Category : India

(WSJ) Tunku Varadarajan–Holy Cows That Weren’t: Hindu radicals’ beef with India’s bovine butchers is woefully undercooked.

In the past year India has been witness to numerous gruesome public murders of men suspected of eating beef or transporting ostensibly sacred cows for slaughter. A band of radicals calling themselves gau-rakshak, or cow-protectors, may lay claim to being the world’s first terrorists in a bovine cause. Yet this intolerant movement’s appeal to religion is greatly at odds with the facts.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Hinduism, India, Religion & Culture

Michiko Kakutani reviews ‘Ants Among Elephants,’ a Memoir About the Persistence of Caste

Gidla, who now works as a conductor on the New York City subway, conveys the strain of living in the sort of abject poverty she knew as a child, where some neighbors were skeletal from hunger, and an apple was a precious Christmas treat. She chronicles the horrifying violence that could break out between the police and Maoist rebels, and among local hooligans, hired at election time to intimidate voters. And she captures the struggles of women like her mother to pursue careers in the face of caste and misogynist bias, while raising children and helping to support, in her case, as many as two dozen relatives.

When asked about caste — and in India, she says, “you cannot avoid this question” — Gidla writes that an “untouchable” like herself has a choice: “You can tell the truth and be ostracized, ridiculed, harassed,” or “you can lie.” If people believe your lie, she goes on, “you cannot tell them your stories, your family’s stories. You cannot tell them about your life. It would reveal your caste. Because your life is your caste, your caste is your life.”

In these pages, she has told those family stories and, in doing so, the story of how ancient prejudices persist in contemporary India, and how those prejudices are being challenged by the disenfranchised.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, India

Movie recommendation–"Lion"

We finally went last night for Valentine’s Day–loved it.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Australia / NZ, Children, India, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Azariah

Emmanuel, God with us, who didst make thy home in every culture and community on earth: We offer thanks for the raising up of thy servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to thy love without concern for class or caste, and by his labors for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give thee glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(HT) Sonal Kalra: Adultery not cruelty, says Indian Supreme Court. Really?

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that adultery does not amount to mental cruelty per se runs the risk of treading a fine line between being seemingly progressive, and terribly detached from reality.
The remarks were made as the two-judge bench acquitted a man convicted by the high court for abetting his wife’s suicide, allegedly due to his affair with a woman colleague. While calling an extra-marital affair “illegal and immoral” and retaining it as a ground for divorce, the judges felt that it should still not draw criminal provisions under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, as the latter depends on evidence that the affair directly led to the suicide.
One wonders if in a country like India, the magnitude of social stigma attached to a woman whose husband left her for someone else can be ignored while defining cruelty.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Women

(Church Times) Church in South India celebrates mission’s bicentenary

Bishops and missionaries were among the tens of thousands of people to gather in the Nehru sports stadium in Kottayam, India, on Saturday, to celebrate 200 years of the Church Mission Society (CMS) in the country.

The public event, which began with a procession, fireworks, music, and speeches, was organised by the Church of South India. On Sunday, the Church commissioned 210 missionaries. It concluded four years of events marking two centuries since Thomas Norton first brought Christianity to the city of Alleppey, in what is now the diocese of Madhya Kerala, about 20 years after the foundation of CMS in London.

Hundreds of missionaries followed in his wake, championing the right to education for men, women, and children of all social classes. Their work resulted in the foundation of the CMS College (the oldest school in the country), and the CMS Press and Industrial School, in the diocese. Today there are about 27.8 million Christians in India: that is, 2.3 per cent of the population.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Missions, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Henry Martyn

O God of the nations, who didst give to thy faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: Inspire in us, we beseech thee, a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to thee who gavest them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(AP) Mother Teresa: 'Saint of the gutters' canonized at Vatican

Elevating the “saint of the gutters” to one of the Catholic Church’s highest honors, Pope Francis on Sunday praised Mother Teresa for her radical dedication to society’s outcasts and her courage in shaming world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created.”

An estimated 120,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square for the canonization ceremony, less than half the number who turned out for her 2003 beatification. It was nevertheless the highlight of Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy and quite possibly one of the defining moments of his mercy-focused papacy.

Francis has been dedicated to ministering to society’s most marginal, from prostitutes to prisoners, refugees to the homeless. In that way, while the canonization of “St. Teresa of Kolkata” was a celebration of her life and work, it was also something of an affirmation of Francis’ own papal priorities, which have earned him praise and criticism alike.

“Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer,” Francis said in his homily.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, History, India, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Women

(WSJ) Javier Martínez-Brocal–Teresa of Kolkata, From Mother to Saint

More than six decades after its founding, Missionaries of Charity now has more than 5,500 members following Mother Teresa’s credo in 133 countries. They work at leper colonies, hospices, orphanages, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. Hundreds of thousands of lay volunteers also contribute.

