Tuesday October 24, 2017

Obama carries Lord Hanuman idol for luck

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Nevada: The news that United States President Barack Obama carries around a tiny Hindu Lord Hanuman statue in his pocket as a lucky charm has created headlines across the world.

This was disclosed by the US President during a youtube interview.

“If I feel tired, or I feel discouraged sometimes, I can kind of reach into my pocket and say yeah, that’s something I can overcome, because somebody gave me the privilege to work on these issues that are going to effect them,” Obama said.

From rosary beads to silver and tiny Buddha statue to a silver poker chip, Obama disclosed some small articles that he carries in his pocket as a lucky charm.

“I carry these around all the time. I’m not that superstitious, so it’s not like I think I necessarily have to have them on me at all times,” he said.

He carries them to remember his experiences with various people he met during his life.

Obama spent his initial childhood days in Indonesia. Notably, Hinduism was popular in the country. Carrying a Hanuman statue might be an influence of that.

Obama’s attachment to Hinduism was welcomed by religious leaders across USA. Reportedly, Hindu scholars have expressed eagerness to help the US President if he wants to explore Hinduism further. .

Lord Hanuman is greatly revered and is worshipped very popularly among Hindus in numerous temples.

Hinduism, with moksh(liberation) as its ultimate goal, is the oldest and the third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents.

It might be mentioned that there are about three million Hindus in the USA.(Inputs from agencies)

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Spooky! 5 Unsolved Mysteries From India You Will Not Believe Are True

If you think you can solve any puzzle with your analytical mind, think again because these incredibly baffling mysteries are going to leave you confused.

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unresolved mysteries of India
A Tughlak-era hunting lodge, Malcha Mahal has no windows, doors, electricity or water supply. But the royal descendants of Awadh continue to occupy the now run down house. (representative image) Wikimedia

 

  • India is home to not only a variety of cultures, religions, and traditions but also several unsolved mysteries
  • While some cases can be balanced with scientific rationality, these cases remain largely unresolved 

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: A dilapidated Mahal with no doors, windows, food, water or electricity supply, but home to Royal siblings who have not come out for over 20 years; a beach that appears and disappears all within the same day, a girl who recollected everything from a life she has previously lived; a place where thousands of birds commit suicide; these might sound like instances from an Alfred Hitchcock movie but aren’t. We present to you these unsolved mysteries from India that would leave you puzzled.

Believe it or not, these are real-life occurrences that have been reported and documented.

There is a reason after all, why the world knows our country as incredible‘ India.

India has, for generations, gripped researchers and scientists with tales and mysteries. While some of the claims have been debunked by science and rationality, many others remain mysteries “unsolved mysteries” of the modern world.

ALSO READ: The concept of Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism: Read On!

NewsGram presents to you 5 cases “unsolved mysteries” that have baffled the minds of many, and continue to remain unsolved and unexplained-

  1. The curious case of Shanti Devi who recalled being Lugdi Devi in past life.
In the 1930s, a four-year old Delhi girl brought the whole nation to a standstill. Reason? Only one sentence that said “I have lived here before.”
Born in 1926 in a Delhi-based family, Shanti Devi began reminiscing details of a past life at the age of four. She claimed she was Lugdi Devi from Mathura, who lived with her husband Kedar Nath and had died during childbirth. Her recollections of her life as Ludgi Devi were spotless, and were further proved right when a letter sent to Mathura was received by Kedar Nath at the exact address she had shared. Shanti Devi also recognized Kedar Nath at first glance and recalled details of their life lived together.
This strange case even reached Mahatma Gandhi, who upon meeting young Shanti was visibly surprised (according to eye witness accounts) and also set up an inquiry commission for the case.
The case was picked by multiple Indian and foreign researchers over time, who found her claims to be uncannily accurate.
The story of Shanti Devi’s reincarnation till date remains one of the most well-documented unsolved mysteries of past-life recalling in present time.

