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Afghan Hindus Emerge From the Shadows

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:48:02 ( 1081 reads )


KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN, February 28, 2002: Kandahar's Hindu community has dwindled from 500 families to just five. But now, with the city at peace and the Taliban of Mullah Mohammad Omar gone, Hindus say their plight has eased. "Now we are very happy," said 43 year-old Roop Chand Batija, head of Kandahar's Hindu and Sikh communities. "We hope that some of our relatives will come back. It is safe for them now." Kandahar has been a thriving commercial center for centuries. It is set in an oasis straddling ancient trade routes from South Asia to the Middle East and Europe, and once had a thriving community of Hindu and Sikh merchants and traders. Most fled in the years before the Taliban took power. Those who stayed had to endure the Taliban, who treated non-Muslims with deep suspicion and often contempt. "We had to keep ourselves to ourselves," Batija said. "The Taliban didn't allow us to celebrate festivals in public, or to play music. We were told to wear a piece of yellow cloth, so people would know we weren't Muslims." The struggle now for the Hindus and Sikhs is simply to keep their tiny communities alive. Hindus, pray daily in their temple, which they say was built when modern Kandahar was founded in the 18th century. "Most of us are old people," Batija said. "But now things are better, we hope the young will come back."

English Football Star, Wife and Son Depicted as Hindu Gods

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:47:02 ( 1001 reads )


LONDON, U. K., February 26, 2002: Celebrity couple and Manchester United football ("soccer" to the Americans) star David Beckham and his wife Victoria, have been depicted as gods for a major exhibition of Indian-influenced art. Beckham is shown sitting four-armed on a throne in a crown and robes as the Hindu Deity Siva and on his lap is his scantily-clothed wife, Victoria, as the Goddess Parvati, while their son Brooklyn becomes a trunk-less elephant God Ganesh. The artwork, by sisters Amrit and Rabindra Singh, is described by them as a "light-hearted" view of fame and will be displayed in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games which start in Manchester in June. The Singhs said their painting is a blend of traditional 17th century Eastern art and modern concepts of sport and pop. Once the exhibition has been shown in Manchester it will visit India and Canada after the games. The 36-year-old Singh sisters, both Sikh, say it's not their intention to insult Hindus. "I think it would only have been viewed as blasphemous if we were saying they were gods to be adored," said Amrit. "We are using the language of religion but it doesn't mean we are saying they are gods in a spiritual sense but in a material sense. They are figures people follow just like gods in the Hindu religion. "We take it as a positive image. They are role models. They are depicted as the ideal family within celebrity circles. It's the re-interpretation of that in terms of modern-day celebrity."

Attukal Ponglal, a Testimony to Faith

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:46:02 ( 1053 reads )


BANGALAORE, INDIA, February 25, 2002: Attukal Pongala occurs in the Malayalam month of Kumbham corresponding to February-March. Pongala is celebrated on the ninth day with star Pooram and Full Moon day (falling this year on February 27). The 10-day festival of women only in Attukal Bhagavathy temple, considered the Sabarimala of women, in Thiruvananthapuram, attracts hundreds of thousands of women from Kerala and neighboring states. On Pongala day, women gather at the temple from early in the morning. Observing strict austerities, they prepare Pongala, the sweet offering of cooked rice, jaggery and coconut, in earthen pots. The Pongala is symbolically offered to Devi, the Goddess. the festival is marked by daily musical and cultural programs. On the concluding day, they are taken out in a ceremonial procession to the Sastha shrine at Manacaud, about 1.2 miles away. The origin of the festival dates back to the period of Kannagi, heroine of the well-known Tamil literature Silappathikaaram. It is said that Kannagi, who by her wrath burned Madurai in retaliation against her husband's death, proceeded to Kerala and rested at Attukal. The local women are believed to have cooked Pongala to soothe Kannagi's rage.

