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India Census: Hindu Share Dips Below 80%, Muslim Share Grows but Slower
Posted on 2015/1/28 17:06:41 ( 75 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 24, 2015 (Indian Express): The share of Hindus in India's population has shown the sharpest dip in a decade since Independence and has dropped below 80 per cent. According to figures of the religion census of 2011, yet to be officially released, Hindus comprised 78.35 per cent of the total population of 1.2 billion, compared with 80.45 per cent of the total population in 2001. In absolute terms, however, the Hindu population increased 14.5 per cent from 827 million to 950 million during the period (2001-11).

The 2011 religion census data also shows that the share of Muslims in the population has risen 8/10th of a percent from 13.4 per cent in 2001 to 14.2 per cent with some border states showing a high increase. This decadal increase in share, however, is lower than the 1.7 percentage points increase registered in the previous decade, 1991-2001.

The share of Hindus over the previous five decades -- between 1951 i.e. post-partition and 2001 -- dropped 3.65 percentage points from 84.1 per cent to 80.45 per cent of the total population. Again in absolute terms, the Hindu population more than doubled (172 per cent increase) from 300 million to 830 million during the 50 years till 2001. The drop in share of Hindus, due to a steady dip in the rate of growth of the Hindu population, comes on the back of rising education and income levels of the majority community.

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Hindraf Urges Boycott of Thaipusam at Batu Caves
Posted on 2015/1/28 17:06:34 ( 63 reads )

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 28, 2015 (Free Malaysian Today): Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an ad hoc apolitical human rights group working across the political divide, has called on Hindus this year to boycott Thaipusam at Batu Caves if the Committee insists on desecrating an ancient Hindu rite and practice, "milk abishekam"( showering ceremony), by employing motorized equipment to shower the milk from the devotees onto the Deity."Devotees should observe Thaipusam at other temples in the country which observe the right practices according to Hindu rites."

"Hindraf is totally mystified and appalled by the attitude of the Batu Caves Committee," said Hindraf Chief P. Waythamoorthy (waytha@hindraf.co) in a statement. Waytha said the matter was brought to Hindraf's attention through a video on You Tube which has since gone viral. Waytha alleged that the Committee had no regards for the feelings of thousands of devotees who had undertaken severe penance to participate in showering their "paal kadum" (pots of milk) in the final ritual, abishekam, during Thaipusam.

"The purpose of showering the milk on the Deity (abishekam) is a process of cleansing oneself of sins and to satisfy any debt bondage to the deity," explained Waytha. "This practice is observed worldwide in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, South Africa, USA, U.K, Australia and Singapore, among other places, during the Thaipusam month where milk is being showered individually by the priests who normally chant mantras as they do so. "There are no mantras chanted under the motorized method intended to be practiced in Batu Caves." It not only desecrates Hindu rites, he reiterated, but also insults the individual devotee who had painstakingly undertaken severe penance to fulfill their devotion to the deity.

See video of "motorized abhishekam"--audio is the workers talking to each other about making adjustments to the position and flow of the setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH7gO8QeWrQ


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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/1/28 17:06:27 ( 71 reads )

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The son's duty to his father is to make the world ask, "by what great austerities did he merit such a son?"
-- Tirukkural

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Religious Leaders, Scholars Honored by 2015 Padma Awards
Posted on 2015/1/25 11:39:03 ( 858 reads )

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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 25, 2015: (IBN Live): Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, were announced on Sunday. The awards are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service (7 awarded in 2015); Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order (20 awarded) and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field (75 awarded). The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President of India has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 104 persons (see source above for full list).

American David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), a Sanskritist, astrologer and expert in Ayurveda was given the Padma Bhushan (which also went to Bill and Melinda Gates). George Hart, Professor of Tamil at the University of California, was honored with the Padma Shri award. Chinese Indologist Huang Baosheng and German Indologist Annette Schmiedchen also received the Padma Shri.

In this story, here, it is reported that Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar both declined the award. Ramdev said that as an ascetic he should refrain from accepting rewards or honors. Sri Sri thanked the government for considering him for the award but said there were many other deserving people who should be honored instead.

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Hindu Group on a Quest to End Graft in Maharashtra Temples
Posted on 2015/1/25 11:38:57 ( 918 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 25, 2015 (New Indian Express): Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad (HVP), a union of Mumbai-based lawyers that works for right-wing organisations, has set quite an unusual goal for itself. It is working towards unearthing scams in several big Hindu temples in Maharashtra. So far, it has achieved some amount of success in its mission with two temples in Maharashtra.

Pandharpur Temple land had been encroached upon and the temple claimed to be unaware of the matter. Ichalkaranjikar and his team filed several queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking details of the financial transactions of the temple trust. The replies to his queries revealed that the temple trust claimed to be in the dark regarding possession of 300 acres of its land. Ichalkaranjikar took up the matter with the government and the land was handed back to the temple.

"There is much hue and cry over lack of infrastructure like toilets and guest houses as well as hygiene facilities at Pandharpur. Now that the land is back in the temple trust's possession, it would be possible to create the necessary infrastructure," he points out.

The success in Pandharpur prompted HVP to take up the issue of financial mismanagement in another popular temple--that of Mahalakshmi in Kolhapur.

After one-and-a-half years of research, they found financial mismanagement not only in the Kolhapur temple but in around 3,000 temples in three districts of Sangli, Kolhapur and Sindhudurg controlled by the Devsthan Vyavasthapan Samiti (DVS).

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