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Hindu Temple in an Former Church Building Desecrated by Vandals in Sydney

Posted on 2018/10/19 10:50:00 ( 55 reads )


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, October 19, 2018 (Hindu Council AU): A Hindu Temple situated at Regents Park in Sydney Australia has been set on fire and all statues and icons of Indian Godheads have been smashed and left in ruin. They do not know who has done it but it has caused lot of pain and anguish to devotees celebrating the festival NavRatri or nine nights dedicated to worship of God in female form. The temple has been there for about twenty years and but for an incident of stone throwing ten years ago, the Fiji Hindu community has not had any problems until now.

When devotees came at 6pm to open the temple on Sunday evening 14th October 2018, they found smoke coming from inside their temple. Upon investigation, they found some people inside and when challenged, the miscreants jumped out of the window and vanished. The head priest of the temple Pandit Paras Ram Maharaj was in tears on seeing his Gods broken and strewn all over the floor. The Vandals had not only desecrated the God statues and icons but had also shamelessly thrown prayer material around. They had even set the altar on fire. Luckily the fire was quickly brought under control before it could do any further damage to the temple and the building.The big worry we have now, said the temple president is to restore the temple building back to its earlier glory. The temple is visited regularly by about 250 devotees who come from all over Sydney.

Mexico Gets a Taste of Indian Unity in Diversity: Bollywood, Puppets and Music Enthrall the Audience

Posted on 2018/10/19 10:48:13 ( 36 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 13, 2018 (Financial Express): For the first time ever, India participated as Guest of Honour at the 46th Cervantino International Festival in 2018 in Mexico City from October 10- 28. Talking to FE Online, Muktesh Pardeshi, ambassador of India to Mexico said that, "Almost 125 artists will travel from Tijuana to Yucatan, making the largest ever participation from an Asian country in the Latin American Region. This is an honor which no country has ever received before and this will help us in building our soft power footprint in the region." At the inauguration (with an 8.000 plus audience) "A passage to Bollywood" by Ashley Lobo was performed to promote Bollywood in the region. India is participating in 110 cultural events, covering almost 33 cities in Mexico.

According to Pardeshi, there is unity and diversity as the groups participating are from the south, east, west and north of India. Sponsored by ICCR, ten groups from India including dance, music, theatre and puppets, focussing on classic, folkloric and contemporary styles are participating. The general director of Promotion and Cultural Festivals and the International Cervantino Festival, Marcela Diez Martinez, said that working with India has been "a huge discovery, to find a country that has many things in common with ours, with a strong tradition and a deep rooted in their thinking and in their original peoples." In the commercial complex located in Plaza del Baratillo, in the middle of the city House of India will be set up where visitors can buy food, clothing, handicrafts and furniture.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/10/19 10:47:59 ( 56 reads )


The learned have prescribed penance for the murderer of a pious man, a drunkard, a thief or for one who has violated a solemn vow. But there is no pardon for the ungrateful.
-- The Panchatantra

Racism and Stereotypes in Colonial India's Instagram

Posted on 2018/10/18 11:01:49 ( 192 reads )


LONDON, U.K., September 30, 2018 (BBC): Picture postcards pieced together stories about life in British Indian cities. In the early 20th Century, picture postcards served as a kind of Instagram, giving Europeans a glimpse of the life their family and friends led in British colonial India. A recent exhibition at London's SOAS university showcased more than 300 such postcards that were sent from India to Europe between 1900 and the 1930s. This display was drawn from the private collection of Dr. Hughes and Emily Rose Stevenson. They bought postcards on websites such as eBay, and at ephemera fairs, which sell things like antique and second hand books, and manuscripts. "We don't want the postcards to be a vehicle of colonial nostalgia. It is the opposite of that," Stephen Putnam Hughes, a co-curator of the exhibition told the BBC. "We wanted to provide enough evidence from the colonial past and allow people to look at the images critically."

One set of postcards belonged to a popular series, called Masters, produced by a Chennai-based publisher in the early 1900s. It was meant as a "humorous" comment on the master-servant relationship at the heart of British rule in India, according to the note explaining the postcards. But it also played on "British anxieties" and "insecurities" about what the "servant" would do when the "master" was not around. The result: postcards depicting Indians "mocking their masters' lifestyle choices." They are shown drinking beer, smoking and reading with their feet up, all of which "were not equal opportunity activities" at the time. The postcards also reflect how Indians were often stereotyped based on ethnicity, gender, religion or caste. Some of these photos were carefully staged in studios, part of a common photographic genre known as the "native type," according to the curators. Indians performing menial jobs for Europeans were also a common feature of these postcards.

Many of the postcards on display can be viewed at "source" above.

The Largest Handwritten Family Tree in the World

Posted on 2018/10/18 11:01:36 ( 170 reads )


INDIA, October 11, 2018 (Incredible India): The Ganges River is a highly revered site by Hindus and an iconic, historical epicenter in India. As hundreds of millions of people visit the Ganges each year, there is a dedicated group of priests, better known as pandits, working quietly behind the scenes. In small offices that line the river, they keep handwritten records of everyone who has visited the holy site. These documents function as historical and genealogical archives that even record births and deaths in each visiting family. With archives dating back 20 generations, it is the largest handwritten family tree in the world.

