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Seven Killed in Terrorist Attack in Udhampur

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:49:02 ( 1127 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, April 8, 2002: Heavily armed terrorists shot dead seven Hindus, including two women and their daughters, and lobbed grenades on some houses in a village in Udhampur district on Sunday night after a fierce gun battle with the members of the Village Defence Committee (VDC), official sources said on Monday. The slain Hindus have been identified as Shoba Ram, Ganpati Devi and her six-year-old daughter Santosh, Lal Devi and her four-year-old daughter Srishtu Devi, Shanker Dass and Somi Lal. Three more Hindus, including a girl, were injured in the firing. The terrorists later lobbed grenades at some houses as a result of which ten houses were gutted. Though no terrorist outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, intelligence sources said it could be the handiwork of either Jaish-e-Mohammed or Lashker-e-Taiba.

Plan to Restore Thaipusam 'Spirit in Malaysia

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:48:02 ( 1104 reads )

Source: Press Release

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 7, 2002: The National Hindu Advisory board will be drafting guidelines on proper religious practices during the annual Thaipusam festival, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president A Vaithilingam stated. He said the Malaysia Hindu Sangam had received numerous complaints that the festival, celebrated during the full moon in the month of Thai in the Hindu calendar, has become commercialized rather than a period of spirituality. About one million people, including tourists, converge at the Sri Subramaniam Temple in Batu Caves, while thousands attend the Thaipusam celebrations in temples nationwide. Vaithilingam said there were complaints of high charges for archana (individual prayer ceremony), the carrying of kavadi and milk pots during the festival in Batu Caves, and calls to cut down the number of stalls and restrict them to selling religious paraphernalia. He said that although Hindu devotees or temples were not obligated to follow the guidelines, he hoped they would carry them out in the interest of the religion. The board comprises 15 members including three Hindu swamis. Vaithilingam said the board had been meeting regularly to discuss the proper ways to conduct prayers in temples, following a uniform Hindu calendar, overcoming the shortage of priests and drawing up the guidelines.

Top US Peace Award for Ela Gandhi

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:47:02 ( 1107 reads )


DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, April 7, 2002: Member of Parliament Ela Gandhi will walk in the footsteps of her famous grandfather when she becomes the ninth recipient of a prestigious international prize on Friday. Gandhi, a Hindu, was named as the recipient of the Community of Christ International Peace Award in December last year by the church group, based in Independence, Missouri. She will receive a bronze sculpture and a cash prize of $26,500, to be given to charities of her choice, at the organization's world conference. According to the organization's official website, the award is among the top seven peace awards in the US and one of the top 20 in the world. "The award is special because it is given to me by a Christian organization and I am Hindu. Yet, they have acknowledged the work I have done to promote inter-faith dialogue in South Africa," said Gandhi. The website said she had been recognized for her "non-violent commitment to overthrow apartheid in South Africa, her passion for working to overcome poverty and assist the vulnerable, and her work to build understanding among world religions." On Tuesday, Gandhi will visit the United Nations in New York where she and family members of the late Martin Luther King will present the Gandhi King Non-Violence Award. In Missouri, she will be hosted by several schools and women's groups and will also be honored by the mayor of Kansas City at a special ceremony.

New Jersey Children to Perform Play in Sanskrit

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:46:02 ( 1121 reads )


EDISON, NEW JERSEY, April 10, 2002: The Edison Balagokulam (children's school) is celebrating second anniversary of monthly Ramayan paat by Ramayan Mahilaa Samiti, New Jersey, on April 20, according to this announcement by Ramachandra Kamath ("source" above). During this celebration there will be a Ramayan play by 33 children, aged between 10 months and 11 years, with dialogues in Sanskrit, songs in Hindi and Sanskrit and narration in English. Please inform your friends and family and join us in encouraging our future generation to preserve our rich and powerful culture. There will be displays related to Ramayana. The event takes place at the Durga Mandir in Kendal, New Jersey. For more information, contact Ramachandra Kamath at "source" above, or phone at 908-822-1335.