Computer Dumping Polluting Asia

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:45:02 ( 1054 reads )


CALIFORNIA, February 25, 2002: Old computers are being dumped in Asia where they are releasing toxic materials into the environment says a new report. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition A report, called "Exporting Harm: The Hi-Tech Trashing Of Asia," details a group of villages in southeastern China where computers from America are picked apart and strewn along rivers and fields. The report says electronic waste is the most rapidly growing waste problem in the world, with toxic ingredients such as lead, mercury or cadmium being released into the environment. The report says that workers, with little or no protection against hazardous materials, burned plastics and circuit boards or poured acid on electronic parts to extract silver and gold. The effect was to fill the air with carcinogenic smoke and pollute the water. The campaigners said preliminary investigations in both Pakistan and India had revealed that these countries were also receiving and processing waste electronics from the West. The growing amount of computer waste is becoming an increasing problem, with millions of devices becoming obsolete each year. The report suggested that as much as 80% of America's electronic waste collected to be recycled is shipped out of the country. By publishing their report, the campaigners hope it will increase the pressure on American companies and politicians to do more to recycle computer waste.

Perth Christians Angry Over Meditation for Jail Deal

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:44:02 ( 948 reads )


PERTH, AUSTRALIA, February 24, 2002: A Christian group is outraged at a Geraldton pilot project in which lawbreakers are avoiding jail and hefty fines by instead taking Transcendental Meditation courses. Concerned Christians Growth Ministries say the meditative technique is based on the Hindu religion -- an accusation Transcendental Meditation groups deny. The meditation instead of jail trial is part of a controversial program being tested by the department for 12 months. The alternative sentencing regime uses therapy, mainly meditation, in an attempt to solve lawbreakers' problems and prevent re-offending. Ministries director, Reverend Adrian van Leon, said the meditation techniques, based on the teachings of Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was proven to be religion-based in a 1976 US District Court case. Articles written by Magistrate Dr Michael King, denied the technique was religion-based and claimed it was compatible with his own Christian religion and also with atheism. The Leederville-based Transcendental Meditation center said the technique was spiritual rather than religious.

Swiss Scholar Dedicates Life to Bali

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:43:02 ( 1057 reads )

Source: Jarkata Post

BALI, INDONESIA, February 22, 2002: A new book on Bali entitled "Bali Living in Two Worlds," was launched on February 21. The book was written by a group of aspiring Balinese writers, an architect, activists and others who are directly witnessing the rapid changes in Bali. Although 13 people contributed to the book, it would not have come about without the efforts of Swiss anthropologist and scholar Urs Ramseyer. The book is a comprehensive mosaic of current Balinese society, said Ramseyer. Since his first visit to Bali in 1972, Ramseyer has visited Bali almost every year to study and help preserve its music, dance and culture. Ramseyer produced a video on the process of weaving a sacred Penggringsingan cloth used for religious functions. Only a few Tenganan people are still capable of making this cloth which takes between five to eight years to weave. The documentary was made due to concern that the tradition would be forgotten if the younger generation of Tenganan were no longer able to acquire the weaving skill from their parents. One of Ramseyer's other legacies is the establishment of Sidemen high school in Sidemen village in 1987. Most youth in remote villages went to city centers to find schools and work in tourist centers. The villages were left empty. Unlike public schools in Bali the Sidemen school set up its own curriculum that includes cultural studies such as lontar (palm leaf inscriptions) reading, dancing, singing and gamelan music lessons. The school also gives its students knowledge of traditional medicine and other traditions.

Swami Parthasarathy's Message in Malaysia

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:42:02 ( 1029 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 25, 2002: Speaking to about 350 people at the Lakshimi Narayan Temple at Jalan Ipoh yesterday, Swami Parthasarathy said, "All actions by the individual are their own creation. It's you who impose duties and responsibilities upon yourself and you are the ultimate master of yourself." In his talk titled "We Live By choice, Not by Chance," he added, "You cannot be a good manager if you cannot manage yourself. Self-management revolves around controlling the mind and the intellect." The management guru from Mumbai is renowned for conducting The Power of Self management seminars in the United States, Europe, Australia and India. Swami Parthasarathy said, "Your mind can cause damage. If your intellect does not direct it properly, then you may make a wrong decision. Everyone's mind is pressured by desire and expectations in the world." "Pave your way in life through individual reflection and understanding. by such continuous striving, on manifold aspects of life, you develop a powerful intellect," said the swami who spoke about higher values of peace and prosperity. He added that in life it was important that one did not choose a vocation alien to one's basic nature. "If you do, you will then become mentally agitated and as a result your productivity will fail. You will not progress in life and build stress upon yourself. Unresolved, stress can lead to ill health, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other chronic problems."

