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US Religious Organizations Love the Internet
Posted on 2000/12/20 22:46:02 ( 843 reads )


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WASHINGTON, DC, December, 2000: The Pew Internet and American Life Project surveyed over 1,000 congregations to see to what extent they're using the Internet for religious work. The survey found that churches are using the Internet to offer virtual tours of their grounds, webcast their services, and post church bulletins, allowing consumers to shop for churches, just as they shop for goods, online. Clergy surveyed often turn to the Internet to get material for sermons, church-education programs and their own personal devotions. Most of the sites are made by members of the congregations. Although not part of the survey, many Hindu churches and temples around the world maintain websites.




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Encroachment and Mining Threaten Tribal Lands
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:49:02 ( 913 reads )


Source: Outlook Magazine





NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 20, 2000: The government has secretly initiated a move to open up tribal-owned properties for acquisition and commercial exploitation, according to a report in the leftist "Outlook" magazine. The Union ministry of mines has put up a note marked "secret" -- No16/48/97-M.VI -- for the committee of secretaries to encourage an amendment to the constitution's fifth schedule which covers tribal land. The amendment would circumvent a Supreme Court ruling of 1997 that any lease or license to non-tribals as "absolutely void and impermissible." The move has set off angry reactions and threats of protest in Jharkhand and several states which will be affected. De-reservation of tribal land and rehabilitation of those displaced has always been a tricky issue. By official estimates only one-fourth of all tribals displaced between 1951 and 1990 by government projects, in the name of "national interest," have been resettled. It is feared that once tribal land is opened up to mining companies, large-scale displacement of people will occur.




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RSS Disapproves of Small Families
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:48:02 ( 795 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, December 17, 2000: Even as the country struggles with the challenges of over-population, the RSS strongly disapproves of "small families." As noted in their recently prepared booklet, to be distributed during a month-long, door-to-door campaign in Northern India, the RSS attributes the rising number of unwed mothers to increased use of condoms and other family planning methods. Citing some American high schools where infant care is provided for young student's babies, as examples of condom use leading to pre-marital sex, they encourage people not to follow Western ways. They believe a desire for independence on the part of the young in these small familes has lead to an increase in old-age homes, as the children are unwilling to care for their aged parents.




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The Search for the River Saraswati
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:47:02 ( 875 reads )


Source: The Times of India





NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 13, 2000: Establishing the location of the Saraswati River alluded to in ancient Indian religious literature would authenticate its existence as a mighty Himalayan river. Over 160 Indus sites were nurtured by the Saraswati, far from the Indus River Valley. Now satellite photos and ground studies of clay, silt, sand and gravel deposits establish the course of the river from the Himalayan foothills to the Sind gulf. This enormous river, over five miles across from shore to shore, changed its course four times always in a westerly direction. Initially flowing from the Himalayas in a south-west direction about 4000 bce, the Saraswati disappeared sometime between 2000 bce and 1500 bce With the disappearance of the Saraswati River and the migration it caused, the Ganges and Indus River populations became the central focus towards the end of the early Vedic period.




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Sanskrit for Madonna's Wedding
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:46:02 ( 849 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, December 19, 2000: Madonna's wedding may assume a multicultural flare at Skibo castle in Scotland on December 22. A Hindi scholar has been asked to provide Sanskrit prayers for the ceremony and Reverend Susan Brown, the first women minister in a British cathedral, will be conducting the marriage. A senior Hindu leader in London told India Abroad News Service, "Madonna is well known to have respect for Sanskrit and for Hindu beliefs, and she is a dedicated yoga practitioner."




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Plea For Entry of Non-Hindus In Temples Denied
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:49:02 ( 914 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times, Dec. 15





THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, December 15, 2000: A division bench of the Kerala High Court dismissed a petition seeking entry for non-Hindus into temples. Advocate J. William John petitioned the court claiming that all Indians are Hindus, and therefore Rule 3 (A) of the Kerala Hindu Places Worship Act of 1965 preventing the entrance of Christians into temples was against the fundamental rights of citizens as stated in the constitution.The division bench rejected the petition observing that Article 25 (2) B of the constitution empowers the government to allow all sections of Hindus, but not necessarily all Indians, in Hindu public institutions. So, they said, there is no constitutional right to the petitioner to get an order declaring that all citizens be allowed in temples.




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Forced Arranged Marriage an Issue in Denmark
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:48:02 ( 909 reads )


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ARHUS, DENMARK, December 18, 2000: Ali Simsek, like millions of Turkish immigrants drawn to Europe came to Denmark in 1970. His family joined him but in all the years, Mr. Simsek never learned a word of Danish or forsook Turkish customs. When his oldest son, Bunyamin, turned 17 in 1987, Mr. Simsek arranged a marriage for him with Sorgul Ceran from Turkey, a daughter of an old friend. But after the birth of a child and the completion of Bunyamin's education, things quickly soured, failure owing to unsettling contradictions of their lives."My wife was wearing a veil, a problem for me in Denmark, as my friends are Danes," he says. This is one case of why forced arranged marriage is a target of ridicule across Europe. "Immigrants must adapt to Danish cultural norms," said Nils Preiser, a senior Interior Ministry official. Bunyamin, now 30, is a Danish-speaking citizen at ease with the give-and-take of Western society, an olive-skinned Muslim in a land of Vikings. Some people call him a "Nydansker," or "New Dane," a term that sets him and others like him apart. "Like many second-generation immigrants, I have two identities," he says. Arranged marriage is also an issue in the UK where too often the match is forced.