2. Siblings of the haunted Malcha Mahal 

Unresolved mysteries from India
One of the gates of Malcha Mahal. Wikimedia

Will you be able to live in a dilapidated house with more bats than humans, in the middle of a dense forest, in the absence of electricity or water; no windows or doors with no such thing as human presence or contact?
What if we tell you there are people who do?
700-year-old Malcha Mahal is home to two siblings from the royal family of Oudh- Prince Riaz and Princess Sakina, who have since 1985 not made any contact with the outside world and strictly stay indoors.
Adjacent to the Earth Station in Delhi, the lodge was a Shikaarghar (hunting ground) built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and was declared haunted in the 14th century after which all human activity was banned around the area.
The Begum of Oudh and the granddaughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah,  Began Wilayat Mahal was given the Malcha Mahal by the Indian government in 1985 as compensation for Wajid Ali Shah’a land that had been seized by the Britishers.
A few years after moving in, the Begun committed suicide by drinking crushed diamonds in 1993, leaving behind the wailing royal siblings. A few successful theft cases left the children aggressive, who ever since have broken all possible human contact with the world.
They remain strictly inside without proper food, water or electricity with reports suggesting that Prince Riaz comes out concealed only to get meat for their dogs.
Till date, they have only given two interviews with no other record of their presence. The spooky lodge stands tall amidst all surrounding mysteries and all you can find there is an eerie silence, zero human presence and a board that reads ‘ENTRY RESTRICTED. CAUTIOUS OF HAUND DOGS. PROCLAMATION : INTRUDERS SHALL BE GUNDOWN’

 

3. The sonic boom of Jodhpur

Unresolved mysteries of India
The city of Jodhpur was one of the many places around the world where the explosion sound was heard. Wikimedia

The world was in the grip of a global rumor claiming that the world was to end on December 21 as predicted by the Mayan calendar. At such disquieting times, the people of Jodhpur city in Rajasthan were startled on December 18 by a deafening boom.
The sound, which resembled a loud explosion, was believed by some to have been the breaking of a sound barrier by an IAF over Jodhpur while others contested that an army ammunition depot situated nearby must have gone up in smoke. However, these claims were immediately turned down by army officials.
When an object travels through air at a speed greater than that of sound, an enormous amount of sound energy is released which sounds similar to the sound of an explosion – the sonic boom.
What was even more intriguing was that this was not a singular event. Similar unexplained sounds or booms were heard at different places spread all over the world including UK and US that month. At some places, the boom was also allegedly accompanied with a green light.
What could have moved in the air at that great a speed? Was that the sound of testing a strange new weapon or could it have been some alien activity. And were these sounds connected? The case continues to remain one of the many daunting mysteries of present times…& its still one of the unsolved mysteries.

4. The hair-raising case of Monkey Man

A mysterious, hairy animal-like creature was rumored to roam the streets of Delhi in the summers of 2001 that would attack people and vanish almost magically. This was the case of Delhi’s Monkey Man.
Eyewitnesses and victims gave varied accounts of this monkey-like man; some claimed he was 4 feet tall and hairy while others asserted it was over 5.5 feet tall, wore a helmet, and had glowing red eyes with long claws and three buttons on its chest. It’s still one of the the unresolved mysteries.
Several of the Monkey Man’s victims were reported to have serious scratches on their bodies and two victims had allegedly fallen off buildings because of panic after coming face to face with the ‘creature’.
Within a year, reports of attacks by a similar creature surfaced from different parts of Delhi and even Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).
Monkey Man was a menace for a long duration as kids and adults alike feared his sightings. Large groups of people carrying arms at night to fight the beast became a common sight around the time.
Some people dismissed the story as an urban myth, while others claimed the creature to be a reincarnation of Lord Hanuman. Either way, the cases and reports of the Monkey Man’s sightings died down on its own and the case was reduced to one of the many unsolved mysteries of the country.

