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Officials Stop Child Marriage

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:47:02 ( 987 reads )

Source: The Hindu

KARIMNAGAR, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The local administration prevented the marriage of a 15-year-old girl here. The authorities got the marriage postponed while they explain to the family that there are laws against marriage at that age in India. The legal age for marriage for girls in India is 18 and for boys 21. In the State of Hawaii, USA, the legal age for both boys and girls is 18. They can marry at 16 or 17 with the consent of the parents, and at 15 with the consent of the parents and a family court judge. In Iran, the legal age for girls is nine.

New Zealand Census Shows Hindu Numbers Increasing

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:46:02 ( 1082 reads )


NEW ZEALAND, March 30, 2002: As Christians celebrate Easter, latest census figures show there are fewer of them, but the diversity of faiths among New Zealanders is growing. Over a million people (27.5 per cent) described themselves as having no religion in the 2001 census compared with about 670,000 people a decade ago. New Zealand's changing population is increasingly reflected in the variety of religions. The number of Hindus has more than doubled since 1991 to 38,769, and the number of Buddhists has more than tripled. At the same time, most of the major Christian denominations experienced drops in the tens of thousands. Peter Lineham, associate professor of history in the school of social and cultural studies at Massey University's Albany campus, said that in the past half century the percentage of New Zealanders who described themselves as Christian had dropped by a third to just over 60 percent. The growth in "other world religions" had not made up for the decrease. "It's not a collapse. What's happened is there has been this massive decline in Christian support, but it is still the majority religion." Other faiths, such as Hindu and Baha'i had grown from less than 0.5 per cent of the population in 1951 to 3.5 per cent today.

Asian Migrants Flocking to New Zealand

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:45:02 ( 1041 reads )


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, Mar 23, 2002: Asians are coming to New Zealand in numbers not seen since the mid-1990s and the latest figures show that most of the migrants are Chinese or Indian. In a reversal of trends, the inflow of people outnumbers the outflow, sparking a real estate boom. According to Statistics New Zealand, the number of people coming to live in New Zealand outnumbered those leaving by 22,000 in the year to February 2002, the Dominion newspaper reported. The immigrants included 11,900 from China, 4,800 from India, 3,000 from South Africa and 2,900 from Britain. However, the composition of Asian immigrants had changed. The middle-aged wealthy couples, who were keen on buying houses in the 1990s, have been replaced by 15- to 30-year-old students wanting to rent. The rental demand has affected the Auckland property market and bidding wars are now common among people wanting to rent in inner-city Auckland. The turnaround in migration figures followed last year's 'brain-drain' outcry which fuelled debate and resulted in a national Knowledge Wave conference that discussed ways to solve the problem.

Nice To Meet You. Will You Marry Me?

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:44:02 ( 1059 reads )


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, March 30, 2002: In Indian culture, societal and family pressures to find someone of similar backgrounds and sometimes caste often produce quick nuptials, reports the Boston Daily Globe in this insightful article. Arranged marriages, in which teenagers are introduced on their wedding day, are declining among a new generation of Indians. But the alternative is hardly easier: How can young, single Indians living in a Western world satisfy parents espousing Eastern values, including a desire to get married to people with the perfect pedigrees? And be quick about it? "The pressure starts right out of college," said Sonali Ganti, 32, of Newton, who got married in 1999. "No one's mother wants them to be over 29, ...But most of my friends went to grad school, medical school; their careers came first. And all of a sudden they realize that they're pushing 30." Recent films like "Monsoon Wedding" and the forthcoming "American Chai," explore these issues. But for real-life young Indians, Vijay Prashad, director of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, sees more at work: modern interpretations of an ancient culture that emphasizes ancestry, class, and marriage as an improvement of parents' social status. It creates what Prashad calls an "anxiety soup" for Indians raising their children in the United States. Their forebears might have sought members of the priestly Brahmin caste for their daughter's hand; today, they'll ask for doctors or lawyers. "Arranged relationships are not something new or old," said Prashad, author of "The Karma of Brown Folk." "They just take on different forms."