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India's Lost Africans: World Response
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:47:02 ( 879 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, December 19, 2000: The story of the Sidis, the Indian community of African descent which has lost contact with its African origins, has attracted enormous interest from around the world. A recent report on BBC News Online by Andrew Whitehead about the Sidis' quest for their history has prompted hundreds of e-mails. "The song of the Sidi ladies in India," wrote Basha Sebro in Ethiopia, "is very similar to one sung by my father's tribe in Harar in Ethiopia." But it's possible that Sidis' had west African origins, with the Sidi village of Jambur, sharing a name with a village in The Gambia. "The Sheedi or Makrani community outside Karachi in Pakistan was part of the Sultanate of Oman," explains Asim Alavi in the US, "and Sheedis came here as slaves." E-mails about an African trading community near Belgaum, again in southern India, and about small settlements in western Sri Lanka were also received. Some emails reflected resentment that Sidis were being regarded as an anthropological curiosity.




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Temple in Bergen County
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:46:02 ( 814 reads )


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BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, December 15, 2000: Bergen County in North Jersey has become the home to the third-highest number of Indian Asians in the U.S.A. In order to keep their religion and culture thriving, the Hindu Samaj has purchased 5 wooded acres where the congregation of about 200 families plans to build a 26,000-square foot temple and community center. An old Victorian House is in the process of being renovated to house a priest for the temple. Upon completion in January, 2001, a priest will be hired to host prayer groups in the house until the temple is completed. Construction will begin after the group has raised at least $1 million. The new temple will cost in the vicinity of $3 million. Other religions have places of worship nearby and the mayor of Bergen Country said the temple has no strong opposition.




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Concordia University Announces Mahabharata Conference
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:45:02 ( 1021 reads )


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MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, December 19, 2000: Concordia University announced it would hold an international conference on the Mahabharata June 7, 8 and 9, 2001. The themes are: methodological problems of teaching the mahabharata; character analysis based on ethical issues; and challenges and responses in the context of philosophical, social and other issues. Postal Address: Dr. Shrinivas Tilak, Department of Religion, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8.




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Veerashaivas Called Upon to Form Separate Religion
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:49:02 ( 917 reads )


Source: Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore





MYSORE, SOUTH INDIA, December 6, 2000: Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha (ABVM) President Bheemana Khandre has called upon heads of all Veerashaiva monasteries to unite and mobilize Veerashaivas as a separate religion to strengthen the community. Speaking as the chief guest on the "Census Enumeration - 2001 and Awareness Tour," organized by the prominent Veerashaiva Mahasabha based at Suttur Mutt, Khandre reiterated that Veerashaivas were not Hindus as they revolted against the Vedic culture and, by this token, should be recognized as a separate religion in the census report. He denied that their demands would divide society on caste issues and told of injustices meted out to this community who are socially and educationally backward. Neither the Backward Commission Reports nor the Mandal Commission had benefitted their cause, he said. The government too had denied them a separate religion listing in column eight of the census form. Khandre called upon Veerashaivas to insist on their name being listed on the form.




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Hindus and Neo-Paganism
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:48:02 ( 992 reads )


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LEUVEN, BELGIUM, December 15, 2000: Those interested in the revival of pre-Christian, Pagan religions now underway in many parts of Europe and North America may enjoy reading the above paper by Dr. Koenraad Elst. Groups such as Lithuania-based, World Congress of Ethnic Religions work to rediscover and reconstitute the religion of their ancestors. With so little recorded tradition available, and much of that distorted, they often borrow heavily from the traditions of Hinduism, the world's largest surviving ancient Pagan faith. While sharing common ground with the neo-Pagan religions, Elst also candidly explains where the neo-Pagans part company with traditional Hindus, with regard to certain values, disciplines and established yogic traditions.




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Investigation Launched Into Temple Food Contamination
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:47:02 ( 811 reads )


Source: The Hindu, Chennai





THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, December 14, 2000: An inquisition by the crime branch of the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, South India, has been ordered by the administrative board after a bloated lizard and a shrew tail was discovered in a prasadam (food blessed in the temple ritual) can by a devotee. Ruling out the possibility that the creatures were cooked or packed in the prasadam is the fact that the cooking process is done at 300 degrees Celsius. Neither the rat nor the lizard were charred. A similar incident of contamination at the Aravana Temple in November resulted in the high court ordering an investigation by the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.




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British Christianity in Crisis
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:46:02 ( 886 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND: Over a 10-year period Anglican and Roman Catholic church-attendance figures are down in England and Wales. Baptisms and church marriages are also in decline. The Anglican Church in Hereford is a case in point. Even with some 1,000 parishioners, weekly attendance averages only about 60. At the same time, other religions (not including Judaism) have tripled in number. One in four people in Leicester (a city in the British Midlands) is now a Hindu. Countrywide, Islam is the fastest-growing religion.




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Kumbha Mela On-Line
Posted on 2000/12/15 22:45:02 ( 859 reads )


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HONESDALE, PENNSYLVANIA, December 15, 2000: Beginning on January 9, 2001, and continuing through the month, the staff of Himalayan Institute will post "the Kumbha Mela Times," a daily online newspaper covering the upcoming Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India. Thirty million devotees are expected on the main bathing day in late January.




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