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5 booked for torching house of family that converted to Hinduism in UPs Raebareli – Hindustan Times

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Five people have been booked in Uttar Pradeshs Raebareli district for allegedly torching the house of a Muslim family that converted to Hinduism in September.

Police superintendent Shlok Kumar said the preliminary probe suggests that Dev Prakash, the convert, and Mohammad Tahir, the main accused, also had a dispute over a piece of land. We are probing the case from all angles. Tahir and his brother have been detained and are being questioned, he said. Kumar added a first information report has been filed and the accused have been booked for mischief by fire or explosive substance and rioting.

Police said the family managed to escape even as the house was gutted and that security forces have been deployed in the area.

Also read |UP:Dalit family claims beaten up by village strongmen for using hand pump, leaves home

Mohammed Anwar converted to Hinduism last year along with his three children and renamed himself, Dev Prakash.

Police said Prakash is a single-parent as his first wife died and his three subsequent marriages did not work.

In his police complaint, Prakash alleged that former village head Tahir and his associates were upset over his conversion.

He added he saw Tahir and his brother, Rehan, setting the house on fire.

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Warping a great faith: Both hard and soft Hindutva are expedient uses of religion for political ga – The Times of India Blog

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As we step into a new decade, Hinduism, and its interpretation and practice, will play an increasingly pivotal role. We have seen the manifestation of hard political Hindutva, wedded to the goal of a Hindu Rashtra. It stands discredited not for its evangelism, but for its lack of knowledge of the basics of Hinduism. Another label bandied about is soft Hindutva, but with no real clarity about what it means. Since India is a deeply religious country, such notions need to be investigated before they distort the role religion plays in politics and, indeed, in our lives.

The pejorative phrase soft Hindutva is an outcome of a curious if unintended collusion between the ultra-Hindu right and the ultra-liberal left. The supporters of political Hindutva believe that they have a monopoly over public display of religion (PDR). They are overt in their passionate and sometimes fanatical belief in the need to project, promote and impose their warped view of Hinduism. Thus, they view PDR by any other section of the political class, as an attempt to usurp their ordained public space through a weak imitation, soft as against their hard religious commitment.

The ultra-liberal left is dismissive about religion per se, and believes that any public show of personal religious fealty by politicians is a betrayal of secularism. For its votaries, political Hindutva can be countered not by a saner practice of religion, but by not practising religion at all, least of all publicly.

I wonder what Mahatma Gandhi would have thought of these unseemly definitional shenanigans. He was, as Nehru said, a Hindu to the innermost depth of his being. During his first jail term in South Africa (January 1908), he read Rajayoga, commentaries on the Gita. During his second incarceration (October-December 1908) he read the Bhagwad Gita almost every day.

During his third imprisonment (February-May 1909) he read the Veda-Shabda-Sangana, the Upanishads, the Manusmriti, Patanjalis Yoga Shastra, and re-read the Gita. One of the first books published by his International Press in Phoenix, Natal, was an abridged version of Tulsidass Ramcharitmanas, which, as he wrote in his autobiography, was the greatest book in all devotional literature.

He did not, therefore, see anything wrong in espousing the utopia of Ram Rajya. But and this is critically important he combined his staunch belief in Hinduism with the fullest respect for all religions.

Let us take another example. Madan Mohan Malviya (1861-1946) was four times the president of the Indian National Congress, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and like him a devout Hindu. When, as a member of the Congress, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha, for the welfare of Hindus and Hinduism, was he practising soft Hindutva or merely following his personal faith? He is credited for having begun the aarti puja at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar which continues to this day and the setting up of organisations for the protection of the cow, and for a cleaner Ganga.

He is also the iconic founder of the Banaras Hindu University, from where, as its vice-chancellor, he published a magazine called Sanatan Dharma to promote religious and dharmic interests. The national slogan Satyameva Jayate taken from the Mundaka Upanishad, was also his contribution. Did all of this make him a proud Hindu immersed in his faith, or just a practitioner of soft Hindutva, uncritically emulating Savarkar and the RSS?

Our assessments need to get away from such knee-jerk categorisations and aspire to a more reflective inquiry. The truth is that when Hinduism is reduced to cynical tokenism for short-term political dividends, it is soft Hindutva. When it is devalued to illiterate aggression for long-term political gain, it is political Hindutva. Both these extremes are a deliberate ploy to make genuine Hindus lose agency of the way they wish to practice their religion in conformity with republican values, democratic principles and constitutional secularism.