Religious Freedom in China

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:43:02 ( 1098 reads )


CHINA, April 1, 2002: During the annual week-long Chinese New Year holiday, Buddhist and Taoist temples across China are always brimming with worshippers burning joss-sticks and praying to Buddha and other deities for good fortune. Come Christmas, young Chinese pack the Nantang Catholic Church in Beijing to soak in the Christmas feel and listen to carollers. Religious books on stories from the Bible or the Quran are readily available at China's state-run book stores. These scenes of public religious devotion and access to religious information appear to contradict Western criticism of religious oppression in China where the ruling Communist Party is staunchly atheist. Dr Lai Hongyi, of the National University of Singapore's East Asian Institute, explained that religious freedom had been allowed since 1979 under a liberalization program. As well, after almost two decades of economic reforms, communism is fast losing its glitter, leading to the declining appeal of official ideology. The people's inherent need for spiritual solace is also a contributing factor. According to official records, China's officially sanctioned religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity, have attracted more than 140 million followers. Western observers say the actual figure may be higher. However, not all religious activities are condoned by the government, which requires religious followers to be loyal first to their country and to the Communist Party. Orthodox religions and certain indigenous folk religious practices such as ancestor worship are left untamed. But those that fail to register with the government or which link their activities to political issues such as Tibetan and Xinjiang independence are regarded as threats to social stability. President Jiang Zemin has said religious faith is protected in China but devotees must abide by Chinese laws.

Shri Anandi Ma Tours America and Europe

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:42:02 ( 1062 reads )

Book Released on Hindu Temple of Australia

Posted on 2002/4/3 8:41:02 ( 1038 reads )


STRATHFIELD SOUTH, AUSTRALIA, April 3, 2002: Dr A. Kandiah, a Tamil scholar and a prolific writer has taken up the task of publishing a book, "Hindu Temples in Australia." This is the first book published cataloguing the Hindu Temples in Australia with a brief description of each temple. In the conclusion Dr Kandiah states: "From our survey we can reasonably conclude that the worship of Siva, Murugan, Vishnu and Vinayakar in Australia was originally initiated in the form of congregational prayer. Later, those who participated in the prayer meetings formed associations to build temples for the Lord. The Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are in the forefront of initiating and building temples for Lord Murugan and the Indian Hindu communities are mainly in the forefront for Siva and Vishnu Temples. The worship of Murugan is more prevalent among the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus." For more information, click "source" above.

Fear Grips Residents of Jammu After Temple Attack

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:49:02 ( 1085 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Saturday's terrorist attack on the historic Raghunath Temple, the first major strike by the Kashmiri militants in past 12 years, has shaken the residents of Jammu. The attack, which killed ten persons, stopped business activity in the winter capital on Sunday, with people preferring to stay indoors. The 150-year-old Raghunath Temple has been the main attraction for pilgrims returning after visiting the Vaishno Devi Shrine. Following the attack, the state administration has increased security at the railway station and bus stand for the pilgrims returning from Vaishno Devi shrine. "The continued communal tension in Gujarat has also badly affected the flow of pilgrims," said a police spokesman. It is notable that this horrendous attack has attracted almost no international media attention.

Purification Performed at Raghunath Temple

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:48:02 ( 1069 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Hundreds of devotees and priests on Sunday performed mass purification and joint prayers at the Raghunath temple complex here desecrated by two militants who opened indiscriminate fire and exploded a grenade killing three securitymen and five civilians on Saturday. About 40 priests from different temples across Jammu city, assisted by over 500 devotees, this morning cleaned the temple complex, which houses nearly 20 temples of different Gods and Goddesses. After conclusion of mass prayers, a massive protest rally was taken out in the city from Raghunath temple complex. The protesters, joined by passers-by raised slogans against terrorists, Pakistan and Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. It was a peaceful rally, with police escort.

VHP Tells India Prime Minister to Confine Himself to Politics

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:47:02 ( 1030 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 2, 2002: The VHP on Monday, states this article in the Hindustan Times, advised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to confine himself to politics and leave matters of faith to religious leaders. "It is better if he (Vajpayee) confines himself to politics and leaves matters of faith to religious leaders," VHP senior vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters when asked about the Prime Minister's statement seeking to distance himself from hardline "Hindutva" proponents. The article states that the VHP also sought to justify the continuing violence in Gujarat describing it as a "popular upsurge and people's answer to jehadi terrorism." "The Indian state and (pseudo) secularism has failed to protect Hindus and control jehadi terrorism and hence people are making up their mind to defend themselves. What is happening in Gujarat is not communal riots but people's answer to Islamic jehad," VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadiya said. He alleged that Indian polity, including NDA, has been practicing "one-way secularism" and acting as a defendant of jehadi terrorism. While asserting that the VHP was not justifying the violence in Gujarat, he said, "What is happening in Gujarat is an upsurge, a rebellion."