India Death Toll Rises in Religious Rioting

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:49:02 ( 1003 reads )


AHMADABAD, INDIA, March 1, 2002: Chaos spread through this western Indian city Friday and the death toll over three days of Hindu-Muslim violence climbed to 251, despite patrols by hundreds of soldiers and orders for police to shoot rioters and arsonists on sight. In the worst attack, hundreds of Hindus set fire to huts in a Muslim shantytown, killing 52 people as they slept, police said. After 27 charred bodies were pulled from the ashes, an additional 25 people died in the hospital; officials said 17 were being treated for serious burns. The Hindu attacks are revenge for a Muslim attack on a train Wednesday, in which 58 people died, mostly Hindus. Gangs of Hindus blockaded roads, searched cars for Muslims and set fire to shops and homes, continuing the rampages of the day before. Victims slain Thursday lay where they fell through the night, with guns firing, fires burning and chilling mob war cries. After dawn, survivors ventured out to collect their dead and seek treatment for their wounds. People streamed into hospitals, mostly for treatment of stab wounds, but also for safety. Police opened fire at Muslims and Hindus who were tossing bombs at each other near a mosque in the suburb of Bapunagar, said Deputy Police Commissioner R.J. Savani. He said six were killed and 70 were hospitalized, but gave no further details. "All through Thursday we were busy trying to protect the Muslims from attacks from Hindus, but since this morning the retaliation has started,'' Savani said. "It has now turned to group clashes." The fiery train attack in the small town of Godhra killed 58, including 14 children; 42 others were injured, including 20 hospitalized for burns or smoke inhalation. Police said 63 people had been arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder in the train attack. The Hindu groups said that action was not enough, and called for a nationwide strike on Friday, but that did not materialize. There was little evidence of the strike or violence elsewhere, including the national capital of New Delhi, although police were out in force. Despite curfews in 36 towns in Gujarat state, there was no let up in arson, looting and assaults, prompting Muslim groups to call for direct federal rule in the state. Most of the Muslims in the shantytown of Narora, on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, had fled Thursday, fearing they would be targets of the Hindus roaming the city as police watched, unwilling or unable to stop them. But the fire sparked at 2:00 a.m. trapped sleeping shanty dwellers who stayed behind, said Deputy Police Commissioner P.B. Gondya. Seven women and eight children were among the bodies recovered. In Thursday's worst violence, 2,000 Hindus set fire to six homes in an affluent Muslim neighborhood in Ahmadabad. At least 38 people burned to death, including 12 children. Hundreds of Muslim homes, stores, hotels, and restaurants were torched or looted by the attackers. "Police can't protect each lane and bylane," said Police Commissioner P.C. Pandey, responding to criticism that thousands of police watched silently as Hindus targeted Muslims. Tensions have been growing between Muslims and Hindu nationalists who have been traveling across Gujarat by train to Ayodhya, in northern India, where the Vishwa Hindu Parishad plans to start constructing a temple next month at the birthplace of Lord Rama.

Hand-Woven Khadi Fabrics Go High Fashion

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:48:02 ( 1118 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, FEBRUARY 18, 2002: From Tuesday onwards one can buy a khadi shirt or a dress that has been tailor-made by an international designers such as Rohit Bal and Malini Romani, at the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Kolkata. Khadi is the traditional hand-spun and hand-woven cotton fabric promoted by Mahatma Gandhi. This is Khadi Village Industries Commission's (KVIC) first step to bring top dress designers for the special fashion counters that are going to open up in the main khadi stores in every state. Kolkata is the second city where such a fashion counter will open after the first was introduced in New Delhi about three weeks ago, informed the assistant director of KVIC, Kamal Chkraborty. He added that a decision was made about three months ago to spruce up the main khadi stores in every state by "going designer." Designer salwar-kurta, ladies tops, gents shirts and kurtas all made out of cotton khadi, will be available at the fashion counters.