Swami Vivekananda, the towering symbol of Hindu renaissance, would have been impatient of such categorisations of soft or hard. His mission was to espouse an enlightened and inclusive form of Hinduism sans hatred, intolerance and violence. Once, when he was berated by conservative Hindu critics for staying with a Muslim lawyer in Mount Abu, he expostulated: Sir, what do you mean? I am a sanyasin. I am above all your social conventions I am not afraid of God because he sanctions it. I am not afraid of the scriptures, because they allow it. But I am afraid of you people and your society. You know nothing of God and the scriptures. I see Brahman everywhere manifested through even the meanest creature. For me there is nothing high or low. Shiva, Shiva!

Hinduism deserves a true renaissance based on its great wisdoms. But this will require its followers to study their religious legacy, and prevent its distortion by hard and soft Hindutva-vadis.

Lord Ram in the Ramayana says: Janani Janambhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi Mother and motherland are superior to heaven. Today, our motherland requires social harmony and stability to realise her destiny of becoming one of the great nations of the world. If Prime Minister Narendra Modis call, Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, is not to become just an expedient slogan, it must be based on Swami Vivekanandas vision and on Mahatma Gandhis inclusiveness.

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Warping a great faith: Both hard and soft Hindutva are expedient uses of religion for political ga - The Times of India Blog

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Reflecting on Hinduism as a Religion and a Way of Life ! – Star of Mysore

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Hinduism, like any religion, can produce fanatics, and the modern, essentially Secular State of India has to contend with them; but at their best the tradition of India, as reflected in her myths and stories, are all-embracing and tolerant. It has always been recognised in India that there are many paths to Truth, and what is appropriate for one person may not be appropriate to another. William Radice, Author of Myths and Legends of India 2001

Of all the religions in the world, Hindu religion seems to me to be absolutely different and multi-dimensional. There is no religion in the world that can compare even remotely with it except those religions that took their birth in the undivided India like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc. These religions carry the flavour of the soil of the land of its birth, unlike other religions in India that had taken birth outside India. No wonder, the thoughts and practices, even rituals, of religions born outside ancient India do not sync with Hinduism like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism born on Indian soil.

Therefore, there is so much of discussion and debate about the name Hinduism itself, about its etymology and as being derived from that part of India, bordering Afghanistan, then known as Sindh; also attributed to Indus river in Punjab, river Sindhu. I guess Hinduism is the only religion in the world which is identified and known by its geographical area. Other religions that came from across the borders of India (Hindustan) and also those born in India have their identities known by their founders. But, Hindustan = Hinduism.

Enlightened people of today, like yours truly (pardon my immodesty and audacity) know very well that the so-called Age of Reason as enunciated in 18th century by Thomas Paine, as the time of life when one began to be able to distinguish right from wrong, has not yet arrived even in this 21st century. Well, can we have the refrain In God We Trust in an Age of Reason? Look what is happening in America today. Yes, even today Constitutionally they trust in God. Yet Science is the hope. Not God. Anyway, the book Paine wrote had its own contradictions is a fact. But let us not delude ourselves waiting for the Age of Reason to dawn upon this mankind.

As propounded by the French-Philosopher-Author Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is the only truth That is: Only by (we humans) existing (as we are) and acting in a certain way, do we give meaning to our lives! If we look at ourselves all over the world, in this time of COVID-19, we will be able to appreciate the theory of Jean-Paul Sartre. Let it be.

Why do I ramble about Hinduism of all religions of the world? The provocation or temptation came from my friend N. Raghavan of Raghulal & Co., the Pharmacist of our city, who for whatever reason sent me two books individually produced and hand-bound on Hinduism. One running to 500 pages, titled Roots, written by one Kadambi Srinivasan and importantly published in this format by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati in 2019. Another, titled Sanatana Dharma [An elementary textbook of Hindu religion and ethics]. This was published in digital technology by the Board of Trustees, Central Hindu College, Benares, in 1916.

READ ALSO Mysuru to host first Literary Fest on June 18

It is difficult, even impossible, for one to understand this book Roots which is in English. However, for those interested in understanding Hinduism, the introduction in Chapter I gives a fairly good idea as to what the book will discuss and delineate.

It says that in the world three religions are regarded as the oldest having come down to us from the pre-historic times. Those three religions are: 1. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma); 2. Zoroastrianism; 3. Judaism.

Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas. And Vedas consist of a) Samhitas; b) Brahmanas and c) Upanishads. The metrical hymns in the Rigveda Samhita are regarded as composed by a man and the earliest one.