Short and must-see video at "source" above.

Muslim Organization Rules out Entry of Women into Sunni Mosques in Kerala

Posted on 2018/10/18 11:01:23 ( 171 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, October 15, 2018 (The Hindu): [HPI note: With India's Supreme Court ordering the Sabarimal Ayappan temple to admit women of child-bearing age, it is useful to see the reaction from Kerela's Sunni community. According to the Islamic Research Foundation International, "Although the Qur'an and the Hadith, the traditions attributed to the Prophet (Pbuh), allow for women to pray in mosques, in most parts of India, Muslim women are denied this right." ]

The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama has warned politicians of "serious electoral consequences" if they meddle in religious issues such as entry of women into Sunni mosques. Opening a Shariat conference here on Saturday, its president Syed Mohammed Jiffri Muthukoya Thangal said politicians need not air their views on religious matters. "The recent statements on women's entry to Sunni mosques by politicians were not in good taste. They have pained and irritated us. We know who should be admitted to the mosques and who should not. Their demand cannot be implemented," he said.

Mr. Thangal said the bar on entry of women to mosques was not the sign of any discrimination but a "wise decision" taken by religious scholars considering their safety. The conference was organized by Samastha, the biggest body of Sunni Muslims in the State, in the wake of the recent Sabarimala verdict, the triple divorce ordinance and a bunch of judicial interventions related to the religious practice of the Muslims. "There is a trend to victimise Muslims for each and every issue and a propaganda against us is on. We are law-abiding citizens and we respect the Constitution. But don't treat our silence as a weakness, we will respond if there is a need. We will legally challenge any bid to question our religious beliefs," Mr. Thangal added.

Meanwhile, a coordination committee of Muslim organisations has sought the intervention of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies against recent court orders.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/10/18 11:01:09 ( 152 reads )


The tragedy of human history is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.
-- Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993)

Thousands Expected at Annual Hindu Festival

Posted on 2018/10/13 12:33:01 ( 427 reads )


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, October 13, 2018 (Edinburgh News): For more than two decades thousands of people have gathered to enjoy the medley of Indian and Scottish culture in the free event organized by the Scottish India Arts Forum (SIAF). The charity, which has been actively promoting Indian arts and culture in Scotland since 1994, returns on Sunday, October 21 with a dramatic re-enactment of the legendary Hindu God Rama's tussle between good and evil at its heart. The celebrations will also include flaming 25-foot effigies of demons built by volunteer prisoners from Saughton Prison, set alight as part of the fireworks display. Revelers will be treated to a taste of India with food stalls and a showcase of performances of more than 100 amateur and professional artists.

Dusherra, one of the largest festivals in India commemorates a 10-day war between the Gods and demons thousands of years ago. It is celebrated with gusto by communities across the country with music, dance, food and a symbolic burning of effigies. President of SIAF Rajnish Singh said: "We at SIAF are extremely proud of Dusherra celebration over the years in a format where it is open to all with free entry despite all the challenges. "We are very grateful for the continued support from our funders for this year as well. It is one of the most popular Indian events in the city and we highly appreciate the support of local Indian and Scottish community who participate in the celebration in big numbers."

The Temple that Changed an Indian Cricket Team's Fortune

Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:47 ( 425 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, October 13, 2018 (The Hans India): In any sphere of life, it's common for people to seek divine intervention when the chips are down, and sport is no different. However, a temple inside an international cricket stadium premises? That's the sight one is greeted with on entering the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, which is hosting on the ongoing second Test between India and England.

On normal days, it might escape the attention but on a match day -- like the ongoing one -- it is a vibrant sight. Asked about the story behind the temple, its priest Hanumanth Sharma claimed, "This temple was built (in 2011) because neither the Indian team nor the now defunct IPL franchise Deccan Chargers were winning their matches at this ground. "It was proving to be an inauspicious ground for the home teams. Then it was found out that there was Vaastu Dosham (problem in architecture as per ancient Hindu architectural system)," he said. "Lord Ganesha is the God of Vaastu Shastra. You can check the records and after 2011, the Indian team never lost here," Hanumanth said.

Americans Express Increasingly "Warm Feelings" Toward Religious Groups

Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:34 ( 379 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15, 2017 (Pew Forum): On the heels of a contentious election year in which partisan politics increasingly divided Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that when it comes to religion, Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago. Asked to rate a variety of groups on a "feeling thermometer" ranging from 0 to 100, U.S. adults give nearly all groups warmer ratings than they did in a June 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Evangelical Christians, rated relatively warmly at 61 degrees, are the only group for which the mean rating did not change since the question was last asked in 2014. Americans' feelings toward Mormons and Hindus have shifted from relatively neutral places on the thermometer to somewhat warmer ratings of 54 and 58, respectively.

