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Uproar Over UK Minister's Call to Marry British Resident

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:49:02 ( 996 reads )


LONDON, UK, Feb 9, 2002: Ethnic communities have condemned strongly the British Home Secretary after he urged families who arrange marriages to find partners in Britain and not in Asia, triggering a new row over multi-culturalism. Mr David Blunkett was accused of "dangerous interference" in Asian culture when he said parents and men and women taking part in arranged marriages should look for British partners. In particular, Asian women educated in Britain would be better off finding a husband who spoke English, rather than just the language of their ethnic origin, he said. Mr Blunkett, who was launching his immigration White Paper, made his controversial statement after a record numbers of spouses entered Britain last year from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other Asian countries. More than 19,800, more than double the number in 1996, came to join their husbands or wives, many of them after arranged marriages. Under the new immigration proposals unveiled by Mr Blunkett, would-be immigrants must pass English tests, take citizenship classes and make loyalty pledges. The measures are the latest in a series which ministers have brought in or want to introduce to curb the number of immigrants arriving in Britain, as well as to integrate new citizens into Britain's way of life.

Delhi Papers Continue to Highlight School Abuse

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:48:02 ( 1129 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 30, 2002: This article in the Hindustan Times is the latest in a series of reports appearing in Delhi papers regarding corporal punishment in schools. When eight-year old Rachna could not properly read her Hindi lesson, her teacher at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) primary school reprimanded her by repeatingly banging her forehead against a table. It was only when a patch of her hair came off in his hand did he stop. Rachna's father, Brij Lal, filed a complaint at the school but when they ignored the incident, he filed his grievance at the NW Delhi police station. In the year 2000, the Delhi High Court ruled that, "Corporal punishment for schoolchildren was a violation of the right to equality, protection of life and personal liberty." The teacher and the school principal have since written a letter of apology to Rachna's family. This has done little to alleviate the girl's fear of returning to school. Under investigation by the police, Shambhu, the teacher, could face six month's imprisonment and a possible suspension.

Request for Sanskrit Font With Diacritical Marks

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:47:02 ( 1029 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, February 14, 2002: An HPI reader asks, "Can you advise on where and how I can purchase fonts of roman characters with diacritical marks for the the transliteration of Sanskrit terms in English texts, to install in my PC (Word 95)." Any HPI readers who know of such fonts may kindly respond to "Source" above and we will in a few days publish a list of available options.

Cell Phone Use May Harm Children

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:46:02 ( 1276 reads )


OSLO, SPAIN, February 7, 2002: With significant reduced brain activity after using a cell phone for only a few minutes, child subjects at the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research center in Marbella were compared to adult subjects. Conducted by German investigator Michael Klieeisen, the tests clearly showed that brain activity in large sections of the brain was reduced for up to 50 minutes after cell phone usage by the children. Klieeisen further elaborates by saying, "We do not know if it is dangerous, but we do know that children's brains, which are not fully developed, are more vulnerable than adult brains. My advice to all parents is not to allow children to use mobile phones." Researchers in Britain, Norway, and Sweden are also studying the health risks created by cell phone use and British studies confirm Klieeisen's research.

India's Laughing Guru Spreads His Message of Happiness

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:45:02 ( 1228 reads )

Source: Reuters

NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 7, 2002: With his "don't worry, be happy" slogan and a breathing technique to reduce stress, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar is known as the laughing guru in India. Appealing to India's Westernized urban elite who have lost contact with their religious roots and priests, Ravishankar's message has given this group back their sense of community. At least 1.5 million people in India have completed the course called the "Art of Living Movement." Ravishankar's 30-acre ashram is located near the city of Bangalore. His followers say he has changed their lives and quoting a New Delhi devotee, "He's brought me joy. You feel like kicking off your shoes and jumping. You love him. He has given me unconditional love." His followers have taken his message into India's prisons and rehabilitation centers. At Tihar Jail in Delhi, tough, mean, prisoners have been given breathing courses and Jail superintendent G. Sudhakar says, "the course made the prisoners more responsible, more respectful, more polite." According to this story news magazine, India Today, has labeled Ravishankar as "the fastest growing guru in the marketplace of happiness."