Let me leave this heavy tome Roots here at this and turn my attention to the book Sanatana Dharma. Other religions were founded by Prophets giving the followers of the faith a Holy Book. The book, believed to be immutable and followed to the last word. However, Hinduism is a name that got evolved over a period from Sanatana Dharma, and, as explained in the beginning of this article, given by foreign invaders and marauders. They wanted to give a name to a faith that was nameless and known merely as Sanatana Dharma and gave it the name of its land.

No wonder, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the Philosopher of Hindu thoughts, defined this Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma as simply a way of life. Which is why, despite disparate languages, food habits, dresses one wore, ritual practices of the Gods they worshipped, variety of Gods and Goddesses, the variety of festivals in different parts of this Jambu Dweepa, the Akhanda Bharata extending beyond the present borders of India (from Kabul to Kamboja, Cambodia) survived. It is an eternal religion of the ancient law and based on Vedas.

An ancient, eternal civilisation survived despite onslaught on their way of life and faith by the invading forces following a totally different religion that always ventured to convert to their religion those in India who followed a different religion with different ethics and morals. Thus Hinduism is an eternal religion and after independence a national religion. Whether some people living in India following radically different religion accept this truism or not. Let it be. Just as Christianity is a national religion in America, England and other European countries and Islam is the national religion in Islamic countries, in India, Bharat or Hindustan, it is Hinduism which is the national religion but tolerates other religions also (secularism) like in many other countries. So be it.

READ ALSO Of Brahma Kumaris & the Dacoit

The book is too complex for me to understand easily, but not so intricate and incomprehensible like the other one Roots. The book Sanatana Dharma has many gems on morality, virtue and ethics which if followed in life will give us mukthi, liberation. For example, it says what kind of virtues people should aim at in the particular place and time. Position and power they find themselves is due to divine grace. As all men have not the power nor the time to find one for themselves, the Will of Ishwara, Shastras have been given to tell us that Will, and so to help us in distinguishing between Right and Wrong. There are special rules, given in the Shastras (difficult to apply but one must try). Such as:

1. To give joy to another is righteousness; to give pain is sin.

2. Let not any man do unto another any act that he wished not done to himself by others, knowing it to be painful to himself.

3. Let not any one do an act that injureth another, nor any that he feeleth shame to do.

4. Let him not do to another what is not good to himself.

Well, in short, it says watch out on your Karma. Bad Karma will haunt you even after death and rebirth.

The third book that I tried to read as important to understand Hinduism was Brahma Sutra by Swami Vireswarananda of Ramakrishna Order. I had earlier read another book by a Swamiji which was easy to understand for a simple-minded person. For example, there is a Sutra which asks a question: Why did God create this world?

Answer: Why does a child play?

I was delighted. There was, for sure, no earthly purpose in a childs play, except probably for self-joy. Since I was also a child I vouch for this explanation. At the end, it is dust unto dust.

One more interesting information I could glean from this book was about the contrary opinion to the claims of some that Buddha and Mahaveera preceded Ramayana and Mahabharata. They came many years (centuries) after the vedantic period that created these two Itihasa, epics. It says, Buddha and Mahaveera also were not the founders of any altogether new schools of philosophy but imbibed much of the thought current in the country at that time. In short, like Jesus who went about reforming the dogmatic, fanatic, intolerant Judaism and ended up as the founder of a new religion.

It could be that vedantic period must have been intolerant and very exclusive to only the upper-caste (if caste system had existed then) that the land of Sanatana Dharma threw up Reformers like Buddha and Mahaveera who in turn became the founders of their own religion. Enough for now.

Om, Sat, Chit, Ananda

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Reflecting on Hinduism as a Religion: A good read – Star of Mysore

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I am a regular reader of SOM and look forward to reading K.B. Ganapathys column. I particularly enjoy reading hitherto unknown stories of seemingly obvious legends, landmarks and artifacts in and around Mysuru.

Though I am not from Mysuru per se, I have close connections in that city and consider Mysuru to be cultural and educational centre in Karnataka, very much like Pune in Maharashtra.

KBGs Abracadabra on Dec. 30, 2020 titled Reflecting on Hinduism as a Religion and a Way of Life! covers the topic after my heart. I am a student of ancient India, emigration/immigration of people and vedic civilisation in general.

I am interested in what is wheat and what is chaff in our civilisation (or dharma as practised now). Thus I am thankful for any educative article I can read. KBG has provided one such article and I thank him for the same. Looking forward to more articles from KBGs pen.