Malaysian Indians Plan Conference

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:46:02 ( 1163 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 2, 2002: A conference entitled "The Malaysian Indian in the New Millennium -- Rebuilding Community" is planned here June 1 and 2, 2002. The main aim of the conference is to reflect upon the position of Malaysian Indians at the beginning of the new millennium, taking into account the many challenges facing the community and the directions it should take for the future. The Indian community in Malaysia, state the organizers, is an extraordinary force that has not only made significant contributions to the development of the nation but has also infused it with civilizational values and cultures. The community is however, fragmented and development within it, grossly uneven. Its share of poverty and social ills is disproportionate to its position in the larger Malaysian community. The loss of self esteem within the community, external derision and the absence of unifying factors to forge a single identity are some of the problems that have to be addressed urgently. The community has to be rebuilt and its respect regained so that its members may be vested with a more purposeful sense of identity. Click "source" above for more information.

Kanchi Shankaracharya Planning Visit to Malaysia

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:45:02 ( 1179 reads )


KAULA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, April 2, 2002: The Malaysia Hindu Sangam announced today that Dr. Srinivasan, representative of the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, is visiting Malaysia to arrange a visit by the Shankaracharya in the near future. He is meeting with Hindu leaders April 4 at 7:30 pm at Kalaamandapam, Lorong Scott, off Jalan Scott in KL. It is not known how Jayendra would travel to Malaysia, but if he flies, it would be the first time one of the Shankaracharyas has "crossed the ocean" to another country. Previously he has flown to Nepal. On the April 5, 2002, the Shankaracharya will offer "Yegnyopaveetam" to Lord Venkateswara at the famed Tirumala temple in Andrha Pradesh. The Yegnyopaveetam is made of three and a half kilos gold and is studded with diamonds and other navaratna gem stones.

Town Calls "Timeout" for Overextended Families

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:44:02 ( 1064 reads )

Source: New York Times

RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY, March 29, 2002: The people in this suburban town decided they weren't spending enough quality time as families because they were overscheduling their children. They began meeting with community leaders and school officials, and scheduled themselves some free time. Tonight was declared "Family Night," an evening when everyone was encouraged to set aside frenetic agendas and do nothing but relax with their families. Organizers talked the Ridgewood school system into assigning no homework for the night and canceled all athletic practices. Ridgewood, a well-to-do North Jersey suburb, took a lot of ribbing for working so hard to get some down time. But the idea has hit a nerve. It turns out that parents across the country -- suburban, rural and urban feel they have become too wrapped up in the effort to help their children achieve, at the cost of time spent with family. "Family life has been getting out of control as parents become unpaid chauffeurs and what I call the entertainment directors on the cruise ships," said Dr. William J Doherty, author of "Take Back Your Kids." Most parents mean well when they strive to provide their children opportunities to learn new skill like piano or dance, or to take part in sports, Dr. Doherty said. But he said that in the last 15 to 20 years, parents have given in to peer pressure to sign their children up for more activities, and at increasingly young ages, for fear that other children will get ahead of them. That trend squeezes out time for family, or quiet reflection or for children just to use their imaginations.

Stanford University Hindus Students Start Own Class on Hinduism

Posted on 2002/4/2 8:43:02 ( 1031 reads )


STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, April 2, 2002: Hindu Students Council (HSC) at Stanford University announces a class on "Hinduism in the Modern Era." For the first time in Stanford University history, a class on Hinduism has been created by Hindu students. The class seeks to provide a clearer and more balanced picture of Hinduism, including religious, social, and political movements. Topics that will be covered in the course include Modern Hindu Leaders, The Rise of Hindu Nationalism, Hindu Spiritual Movements, Hindus as persecuted minorities, Misconceptions about Hinduism, Ayodhya and the Future of Hinduism and Hindus in America. The course below seeks to correct misconceptions about Hinduism, and provide a productive forum where all Hindu viewpoints on critical issues are presented. This course was developed independently by the Stanford Hindu Students Council (HSC) team and is sponsored by Professor Carl Bielefeldt of the Religious Studies Department. For more information, e-mail Sumir Meghani at "source" above.

India's Prime Minister Warns About New Brand of Hindutva

Posted on 2002/4/1 8:49:02 ( 1068 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 27, 2002: In disapproval of recent actions of Hindu militants, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday said it would be better to "keep a distance" from the kind of Hindutva being practiced by some now. He said when Swami Vivekananda spoke of Hinduism, nobody called him being communal. "But now, some people have defined Hindutva in such a manner that it is better to keep a distance from it."

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