The increase in mean ratings is broad based. Warmer feelings are expressed by people in all the major religious groups analyzed, as well as by both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and younger and older adults. However, the mean ratings given to particular religious groups still vary widely depending on who is being asked. For example, young adults - those ages 18 to 29 - express warmer feelings toward Muslims than older Americans do. Moreover, young adults rate all of the groups in the study within a relatively tight range, from 54 degrees for Mormons to 66 for Buddhists. Across the board, Americans express warmer feelings toward religious groups when they are personally familiar with someone in the group, consistent with findings from the June 2014 survey. Fewer than half of Americans say they personally know a Mormon (43%) or a Muslim (45%). Smaller shares say they know someone who is Buddhist (23%) or Hindu (22%).

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/10/13 12:32:20 ( 384 reads )


Like a tortoise withdrawing five limbs into its shell, those who restrain the five senses in one life will find safe shelter for seven.
-- Tirukkural 126

Singers from over 40 Plus Countries on Oct 2 Sang the Favourite Bhajan of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi -- Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye.

Posted on 2018/10/12 13:05:04 ( 419 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 2, 2018 (YouTube): On Gandhi Jayanti Day in New Delhi during the closing ceremony of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a medley version of the famous bhajan by artists from over 40 countries. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), all Indian Missions abroad identified a local artists/group to record the bhajan in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti. "The result is an eclectic, colorful and rich rendition of the hymn infused with the local flavor of the region. From Armenia to Angola, Sri Lanka to Serbia, Iraq to Iceland, prominent local singers/groups have showcased their talent to this favourite hymn of the Mahatma," said an official statement from the MEA.

The famous Gujarati hymn was penned by the 15th-century poet Narsimha Mehta and was one of the favorite bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi who included it into the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings. The English translation of the Gujarati Bhajan is as follows: "Call those people Vaishnavas who feel the pain of others, help those who are in misery, but never let self-conceit enter their mind. They respect the entire world, do not disparage anyone, keep their words, actions and thoughts pure, the mother of such a soul is blessed. They see all equally, renounce craving, respect other women as their own mother, Their tongue never utters false words, their hands never touch the wealth of others. They do not succumb to worldly attachments, they are firmly detached from the mundane, they are enticed by the name of God (Rama), all places of pilgrimage are embodied in them. They have forsaken greed and deceit, they stay afar from lust and anger, Narsi [the 15th century poet who wrote the song] says: I'd be grateful to meet such a soul, whose virtue liberates their entire lineage.

View inspirational video at "source" above.

Exhibition on Vietnam Hindu Cham Brahman Community Opens

Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:51 ( 445 reads )


VIETNAM, October 9, 2018, (Vietnam Tourism): An exhibition featuring the 2018 Kate Festival, the most important annual celebration of the ethnic Cham Brahman community, opened in the central province of Ninh Thuan on October 8. On the occasion, Mukha Linga and Po Long Girai statues, along with Nandin, Patil, and Banal sacred bulls, costumes, and musical instruments were introduced to the public, contributing to maintaining, preserving, and upholding values of national cultural heritage.

Le Xuan Loi, Director of the Research Centre for Cham Culture in Ninh Thuan, said the display aims to popularise the unique culture of the Cham ethnic group in Ninh Thuan amongst domestic and foreign visitors. On the occasion of Kate festival 2018, antique collectors from across the nation and abroad donated 14 valuable objects of different materials and dates to the centre, which offer visitors an insight into the iron casting, pottery making, and fabric weaving of the Cham people.

Trinidad Hindus Observe Nau Raatri with Great Enthusiasm

Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:38 ( 460 reads )

Paras Ramoutar, special to HPI

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO, October 12, 2018 (Paras Ramoutar): Even though they came here 173 years ago from several parts of India, they still adhere to the basic tenets of Hinduism. One of which is the annual observance of Nau Raatri which has taken this oil-rich nation with earthquake enthusiasm. Out of a population of 400,000 East Indians, of which 25 per cent are Hindus, Trinidad and Tobago has seen an unprecedented number of special Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati pujas across the land. There are several yagnas in the names of Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati being held by individuals and community-oriented ones. Several of the East Indian frequencies broadcast special messages highlighting the virtues and blessings by paying homage to the Divine Mother. Devoted Hindus have been keeping vigil at homes and in mandirs glorifying the Divine Mother for Her unstinted love for humanity. They have been maintaining complete fasting from meat, alcohol and other worldly pleasures.

Nau Raatri is being observed with the same enthusiasm as the just completed Lord Ganesh Utsav which has become another major observance for Hindus. Whilst devotees pray for their personal wealth, health and total well-being, they are also seeking spiritual guidance in matters of global significance like weather change, earthquakes, floods, storms and other issues of international relevance.Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Saraswati are given equal reverence in the daily incantations. The 400 or so Hindu mandirs are holding nightly services as well. Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, said that the Hindu community has taken, "a new and novel approach in the observance of Hindu festivals and observances".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2018/10/12 13:04:24 ( 378 reads )


Youth is not a time of life--it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is freshness of the deep springs of life. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
-- Swami Bua, famed yogi who lived approximately 120 years

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