Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homosexuality: Another Dimension of Human Sexual Behaviour -- 1

A same-sex dating advertisement in a Toronto
underground train station

Photo (Toronto: June 7, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

Whether one recognizes homosexuality as right or wrong, as legal or illegal, as a God-given condition or a sin against God, it is there in reality. Real homosexuals, although a small number in comparison to the number of heterosexuals, are there – in some countries in the open, in others under the cover.

Previously, for many centuries, homosexuality was condemned and, if caught, the perpetrators were punished severely in most of the countries of the world. Some countries, especially in the West, gave recognition to homosexuality as normal sexual behaviour, other countries still condemn the involved persons. Certain countries even today put the homosexuals to death.

Recently, we gave an extensive photo coverage of the 2011 Gay Pride Parade in Toronto to give an idea of the homosexuals and their lifestyle. As more and more countries are giving legal recognition to homosexual or same-sex marriages, one, as ostriches, cannot hide his or her head or eyes in the sand and think the problem will go away. One needs to gain more knowledge on the subject so that he or she can take judicious decision when needed.

Those, who are Roman Catholics, used to think in the past that homosexuality was only present or was a problem with non-Catholics only, but more and more Catholics are now becoming vocal and demanding recognition of their sexual behaviour. In our same photo essay, you can see some Catholic homosexual teachers and students -- male as well female -- are taking part in the public gay parade and placing their demands.

Now let us see what homosexuality is and how different religions look at homosexuals and their sexual behaviour and why, in spite of religious biases the same-sex marriages are being legally allowed in certain countries.

What is Homosexuality?

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hindu Temple in Kerala, India, Unearths Treasure Trove of $22 Billion


Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala,
India, draws world attention with the discovery of hidden
treasures in its underground vaults
Photo courtesy:

The sixteenth-century Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram – formerly known as Trivandrum – of the State of Kerala, South India, in early July yielded a treasure trove of over US$ 22 billion, secretly stashed in its deep underground vaults, reports The Daily Telegraph. In the last 140 years, these vaults remained unopened. Indian antiquarians mentioned the find’s worth as “astronomical!”

Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, dedicated to the Hindu god of Vishnu, was originally built by the feudal lord, Maharaja, of Travancore. Since its inception, pilgrims and devotees have been offering votive gifts in the forms of money, gold and diamond ornaments, and precious gems and stones.

The present treasure trove comprises of ornaments of gold, diamonds and precious stones. In addition, there are also thousands of gold coins of the day, including coins issued by the British East India Company (1600-1858) that first came on trading purposes but later became ruler of parts of India.

After the independence of India in 1947, the Indian government gradually took over the rule of the feudal states and kingdoms, run by maharajas. So was the case of the kingdom of Travancore. The Indian government allowed members of the royal family of Travancore to manage the trust of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Because of long complaints of mismanagement, the Supreme Court of India recently ordered the State government of Kerala to manage the trust to ensure the security of the temple’s valuable assets. As part of the inventory of the valuables, a thorough search of the temple grounds came into effect and, thus, discovery of the secret treasures came to light.

Until this find, the Tirupathy temple in the State of Andhra Pradesh of South-East India was considered the richest Hindu temple in the country.

Muslim Invasions and Looting and Destruction of Hindu Temples in India

At different eras, Muslim invaders, usually from Persia and Afghanistan, invaded India which was famous for its richly temple treasures in the forms of Hindu devotees’ offerings.

Mahmud Shah of Gazni (971-1030) invaded India 17 times. In his 16th invasion, he ordered his soldiers to attack and destroy the ancient Hindu temple of Somnath in Gujerat. Rajput Hindus put up a brave defense, but ultimately Muslims broke it and reached the temple gates. In front of the temple there was a huge pillar in the shape of a phallus, locally called Shiva Lingam, which was encrusted with precious gems and stones and revered as a symbol of reproductive power. Soldiers destroyed this lingam after pillaging its valuables. They also robbed the temple of unforeseen treasures – gold and diamond ornaments, jewels and precious stones worth about 20 million dinars and destroyed it.

