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India Needs to Find a Sane Way to Discuss Relative Decline in Hindu Population

Posted on 2016/12/5 19:16:16 ( 784 reads )


INDIA, April 23, 2015 (Economic Times by Sadanand Dhume): Is India's overwhelming Hindu majority shrinking? A recent survey by the Pew Research Center echoes news reports based on leaked figures from the 2011 census. For the first time since independence in 1947, fewer than four in five Indians self-identifies as a Hindu. The Pew survey suggests a more nuanced picture than the overheated rhetoric that grabs the headlines. With fertility rates comfortably above the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, in absolute terms India's Hindu population is growing, not declining. Over the next 35 years, it will swell by over 300 million people to total nearly 1.3 billion.

In relative terms, however, these numbers suggest a gentle but steady decline compared to other faiths. In 1951, not long after the ravages of Partition, India was about 85% Hindu. By 2050 it will be 77 per cent Hindu. Most of the change in India can be explained by a sharp projected uptick in the Muslim population thanks to higher fertility rates. The average Indian Muslim woman bears 3.2 children; the average Hindu has 2.5 children. Over the next 35 years, Muslims in India will swell to about 311 million, or more than 18 per cent of the population, up from their current 14 per cent share. The survey predicts that by 2050, India will house the world's largest Muslim population, ahead of Indonesia and Pakistan.

India will need to find a way to talk about religious demographics as other nations do -- mostly without fuss, rancor or wild policy suggestions. Over the coming decades, India's changing religious demographics will likely upend politics as we know it, particularly in states with large Muslim populations such as West Bengal and Assam. To understand what these changes mean, India's public square needs to host a debate that reflects neither the apathy of the Left nor the shrillness of the extreme Right. This means talking about aggregate trends without losing sight of individual rights. Only then can the country confidently come to terms with its changing demographic future.

More at "source" above.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/5 19:16:06 ( 442 reads )


No one can describe the Truth adequately. Even the great Shankara failed to do it.
-- Satguru Siva Yogaswami (1872–1964), Sri Lankan mystic

UK Hindus Urged Not to Donate New Fivers at Leicester Temple

Posted on 2016/12/4 18:49:17 ( 688 reads )


LEICESTER, ENGLAND, November 30, 2016 (BBC): The Shree Sanatan Mandir, one of Leicester's oldest and largest Hindu temples, has urged worshippers not to give new five pound notes in donations after the Bank of England confirmed they contain animal fat. The notes are made from small amounts of tallow, derived from animal waste products, which has angered a number of groups who are against animal harm.

Vibhooti Acharya, from the temple, said the revelation has been a source of "frustration" among Hindus as hurting animals is against their beliefs. She said: "No-one was informed and it's been thrown upon us. We don't have the opportunity to choose. There needs to be a decision made between committee as to whether we accept five pound notes in religious ceremonies in future. We have to give a reasonable amount of time for resolve, [but] we can't really take any drastic steps because it's just not practical." She said the temple will encourage people not to bring in the fivers as charitable donations and will put up notices to make them aware. However, Ms. Acharya said it was a "matter of choice" and the temple will accept them for now.

Cambridge Rainbow Vegetarian Cafe Refuses New #5 Note

Posted on 2016/12/4 18:49:07 ( 603 reads )


CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND, December 3, 2016 (BBC): A vegetarian cafe is refusing to accept the new #5 note after it emerged the currency contains animal products. Sharon Meijland, owner of the Rainbow Cafe in Cambridge, has put up signs warning customers about the policy.

Mrs. Meijland said she had made a "promise" to customers that the cafe was an "ethical establishment". "Tallow's an animal product isn't it? Our whole business is based around not having anything like that on the premises," Mrs Meijland said. Posters have been put at the cafe entrance and at the cash till. Since the posters went up on Wednesday no customers had complained, she said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/4 18:48:56 ( 408 reads )


Hinduism is ultimately about experiencing things yourself. Understanding another person's wisdom does not make one wise.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

Plea to Implement Supreme Court Order on Daily Puja Fund in Temples

Posted on 2016/12/3 19:27:21 ( 709 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA, December 1, 2016 (The Hindu): The Temple Protection Movement has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the recommendation of the Supreme Court for creation of a daily puja fund scheme for every temple. Movement convener M.V. Soundarrajan, in a statement, said it will be in tune with the demonetization exercise initiated by the prime Minister as a first step in the fight against parallel black economy and towards a less cash society and eventually to a cashless society.

He urged the Prime Minister to take suitable steps to implement the Supreme Court order to encourage temples to slowly migrate to a cashless model in the long term and the devotees to donate through the mobile phones too. The Supreme Court-appointed committee visited Chilkur Balaji temple in 1996 and made a recommendation to follow the Chilkur Bajaji temple model to deposit the amounts given by the devotees in the interest-yielding fixed deposits on permanent basis in the name of the Deity. That amount was used to pay remuneration to a priest though there is no remarkable income to the temple.

