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To Keep Peace Malaysia Needs to Honor Minority Groups

Posted on 2001/2/6 0:48:02 ( 2317 reads )


GEORGETOWN, MALAYSIA, January 23, 2001: "We don't want an angry confrontation with the Malays because we know that racial harmony is the key to our country's peace and success," so expounds Khoo Huck Cheong, a Chinese tourist guide. Until recently Malaysia's Chinese minority population of 6.6 million have been content to cultivate their culture and live peacefully on the northern island of Penang. For over 30 years the Chinese have graciously tolerated a law that guarantees Malays, the Muslim ethnic majority, cheaper loan rates, better jobs and preferred acceptance into universities. Backing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the recent 1999 election, the Chinese were hoping the Malay party leader would abolish the affirmative action policies. Threatening a Muslim holy war, a Malay student group and other Malays have forced the Prime Minister to back down in helping the Chinese. Mahathir, Malaysia's Prime Minister of 19 years has pressured the Chinese to accept racially integrated schools with Malay, Chinese and Indians. In their own schools, the minority Chinese have been able to preserve their language and history. Elsewhere in the region, Singapore, with its predominantly Chinese culture, is watching the situation. Hindus, the other racial minority in Malaysia, have also accommodated the Malay Muslim majority rule. In 1998, a Hindu Temple was relocated when Muslims protested that the temple bells disrupted Muslim prayers.

Cabinet Approves Subsidy for Haj Pilgrims

Posted on 2001/2/6 0:47:02 ( 2073 reads )

Source: Press Trust of India

INDRAPRASTH, INDIA, February 6, 2001: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved a US$32 million to enable 72,000 Indian Muslim pilgrims to undertake the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca this year. Pilgrims are expected to pay for $260 out of the total air fare of $717. They can depart from Delhi Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, with flights to Saudi Arabia all departing and arriving from Shrinagar and Jammu. Devout Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Government funds covered much of the cost of the Hindus' Kumbha Mela, and Christians in India have approached the government for subsidies for pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Indians Of The Century

Posted on 2001/2/6 0:46:02 ( 2128 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, Feb 4, 2001: Their deeds affected the lives of millions throughout the world. They belonged to different streams of life with one thing in common: True greatness. The Times of India Online's Indians of the Century poll was the most comprehensive to be undertaken in this country with 881,772 votes naming Mahatma Gandhi, Dhirubhai Ambani (founder of Reliance company), Lata Mangeshkar (the great singer) and Swami Vivekananda as the four Indians who made the greatest impact on India this century in four categories respectively -- Leaders and Politicians, Creators of Wealth, Artists and Entertainers and Great Minds and Spiritual Lights. All of them are self-made individuals without the advantages of wealth, aristocracy or caste; they fought adversity and believed in action -- karma yogis in the true sense.

Sri Chinmoy Presents U Thant Award To PM

Posted on 2001/2/5 0:49:02 ( 3022 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, January 13, 2001: International peace leader Sri Chinmoy presented the prestigious U Thant Peace Award to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in recognition of his lifetime service to Mother India recently, according to a New India-Times report. The award is named after for late Secretary General of the United Nations and has been presented to Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela and Hinduism Today publisher Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. During their meeting, Sri Chinmoy sang a song in the praise of the prime minister. The prime minister was deeply moved and appreciated the song. Prime Minister Vajpayee was also held the Sri Chinmoy Peace Torch by Sri Chinmoy. The torch is carried by millions of people all over the world as part of history's longest and largest relay run, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. Sri Chinmoy was in Bali recently on his annual two month peace goodwill visits to different countries.

Killer Quake Breathes Life Into "Mythical" Saraswati River

Posted on 2001/2/5 0:48:02 ( 2481 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, Feb 5, 2001 - The Saraswati river, the missing third link in Allahabad's Sangam is making an appearance in quake-injured Gujarat. Scientists say shifting of tectonic plates in the Allah Bund fault area has led to a geographical osmosis in the Rann of Kutch area, pushing the Saraswati over-ground in spurts. Hundreds of villages in the Rann, where there was no water last week, now have streams flowing all over. Geological experts say that the Saraswati, a distributary of Indus which had vanished mysteriously around 1600 bce, has changed its course towards Kutch. "There is evidence that Saraswati was a distributary of Indus. And we also know that Saraswati had a connecting point from Indus that still flows from the top of Rajasthan to Pakistan," a Central Ground Water Board scientist said. Now the question the villagers are asking is whether the springs will stay. Prof. R.S. Chaturvedi, a geo-scientist, says the answer can come only after a thorough research. "It depends on the amount of water available in the parent river," he said. The Saraswati River was the lifeline of the Indus Civilization until tectonic shifts caused it to change dry up on the surface. Its course, five miles wide at places, can be seen in satellite photos of the area.

51 Couples Marry in Gujarat

Posted on 2001/2/5 0:47:02 ( 2206 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, February 4, 2001: Over 12,000 people attended the mass wedding of 51 couples even though the aftermath of the earthquake is visible throughout Ahmedabad. In honor of the recent tragedy claiming so many lives, the brides of the occasion chose not to wear any gold jewelry.

Hindu Devotees on Barefoot Holy Journey

Posted on 2001/2/5 0:46:02 ( 3479 reads )


GURUN, MALAYSIA, February 3, 2001: Seventy Hindu devotees are walking barefoot for 109 km for the Thai Pusam festival on Wednesday. Wearing saffron-colored robes and sarees, the group began a five-day journey from the Kedah state capital on Thursday and is expected to reach Penang on Monday evening. The purpose of the journey is for the devotees to fulfil their vows and to get blessings, according to Dr. Ramasamy K.M.S. Chockalingam Chetiar, who is heading the group. He said the group will pay homage to more than 25 temples along the way, including those at Sungai Petani, Kepala Batas and Butterworth, before reaching their destination. Everyone in the group is required to have been on a vegetarian diet for at least two weeks prior to the journey.

