Friday August 17, 2018

Behold Irish connection of Ganesha

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Dublin: Of the numerous temples established by emigrant Hindus in the various places they settles, the Sri Ganesha Pilgrimage in Ireland is indeed astonishing. However, a visit to a fascinating 22-acre field in Roundwood which houses nine Ganesh idols would not only surprise a person but also mesmerise you. Roundwood is a small village in county Wicklow, southeast of Dublin.
Apart from one sitting idol of Sri Ganesh, reading a tome, all the others are either dancing or playing a musical instrument. Notably, the Victoria’s Way collection of black granite Ganesha (Vinayaka) took about nine years to design, model and carve. The sculptures range in size from 5.6ft to 9ft and weigh between 2 and 5 tonnes. The sculptures were envisioned and sketched in Roundwood by park owner Victor Langheld. The sculptures were later modelled by artist DV Murugan in Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), Tamil Nadu, India. They were carved in Mahabalipuram by an outstanding sculptor, the stapathi master T Baskaran.

Besides the Ganesh idols, there are idols of Lord Shiva, Durga Devi and a fasting Buddha. Vgarden-ganesh-statueictoria’s Way is a mini pilgrimage that guides the pilgrim from spiritual birth. Passing through the Creation Gate, the pilgrim encounters the different sculptures of Lord Ganesha, who helps the pilgrim reach the wellspring of his spiritual journey. Then the wanderer enters an enchanted forest where he comes across sculptures that symbolize the crossroads of the spiritual quest. They encourage the pilgrim to meditate, and move forward to the final goal: realisation of the true self. A magnificent 15-ft bronze statue of the future Buddha represents the ascetic phase through which all pilgrims must pass.

Victor was born of German Jewish parents in Berlin in 1940. Victor’s father moved to Ireland and settled there with his family. Victor himself started his primary education in Ireland. By the age of 14, he had decided to go to India, keen to become a sadhu and spend his life in the pursuit of enlightenment. Before he had reached 25, Victor was in India. Thereafter, he spent the next 25 years as a wandering monk in India, learning about Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga, studying the Vedas and Upanishad. He spent some time at the Arobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. He travelled widely through India, spending time at various ashrams, under the tutelage of many gurus.

During his long stay in India, not only did he came to love the country, but his own devotion to Sri Ganesh, arguably the most beloved of the gods, grew. That gave him the idea of starting a Ganesh Park in Ireland. Once the idea took root, it took 20 years for that dream to become reality.

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During his long stay in India, Victor learnt that we Indian are absolutely cricket mad. To pay tribute to that passion, he designed a mouse, wearing a cricket cap, with a transistor radio, slung on its shoulder. This venerable vahan (vehicle) of Lord Ganesh stands behind the tabla-playing Ganesh.

Indian devotees of Ganesh make a pilgrimage to 8 shrines of Ganesh. They are scattered all over Maharashtra. It takes two to three days and can be exhausting. From London to Roundwood, Ireland, a similar pilgrimage can be completed in one day and it is a worthy experience.

(Manohar V Rakhe, www.indiatravelogue.com)

 

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To Protect Election Integrity, Google Suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Related Advertisement

Karin von Abrams, a London-based analyst with the research firm eMarketer, said banning ads represented a short-term safeguard from potential backlash and reputational damage.

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Google takes steps against Ireland's Abortion Referendum, Wikimedia Commons

Google is suspending all advertising connected to Ireland’s abortion referendum as part of moves to protect “election integrity,” the company announced Wednesday.

The move came a day after Facebook banned foreign-backed ads in the Irish campaign, amid global concerns about online election meddling and the role of internet ads in swaying voters.

Google said that starting Thursday, it would no longer display ads related to the May 25 vote on whether to repeal Ireland’s constitutional ban on most abortions.

The prohibition on ads connected to the Irish vote applies to both Google and YouTube, which the company owns.

The online search leader, which is based in Mountain View, California, declined to say how much advertising revenue it was giving up because of the decision.

Russian role

Google said that starting Thursday, it would no longer display ads related to the May 25 vote on whether to repeal Ireland's constitutional ban on most abortions.
Google suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Ads, VOA

The role of online ads in elections is under scrutiny following revelations that Russian groups bought ads on leading services such as Google and Facebook to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Many of the ads were designed to sow confusion, anger and discord among Americans through messages on hot-button topics.

Karin von Abrams, a London-based analyst with the research firm eMarketer, said banning ads represented a short-term safeguard from potential backlash and reputational damage.

“They won’t want to forgo election-related revenues in the longer term, but they do need to get their houses in order, rather than risk further troubles at this stage,” von Abrams said in an email Wednesday.

Google’s statement followed Facebook’s decision Tuesday to ban foreign advertisements around the abortion referendum, which has drawn worries about the influence of North American groups.

Both Google and Facebook are working on measures to improve transparency before November’s U.S. midterm elections, including tools to show the home country of advertisers.

Ireland bars political donations from abroad, but the law has not been applied to social media advertising. Anti-abortion groups based in the United States are among the organizations that have bought online ads in Ireland during the referendum campaign.

’11th hour’ effort

Irish lawmaker James Lawless, technology spokesman for the opposition Fianna Fail party, welcomed the moves by Google and Facebook, but said “they are rushed and they are coming at the 11th hour,” with just two weeks until voting day.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s an awful pity we couldn’t have done this six months ago,” said Lawless, who has introduced a bill to Ireland’s parliament that would require all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.

Largely Catholic Ireland has Europe’s strictest restrictions on abortion, which is legal only when a woman’s life is in danger. Several thousand Irish women travel each year to get abortions in neighboring Britain.

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Voters are being asked whether they want to retain the constitutional ban or repeal it and make parliament responsible for creating abortion laws.

Lawless said he had concerns about some of the online advertising from both sides in the referendum campaign.

“Some quite disingenuous ads have been going around in recent weeks targeting people who are in the middle that aren’t always from who they seem to be from,” he said.

“What we really need is legislation and we need a proper, robust, thought-out approach” to the problem, he said.