Dr. Soundarrajan said the Daily Puja fund scheme of Chilkur Balaji temple was a success with over US$1.5 million collected and the temple transitioned to complete cashless model with no cash donations accepted. Thus, the temple does not provide any avenue to black money holders to deposit cash in hundis with the mistaken premise that it would rid them of the sin of hoarding such money if a percentage was contributed to Lord's hundi, he said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/3 19:27:10 ( 485 reads )


A happy man is he who desires nothing, claims nothing, expects nothing and is free from hatred and fear.
-- Dada Vaswani, leader of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission

JC Bose: Rigorous Scientist and Profound Thinker in the Indic Tradition

Posted on 2016/12/2 19:30:06 ( 679 reads )


INDIA, November 30, 2016 (Swarajya, by Aravindan Neelakandan): In April, 2016, in the renowned journal Frontiers of Psychology, Anthony Trewavas, a molecular biologist from University of Edinburgh, who has been working on plant perceptions, published a paper in which he stated: "Environmental awareness likely indicates consciousness. Spontaneity in plant behavior, ability to count to five and error correction indicate intention. Volatile organic compounds are used as signals in plant interactions and being complex in composition may be the equivalent of language accounting for self and alien recognition by individual plants." The paper has 96 references. The oldest reference was the work of JC Bose: Plant Response as a Means of Physiological Investigation. New York, NY: Longmans Green and Co. 1906 - 110 years old.

Jagadish Chandra Bose represents that rare breed of scientists who belonged to the future more than to the time they lived. When the world of science was totally dominated by the binary conflict between materialism and vitalism, he charted a new course that looked beyond the binaries. Today as science grows deeper and enlarges its canvas broader, Bose's pioneering work receives more attention.

Bose never opted for commercialization of science and tried to institutionalize such a culture through Bose Institute which refuses patenting to this day. Thus in Bose we have a scientist-seer who resonates with Indian spirit and values in the most profound sense of the terms. Bose is to plant physiology in particular what Darwin is to biology in general. It is time India starts celebrating his birthday as Bose Day for the holistic study of the phenomenon of life.

Much more at "source" above.

Now, Yoga Becomes Part of Nursing Curriculum

Posted on 2016/12/2 19:29:56 ( 608 reads )


PUDUCHERRY, INDIA, November 28,, 2016 (The Hindu): Yoga has now become part of the nursing curriculum at the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute (MGMCRI) under the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV). The Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (CYTER), SBV, which had pioneered the incorporation of Yoga concepts in the MBBS curriculum two years ago and later for dental education, has now introduced slightly modified modules on the therapeutic potential of the practice of attaining body-mind harmony for nursing students. The Nursing College has included yoga therapy in the BSc Nursing curriculum with students receiving 90 hours of yoga therapy training through CYTER during the three-year course. K. Renuka, Dean, Nursing Faculty and Principal of Kasturba Gandhi Nursing College, stated that it was a first that all medical, dental and nursing students of a medical university were receiving regular training in yoga. In fact, CYTER hosted the 6th Foundation Day on the theme of "Introducing Yoga in Nursing Education."

Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, CYTER Deputy Director, said that although the curriculum content was largely similar for all streams, there were minor modifications. If MBBS students were taught about how yoga could complement modern medicinal interventions in the management of lifestyle disorders such as diabetes or hypertension, nurses would learn more about those aspects of yoga that help patients recuperate from illness. Students of dental sciences are exposed to yoga concepts more as a self-care tool in addressing postural problems, he added.

Addressing the meet, SBV Vice Chancellor Professor K.R. Sethuraman reminded nursing students of their vital role in healthcare as the primary caregivers for patients and stressed the importance of yoga in their personal and professional lives. "It is imperative that advances in medicine include the holistic approach of yoga to face the current challenges in healthcare. The antiquity of yoga must be united with the innovations of modern medicine to improve quality of life throughout the world," he said.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/2 19:29:45 ( 439 reads )


There is no place more powerful for practice, more blessed or more marvelous than Mount Kailash.
-- Milarepa (c.1052–1135), Tibet's most revered yogi

A Sea Change in Pilgrimage to Sabarimala over Two Decades

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:54:12 ( 669 reads )


VIJAYAWADA, INDIA, November 30, 2016 (The Hindu): A lot of water must have flowed down the Pamba River in the past two decades and many changes have taken place in the journey to the popular Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala. Joint Director of Ground Water and Ayyappa devotee A. Varaprasada Rao who had been to Sabarimala nearly two dozen times over two decades said there were many changes in the journey since he first went there in the early 90s.