Houston Student 2002 Jefferson Award Winner

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:45:02 ( 1260 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, April, 5, 2002: A Houston Clear Lake High School student from the South Asian community has been recognized for her "outstanding public service" and has won the Jefferson Award for Community Service for the year 2002. Shruti Iyer was nominated for this prestigious award, considered the Nobel Prize of Volunteering, by the Scoliosis Association Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida. She is being honored for her exemplary community service in local, national and international stratas. An exceptionally gifted vocalist and violinist in the Karnatic style of music and a student of Lalgudi G. J. R. Krishnan and Vittal Ramamurthi, Shruti played regularly at hospitals as well as nursing homes, bringing music into the lives of patients. An avid artist, she has had her pastel artwork made into greeting cards benefitting the Scoliosis Association. Shruti has done extensive research in ways of reducing and eliminating musculoskeletal pain in children with idiopathic scoliosis and in those without scoliosis, making a significant impact globally. Shruti has also been profiled by the American Journal of Public Health, which hailed her as public health activist and a global researcher. Shruti is the daughter of Ravi and Hema Iyer.

Dance Expressions Portray Role Models for South Asian Women

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:44:02 ( 1139 reads )

Source: New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 4, 2002: Trained in the classical dance art forms of Manipuri, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali from a very young age, Dr. Ananya Chatterjea now uses the dance form of Odissi to express strong woman characters with integrity and high self-esteem. " I think societies are generally afraid of women who are confident, intelligent and in charge of their lives. That is why inhuman practices have been instituted against them in societies across the world, " she says. As artistic director of Women in Motion (a performing company of South Asian women artists) in the United States, Ananya has been able to use the Indian classical Odissi dance to perform art centered around contemporary issues such as how women of color despite everyday struggles are able to assert themselves in as dignified manner. In 1978, she directed a hit performance centered around "A Wife's Letter," a suicide note by a young woman living in Hyderabad. Ananya inspired and instilled confidence in women and children from the surrounding community. Dr. Chatterjea has also portrayed women characters from the Hindu epics such as the Ramayana in a different manner. For example, Sita is depicted as a leader in peace movements. By these depictions, Ananya hopes to create images of strong, confident women as role models for South Asian women.

Beer-Bearing Ganesha Protested in UK

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:43:02 ( 977 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, April 7, 2002: A section of nonresident Indians in the UK are up in arms against the use of the image of Lord Ganesha as a carrier and advertiser of beers. The objectionable photograph appeared under the title "Indian Summer Food and Drink" depicted in the Sunday Observer today shows Lord Ganesha carrying a glass of pale ale in one hand and showing the initials IPA (a beer called "India Pale Ales") in the third of the four-armed image. A spokesman of the Leicester-based Hindu community said the advertisement was bad in taste and affected the religious feelings of Hindus. The write-up under the image said, "As everyone who has stepped inside a pub knows, the hunger created by a few pints can be extinguished only by a meal from the Indian subcontinent."

18th International Ramayana Conference Announced

Posted on 2002/4/10 9:42:02 ( 1145 reads )

Tiruvannamalai Preparing for Kumbabhishekam

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:49:02 ( 1132 reads )

Source: The Hindu

TIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA, April 3, 2002: With the kumbabhishekam, or rededication blessing, of the Sri Arunachaleswara Temple scheduled for June 27, a major portion of the renovation of the sannadhis (structures housing the individual deities), the gopurams (entrance towers) and the Ayirankal Mandapam (1000-pillared hall) has been completed. The kumbabhishekam, to be performed after a gap of 26 years, will follow the the four-year long renovation project. For the first time, panchavarnam (five-color painting) has been done for all the sannadhis. A Narpathinaalu Kal Mandapam (44-pillared hall) is being constructed in front of the eastern gopuram to replace the Padhinaru Kal Mandapam (16-pillared hall), destroyed in a fire five years ago. The entire work is expected to be completed in another 15 days, according to P Jayaraman, executive officer of the temple.

Software for Temple Management Launched

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:48:02 ( 1192 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, April 6, 2002: Ganati, a temple management software was launched by Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi and Mediateck on Saturday. Greater responsibilities of religious institutions that function as trusts or government bodies brought about the development of this software. Ganati was developed to bring in efficiency and transparency in various functions of the temple such as administration, transactions, manpower availability, fund flow, etc. At the launch on Saturday, his Holiness Sri Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji of Sri Pejawar Mutt was the chief guest. According to officials at Mediateck, Ganati will specifically address billing and accounting procedures, documentation of hundi collections, inventory management of utility articles to valuable ornaments, as well as stores maintenance to purchases, HR functions and trust affairs as part of the everyday temple procedures. The software has already been implemented at the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Sanjaynagar.

