila, from Paris to Shanghai, at a time when man's collective consciousness is universally lowered to an idiotic level by American TV Soaps -- Bold and Beautiful, or Friends -- nobody in the West finds it extraordinary that eighty million souls converge by plane, by car, on horseback, on foot towards a place which they consider sacred, to pray to That which is beyond us, to this immanent Force towards which men have aspired to since millenniums? But not at all! What does the Western press do? It publishes photos of naked sadhus, or stretched out on beds of thorns; it harps on the ban of Cox & Bains unethical marketing of the mela, or speaks of the VHP's fundamentalism. Always these images which denigrate India, always this colonial superior spirit which perpetuates itself in the negative vision which Western journalists have of the Indian subcontinent.




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