Though the number had increased manifold the journey had become comfortable, he said. Earlier, pilgrims who started their journey from Vijayawada in the night reached Kalahasti by dawn where they broke their journey to get a darshan of Sri Kalahasteeswara before they continued their journey to Pamba. Because of the improvement in roads the motor vehicles, usually buses, are covering greater distance and faster. Now, Kanipakam has become the shrine for the first break.

The journey to Sabarimala is dotted by many shrines. Mr. Varaprasada Rao said the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments had over the two decades renovated the shrines that were in a very dilapidated condition. "Besides the larger shrines like Siripuram, Thiruvannamalai, Palani and Guruvayur, there are several smaller shrines like Bhavani and the smaller Ayyappa temples which have been renovated. Facilities including parking for buses have been created near these shrines," he said.

Over 300 Ancient Manuscripts on Yoga to Be Deciphered

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:54:01 ( 779 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 27, 2016 (Sunday Guardian Live): Around 300-400 manuscripts exist on different types of yoga in India's treasure box, not one of which has been deciphered. According to the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), these are part of the approximately ten million manuscripts in the country that are yet to be published. In fact, less than 10% of ancient manuscripts in India have been published.

The oldest manuscript in NMM's database belongs to the 6th century and is written in the Gilgit script, which belongs to the Gilgit Baltistan region in the north. Since its inception in 2003, the NMM has managed to create a database of over 4 million manuscripts in secular and religious sciences in over 57 scripts. However, scholars complain that the lack of published manuscripts, especially in ancient Indian sciences, has slackened India's potential dominance in the international scientific industry. Scholars believe that a major reason behind this has been the lack of political goodwill in investing in transliteration of ancient manuscripts.

The value of ancient Indian manuscripts is evident with Japan's rapid growth in ayurvedic research as the Asian neighbor has been known to invest in developing advanced ayurvedic technology. "Illiteracy in our ancient research has led us to follow the lead of other cultures because we do not know how much our heritage and science had excelled in the world. This ignorance has made us late-risers, but a genuine effort is needed to promote the study of ancient Indian texts that can help us in governance, scientific research, cultural development and medicine," said Dr. N.C. Kar, an expert in manuscripts and a coordinator at NMM.

Britain's New Five Pound Bank Note Contains Beef

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:53:51 ( 691 reads )


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, November 30, 2016 (New York Times): When it released a new 5-pound note in September, the Bank of England said the new polymer bills were stronger, safer and better for the environment. One thing they are not, it turns out, is meat-free. To the dismay of vegans and vegetarians across Britain, the Bank of England has confirmed that tallow was used in the base of the new notes, which are worth about US$6.25. Tallow, a hard, fatty substance usually made from rendered beef or mutton suet, is much more likely to be found in soap and candles than in a currency.

"There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer #5 notes," the Bank of England said repeatedly in responses to inquiries this week on social media. That led to an outpouring of outrage. The anger was not just abundant but also swift. By 4 p.m. British time on Wednesday, a petition calling on the Bank of England to make a vegan-friendly bank note -- "This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K," it reads -- had received almost 100,000 signatures.

The new notes also represent something of a problem for Hindus. Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism, and eating beef is prohibited. The latest census, released in 2012, showed that there were more than 800,000 Hindus in England and Wales, making them one of the biggest religious groups there.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2016/12/1 18:53:41 ( 415 reads )


It's important to go into solitude from time to time and think about God, especially for those who busy themselves day and night with worldly duties and responsibilities. When the plant is young, it should be fenced on all sides, otherwise goats and cattle may eat it up.
-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836–1886)

Roots Revival: India's Classical Dance Is Back En Vogue in Delhi

Posted on 2016/11/30 19:58:31 ( 541 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 26, 2016 (The Peninsula Qatar): Students elegantly curve their hands before breaking into synchronized footwork at a class in New Delhi, where growing numbers are signing up for Indian traditional dance classes rooted in Hindu mythology. Class participants range from from pre-teens to surgeons and marketing managers -- but they have all chosen to learn traditional Indian dance, which emerged from the country's temples centuries ago, over Western options such as ballet, jazz and hip hop.

"Tradition is becoming popular now," said Nitya Pant, a Mumbai-based marketing executive who practices Odissi -- an ancient temple-based dance that honors Hindu Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. "No other form can give you the satisfaction that classical dance gives you," added the 29-year-old. "You feel like you're one with God."

India is home to eight major classical dance styles including Odissi and Bharatnatyam -- a genre originating in the country's southern temples more than 2,000 years ago -- that tell stories of gods through facial expressions, hand gestures and rapid footwork. Once performed in temples and royal courts, India's classical dance has found international resonance with troupes performing around the world. Thanks to a mushrooming Indian diaspora, traditional dance schools have popped up globally, piquing the interest of other nationalities too.

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