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hey people, Help me.  I'm trying to write a paper on superstitions in  
hinduism, and in the Indian culture.  I would appreciate it if anybody out  
there will mail me a list of superstitions that they are aware of.  
	My name is Chirag, and my e-mail address is 
Thank you.  

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Date:    Sat, 24 Sep 94 18:02 EDT
From: "Dinesh Agrawal" <DXA4@PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
Subject: Rao stealing BJP's saffron agenda
To: editor@rbhatnagar.ececs.uc.edu
Status: O

By: Swapan Dasgupta
Source: Indian Express, August 25, 1994

    For the permanently aggrieved the BJP is a source of unending irritation.
Everything about its track record suggests an inclination to conjure issues
out of thin air, surround them in hysterical controversy, secure electoral
returns and passively await the Congress to incorporate these into its agenda
after a due process of sanitisation.

   The BJP may seem isolated in Parliament over its attempt to unfurl the
tricolor in Hubli. But then, it was equally isolated over Ayodhya, over its
belief in the ISI's involvement in the Bombay blasts and over the Hindu
exodus from Doda. Today, Doda has for all practical purposes been declared a
'disturbed area' and the Home Minister is publicising juicy details of Yakub
Memon's dalliances with the ISI. As for Ayodhya, proprietorial disputes and
tone apart, there is little to distinguish betwen PVN Rao and LK Advani.
Indeed, from all accounts, Rao's Rs 500-crore temple to Ram is likely to be
even more grand than the one envisaged by the sangh parivar. Politics make
closet bedfellows and the PM appears to have unceremoniously anointed the BJP
as his very own Monday Club ( a right-wing ginger group that has traditionally
been an ideological advance guard of the Conservative Party in Britain).

   Everything about Rao indicates a strong desire to narrow the ideological
chasm between the Congress and BJP. First it was economic deregulation. For
two years - until Swedeshi was resurrected as a feature of saffron 'distinct-
ness' - the BJP was out of its depths trying to find fault with the purposeful
dismantling of the socialist raj. Indeed, Rao effected the transition so
adroitly that conventional wisdom now equates the BJP with the Communists in
the barometer of status quo.

   Next it was Kashmir. True, the PM will never deprive the BJP of its thunder
entirely as long as Kashmiri Hindus languish in refugee camps and the Harkat-
ul- Ansar targets pilgrims to Amarnath. But he has succeeded in appropriating
important facets of the BJP nationalist agenda, without even an obligatory
acknowledgement. Advani was understandably pleased when earlier this year a
joint session of Parliament unanimously passed a resolution reiterating the
role of Kashmir (including POK) as the crown of Bharat Mata. He was probably
less happy when this assertive nationalism was conveniently used by Rao in
his Independence Day speech to lessen the impact of the Rs 500-crore bonanza
to the minorities.

    India, the PM proudly asserted in his speech at Rajiv Gandhi's 50th
birth anniversary celebration, is a model of conflict resolution. What he did
not eleborate was the BJP's unique contribution to the process as the omni-
present antithesis without which synthesis is a non-starter.

    But then Rao is very niggardly with praise, even when it is overdue. He has
apparently convinced himself and his associates that the Brahmin-Harijan-Muslim
combine that has traditionally kept Congress in power can no longer yield the
same dividends. The problem is partly with Harijans, who seem in a mood to
experiment with sectarian visions of Bahijan Samaj, but the main culprit is
undoubtedly the Muslim community which quite inexplicably, holds the Congress
responsible for the demolition in Ayodhya. As things stand today, the Muslims-
except perhaps in MP and Rajasthan - seem determined to vote against the
Congress even if there is no viable 'secular' alternative in sight. No amount
of firings on BJP agitators in Hubli, cash incentives to minorities, appoint-
ment of Muslim civil servants to key posts and bouts of feigned indignation
against TADA will alter the reality.

    Like the beleaguered Indira Gandhi in 1984 who toyed with the same idea,
Rao has little alternative but to attempt eating into a Hindu vote bank that
the BJP successfully created in the wake of the Ramjanambhoomi movement. In
fact, he seems to be proceeding steadily in that direction, the Moily govt's
over-zealousness in Hubli notwithstanding.