Thai Pusam Will Air Live On The Internet

Posted on 2001/2/5 0:45:02 ( 1970 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 3, 2001: Devotees and the public can view the Thai Pusam celebrations at Batu Caves on Feb 7 live on the Net in what is believed to be the first project of its kind in Malaysia and possibly the world. The broadcast will be covering the once-a-year festival held at Batu Caves for about 24 hours. It will then be transmitted live for the benefit of Internet viewers at a special Thai Pusam website at http://thai pusam.tele.com.my from 6 pm on Feb 6. More than a million devotees are expected to throng Batu Caves this year to fulfil their vows. Dr. Thuraichelvan, Aastha Inter Network chief executive officer, said that surfers would be charged on an hourly basis. "All payments will have to be made by the appropriate payment modes before viewing," he said. Dr. Thuraichelvan is coordinating the US$131,579 project. He and project organizers are inviting companies and organizations for sponsorship.

Government Helping Gujarat Citizens

Posted on 2001/2/4 0:49:02 ( 2198 reads )

Source: Rediff on the Net

GUJARAT, INDIA, February 2, 2001: The aftermath of the earthquake in Gujarat has left many survivors feeling helpless and depressed after losing loved ones, property and other belongings. In an attempt to bring normalcy back into their lives, the government is organizing religious ceremonies to honor the death of loved ones. It is hoped that family survivors will find comfort by interacting with others who have suffered great loss and begin rebuilding their lives.

Want to Bet that in 2150 The Oldest Person will be 130 or 150?

Posted on 2001/2/4 0:48:02 ( 2007 reads )


CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO, February 5, 2001: On January 1, 2150, the winner of a trust fund, starting today with 300 dollars and estimated to then be worth US$500 million, will be announced. Two scientists have set up a bet on the highest obtainable life expectancy. Estimating the age to be 130, S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois has wagered against Steven Austad of the University of Idaho who has bet the oldest person will be 150 years. Austad has more faith in the progressive medical techniques of cloning and stem cell research where worn-out body parts will be replaced. Both scientists have named a University as beneficiary of the trust fund.

Honored Lama Flees Tibet

Posted on 2001/2/4 0:47:02 ( 2000 reads )


DHARAMSALA, INDIA, February 3, 2001: Last year the 14th Karmapa fled Tibet for India. He is the third-ranking Tibetan Buddhist leader, after the dalai lama and the pancha lama. He has now been given refugee status in India. The teenager's escape from a closely-guarded monastery in Tibet embarrassed the Chinese government.

Bangladeshi Policeman Lynched

Posted on 2001/2/4 0:46:02 ( 2145 reads )


DHAKA, BANGLADESH, 3 February, 2001: Activists belonging to radical Muslim groups have lynched a policeman during violence in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, marring their call for a strike against a ban on religious edicts, or fatwas. Dhaka police have arrested at least 40 people who are thought to be involved in the violence, and have recovered the constable's body. The groups' strike call failed to prevent thousands of people from attending a rally in support of last month's High Court ruling banning fatwas, which had been organized by several nongovernmental organizations. It has been a day of high emotion on the streets of Dhaka, not least because of fears that the pro- and anti-fatwa camps might come into direct conflict. Hindus stand to be caught in the middle of the battles.

U.S. Academy of Religion Chooses Hindu President

Posted on 2001/2/4 0:45:02 ( 2009 reads )

Source: Ridiff on the Net

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, February 3, 2001: Vasudha Narayanan grew up in conservative Chennai where religion, culture, tradition, history, philosophy and temples formed the backdrop of her environment, nurturing her curiosity about Hinduism. Narayanan, 47, a professor of religion at the University of Florida at Gainesville and an author, was recently chosen as the President-elect of the American Academy of Religion. She is the first non-Jewish or non-Christian to hold the office in its 92-year history. With 9,000 members, the Atlanta-based organization is the world's largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion. Narayanan believes ''faith cuts across many social boundaries'' and ''people have an inborn need to connect to religion,'' because it forms the base of their values.

Controversy Over Breaking Coconuts at Hindu Festival

Posted on 2001/2/3 0:49:02 ( 2046 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 31, 2001: Traditionally on Thai Pusam Malaysian Hindus honor vows to Lord Muruga by breaking coconuts during this religious festival. The Consumers Association of Penang has requested that the coconut offerings be limited and excess cash that would have been used to purchase coconuts be donated to the poor. The Hindu Malaysian Youth Council countered by pointing out all the edible coconuts so broken are consumed as sacred prasadam--the food offered to the Gods, and there is therefore no waste.

VHP Challenges Shankaracharyas

Posted on 2001/2/3 0:48:02 ( 1884 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 29, 2001: Acharya Giriraj Kishore of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today reacted to the statements of some religious leaders and challenged the Shankaracharyas, "Let them build the Ram Temple if they have the money and material needed. However, they cannot expect us to give our money and construction material to them." He said that the VHP had been able to arrange for enough resources to build just the first floor of the two-story temple. Acharya said, "We just want the Ram Temple at the disputed site. It does not matter who constructs it. However, some people are unnecessarily raking the issue for cheap publicity." Meanwhile, some programs have been cancelled following the devastating earthquake in Gujarat, and he noted, the VHP would contribute US$108,700 towards rehabilitation of the victims.

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