PAKISTAN, September 27, 2016 (News 18): Six decades after it came into existence, Pakistan gave nod to a Hindu Marriage Bill that seeks to set up a legal framework for marriage and divorce [previous non-existent for Hindus] besides addressing issues including forced conversions. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 was tabled before the Pakistan National Assembly by Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael and was passed unanimously. The bill will now be forwarded to the Senate for consideration and passage.
According to The Express Tribune, the bill will institutionalize all legal rights relating to marriage. "All Hindu marriages will be registered in accordance with the provisions of this act. Such registration shall take place within 15 days of a marriage. Hindu widows will now have the right to remarry of their own free will six months after the death of her husband, according to the provisions of the bill. The bill will also help put an end to the practice of abduction of married Hindu women," it said.
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, July 2016, (CDE press release): The California Department of Education and State Board of Education (SBE) are seeking reviewers to participate in the 2017 History-Social Science Instructional Materials Adoption for grades kindergarten to 8. Reviewers will evaluate the instructional materials for alignment to the California history-social science standards and the newly revised history-social science curriculum framework, utilizing the standards maps and evaluation criteria maps that have been approved by the SBE for this adoption.
Information about this review and the online application process is available on the CDE HSS Instructional Materials Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/im/. The deadline for submission of applications is October 19, 2016. For more information, contact: 916-319-0447 or email@example.com.
There are three kinds of devotees. The inferior devotee says, "God is out there" and thinks God is different from His creation. The mediocre devotee says, "God is antaryami, the inner guide who dwells in everyone's heart;" thus the mediocre devotee sees God within. But the superior devotee sees that God alone is everything, for He has become the twenty-four cosmic tattvas. That devotee finds that everything, above and below, is filled with God.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)
INDIA, September 26, 2016 (by Amrita Verma, The Asian Age): Hindu priests in Allahabad and Varanasi demanded a ban on performing the pind daan, a post-death ritual believed to ensure salvation for departed souls, over the Internet. The pind daan is performed mainly during the Pitra Paksh, a 16-day lunar period during which Hindus pay ritual homage to their ancestors.
Pandit Kishore Upadhyaya, a priest from Varanasi, said that the growing trend of offering online pind daan was "unethical" and should be banned. "The ritual requires the person to be physically present and make offerings to the departed souls. It is an elaborate ritual and cannot be performed in absentia," he said.
According to him, a large number of websites now offer "online tarpan" for a price. These websites are doing big business, but the people are being duped, he said. "We understand that working people are short on time and cannot travel to religious places like Gaya, Allahabad, Varanasi or Haridwar to perform the ritual, but they can opt for the ritual in their own cities. In fact, some religious organisations even arrange for collective pind daan for those who cannot afford to travel," he said.
Another Varanasi priest, Pandit Shiv Misra, said that the idea of online pind daan was "ridiculous," and should be stopped. "This is almost like asking someone else to eat or sleep for you. How can anyone else pray for me? The websites that are offering the 'services' take money and then claim to have performed the rituals for your ancestors," he said.
The priests have decided to take up the matter in the annual Magh Mela that is held in Allahabad in January and ask the Dharam Sansad to convince the government to ban the virtual pind daan services. "We have come to know that a website that offers virtual 'pind daan' in Varanasi, is receiving 200-250 requests every day which means a large number of people are being fleeced," said Pandit Shiv Misra.
INDIA, May 2016 (You Tube): This video will show the entire history of India from 29th century BCE to 2016 in the form of an ever-changing map indicating the location of the cultures and empires that existed over the centuries. Indus Valley and Vedic periods are shown as they changed decade by decade, after 413 bce, the maps change each year. The 12-minute video shows the growth and demise of dynasties, empires and kingdoms in India and Sri Lanka from 2800 BCE right through to 2016.