Govindaraj Kuntimad, Dallas, TX USA, 31.12.2020

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Uttar Pradesh: Muslim mans family reverts to Hinduism in Rae Bareli, members of madarsa, village head try to burn them alive – OpIndia

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In Uttar Pradeshs Rae Bareli, an attempt was made to burn alive family of a Muslim man which reverted to Hinduism about three months back. As per reports, on Saturday night, some men gathered outside their house and locked up the family inside. They then set the house on fire. Some how the man managed to break open the back door and escaped with his children.

Upon being informed, the police and fire brigade reached the spot and put out the fire. Five, including the village head, have been booked.

Mohammad Anwar, a resident of the village, about three months back had reverted to Hinduism. He changed his name to Dev Prakash Patel. He even changed names of his children to Devnath, Deendayal and Durga Devi. In September 2020, as per the vedic rituals, he had reverted to Hinduism.

On Saturday, after having his meal, he was sleeping in his house along with his children. A few hours later, at around 2:30 AM, some men gathered outside their house and locked them inside. After this, they set their house on fire and tried to burn the family alive.

When Patel woke up, he saw everything around him was on fire. He tried to escape but realised he was locked inside. He finally managed to escape with his children from back door.

Upon being informed, Circle Office Ramkishor Singh, Station Incharge Pankaj Tripathi reached the spot with force. Hindu organisations too reached the spot and expressed anger and rage. Dev Prakash Patel accused Village head Tahir, Dwarika Singh, Rehan alias Sonu, Ali Ahmed, Imtiyaz as well as a few members of the local madarsa for trying to burn him alive.

A case has been registered against the accused. As informed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Media Advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi, the village head Tahir is absconding while others are arrested. The police is raiding various locations to arrest the culprits.

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Al-Biruni and Hindu-Muslim Relations: Lessons from Malaysia – The Wire

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Although Malaysia is a multicultural country whose constitution guarantees the freedom of religion for those of all faiths, its recent politics has been heading in the direction of intolerance and bigotry. A case in point is the worrying trend in Hindu-Muslim relations.

For more than 1,000 years, Muslims and Hindus have co-existed in the Indian subcontinent. Due to the current conflicts that have their origins in the activities of political parties, many assume that Hindus and Muslims have been antagonistic towards each other for centuries. While it is true that there has been a great deal of friction and conflict between them, at the same time, the more than 1,000 years of occupying the same land led to the development of a rich culture that was a product of interaction, respect and mutual borrowing in many fields of life.

Although there has been peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslims in Malaysia, this is now under threat, partly due to the recent development of a more exclusivist orientation among certain segments of Malays that stresses a Malay-Muslim identity at the expense of non-Muslims. This politics of identity sometimes result in the denigration of other communities. A few years ago, there was the fiasco of the Technological University of Malaysia (UTM) Islamic and Asian Civilisations module, in which derogatory remarks were made about both Hinduism and Sikhism.

Photos of two presentation slides bearing UTMs logo went viral on social media. The module claimed that Islam had introduced civility into the lives of the Hindus of India. It was suggested that Hindus preferred to be dirty, and that Islam had taught Hindu converts to Islam the importance of cleanliness and healthcare. The module had also apparently taught that Hindus believe that dirt on the body is a form of ritual that could lead to the attainment of nirvana.

UTM identified the offending lecturer, conducted a probe and terminated his services. The university said the lecturer had not stuck to the curriculum provided by the ministry.

However, this was not the full extent of bigotry against the Hindu community. Several Hindu temples have been vandalised in past years, the most recent being in Penang at the Sri Muneeswarar Temple in Tengku Kudin Road in 2016.

Also read: Go, Amjad Hanuman, Go Lift The Mountain, Kill The Demons!

It is vital, for the sake of maintaining mutual respect and tranquillity in Malaysia, that its political and religious leaders continuously speak out against bigotry and violence in the name of religion. Muslim leaders in particular have a greater responsibility in this regard as Islam in the religion of state in Malaysia. This means that the Muslim political and religious elite should not merely tolerate the presence of non-Muslim minorities but actively protect their rights and property.

Muslims in Malaysia should think more about who their Hindu countrymen are. They may want to read and take advice from the great Muslim scholar, Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni. Al-Biruni was born on September 5, 973, in Kath, Khwarazm (modern Khiva in present-day Uzbekistan) and died on December 13, 1048, in Ghazna, Afghanistan, at the age of 75.