Mughal ruler Aurangzeb was famous for destroying many Hindu temples in India. Before their destruction, of course, Muslim soldiers first looted the temples of their treasures.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flirting with the Past: The Sauble Beach of Ontario, Canada -- 2

More Sauble Beach Photos:

The road leading to the nearby Sauble Beach

A supply store for bathing and sunbathing

Other supply stores

One of the eateries

A burger joint near the beach

Announcement of another food joint

In one of the Bel-Air cottages we stayed

The pre-sunset scene at the entrance to the beach

Another pre-sunset scene at the beach

Another angle of the pre-sunset scene

The sun is setting

The last moments before the total sunset

The sunset scene through some trees

Colours paint the sky immediately after the sunset

This type of sunset generates romance

The Nature's painted canvass in the sky

The post-sunset exhilaration among seagulls in the sky

All Photos (Sauble Beach, Ontario: August 16 and 17, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

(The End)

(To go to the First Page of this write-up, please click here)

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The Quotation of the Week (July 24-30, 2011)

Some car lights from a distance, in Montreal

Photo (Montreal: October 31, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flirting with the Past: The Sauble Beach of Ontario, Canada -- 1

The Sauble Beach, in the Bruce County of Ontario, Canada, is eleven kilometres (seven miles) long. Located in the eastern shore of the Lake Huron, it is the second longest freshwater beach in the world -- the first one being the Wasaga Beach (14 kilometres or nine miles long) of Ontario on the shores of the Georgian Bay. It usually takes three hours’ drive from Toronto to reach there.

Readers of the The Toronto Star daily voted it to be the “Number one beach in Ontario,” whereas readers of the weekly Maclean’s Magazine voted it to be “One of Canada’s top ten beaches.” This summer-only-beach is privately owned by the Saugeen First Nation (aboriginal people called Chippewas or Ojibwes).

The Sauble River brings in a huge amount of white sand and deposits it in the lake. The waves then collect this sand and bring it to the shore creating sandbars over stony surfaces. Because of these heavy sand deposits, the beach is shallow and its water is warm, turning it to be one of the safest beaches for children.

The Sauble Beach is suitable for sunbathing, waterbathing, swimming and walking. The wind and tide make it easier for people to sail, kayak, kiteboard and windsurf.

About 2,000 people live permanently in the town of Sauble Beach. In the long weekend of the Summer, the population explodes to about 100,000. Accommodations like bed-and-breakfasts, hotels and motels, cottages, and camping sites are available for overnights or the season.

It was August 16 and 17 of 2010 when we visited the Sauble Beach and fell in love with it. We stayed in a motel and sunbathed and swam as well. We found the sunset to be really gorgeous and having a surreal effect. Feelings and emotions run high with the multicolour setting of the sun. Many young people are said to propose and accept marriages during the sunset on this beach! I was enamoured so much with the beauty of the beach that I even composed a poem immediately after my visit.

The welcome signboard at the gate of the beach

Another signboard inside the beach announcing
its ownership by the Saugeen First Nation

The designated parking area inside the beach

Sunbathers soaking in as much sunlight as possible

More sunbathers at their leisure

Sunbathers' paradise

Bathers deciding to jump into the lake water

Two elderly strollers on the beach

Continuous stream of waves slaps at the beach sand

The beauty of waves soothes one's heart and mind

A distant view of bathers in the lake

In some places, water from waves gets clogged in the sand
and gradually leaves topsy-turvy marks

A small seagull in search of food in the receding water on the sand

A big seagull soaring above the trees

More seagulls in the beach area

A signboard on the beach seeking people's cooperation
in saving the sand dunes
that are vital for the longevity of the beach

Photos (Sauble Beach, Ontario: August 16 and 17, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Sign of the Time


A signboard in the College Park of Toronto
Photo (Toronto: June 10, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011



The facade of a church
Doodle (Dhaka: May 22, 1994) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (July 17-23, 2011)

A wooden plank with one eye

Photo (Toronto: June 16, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Diocese of Sylhet: Bangladesh Gets Its Seventh Catholic Diocese


Map of the districts of Bangladesh
(You may click on the map to see an enlarged version)
Map courtesy:

Pope Benedict XVI, on July 8, created the new Diocese of Sylhet in Bangladesh encompassing a portion of the present Archdiocese of Dhaka. He also appointed Bishop Bejoy Nicephorus D’Cruze, O.M.I., the present bishop of the Diocese of Khulna, as the bishop of the new diocese.

The Diocese of Sylhet, comprising the four civil districts of Sunamganj, Sylhet, Moulavibazar, and Habiganj, will be the seventh Catholic diocese in Bangladesh. The other six dioceses are of Dhaka, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Khulna, Mysemsingh and Rajshahi.The Immaculate Conception Church at Lokkhipur of Moulavibazar District will be turned into the cathedral of the new diocese.

The new diocese has an area of 12,595 sq. kilometers (4,863 sq. miles) with a total population of 8,261,614 -- of which 17,000 are Catholics. Presently, 21 priests and 33 Brothers and Sisters are serving in the region.

The Catholics of the Diocese of Sylhet come from the Khasia, Santal, Telegu, Oraon and Bangali (Bengalee) ethnic groups.

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