5. The Hide and Seek beach 

Unresolved mysteries from India
The Chandipur beach in Odisha is also called the Hide and Seek beach. Wikimedia

There is a beach in India that disappears twice a day. Don’t believe us?
The Chandipur beach, also known as the Hide and Seek beach does not exist constantly in any map. Here, visitors can actually witness the sea disappear in front of their eyes.
Located in Orissa, the Chandipur beach witnesses a mysterious natural phenomenon. Visitors may witness water on one visit, but may find only sand dunes and Casuarina trees on the next. The entire beach appears and then disappears in the matter of just one day.
This phenomenon is believed to be unique to Chandipur beach, where the sea recedes by as much as 5 km every day during the ebb time, which is the period between the high tide and the low tide. This phenomenon happens twice every day with the locals even being fairly aware of the timings of the high tide and the low tide.
However, this timing of the magical disappearance and re-appearance of the water changes as per the moon cycle because of which, safety measure have to be taken by the beach visitors at all times. This is one of the unsolved mysteries of India.

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The Invisible Coolie Shines in ‘The Cutlass’ (Comment: Special to Newsgram)

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The Cutlass
Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Aug 21, 2017: “Coolie” is the name of the character played by Narad Mahabir in the play directed by Errol Hill titled Man Better Man.

The local play was performed at NAPA in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in June and an excerpt was staged in August during the premiere of the CARIFESTA festival. Mahabir was given a minor role as the lone Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) villager in the musical which was laced with humorous dialogue, Kalinda dances and calypso songs.

Except for recent plays written and directed by Indians like Victor Edwards, Seeta Persad and Walid Baksh, Indian actors and actresses have been given minor roles or none at all (“invisible”) in “national” theatre and cinema. In this context, The Cutlass is a movie with a difference. And indeed, the tagline of the movie on the cinema poster is “A breakthrough in Caribbean Cinema.”

Surprisingly, Arnold Goindhan is given the lead role (by the non-Indian TeneilleNewallo) as of the kidnapper named “Al” in The Cutlass. Paradoxically, he is given only a fleeting presence in the film’s trailerHe is the only Indian actor and the only character who is Indian, in a movie that is based on crime, race and class.

As a villain, Al is portrayed as an evil Indian Hindu. A calendar painting of the anthropomorphic Hindu god, Lord Hanuman (The Remover of Obstacles) is captured fleetingly on the wall of Al’s forest camp. In the film world of poetic justice The Cutlass, light must overcome darkness, whiteness must overwhelm blackness, and Christianity must conquer Hinduism. The pendant of Virgin Mary in the hands of the white kidnapped victim must overpower Hanuman.

Goindhan is a full-time Indian actor from Malick in Barataria who also sings and plays music. The “Island Movie Blog” on August 11 noted that when Goindhan “keeps his portrayal subtle, he really shines.” The July/August edition of the Caribbean Beat magazine stated that The Cutlass has delivered “compelling performances” to audiences.

The kidnap movie premiered to a sold-out audience at the T&T Film Festival in 2016 received rave reviews. It copped the T&T Film Festival’s Best Trinidad and Tobago Feature Film and People’s Choice awards. The Cutlass was also screened at international film festivals such as the Cannes Film Mart at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The last time an Indian was chosen for a major role in a local feature film was 43 years ago in 1974. That film was titled Bim which featured Ralph (Anglicised from Rabindranath) Maraj playing the role of Bim/Bheem Sing. Bim was based on the composite life of a notorious assassin, Boysie Singh, and aggressive trade unionist and Hindu leader, Bhadase Sagan Maraj.

As an actor, Ralph Maraj was preceded by Basdeo Panday who became the first Indian in the Caribbean to appear on a big screen in Nine Hours to Rama (1963). The movie was about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Panday also acted in two other British cinematic movies: Man in the Middle (1964) and The Brigand of Kandahar (1965).

But the Indo-Caribbean actor who has earned the honour of starring in the most movies – Hollywood included – is Errol Sitahal. He acted in Tommy Boy (1995), A Little Princess (1995) and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004).