During his youth, Khwarazm was part of the Iranian Samanid Empire. Al-Biruni spent his early years under the patronage of various rulers until finally becoming part of the court of Mahmud Ghaznavi (979-1030), the ruler of an empire that included parts of what is now known as Afghanistan, Iran and northern India.

Al-Biruni went to India with the troops of Mahmud and remained there for many years. During this time, he studied Sanskrit, translated a number of Indian religious texts and conducted research on Indian religions and their doctrines. Al-Biruni was the first Muslim and probably the first scholar to provide a systematic account of the religions of India from a sociological point of view. Al-Biruni can also be said to be the first to systematically study religions from a comparative perspective. He studied Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Zoroastrianism.

Typical of the great scholars of his period, Al-Biruni was multitalented, being well-versed in physics,metaphysics, mathematics, geography and history. He wrote a number of books and treatises. Apart from his Kitab ma li-l-Hind (The Book of What Constitutes India), he also wrote Al-Qanun al-Masudi (on astronomy and trigonometry), Al-Athar al-Baqia (on ancient history and geography), Kitab al-Saidana (Materia Medica) and Kitab al-Jawahir (Book of Precious Stones). His Al-Tafhim-li-Awail Sinaat al-Tanjim gives a summary of mathematics and astronomy.

As far as Hinduism is concerned, his most important work was his Kitab ma li-l-Hind, in which he presents a study of Indian religions. It is quite remarkable, in fact, that Al-Birunis work on India is considered to be a vital source of knowledge of Indian history and society in the 11th century, providing details of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India.

Also read: In Todays Polarised India, This UP Village Is the Epitome of Hindu-Muslim Harmony

Kitab ma li-l-Hind aimed to provide a comprehensive account of what he called the religions of India and their doctrines. This included the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, science, customs and laws of the Indians. Al-Biruni considered what we call Hinduism as religion centuries before Europeans recognised Hinduism as not mere heathenism.

Al-Birunis approach was to make assessments of the religions of India based on what was logically acceptable. He was fully aware of the need to refrain from making value judgements about Indian religions from an Islamic perspective. He was very conscious of the need to present Indian civilisation as understood by Indians themselves. In order to do so, he quoted extensively from Sanskrit texts, which he had either read himself or which were communicated to him.

Malaysians are on the whole a tolerant and respectful people. However, the political developments of recent years which have seen an unhealthy development of identity politics in the form of, among other things, reckless statements made by politicians, religious leaders and educators threaten to upset the current harmony that informs our society. This will potentially affect Hindu-Muslim relations.

There is, therefore, clearly a need for dialogue between the Hindu and Muslim communities of Malaysia. The purpose of this dialogue is to examine the commonalities in values, beliefs and culture that exist between Hinduism and Islam and to reaffirm the commitment that the two communities have to peace and harmonious living. Al-Biruni should be considered a starting point for such dialogue.

Syed Farid Alatas is Professor at the National University of Singapores Department of Sociology.

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Lincoln County Commission to open with Hindu prayers at upcoming meeting – Lincoln County Record

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A County Commission meeting typically begins with an invocation, and local faith leaders are often invited to offer it.

Hindu mantras will open the Jan. 4 meeting for the first time since the county was established in 1866, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed announced in a press release.

Zed will deliver the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures remotely before Board of Lincoln County Commissioners. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will read the English interpretation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.

Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, will recite from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use; besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He plans to start and end the prayer with Om, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work, he said.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed plans to say Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya; which he will then interpret as Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality. Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he proposes to urge commissioners and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

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The Hindu gods of Buddhist Thailand – Nepali times

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Thailand is the largest Buddhist country in the world, with 95% of its 69 millionpopulationfollowing the religion. Those who consider themselves of the Hindu faith constitute just 0.03% percent of Thais (22,100 people) according to the 2015 census.

Despite the very small number of Hindus here, elements of Hinduism permeate Thailands socio-cultural life. Even as the group is a minority, various Hindu elements remain deeply embedded in the traditional culture and social life of the Thai people.

Hinduism arrived in Thailand partly along the land route from India via Burma, but also traversed the Bay of Bengal to Indonesia and was instrumental in the establishment of the maritime Sri Vijaya Empire. It is from Java that Hinduism also spread to Cambodia, and what is now Vietnam and northwards to Thailand absorbing local cultural elements along the way.

Waves of invasions, and especially the Khmer rule, left the residue of Hinduism in the Thai culture. And as is often the case with external influences, the elements have been absorbed and overlaid with Buddhist rituals seamlessly, giving them Thai characteristics.