Japan Team Visits Udupi Ayurveda college

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:47:02 ( 995 reads )


UDUPI, INDIA, February 19, 2002: Ayurveda is the best medicine system for mental health and this will be proved beyond doubt in the twenty-first century, argued Dr. Ben Hatai, Chairman of Japanese Society for Ayurveda. He was addressing a press meet at Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Ayurveda College, Kuthpady, near here on Monday. He is here with a delegation of 15 Japanese doctors to learn the panchakarma ayurvedic procedure and eye related treatments. He said ayurvedic researches are going on in Japan for the last 30 years and added that there is ample evidence to prove that ayurveda medical system existed in Japan in the seventh century. He claimed that he was the first government licensed Ayurveda practitioner in Japan and is founder of the Institute of Traditional Oriental Medicine. The tridosha diagnosing system is catching on in Japan, he added. He announced that his institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gujrat Ayurveda University for technical consultancy in preparing Ayurvedic medicines.

Writer Sought for Article on Hindu Attitudes Toward Animals

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:46:02 ( 1025 reads )


OXFORD, ENGLAND, March 1, 2002: Professor Andrew Linzey of the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, writes that he is "looking for a scholarly writer who could contribute an article (around 800 words) on Hindu Attitudes to Animals for the Animal World Encyclopedia which I am editing for Kingsley Publishing." Persons interested may e-mail him at "source" above.

Ravi Shankar Wins World Music Grammy

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:45:02 ( 1042 reads )


LOS ANGELES, USA, February 27, 2002: Legendary Indian sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar won one of music's highest awards, a Grammy, for his achievements in world music. Shankar was honored for his album "Full Circle/Carnegie Hall 2000" in the category in which he competed against artists such as Brazil's Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento and Britain's John McLaughlin for "Saturday Night In Bombay -- Remember Shakti." Shankar also saw off competition from Afro Celt Sound System for "Further In Time" in the category which recognizes traditional music.

Karnataka State Shelves Plan for 300 English Medium Schools

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:44:02 ( 1109 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, February 12, 2002: Following protests from various quarters against the education department's decision to allow setting up of about 300 English medium schools in the state, chief minister S M Krishna postponed the move announced recently because it was contrary to the state's three-language formula -- Kannada, Hindi and, most commonly, English.

Puerto Rico's Self Realization Fellowship Open House

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:43:02 ( 2063 reads )


PUERTO RICO, March 1, 2002: Among a few Hindu or Hindu-based organizations in the territory of the US is the Self Realization Fellowship. They have an open house scheduled at their San Juan Center on Sunday May 19 at noon. Retreats are held the first weekend of the month. The purpose of the open houses are to welcome new comers and give them a sense of the history and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and SRF. The Puerto Rican center of SRF at San Juan was established in the early 1950s. It is coordinated by a managing council under the direction of monastics from the international head quarters of SRF in Los Angeles, an international nonprofit organization founded in 1920 by Paramahamsa Yogananda to introduce people of all races, cultures and creeds the ancient science and philosophy of yoga and its time honored methods of meditation. Puerto Rico has a Satya Sai Mandir, a Vedanta Society, a number of yoga teachers, an ayurvedic shop and several vegetarian restaurants.

Help Update the Hindu Megatrends

Posted on 2002/2/25 8:49:02 ( 1092 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, February 25, 2002: In 1989, Hinduism Today published a list of ten "Hindu Megatrends." "Megatrends" is a term coined by futurologist John Naisbett in 1982 to name the major underlying forces that are transforming society and shaping the future. To formulate our ten Hindu megatrends more than a decade ago, we solicited the advice of prominent Hindu religious leaders, scholars, priest and business people. Now we'd like your input to update the list. To give you an idea of the list, here's the first trend, "Hindu Meekness to Hindu Pride: Though Swami Vivekananda began this trend a hundred years ago, even up to recent times Hindus were afraid to identify themselves as Hindus, or as members of a particular Hindu sect. Through the effort of many people and organizations, Hindu pride and self-confidence have replaced the self-doubt and timidness instilled during centuries of foreign rule. Native dress becomes fashionable." The remaining trends are: 2. Village to Global Awareness; 3. East Only to East and West; 4. Men Only to Men and Women; 5. Temple Decline to Temple Revival; 6. Introverted to Extroverted; 7. Limited Tools to Great Resources: 8. Colony to Superpower; 9. Agricultural to Technological: 10. Major Blows to Fewer Setbacks. Click on "source" above to go to the complete list and description, and e-mail your comments, suggestions and revisions to megatrends@hindu.org.

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