Valmike Rampersadand Dinesh (“Dino”) Maharaj is rising stars to watch. Originally from Cedros, Dinesh is the lead actor in Moko Jumbie, a new feature film by Indo-Trinidadian-American Vashti Anderson. Moko Jumbie was selected for screening at the 2017 LA Film Festival.

Dinesh acted in the local television series, Westwood Park (1997–2004). His cinematic film credits include portrayals in Klash (1996), The Mystic Masseur (2001) and Jeffrey’s Calypso (2005).

Nadia Nisha Kandhai is the lead actress in the upcoming screen adaptation of the novel, Green Days by the River.

There is a real danger in marginalising Indians in theatre and film when they are in fact the largest ethnic group in T&T according to the 2011 CSO census data. Cultivation theory states that images in the media strongly influence perceptions of the real-world. This theory was developed by communication researchers George Gerbner and Larry Gross of the University of Pennsylvania in 1976.

The Cutlass can transmit the following wrong perceptions of reality: (1) Hinduism is evil, (2) Indians are one percent of the population, (3) there are few Indian actors, (4) Indians constitute the majority of kidnappers, and (5) the majority of kidnapped victims are white.

I presented a research paper in 2005 based on 40 cases of kidnapping in T&T. My findings revealed that 78% of the victims were Indians, and according to the survivors, the overwhelming majority of the kidnappers were Afro ex-police and army strongmen.

Watch Trailer: The Cutlass

 

The Writer is an anthropologist who has published 11 books


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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The Jakhoo Temple in Shimla is Dedicated to Lord Hanuman

Shimla's Jakhoo Temple, devoted to the monkey god- Lord Hanuman, is a famous Hanuman Mandir and a go-to place in the city

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Jakhoo Temple
108 feet tall Lord Hanuman statue in Jakhoo Temple. Wikimedia
  • The Jakhoo Temple is a famous ‘Hanuman Mandir’ in Shimla
  • It is located 2.5 kilometers from the Church Street and a common go-to place at the ridge
  • A Hanuman statue 108 feet tall can been seen while trekking to the temple

Shimla, July 21, 2017: At 2.5 kilometers distance from the Church Street in Shimla is the famous ‘Hanuman Mandir’ in the city- The Jakhoo Temple (Also spelled Jakhu).

It is a devotion to the Lord Hanuman. The temple is built Shimla’s highest elevated top with the height of 8,050 feet. There is a 20 minute trek to the temple on which the statue of Lord Hanuman standing 108 feet tall can be seen. The statue was built for Rs 1.5 crores and is taller than Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro which is 98 feet tall.

The temple, built at the summit, provides a great view from the top. The Shivalik as well as the Himalayan foothills can be spotted. Jakhoo comes from the Hindi word Yakhsa, which is the transcendent connection between the humans and the divine beings in Hindu mythology.

The interesting story attached with the temple exists from the seasons of Ramayana. Lord Lakshman, Lord Ram’s younger brother, was hurt by a lightning bolt from Meghanath in the battle of Lord Ram and Ravana. The wound could not be cured after many efforts. It was believed that a herb (Sanjeevani) from Himachal could probably cure this pain.

ALSO READ: Indian Firm takes over Construction of Hindu Temple of Goddess Durga in Bhutan

Lord Hanuman stood up to the task. On the way to Himachal, Hanuman saw Sage Yaaku sitting on the mountain and he approached him to enquire about the herb. Once his enquiry was done, Hanuman left.

When on the way back Hanuman met with the Sage again, he could not accept the invitation to stay. Lord Ram was waiting for the herb to be brought soon. Yaaku was left with a symbol of the Lord on the slope of the mountain, where he decided to build the temple.

The symbol/ icon can be seen in the temple. As with other Hanuman Mandirs in the country, gangs of monkeys can be seen bullying and dominating the area. They are fed well by the many tourists that come to the temple.

prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2393