Alongside their Buddhist beliefs, many Thais worship Hindu deities. One of them is the Brahma (Phra Phrom) at the famousErawan Shrine in Bangkok. People in deep anguish are known to go to this shrine, and when a wish has been granted, devotees hire dancers to performRam Kae Bon, to thank the god.

Statues of Ganesh, Indra (Phra In), and Shiva (Phra Isuan) can be found across Thailand.Ganesh is known asPhra Phikanetin Thai and is worshipped as the remover of obstacles. He is the deity Thai Buddhists often pray to before they start an important venture just as Hindus in Nepal and India do at Ganesh temples.

Buddhist relics in western Nepal, Sewa Bhattarai

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India deals another blow to religious freedom – Mission Network News

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India (MNN) India deals another blow to religious freedom as four states consider anti-conversion laws. More about that here. Police often use anti-conversion rules to persecute Christians and other religious minorities, putting these groups at risk.

[Another] state that has one in process is Maharashtra a well-known state because of Mumbai, the economic and financial capital of India, John Pudaite of Bibles For The World says.

The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of four major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. (Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)

If state authorities pass the new legislation into law, close to two-thirds of Indias 1.3 billion people would now be under some anti-conversion law, Pudaite adds.

More India headlines here.

India is one of the worlds most challenging places to follow Christ, according to persecution watchdog groups like Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors.

Hindu radicals regularly persecute religious minorities. Plus, Indias constitution allows for religious freedom, but authorities target Christian outreach using anti-conversion laws as a pretense.

It puts Bibles For The World partners in a precarious situation. Were in touch with [our partners], urging them to continue their outreach but be careful, be cautious, Pudaite says.

When we reach out in love and provide blankets, or clothing or food or things like that, [it] can easily be misconstrued by anti-Christians as Oh, theyre enticing [people] with these material goods, he explains. More about Bibles For The Worlds ministry here.

Its unfortunate because they dont understand what our partners are offering is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

(Graphic courtesy VOM USA)

Now that you know, ask the Lord how He wants you to respond. Prayer is the easiest place to start. For believers in states with current or potential anti-conversion laws, pray for wisdom and discernment. Ask the Lord to protect believers in Uttar Pradesh, where police use a new anti-conversion law to arrest religious minorities.

It was pushed through and signed by the governor of the state [even though] the legislature is not sitting right now; theyre on vacation, Pudaite says.

He is allowed to do that for a period of up to six months until the actual state legislature ratifies it.

Enacting the controversial love jihad law was very significant because [Uttar Pradesh] is the largest state in India. If it were an independent country, this state would be number six or seven in terms of population in the entire world, Pudaite continues.

It has the strongest pro-Hindu population, so it is a very significant battleground for religious freedoms.

Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Abhishek K. Singh on Unsplash.

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Govt’s Agri-Export Promotion Body Drops ‘Halal’ From Its Red Meat Manual After Outrage By Hindus, Sikhs – Swarajya

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After a social media drive by Hindus and Sikhs against the 'Halal' certification for products in the country, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has removed the word from its 'Red Meat Manual', reports Indian Express.

The APEDA, which comes under the Ministry of Commerce, handles agri-exports from the country.

While the earlier Red Meat Manual of APEDA prescribed animals to be "slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirement of Islamic countries, it is now amended to the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of importing country/importer.

This change was reportedly made as the use of the word halal gave an impression that this was mandatory for all meat exports from the country.

It is a requirement by a majority of the importing countries/Importers. Halal Certification agencies are accredited directly by respective importing countries. No government agency has any role in this, the exports promotion body clarified.

The body also deleted these lines: The animals are slaughtered by halal system under strict vigilance of (a) recognised and registered Islamic body as per the tenets of Islamic Shariyat. The certificate for halal is issued by the representative of registered Islamic body under whose supervision the slaughter is conducted in order to meet the requirement of (the) importing country.

It should be noted that Hindu and Sikh organisations had opposed the use of the word 'Halal' in the old APEDA manual and alleged that the government seemed to be promoting halal meat.

The campaigners against halal certification said that this religious prescription in the manual led to job loss for non-muslims as they were kept out by slaughterhouses due to halal requirements. They have called these changes as just one step in the right direction and asserted that they would continue their campaign against halal certification.

Islamic countries allow the import of only halal-certified meat, and India exports buffalo meat to many of them including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia.

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Govt's Agri-Export Promotion Body Drops 'Halal' From Its Red Meat Manual After Outrage By Hindus, Sikhs - Swarajya

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January 5th, 2021 at 3:52 am

Posted in Hinduism

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