Global Dharma

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RESOURCES

India Puts 6.5 Million Books Online, for Free

THE NATIONAL DIGITAL LIBRARY of India added 6.5 million books to their web library during June, 2017, in an initiative from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. All these books are free to download or read online. Including textbooks, audio and video content, this one portal offers over 8.6 million items in all—a massive collection of learning resources that gives students a powerful advantage at no cost.

The publications and media sources appear endless, though the site is not yet perfect—clicking on certain articles may bring up an empty profile page. Also, some material is sourced from other libraries or agencies, so you must request permission.

The search feature is fast and accurate, based on keywords from the title of the publication and the author or any profile keyword. The experience is similar to a Google search but yields more clearly defined results. Results from YouTube show up for video content just as if you searched using Google.

This database is a treasure trove for students who need to research a particular subject, author or field of study. Kudos to India for empowering students everywhere!

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Online repository: The screenshot shows the Digital Library’s front page, sidebar and search field. After signing up with a name, email and password, the entire database is yours for the searching. The NDL focuses on technology, science, humanities and agriculture. Visit this great library at bit.ly/Digital__Library

INDIA

Temple Lands Returned

IN A CONCERTED EFFORT to restore temple lands to their rightful owners, the Tamil Nadu state government has recovered 5,559 acres of land owned by 789 temples in the last six years.

The Times of India reported that in July, 2017, documents presented in court showed that vast areas of temple land had been wrongly transferred to private persons during the implementation of the Updating Registry Scheme (UDR).

Government officials told The Times of India that when land records were being automated at that time, data entry operators—with or without connivance of government officials—forged documents, changing the name on the patta, or deed, in favor of individuals with names of Deities and temples. For example, lands held in the name of “Siva Nataraja” (a temple Deity) could be easily transferred to an individual of the same name.

The properties are mostly agricultural lands, but also include residential and commercial plots, some being used as tourist hotels.

Thousands of acres of temple lands still remain in private hands, but a senior official of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department counseled, “This is an ongoing process, and steps are being taken to restore temple lands.”

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Vast vistas: Land is slowly restored to temples as the rightful owner

MALAYSIA

Worshiping for 100+ Years

AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF RENOVATION, the Sri Sundararaja Perumal Temple of Klang, Malaysia, ceremoniously reopened its doors in April of 2017 to 100,000 devotees.

The largest Vaishnavite temple in Malaysia, it is often referred to as the “Thirupati of Southeast Asia” after its famous namesake in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Built in 1890, it is one of the oldest Vaishnavite temples in Southeast Asia. In 2008 it became the first temple in Malaysia to receive the ISO 9001 certification for efficient administration.

The extensive restoration of this iconic 127-year-old structure cost approximately US$2.3 million. Devotees are enthusiastically looking forward to another 100-plus years of worship!

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Tirupati of Southeast Asia: Throngs of devotees wait in anticipation as the doors of this Klang temple open after being under construction for eight long years


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