US Hare Krishna Temples Plan Bankruptcy Filing

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:44:02 ( 968 reads )


USA, February 9, 2002: About 12 of the nearly 50 Hare Krishna temples in the United States will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month because of a $400 million lawsuit over child abuse at Hare Krishna boarding schools, a spokesman for the movement said yesterday. The plaintiffs are 91 former students from around the world who allege that they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused at the boarding schools in Southern California, West Virginia and the state of Washington during the 1970s and '80s. The organization has admitted that abuse has taken place. All the schools have since shut down. David Liberman, an attorney for the Krishna movement, said he hopes the Chapter 11 procedure will block the lawsuit, help the temples avoid huge legal fees and "enable us to show the plaintiffs that we don't have the money and resources that they think we have." A judgement of even $10 million "would effectively wipe out the assets of all the temples in North America," he said. Although Liberman added that he believes the Hare Krishna movement could prevail in court, he said it has no interest "in defeating the children who were born and raised in our religion." Rather, he said, the movement wants to use the bankruptcy process to establish "a significant fund" to compensate victims of abuse.

High Anticipatation for Hinduism Today Special Issue on Gurudeva

Posted on 2002/2/14 8:43:02 ( 1213 reads )

Aerial Ropeway for Tirupati Temple

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:49:02 ( 1206 reads )

Source: Press Release

HYDERABAD, INDIA, February 10, 2002: Andhra Pradesh Tourism is planning to construct an aerial ropeway between Tirupati and Tirumala for travellers to the famous Sri Venkateswara temple. The 3.8-mile-long ropeway would pass through seven hills, and have a capacity of 1,000 passengers per hour and subsequently it will be doubled to 2,000 per hour. The project will cost US$20 million. Also planned are a three screen multiplex theatre and a religious theme park.

Classical Dance Performance for Cause of Girl Child

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:48:02 ( 1259 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 29, 2002: In an effort to promote the cause of girl child, leading exponents of various classical dance forms including Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharj and Kuchipudi exponents Radha and Raja Reddy performed in Delhi on January 30. The event Kaladarpanam, organized by an NGO Kalahetu was scheduled to have three generations of the legendry Pandit Birju Maharaj's family performing together. Addressing a press conference ahead of the event, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who will perform his choreography Shakti during the event, stressed that artists should come out in support of social causes. While appreciating Kalahetu's efforts in bringing the artists together, he said that such events will also help to promote traditional artforms among the younger generation. "My son Pt Deepak Maharj and my grand daughter will also be performing with me. So it is a special occasion for me," he said. "The idea is to spread awareness on the problems of the girl child using the artforms and the performances will deal with issues of freedom and equality," Pt Ram Mohan Maharaj younger brother of Pt Birju Maharaj, said about the event.

Political Buddhism and War in Sri Lanka

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:47:02 ( 1055 reads )

Source: Globe and Mail, England

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, February 1, 2002: As the world watches to see how Afghanistan recovers after being ruled by a fanatical Islam regime, Paul Knox of the Globe and Mail reveals a similar situation that may have been going on in Sri Lanka since 1983. Buddhism or rather some Buddhist leaders may have been influenced by the secular Sinhalese community to ignite conflict in the country by claiming their superiority over the minority Tamil community, states this report. Stanley Tambiah, a leading Sri Lankan anthropologist from Harvard University says, "Under its banner populist leaders mobilize masses who are losing their traditional roots and their traditional Buddhist moral restraints, and whip them into a heady collective identity and a fury of displaced and misplaced anger against the alien others." After almost 20 years of war and the loss of 60,000 lives, the Sinhalese, who were once fiery about their ethnic and religious fervor, also want peace. As a result Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's proposal to ceasefire and start peace talks with the Tamil Tigers has been received well. He has received support from leading Buddhist leaders. Proposing that Tamils be given equal rights and the autonomy to have self-government in the areas where they are a majority, Wickremesinghe's success can be attributed, this report surmises, to the fact that political Buddhism has waned.

