INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Indian Express): Less than a month after the Himachal Pradesh High Court banned animal sacrifice at religious places during fairs and festivals, the caretakers of the Deities, at their rare congregation, decided to continue with the age-old tradition.
The development has created a piquant situation for law enforcing agencies, which had earlier told the caretakers' body that High Court orders would be enforced strictly to stop animal sacrifice of any sort. Its immediate effect will be in Kullu Dussehra on October 3 wherein animal sacrifice is part of the rituals.
The Dharam Sansad witnessed an overwhelming presence of representatives of the local Deities. "Just in one voice every caretaker of the 260 Deities spoke of upholding of the tradition and appealed the High Court to reconsider the order on ban as it goes against the accepted traditions and customs approved by supreme deities", said Maheshwar Singh, an erstwhile raja of Kullu, who is chief kardar (caretaker) of Lord Raghunath.
Dot Ram Thakur, president of Dev Samaj, made it clear at the Dharam Sansad that animal sacrifice is an important part of the religious beliefs in the area since ages. He said, "There cannot be changes in the tradition as it is the order of the Gods and people have to follow. No religious festival will be completed if animal sacrifice is not carried out." [The sacrificed animals are taken home and eaten by the devotees.]
WASHINGTON D.C., September 26, 2014 (Washington Post): Epic narrative. Exquisite music. Spirited humor. And puppets. The performing-art form wayang golek has it all, says Kathy Foley, a scholar and master puppeteer who is deeply versed in this brand of theater, traditional to the Sundanese culture of West Java, Indonesia.
Wayang golek could be likened to "a combination of what we would think of as opera, Shakespeare and popular stand-up comedy," with dance (by puppets) and some "high philosophical wisdom" thrown in, says Foley, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She was speaking by phone in the lead-up to "The Miraculous Birth of Hanuman, the Monkey King," the wayang golek production in which she's scheduled to perform at the Freer Gallery of Art on Oct. 4.
The show, which dramatizes an episode from Hindu mythology, also will feature gamelan musicians from the Indonesian College of the Arts in the city of Bandung. It's all part of "Performing Indonesia: Music, Dance and Theater From West Java," a two-day festival being presented by the Smithsonian's Freer/Arthur M. Sackler galleries and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
WASHINGTON D.C., September 4, 2014 (HAF): ) The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) announces its sixth annual NextGen Essay Contest, open to writers ages 14 through 27. As HAF continues its efforts to build a credible Hindu American voice, it is also working to ensure the voices of future Hindu American leaders are heard. The NextGen Essay Contest was established in 2009 to engage the youth and to continue to emphasize the importance of a Hindu American identity.
Submissions should address an issue relating to Green Living. Green Living is a hot topic these days. From eating only organic to biking to work to composting, and a growing interest in productive, yet sustainable farming, people around the globe, including researchers, are trying to find ways to live in greater harmony with the Earth. The Contest Deadline is Friday, October 10, 2014. For more details see source above.
I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and acceptance. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites who came to Southern India in the very year in which their holy temple was destroyed by Romans. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the last of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I, my friends, am a Hindu.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrisha
MUMBAI, INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Every festive season, cultural events take the city by storm. Now, to ensure that the buzz and excitement spreads on social media as well, mandals across the city are providing Wi-Fi connections in their venues this year. This new trend can be attributed to the fact that young visitors to the mandals are fond of clicking selfies against a festive backdrop, and Wi-Fi connections allow them to promptly upload the photos on to social networking sites. This, in turn, translates into publicity for the mandals, say organizers.
While the recently concluded 10-day Ganeshotsav saw several decorative pandals equipped with high-speed Internet for the first time, even sprawling garba grounds are now offering the facility. "Mandals these days have a website, social media pages and mobile apps, but these are not enough. There is tremendous marketing opportunity in people liking and sharing photos or status updates about us on social media. That happens when visitors upload photos such as selfies on sites, or share them on messaging groups. Free Wi-Fi comes in handy then," said Ganesh Naidu, president of Naidu Club, which is celebrating the nine-day Navratri festival at Kora Kendra, Borivli (West).
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