Report from Puerto Rico

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:47:02 ( 1120 reads )


PUERTO RICO, USA, April 4, 2002: Mathangi Sundararajan ("source" above) sends the following items from Puerto Rico: 1. Swami Yogatmananda, who is at present minister in charge of Vedanta Society of Providence, Rhode Island, USA, visited the island for three days from March 23rd to 26th and addressed formal and informal groups. He left a deep impression in the hearts of many. 2. Swami Atmaroopamanda of the Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely, located in the town of Stone Ridge in the state of New York, US, and currently the Spiritual Director of the Vedanta society of Puerto Rico will be touring the island from April 11 to 16. He will give a formal lecture at Hato Rey on mantra yoga.There will be a informal gathering with question and answer section at Caguas. On the last day, April 15, there will be an early morning meditation, puja and devotional singing to complete the tour. 3. Recently the Satya Sai Baba devotees conducted a program of visiting an old folks home in San Juay, the territory's capital. They donated a large amount of rice to the home, spent time with the residents and helped with chores.

Doubt, Shock Greet Cloning Pregnancy

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:46:02 ( 1108 reads )


LONDON, UK, April 6, 2002: Scientists reacted with skepticism and shock to a report that a woman taking part in a controversial human cloning program for infertile couples was eight weeks pregnant. Italian fertility specialist Severino Antinori, who last year announced his intention to create the world's first human clone, has been quoted as saying one woman in his program was pregnant -- but he has since refused to confirm or deny this. "Our project is at a very advanced stage. One woman among the thousands of infertile couples in the program is eight weeks pregnant." It was unclear if Antinori had clearly stated that the woman's pregnancy was a result of cloning. There was no information as to where the woman was, or from whom the alleged foetus was cloned, if it was. Cloning and fertility experts expressed strong doubts over the report. Dr Ehab Kelada, clinical director at the London Fertility Centre, said Antinori must clarify the report immediately. "The scientific community will be very alarmed," he said. "It is shocking. We don't know how safe cloning is for humans and it is dangerous to embark on this path without proper regulations or guidelines."

Corporal Punishment Banned in Andhra Pradesh Schools

Posted on 2002/4/9 9:45:02 ( 1277 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, April 2, 2002: The state government of Andhra Pradesh has recently issued a government order banning corporal punishment in schools. School education secretary I. V. Subba Rao said, "Imposition of corporal punishment was not in keeping with a child's dignity, and it is cruel to subject a child to physical violence in school in the name of discipline and education." This newest government order replaces an earlier one issued in 1966 that had allowed a provision for corporal punishment such as six hits with a cane on the hand of a student. Completely prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment, the new GO also outlines that offenders are liable for prosecution under the Indian Penal Code. Teachers unions in the state as well as students have been asking for a new GO eliminating corporal punishment. Panchayat Raj Teachers Union president B. Mohan Reddy said, "The ban will help cement the bond between the teachers and the students."

Gujarat Hindus Taunted With Bangles

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:49:02 ( 994 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, April 8, 2002: Intelligence reports from various districts in Gujarat reveal that Hindu activists are stoking the communal tension prevailing in the state by sending bangles to cadres in areas where the level of violence did not match the death and mayhem witnessed elsewhere in the state. The gift of women's bangles are meant as an insult, an accusation of cowardice. Perhaps as a consequence, in the past few days, new areas -- like Gomtipur in Ahmedabad city and Ankwaleshwar in Baruch district -- have seen a sharp increase in violence. Bangles have also reportedly been sent to Kutch and Saurashtra. Intelligence reports indicate that the radical Muslim Students Islamic Front of India (SIMI) has begun cashing in on the anti-Muslim activities. The organization has been earning a good name by offering sanctuary to Muslims being cleansed out of Hindu-dominated areas.

Tourists to Follow Vivekananda's Steps

Posted on 2002/4/8 9:48:02 ( 989 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, April 6, 2002: The tourism ministry is considering a move to start a "Vivekananda Yatra" for tourists, which would encompass all the places Swami Vivekananda visited spreading his message, Union culture and tourism minister Jagmohan announced. The minister was speaking at the annual convocation of the Ramakrishna Institute of Culture. "In these troubled times, it is through spreading words of wisdom like Swami Vivekananda's messages that sanity can return," Jagmohan said. The circuit shall encompass almost the entire country. "Swamiji had visited almost all important places in the country, so it is very difficult to select the places. but we shall finalize the circuit soon," he said.

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