Museum Postpones Controversial Films

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:46:02 ( 1082 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, February 10, 2002: The American Museum of Natural History here has postponed two controversial films on India because of protests from the Hindu community. The films are described on the museum web site at "source" above. The first, "We Are Not Your Monkeys" by Anand Patwardhan, is a five minute video. "The song 'We Are Not Your Monkeys,' composed by Daya Pawar and sung by Sambhaji Bhagat, offers the dalit (lower caste) perspective on the Ramayana epic." The second, "In the Name of God," also by Patwardhan, is a 90 minute documentary. The description is: "This film presents an incisive account of the movement by Hindu nationalists to rally ordinary citizens around the purported birth site of the Hindu god Rama in the north Indian city of Ayodhya. It details the campaign waged in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Organization) to destroy the 16th-century Babri Mosque and build a temple to Rama. Presenting a range of views, the film highlights how Hindu nationalism and militancy is primarily an upper-caste and middle-class phenomenon." Protesters claim both items reflect the Marxist philosophy of the filmmaker and not the reality of the situation.

Chinese to Compete in the India Ayurveda Supplements Market

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:45:02 ( 1158 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 8, 2002: The $600-million Chinese health care firm Tiangin Tianshi Biological Dev Co Ltd is introducing a range of Chinese herb-based food supplement health products in India. Tianshi's foray is an outcome of Chinese premier Zhu Rongji's recent visit to India, promising greater business between the two countries. In the first phase, Tianshi's Indian branch will import and market eleven health food supplements in the areas of cardiac system, energy, calcium supplements, weight management, essential systems like kidney, dietary fibre and zinc supplements, internal body cleaners, body vitalisers and so on. It will market items both from traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.

Karnataka State to Open 300 English-Median Schools to Offset Christian Schools

Posted on 2002/2/10 8:44:02 ( 923 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, February 7, 2002: Primary and Secondary Education Minister H Vishwanath today said the State government had given permission for opening of 300 English medium schools, including 150 schools in Bangalore City alone, in the current academic year. The schools would have classes from standard 5 to 10. Speaking to reporters here, the Minister said the Government permitted establishment of new schools to help reduce demand for seats in prestigious English convents in cities. "If there are more schools, then the rush for select hi-profile schools will naturally reduce," he argued.

Greeting Card Company Sues Hindu Organizations

Posted on 2002/2/9 8:49:02 ( 1074 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, FEBRUARY 5, 2002: Archies Greetings and Gifts Ltd. has filed a suit in the Delhi High Court for a permanent injunction to restrain the Shiv Sena and some other organizations from "interfering in the Valentine's Day celebrations and sales promotions." Justice Sharda Aggarwan on Tuesday issued notices to the Shiv Sena and other Hindu organizations including the VHP and Bajrang Dal, and also the Commissioner of Delhi Police. The Archies petition accuses the Shiv Sena, VHP and Bajrang Dal of playing moral police and threatening the company and the public against celebrating Valentine's Day. Archies states these organizations have warned of "dire consequences, including physical harm" and that its right to conduct business cannot be restricted by these organizations. Archies has sought an injunction to restrain these organizations from "holding violent demonstrations, shouting vulgar slogans, intimidating employees and general public" at its establishments and obstructing "the ingress and egress of employees, customers and general public and using any violent means or assaulting its employees and the general public on and around Valentine's Day". One can read about the origins of Valentine's Day at http://www.bright.net/~magates/Valentine/. The site says in part, "The one thing we can be sure of is that at least one person by the name of Valentine did live and that he was killed for being a Christian."

Bali Culture Exhibition in Switzerland

Posted on 2002/2/9 8:48:02 ( 1087 reads )


BASEL, SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 8, 2002: Basel's Museum of culture is staging an exhibition of the most important permanent collection of Balinese cultural artifacts outside Bali. For most tourists who go there there every year, Bali is known as "the last paradise" because of its beaches and tropical scenery. But to the inhabitants of the small Indonesian province it's the "Island of the Gods," and that's the title of the Basel exhibition. The links between Basel and Bali go back to 1919, when Basel ethnologist Paul Wirz began conducting research and documentation of Balinese culture and it was through him that the collection took shape. Artists, musicians and other enthnologists from Basel followed up his work, and since 1972 their findings have been meticulously documented by the curator of the current exhibition, Urs Ramseyer. "Fundamentally Bali is a culture moved by the motor of religion," says Ramseyer. "Religion is still very important in Balinese thinking and is even part of everyday life, and as long as the ceremonies connected to people and nature are needed in Bali, we will continue to have the opportunity to see a very living culture."

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