    It is by now patently clear that the PM would like grand Ram temple in
Ayodhya - on the contentious site - to symbolise his contribution to Indian
nationhood. Gone is the old rhetoric about the 'vandalism' of December 6 and
the insistence that mandir and masjid must coexist in designer harmony. Instead
the thrust is on leaving the whole construction to the Shankaracharyas who
will, naturally, coopt the right, "non-political" sants into a trust. Of course
as long as Vamdev Maharaj, Mahant Avaidyanath, Acharya Dharmendra and Ashok
Singhal are firmly kept out.

   Given the placatory noises being made by the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, it
may also come as no surprise if the trustees-designate agree to utilise the
thousands of Ram shilas stored in Ayodhya for the construction. Such a move
is likely to endear the Government to the millions of ordinary people who are
fanatically committed to Ram temple in Ayodhya, but who have no particular
attachment with the VHP.

    Not that Rao will necessarily stake his entire future on ensuring that
temple construction begins just prior to the general election. Unlike the BJP
that made the Ram temple issue a litmus test of the nation's rejection of
distorted secularism, Rao is not bound by abstract principles. For him, the
temple is an expedient electoral plank which, even if it does not materialise,
will stand him in good stead. What the PM is primarily concerned with is to
convey the unmistakable impression that he is second to none in his commitment
to Ram Janambhoomi. If despite this commitment, the Supreme Court is unable to
arrive at any definite conclusion on the Presidential reference, Rao can at
least wash his hands off the charge that he is anti-temple and a Ram drohi.

    It is a clever strategy, perhaps a bit too clever. But like all exercises
in wiliness, there is also danger of it backfiring, as happened with Rajiv
Gandhi's decision to sanction the shilanyas in November 1989. This, however,
has less to do with what the Congress does than how the BJP responds. For the
moment Advani has reacted phlegmatically by emphasising that the crucial
question is site of the garbha griha of the proposed temple rather than who
builds it. This in turn has paid immediate returns. The Shankaracharya of
Sringeri has clarified that the idol of Ram will be located at its present
spot and emphasised that he does not view pro-VHP sadhus as untouchables.

    If BJP is able to maintain its composure, Rao's task will be made doubly
difficult. Apart from pressuring the Shankaracharyas to make the trust reflec-
tive of the broad spectrum of Hindu society and, therefore, tryly independent,
it will force Congressmen to face up to the awkward realities of the saffronis-
ed agenda. Unlike Rao, BJP can afford to be supercilious in the belief that
as with deregulation and Kashmir, it was also right on Ayodhya all along. It
can entrench itself in certitude even as the Congress copes with the conflict-
ing pressures of soft Hindutva, minorityism and dynastic fundamentalism.


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Date: Sun, 25 Sep 1994 16:03:02 -0500
From: jit <abdutta@icaen.uiowa.edu>
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This is from misc.news.southasia. Source: Indian Express, Sept 12-16, 1994
Sender: gnreddy@dpg.attmail.com (G.Narotham Reddy)

* Japanese Film to Explore Indian Spirituality

TOYKYO - A famous Japanese director is making a 10 Billion Yen feature
film to be shot almost entirely on locations in India, mostly in
Varanasi. The film titled "The Deep River" which alludes to the Ganges
and is based on a famous novel by legendary author Shusaku Endo. It is
to be directed by Mr Kei Kumagai and produced by Shigoto Productions.
	Fifty years after the end of the war, Japanese people are
trying to reconcile the material success with human understanding, says
a synopsis of the film. The spiritual search often ends in India in
many current Japanese literary and popular stories as happiness is
sought in things other than material.
	The film will focus on the criss-crossing of paths of a few
Japanese of diverse background as they travel together during a tour to
India and obtain different levels of realisation. Shooting in India is
to be completed this year.
	The project was formally announced at a reception here in the
presence of the leading players and production officials. Shusaku Endo
is deeply impressed by the Indian ethos and said that The Deep River is
his magnum opus. It encompasses the thoughts and characters that have
appeared in his books so far.
	Endo, a highly respected name in Japan had won the prestigious
Akusigawa prize for literature in Japan.
	The film is directed by Mr Kei Kumagai a noted Japanese


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