For her commitment to pluralism, as well as “the spirit that has inspired her activities,” she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. After receiving the award, the already-famous nun achieved levels of popularity and influence second only to the pope, John Paul II. This in a church that supposedly oppresses women.

Mother Teresa’s ascension challenged the narrative that women couldn’t become significant players in the Catholic Church. In some ways, she was more powerful than the cardinals who select the pope, not all of whom had the personal relationship with John Paul II that Mother Teresa had.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, History, India, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(WSJ) Aatish Taseer–The Day I Got My Green Card

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, India, Pakistan, Politics in General, Theology

(CC) Philip Jenkins– Notes from the Global Church: Unequal dharmas in India

Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava: “All dharmas [truths, or religions] are equally valid.” Indians often cite this noble maxim, which was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi, and the country’s constitution remains firmly secular and democratic. In recent years, though, the country’s religious outlook has darkened to the point that minorities””including both Christians and Muslims””face dangers of severe persecution and violence.

The fact that that threat receives little attention in the West says much about our stereotypes of other world religions. If we saw a situation where tens of millions of Christians were being similarly maltreated by a Muslim regime, Western media and policy makers would speak out vigorously. But when the enemies of religious liberty are Hindu, members of a faith that Americans idealize, the public silence is deafening.

Although India’s Chris­tians do not represent a large proportion of the country’s vast population””only about 3 percent””they number about 40 million, comparable to the larger European nations. India’s Christians suffer from multiple disadvantages, especially because so many derive from people of low or no caste or from tribal communities on the margins of Hindu society. Official reluctance to accept the reality of conversions makes it difficult to assess the true extent of Christian numbers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Hinduism, History, India, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Local Reports Allege that ISIS crucified Indian priest Tom Uzhunnalil on Good Friday

Indian priest Tom Uzhunnalil was reportedly crucified by Islamic State (ISIS) on Good Friday. The gruesome act was committed by the Yemen unit of the dreaded terror outfit.

Father Uzhunnalil was abducted by ISIS on March 4 in the aftermath of an attack on a church in Aden. At least 16 people were killed in the Catholic prayer hall by the Islamic militants. Eyewitnesses reveal that Father Uzhunnalil was dragged out of his room and loaded into a van. The militants were not to be seen again in the region again following the attack.

Read it all.

Update: CNA is reporting the news is still unconfirmed.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(AP) 1000 Indian Muslim Clerics condemn Islamic State, calling it 'un-Islamic'

More than 1,000 Muslim clerics in India have ratified a religious ruling that condemns the Islamic State and calls the extremist group’s actions “un-Islamic,” a top Indian Muslim leader said Wednesday.

Religious leaders from hundreds of Islamic mosques, education institutions and civic groups across India have signed the edict, or fatwa, saying the actions of the Islamic State group went against the basic tenets of Islam.

The edict was issued by a leading Mumbai-based cleric, Mohammed Manzar Hasan Ashrafi Misbahi, and has been signed by the leaders of all the main mosques in India, which has the world’s third-largest Muslim population.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, India, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CT) Humbled Hustler–the wonderful story of the conversion of Manoj Raithatha

The credit crunch of 2008 was quick and brutal. With some 900 apartments coming up for imminent completion, I suddenly found myself in the firing line, facing a queue of creditors demanding their money. Any value in my business disappeared overnight as the property developers stripped the company of its cash. The next two years were the hardest of my life as our family adjusted to the dramatic change in our finances.

That same year, my 2-year-old son became critically ill. Ishaan was a sickly child and had been hospitalized many times with severe breathing difficulties. Now, with the nebulizer failing, he was rushed into resuscitation. Within minutes the ER teemed with doctors and nurses fighting for his life. His airways shut, and he was intubated to keep him alive. He was later transferred to a hospital in London.

Over the next four days, my wife and I wept uncontrollably. An American couple whom we had recently befriended began praying for Ishaan. They even got their families’ churches in the United States to pray for him. On the fourth day in the hospital, the doctor stated that it was unlikely that my son would open his eyes anytime soon. We were distraught.

But as the consultant continued doing her ward round on that fourth day, Ishaan suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. The only explanation was that we had witnessed a miracle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Christology, England / UK, Hinduism, India, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Soteriology, Theology

(NPR) Fasting To The Death: Is It A Religious Rite Or Suicide?

A person who is very old or very ill decides to stop eating in order to die.

To members of the ancient and tiny faith of Jainism in India, that’s a tradition called santhara or sallekhana (literally thinning out).

India’s Supreme Court is considering whether to ban the practice as a form of suicide, which is punishable under law. The court is now reviewing the end-of-life ritual.

Some form of fasting is deeply rooted in many religions: Christians practice Lent. Muslims have Ramadan. The Jewish tradition is to fast on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Hindu calendar is rich with days of forsaking food.

But right now the attention is on the custom of the Jains…

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology