Author: The Editor

To be a Hindu pilgrim… with a mobile phone all the way

For the first time ever, the 400,000 Hindu pilgrims on the Amarnath Yatra will be able to take their mobile phones with them, after the state-owned operator BSNL said it would erect nine signal masts along the route. BSNL’s announcement is part of the Indian government’s plan to promote mobile telephony in inhospitable areas. And the masts, it would seem, are not just a PR exercise: they will stay there after the Yatra (pilgrimage) is over. For some, the idea of being able to use a mobile on such a mission is sacrilegious, but for most it will likely prove a means of support during a very dangerous journey. The Yatra is a truly perilous trip to embark on. Not only is it a gruelling and sinuous climb to 12,750 feet to see an ice lingam that appears in a cave between June and August – the route can also be blighted by unseasonal blizzards, and is a terrorist target for Kashmiri separatists. Two years ago, the Indian government agreed to transfer 100 acres of land to the Yata authority, the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, to set up temporary shelters and facilities for Hindu pilgrims. This idea was shelved when there were widespread protests against the move. (There hasn’t been a murmur about BSNL’s mobile masts.) The Yatra has a chequered history and was suspended for five years in...

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India Will Patent Yoga Asanas

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has prepared patent formats of nearly 900 yoga asanas (postures), to prevent European and American companies involved in fitness-related activities from claiming them as their own. These asanas will all be included in the digitalised Traditional Knowledge Library (TKDL), set up by the council to collect and record traditional treatment therapy knowledge. Medicines and yoga asanas registered with it enjoy the status of being patented. “Video recordings of the asanas are also being made and recorded to prevent them from being stolen,” said TKDL director Dr VK Gupta. The CSIR began the project in 2006. These 900 asanas have been collected from Patanjali’s classic work on yoga, as well as other ancient classics like the Bhagwat Gita. Gupta said a number of countries had already laid claim to around 250 of these postures. Some foreign companies have even patented some of them. Foreign companies have been selling some of the yoga postures as therapies to relieve stress or backaches. “How can someone else patent these asanas which are a part of our traditional treatment therapy knowledge? They should not be allowed to use them for commercial purposes,” Dr Gupta said. The CSIR’s next step will be to move against the yoga patents already registered abroad. The United States patent office alone has issued around 3000 patents on yoga postures and their...

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Peruvian envoy to undertake research on Adi Sankara

Attracted by the teachings of Adi Sankara, a Peruvian envoy in India has decided to undertake research on the eighth century philosopher of Vedanta at a university run by the Kanchi Kamakoti Trust. Carlos A. Irigoyen Forno, Deputy Chief of Mission, Peruvian Embassy in New Delhi, who introduces himself as a descendent of Incas tribals of the South American nation, has applied for doing research on Adi Sankara at the Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya (CSVMV) in nearby Enathur. Mr. Forno, who was here to visit the famous Kamakshi Amman temple on Sunday, said he had been drawn to Adhisankara for over 42 years. When asked what inspired him, he said it was a tryst he made with Ved Vyas 42 years back, whose Mahabharatha he read in a French translation. He was overwhelmed by the canvass and the thought, he said. The Incas, who are part of the tribal population of Peru, share many things in common with Hindus, he said, adding they have the same belief in Sun and Moon worship, besides worshipping Garuda and snake. The Peruvian Deputy Ambassador said ties between countries can develop and strengthen only on the base laid by universities and trade. Universities have a great role to play through exchange of scholars and Ideas, he said. On trade ties between Peru and India, he said Peru is a major producer of...

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Movie Review of ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’

Starring: Will Smith (Bagger Vance), Matt Damon (Rannulph Junuh), Directed by: Robert Redford Genre: Dramatic Comedy Length: 2hrs 20min Synopsis: A lightweight, though entirely pleasant film that seeks to unite some of the thematic elements of the Bhagavad Gita with the meditative aspects of the game of golf. Background: The Legend of Bagger Vance is based on the book “The Legend of Bagger Vance: Golf and the Game of Life” by Steven Pressfield published by William Morrow & Company. Review: Robert Redford (Dir. Quiz Show, The Horse Whisperer) has made some good films in the past. In fact, I would nominate Quiz Show as one of the best films of the 1990s. However, The Legend of Bagger Vance falls short of such greatness and ends up as a leisurely, beautifully shot film which lacks any dramatic tension. Going into this film you will know exactly how this film will end. The year is 1931 and America is in the midst of the Great Depression. Rannulph Junuh (R.Junuh) in his younger days was one of Savannah, Georgia’s great golf champions. Now, however, he has lost his way. You see, he enlisted in the army with the onset of World War I only to see his entire unit killed in battle. Now he is a shadow of his former self and comforts himself with alcohol. Without getting into all the plot...

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